Dead = D.E.A.D. “What is deader than dead?” – D.Phillips

world-tilting-gospel-phillipsOne of the Kindle books I am currently reading is Dan Phillips’ The World-Tilting Gospel; Embracing a Biblical Worldview and Hanging on Tight (Kregel, 2011).

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been pleasantly impressed with its content and message. I am a couple of chapters into it and find it soundly biblical, edifying, and challenging.

I know I promised something more from Chapter 1, (“Knowing God and Man”), but today I want to quote from Chapter 3 (“, where Phillips treats the fallenness of man and his total sinful depravity.

Soundly and biblically, Phillips grounds this in Adam’s fall and the orthodox teaching on original sin (Adam’s representative headship, etc.). But the author does not use old cliches to describe our total depravity. His section on man’s spiritual deadness will demonstrate that.

Here is what Phillips has to say:

This is how Paul describes our spiritual condition: dead. The Greek word for ‘dead’ means ‘D-E-A-D.’ It doesn’t carry any special, technical, secret nuance detectable only by professional lexicographers. It is used many times – in the NT of sleep-diver Eutychus after his fatal plunge from the third story (Acts 20:9), or in the Greek translation of the narrative about Sisera, after Jael nailed his head to the ground (Judg.4:22)

What do these all have in common?

They’re all dead! As dead as Moses. As dead as King Tut. As dead as Marcus Aurelius, Confucius, Augustine, and any other dead person you can name.

Do you really believe it? All Christians who say they believe the Bible have to say they believe this verse [Eph.2:1]. But do they? I wonder.

I thought I believed it, once, as a younger Christian. But I also thought that I was saved by exercising my free will, by my deciding to choose Christ, by bringing something that made God’s offer of salvation work, by coming up with the faith through which I was saved. Yet at the same time, I did have a vague notion that it was all of God… but then, there was my part.

A dead guy’s part.

I was confused. I think a lot of Christians are confused.

But Paul says dead, and dead is what he means. In fact, ask yourself this: If Paul had meant to paint man as spiritually dead and absolutely powerless to help himself or move himself toward God in any way – what stronger word could he have chosen? What is deader than dead?

Isn’t that a powerful – and humbling – description of all of us? Have we forgotten this? It is time we remember. And then listen to this at the end of this chapter (part of Phillip’s “world-tilting” application):

We must deal with the fact: The Gospel is offensive to human pride. If what we preach as ‘Gospel’ is not offensive, we’re doing it wrong. An unoffensive Gospel is a false Gospel, a damning Gospel – because the only Gospel that saves is the Gospel that offends (1 Cor.1:18, 21, 23; 2:2; Gal.1:10; 5:11; 6:12,14).

Save

The Presbyterian Philosopher, Gordon H. Clark – An Introduction

presby-philosoper-clark-douma-2017Today I want to return to the new biography by Douglas J. Douma on Gordon H. Clark, titled The Presbyterian Philosopher: The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark (Wipf & Stock, 2017. 292 pp.).

You may recall that a few weeks ago when I received notice of the release of this book from the author, I did a brief blog post highlighting it. I have now received my review copy and the extra copies I ordered for the Seminary bookstore (available for purchase). I have started to delve into the book and am pleased with what I read so far.

I knew a little about Clark, especially, as I pointed out before, because of his connection to Herman Hoeksema and the PRCA. But I am intrigued by his philosophy and theology and interested in learning more about him as a Presbyterian churchman and as a person as well.

For today, I pull a few quotes from the introduction, where Douma gives his reason for writing about this man and his importance in his day and for our time. Here is one question and his answer:

What, then, did Clark believe? Why should Christians, particularly Christian theologians, wrestle with his philosophy and apply his insights? Clark provides perhaps the best philosophical understanding of Protestant Christianity. For its breadth and depth, his work can be difficult at times. He challenges us to question basic assumptions of the world, and of our faith, and he forces us to think in a rigorous, logical fashion (p.xx).

After laying out the broad “contours of Clark’s philosophy,” Douma points to the heart of Clark’s philosophical theology. His view of knowledge and the understanding of the world about him was not based on empiricism (observation and analysis), nor on rationalism (pure logic and reason), but on God’s revelation in Scripture. Concerning this the author writes,

The philosophy of Gordon Clark has been called Scripturalism because of his reliance on the truth of Scripture as his fundamental axiom or presupposition. Stated simply, his axiom is ‘The Bible is the Word of God.” Scripturalism teaches that the Bible is a revelation of truth from God, whom Himself determines truth and is the source of all truth. In this theory, the propositions of Scripture are true because they are given by inspiration of God, who cannot lie. For Clark, the Bible, the sixty-six books accepted by most Protestant churches, is a set of true propositions. All knowledge currently available to man are these propositions along with any additional propositions that can be logically deduced from them (xxi).

In addition to this fundamental axiom, Clark was also a dedicated Presbyterian confessionalist, subscribing to and promoting the historic creed of Presbyterians. About this says Douma,

As much as the story of Gordon Clark connects with American Presbyterian history, the philosophy of Gordon Clark engages the most important Presbyterian confession, the Westminster Confession of Faith. Time and again in Clark’s life and works, his commitment to the system of belief described in this historic document is revealed. …The Confession set the boundaries for Clark’s philosophy beyond which he would not strive to venture (xxiii).

And though these commitments to Scripture and the Confession brought him into inevitable controversy wherever he went and taught, “Clark remained convinced of the truth of the system of doctrine contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith, a truth centered in biblical revelation alone” (xxiii).

And so Douma points us to the significance of Clark for our own time:

Clark’s true import, however, is that, in an age of increasing secularization and rising atheism, he put up an intellectual defense of the Christian faith. This faith, he believed, was a system. All its parts linked together, a luxury of no other philosophy. The Scriptures exhort us to ‘be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have ‘(1 Peter 3:15). This requires that we love God fully with our minds and study His Word. Only from God’s revelation can we be assured of the truth of our reasons (xxiv).

That’s sufficient introduction to Clark for this post. I trust you see from this introduction that Clark has much to say to our age and generation. Until next time, perhaps it is time for you to be exposed to Clark’s Scripturalism.

New Review Books – Reformation Trust

A few weeks ago I received from Reformation Trust Publishing (a division of Ligonier Ministries) a couple of their new publications.

no-other-macarthur-2017One is None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible by John Macarthur (2017, 133pp.). The publisher gives this by way of summary:

The Bible’s teaching on God’s love, holiness, and sovereignty is often met with questions about human responsibility, suffering, and evil. If God is in control of everything, can we make free choices? If God is good and all-powerful, how can we account for natural disasters and moral atrocities? Answers to these questions are often filled with technical jargon and personal assumptions that don’t take into account the full scope of biblical truth.

In None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible, Dr. John MacArthur shows that the best way to discover the one true God is not through philosophical discourse but a careful study of Scripture—the primary place where God has chosen to reveal Himself.

These are the chapter titles:

  1. The God of the Bible is Gracious [strikingly about sovereign election!]
  2. The God of the Bible is Sovereign
  3. The God of the Bible is Good and Powerful
  4. The God of the Bible is Holy
  5. The God of the Bible is Loving
  6. The God of the Bible is a Saving God

In that first chapter Macarthur makes this statement, which sets the tone for all he says about God’s sovereign election of some sinners to salvation in Christ:

Frankly, the only reason to believe in election is because it is found explicitly in God’s Word. No man, and no committee of men, originated this doctrine. It’s like the doctrine of eternal punishment: it conflicts with all the natural inclinations and preferences of the carnal human mind. It’s repugnant to the sentiments of the unregenerate heart. And – like the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the miraculous birth of our Savior – the truth of election, because it has been revealed by God, must be embraced with simple, solemn, settled faith. If you have a Bible and you believe what it says, you have no choice (p.8).

time-for-confidence-nichols-2016The second new RTP title is A Time for Confidence: Trusting God in a Post-Christian Society, authored by Stephen J. Nichols (2016, 152pp.).

Concerning it the publisher gives this brief summary:

As members of a society that is quickly abandoning its Christian past, followers of Christ often feel disoriented or even frightened. When human leaders and political advocates fail us, doubts arise and the road to compromise beckons.

In this book, Dr. Stephen J. Nichols points to the almighty God as the source and ground of our confidence. Though the whole world may shake around us, His kingdom is unshakable. This is a time for confidence.

The chapter headings are as follows:

  1. A Time for Confidence
  2. Confidence in God
  3. Confidence in the Bible
  4. Confidence in Christ
  5. Confidence in the Gospel
  6. Confidence in Hope

In that first chapter, after describing the dark and dangerous time in which we are living – culturally and ecclesiastically, Nichols writes this:

We live in a momentous time. Through the technological advances of our age, information can be disseminated instantly. Change, even dramatic and substantive change, can occur rapidly. Consequently, the stakes are high. Change occurs rapidly, and it already has. There seems to be a seismic shift occurring. We easily think of the changes occurring now as indicating that far worse things are to come. Like tremors before an earthquake, we all simply assume the worse is yet to come.

We see the cultural shifts and capitulations and we instinctively know they only portend worse things yet. The world is coming to an end (again).

But this is not a time to cower, cave, or capitulate. It is a time for confidence, and our confidence must be in the right place. Or, better to say, our confidence must be in the right person. Our confidence must be in God. All else will disappoint” (pp.14-15).

If either of these books is of interest to you for reading and reviewing in the Standard Bearer, let me know. Both look to be good reads!

February “Tabletalk”: Christian Joy

tt-feb-2017With the beginning of a new month we need to introduce you to the February 2017 issue of Tabletalk, Ligonier Ministries’ monthly devotional magazine.

This month the theme is simply “Joy,” with various articles dealing with “Joy in Our Work,” “Joy in Community,” “Future Joy,” and “Our Groaning Joy,” to name a few.

Editor Burk Parsons sets the tone for this issue with his introductory article “Joy in Christ Alone.” Here are a few of his thoughts on this vital subject:

Christianity is a religion of joy. Real joy comes from God, who has invaded us, conquered us, and liberated us from eternal death and sadness—who has given us hope and joy because He has poured out His love within our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us (Rom. 5:5). Joy comes from God, not from within. When we look within, we just get sad. We have joy only when we look outside ourselves to Christ. Without Christ, joy is not only hard to find, it’s impossible to find. The world desperately seeks joy, but in all the wrong places. However, our joy comes because Christ sought us, found us, and keeps us. We cannot have joy apart from Christ, because it doesn’t exist. Joy is not something we can conjure up.

The first featured article is by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson and titled “To Enjoy Him Forever,” which you may recognize as coming from the first Q&A of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. As Ferguson goes on to show, this Catechism also directs the child of God to the means God has appointed for finding joy in Him.

For this Lord’s day night I would direct you to his first two – joy in salvation and joy in revelation. Here are Ferguson’s explanations of how these lead to enjoying God:

Joy in Salvation

Enjoying God means relishing the salvation He gives us in Jesus Christ. “I will take joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3:18). God takes joy in our salvation (Luke 15:6–7, 9–10, 32). So should we. Here, Ephesians 1:3–14 provides a masterly delineation of this salvation in Christ. It is a gospel bath in which we should often luxuriate, rungs on a ladder we should frequently climb, in order to experience the joy of the Lord as our strength (Neh. 8:10). While we are commanded to have joy, the resources to do so are outside of ourselves, known only through union with Christ.

Joy in Revelation

Joy issues from devouring inscripturated revelation. Psalm 119 bears repeated witness to this. The psalmist “delights” in God’s testimonies “as much as in all riches” (Ps. 119:14; see also vv. 35, 47, 70, 77, 103, 162, 174). Think of Jesus’ words, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Does He mean He will find His joy in us, so that our joy may be full, or that His joy will be in us so that our joy may be full? Both, surely, are true. We find full joy in the Lord only when we know He finds His joy in us. The pathway to joy, then, is to give ourselves maximum exposure to His Word and to let it dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16). It is joy-food for the joy-hungry soul.

Once again it is evident that there is much profitable reading for the mind and soul in the latest Tabletalk. Would you like to learn more about Christian joy – the only joy there is? Then dig in to these articles! Follow the Ligonier link below the get started.

I might also add that the daily devotions this year are on Reformation themes, in connection with the 500th anniversary of the great Reformation. January’s devotions were on the doctrine of God, while February’s cover the doctrine of sola Scriptura.

Source: Tabletalk: The Devotional Magazine of Ligonier Ministries

Introducing “The Presbyterian Philosopher” – The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark

the-presbyterian-philosopher-douma-2017Late last week I received notice from our friend, fellow WordPress blogger, and author Douglas Douma,  that his latest title is ready to be released. It is a significant work on the Presbyterian/Calvinist philosopher-theologian Gordon H. Clark (1902-1985).

This is the announcement as it appeared on Douglas’ blog:

I’m glad to announce that my book The Presbyterian Philosopher – The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark is now available for purchase!

After four years of effort researching and writing this book, I’m thrilled to see it come to publication. This book incorporates Dr. Clark’s personal letter collection, information from unpublished papers and sermons, letters from a half dozen archives, and interviews with his family, friends, and colleagues to detail the history of his life and give context for understanding his philosophy and the controversies in which he was involved.

The preface is written by Dr. Clark’s two daughters, Lois A. Zeller and Betsy Clark George. Endorsements for the book are from John Frame, Jay Adams, Kenneth Gary Talbot, D. Clair Davis, David J. Engelsma, William Barker, Erwin Lutzer, Frank Walker, Dominic Aquila, and Andrew Zeller.

clark-vantil-controv-hhoeksemaPRC readers and those interested in Reformed orthodoxy will be interested in this work, as Clark found a friend in the PRC and in Herman Hoeksema in particular, especially because of Clark’s sound rejection of the theology of the free offer of the gospel and his solid defense of double predestination among other things (For more on this, consult Herman Hanko’s “History of the Free Offer of the Gospel”). You will also be interested in this Trinity Foundation title, which pulls together Hoeksema’s editorials in the Standard Bearer on the Clark-VanTil Controversy.

For more on Clark, visit this special website devoted to him.

The PRC Seminary bookstore will be carrying copies of this book when it is available. Contact us to reserve your copy, or write the author at the information found at the link below.

Source: Now Available: “The Presbyterian Philosopher” – The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark

The World-Tilting Gospel – D. Phillips

world-tilting-gospel-phillipsOne of the Kindle books I am currently reading is Dan Phillips’ The World-Tilting Gospel; Embracing a Biblical Worldview and Hanging on Tight (Kregel, 2011).

I believe this book was offered free last Fall and I grabbed it, not knowing what to expect. But I have been pleasantly impressed with its content and message. I am a couple of chapters into it and find it soundly biblical, edifying, and challenging.

Chapter 1, “Knowing God and Man,” (with a subtitle that asks “Which Comes First? What Difference Does It Make?”) immediately references John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, pointing out that the magisterial Reformer wrestled with these issues too. Calvin taught that we can look at it both ways: we cannot know God without knowing ourselves, and we cannot know ourselves without knowing God.

But, then, Phillips makes his own case, with a little humor:

It’s impossible to measure without a standard. Its impossible to apply a standard if we don’t know what we’re measuring. But which comes first?

Chronologically, self-awareness comes first, and indeed fills our whole conscious life. No healthy baby has to be persuaded to be self-concerned. Nor have I ever met an infant who would say, ‘You know, some nice, warm milk would be great…but it would glorify God more if I let Mom get some sleep.’ Babies don’t even rise to ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made,’ but rather, ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully wet.’

Yet while self-awareness comes first in time, surely the knowledge of God comes first in importance. Christian readers will grant that our concept of God affects how we see everything. The case I want to make is that our view of ourselves as we stand before God is inextricably interwoven with our view of God.

To which he adds, “Think it through with me.”

More on that next time, because Phillips has some great examples of how our (world)view of God affects how we see ourselves – and our relationship to God. We need to be introduced to Bud Goodheart, Lodowick Legup, and Misty Call.

I said, next time. These are some real (make-believe) characters! 🙂

 

The Latest PRC Seminary Journal

Though a few months late, the November 2016 issue of the PRC Seminary’s Theological Journal is now out.

nov-2016-50-1-cover

The digital version has been available for a few weeks now, while the print version became available the first week of January (the other digital versions will be forthcoming). Both domestic and foreign copies have now been mailed out. If you are on our mailing list, you should be receiving your copy soon. If you would like a copy mailed to you, let us know. And if you would like to pick up a copy at the Seminary, feel free to do that too.

The PRTJ’s editor, Prof. R. Cammenga, introduces the issue with these comments:

Editor’s Notes
This issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal is the first issue of volume fifty. That, certainly, is a milestone! For fifty years, without interruption, the Lord has made it possible for the Protestant Reformed Seminary to publish two issues per year of its theological journal. Founded in 1966, at a time when the seminary was housed in the basement of the First Protestant Reformed Church, located on the corner of Fuller Avenue and Franklin Street, the first issues were a “testing of the waters” to determine whether there was sufficient interest to warrant continued publication. From the enthusiastic reception of those first issues to the present day, the PRTJ continues to occupy a place on the shelves and in the hearts of those who love the heritage of the Reformed faith. After fifty years, PRTJ continues to publish scholarly theological articles that set forth and defend the Reformed faith, as that faith has been delivered to the Protestant Reformed Churches and preserved and developed in her seminary. And after fifty years, we continue to be one of the only theological journals that does not charge its subscribers an annual subscription fee. The costs of publication and mailing are covered by the generous donations of the PRCA and our readership. To you who regularly contribute, we express our thanks.

You will find this issue to be similar in content to previous issues. We include a slate of articles, two by members of the faculty of the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary, one by a fourth-year seminary student, and one by a recent guest speaker. That guest speaker was the Reverend Thomas Reid, librarian and occasional lecturer at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA. This past Spring, Mr. Reid gave two outstanding lectures to the faculty and student body of the Protestant Reformed Seminary on the history and struggles of the French Reformed church. We judged the lectures to be worthy of wider distribution and he has kindly consented to prepare them for publication. For a number of reasons, brother Reid has a special interest in the French Reformed church, including the fact that his wife Geneviève traces her roots to the French Reformed. The first of those two lectures, “The Battles of the French Reformed Tradition,” is included in this issue of PRTJ. His second lecture focused on one of the important recent theologians of the French Reformed church, Auguste Lecerf. Look for that lecture to be included in the April 2017 issue of PRTJ.

Included in this issue is also the translation of the sermon preached by the Reverend Simon Van Velzen on the Lord’s Day following the death of Reverend Hendrik De Cock, the father of the Dutch Reformed reformation movement known as the Afscheiding. The sermon text was Revelation 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” The sermon is a sound, moving, exegetical work, full of practical application—exemplary in so many respects. The sermon was translated by the late Marvin Kamps. He was so captivated by the sermon that he translated it and submitted it for publication in our journal, convinced of its value for as wide an audience as possible. We agree. To our knowledge, it has never before been translated from the Dutch in which it was originally preached and transcribed.

And, of course, included in this issue of PRTJ are a number of book reviews. These are books that will be of value to seminary students, ministers, and professors of theology, not only, but to the informed Reformed believer who desires to stay abreast of the latest publications promoting—at least, hopefully—the Reformed faith and worldview. This is always a worthwhile section of our journal, and I am sure you will find it so in this issue as well.

Read and enjoy!
Soli Deo Gloria!
—RLC

It’s not too late to get started with your reading! As you will see, all of the articles are worthy of your attention.

The books reviewed in this issue are as follows:

  • Bolt, John. Bavinck on the Christian Life
  • Engelsma, David. Christianizing the World:
    Reformed Calling or Ecclesiastical Suicide?
  • Gordon, T. David. Why Johnny Can’t Preach:
    The Media Shaped the Messenger
  • Owen, John. Communion with the Triune God
  • Roberts, Dewey. Historic Christianity and the
    Federal Vision: A Theological Analysis
    and Practical Education
  • Sheers, Janet Sjaarda. Ministers of the
    Christian Reformed Church and
    Classical Assembly 1857-1870;
    General Assembly 1867-1879; and
    Synodical Assembly 1880:
  • Wielenga, B. The Reformed Baptism Form:
    A Commentary

Luther and the Reformation (1) – The Ninety-Five Theses

ref-500-1

This year being the 500th anniversary of the great Reformation (1517-2017) – its origin notably marked by Martin Luther’s posting of his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517 – we intend to do a series of posts throughout the year on some of the major works of Luther.

luther-theses-1And what better place to start than the Ninety-Five Theses themselves. For today, we simply refer you, first of all, to a few of them as found at the link above (and in many other places), prefaced by Luther’s purpose in posting them.

Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

I have selected these points of debate (theses) in particular:

 1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.

4. The penalty of sin remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

27. They preach only human doctrines who say that as soon as the money clinks into the money chest, the soul flies out of purgatory.

28. It is certain that when money clinks in the money chest, greed and avarice can be increased; but when the church intercedes, the result is in the hands of God alone.

32. Those who believe that they can be certain of their salvation because they have indulgence letters will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.

33. Men must especially be on guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to him.

34. For the graces of indulgences are concerned only with the penalties of sacramental satisfaction established by man.

35. They who teach that contrition is not necessary on the part of those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessional privileges preach unchristian doctrine.

36. Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.

37. Any true Christian, whether living or dead, participates in all the blessings of Christ and the church; and this is granted him by God, even without indulgence letters.

 

Secondly, we may point you to B.B. Warfield’s fine essay, “The Ninety-Five Theses in Their Theological Significance” (found in free digital form at Monergism.com). Below is a paragraph found in the early part of that work describing the significance of Luther’s theses:

The significance of the Theses as a Reformation act emerges thus in this: that they are a bold, an astonishingly bold, and a powerful, an astonishingly powerful, assertion of the evangelical doctrine of salvation, embodied in a searching, well-compacted, and thoroughly wrought-out refutation of the sacerdotal conception, as the underlying foundation on which the edifice of the indulgence traffic was raised. This is what Walther Köhler means when he declares that we must recognize this as the fundamental idea of Luther’s Theses: “the emancipation of the believer from the tutelage of the ecclesiastical institute”; and adds, “Thus God advances for him into the foreground; He alone is Lord of death and life; and to the Church falls the modest role of agent of God on earth – only there and nowhere else.” “The most far-reaching consequences flowed from this,” he continues; “Luther smote the Pope on his crown and simply obliterated his high pretensions with reference to the salvation of souls in this world and the next, and in their place set God and the soul in a personal communion which in its whole intercourse bears the stamp of interiorness and spirituality.” Julius Köstlin puts the whole matter with his accustomed clearness and balance – though with a little wider reference than the Theses themselves – when he describes the advance in Luther’s testimony marked by the indulgence controversy thus: “As he had up to this time proclaimed salvation in Christ through faith, in opposition to all human merit, so he now proclaims it also in opposition to an external human ecclesiasticism and priesthood, whose acts are represented as conditioning the imparting of salvation itself, and as in and of themselves, even without faith, effecting salvation for those in whose interests they are performed.

New and Noteworthy in the PRC Seminary Library for 2016

SemLibrary2Even though it is the beginning of a new year and the first new books of 2017 are already being highlighted, today I want to call attention to some more of the significant books that were added to the PRC Seminary library in 2016.

For the benefit of the Theological School Committee that oversees all aspects of the PRC Seminary, including the library, as well as for the benefit of the faculty and student body I have compiled a list of significant titles obtained in the last year.

I divided the list into categories so that it is easier to keep track of the kinds of books we look for. I hope this helps you see the quality of titles we strive to add each year. Keep in mind, that as long as this list appears, it is only a sampling of what is actually added.

Which makes me think that it is time for another Seminary library guessing content. How many books were actually added in 2016? And how many total resources do we have in our library now? Look for that post in the near future! 🙂

96693a98-7a59-497a-9646-1909b11a2d17For now, enjoy this list of significant books for 2016. And maybe you will find a title or two (or more!) for your own reading edification in 2017.

Biblical studies

  • IVP Reformation Commentaries (OT & NT)
  • IVP Ancient Christian Commentaries (OT & NT)
  • Preach the Word Series (Crossway)
  • Reformed Expository Commentary Series (P&R)

Church History

  • A Century of Church History : The Legacy Of Philip Schaff / Philip Schaff, 1819-1893.. ; Henry Warner. Bowden. ; David W. Lotz, 1937-. — 1st-hc. — Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, 1988.
  • Church And School In Early Modern Protestantism : Studies In Honor Of Richard A. Muller On The Maturation Of A Theological Tradition / Jordan J. (Jordan Joseph) Ballor. ; David S. Sytsma. ; Jason. Zuidema. ; Robert J. (Series) Bast . — 1st. — Leiden/Boston : Brill, 2013. (Studies In The History Of Christian Traditions)
  • Brand Luther: 1517, Printing, And The Making Of The Reformation / Pettegree. — 1st-hc. — New York : Penguin Press, 2015.
  • October 31, 1517: Martin Luther And The Day That Changed The World /  Martin E. Marty, 1928- author.. ; James Martin. — 1st-hc. — Brewster, MA : Paraclete Press, 2016.
  • Martin Luther : Visionary Reformer / Scott H. Hendrix. — 1st-hc. — New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, 2015.
  • Luther’s Fortress : Martin Luther And His Reformation Under Siege / James Reston, Jr., 1941-. — 1st-hc. — New York : Basic Books, 2015.
  • Martin Luther And The Enduring Word Of God : The Wittenberg School And Its Scripture- Centered Proclamation / Robert Kolb, 1941-. — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI : Baker Academic, 2016.
  • John Knox / Jane E. A. Dawson. — 1st-pb. — New Haven ;London : Yale Univ. Press, 2016.
  • Tyndale : The Man Who Gave God An English Voice / Teems. — 1st-pb. — Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 2012.
  • Handbook of Dutch Church History / J. Selderhuis, 1961-. ; Frank Van Der Pol. ; George Harinck, 1958-. — 1st Engl.-hc. — Gottingen/Bristol, CT : Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015.
  • The Pastor Bonus : Papers Read At The British-Dutch Colloquium At Utrecht, 18-21 September 2002 / Clemens. ; Wim. Janse. ; Peter Raedts. ; Theo and Wim Janse Clemens . — 1st-hc. — Leiden ;Boston : Brill, 2004.
  • The Literature of the Arminian Controversy: Religion, Politics, and the Stage in the Dutch Republic, Freya Sierhuis. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2015. 294pp.
  • Rescuing The Gospel : The Story And Significance Of The Reformation / Erwin W. Lutzer. — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI : Baker Books, 2016.
  • John Newton / Richard Cecil. ; John Pollock. ; Marylynne Rouse . — reprint-hc. — Fearn, Ross-shire, GB : Christian Focus, 2000.
  • All Things Made New : The Reformation And Its Legacy / MacCulloch. — 1st-hc. — New York : Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • Augustine : Conversions To Confessions / Robin Lane Fox, 1946-. — 1st US-hc. — New York : Basic Books, 2015.
  • Reformations : The Early Modern World, 1450-1650 / Carlos M. N. Eire. — 1st-hc. — New Haven and London : Yale University Press, 2016.

Creeds/Confessions

  • In God’s School : Foundations For A Christian Life / Pierre Charles. Marcel. ; Howard Griffith. ; William Edgar. — 1st-Engl-pb. — Eugene OR : Wipf & Stock Pub, 2008.
  • Lest Any Man Should Boast : The Canons of Dort Simply Explained / Arthur Van Delden. — 1st-hc. — Armadale, W.A. : Pro Ecclesia Publishers, 2004. 353 p.
  • Truths We Confess: Volume I – The Triune God (Chapters 1-8 of the Confession) : A Layman’s Guide to the Westminster Confession Of Faith / C. (Robert Charles) Sproul, 1939-. — 1st-hc. — Phillipsburg, N.J. : P & R Pub., 2006-07. (all 3 volumes added)
  • A Defense Of Confessionalism : Biblical Foundations & Confessional Considerations / Arden L. Hodgins. ; James M. Renihan . — 1st-pb. — Palmdale, CA : Reformed Baptist Academic Press, 2016. (Recovering Our Confessional Heritage) vols. 1-3

Dogmatics/Theology/Historical Theology

  • Knowing Christ / Mark Jones. ; J. I. Packer, (James Innell). — 1st-pb. — Edinburgh ; Carlisle, PA : Banner of Truth, 2015.
  • The Glory Of Christ / Peter Lewis, 1945 February 6-. — reprint-pb. — Chicago, Ill. : Moody Press, c1997.
  • Historic Christianity And The Federal Vision : A Theological Analysis And Practical Evaluation / Dewey Roberts. ; Michael A. Milton. ; Morton H. Smith. — 1st-hc. — Destin, FL : Sola Fide Publications, 2016.
  • The Beauty And Glory Of Christ’s Bride / Joel R. Beeke. ; Conrad Mbewe. ; Gerald M. Bilkes. ; Joel R. Beeke . — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI : Reformation Heritage Books, 2015.
  • The Beauty And Glory Of The Word Of God / Joel R. Beeke. ; Michael Barrett. ; Geoff Thomas. ; Joel R. Beeke, 1952- . — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI : Reformation Heritage Books, 2016.
  • Common Grace : God’s Gifts For A Fallen World, Volume 1: The Historical Section / Abraham Kuyper, 1837-1920.. ; Nelson D. Kloosterman, Transl.. ; Richard J. Mouw. ; Jordan J. and Stephen J. Grabill Ballor . — 1st-hc. — Bellingham, WA : Lexham Press, 2016. 632 p.  — (Collected Works in Public Theology)
  • Pro Rege : Living Under Christ The King, Volume 1 / Abraham Kuyper, 1837-1920.. ; Albert Gootjes, Transl.. ; John Kok. ; John and Nelson D. Kloosterman Kok . — 1st Eng-hc. — Bellingham, WA : Lexham Press, 2016. 507 p.  — (Collected Works in Public Theology) vol. 1
  • The Oxford Handbook Of Martin Luther’s Theology / Robert Kolb, 1941- , editor of compilation.. ; Irene Dingel, 1956- , editor of compilation.. ; Lubomir Batka, 1974- , editor of compilation.. — 1st-pb. — Oxford : Oxford University Press, c2014.
  • James Durham (1622-1658) : And The Gospel Offer In Its Seventeenth-century Context / Donald John. MacLean. — 1st-hc. — Gottingen, Bristol : Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015.
  • Corrupting The Word Of God : The History of The Well-meant Offer / Herman C. Hanko, 1930-. ; Mark H. Hoeksema. — 1st-hc. — Jenison, MI : Reformed Free Pub Assn, 2016.
  • The Doctrines Of Election And Justification / Arthur Walkington Pink, 1886-1952.. — reprint-pb. — New Ipswich, NH : Pietan Publications, 1997.
  • Biblical Theology : Volume 1: The Common Grace Covenants / Jeffrey Jay. Niehaus. — 1st-pb. — Wooster, OH : Weaver Book Company, 2014.
  • Biblical Authority After Babel : Retrieving The Solas In The Spirit Of Mere Protestant Christianity / Kevin J. Vanhoozer. — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI : Brazos Press, 2016.

Practical Theology

  • Pulpit Aflame : Essays In Honor Of Steven J. Lawson / Joel R. Beeke, 1952- editor.. ; Ian Hamilton. ; Dustin W. Benge. ; Joel R. and Benge Beeke, Dustin W. . — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids, MI : Reformation Heritage Books, 2016.
  • The Pastor’s Book : A Comprehensive And Practical Guide To Pastoral Ministry / Kent Hughes, 1942-. ; Douglas Sean O’Donnell, 1972-. — 1st-hc. — Wheaton, IL : Crossway, 2015.
  • The Pastor As Public Theologian : Reclaiming A Lost Vision / Kevin J. Vanhoozer. ; Owen. Strachan. — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapids : Baker Academic, 2015.
  • A Clear And Simple Treatise On The Lord’s Supper : In Which The Published Slanders Of Joachim Westphal Are Finally Refuted / Theodore Beza, 1519-1605. ; David C. Noe, (David Craig) , translator.. ; Martin I. Klauber. — 1st-hc. — Grand Rapid, Mich. : Reformation Heritage Books, 2016.
  • The Reformed Baptism Form : A Commentary / Wielenga. ; Annemie Godbehere, Transl.. ; David J. Engelsma, ed.. ; David J. Engelsma . — 1st English-hc. — Jenison, MI : Reformed Free Pub Assn, 2016.
  • Church Polity in the Canadian Reformed Churches and the Christian Reformed Church : A Comparative Study of Two Dutch Immigrant Churches / William J. Van Oene, 1920-. — bound-hc. — Fergus, ON : Knox College / Toronto School of Theology, 1973.
Published in: on January 3, 2017 at 9:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

First – Rev. W. Langerak

From the brand new issue of the Standard Bearer (January 1, 2017) comes this wonderful, food-for-your-soul article by Rev. Bill Langerak. “First” is his latest contribution to the rubric “A Word Fitly Spoken” and is certainly fitting as we begin the new year today.

first-bl-jan-2017-sb

I quote from the last few paragraphs, which point us to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the one true First, and the One in whom alone we can also be first, in the truest sense of that word.

The ultimate explanation for why Jesus is first is this: He alone is the eternal and natural Son of God living in the bosom of the Father, as the express image of His person and brightness of His glory, daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him and declaring Him (Pro. 8:30; John 1:18). And He is first because at the appointed time, God sent this same only-begotten and eternal Son into the world to assume human nature by the Holy Spirit, so that Jesus is not only the firstborn son of Mary but firstborn of every creature (Matt. 1:25; Col. 1:15). As firstborn Son, Jesus is given the power, authority, and kingdom of God, made King of kings; even the angels must worship Him (Num. 8:16; Col. 1:19; 2Chr. 21:3; Ps. 89:27; Heb. 1:6). And as the Son of God, Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren, given responsibility to gather, defend, and preserve them as the church of God written in heaven (Rev. 8:29; Heb. 12:23).

Only through faith in Jesus, can we who are last, be first (Matt. 20:16). Even though He is the first, He first suffered many things to redeem us from among men as firstfruits unto God (Rev. 14:4). Only because He first loved us, are we begotten by the will of God as firstfruits of His creatures (Jam. 1:18). And only because He is the first begotten from the dead and firstfruits of them that sleep, will the dead in Christ shall rise first (1Cor. 15:23; 1Thess. 4:16).

Therefore, seek not to be first. Rather, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; seek Jesus, the first, and be assured that all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).