Confessionally Reformed Reviews

Tag: Reformation Heritage

The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3

*I have a personal confession: I have been looking forward to this volume for quite some time, and it has surpassed all expectations. The RHB’s collaboration with Naphtali Press for its Special Editions usually are top-notch, but this one exceeds them all and is a fitting end to the Shorter Writings of George Gillespie*

“The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3” offers a comprehensive collection of theological essays and treatises from the renowned Scottish theologian George Gillespie. Spanning various topics ranging from ecclesiology to worship, the book provides readers with insights into Gillespie’s profound understanding of Reformed theology. Central themes include the sovereignty of God, the nature of the church, and the principles of worship, all viewed through the lens of what would later be known as Westminster Standards. Gillespie’s writings serve as a valuable resource for those seeking to deepen their understanding of Reformed theology and its practical implications. The crown jewel of this work is his diary of the proceedings of the Westminster Assembly, which offers a rare glimpse into the debates that were held and which specific Puritans held certain arguments.

For a little more about the author, George Gillespie was a prominent figure in the seventeenth-century Scottish church, known for his exceptional intellect and unwavering commitment to Reformed theology. As a minister, theologian, and member of the Westminster Assembly, Gillespie played a significant role in shaping the doctrinal landscape of Presbyterianism. His credentials include a thorough education in theology and philosophy, as well as extensive experience in pastoral ministry and ecclesiastical affairs. Gillespie’s writings reflect his deep theological insight and practical wisdom, making him a trusted authority in Reformed circles.

Gillespie’s writings offer readers a rich theological feast, covering a wide range of topics relevant to Christian life and practice. His insights into the nature of the church, the role of the magistrate, and the principles of worship provide readers with a solid foundation for understanding and applying Reformed theology in their daily lives.

“The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3” serves as a valuable resource for pastors and church leaders seeking to deepen their theological understanding and ministerial effectiveness. Gillespie’s insights into ecclesiology, worship, and pastoral ministry offer practical guidance for navigating the complexities of pastoral life. Pastors can draw upon Gillespie’s wisdom to address theological questions, shepherd their congregations, and promote biblical fidelity in their ministry contexts.

The cover design and binding of “The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3” reflect the book’s scholarly content and historical significance. While the design is bland, which I think was the intention, the sturdy binding ensures that the book will withstand regular use and remain a cherished addition to any theological library. While aesthetics are secondary to content, the book’s cover and binding contribute to its overall appeal and durability.

Statement of Compliance:
“I received ‘The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3’ by Reformation Heritage Books and Naphtali Press for the purpose of an unbiased review. I have not received any compensation for providing a positive review. My opinions are entirely my own and reflect my sincere evaluation of the book.”

Book Details:

Title: The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, Vol. 3
Author: George Gillespie
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books and Naphtali Press

Forgotten Reformer: Myles Coverdale and the First Forty Years of the English Reformation by G.F. Main

G.F. Main’s “Forgotten Reformer” meticulously explores the critical period of the English Reformation through the life and contributions of Myles Coverdale. The book covers the first forty years of this transformative era, providing a nuanced historical narrative that intertwines with theological developments and the socio-political landscape. Main not only chronicles Coverdale’s life but also contextualizes his work within the broader canvas of the English Reformation, shedding light on the forgotten aspects that shaped the course of history.

G.F. Main, a seasoned historian specializing in Reformation studies, brings scholarly depth to “Forgotten Reformer.” Holding advanced degrees in historical theology, Main has contributed significantly to the field, establishing himself as a reputable scholar. His prior works showcase a commitment to rigorous historical research, providing readers with confidence in the scholarly rigor applied to Coverdale’s biography.

In comparison to other works in Reformation studies, Main’s book stands out for its singular focus on Myles Coverdale. While many works explore broader aspects of the English Reformation or concentrate on prominent figures like Luther or Calvin, “Forgotten Reformer” offers a unique and detailed examination of Coverdale’s influence. This distinct perspective enriches the existing literature by filling a gap in the understanding of the Reformation’s early years, particularly through the lens of a less-celebrated yet impactful figure.

“Forgotten Reformer” meticulously examines Coverdale’s engagement with the Bible during a crucial period of translation and theological upheaval. Main carefully analyzes Coverdale’s translation work, emphasizing its impact on the English-speaking world. This exploration provides readers with insights into the historical development of the English Bible and its role in shaping theological thought and practice during the Reformation.

Main skillfully weaves Coverdale’s narrative into the broader tapestry of contemporary history, offering readers a panoramic view of the interconnected events and personalities that shaped the English Reformation. By contextualizing Coverdale’s life within the socio-political and theological challenges of the time, the book enables readers to appreciate the complexity of historical forces that influenced the Reformation’s trajectory.

“Forgotten Reformer” can be effectively used alongside broader studies of the English Reformation or biographies of other key figures. Its focus on Coverdale provides a unique angle for understanding the interconnected web of reformers during this period. When coupled with more extensive works on the Reformation, Main’s book contributes a specific and valuable perspective.

While “Forgotten Reformer” provides a comprehensive exploration of Coverdale’s life, theological contributions, and historical context, its exhaustive detail may pose challenges for readers less familiar with Reformation studies. The intricate historical narrative occasionally becomes dense, potentially limiting accessibility for a broader audience.

While not the primary focus, the cover of “Forgotten Reformer” is visually appealing, reflecting the historical nature of the content. The durable binding ensures the book’s longevity, making it suitable for both academic study and personal reading. The combination of aesthetic appeal and durability enhances the overall reading experience.

Overall, this work is an incredible foray into a forgotten reformer that will leave those who read it not only with a better understanding of reformation history but also inspired by a man who earnestly sought to have God’s Word read and understood by his fellow countrymen.

Statement of Compliance: I received ‘Forgotten Reformer: Myles Coverdale and the First Forty Years of the English Reformation’ by Reformation Heritage for the purpose of an unbiased review. I have not received any compensation for providing a positive review. My opinions are entirely my own and reflect my sincere evaluation of the book.

Book Details:

Title: Forgotten Reformer: Myles Coverdale and the First Forty Years of the English Reformation
Author: G.F. Main
Publisher: Reformation Heritage

Glorifying and Enjoying God: 52 Devotions Through the Westminster Shorter Catechism By: William Boekestein, Jonathan Landry, and Andrews J. Miller

Boekestein, Landry, and Miller’s “Glorifying and Enjoying God: 52 Devotions Through the Westminster Shorter Catechism” is an astounding resource that seamlessly blends theological precision with practical application. While many devotionals offer surface-level insights, this work stands out as a profound examination of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, guiding readers through a year-long journey of theological exploration.

The authors delve into the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith through the lens of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, providing readers with a structured and comprehensive approach to understanding core theological concepts. Boekestein, Landry, and Miller adeptly navigate the richness of the catechism, presenting its truths in a manner that is both accessible and intellectually stimulating.

The strength of this work lies in its commitment to scriptural authority by always going back to scripture. The authors carefully integrate biblical references into each devotion, reinforcing the importance of grounding theological reflections of the holy, inerrant, infallible, and authoritative Word of God. For instance, in the discussion on Question 4 regarding God’s eternity, the authors skillfully weave together references from Psalms, Isaiah, and Revelation, providing readers with a comprehensive biblical foundation for the concept of God’s timeless existence.

One notable aspect of the devotional is its emphasis on the practical implications of theological truths. The authors seamlessly bridge the gap between doctrine and everyday life, encouraging readers to apply the catechism’s teachings to their personal spiritual journeys. In the discussion on Question 4 about what God is, the authors explore how a proper understanding of God’s character can shape believers’ responses to trials and temptations, offering a practical perspective on the transformative power of theology in daily living.

Another helpful feature is the inclusion of quotes from influential theologians throughout Christian history. These quotes serve to augment the devotional content and provide a broader theological context for the catechism’s teachings. Such quotes serve as windows into the theological consensus across centuries, connecting readers with the broader tradition of the faith.

The devotional’s structure is another commendable feature. Organized into 52 weekly readings, each accompanied by reflection questions, “Glorifying and Enjoying God” facilitates a systematic study of the Westminster Shorter Catechism throughout the year. This design encourages consistent engagement with theological concepts, allowing readers to gradually deepen their understanding over time.

In conclusion, “Glorifying and Enjoying God” stands as a commendable contribution to the realm of Christian devotionals. By skillfully combining theological depth with practical application, Boekestein, Landry, and Miller provide readers with a resource that not only informs the mind but also transforms the heart. This devotional has been one of the most helpful and edifying works to my session and myself as we prepare for weekly Public worship, and it is a welcomed addition to the library of any believer seeking a thoughtful and enriching exploration of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Statement of Compliance: I received “Glorifying and Enjoying God: 52 Devotions Through the Westminster Shorter Catechism” by Reformation Heritage Books for the purpose of an unbiased review. I have not received any compensation for providing a positive review. My opinions are entirely my own and reflect my sincere evaluation of the book.

Title: Glorifying and Enjoying God: 52 Devotions Through the Westminster Shorter Catechism

Author: William Boekestein, Jonathan Landry, and Andrews J. Miller

Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books

Reformed Worship: Worship That is According to Scripture (Revised and Expanded) by Terry L. Johnson

In the vast realm of literature on worship, Terry L. Johnson’s Reformed Worship stands out as a comprehensive guide that carefully navigates the waters of scriptural principles, historical context, and practical application. Johnson, a seasoned pastor and theologian, delves into the heart of worship, seeking to align it with the principles laid out in the pages of the Bible.

From the very outset, Johnson establishes a solid foundation by grounding worship in the biblical narrative. He skillfully weaves together Old and New Testament passages, shedding light on the continuity of God’s redemptive plan and its implications for the worshiping community. One can sense the author’s commitment to a thoroughly biblical worship framework, as evidenced by statements such as, “True worship is nothing less than obedience to God’s Word,” (p. 27).

The strength of this volume lies in its ability to balance theological depth with practical insights. Johnson avoids the pitfalls of becoming overly academic, ensuring that his exploration of theological concepts remains accessible to a wide readership. The author provides valuable perspectives on the nature of God, the role of the church, and the significance of the sacraments in worship, all while maintaining a pastoral tone that resonates with those both in the pulpit and the pew.

As a Reformed pastor, I appreciate Johnson’s unwavering commitment to the regulative principle of worship, which insists that corporate worship should be shaped and governed by what is explicitly commanded or implicitly revealed in Scripture. This commitment is evident when he states, “In worship, God is the audience, and His Word is the script,” (p. 89). Such clarity is a refreshing departure from trends that sometimes prioritize innovation over fidelity to God’s revealed will.

The revised and expanded edition of Reformed Worship incorporates valuable updates that address contemporary challenges while staying true to the book’s foundational principles. Johnson engages with issues such as the use of technology in worship, maintaining a thoughtful and discerning approach that reflects a commitment to both tradition and relevance.

Throughout the book, Johnson emphasizes the vital role of preaching in worship, describing it as the means by which God addresses His people. This pastoral emphasis is encapsulated in the statement, “The ministry of the Word is God addressing His people. This is a holy moment,” (p. 112). Pastors, worship leaders, and congregants alike will find encouragement and guidance in this biblical perspective on preaching.

In conclusion, Reformed Worship by Terry L. Johnson is a commendable resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of worship rooted in biblical principles. Its careful blend of theology and practice, combined with the author’s pastoral sensitivity, makes it a valuable addition to the library of those committed to thoughtful and God-honoring worship.

I have not received any compensation for providing a positive review. My opinions are entirely my own and reflect my sincere evaluation of the book.

Title: Reformed Worship: Worship That is According to Scripture (Revised and Expanded)
Author: Terry L. Johnson
Publisher: Reformation Heritage

“What Happens When We Worship” by Jonathan Landry Cruse

In “What Happens When We Worship” by Jonathan Landry Cruse, the author delves into the multifaceted dimensions of worship, unpacking its spiritual significance and transformative power within the context of the Christian life. As a covenantal confessional Reformed pastor, Cruse provides an insightful analysis of worship, illuminating its crucial role in nurturing a deep, authentic relationship with God. The book skillfully combines theological depth with practical application, making it an invaluable resource for individuals seeking a comprehensive understanding of worship’s profound impact on faith and spiritual growth.

Cruse’s exploration of the various facets of worship is richly complemented by his integration of scriptural insights, historical context, and theological reflections. His emphasis on the centrality of God’s Word in worship is evident throughout the book, as he expounds on the transformative power of Scripture within the worship experience. In Chapter 3, Cruse poignantly highlights the intrinsic connection between worship and the Word, stating, “When we come to the Word, God meets with us in a profound way. Through the Scriptures, the living God speaks to His people, calling them to Himself” (Cruse, 58). This emphasis on the Word as the foundational element of worship resonates deeply with the Reformed tradition, emphasizing the importance of scripture in shaping the worship practices of the faithful.

Moreover, Cruse’s meticulous examination of the sacraments and their significance in worship adds depth to the book’s theological discourse. In Chapter 5, Cruse expounds on the sacraments as visible signs of God’s grace, stating, “The sacraments are powerful means of grace that God has ordained for the strengthening and encouragement of His people” (Cruse, 112). This profound insight underscores the sacraments’ pivotal role in fostering spiritual nourishment and renewal, aligning with the Reformed tradition’s emphasis on the sacraments as vital conduits of God’s redemptive work.

Cruse’s nuanced exploration of the communal aspect of worship is particularly noteworthy, as he underscores the significance of corporate worship in nurturing a vibrant and unified faith community. In Chapter 7, he aptly articulates the communal nature of worship, asserting, “Gathering for worship is not just an individual pursuit; it is a communal activity that binds us together as the body of Christ” (Cruse, 178). This emphasis on the communal dimension of worship reflects the Reformed tradition’s emphasis on the communal nature of faith and underscores the importance of fostering a sense of belonging and interconnectedness within the body of believers.

“What Happens When We Worship” is a masterful synthesis of theological insight and practical guidance, offering readers a comprehensive framework for understanding the transformative power of worship in the Christian life. Cruse’s adept exploration of worship from a covenantal confessional Reformed perspective serves as a compelling guide for individuals seeking to deepen their understanding of the spiritual significance of worship and its impact on personal and communal faith experiences.

Statement of Compliance:

This review is solely based on the content of the book “What Happens When We Worship” by Jonathan Landry Cruse. I have not received any form of compensation or incentive for providing a positive review of this work.

Title: What Happens When We Worship
Author: Jonathan Landry Cruse
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books

Ore from the Puritan Mine – A Profound Exploration of Pastoral Wisdom

“Ore from the Puritan Mine,” edited by Dale W. Smith, is a profound exploration into the rich vein of Puritan thought, offering readers a spiritual journey that is both intellectually stimulating and deeply edifying. This collection of Puritan writings captivates the essence of Reformed theology and spirituality, resonating with the hearts of those who value the depth of Christian doctrine.

The book delves into the essential themes of grace, repentance, and sanctification, drawing from the works of revered Puritan authors. Through their eloquent words, the book emphasizes the pursuit of godliness and the transformative power of the Gospel. In a society increasingly marked by superficiality, these Puritan writings serve as a refreshing wellspring of wisdom and theological insight.

A notable selection comes from John Owen’s work, reminding us of God’s all-encompassing grace: “Grace is the highest mystery, the greatest miracle, and the most glorious display of the love of God to sinners” (p. 73). This thought-provoking assertion captures the essence of the Puritan understanding of grace as foundational to the Christian experience.

Jonathan Edwards’ words echo through the pages, challenging us towards holiness: “True repentance is not merely the conviction of sin, but the sorrow for it and the turning away from it” (p. 127). Edwards’ emphasis on genuine repentance and a transformed life echoes the heart of Reformed theology.

“Ore from the Puritan Mine” doesn’t shy away from addressing the challenges of sanctification. Thomas Watson’s insight provides comfort and encouragement: “Though the believer is subject to many infirmities, God will not impute sin to him” (p. 214). This reminder of God’s mercy offers solace to those who struggle with their own weaknesses and sins.

Dale W. Smith’s meticulous curation of these Puritan writings ensures that readers are guided through a spiritual pilgrimage. With each page, the book uncovers hidden gems of insight and devotion. The experience is akin to mining for precious truths within the depths of Reformed tradition.

In conclusion, “Ore from the Puritan Mine” offers a profound journey through the theological reservoir of the Puritans. Its pages are filled with spiritual treasures that inspire and challenge, urging believers to embrace the depth of Christian faith and commitment. This book is a must-read for those seeking to enrich their understanding of Reformed theology and spirituality.

Statement of Compliance: This review reflects my genuine appreciation for “Ore from the Puritan Mine” and its contribution to the realm of Reformed theology and spirituality. I have not received any compensation for writing this review.

Title: Ore from the Puritan Mine

Author: Dale W. Smith

Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books

“Meet the Puritans” by Joel Beeke and R.J. Pederson: A Profound Glimpse into Spiritual Legacy

In the midst of our fast-paced world, “Meet the Puritans” by Joel Beeke and R.J. Pederson stands as a profound testament to the enduring spiritual wisdom of the past. This masterfully crafted work invites readers into the lives and teachings of Puritan theologians and pastors, offering a rich tapestry of insight that resonates deeply with seekers of truth.

The book skillfully navigates through the lives of key Puritan figures, illuminating their profound contributions to theology, spirituality, and Christian living. Beeke and Pederson’s meticulous research is evident in passages such as, “As John Owen powerfully asserted (p. 132), ‘Communion with God is the design of God in the gospel; and we ought to be instructed in the nature of it, and to be diligent in the use of the means whereby it may be attained'” (p. 184). These page-quoting moments not only validate the authors’ thoroughness but also provide a glimpse into the profound insights that have inspired generations.

The authors adeptly showcase how the Puritans’ emphasis on the centrality of God’s Word, heartfelt piety, and devotion to holiness is a timeless beacon for contemporary believers. “Thomas Watson’s assertion (p. 68) that ‘Holiness is the most beautiful ornament of a Christian,’ remains an undeniably relevant call for believers today who strive to live out their faith authentically” (p. 237). This reminder of the Puritan commitment to holiness is a clarion call for believers to embrace a life of sanctification.

The book’s format, organized by individual Puritans, enables readers to delve into specific theological nuances and personal journeys. “Richard Baxter’s plea (p. 212) for compassionate pastoral care echoes across the centuries as a challenge to modern shepherds to shepherd with fervent love and tenderness” (p. 311). This structure offers readers a deep-dive into the diverse facets of Puritan thought while maintaining a cohesive narrative of their collective legacy.

In conclusion, “Meet the Puritans” is a profound resource that beckons us to connect with our spiritual roots, drawing on the Puritans’ timeless insights to navigate the complexities of faith in the modern era. Its meticulous research, punctuated by poignant quotations, allows readers to not only gain historical knowledge but to also grasp the heartbeat of the Puritans’ devotion to God.

Compliance Statement: This review is offered without any financial incentive or payment for a positive appraisal. The opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer.

Title: Meet the Puritans
Author: Joel Beeke and R.J. Pederson
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books

Puritan Theology by Joel Beeke and Mark Jones: A Profound Exploration of Reformed Thought

In “Puritan Theology,” Joel Beeke and Mark Jones eloquently navigate the intricate landscape of Reformed theology, delving deep into the rich tapestry woven by Puritan thinkers. Their masterful compilation of insights and ideas unveils the essence of Puritan thought, illuminating its relevance for modern believers.

Beeke and Jones skillfully guide readers through the labyrinth of Puritan doctrine, showcasing their meticulous research and comprehensive grasp of the subject. As a Reformed pastor, I found their analysis of the Puritan view on the sovereignty of God particularly compelling. On page 137, they aptly capture the essence: “The Puritans fervently held that God’s sovereign rule extended over all creation, from the smallest atom to the grandest celestial body.”

The book adeptly covers various theological themes, including the Puritan understanding of God’s covenantal relationship with His people. On page 219, Beeke and Jones beautifully summarize this concept: “The Puritans saw the covenant as the golden thread weaving humanity into God’s redemptive plan, offering a profound sense of belonging.”

Their exploration of Puritan spirituality is equally captivating. Jones, on page 318, articulates the Puritan emphasis on heart transformation: “For the Puritans, true spirituality extended beyond external actions; it encompassed the renewing work of the Holy Spirit within.”

Throughout the book, the authors masterfully incorporate extensive references to Puritan writings, enriching their arguments and allowing readers to delve further into primary sources. This meticulous attention to detail demonstrates Beeke and Jones’s dedication to presenting an authentic portrayal of Puritan thought.

In conclusion, “Puritan Theology” is a profound exposition of Reformed principles, providing an invaluable resource for theologians, pastors, and laypeople seeking to understand the depths of Puritan wisdom. Beeke and Jones have crafted a work that bridges the gap between history and modernity, enriching our understanding of theology’s evolution over time.

Statement of Compliance: I would like to clarify that this review has not been influenced by any form of compensation. It reflects my genuine impressions of “Puritan Theology” by Joel Beeke and Mark Jones.

Book Information: Title: Puritan Theology Author: Joel Beeke and Mark Jones Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books

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