Thursday, January 26, 2006

Just a reminder

The 2006 Gifford Lectures will be held next week in Playfair Library Hall at Old College. This year's speaker is Jean Bethke Elshtain from the University of Chicago and the topic is "Sovereign God, Sovereign State, and Sovereign Self."

Also of note, Justin Taylor provides an update by Caleb Maskell of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale on the Works of JE Online. Maskell states that the JEC is still in need of Beta Testers for the WJEO. Check it out. This is a superb website!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

WCF Discipleship Material

I've posted a review of Joseph Pipa's Westminster Confession of Faith Study Book: A Study Guide for Churches over at the reformation21 website - the online magazine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

The book is not a history of Westminster or even a theology of the confession but a tool for discipleship in the local church. Wait a the review!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Some bedtime reading!

In reply to Chris, regarding (short) introductions to the history of Reformed theology from the Reformation to the present, here are some of my picks. But I’m afraid that I’ve not met the criteria for providing very many short books!

Call me old fashion, but Louis Berkhof is hard to beat (though at times hard to plod through!). Though outdated, his History of Christian Doctrine and Systematic Theology are tremendous resources if you want to quickly catch up on ecclesiastical and systematic theology from a solidly Reformed perspective. The works by B. B. Warfield and John Murray are also indispensable. Additionally, the on-going translation project of Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics by the Dutch Reformed Translation Society should be noted.

I’m also a fan of the old 19th century guys (i.e. Cunningham, Dabney, A. A. Hodge, Shedd, Strong, etc.). Their works display a depth of biblical, theological, and historical (and also, logical!) acumen that I can only dream of. Here are my picks:

William Cunningham was perhaps Scotland’s greatest theologian. His two-volume Historical Theology was the product of his lectures on church history here at New College. John Macleod, in his outstanding Scottish Theology, said of HT, “This magnum opus will remain as a masterpiece in the field of historical theology in which from the standpoint of a loyal acceptance of consistent Reformed teaching he passes the thinking of the Christian centuries under review.” As good New College students, this work should be on our shelves!

Warfield considered Robert Dabney, professor at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA, the greatest of the American Southern Presbyterians. To my knowledge, his Systematic Theology was the only complete systematic text from a 19th century Southern Presbyterian perspective. For those interested, check out the excellent new biography of Dabney by Sean M. Lucas, Robert Lewis Dabney: A Southern Presbyterian Life.

A. A. Hodge was son of the great Charles Hodge. His Outlines of Theology was written for students and laymen. This is a classic work and good introduction to the Princetonians. For those not eager to plod through the three volumes of his father but want a taste of Princeton theology, this is your resource. Follows a very helpful question and answer format.

W. G. T. Shedd taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York and was a staunch Calvinist. His Dogmatic Theology is comprehensive in scope (originally in 3 hefty vols.), and has recently been re-edited (with annotations) into one, unabridged volume by Alan Gomes.

Augustus H. Strong was a professor at Rochester Theological Seminary in New York. He was a moderately reformed Northern Baptist whose Systematic Theology was a long time standard only to be replaced by M. Erickson. However, he tended towards Amyraldianism.

For quick, easy to read, overviews of church history check out S. Houghton's Sketches from Church History, Bruce Shelley's Church History in Plain Language, Nick Needham’s 200o Years of Christ's Power, Iain D. Campbell’s Heroes and Heretics, and Robert Godfrey’s Reformation Sketches.

As to literature on dispensationalism from a Reformed perspective, Vern Poythress’s little book, Understanding Dispensationalism is fair and balanced. Michael Horton’s upcoming book on federal theology, God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology should also be helpful.

These are only a few references. If any other New College conventiclers have suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Hot off the Press!

The latest Westminster Theological Journal (vol. 67, no. 2) is out. Here are several articles and reviews that may be of interest.

1. Kelly M. Kapic, “Receiving Christ’s Priestly Benediction: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Exploration of Luke 24: 50-53,” WTJ 67(2005): 246-60. NCC readers will especially be interested in his discussion of Church Fathers (Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Chrysostom), Calvin, and a few Puritans (Goodwin, Flavel). This article can be downloaded in PDF format for free from the WTS website.

2. Stephen J. Grabill, “Natural Law and the Noetic Effects of Sin: The Faculty of Reason in Francis Turretin’s Theological Anthropology,” WTJ 67 (2005): 261-79. Re-evaluating the alleged rationalism of the post-Ref, Grabill provides an analysis of 1) the faculty of reason in Turretin, 2) the relationship of natural theology and ethics in Turretin, and 3) Turretin's place within the realist natural-law (i.e. Thomist and Scotist) tradition(s).

3. Paul Lim, “The Trinity, Adiaphora, Ecclesiology, and Reformation: John Owen’s Theory of Religious Toleration in Context,” WTJ 67 (2005): 281-300. I will say more on this article later.

4. Andries Raath and Shaun de Freitas, “Theologically United and Divided: The Political Covenantalism of Samuel Rutherford and John Milton,” WTS 67 (2005): 301-21. Rutherford and Milton are presented as the clearest and best Puritan political thinkers.

5. R. J. Gore, Jr., “Response – Covenantal Worship: Reconsidering the Critics,” WTJ 67 (2005): 363-79. Gore responds to critiques of his book, Covenantal Worship: Reconsidering the Puritan Regulative Principle.

6. Nicholas Perrin, “A Reformed Perspective on the New Perspective,” WTJ 67
(2005): 381-89.
Perrin gives a biting analysis of Guy Waters’s book (which I think is excellent), Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul: A Review and Response. Waters will provide a response in a subsequent issue of WTJ.

Also of note, the Evangelical Library in London has a new 'e-books' website. The project is still in its early stages and has a minimal subscription cost (£25) but is should prove a tremendous resource. Plus, they give us a plug!


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