I was graciously asked by Tony Reinke to contribute a review/article to his excellent blog The Shepherd's Scrapbook. Here is a preview.
A Practical Gift
Everyone knows that a wedding shower is for the bride. But occasionally, the groom is remembered with a salutary gift. Some men get power tools, others get electronic gadgets. I got books. But not just any books. These were four hefty tomes. When I opened to the inside cover of the first volume I found inscribed these amusing words: “A little light reading on the occasion of your wedding!”
This gift was anything but little or light. It was a peculiar present. Not that giving books to an eager and expecting groom is unusual, mind you. But I do believe I am the only man in history to receive Richard Muller’s Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics as a wedding present! However, lest you question the propriety of the giver, for a (soon-to-be-married) ministerial candidate planning to study the Puritans, it could not have been a better gift. Strange as it sounds, it has proved more practical than an iPod and even handier than a Leatherman.
You may be saying to yourself, “That’s great for you. But I’m a busy pastor. I enjoy reading the Puritans but I’m not a scholar. What’s all the fuss about Richard Muller? Why should I bother reading his books on reformed dogmatics? I need books on reformed pragmatics! I have sermons to prepare, meetings to attend, people to counsel. Do I really need another set on historical theology?” Great questions. Your time is precious. It is to be redeemed and not squandered. Therefore, when you read, you must read selectively and wisely, deeply and practically. It is precisely for this reason that I think you can be helped by Muller’s PRRD.
In what follows, I want to give you a causal tour through PRRD. As we meander along, I have three basic goals. I want to (1) give an overview of Muller’s work, (2) provide several reasons why I think PRRD is a valuable resource for pastors, elders, seminarians, and bible college students, and (3) suggest a reading plan for tackling this work. To state my intentions another way, I want to answer three questions: (1) what is the basic argument of PRRD; (2) why is reading PRRD important for your theological development and ministry; and (3) how can you as a busy minister, elder, or student best utilize your study time so as to gain maximal benefit when reading PRRD? My primary aim is not analytical but practical. So without any further delay, follow me.
To read the rest of the review, click here to go to the The Shepherd's Scrapbook. Once again, thanks Tony!
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Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy, ca. 1520 to ca. 1725