Tuesday, November 21, 2006

ETS 2006

Thanks, John, for the link to the summary of my paper at the A-Team blog. I had the pleasure of meeting Roger Overton at the conference, but I didn't know he'd be posting anything about the paper. I'm humbled.

Indeed, the entire conference was a humbling experience. As one might expect, there were lots of godly, brilliant folks there sharing their insights. On Wednesday I heard a paper delivered by Dr. Joel Beeke on "Evangelicalism and the Dutch Further Reformation," in which he sought to correct a view of the Puritans advanced in David Bebbington's Evangelicalism in Modern Britain. Later in the week I had the privilege of introducing myself to Dr. Beeke while he was manning the booth for Reformation Heritage Books and Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (see pic above). And yes, while there I did grab a copy of Meet the Puritans at the low, low conference price of $17.50. (I would have bought copies for the rest of you Conventiclers, but the sheer weight of the book and Mrs. Ross's voiced concerns prohibited me -- sorry). I also found some gems at the Banner of Truth booth next door.

On Thursday night John Piper delivered a moving address on the life and work of William Tyndale, contrasting him with Desiderius Erasmus, his Catholic humanist contemporary. Piper urged the attendees of the conference to avoid the heady theological indifference of Erasmus -- a trait he sees in some modern-day 'emerging' proponents -- and to embrace the gospel-induced earnestness of Tyndale. What a timely reminder.

I couldn't help drooling over the book deals on offer in the exhibit hall by the likes of Zondervan, Kregel, Hendrickson and OUP. Before concluding I want to plug one great new IVP release I found, by W. David Buschart. It's a friendly, comparative examination called Exploring Protestant Traditions: An Invitation to Theological Hospitality. Buschart is professor of theology and historical studies at Denver Seminary. In the book he devotes one chapter to each of the eight major branches of Protestantism: Lutheran, Anabaptist, Reformed, Anglican, Baptist, Wesleyan, Dispensational, and Pentecostal. For each he provides a brief historical background summary and a description of its theological and hermeneutical methods and characteristic beliefs. The concluding chapter addresses the pros and cons of inter-traditional hospitality and dialogue. Exploring Protestant Traditions will be a great resource for church historians and students of theology who want to be able to compare and contrast the doctrinal distinctives of these traditions without having to sift through the confessional polemic that characterizes more one-sided surveys.

It's not too soon to start making plans for ETS 2007 in San Diego!

The Famous Mr. Ross

Our esteemed Conventicler, Chris Ross, is at it again. The good folks at The A-Team Blog have posted a review of his paper presented at last week's ETS meeting.

The paper was entitled "Promoting Evangelical Faith Through New Media: Lessons from the English Reformation." The A-Team reports,

As Bob Dylan sang, “The time they are a-changin’.” Though he was describing the social changes of the 60’s, he could have said the same of sixteenth century Europe, or our situation today. The internet is often viewed as “the Guttenberg press of our time,” noting the similarities of the Reformation and current time periods. Mr. Ross believes these similarities have practical applications for Christians today.

Intrigued? For the entire summary, click here.

Well done, Chris. Keep up the great work!

Meet the Puritans: Book of the Year Discount

The just released Meet the Puritans by Joel Beeke and Randall J. Pederson was given the Book of the Year award by The Shepherd's Scrapbook.

For why you should buy this book and for details on how to purchase it at a discounted rate (before 30 Nov), click here.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The pearl in the promise

For Puritans such as Thomas Goodwin and John Owen, the promises of God in the Old and New Testaments were cross-shaped and Christ-centered. In other words, a bare promise is meaningless. Goodwin puts the matter provocatively,

The promise is but the casket, and Christ is the jewel in it; the promise but the field, and Christ the pearl hid in it, and to be chiefly looked at. The promises are the means by which you believe, not the things on which you are to rest. And so, although you are to look at the forgiveness as held forth in the promises, yet you are to believe on the Christ in that promise to obtain this forgiveness...Now this is the tenure of all promises; they all hold on Christ, in whom they are yea and amen; and you must take them to him...to rest on the bare promise, or to look to the benefit promised, without eyeing Christ, is not an evangelical, but a Jewish faith, even such as the formalists among the Jews had, who without the Messiah closed with promises, and rested in types to cleanse them, without looking unto Christ the end of them, and as propounded to their faith in them (Goodwin, Works, 4:14-15).

Goodwin and Owen believed that the promises in Scripture originated in the divine counsels between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the world (i.e. Covenant of Redemption). According to Owen, in the person of Christ "were laid all the foundations of the counsels of God for the sanctification and salvation of the church" so that "from the giving of that promise [in Genesis 3:15] the faith of the whole church was fixed on him whom God would send in our nature, to redeem and save them" (Owen, Works, 1:64, 101). Likewise Goodwin states, "all the promises in the word are but copies of God's promises made to Christ for us from everlasting" (Goodwin, Works, 5:139). To use the latest theological buzzwords, the divine-eternal metanarrative interlocks with the redemptive-historical narrative in the incarnate Christ and finds its consummate fulfillment.

In short, it is not the promise of redemption per se which is foundation of the church’s hope and consolation but the fulfillment of that promise in the person, office, and work of the Messiah.


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