Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two books on two misunderstood groups

I started reading Joel Beeke's Meet The Puritans last night. The Puritans are a misunderstood group, even among Christians. The term "puritanical" has come to be a slur, as if seeking holiness and piety in your life is a bad thing. I appreciate much about the Puritans including their devotion to piety and their deep love of Scripture, but I don't know as much about them as I should and I think that outside of a few "Puritan nerds" (ahem, Josh I am talking about you) they are not as respected, read or understood as their works warrant.

The other book I just ordered is The Anabaptist View of the Church. As I have mentioned, I think that the Anabaptists get slandered all the time, especially among my fellow reformed believers. I think some of that has to do, just being honest, with the terribly un-Christian way that many magisterial reformers treated the Anabaptists. It is hard to defend the martyring of the Anabaptists by so many magisterial reformers. There also is a broad brush used that links every Anabaptist with Muenster and the Zwickau prophets which is as dishonest as linking all Lutherans with the ELCA.

I don't expect to find total agreement with either group. I do expect to learn a lot from both, take the good and sort out the not so good as I try to expand beyond the Reformed enclave I have dug for myself. I still cherish the Reformed writers and need to read them more, not less, but I also need to look at the breadth of the church to glean wisdom from men who have come before even if I don't agree with them on every issue.

(Speaking of Reformed books, is anyone familiar with The Teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews by Geerhardus Vos?)

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Mike Reith ( said...

HI, just a visitor here. I am familiar with Vos's writings, including the one you mention on Hebrews. Vos is both amazing and frustrating. While at Princeton he was seen the same way by the students--their favorite yet so deep. I'm Reformed by way of background, being Calvinist and being "Dutch" in that my church adheres to the "Three Forms of Unity" originally adhered to by the Christian Reformed Church, which is sadly slipping into the abyss of apostasy. They are the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort. These do not vary in any meaningful way from such documents as the Westminster Confession or catechisms. Vos is, in my opinion, the greatest theologian of the past 200 years, which is no small claim. At the same time, I find him very difficult to read and I have to really chew on what he writes. He is surely the strongest in the schools of Biblical Theology, and historical-redemptive theology, seeing the Bible as a unified work more than any other writer, all directed at the gradual revelation of God's plan for the redemption of man throughout history. We are blessed to live after the full revelation of our Savior.

Arthur Sido said...


Everyone here except me is a visitor so your comments are quite welcome! I appreciate your perspective on Vos.

(BTW, I am pretty familair with the Dutch reformed and the issues in the CRC, albeit as an outsider)

Thanks for the comment, please stop by again!