Top Five “Almost” Favorite Books of 2010Posted: November 30, 2010
Olevianus’s Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed is a collection of sermons he preached on the basic articles of the Christian faith. It serves as a reminder that the Reformed tradition did not see itself as separate from the universal church, though it was principally opposed to Rome. Rather, Olevianus and his tradition argue for a Reformed catholicity rooted in the ancient confession of the church. This new translation by Lyle D. Bierma, along with R. Scott Clark’s historical introduction, will benefit both scholarly and general readers. Charged with federal language, An Exposition explains the Christian faith as the believer’s fellowship with God in the covenant of grace. Thus, it is significant for its contribution to the development of Reformed covenantal theology. In addition to exhibiting its historical value within the Reformed tradition, readers will be “directed,” as Olevianus had intended, “toward edification in true and sound piety.”
2. The Major Works of Herman Witsius
Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man (2 volumes): This, his magnum opus, is a reflection of some of the most fruitful and mature thinking on federal theology during the seventeenth century, and still holds a preeminent place in our own day. Reformed theology has always understand the biblical doctrine of the covenant to be the theological framework which best unifies Scripture, making it a consistent hermeneutic. In this work, Witsius, presents the reader with a fully biblical and experiential doctrine of the divine covenants; opening up their nature, stipulations, curses, and blessings. Anyone interested in Reformed theology should read this book, for it is Reformed theology at its best.
Sacred Dissertations on the Apostles’ Creed (2 volumes): In this work Witsius exemplifies his own principle, that ‘he alone is a true Theologian, who adds the practical to the theoretical part of Religion.’ A marriage of extraordinary intellect and spiritual passion, this phrase-by-phrase exposition of the Creed seeks always to apply Scripture to life. In both tone and substance Witsius draws the reader into a deeper understanding of and love for the truths most central to the Christian faith.
Sacred Dissertations on the Lord’s Prayer (1 volume): This volume contains more than the title reveals. Prefaced to a 230-page exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, Witsius devotes six chapters to the subject of prayer in general, which he calls the pulse of the renewed soul. His exposition on the Lord’s Prayer is itself a masterpiece. In many instances, the questions grappled with receive greater scriptural and practical clarity from Witsius’ pen than from anything else written to date. Sound biblical exegesis and practical doctrinal substance, this book represents the cream of Reformed theology.
In The Messianic Hope, book eight of the New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology series, Jewish Studies professor Michael Rydelnik puts forth a thesis that the Old Testament was intended by its authors to be read as a messianic primer. He explains at length how the text reveals significant direct messianic prophecy when read in its final form. Users will find this topical study an excellent extension of the long-respected New American Commentary series.
4. Lukan Authorship of Hebrews
A new volume in the NEW AMERICAN COMMENTARY STUDIES IN BIBLE AND THEOLOGY series, Lukan Authorship of Hebrews explains why Luke is the likely author of the book of Hebrews. The ramifications of this possibility are then detailed in depth, including the way Hebrews informs the interpretation of the books of Luke and Acts. Also present throughout is commentary author David L. Allen’s thorough analysis of the writing style similarities between Hebrews, Luke, and Acts.
5. Welcome to a Reformed Church
“Who are these guys?” That was the question the teenage Daniel R. Hyde posed to his father when he first encountered “Reformed” believers. With their unique beliefs and practices, these Christians didn’t fit any of the categories in his mind. Not so many years later, Hyde is now Rev. Daniel R. Hyde, a pastor of a Reformed church. Recognizing that many are on the outside looking in, just as he once was, he wrote Welcome to a Reformed Church: A Guide for Pilgrims to explain what Reformed churches believe and why they structure their life and worship as they do. In layman’s terms, Rev. Hyde sketches the historical roots of the Reformed churches, their scriptural and confessional basis, their key beliefs, and the ways in which those beliefs are put into practice. The result is a roadmap for those encountering the Reformed world for the first time and a primer for those who want to know more about their Reformed heritage.