So which is yours to be, the ‘Calvinism’ of the 5 points, a ‘doctrinal Calvinism’, a ‘Calvinism’ which identifies it with Calvin’s children, who went their own way when the discussion went beyond Calvin himself, or the ‘full package Calvinism’, which is not a full package at all, since Calvin’s view of the magistrate’s role in upholding the Reformed faith has been excised from it? (And in this roll-call \’Neo-calvinism in its various guises has not even been mentioned. )
Whichever it is, no-one can stop you calling your choice ‘Calvinism’. You see, unlike ‘Cadbury’s’ or ‘Chevrolet’ or ‘Calvin Klein’ ’ there is no copyright or trademark that covers the use of the word ‘Calvinism’. Any more than with \’inerrancy\’ or \’justification\’ or any other central theological term.
Irritating, isn’t it?
via Helm’s Deep.
Looking Unto Jesus: The Christ-Centered Piety of Seventeenth-Century Baptists
J. Stephen Yuille
Pickwick Publications, 2013, 120pp., paperback, $15/£10
The substance of this wonderfully rich little book consists of a pithy introduction offering four reasons why the author keeps returning to the Puritans, then two treatises by early Particular Baptists of Puritanic stamp (Thomas Wilcox and Vavasor Powell), each followed by an essay in which Yuille chews over the substance of the treatise. For me, the high point of the book was Wilcox’s Guide to Eternal Glory (also known as Honey from the Rock and Christ is All), a sustained panegyric to the sufficiency and sweetness of Christ. Yuille’s treatment cannot add to its tone and substance, but demonstrates the consistency of Wilcox’s work with the best of Puritanism as a whole. Powell’s short piece consists of three ‘re-imagined’ conversations between Christ and a publican, a Pharisee and a troubled saint (in Yuille’s assessment, the troubled penitent, the moral hypocrite, and the anxious disciple). Yuille demonstrates how, in response to the specific circumstances of each, Christ is presented as Shepherd, Judge and Husband, so answering each case. Whether as simple servings of sweet spiritual sustenance or cookery lessons for pastors and preachers learning to dish up the same, this excellent volume presents ‘Puritan’ and Baptist experimental piety at its purest and best. Sit and eat!
Mark Dever helpfully identifies five things mistaken for evangelism.
Stephen Rees of Grace Baptist Church in Stockport was asked this question by a correspondent:
We are thinking through the matter of whether or not to join a formal association of churches. We left the Baptist Union about fifteen years ago and have been formally independent, although we have enjoyed a warm informal relationship with other churches. We are now considering if it would be good to affiliate with the FIEC (Fellowship of Evangelical Churches) or the regional association of Grace Baptist Churches, or both. However, some friends have said to me that in their view linking formally with such organisations can be detrimental to church life. I am wondering if you are aware of any resources, or if you have written any yourself, on this subject …
Thoughts on evangelism drawn from Spurgeon’s three Rs.
I am glad to announce that The New Calvinism Considered: A Personal and Pastoral Assessment has now arrived. It is available direct from the publisher, or via Amazon.co.uk (paperback/Kindle) and Amazon.com (paperback/Kindle). It’s fairly brief, rocking up at 128 pages, giving an overall introduction, then considering the characteristics of the new Calvinism, offering some commendations, identifying some cautions and concerns, and closing with some suggested conclusions and counsels.
If you are interested in something else, or something slightly different, Reformation Heritage Books is due to publish another title, Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus sometime toward the end of this month (Nov 2013). It is available for pre-order at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. This volume traces the trajectory of the Christian’s experience of God’s grace in Christ Jesus, considering the privilege and blessing of being a true disciple of the Lord. Confusion or error in these matters can dishonour God, undermine a Christian’s spiritual health, unsettle the church, and hold back the truth. We need to consider the many-sided jewel of redemption to be both enlightened and enlivened with regard to our identity as new creatures in Christ Jesus. When we better understand and appreciate our life in Christ, it will draw out our hearts toward God in Christ in thankfulness and love for his many mercies toward us.
As ever, enjoy!