The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

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Book blizzard

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Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation (Volume 2: 1552-1566) compiled and introduced by James T. Dennison (Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), is the second volume in this excellent series.  Here, each with a lucid and brief introduction, are a further 35 confessions, including both the Forty-Two and the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, the Heidelberg Catechism, and such lesser-known works as the Geneva Students’ Confession (1559), Beza’s Confession (1560), productions from Tarcal and Torda and Enyedi, and the delightfully named Synod of Gönc (1566).  Particularly fascinating are those truths which our forefathers thought primary (and therefore worthy of confessing), and which today are often discounted as secondary (and vice versa).  One of the values of such a study is to send us back to our Bibles to recalibrate our sensitivities, informed both by the necessities of the present and the instruction of the past.  Well-bound and clearly printed, this series provides an excellent resource for those interested in examining and learning from the Reformed confessional heritage.

James M. Renihan puts 1 Corinthians 13 firmly in its context to explore True Love: Understanding the Real Meaning of Christian Love (Evangelical Press, 2010).  Beginning with God’s love for us in Christ, and the law and gospel of love, Renihan also situates chapter 13 in the epistle as a whole and then – without dealing with other contentious issues – focuses on this love, its importance and its outworking.  Given how misunderstood and abused the whole notion of love is both within and without the church, and how often abused and sentimentalized this chapter can be, this is a powerful corrective to shallow and errant views, providing us with a solid, careful, and challenging study of this most vital Christian grace and duty.

Along the lines of Banner’s ‘Puritan Paperbacks’ series, Reformation Heritage Books has begun a ‘Puritan Treasures for Today’ line.  First up is George Swinnock with The Fading of the Flesh and the Flourishing of Faith (Reformation Heritage Books, 2010).  The aim of the series is to provide an easy way in to Puritan writings by making available a briefer work in updated English.  In this volume Swinnock expounds Psalm 73.26, demonstrating and applying the fact that man must die, and must therefore prepare to die, and that the immortal God is man’s only true happiness, and so the best preparation for the soul is to take God as its chief treasure.  With holy warnings and enticements, Swinnock addresses both believers and unbelievers with that warm exhortation and vivid illustration characteristic of Puritan preaching at its best.  Well-edited and well-presented, this volume (and the projected series) would provide a helpful gateway to the riches of the Puritans.

In this volume, we are Heading for Heaven (Evangelical Press, 2009) under the safe guidance of that Greatheart, J. C. Ryle.  A previously published and nicely redesigned (but not reset) selection from Ryle’s sermons on The Christian Race, here we see Ryle as a preacher rather than an essayist.  Leaving behind all the finery of eloquence, Ryle deals with the heart to urge the reader to ensure that they are on the right path, and then to pursue that path to the end.  Homely and earnest, these sermons on various texts will serve to stir and warm the heart, and any reader would be well-served by investing the time to digest these addresses.

In Spectacular Sins and their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ (Crossway, 2008), John Piper wades carefully into murky water to address the thorny issue of God’s sovereignty over and in the very worst events that have taken place and will take place in this world.  Familiar Piper themes and phrases pepper the book as the author spends time establishing the absolute supremacy of the Godhead over all things, including sin, and then begins to look at concrete examples that demonstrate both God’s sovereign power and his sovereign and good purposes even in the most grim events.  Satan’s existence, Adam’s fall, Babel’s rise, Joseph’s slavery, Israel’s monarchy, and Judas’ betrayal all provide opportunity to demonstrate how such apparent catastrophes served God’s purposes to glorify his Son and save his people.  Walking and sometimes wobbling along a tightrope between seeking to bring Scripture light to bear on the darkest matters and the danger of peering into things which God has intentionally left dark, Piper’s purpose is to equip the saints for the hard times that always come.  Given the nature of the case, it is invariably hard to bring the general lessons down to the particulars when one is overwhelmed with pain and grief, but this is nevertheless a clear and courageous reminder that God is never absent nor ignorant, but actively working all things together for good.

Part of the continued fall-out from the Calvin quincentennial is Calvin: Theologian and Reformer (Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), a collection of papers from the John Owen Centre conference at London Theological Seminary, edited by Joel Beeke and Garry Williams.  The collection is divided into three sections – Calvin’s life and work, then doctrine and experience, and finally Christian living and ministry – and include contributions from Sinclair Ferguson, Ian Hamilton, and Joel Beeke.  Maintaining something of the style and sense of conference addresses, those who attended will enter again into the spirit of the meetings, and those who did not will get a taste of it.  As a brief introduction to Calvin’s life with God, thought of God, and pursuit of godliness, this is very helpful.

God’s sovereignty and God’s grace walk hand in hand through A Long Line of Godly Men (Volume 1, 1400BC – AD100): Foundations of Grace by Steven J. Lawson (Reformation Trust, 2006).  That complex title points to the structure of this projected five-volume series in which our author intends to survey history from a divinely-appointed perspective.  This first volume lays the foundation with a canter through the entire Bible seeking to establish, from first to last, the coherent and consistent and credible testimony of Scripture to God’s saving purposes.  From Moses to John, Genesis to Revelation, Dr Lawson traces his theme with penetrating insight and profound understanding.  With helpfully-flagged ‘Doctrine in Focus’ sections littered through the pages and a series of study questions at the end of each chapter, this is a book intended to address the whole man.  Sympathetic readers might query certain details while enjoying the very broad sweep of this thematic study as Lawson skips across the high hills of our Bibles in an attempt to link up and light up the peaks by firing the beacons of God’s grace at each point.  Do not misinterpret the title: this book is not about men but about their God and his glorious dealings with sinful men.  With an extended introduction by John MacArthur, this is no light read but it should prove an immensely profitable one.

In 2009, Joel Beeke was the main preacher at the Aberystwyth Conference, and addressed the theme of Contagious Christian Living, which sermons are now gathered into this slim volume (Reformation Heritage Books, 2010).  Desiring that the people of God will learn to live lives of godliness that have a profound and lasting impact on the people around them, Beeke presents four lives and their lessons: Jephthah’s daughter teaches us sacrificial submission (the author takes the line that she was consecrated to God and not sacrificed); Bartimaeus instructs us in Christ-centredness; Jacob, in contagious blessing; and, Daniel, consistent integrity.  The teaching is simple, earnest, and pastoral, and the spirit of it is the very one which Beeke wants to encourage others to cultivate.  There is vigorous challenge here, to be certain, but also direction and encouragement which will benefit every humble believer ready to learn contagious Christian living.

John D. Currid portrays for us The Expectant Prophet: Habakkuk Simply Explained (Evangelical Press, 2009).  Presenting the dialogue between the bewildered prophet and his all-seeing, all-knowing, all-guiding God, he guides us to and through the prophet’s closing psalm in which his expectant dependence upon the Lord comes gloriously to the fore.  Currid directs us sensitively, simply and wisely through this short but too-often-neglected portion of God’s Word, his often stimulating perspectives and insights making Habakkuk a truly profitable prophet for readers who, in the face of similar challenges and questions, need to find and rest in Habakkuk’s answers.

Amazing Conversions: John Ashworth and His Strange Tales (Tentmaker Publications, 2009) is a book for weeping over.  There will be tears of shame, that we are not more persuaded of and acting upon the saving mercies of God; tears of pity, for the fearful condition of the lost; and, tears of joy, for God’s goodness in bringing those under the power of darkness into his Son’s kingdom.  A brief biography of Ashworth, founder of the “Chapel for the Desitute” gives way to his records of God’s gracious dealings with needy sinners.  While all conversions are amazing, Ashworth – not neglecting to tell of difficulties and disappointments – nevertheless focuses on some of the more distinctive and unlikely (humanly speaking) regenerations he saw, accomplished by ordinary means, applied faithfully, prayerfully, winsomely and patiently.  This is a book to stir the soul, give confidence in God, and set the Christian, and especially the preacher, about his regular business with zeal and hope.  I commend it vigorously.

Perhaps concerned at being undersold, Colin Marshall and Tony Payne give us The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything (Matthias Media, 2009).  The book is built around the metaphor of the relationship – and often the imbalance – between the trellis (the structures and supports of church life) and the vine (the conversion and growth in grace of the people who make up the church).  In essence, it is a plea to focus on the growing of the vine and not the building of the trellis, investing in people rather than structures.  There is much to appreciate, especially the concern to see Christian maturity that enables them to invest in the lives of others.  At the same time, the authors occasionally present some false dichotomies in trying to distinguish their approach from others, and run into self-contradictions on several occasions.  In attempting to encourage the saints to employ their gifts, there is a danger of flattening out Christ’s own structures in the church, especially when the notion of vocation (pastoral or otherwise) is fairly swiftly dismissed.  Certain assumptions evidently lie behind some of the teaching here.  A very worthy and entirely laudable aim, together with some helpful and insightful suggestions, can still leave one feeling that, for a book that wants to be about vines, there is an awful lot of trellis being constructed, not least in the sustained advertisement of other programmes and materials available from the same publisher.

Wayne Grudem’s Business for the Glory of God: The Bible’s Teaching on the Moral Goodness of Business (Crossway, 2003) is a kidney-punch of a book: 91 pages of to-the-point striking.  Developed from an address at a conference for entrepreneurs, it is an unapologetic hymn to the positive moral goodness of ownership, productivity, employment, commercial transactions, profit, money, inequality of possessions, competition, and borrowing and lending.  Grudem is not blind to the temptations in and potential abuses of these things, and seeks to address them, albeit briefly.  He also has short sections on heart attitudes and world poverty.  Concerned to encourage those in business to use their calling to glorify God, it is less about doing business in a godly way, and more about the inherent goodness of business in itself.  Loaded with assumptions, pithy rather than profound in its employment of Scripture, and provocative in its absoluteness, some will be tempted to wonder if this book could have come out of anywhere but 21st century America.  Businessmen and women will find every encouragement to continue in and pursue their callings here.  However, the claim for fundamental and inherent goodness in some of these aspects of our culture raises questions that the book itself does not answer.  A vigorous book to be read vigorously, and requiring determined engagement.

Rest in God & A Calamity in Contemporary Christianity (Banner of Truth, 2010) is a pithy contribution to debates over the Lord’s day by Iain Murray.  Beginning in Genesis 2.3 and working through the ceremonial law, with a brief excursus on the earlier and later Calvin’s thoughts on the matter, we arrive at length in the New Testament and then take a short survey of post-apostolic church history.  Five terse conclusions draw this booklet (35 pages) to a close.  There is nothing new here, but a simple and earnest rehearsal and representation of the Scriptural and historical orthodoxy of the Lord’s day.  The subtitle and the tone of the book make plain that this is no take-it-or-leave-it matter, but a battle of vital importance for the present and future health of Christ’s church.  Many will no doubt dismiss or despise Murray’s assessment, but many more will join with him in recognising an area in which contemporary Christianity badly needs to set its house in order.

In The Breeze of the Centuries: Introducing Great Theologians from the Apostolic Fathers to Aquinas (IVP, 2010), Michael Reeves provides us with the first book of an intended two-volume set giving an overview of major contributors to theology during the first thirteen post-apostolic centuries.  He surveys the apostolic fathers, moves on through Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, before spending some time on Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas.  The aim is to provide a straight report – with a good smattering of original material, and surveys of major works –though our author occasionally breaks cover to add a little spice of his own.  Helpful recommendations and timelines add usefulness, although the lack of an index is a problem with a book that many would find a handy ready-reference.  Written with verve and respect, this should prove a very helpful introduction to novices and a good overview for more experienced readers.

Wider reading

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Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation (Volume 1: 1525-1552) compiled and introduced by James T. Dennison (Reformation Heritage Books, 2008) is not cheap, but serious historians and those interested in the confessional heritage of the church will enjoy this first in an intended series of three volumes.  Several of the thirty-three texts included are here in English for the first time.  Each is simply and clearly set out, preceded by a brief introduction.  If nothing else, it gives a rich and encouraging sense of one’s inheritance as a Christian confessor.  This volume carries us from Zwingli’s Sixty-Seven Articles of 1523 through to the Consensus Genevensis of 1552.

From the same stable comes A Sketch of the Christian’s Catechism by William Ames, translated by Todd Rester (Reformation Heritage Books, 2008).  This is a translation from Ames’ original Latin of his exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism.  It is not a systematic treatment of its questions and answers, but rather an exposition of a Scripture passage that corresponds to and buttresses the conclusions of what was often called ‘the Christian’s Catechism.’  Simple, brief, rich chapters give us spiritually stimulating insights into the genuinely practical piety of this seminal Puritan.

Pierced For Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution by Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey, Andrew Sach (IVP, 2007).  In even starting this book, I had to overcome my innate distrust of any book that demands ten (yes, ten) pages containing forty-five (no joke!) separate endorsements designed to appeal to the broadest possible spectrum of readers and any number of groupies of Christian celebrities.  On reflection, this should probably be taken as an indication of the seriousness of the subject.  The book divides into two, the first section positively setting forth the doctrine of penal substitution (Biblical foundations, theological framework, pastoral importance and historical pedigree), and the second answering the critics (the issues of Scripture, culture, violence, justice, God, and Christian living are addresses).  It is a clear and robust statement of this essential doctrine, responding to current assaults and fads, and will be appreciated as much by thoughtful believers in various walks of life as it will by pastors and preachers.

Nothing in My Hand I Bring: Understanding the Differences between Roman Catholic and Protestant Beliefs by Ray Galea (Matthias Media, 2007) is by a Maltese man whose Roman Catholicism was deeply ingrained but became more nominal as he matured.  Then, seeking substance in his life and reading the Bible, he was converted.  The book tells his story briefly, but concentrates on a comparison between traditional Roman Catholicism and fundamentally Biblical Protestantism.  Written with an insider’s insights and a Christian’s convictions, this would be helpful to those wrestling with similar issues, or helping others who are doing so.

In Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World, edited by C. J. Mahaney (Crossway, 2008), several Sovereign Grace Ministries pastors address the matters of the media, music, stuff, and clothes, beginning with the principle that worldliness (and its absence) is fundamentally a matter of heart obedience to the word of Christ, and also teaching us how we should love the world in a Godlike fashion.  The basic principle is sound, though its application here is interesting.  Curiously prescriptive at some points, at others it allows for (and even promotes) a broadness that will cause proponents of an older evangelicalism to raise at the very least a quizzical eyebrow. The so-called “New Calvinist” view of culture is, I think, the underpinning one.

Preachers and teachers will appreciate Look After Your Voice: Taking Care of the Preacher’s Greatest Asset by Mike Mellor (DayOne, 2008).  Although the “greatest asset” subtitle could be argued on theological grounds, this is a brief but helpful treatment of an important but easily-ignored topic.  Simple, clear and helpful, it is written by a preacher for preachers (rather than by voice-production specialists for the stage, for example) and so takes some account of spiritual aspects as well.  A good investment for preachers, and includes three appendices on voice exercises, voice physiology, and care of the voice (this last by Spurgeon).

Tim Shenton is in the same congregation as the subject of this book, Audrey Featherstone, I Presume?: The Amazing Story of a Congo Missionary (Evangelical Press, 2008).  It chronicles the dramatic conversion, wartime experience, and labours in the Congo – often in the midst of extreme dangers – of a woman of faith who would be considered in many respects unremarkable.  Bringing us right up to her present circumstances as a widow still serving her Lord, this book will be an encouragement to those who consider that they have little to offer their Saviour in serving him.  The book contains a brief history of the Regions Beyond Missionary Union (RBMU).  The legitimacy and terminology of missionary agencies and female missionaries are both assumed rather than questioned.  The 20th century setting is a helpful reminder that such work is not the relic of a more distant past.

Faith Cook has written several compendiums (compendia, if you are so inclined) of Christian mini-biography, and her latest – Stars in God’s Sky: Short Biographies of ‘Extraordinary Ordinary Christians’ (Evangelical Press, 2009) – ranges through time and space to consider the work of God’s grace in the hearts and lives of men and women sometimes associated with brighter stars in God’s galaxy and sadly overlooked by Christian astronomers.  Here we find the lives of such as John Foxe and John Gifford, Susanna Harrison and Fanny Guinness, briefly sketched out for edification and enjoyment.  A good and stimulating read, as one has come to expect.

Growing Leaders in the Church: The Essential Leadership Development Resource by Gareth Crossley (Evangelical Press, 2008) can sometimes feel like a curious combination of theological textbook and business manual.  A format busy with diagrams, text boxes, question sheets is not always easy on the eye, but there is lots of good matter to appreciate.  The aim of the book is to provide a resource for training present and future church leaders in a practical way.  While at points there is a degree of absoluteness in the instruction given, at others one has the sense of several options up for grabs, all considered legitimate – a little more pragmatism in evidence.  Good men will differ on whether these lines are drawn in the right places.  The book raises a good number of the right questions, and offers stimulating and practical answers, though some will wish to emend or extend them.

We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry by G. K. Beale (IVP/Apollos, 2008) begins at Isaiah 6 before traversing the Old and New Testaments to demonstrate, support and apply the thesis that “What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or restoration.”  Insofar as it reaches its intended audience, a thorough treatment of a vital topic, well and carefully argued.  The topic is fascinating, but the handling of it is not popular: the style is a little ponderous and lofty, the substance dense, and the aim high, the whole tone being of the academy.  Perhaps Professor Beale could be encouraged to craft a more accessible and engaging treatment of the same topic on such a necessary theme for those not accustomed to the language and tone of the theological lecture hall?

The New Creationism: Building Scientific Theories on a Biblical Foundation by Paul Garner (Evangelical Press, 2009) will appeal to Christians of scientific skill and interest, as well as others more broadly concerned about the nature and implications of the teaching of creation.  The author deals with the issues of origins in clear and pithy style, not avoiding the hard questions nor fudging on the answers, building a scientific model that will assist Christians being assaulted with regard to their doctrines of origins and practice of science.  As a non-scientist, it seems to me fascinating and useful, not above the head of the untrained, though probably of greater value to those who understand the technical issues.  For Garner, Genesis presents us with the facts of history, provides a framework for good science, and establishes a foundation for the gospel itself.  Some details and emphases might doubtless be challenged, but the whole seems sound and helpful.

The Profiles in Reformed Spirituality series from Reformation Heritage Books includes volumes on Alexander Whyte, Jonathan Edwards, Hercules Collins, Horatius Bonar, Lemuel Haynes, George Swinnock and John Calvin.  A growing interest in ‘spirituality’ (which some believe has been for too long a dirty word in Reformed circles) has led Joel Beeke and Michael Haykin (the editors of this series) to turn to the past to find particular models of Biblically-informed, Spirit-impassioned piety as a spur and guide to modern Christians.  Varying in style, wide-ranging in subject, popular in approach, this is a colourful and profitable series.

If you are visiting Edinburgh, A Spiritual History of the Royal Mile by Paul James-Griffiths (Latent Publishing, 2008) will serve you well.  It is broad both in its temporal scope and its theological sense, with the chapters on the Reformation and the Covenanters probably being of most interest, together with the Enlightenment period and the time of the Great Awakening (where Chalmers and Finney are made to sit alongside each other).  The chapter on 21st century Edinburgh is sobering.  One should not forget that Edinburgh is also home to the offices of the august publishing house, the Banner of Truth, though it is not on the Royal Mile; bargain hunters have been known to head to the Banner warehouse to pick up some damaged stock at good prices, as a help on their own spiritual journey.

“Catch the Vision: Roots of the Reformed Recovery”

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Catch the Vision: Roots of the Reformed Recovery – The Men and Movements in the Mid-20th Century by John J. Murray

Evangelical Press, 2007 (191 pp, pbk)

Reading enough books and blogs written by or referencing evangelical or Reformed preachers and authors eventually produces a list of key names – names of men, churches, seminaries, organisations – that were, under God, the seedbed of the recovery of Reformed doctrine and practice that took place in the middle of the 20th century.  John J. Murray organises, orders, and analyses those various strands of recent history, putting people individually and corporately in their context and relationships.  The book is in many respects a personal record.  The focus is substantially on the British scene, but those books and blogs mentioned above certainly demonstrate that much of the activity during this period was generated in and from the UK, although it could be argued that in many respects the baton has subsequently passed to the US.

Beginning with the loss of ‘the vision’, Mr Murray paints a bleak picture of post-Downgrade Britain, before identifying some of the forerunners of the recovery, men like E. J. Poole-Connor, A. W. Pink, Ernie Reisinger, W. J. Grier, and others.  The author then progresses to some of the movers and shakers of the recovery, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones prominent among them.  Others given their own chapters include Geoffrey Williams (architect of the Evangelical Library), James I. Packer, Iain Murray (founder of the Banner of Truth), and Professor John Murray.  The author’s affection and esteem for Professor Murray become increasingly evident as the book progresses.  This is not merely a Scotocentric peculiarity – it is a reflection of Professor Murray’s doctrinal and devotional profundity, and the impact that he clearly had both on the author and on many others.  Each of these key men receives a treatment selective in detail but nonetheless fairly comprehensive in scope, and – in the course of each life review – other more or less significant players swim into and out of focus.

The book closes with an assessment entitled “Maintaining the Vision.”  Murray deals first of all with the expectation of a coming revival among those who shared in the Reformed recovery.  He quotes a perceptive paragraph from Iain Murray, in which the latter suggested that the recovery was the prelude either to a revival or preparation for a flood of apostasy in which a few would be called to stand fast, being well grounded.  John J. Murray – apologies for the multiplicity of relevant Murrays! – suggests that the UK is closer now to the latter than the former condition.  He then offers a sensitive but nonetheless searching critique of where the recovery has succeeded and where it failed to advance sufficiently.  He suggests that the vision was fulfilled in that this period demonstrates again what God can do through a leader in the most difficult times, even in the face of widespread apathy and antipathy; Dr Lloyd-Jones is singled out as being, in many respects, God’s catalyst.  Then there is the abiding armoury of Reformed truth, an inheritance for the likes of which some of our predecessors would have given their eye-teeth.  Thirdly, there is the worldwide spread of Reformed theology, and its abiding impact on the faith and life of many.

However, he also demonstrates that the vision was, to some extent, unfulfilled.  The recovery faltered in certain key respects.  The author locates some of the difficulties in the late 1960s, in a series of what he calls ‘partings’ between men.  Three things are identified as being areas of weakness, and therefore vital to the continued recovery of the Reformed vision, and its further advance.  The first is the necessity of maintaining a full-orbed witness to the Reformed faith.  Here the author spells out the value of genuinely confessional Christianity, guarding against doctrinal indifferentism.  Distinct and distinctive truth is to be pursued and expressed, not to the disruption of genuine fellowship (though recognising where we differ from others), but especially to the exclusion of error.  Reformed truth gives the only ultimate guarantee of success – at the end, suggests A. A. Hodge, the conflict will be between multiform Atheism and uniform Calvinism.

The second issue is the necessity of maintaining zeal for church reform.  Here Murray identifies certain weaknesses and shortcomings with regard to the life of the body of Christ, the church, in its local expression.  Evangelical unity became a bigger issue than church health, with lamentable results.  Says Murray: “It is clear that the way of trying to unite evangelicals by common adherence to a minimum of essential scriptural truths has not been a success” (164).  Not just confessional Christianity but confessional churchmanship must be high on our agenda.

Thirdly, says Murray, we must recover the creation and covenant view of the family (whatever our view of baptism).  His point actually seems broader than this: the emphasis must be on a more than Reformed ministry: it must be on the reality of truth having a sweet and saving and sanctifying impact on the lives of the men and women, boys and girls, to whom that truth is ministered.  The truth must not merely be preached from the pulpit but must become embedded in the pew.  Murray locates (rightly) a vital, even central, ingredient of this process in the family, but goes beyond it.

There are dangers in writing a history of times from which key protagonists are still alive, or in which the acolytes of key protagonists stand ready to defend their man or men to the hilt, or to give alternative versions of events.  Doubtless many will seek to do so.  But it is also necessary to have such a history before these men and events are forgotten, or become further coloured by passing time, or even twisted in their interpretation by those with an agenda of their own (as has, indeed, already happened).  In this regard, it is worth remembering that the author himself was a protagonist (he joined the editorial department of the Banner of Truth in June 1960).  His perspective is as valid as any other man’s, and there is a weight of experience and wisdom with which he writes.  No doubt many will disagree, or see matters differently, but that by no means undermines the value of this contribution.

I would suggest that Catch the Vision is essential reading for all who consider themselves inheritors of this tradition.  It gives a vivid and intense flavour of the spirit of the times, and the eagerness and expectancy with which these various men of God came to deeper views of his glorious truths and felt the impact of those truths on their souls.  There was a freshness and liveliness that, sadly, many inheritors have lost, replaced by a dullness and smugness that ill becomes those who claim to be followers of the Most Holy One.  This volume will instruct, chasten, enlighten, and – I hope – stir up a fresh appetite not only for the Word of God but for the Spirit of God, not only for the truth of God but for its free course in our hearts and in the hearts of many others.

It should also be noted that John J. Murray will be one of the speakers at the 2008 Westminster Conference.  This will be held, God willing, at Whitefield’s Tabernacle (“The American Church in London”) on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th December.  Mr Murray’s paper is entitled, “Recovery of the Reformed Vision,” and I would expect significant and profitable overlap.  If you are able, I would strongly recommend coming to hear Mr Murray, and enjoying what will no doubt be a fruity and compelling discussion to follow.

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