Reviews > Books

Always reforming

Books | Volumes on Reformed theology, classic and contemporary

Issue: "Donna Rice Hughes," April 19, 1997

This crop of new books sets out to answer, in varying degrees, some of the most basic questions raised by the Reformation.

Actually, The Marrow of Theology by William Ames is hardly a new book. Indeed, from the landing of the Pilgrims through the establishment of the American republic, it was among the most influential compendiums of Reformation theology in this land. It was required reading for undergraduates at both Harvard and Yale. Both Thomas Hooker and Increase Mather recommended it as the only book beyond the Bible needed to make a student into a sound theologian. Nevertheless, this book has only now been translated from its original academic Latin into modern English.

Grace Unknown is a much more contemporary treatment of the same themes. R.C. Sproul has provided a succinct and winsome introduction to some of the stickiest Reformed controversies. From the sovereign prerogative of God to the graciousness of predestination, from the importance of the ordo salutis to the character of the covenant, the book is a carefully crafted modern apologetic for the essential Gospel message. Not only is this an excellent volume to use to introduce others to the beauty of the Reformed faith, it is a must-read primer for those of us who share in that tradition.

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Unveiled Hope is an entirely different sort of book--but it is no less valuable than the first two. It is a thematic study of the book of Revelation by two Reformed communicators: Scotty Smith, the gifted Presbyterian pastor and preacher, and Michael Card, the renowned poet and musician. Together they afford readers an insightful perspective of the magnificent hope of the gospel through the encouraging vision of heavenly worship found in John's Apocalypse. Instead of speculating about cobra helicopters, killer bees, and beast-coded social security checks, the authors delve into the music of life and liberty that is the message of Christ. This is Reformed theology at its very best--and at its most practical and accessible.

These three volumes not only offer vivid testimony to the fact that some 500 years later the Reformation is still alive and well, they bear witness to the fact that its distinctives are as vital and as relevant as ever.

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