Thanksgiving Street

(Written by Susannah Spurgeon in Seasons of the Heart) 

Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name – Hebrews 13:15

You have heard of the man who made such a notable change of residence from ‘Grumble Corner’ to ‘Thanksgiving Street’, that the result was his friends scarcely knew him, for ‘his face had lost the look of care and the ugly frown it used to wear.’ Without presuming that a need exists for any of my dear readers to remove from their present habitation, it is laid on my heart to remind them of the joy of thanksgiving and to say, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!” What a God-honoring employment it is to “offer the sacrifice of praise continually!” We are constantly praying for one thing or another, selfishly spending our breath in a long catalog of our own needs and desires, but our thanks to our gracious God are soon told out, and our praises form but a small part of our devotions.

This is not as it should be – and not as God would have it. To enrobe ourselves daily in the “garment of praise” is not only to secure our own happiness but to fulfill the blessed service of “glorifying God.” Prayer is good, but praise is better. Praise is prayer in richest fruitfulness, prayer in highest spirituality, prayer in nearest approach to heaven. Prayer is the language of earth; praise is the native tongue of the angels. Each moment of mercy should strike a note of praise as it passes, and then our days would be one long continued psalm. Praise has power to lift the soul above all care as if on wings.

How many of you, dear readers, will be ‘chief singers’ unto our God and resolve that, henceforth, His praise shall be continually in your mouth?

Thanksgiving Day Sale

Reformed_Confessionebook__89642.1403550185.1280.1280Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation: (1523-1693) – EBOOK

James T. Dennison

Electronic Format, 2749 pages

Regular Price: $69.99/ Sale Price: $9.99

James T. Dennison’s Reformed Confessions project compiles numerous English translations of Reformed confessions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For many of these texts, this is their debut in the Anglo-Saxon vernacular. Such a collection provides the English-speaking world a richer and more comprehensive view of the emergence and maturation of Reformed theology in these foundational centuries—foundational centuries for Reformed thought and foundational summaries of Reformed doctrine for these centuries.

Each confessional statement is preceded by a brief introduction containing necessary historical and bibliographical background. The confessions are arranged chronologically, with all for volumes presenting a total of one hundred twenty seven documents covering the years 1523–1693.

“Nothing less than a magisterial achievement on the part of Dr. Dennison and his collaborators. The series merits a prominent place on the shelves of the reference libraries of all colleges, universities, and seminaries whose instruction includes the Reformation heritage of Protestant theology. This series will prove itself to be an invaluable treasure to historical and systematic theologians as well as students for generations to come.” – The Sixteenth Century Journal


Gospel_Call__04021.1371217419.1280.1280The Gospel Call and True Conversion

Paul Washer 

Paperback, 200 pages

Regular Price: $20.00/ Sale Price: $5.00

The apostle Paul gave the gospel the first place in his preaching, endeavored with all his might to proclaim it clearly, and even went so far as to pronounce a curse upon all those who would pervert its truth. Yet how sad it is that many, even among those considering themselves evangelicals, have reduced the gospel message to a few trite statements to be repeated, and view conversion as a mere human decision. In The Gospel Call and True Conversion, Paul Washer challenges such easy believism as he examines the real meaning of things like faith, repentance, and receiving Christ. He also deals extensively with the effects of saving grace that God promises in the new covenant; namely, the creation of new hearts and new people.

“In The Gospel Call and True Conversion, Paul Washer brilliantly and clearly helps the reader understand that truth, carefully opening the Scriptures and explaining how the power of the gospel ought to impact our lives as Christians. A much-needed, pastoral, and challenging book!” — Greg Gilbert, senior pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and author of What Is the Gospel?


perkins__18060.1416340971.1280.1280The Works of William Perkins, Volume 1

William Perkins

Hardcover, 832 pages

Retail Price: $50.00/ Our Price: $25.00

The present volume contains three of Perkins’s treatises. The first is A Digest or Harmony of the Books of the Old and New Testament, which offers a synopsis of the Bible that relates sacred history to the chronology of the world. Dating God’s creation of the universe in 3967 BC, Perkins develops his overview of redemptive history that culminates in the final judgment.

The second treatise is The Combat between Christ and the Devil Displayed. Expounding Matthew 4:1–11, Perkins shows how Christ’s temptation in the wilderness (1) set Jesus up to serve as the second Adam, overcoming Satan’s temptation in a way the first Adam did not; (2) reveals how the devil assaults the church so that we might be better prepared to resist his temptations; and (3) equipped Christ to be a sympathetic high priest to those who are tempted.

The third and most significant treatise is A Godly and Learned Exposition upon Christ’s Sermon in the Mount. “Hereof I have chosen to entreat,” says Perkins, “because it is a most divine and learned sermon, and may not unfitly be called the ‘Key to the whole Bible’; for here Christ opens the sum of the Old and New Testaments.” The fact that Perkins saw the Sermon on the Mount as unlocking the meaning of Scripture in its entirety suggests that his understanding of what Christ declares in Matthew 5–7 was pivotal to the development of his theology and piety.


Murray_sermons__87868.1312811025.1280.1280How Sermons Work

David Murray 

Paperback, 160 pages

Retail Price: $10.00/ Our Price: $4.00

How do sermons work? How does a preacher get from the basic nuts and bolts of a few Bible verses to the delivery of a full sermon? That’s the question David Murray answers in this instructive and immensely practical book. He demonstrates that behind the thirty to forty-five minutes we see and hear on a Sunday morning are many hours of mental, spiritual and practical labour. Like all pastoral labour, it involves head, heart and hand.

Murray breaks up the sermon preparation process into a clear and simple step-by-step method, covering topics such as how to choose a text, how to introduce a sermon, how to explain a text, and how to apply it. It will provide an excellent refresher for experienced preachers and a reliable guide for those just starting out. It will also be extremely helpful to Bible class teachers, Bible Study leaders, or anyone who has to prepare a Bible message.

Above all, however, it is the author’s desire that this book will also be read by those who do not preach. He wants to give non-preachers an insider’s look at sermon preparation. By taking readers behind the scenes and asking, ‘How do they do that?’ Murray wants to supply answers that will increase respect for pastors and their preaching.


365_days_with_calvin_700px_interspire__08272__83848.1294353331.1280.1280365 Days With Calvin

Hardcover, 397 pages

Retail Price: $20.00/ Our Price: $10.00

A unique collection of 365 readings from the writings of John Calvin, selected and edited by Joel R Beeke.

John Calvin exercised a profound ministry in Europe, and is probably one of the most seminal thinkers ever to have lived. A godly pastor, theologian and preacher, he led his flock by example and worked hard to establish consistent godliness in his city. A prolific writer, his sermons, letters, and, of course, his ‘Christian Institutes’ have been published again and again. His writings—once described as ‘flowing prose’—are characterized by clarity, simplicity, and yet profoundness, too. In these heart-warming pieces, drawn from his commentaries and sermons, Calvin brings us to Christ, the glorious Savior of all his people.


View over 50 other discounted titles –> 



Friday Devotional

Bearing the Marks of Christ

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. – 2 Corinthians 4:10

The word mortification translated as dying, means something different here than it does in many passages of Scripture. Often mortification means self-denial, or renouncing the lusts of the flesh and being renewed unto obedience to God. In this verse, however, it means the afflictions by which we are stirred up to meditate on the termination of the present life.

To make it more plain, let us call the former usage “inward mortification” and the latter one “outward mortification.” Both kinds of mortification conform us to Christ; one directly, and the other indirectly, so to speak. Paul speaks of inward mortification in Colossians 3:5 and in Romans 6:6, where he teaches that our old man is crucified so that we may walk in newness of life. He speaks of outward mortification in Romans 8:29, where he teaches that we were predestinated by God so that we might be conformed to the image of his Son.

However, this mortification of Christ is only so for believers, because the wicked, in enduring the afflictions of this present life, share those with Adam, but the elect participate in sufferings with the Son of God, so that all those miseries that by nature are accursed are helpful to their salvation. It is true that all the sons of God have in common bearing about the mortification of Christ. But as one is distinguished from another by a larger measure of gifts, he in that proportion comes closer to conforming with Christ in this respect as well.

Paul adds, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. Here is the best antidote to adversity; as Christ’s death is the gate of life, so we know that a blessed resurrection will terminate all our miseries. Christ has associated us with himself so that if we submit to die with him, we shall also be partakers of life with him.

For Meditation: Afflictions can be a great blessing for us. John Bunyan said that believers “are like bells; the harder they are hit, the better they sound.” This “better sound” derives from being and sounding more like Christ. How have your afflictions brought you closer to Christ and made you more like him? What can we do to further this process of sanctification amid our afflictions?

Book Review


Review of Christians Get Depressed Too by Jeremy Walker (Banner of Truth)

Born of deep pastoral concern, this deliberately slim volume sets out to provide, from a reformed Christian perspective, a biblically balanced introduction to the issue of depression that will be helpful to sufferers and care-­‐providers alike. Its brevity, together with its methodical solidity and alliterative structures, may help those who cannot handle something weightier. Murray sets out the crisis regarding depression (its reality and effects) before moving on to its complexity (resisting unhelpfully simplistic and sweeping declarations about the nature of the beast, but taking into account various spiritual, physical and mental factors). The chapter on the condition itself takes in the sufferer’s circumstances, thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms and behavior – the sections on thoughts and feelings are particularly helpful in terms of understanding more or less helpful tracks and tendencies in our attitudes (general spiritual health issues of which all saints should be aware). Again, in considering the cause Murray ranges over a number of potential contributors, as he does when looking at the cure. Finally, there is a chapter for the care-­‐givers, offering some encouragements and counsels.

In a book of such brief scope there is always a danger of over or understating a case, or a lock of definition, but I was still impressed with the thoughtfulness and tenderness with which Murray writes, his careful use of Scripture to support and defend his assertions, and his awareness of the interplay of various factors in understanding and addressing depressing. He interacts critically with a variety of literature. He does not gloss over sin in its relationship to depression (as cause, concomitant, or consequence) but neither does he simply default to sin (or anything else) as the catch-­‐all explanation for all sorts and degrees of depression. It is very much an introductory piece, but will be sufficient for many in getting a healthy and accurate grip on the issue of depression among believers. If you need help on this issue, you would find a good start here.


Frame_history__73793.1447355848.1280.1280A History of Western Philosophy and Theology

John M. Frame

Paperback, 928 pages

Retail Price: $59.99/ Our Price: $36.00

Christians should evaluate philosophy by biblical criteria. This will shed greater light on the developments in the history of philosophy and better prepare us for the intellectual challenges of our time. The fall of Adam brought intellectual as well as moral corruption on the human race, and the effects of the fall can be seen in the work of philosophers, most of whom try to understand the world autonomously—through reasoning apart from God’s revelation. Some philosophers have appealed to God’s revelation, but their work has often been compromised with the wisdom of the world. Revelation should inform reason, and not the other way round. In the past, even Christian theology was corrupted by the movement toward intellectual autonomy, creating the tradition of liberalism, which has unhappily dominated academic theology down to the present day. But there is hope—a new generation of Christian thinkers take God’s Word seriously. Frame’s unique new contribution augments that process.

Author   John M. Frame (AB, Princeton University; BD, Westminster Theological Seminary; MA and MPhil, Yale University; DD, Belhaven College) holds the J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and is the author of many books, including the four-volume Theology of Lordship series.

Endorsements  “John Frame has done it again! In the lucid and comprehensive style of his Theology of Lordship volumes, he here presents a full overview of Western thought about knowledge of God as it must appear to all who receive Holy Scripture, as he does, as the record, product, and present reality of God speaking. And the solid brilliance of the narrative makes it a most effective advocacy for the Kuyper-Van Til perspective that in a well-digested form it represents. It is a further outstanding achievement by John Frame. The book deserves wide use as a textbook, and I hope it will achieve that. My admiration for John’s work grows and grows.” — J. I. Packer, Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia

“Few in our day champion a vision of God that is as massive, magnificent, and biblical as John Frame’s. For decades, he has given himself to the church, to his students, and to meticulous thinking and the rigorous study of the Bible. He has winsomely, patiently, and persuasively contended for the gospel in the secular philosophical arena, as well as in the thick of the church worship wars and wrestlings with feminism and open theism. He brings together a rare blend of big-picture thinking, levelheaded reflection, biblical fidelity, a love for the gospel and the church, and the ability to write with care and clarity.” — John Piper, Founder and Teacher,; Chancellor, Bethlehem College and Seminary, Minneapolis

“When I was a young man, I plowed through Bertrand Russell’s 1945 classic, A History of Western Philosophy. A couple of years ago I read the much shorter (and more interesting) work of Luc Ferry, A Brief History of Thought. Between these two I have become familiar with many histories of Western thought, each written out of deep commitments, some acknowledged, some not. But I have never read a history of Western thought quite like John Frame’s. Professor Frame unabashedly tries to think through sources and movements out of the framework (bad pun intended) of deep-seated Christian commitments, and invites his readers to do the same. These commitments, combined with the format of a seminary or college textbook, will make this work invaluable to students and pastors who tire of ostensible neutrality that is no more neutral than the next volume. Agree or disagree with some of his arguments, but John Frame will teach you how to think in theological and philosophical categories.” — D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Ebook Sale

Meet the PuritansMeet the Puritans – EBOOK

Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Peterson

Electronic Format, 896 pages

Regular Price: $9.99/ Sale Price: $2.99

This encyclopedic resource provides biographical sketches of all the major Puritans as well as bibliographic summaries of their writings and work. Meet the Puritans is an important addition to the library of the layman, pastor, student and scholar.

Endorsements   “Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson have produced a tremendous gift to and resource for all who want an entryway into the study of the Puritans. They not only provide accurate biographical and theological introduction to every Puritan whose works have been reprinted in the last fifty years, but also combine with their helpful summaries an insightful analysis. If this were not enough, they’ve added major appendices that include the so-called ‘Scottish Puritans’ (that is, the great Scottish theologians who were contemporaries of and like-minded brethren in doctrine and piety with the English Puritans) as well as the Dutch Further Reformation divines. Meet the Puritans, With a Guide to Modern Reprints is a must have. I know of nothing like it. If you are looking for a reliable window into the life, theology, piety and ministry of the Puritans—this is it.”  — DR. LIGON DUNCAN, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi, and President, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals 

“ Meet the Puritans is a cornucopia of good things: a remarkable portrait gallery, a wonderful library of biographies, a reader’s guide to great Christian literature, a record of an international movement of the Spirit, a personal tutorial in Puritan history and theology—and much more. The student of Puritanism will often reach for it, and yet the bedtime reader will be enthralled by it. It will persuade you that giants for Christ did once exist. Here are their stories. They will make you want to grow tall spiritually, too.”  — DR. SINCLAIR B. FERGUSON, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina

puritanevangelism__76623__26924.1294352887.1280.1280Puritan Evangelism – EBOOK

Joel R. Beeke 

Electronic Format, 78 pages

Regular Price: $2.99/ Sale Price: $0.99

In this book, Joel Beeke investigates how the Puritans proclaimed what God’s Word counsels regarding the salvation of sinners. He describes the preaching of the Puritans (thoroughly biblical, unashamedly doctrinal, experimentally practical, holistically evangelistic, and studiously symmetrical), the primary methods of evangelism (plain preaching and catechetical evangelism), and the inward disposition of the Puritan evangelist (dependent on the Holy Spirit and prayerful).

Endorsement  “This is a well-written, easy introduction to the subject of Puritan evangelism, and an important reminder that gimmicks and showmanship are not God’s way to evangelize.” – The Presbyterian Banner


TakingHold-front__93814.1295982499.1280.1280Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Prespectives on Prayer

Joel R. Beeke and Brian G. Najapfour

Electronic Format, 267 pages

Regular Price: $9.99/ Sale Price: $3.99

In Taking Hold of God, you will enter the treasury of the church of Jesus Christ and discover some of its most valuable gems on the subject of Christian prayer. The writings of the Reformers and Puritans shine with the glory of God in Christ, offering us much wisdom and insight today that can make our own prayer lives more informed, more extensive, more fervent, and more effectual. Six contemporary scholars explore the writings and prayer lives of several Reformers and Puritans—among them Martin Luther, John Calvin, William Perkins, Matthew Henry, and Jonathan Edwards—guiding us to growth in prayer and a more grateful communion with God.

Endorsements  “Taking Hold of God is a veritable gold mine on the subject of prayer. Beeke and Najapfour have brought together in one volume the teaching on prayer of the giants of the Reformation and Puritan eras: Luther, Calvin, Knox, Perkins, Bunyan, Henry, Edwards, and others. I was personally encouraged and stimulated to take my own prayer life to a higher and hopefully more productive level. All believers who have any desire to pray effectively will profit from this book.” — Jerry Bridges, a longtime staff member of the Navigators and author of The Pursuit of Holiness

“Together, Beeke and Najapfour have produced a marvelously helpful and instructive volume on prayer drawn from such giants as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Bunyan, Matthew Henry, and Jonathan Edwards. It is a veritable potpourri of spiritual insight and godly advice. Books on prayer often induce more guilt than help. Taking Hold of God, as the title itself suggests, aims at doing the latter. It beckons us, allures us, into the challenge of prayer itself: laying hold of a gracious Father who longs for our presence and delights to commune with His children. If you aim to read just one book on prayer this year, choose this one.” — Derek W. H. Thomas, John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi


In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. – Acts 3:6

The miracles in Scripture do not appear at random as meaningless displays of God’s power. They are called ‘miracles’ or ‘powers’ because they display the power of God, and ‘wonders’ because of the reaction they cause among men. But they are also called ‘signs’ because they have meaning and significance. Sometimes that meaning is very specific, as when the Lord Jesus fed the five thousand, showing Himself to be the Bread of Life, or gave sight to the blind as being the Light of the World. More generally, however, the miracles were signs that God was speaking through His inspired spokesmen. The miraculous gifts exercised by apostles and conveyed to others through the apostles were signs of the apostles (2 Cor. 12:12, Heb. 2:3-4). The Old Testament prophets spoke in the name of Jehovah and performed signs (Deut. 34:10-12, 1 Kings 18:36, Ps. 74:9). The Lord Jesus, as God manifest in the flesh, spoke and healed in His own name: “Verily, verily, I say unto you.” But here, Peter performs this miracle in the name of Jesus Christ.

This use of the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is full of meaning. It was ‘the historical Jesus’ who grew up in Nazareth, and yet He is also the God-man Mediator who sits at God’s right hand with all power in heaven and earth. He who came as the servant of Jehovah is Himself Jehovah. He is the Lord of glory!

Notice how Peter announced in advance that something was gong to take place that only God could do – “such as I have give I thee…rise up and walk.” This showed that he was a recipient of direct revelation from God. Many of the biblical miracles involved this inspired pre-knowledge as samples of infallible knowledge.

Christ gave this man more than silver and gold through Peter. But these miraculous reversals of some effects of God’s curse on fallen man in sickness and death point to Christ as the one who can save from sin itself and give everlasting salvation. Peter, therefore, tells the crowd, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted” (v. 19). We do not have apostles today, but we have the whole Bible. In our Bibles we have the truth of God and the record of miracles that accompanied the revelation of God’s Word (John 20:30-31).

Are we making good use of what we have been given?

Taken from Milk & Honey

New from Banner of Truth

ichthusIchthus: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, The Savior

Sinclair B. Ferguson and Derek W.H. Thomas

Paperback, 184 pages

Retail Price: $13.00/ Our Price: $9.75

Ichthus is the Greek word for a fish. Its five Greek letters form the first letters of the early Christian confession that ‘Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Saviour.’ To draw a fish sign meant: ‘I am a Christian.’

To be a Christian, according to the New Testament is to know Christ. But who is he, and what is the meaning of his life? In Ichthus Sinclair Ferguson and Derek Thomas answer these questions by taking us on a tour of nine key events in Jesus’ life and ministry. Their aim is to help us both understand and share the confession of those early Christians who drew the fish sign.

Ichthus is a book for everyone and anyone. It will help readers who are already Christians because of what it says about their Master. Those who are wondering exactly what it is Christians believe about Jesus should find many of their questions clearly answered. And those honest enough to admit that they have ignored, or even rejected Christianity but really could not explain what Christians believe about Jesus, will find these pages both clear and challenging.

Written by two friends who, between them, have been following Jesus Christ for a total of almost a hundred years, Ichthus will encourage you to share their faith in him.

Table of Contents:

  1. The Manger – Incarnation
  2. The River – Baptism
  3. The Wilderness – Temptation
  4. The Mountain – Transfiguration
  5. The Garden – Decision
  6. The Cross – Passion
  7. The Tomb – Resurrection
  8. The Throne – Ascension
  9. The Return – Coming

Author Interview of Simonetta Carr

Review of Anselm of Canterbury on 

Anselm-of-Canterbury-by-Simonetta-Carr-1Simonetta Carr and Reformation Heritage Books published Anselm of Canterbury, the sixth in her Christian Biographies for Young Readers with Reformation Heritage books. The books fill an important niche in Christian publishing–picture books about church history. They are not simple books by any means; they immerse kids and adults alike in the story of a church father, incorporating historical context, theological ideas, and memorable stories from the subject’s life. As such, occasionally the stories may be difficult for young readers to follow, but for older readers and even adults, they provide a rich, thoughtful introduction to church history. (Younger readers can still enjoy the book, perhaps a little at a time, with an adult’s help.)

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Simonetta about Anselm and her biography series. Here’s what she had to say.

  1. Who was Anselm, and why did you choose to write about him?

As you know, the overarching goal of this series of books is to give children a historical understanding of the doctrines they believe. I want to make them think about what they believe and why they believe it.

I remember years ago in Sunday School, I tried to explore with my 2nd and 3rd graders the truth behind the statement, “Jesus took away my sins.” That’s a typical answer to the question, “Why did Jesus die on the cross?” But do children really understand what it means? I asked my students, “How did Jesus take your

sins? What did he do with them? Could he just erase them?” Of course there are theologians who say he did just that, erase our sins with no consequence for him or us, but is it really consistent with God’s perfect justice? And did Jesus really need to die in order to do that?

Anselm pondered similar questions. I hope my readers will understand that these doctrines were not formulated lightly. Anselm took years and years to write his Cur Deus Homo, and structured it as a discussion with another monk where–in typical scholastic manner–he tried to leave no stone unturned.

The doctine of Christ’s atonement is a foundational tenet of our historical confessional faith, but has been repeatedly challenged over the centuries. I hope my readers will take it seriously and I hope their parents will help them to realize its implications in our daily lives.

  1. You include a lot of metaphors that Anselm himself used in describing his life and Biblical Did you have a favorite?

Not really. Generally speaking, I like how Anselm seemed to come up with metaphors for just about anything. I think it opens a window on his character. Not only was he always thinking about God and spiritual truths, but he was extremely observant about everything around him, and could draw his illustrations as easily from the life of kings as from that of peasants.

Of the metaphors I mentioned in the book, probably children can relate the most to the one of the child chasing butterflies (which Anselm compares to the lure of material things).

  1. Do you see this book (and all of your books) as filling a niche in Christian publishing? If so, how would you describe it?

I think this question can be better answered by the parents of my young readers. I know I started this series because I felt there was a need for this type of biographies for young readers–something factual and informative, comparable with contemporary children’s biographies about presidents, artists, scientists, etc.– instead of fictionalized stories. Mostly, as I said, I wanted to focus on the history of Christian theology, emphasizing God’s providential preservation of his church and doctrine rather than moral or inspirational examples.

  1. How might this book benefit classical schoolers studying the middle ages?

Actually, classical education has also inspired the making of these books because I had started using similar methods in my homeschool before I even knew about the classical education movement. It just made sense to base the curriculum on the study of history. As we studied each time period, I wanted to include the history of Christian theology but I couldn’t find age-­‐appropriate books on that subject. So this series is written with that vision in mind.

  1. What do you think Matt’s illustrations add to this particular story? Why did you choose an artist with his particular style?

I will start with the second question because there is actually a great story behind  it. For the first book, a friend of mine from Italy, who is a professional artist, agreed to help me with the illustrations to get me started. By the way, if you wonder why that book (John Calvin) has black and white illustrations, it’s because the first publisher I contacted told me that no one would ever publish my book with color illustrations. When I finally contacted Reformation Heritage Books, the illustrations were already done in black and white. After the first book, they asked me to continue in color.

Anyhow, if you look at the cover picture for John Calvin, the illustration is done very well, so I had to find another very good artist, and it was not an easy task. I contacted many illustrators and basically said, “I want very high quality for little money.” Providentially, I found someone who accepted my poor offer for the second book, Augustine of Hippo. Right at the same time, however, my pastor told me his brother was an artist! After I saw his art, I knew he was the right person.

Illustrators have a lot of difficult tasks on their hands. They have to interpret a text and translate it into a visual expression. Especially in a short biography that focuses on facts with little room for detailed descriptions, the illustrations contribute to bringing the characters to life, emphasizing their humanity and placing the story in the correct context of time and space. They also create a mood by a choice of colors, contrasts, postures and expressions. On top of this, illustrators have to immerse themselves in the time period they are covering, study the details, and–maybe the most difficult task of all–work peaceably with the author. In fact, this last task is so difficult that most publishers prefer to appoint a graphic editor to deal with the illustrators instead of leaving that communication to zealous and often uncompromising authors.

Matt fulfills all these tasks wonderfully, and he adds to that a passionate commitment to beauty and accuracy and a rare artistic sensibility.

  1. Finally, should Protestants and Reformed families be concerned about Anselm’s admiration for the pope? How would you approach that aspect of the story with your kids?

A hierarchical system of church government (eventually headed by the bishop–or pope–of Rome) was virtually accepted for many centuries before the    Reformation. Initially, even the Reformers had a general desire to work within the church structure and maintained respect for the pope until they realized the church was unwilling to modify its stance on vital doctrines.

We can help children understand that Anselm’s obedience to the pope (I believe it was obedience more than admiration) was a normal part of Christian life, just as I respect and obey the elders in my church. The problems didn’t come necessarily from that obedience, but rather from the pope’s increasing abuse of power and gradual imposition of unbiblical doctrines. These intensified during and after the Reformation, to the point that it’s impossible to read our conception of papacy back to even the 11th and 12th centuries.

In this book, I have mentioned only the problems most intimately related to Anselm’s life–for example, the idea that separating from the world to live as monks or nuns led to a more spiritual and meritorious life (prompting people to “buy” their prayers) and the church’s desire to obtain temporal powers. Parents may choose to broaden this explanation. My upcoming books on John Knox and Martin Luther will fill some of these gaps.

There are also some issues about Anselm that I chose not to mention in the book in order to focus on the main points. For example, some of Anselm’s prayers were directed to Mary or to the cross. Parents may choose to point this out, especially if they decide to read some of his other, beautiful prayers to their children.

It’s important, in my view, to avoid extremes, such as as seeing Anselm as a reprobate Roman Catholic, or, conversely, as a committed Protestant. He was neither. He was a man of his times, a Christian passionate for the knowledge of God, who made great contributions to our historical creeds while living within the structure and culture of his age.

Heidelberg Catechism

lord's supperThe Lord’s Supper and the “Popish Mass”: A Study of Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 80

Cornelis P. Venema

Paperback, 96 pages

Retail Price: $10.00/ Our Price: $7.50

The controversial question and answer 80 of the Heidelberg Catechism, which condemns the “popish Mass,” seems to some a harsh statement in this document otherwise admired for its warm pastoral style and genial tone. Viewing this question and answer as unnecessarily polemical and injurious to the Catechism’s usefulness as a contemporary statement of the Christian faith, some Reformed denominations have removed it from the text. Cornel Venema provides historical background and biblical teaching to defend the Catechism’s inclusion of question and answer 80, arguing that it must be retained today, as it “reflects a fundamental evangelical passion to uphold the sufficiency of Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross and to condemn idolatry in whatever form.”

Endorsements   “Cornel Venema’s study of Heidelberg Catechism question 80 carefully addresses both the meaning and circumstances of its addition to the catechism and the highly problematic modern effort to rid the document of any offense to Roman Catholics. Venema’s analysis of question 80 both establishes the significance of the theological point in its historical context and the continued relevance of its theology. In so doing, he also highlights the lack of wisdom of contemporary attempts to erase or ignore the past for the sake of smoothing over the more difficult issues in ecumenical dialogue.” — Richard A. Muller, P. J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology, Emeritus, Calvin Theological Seminary

“In 1878 Philip Schaff captured modern discontent with question 80 of the Heidelberg Catechism when he complained that it is unduly controversial. Since that time at least two Reformed bodies have sought to marginalize question 80, yet the question remains: Is it true? Cornel Venema calmly and clearly shows that however troubled some may be by question 80’s tone, what we confess there is true, and it is no more controversial than God’s Word. This is a truly helpful work, much to be commended.” — R. Scott Clark, professor of church history and historical theology, Westminster Seminary California