perkins(Interview of Stephen Yuile and Joel R. Beeke discussing their recent editorial work on The Works of William Perkins)

Today we continue our interview with Joel Beeke and Stephen Yuille. Volume 1 of their landmark republication of The Works of William Perkins, and they are here to talk about their project. If you missed Part 1 of their interview yesterday, you can catch up here.

Books At a Glance (Fred Zaspel):
Talk to us about Perkins’s popularity both as a preacher and as an author. I think many will be surprised to learn that Perkins’s writings became more popular than Calvin! What accounts for this? Perhaps you could also mention something about those with whom he was popular – did he write for fellow theologians only?

Yuille & Beeke:
In seeking to account for Perkins’s popularity, one scholar identifies two unique features in his writings: first, “an ability to clarify and expound complex theological issues which aroused the respect of fellow scholars”; and, second, “a gift for relating seemingly abstruse theological teaching to the spiritual aspirations of ordinary Christians.” To state it simply, Perkins was able to merge intricate theology with practical piety – a rare gift indeed. This made his writings very appealing to a large audience and, as a result, the name of no preacher recurs more often in later Puritan literature. For example, in New England, close to one hundred Cambridge men, including William Brewster of Plymouth, Thomas Hooker of Connecticut, John Winthrop of Massachusetts Bay, and Roger Williams of Rhode Island, lived in Perkins’s shadow. It has been said that “a typical Plymouth Colony library comprised a large and small Bible, Henry Ainsworth’s translation of the Psalms, and the works of William Perkins.”

Books At a Glance:
Okay, what about Perkins’s Works? Just how extensive was his literary output? Do the 10 volumes projected in this series comprise all that he published? Were these volumes originally published in Perkins’s own lifetime? And tell us how your republication of these works is significant.

perkins

(Interview of Stephen Yuile and Joel R. Beeke discussing their recent editorial work on The Works of William Perkins)

The publication of The Works of William Perkins is a landmark event in Christian publishing. Long overdue, the republishing of this “Father of the Puritans” will give new life to Puritan studies. Edited by J. Stephen Yuille (Review Editor for Spirituality and Christian Living here at Books At a Glance) under the general editorship of Joel Beeke and Derek Thomas, volume 1 is now available. We are very pleased to have Drs. Yuille and Beeke with us today to talk about their new work – and their fascinating subject!

Books At a Glance (Fred Zaspel):
First, let’s talk about William Perkins himself – perhaps you could introduce our readers to him briefly. Who was he?

Yuille & Beeke:
Perkins was born in 1558 in the village of Marston Jabbet (near Coventry) in Warwickshire. No parish registers exist, so it’s impossible to trace his family ancestry. We do know that he was lame in his right hand. This must have presented a significant challenge for a young boy living in the world of plow and harness. He demonstrated sufficient promise as a student that his family enrolled him in Christ’s College, Cambridge, when he was nineteen years of age. He was converted to Christ during his early years at Cambridge. After receiving his master’s degree in 1584, he was ordained to the ministry. He preached at Great St. Andrew’s Church from 1584 until his death. He was also elected to a fellowship at Christ’s College. He held this position from 1584 to 1595. He married a young widow, Timothye Cradock, in 1595. During their seven years of marriage, they conceived seven children – three of whom died in infancy. He succumbed to complications arising from kidney stones in 1602 at age forty-four.

Books At a Glance:
Give us a sense of Perkins’s significance historically and theologically. What kind of influence did he have – in his own day and after?

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9781601783790What Is Experiential Calvinism?

Ian Hamilton

Paperback, 37 pages

Retail Price: $3.00/ Our Price: $2.25

“There is no such thing as ‘dead Calvinism,’” writes author Ian Hamilton. Calvinism, simply put, is biblical Christianity. No mere human devised theological system, Calvinism is rooted in and shaped by God’s revelation in Holy Scripture. Hamilton asserts that Calvinism is “natively experiential.” In What Is Experiential Calvinism?, the author shows us that Calvinism is far richer and more profound than five points and helps us see that the lives and ministries of those who are true Calvinists pulse with living, Spirit-inspired, Christ-glorifying, God-centered truth.

Endorsement

“It is not every Christian book (or booklet in this case) that you read and find that nearly every line and thought are gems that urge you to stop reading and ponder and worship the living God of grace! But this is such a book! In a short compass, Ian Hamilton has wonderfully captured the experiential heart of true Calvinism: ‘deeply affectional, God-centered, cross-magnifying.’ In a word, this is an essay deeply needed by all who call themselves Calvinists—and even all those who do not!” — Michael A. G. Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality, and director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Why FastWhy Should I Fast?

Daniel R. Hyde

Paperback, 48 pages

Retail Price: $3.00/ Our Price: $2.25

Today, the church seems to have forgotten about the spiritual discipline of fasting. Most of us have never heard a sermon about it, and few of us have ever practiced it. We think of fasting as an antiquated relic of the past. So why should we fast in an age of fast food? Pastor Daniel R. Hyde argues that “fasting is actually a basic biblical teaching and practice, one that is vital to cultivating godly living in an ungodly generation.” Fasting is a means to the end of abiding, deep, and personal communion with the triune God through prayer. The author explains what fasting is, provides biblical examples of it, reminds us of what Jesus taught regarding it, and tells us how to go about it.

Endorsement

“If you like a lazy and complacent Christian life, this book is dangerous because it shows in a convincing way that fasting belongs to Christianity. Danny Hyde shows from the Bible, the words of Jesus, the early church, the Reformers, and the Puritans how and why Christians should fast. This message is an appeal to Christians that while our old nature would prefer feasting to fasting, our new nature will experience spiritual feasting by fasting.” — Dr. Willem van Vlastuin, professor of theology and spirituality of Reformed Protestantism, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series  

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians. I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns and attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’”

Many people who are new to the church need instruction in the most basic aspects of godly living. Even where churches are engaged heavily in discipleship, visitors and members often have gaps in their understanding and practice. One of the greatest needs of our time is for the Spirit of God to cultivate biblical godliness in us in order to put the glory of Christ on display through us, all to the glory of God the Father.

For these reasons, Joel Beeke and Ryan McGraw are coediting a series of booklets titled Cultivating Biblical Godliness. These booklets treat matters that are vital to Christian experience, and each contribution aims to address a wide variety of people and circumstances at a fundamental and introductory level. This includes teaching people what to believe in order to practice personal holiness as well as specific directions on how to cultivate biblical godliness in relation to issues that are common to God’s people.

The distinctive feature of this series is its experiential tone. While some booklet series aim to enlighten the mind, these booklets aim to warm the affections as well. The goal is to promote communion with the triune God and to transform the entire person in thought, speech, and behavior. To this end, we intend to include a wide range of authors whom the Spirit has blessed to skillfully stir up the church to personal holiness and affection to Christ through their preaching and writing ministries.

We need a Christianity that puts the transformative power of God in the gospel on display through developing a communion with God that is visible to the world. Our prayer is that through this series, the Lord would revive His church by producing Christians who are full of love for Christ, who deny themselves in order to follow Him at great personal cost, and who know the joys of walking with the triune God. This is the kind of Christianity that we need. This is the kind of Christianity that the triune God has used to turn the world upside down. May He  be pleased to do so again.

blessed(Review of The Blessed and Boundless God by George Swinnock)

I decide the best way to read The Blessed and Boundless God was perhaps only a chapter per day, and I found it a stimulating read, with much spiritual blessing, as I went through.

The book comprises of 45 short chapters, most no more than three pages long. Each one covers an aspect of God’s character and being. The chapters are broadly grouped into five sections, addressing in turn God’s being, attributes, works and words, while a final section looks at application.

The book is part of the ‘Puritan Treasures for Today’ series, which aims to update seventeenth century language to make these works more accessible. In this they have been successful, as the book reads well, without any loss of spiritual meat or impact.

Swinnock has the gift of condensing great truths into few words, a talent not shared by most of the Puritans. The following are a few examples of his skill:

  • In the chapter on mercy he writes: “God’s justice seeks a worthy object, God’s grace seeks an unworthy object, but God’s mercy seeks a needy object”.
  • On God’s satisfying knowledge: “Nothing in this world is suitable to the soul’s nature. The soul is spiritual, but the things of this world are physical. The soul’s needs are spiritual (pardon of sin, peace of conscience, etc.), but the good things of this life are material. Nothing in this world is suitable to the soul’s duration”.
  • In the chapter entitled ‘Motivations for attaining the knowledge of God’, we read: “Merchants use arguments to convince their customers to buy their products, so they can enrich themselves. But God calls us to buy from him, not to enrich himself (he is a rich as he can be), but so that we can enrich ourselves”.

Altogether an excellent book with few blemishes, and well worth reading. I found it a great devotional aid and may well return to it again. - Geoff Cox, Evangelical Times (March 2015)

Available for purchase here 

Reformed Historical Theological Studies

marrowThe Marrow Controversy and Seceder Tradition - EBOOK

William VanDoodewaard

Electronic Format, 336 pages

Regular Price: $9.99/ Sale Price: $2.99

In this important study, William VanDoodewaard identifies characteristic understandings of Marrow theology on the atonement, saving faith, and the free offer of the gospel and traces them out in the theology of the Seceder tradition. In doing so, he presents substantial evidence for the continuity of Marrow theology in the Associate Presbytery and Associate Synod in Scotland during the eighteenth century.

Dr. William VanDoodewaard's forthcoming title 'The Quest for the Historical Adam: Genesis, Hermeneutics, and Human Origins' is available for pre-order.

 

marrowThe Spiritual Brotherhood: Cambridge Puritans and the Nature of Christian Piety - EBOOK

Paul R. Schaefer, Jr.

Electronic Format, 400 pages

Regular Price: $9.99/ Sale Price: $4.99

In this study, Paul Schaefer looks at six thinkers in this group who stand out because each was used as the human vehicle to bring the gospel to the next: William Perkins, Paul Baynes, Richard Sibbes, John Cotton, John Preston, and Thomas Shepard. By examining their teaching on the relation between man’s depraved nature and sovereign grace, as well as the distinct but inseparable relation of justification and sanctification, Schaefer demonstrates how the Puritan movement came to focus most intently on the cultivation of Reformed piety within the church.

 

unityUnity and Continuity in Covenantal Thought: a Study in the Reformed Tradition to the Westminster Assembly - EBOOK

Andrew A. Woolsey

Electronic Format, 672 pages

Regular Price: $9.99/ Sale Price: $4.99

Unity and Continuity in Covenantal Thought examines the historiographical problems related to the interpretation of the Westminster Standards, delving into the issue of covenantal thought in the Westminster Standards, followed by an exhaustive analysis of nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholarship on covenant. After surveying patristic and medieval backgrounds, Woolsey’s study looks in detail at a representative list of writers who contributed to the early development of federal thought (Luther, Oecolampadius, Zwingli, Bullinger, Calvin, and Beza). The final part of his study explores the early orthodox approach to covenant and the rise of emphasis on the covenants of works and grace in the thought of Heidelberg theologians (Ursinus and Olevianus), the English Puritans (Cartwright, Fenner, and Perkins), and Scottish divines (Knox, Rollock, and Howie). Here is a substantial contribution to the study of reformed thought on covenant from its reformation origins to the more detailed formulations of the early to mid-seventeenth century.

 

teachingTeaching Predestination: Elnathan Parr and Pastoral Ministry in Early Stuart England - EBOOK

David H. Kranendonk

Electronic Format, 208 pages

Regular Price: $9.99/ Sale Price: $4.99

In Teaching Predestination, David H. Kranendonk focuses on the ministry of an early seventeenth-century Puritan-leaning theologian, Elnathan Parr (1577–1622). Although relatively unknown today, Parr’s works were popular in his own day. Kranendonk’s survey contributes a nuanced picture of this English Reformed pastor and demonstrates that Parr’s scholastic development of predestination, coupled with his pastoral concern for the salvation and edification of his hearers, resists the caricature of Reformed Scholasticism as being a philosophically speculative system. Here one sees the practical use of predestination for the care of souls as Parr and others aimed to help increase the faith and joy of God’s people.

 

Introduction-front__39617.1411577976.1280.1280Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism - EBOOK

Willem J. van Asselt

Electronic Format, 288 pages

Regular Price: $9.99/ Sale Price: $4.99

This work supplies a long-standing need in the field of early modern studies by providing a basic introduction to Reformed Scholasticism. Although technical studies abound and interest in the subject continues to rise, until the appearance of this work by Willem van Asselt and his colleagues, students of history have lacked a concise guide to help them navigate the difficult waters of Reformed Scholasticism. This book carefully defines the phenomena of scholasticism and orthodoxy, concisely surveys the era, notes the most significant thinkers together with the various trajectories of thought, and references the relevant secondary scholarship. In short, this Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism surveys the topic and provides a guide for further study in early modern Reformed thought.

 

theologyThe Theology of the French Reformed Churches: From Henry IV to the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes - EBOOK

Martin I. Klauber

Electronic Format, 432 pages

Regular Price: $9.99/ Sale Price: $4.99

The Theology of the French Reformed Churches introduces us to the Huguenots of the seventeenth century. The period was an unusual one in which France boasted two state religions, Roman Catholic and Protestant, due to the protections afforded the latter by the Edict of Nantes in 1598. In this book, Martin I. Klauber and his team of scholars survey the development of and diffi culties facing the early French Reformed tradition as well as the ecclesiastical, theological, and political challenges it faced during the seventeenth century. They also investigate the important contributions made by some of its most significant theologians: Moïse Amyraut, Pierre du Moulin, Jean Daillé, Andreas Rivetus, Charles Drelincourt, Claude Pajon, Jean Claude, and Pierre Jurieu. The theologians of the seventeenth-century French Reformed churches displayed a theological richness rarely remembered even among Reformed believers in the centuries following their labor, and this volume resurrects some of their vitality for a new audience.

perkinsOne who loves Christ will be very desirous to honor His Lord and to bring others to Christ. For this they are in need of various gifts, such as knowledge, wisdom, boldness, aptness to each, etc. The Lord Jesus has merited these by His death, and by virtue of His ascension He has received power to give them to His elect. If anyone therefore desires with heartfelt love to make Christ known in His beauty and to be instrumental in brining others into fellowship with Christ, he ought to be believe that Christ, who now is in heaven, has received gifts for the purpose of distribution, and that these will be given to him who humbly requests them to this end. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). -  The Works of William Perkins, Volume 1

Was Adam really a historical person, and can we trust the biblical story of human origins?
Or is the story of Eden simply a metaphor, leaving scientists the job to correctly reconstruct the truth of how humanity began?

Although the church currently faces these pressing questions—exacerbated as they are by scientific and philosophical developments of our age—we must not think that they are completely new. In The Quest for the Historical Adam, William VanDoodewaard recovers and assesses the teaching of those who have gone before us, providing a historical survey of Genesis commentary on human origins from the patristic era to the present. Reacquainting the reader with a long line of theologians, exegetes, and thinkers, VanDoodewaard traces the roots, development, and, at times, disappearance of hermeneutical approaches and exegetical insights relevant to discussions on human origins. This survey not only informs us of how we came to this point in the conversation but also equips us to recognize the significance of the various alternatives on human origins.

Table of Contents:

  1. Finding Adam and His Origin in Scripture
  2. The Patristic and Medieval Quest for Adam
  3. Adam in the Reformation and Post-Reformation Eras
  4. Adam in the Enlightenment Era
  5. Adam in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
  6. The Quest for Adam: From the 1950s to the Present
  7. What Difference Does It Make?

Epilogue: Literal Genesis and Science?

Author

William VanDoodewaard is professor of church History at puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and serves as a minister at Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

questEndorsements 

“The biblical truth claims of the historicity of Adam and the reality of the fall are neither incidental nor insignificant to the Christian faith. They are matters of gospel importance. But in our time the validity of the church’s doctrine of the special creation of Adam and Eve, body and soul, as our first parents, based on Genesis 1–2, and the corresponding affirmation of the historical reality of the fall, based on Genesis 3, have come under serious cross-examination. There are voices (some of whom self-identify as evangelical) calling on the church to abandon and to revise its historic teaching. Many reveal an unfamiliarity with the history of the church’s exegesis on these issues and its assessment of their hermeneutical and theological significance. William VanDoodewaard’s book, The Quest for the Historical Adam, then, arrives not a moment too soon. He provides us with a careful, clear, important, orthodox assessment of the question as well as a tremendously helpful survey of the history of interpretation (including current views). This will prove to be an enormously valuable resource to pastors and teachers wanting to get up to speed on the historical theology behind this discussion and to gain a quick grasp of the present theological lay of the land. Those arguing for a revisionist interpretation must now deal with the material VanDoodewaard has amassed and articulated.” — Ligon Duncan (PhD, University of Edinburgh), Chancellor and John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary

“Dr. Bill VanDoodewaard has gifted the church with a work that began as a labor of love but has grown into a significant major study in which he marries the disciplines of a church historian and the concerns of a Christian theologian. The issues on which he touches reach down to the very foundations of the Christian worldview, to creation itself. Those who share the author’s understanding of the early chapters of Genesis will deeply appreciate his detailed analysis and synthesis of how they have been interpreted throughout the Christian centuries. And those who differ, whether in fine details or in major ways, ought, in integrity, to familiarize themselves with the copious material that Dr. VanDoodewaard here presents. This is a valuable and significant contribution to a much-debated subject and from a perspective that has too often been overlooked.” — Sinclair B. Ferguson (PhD, University of Aberdeen), Professor of Systematic Theology, Redeemer Theological Seminary, Dallas

Review, samples pages and more available -->

Pre-order today!

(Taken from Milk and Honey)

He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. – Mark 10:16

There are some dignified and religious persons in this world who appear to have no interest in children. Such was not our Lord Jesus Christ. It is possible that the disciples imagined Jesus to be above showing affection to mere children. At least, we read here, they ‘rebuked’ the people who brought young children to Him. But, if so, they were entirely mistaken. He was ‘much displeased’ with those who sought to stop children being brought to Him.

The behavior of Jesus Christ should be an example to us all. Children are quick to realize when they are loved and welcomed, or when they are not. As Christians we wish to show love to children so as to win them to listen to the gospel which we believe.

What more perfect example of love to children could we ask for than this, in which we read that our Lord took them up in His arms and laid His hand on their head to bless them? ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not,’ says this gracious Savior.

Our Lord’s example and His words are the only warrant we need to encourage us to do all in our power to lead, teach, and instruct children and young people towards a real faith in God and in the gospel.

Our Savior goes even further. He says of the little children: ‘Of such is the kingdom of God.’ These words of our Lord surely mean that children, even at a young age, may become, by God’s grace, true and sincere believers and members of God’s spiritual kingdom. Further, Christ’s words also surely teach that a childlike spirit is a gospel spirit. All true Christians are childlike in that they, with a humble believing faith, have received the gift of forgiveness and everlasting life, while the haughty and high-minded utterly fail to get these gifts because of their pride.

If you are not a child of God, you need to humble yourself. Those who get into heaven must all be of a childlike spirit. Those who exalt themselves will sooner or later be humbled by God. But those who humble themselves will in the end be exalted. Happy are they who cultivate a child-like, self-effacing spirit!

(Taken from Milk and Honey)

I will avenge. – Hosea 1:4

The ‘I will’ of God dominates the book of Hosea. The phrase appears over seventy times in fourteen chapters. A few times, it appears in the negative ‘I will not,’ and tells us what God will not do. Mostly it is stated positively and tells us what God will do to and for His people.

There are two main classes of ‘I will’ statements in Hosea. The first class is judgmental and reveals God’s resolute determination to chastise His erring people. The second and largest class is redemptive and reveals God’s emphatic determination to restore His chastised people to the fullest possible experience of His love

God’s people need both of these divine ‘I wills’ in their lives. Both are rooted in God’s love, both reveal God’s love, and both result in God’s love being shed abroad in the heart. Without the ‘I will avenge,’ we would become complacent and cold. Without the ‘I will allure,’ we would give in and give up. Sometimes we need to hear the solemn ‘I will avenge.’ Sometimes we need to hear the soothing ‘I will allure.’ The Christian’s life oscillates between these two poles. Indeed, it might be said that we are constantly experiencing either ‘I will allure’ or ‘I will avenge.’

Here, Hosea is promising God’s vengeance on Israel for King Jehu’s brutal role in Ahab’s gruesome death at Jezreel (2 Kings 9-10). Though Jehu had obeyed God’s commission to execute, he had displayed trickery, butchery, and hypocrisy in doing so. And, in calling his child by the name of this site of murderous bloodlust, Hosea was reminding Israel that though this event had happened over a hundred years previously, it had still not been repented of, that the attitudes behind it were still prevalent in the land, and that God would punish them for this.

Dear Children, are you experiencing the ‘I will avenge’ of God? Are you under the rod of His anger? Are you mystified as to why? Could it be that there is a specific sin, perhaps committed many years ago, which you have not honestly faced up to and repented of? Or are some of the sinful attitudes behind such a sin still lingering and still poisoning your soul? If so, then be thankful for the ‘I will avenge’ of God. Mercifully, He will not leave you to perish or pine away in your sin.

reasonableThe Christian's Reasonable Service, 4 vols.

Wilhelmus à Brakel

Hardcover, 2704 pages

Retail Price: $150.00 / Our Price: $100.00

First published in 1700, The Christian’s Reasonable Service (De Redelijke Godsdienst) ran through twenty Dutch editions in the eighteenth century alone! The title is derived from Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” It expresses what God requires from man, and particularly from the Christian, that he serve Him in Spirit and in truth—intelligently, rationally, and in harmony with and response to God’s revelation of Himself, His Word. With a decidedly Puritan flavor and representing  Reformed experiential religion at its best, Wilhelmus à Brakel systematically moves through the major doctrines of the Bible in hopes of seeing the minds of God’s people renewed for the purpose of promoting godliness. Throughout his work, but particularly in the practical application of each doctrine, à Brakel strives unceasingly to exalt the name of Jesus as the name that the Father has given above every other name—there being no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

Endorsement

“Wilhelmus à Brakel’s The Christian's Reasonable Service is a tremendously insightful work that showcases the marriage between scholastic precision and a warm pastoral piety. À Brakel not only challenges the mind as he plumbs the depths of the teachings of Scripture, but he also challenges the heart as readers must grapple with the truth and its implications for their growth in grace. Not only can historians read à Brakel to learn about historic Reformed theology, but scholars, pastors, and laymen can all benefit from a close reading of these wonderful volumes.” — J. V. Fesko, Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Westminster Seminary California