This book kicked my butt! What I mean by that is I wrestled with this book for months as I struggled to come to a complete understanding of this faith I call Reformed. Not that we can completely come to a full understanding of Reformed theology or Calvinism as some would call it. This book was exactly what I expected to read from Joel Beeke; Vast amounts of history, an expounding of the five points of Calvinism, heavy use of catechisms and a healthy spattering of Biblical proof texts. Overall I loved getting into this text and literally having the world of Reformed theology opened up to me.
Joel Beeke starts off this “introduction” to Calvinism by saying, “A Fresh hunger for Calvinism’s biblical doctrine and spirituality is causing the roots of Reformed theology to spread throughout the entire world”. Indeed the recent resurgence of Reformed literature is no small human effort, but that done by the outpouring of God’s Spirit on a parched and dry spirituality.
The book leads readers through six sections of Reformed soaked chapters. First take off into a short section of its history. From there we move on to Calvinism in the mind and the heart. We leave those two sections to , my favorite section, Calvinism in the Church. This section included a huge study on the preaching and worship of the Puritans, which I found very interesting. We jump next into a section on Calvinism in practice and from there we land the plane in a wonderful Doxology by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson. All these sections work together well and are very well written and easy to understand as a whole.
As i have already stated, my favorite section on the Puritans, was well worth reading the rest of the book. I found it most helpful in my own life to see the different methods used by the church fathers in explaining to their people, the whole counsel of God. I found a lot of applicable material in the pages of this book and my prayer is that these applications will not terminate on myself but will find a place for the glory of God to be manifest in my life and practice.
I do recommend this book for anyone who is skeptical of what true biblical Calvinism looks like, or what it should look like, and also to those who think they already know. This book was an excellent primer on Reformed theology and even included a little bio of Calvin and his practices. The text is written in an understandable way and flows very nicely. One of the things I did not enjoy was the heavy use of the King James version of the Bible. Some references threw me off a little bit only because I am not used to the old english version of the Bible. This volume will definitely serve me well in the future study of history and biblical Calvinism. Very Helpful!
Please check out Reformation Trust Publishing for more information or to purchase this wonderful book.