Reviews

Patrick Hamilton: The Stephen of Scotland. The First Preacher and Martyr of the Scottish Reformation, AD Publications, Dundee, 2009 By Joe Carvalho

The volume under review is a 200 small paged, large print edition which deals with an over-proportionate number of ‘other defenders of the Reformation’, and speculative ‘historical’ reconstructions apart from Hamilton. Nevertheless, the publisher’s cover blurb presents it as ‘a result of over eight years of research through the Special Collections of Edinburgh University and St Andrew’s University’, and the author writes of the ‘rare books’ he has studied allowing him to present for the first time in almost one hundred years a definitive and complete study of Patrick Hamilton (1504-1528) based on original documents. Carvalho’s work contains some useful background-information on Hamilton’s Scotland and it is… Full Article

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Lessons in Humanity from the Life and Work of Jan Amos Comenius

Lessons in Humanity from the Life and Work of Jan Amos Comenius: A Study in Anthropological Pansophy Jan Hábl A Review Article   Preface: The Father of Modern Education by Thomas Johnson     Johnson, who appears to be Hábl’s mentor, writes on p. 9 of principles in nature and in human nature that we can recognize and that we should follow in order to reach our earthly and spiritual destinies. He thus wishes to separate the best parts of human nature from those in human nature which stand in conflict to them.     This is an artificial dissecting of the human in man which has often been used for totalitarian purposes in order to promote a less-than human society. True Pansophy is not limited to the anthropological and… Full Article

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1662: The Great Ejection By Gary Brady

     Gary Brady’s book of 165 pages purports to give the background of 2,000 ministers who rebelled against the Church of England’s and the King’s authority in 1662 and suffered under a Parliament that had no respect either for the one nor the other. Anti-Dissenting laws formerly enforced against the Church of England by the Commission of Ejectors under Cromwell’s Commonwealth Councils were now applied to a minority who rejected the restored Church. In order to understand the fate of all these 17 century Dissenters from different parties, it is necessary to trace the persecutions back to their roots during Mary’s bloody reign and throughout the reigns of Elizabeth, James, Charles I, Cromwell and Charles II.      Brady… Full Article

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The Real Luther

The Real Luther A Friar at Erfurt and Wittenberg  Exploring Luther’s Life with Melanchthon as Guide By Franz Posset Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 2011      Having read so many dissatisfactory commentaries and biographies on Martin Luther recently, I determined not to spend any more time on modern ‘revolutionary’ theories regarding him. Personally, I believe that though Luther lagged behind Reformers such as Tyndale, Jewel, Bucer and Bullinger, on such doctrines as Justification, the Work of God’s Word on the Soul, Repentance and Christology, he is preferable to Calvin. However, my decision to ignore unimaginative new perspectives on Luther did not last long. This December, I was introduced to Franz Posset’s… Full Article

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The Ministry of Septimus Sears (1819-1877)

The Ministry of Septimus Sears (1819-1877) as Seen By his Congregation and Challenged by David Gay      Septimus Sears, renowned in England as one of the country’s most outstanding pastors and preachers, started his ministry at the age of 20 before taking over Clifton Strict Baptist Church, Bedfordshire which he shepherded from 1842 to his death in 1877. Sears suffered all his life from severe heart trouble and was burdened by long periods of paralysis and typhus. His neck bones were so deformed that he had to wear an iron collar to support his head. Nevertheless, he preached three times on the Lord’s Day and often during the week. He edited two Christian magazines, The Little Gleaner and The Sower, and published many… Full Article

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Reformation: Europe’s House Divided By Diarmaid MacCulloch

Reformation: Europe’s House Divided By Diarmaid MacCulloch Penguin Books, 2004      Penguin adorns the covers of their new 832 paged paper-back on the Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch with 22 eulogistic blurbs announcing it as wonderful, sardonic, monumental, dazzling, breathtaking, magisterial, eloquent, a triumph, astonishing, masterly, blockbusting, superb, a milestone, a masterpiece of learning, and ‘in its field it is the best book ever written’. Who could resist buying such a book to be on top of Reformation research? It has gained the Wolfson Prize for History, for apparently providing everything “from politics to witchcraft, from liturgy to sex”. It has won the British Academy Book Award because ‘Its… Full Article

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The Free Offer: Biblical and Reformed By David Silversides

The Free Offer: Biblical and Reformed By David Silversides Marpet Press, 2005      Yet another former sturdy defender of the faith now endorses a deceitful gospel which outclasses the errors of older Liberalism. David Silversides has joined such modern apostles as John and Iain Murray, Malcolm H. Watts, Phillip R. Johnson, Errol Hulse, David Gay and Ken Stebbins in their campaign to alter radically the Christian’s view of God and His Word. Pastor Silversides traces the roots of opposition to his new divinity in the formation of the Protestant Reformed Churches in the nineteen-twenties under the leadership of Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965), arguing that the PRC presented a caricature of the free-offer position thus fostering… Full Article

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Baptism in the Early Church

Prof. Hendrick F. Stander Prof. Johannes P. Louw Carey Publications      This Carey Publications reprint deals with baptism in the first four centuries, claiming that ‘the writings of this era are important since they reveal the origins and developments of Christian practices and dogmas.’ Such an examination is unhelpful in tracing origins and developments when isolated from the Biblical sources as in this work. Christian faith is not built on ‘practices and dogmas’ but on a personal relationship with Christ expressed in Christian doctrine. The work claims to adopt no ‘theological point of view’, yet dogmatises that baptism can only mean immersion; it is not for households but for single adults; there is no… Full Article

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Review of Iain Murray’s ‘John Wesley and the Men Who Followed Him’

Like John Harding in his candid review of Iain Murray’s new book on Wesley, I was alarmed at the author’s exodus from Reformed doctrines. Could he not praise Wesley objectively for the good he did without having to side with him in his errors? Murray has lost his balance. Formerly he was pro Whitefield and contra Wesley, now he is pro Wesley and Whitefield is forgotten. Forgotten, too, are the adverse teachings of Wesley on the doctrines of grace, his extraordinary superstitions such as his belief in ghosts and his shocking treatment of sound men such as Hervey, Toplady, Erskine, Cennick, Cudworth and the Hill brothers. Murray tells us that it is not his task to enquire into these things. Thus we are only permitted to see Wesley at his… Full Article

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Reformation Today and Justification from Eternity: A Review Article

     The March/April, 1999 number of Reformation Today features four articles on John Gill. The first, entitled John Gill – a Sketch of his Life, is a succinctly written biography of Gill’s faithful and productive life in the service of the gospel. Next, Editor Errol Hulse continues with John Gill – An Appreciation, presented as a review of The Life and Thought of John Gill (1697-1771), (ed. Michael Haykin). Here, Hulse ignores the facts of Gill’s own testimony to make what he calls ‘a fair assessment of the damage which emanated from his errors.’ Thus, though the book Hulse reviews chiefly depicts Gill as a great evangelist and soul-winner, his one-sided critique is centred on Gill’s supposed Hyper-Calvinism and lack of… Full Article

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