A new journal for British, Reformed theology has just launched, Ecclesia Reformanda. Ros Clarke, a fellow PhD student from our days at Westminster who is now sitting under Jamie Grant at the University of the Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute, is the book review editor.
The journal is “committed to the ecumenical creeds, and to historic Reformed theology. . . . This is no mere idiosyncrasy, but stems from the journal’s desire to be faithful to Scripture: it is the firm belief of the editorial board that Reformed theology has value precisely because it is the most biblical theology” (editorial 1.1).
The journal intends to cover theology and various sub-disciplines. The first issue’s table of contents is:
The Maximalist Hermeneutics of James B. Jordan by R. S. Clarke
- James B. Jordan’s maximalist hermeneutic seeks to read the Bible in a way that allows the depth and richness of its meaning to be discerned. The relationship between special and general revelation is important, as the world teaches us how to understand the Bible, and the Bible shows us how to interpret the world. The reader of the Bible should learn to be sensitive to all its literary tropes, in particular its rich symbolism and typology. Controls on this maximalist hermeneutic are not found in externally imposed rules but in theological and ecclesiastical traditions which themselves derive from the Bible.
The Poetry of Wisdom: A Note on James 3:6 by Sarah-Jane Austin
- James 3.6 presents complex exegetical difficulties and is often declared textually corrupt. However, since James was probably influenced by Hebrew wisdom literature, and since this is typically poetic, a consideration of Hebrew poetic parallelism may help to make sense of the text as it stands. Viewed in the light of Berlin’s analysis of parallelism, James 3.1-12 is particularly rich in poetic devices, and this suggests that in 3.6 poetic function overrides the requirements of normal syntax. A reading is proposed which arranges the verse in three balanced couplets and situates it in the overlap of two major groups of metaphors.
John Owen’s Doctrine of Union with Christ in Relation to His Contributions to Seventeenth Century Debates Concerning Eternal Justification by Matthew W. Mason
- In 1649, Richard Baxter accused John Owen of teaching eternal justification, whereby the elect are justified from eternity, rather than when they believe in Christ. More recently, Hans Boersma has also argued that Owen taught justification prior to faith. Through an historical examination of Owen’s doctrines of justification and union with Christ, I demonstrate that he distinguishes various types of union with Christ: decretal, forensic, and mystical. He is thus able to maintain a mainstream Reformed Orthodox doctrine of justification by faith, whilst also maintaining that faith is a gift of God, purchased by Christ, and applied through Christ.
Thinking Like a Christian: The Prolegomena of Herman Bavinck by Matthew Roberts
- This article outlines the main contours of Herman Bavinck’s Prolegomena. Bavinck’s insight was that theological method must be grounded in the substance of theology itself, specifically in its Trinitarian and covenantal aspects. Theology is to be understood as a critical part of the image of God, as he is reflected in the believing consciousness of men in the Church, in response to God’s revelation in Christ. This concept is tightly integrated with Bavinck’s central understanding of the gospel as God fulfilling his creation design in Christ. In this way Bavinck derives a robustly Christian account of knowledge and certainty.
- Thomas R. Schreiner and Shawn D. Wright, eds., Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ, reviewed by Neil Jeffers
- Peter J. Leithart, The Baptized Body, reviewed by Martyn Cowan
- David G. Firth and Jamie A. Grant, eds., Words & the Word: Explorations in Biblical Interpretation and Literary Theory, reviewed by Sarah-Jane Austin
- Daniel J. Treier, Introducing Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Recovering a Christian Practice, reviewed by Michael Francis
- Peter J. Leithart, 1 & 2 Kings, reviewed by Alastair Roberts
- Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, reviewed by Pete Jackson
- Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson, Is Christianity Good for the World?, reviewed by Marc Lloyd
- Tim Chester, You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behaviour and Negative Emotions, reviewed by Glenn B. Nesbitt
- John Flavel, Impure Lust, reviewed by Martyn Cowan