Ecclesia Reformanda 2.2

This year’s second issue of Ecclesia Reformanda includes:

  • John Frame, “Review of Michael Horton, Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church, Part 2″
  • Simon Wakeling, “The Minor Prophets as a Unity Developing Theodicy”
  • Neil Jeffers, “Reformed Defences of God’s Righteousness in Ordaining the Fall”

Ecclesia Reformanda 1.2

The second issue of Ecclesia Reformanda is almost finished. This issue includes:

“‘And Their Children After Them’: A Response to Reformed Baptist Readings of Jeremiah’s New Covenant Promises,” by Neil G. T. Jeffers

Journal’s Abstract: The promise of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34 is a key text in the infant baptism debate. For Baptists, it describes the discontinuity between Old and New Covenants, highlighting in particular the individual, unbreakable, more subjective nature of the new. While paedobaptists often respond defensively, Jeremiah 32:37-41, where this promise is echoed with the important addition ‘for their own good and the good of their children after them’, suggests the Old Covenant principle of family solidarity may remain in place. This article re-examines the Baptist argument, and suggests closer exegesis shows that even Jeremiah 31 still includes children in the New Covenant.

“An Intertextual Analysis of Romans 2:1–16,” by Paul White

Journal’s Abstract: We contend that Paul consciously alludes to Deut. 9-10; 29-30 and to Jer. 31:30-34 in Rom. 2:1-16. These allusions shape and inform Paul’s discourse and, therefore, provide a new approach to old exegetical questions, such as, the rhetorical nature of vv. 6-11 and whether vv. 13-16 refer to ‘Gentile Christians’. On the basis of our intertextual approach we assert that: (1) Romans 2 is essentially covenantal in concern, (2) vv. 6-11 are not hypothetical, and (3) vv. 13-16 refer to ‘Gentile Christians’.

“What the Bible Says, God Says: B. B. Warfield’s Doctrine of Scripture,” by Marc Lloyd

Journal’s Abstract: B. B. Warfield’s writings continue to provide a highly influential Reformed Evangelical doctrine of Scripture that is faithful to the historic Christian view of the Bible. Warfield seeks to present the Bible’s own doctrine of Scripture. His conviction that what the Bible says, God says is grounded on the plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture which guarantees its inerrancy. Particular consideration is given to the mode of inspiration and the humanity of the Bible. Following the Westminster divines, Warfield argues for the necessity, clarity, sufficiency, preservation and translation of Scripture. The Bible mediates relationship with Christ and is God speaking to the believer.

“Trinitarian Telos: Tracing Some Theological Links from God’s Triunity to Christian Eschatology,” by David Batchelor

Journal’s Abstract: Drawing on the work of Peter Leithart and Robert Jenson, this article demonstrates that Christian eschatology is inescapably founded on the doctrine of God’s triunity. The basis for many of the ‘systems’ used by Christian eschatology is found antecedently within the triunity of God’s being. The divine activity within the economy by which creation is being directed towards its glorious climax is trinitarian at every turn, as is the shape of God’s ultimate end-goal for creation – permanently differentiated (triune and human) persons united in love within the Totus Christus, by which the saints participate in the triune Life.

Book Reviews

HT: Ros Clarke

New Journal

[Update: As of 27 October 2017, the Ecclesia Reformanda website appears no longer to be available.]

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.

Book Reviews