Lessons from the Reformation for Biblical Fundamentalists

Engraving. Martin Bucer at 53.

From Faith Pulpit, Fall 2014. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

One of the ironies of the Reformation is that though the Reformers had separated from the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformers attacked other groups of the time for separating from them. The Reformers had solid reasons to justify breaking the unity of Christendom in sixteenth-century Europe, mainly their proclamation of salvation by grace through faith and not of works as opposed to the works-righteousness system of the Roman Church. However, the Reformers were not willing to allow that right of separation to a third group in the Reformation, a group I call the Sectarians.

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Books of Note - Preaching? and Theology of the Reformers

Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer

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“The Word of God is the constitutive reality at the heart of the Church” (p. 18).

There are as many ideas about how to grow a church as there are books on the subject. There are books that focus on meeting felt needs, worship strategies, small groups and a myriad of other ministries that can be maximized to grow your church. However, what many of these books fail to recognize or address is that the bedrock of growing a church is the ministry of the Word through preaching.

With a biblical focus on the Word of God at the heart of a church Alec Motyer has written Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching. As the Old Testament editor for The Bible Speaks Today series, Motyer has turned his pen to writing on preaching and has written a book that addresses both the biblical-theological aspects as well as some practical issues.

The first five chapters address the nature of preaching. These chapters are exegetically grounded in various passages of Scripture. Motyer defines good preaching as that which has a “sense of being plain and unmistakable” (p. 11). Preaching that is good is to be expositional, that is, “the restatement of a Scripture” (p. 30). Motyer wants to impress upon his readers that preaching is the ground upon which the whole church grows and functions. All ministry grows out of the Word and the preaching of the Word. His exegetical work deals with many NT passages that provide us with the nature and task of faithful biblical preachers. His observation, especially of the book of Acts, is that it is the ministry of the preaching of the Word that drove the growth of the early church. Surely there were other attending contributions, like the work of the Spirit through the Word, but it was always the Word that led the way and was responded to.

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The Creation Reformation

Why should we celebrate October 31?

For hundreds of years, people of the western world have attributed spiritual significance to the last day of October and the first day of November.

But “doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1, NKJV) governed the celebration of these days during the Dark Ages, until God brought light out of this darkness through the pen and voice of a humble monk and priest—Martin Luther.

Historians date the beginning of the Protestant Reformation at the day that Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany—Oct. 31, 1517.

With the pounding of Luther’s hammer, the significance of All Hallows’ Eve was forever changed. A day dedicated to spirits, myths, superstition and fear now reminds Bible-believing Christians of faith alone, grace alone, Scripture alone, Christ alone and the glory of God.

With some similarities, many date the beginning of the modern creation-science reformation to 1961 and the publication of our 518-page volume, The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing) which I, a theologian, coauthored with Dr. Henry M. Morris, a hydraulic engineer. I thank our Lord for allowing me to have a part in this project!

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Book Review - Reformation Resources for Children

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As a parent of six young children, I am constantly looking out for Christian resources to put in their hands. The Reformation in particular, is one of the pivotal moments in church history that has been sadly neglected today. More and more authors however, are now filling this gap and providing excellent books for our children.

The Glory of Grace: The Story of the Canons of Dort

Once again William Boekestein has given us a fantastic book for children. The Glory of Grace: the Story of the Canons of Dort is his third book in a series from Reformation Heritage Books. Each book is illustrated by Evan Hughes and looks at the historical background to one of the confessional statements that make up the “Three Forms of Unity” treasured for centuries by the Reformed Church. I reviewed his book on the Heidelberg Catechism previously and was pleased to find this title lived up to my expectations.

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Book Review - Reading Scripture with the Reformers

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If there is one thing that could be said to be true across many divides is a timeless desire for renewal to something foundational within a people, group or ideology. Renewal to basic foundations and principles often times creates revival among the participants and results in the spread of the message. This is true for Christianity. Often times the thread of renewal that runs throughout Christian revival (not just evangelistic revival) is a return to sacred Scripture.

This renewed focus on Scripture is the subject of Timothy George’s new book Reading Scripture with the Reformers. In conjunction with IVP Timothy George has edited the Reformation Commentary on Scripture series which seeks provide the reader with a vast wealth of rich commentary on Scripture from the Reformation era. Reading Scripture with the Reformers provides the historical context in which these commentary selections are taken from as the Reformers exposited Scripture anew for their time and the future life of the Church.

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Book Review - Reformation Heroes for Children

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With the renewed interest today in the Reformation, its history and theology, it is not surprising to find more and more books written for children that highlight some of the heroes and heroines of that era. What follows are two brief reviews of recent books devoted to lesser-known Reformation-era figures.

The Quest for Comfort: The Story of The Heidelberg Catechism

Growing up, I was introduced to a wide assortment of “heroes of the Christian faith.” But most of them were Americans—pastors, or presidents, or missionaries—and most were from the last two hundred years. As an adult, I came to a deeper appreciation of the Reformation, and I learned about a whole era of church history that was to some degree overlooked in my education. I now appreciate men like John Calvin and Martin Luther for their courage and tenacity, their faith and piety. As I continue to study the Reformation, it’s lesser-known figures are also catching my eye. The work of men whom history has almost entirely forgotten continues down to this day in such influential church documents as the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Heidelberg Catechism.

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