Current Debates in Reformed Theology: Practice

Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018


EDITORIAL: DID ARMINIUS WIN?

Paul Wells - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
Some Calvinists May Not Be Convinced, But Arminius Won. We Are Of Course Talking About The Spirit Of Arminius, Who Had Been In The Tomb A Good Few Years Before His Defenders’ Remonstrant Theses Were Hotly Debated At The Synod Of Dort, Of Which This Year Marks The Fourth Centenary. Hence Some Contributions Relevant To This Theme Appear In This Issue Of Unio Cum Christo.

ON SERVING GOD IN OUR GENERATION

DAVID MCKAY - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
How are Christians to serve Christ at this point in history? We approach the question from the perspective of faith in a sovereign God, not in pessimism or defeatism. While activity is required, God’s chief concern is with being rather than doing. We ask first, “Who are we?” Identity is not self-generated but given by God. Christians are Christlike people— redeemed, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, loving, and holy. They are also a covenant community—united with the Triune God and with ...

TRANSGENDER: TRANS-ITION TO NOWHERE

PETER JONES - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
Based on Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (ESV), the apostle Paul in Romans 1:25 gives an amazingly com- plete definition of the only two ways of existing in the world: “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” I call these two ways of existing Oneism and Twoism. In Oneism, if you worship creation, you will believe that the world is self-created, self ...

SEXUALITY AND THE LOST PROLETARIAT

NOEL WEEKS - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
Original Marxism was utopian, materialistic, and determinist. All human dynamics were explained by the dialectic or conflict between capitalists and the proletariat, with the victory of the proletariat being certain. In spite of the fact that determinism eliminates responsibility, those opposing Marxism were seen as evil. Marx’s prophecy failed, and Russian communism emerged as evil and repressive. “Western” Marxism used Freudian psychology to explain the rise of fascism. It looked for ...

GENESIS 2:24 AND THE NEW COVENANT: A PROFOUND MYSTERY

COLIN HAMER - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
Ephesians 5:31–32 articulates the root metaphor of New Testament marital imagery. The profound mystery is that the “one flesh” marital affinity union of Genesis 2:24 is how the new covenant fulfills the Abrahamic promise and brings the elect of “all the nations” into union with Christ. Thus, a sensus plenior is read into Genesis 2:24 that foreshadows redemptive history.

UNIO CUM CHRISTO AND REFORMED COMPLEMENTARITY

NATALIE BRAND - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
This article highlights the reticence of the Reformed community toward spirituality, which is devastating in light of our chief end “to glorify God and enjoy him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism 1). Reformed spirituality, seemingly short of a lively biblical contemporary expression, needs to be rekindled in a way consistent with its heritage. An increased complementarian practice among the Reformed will assist in such a spiritual reanimation, in the form of a corporate Reformed ...

LESSONS FROM THE REFORMATION FOR HERMENEUTICS TODAY

HENK VAN DEN BELT - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
Recent views of the hermeneutical process, including philosophical speech-act theories, challenge Scripture’s authority and emphasize the author’s intention rather than a historical-grammatical view. Relating theological issues to philosophical views is legitimate, provided that the results do not contradict the spiritual authority of Scripture. The following hermeneutical principles of the Reformation can help maintain this adherence: 1) Scripture is the first principle and ultimate

THE THEOLOGY OF THE CANONS OF DORT: A REASSESSMENT AFTER FOUR HUNDRED YEARS

ARNOLD HUIJGEN - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
This article reassesses the value of the Canons of Dort, drafted at the Synod of Dort (1618–19). A picture with diverse shades emerges. After four hundred years, the Canons of Dort stand out when compared to the Remonstrant position for their pastoral tone, Reformed catholicity, emphasis on the efficacity of divine grace, an infralapsarian stance on the decrees of God, and their biblical character. In retrospect, however, the Canons also show theological limitations such as allowing ...

ELECTION: THE FATHER’S DECISION TO ADOPT

JASON VAN VLIET - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
The doctrine of election presents us with an intellectual challenge. The Synod of Dort maintained that, based on his sovereign good pleasure, God decided to choose some for salvation and punish others with condemnation. This truth often leaves the impression that God acted in an arbitrary or even unjust manner. The Canons of Dort, though, present the electing God as a merciful Father and frame election within the language of adoption. As the Canons shape this doctrine in this way, ...

ABUNDANT SUFFICIENCY AND INTENTIONAL EFFICACY: PARTICULAR REDEMPTION AT THE SYNOD OF DORT

LEE GATISS - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
This article looks at the background to the Synod of Dort (1618–1619) and examines the debate there on the issue of particular redemption or definite atonement, with a specific focus on the use of the classic distinction between sufficiency and efficacy made famous by Peter Lombard’s Sentences. It also looks at the variety of Reformed responses to the Remonstrants, including those on the death of Christ that might be categorized as hypothetical universalist. It calls into question ...

THE DOCUMENTS OF THE SYNOD OF DORT (1618–1619)—A NEW EDITION

DONALD SINNEMA - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
A new project is underway to produce a ten-volume critical edition of all the documents of the Synod of Dort in their original languages (Latin [eighty percent of them], Dutch, German, English, and French) as close as possible to the anniversary years 2018 and 2019. It is published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (Göttingen) and includes documents already published and those available only in manuscript. In contrast to the originally published Acta, the new edition contains the documents ...

THE PERENNITY OF ANSELM’S PROSLOGION

YANNICK IMBERT - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
The first goal of Anselm in the Proslogion is to encourage believers by demonstrating the absolute necessity of the existence of the God of the Bible. Anselm most likely succeeds as the definition of God that he adopts is faithful to the content of special revelation. Whether the argument can function as an argument for the existence of God can be doubted. In this article we look at the various aspects of the question.

PIERRE VIRET: A PASTOR AND ETHICIST FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

TIMOTHY BLOEDOW - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
Pierre Viret was a Swiss Reformation leader who worked alongside John Calvin, William Farel, and Theodore Beza, but he is less well known in the English-speaking world. Viret brought his distinctive contributions to the Protestant Reformation as a pastor and an ethicist. These contributions in life and doctrine need to be rediscovered for a more robust reformational church today. This article considers Viret’s credentials as a Reformer. It then explores various areas in which Viret ...

JOHN CALVIN AND PHILIP MELANCHTHON’S SUM OF THEOLOGY

PAUL AND ALISON WELLS - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
This preface to the French translation of Melanchthon’s Sum of Theology (Opera Omnia 9:847–50) was written by Calvin in 1546. It has been translated from the French by Alison Wells, introduced and annotated by Paul Wells. Our thanks to Paul Helm for suggesting this translation, to our knowledge the first time into English.

PURITANS ON THE FAMILY: RECENT PUBLICATIONS

JOEL R. BEEKE AND PAUL M. SMALLEY - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018
The Puritans are well known for their teachings on practical godliness, especially godliness in the family. This article reviews three selections from biblical commentaries, five portions of books, four booklets, and seven complete books by the Puritans on family life that have been reprinted recently. Full books reviewed include those by William Gouge, Richard Baxter, Daniel Rogers, Matthew Henry, George Hammond, and Dutch Further Reformation divine Jacobus Koelman. ...

INTERVIEW WITH PETER OPITZ

PETER A. LILLBACK - in Vol. 4 No. 2 / Oct 2018