Subscribe now

Review

The Power of God for Salvation — papers read at the 2015 Westminster Conference

November 2016 | Review by Austin Walker
  • Publisher: The Westminster Conference
  • Pages: 118
  • Price: 7.50

Book Review

In December 2015, I attended the Westminster Conference in London where these papers were first given. The six papers cover five significant men from a period of over three centuries. They include Desiderius Erasmus (c.1466–1536), John Owen (1616–1683), Isaac Watts (1674–1748), Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) and Andrew Fuller (1754–1815).

The papers cover a variety of subjects. Peter Hallihan, dealing with Erasmus, emphasises that the Dutchman should be remembered for his Greek New Testament and his insistence that theologians and preachers must begin with the Greek text in order to determine the meaning of Scripture.

John Owen merits the attention of both David Pfeiffer and Crawford Gribben. The former traces Owen’s arguments for a definite atonement and free offer of the gospel. He also deals with the vexed question of whether God really desires the salvation of the non-elect.

In the second paper, Gribben explores the changes in Owen’s eschatology. Owen interpreted the Scriptures against a backdrop of great political and religious change in seventeenth-century England. The Civil War, protectorate of Oliver Cromwell and restoration of Charles II occurred during Owen’s lifetime.

Rather than considering the hymns of Isaac Watts, Benedict Bird focuses attention on his book, A guide to prayer. He helpfully suggests that we can learn from Watts about prayer for the churches and our families, and our own private devotions.

Paul Helm provides a critical assessment of one of Jonathan Edwards’ principal works, The religious affections. In affirming that true religion largely consists in the affections, Edwards (Helm asserts) was overstating his case.

Finally, Jeremy Walker holds out Andrew Fuller as a faithful, model pastor. He considers his pastoral theology and shows how Fuller went to Scripture for both his message and his models.

There are just over 100 pages in this slim volume. The papers do not need to be read at one sitting, nor in the book’s order. All six make for informative and fascinating reading. Why not discover some church history by using these papers?

Austin Walker

Crawley

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Christian and Technology
John V. Fesko

Even the most hardened Luddite will find himself using a satnav, mobile phone, or email on occasion. But John Fesko urges us not to reach for the latest gadget without thinking carefully about how it might shape our minds, relationships,…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Christ Victorious: Selected Writings of Hugh Martin
Hugh Martin

Hugh Martin (1822–1885) was one of those 19th century Scottish theologians whose published works have stood the test of time. With good reason, for his works are consistently sound, reverent, edifying, and challenging to mind and heart. This is a…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
God’s design for women in an age of gender confusion
Sharon James

Is our belief in male headship culturally outdated, and should we see alternative ideas of marriage as ‘progress’? Is it possible to be born into the wrong body, and is sexual freedom good for women? Does Scripture show us a…

Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Owen Strachan

These three punchy books address pressing issues: what the Bible teaches about lust (on desire), about homosexuality (on Biblical sexuality) and about transgenderism (on identity). The trilogy approach keeps each book short and focused while dovetailing effectively. Each book has…