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Authentic Calvinism?

November 2015 | Review by Paul Mackrell
  • Publisher: Westminster Conference 2014
  • Pages: 120
  • Price: 7.50

Book Review

The annual Westminster Conference maintains a reputation for producing authoritative and penetrating papers that keep Reformed, biblical Christianity in touch with its past. Six papers delivered by six authors over the course of two days are published. This booklet represents last year’s offering.

The authors are sometimes historians or academics, but more commonly ordinary ministers with a particular interest in a historical character or period of history. The amount of research behind each paper is invariably impressive.

The idea of papers being read may not thrill all, but there is a solid tradition of drawing out important lessons for today. We may seem regrettably removed from the Puritan era, but there are always vital aspects of application from that time for us to absorb.

Each speaker is fully aware that his responsibilities go beyond providing an erudite treatise of historical interest to a minority. Additionally, there is always something to warm the heart when the lid is opened on the lives and times of believers who might otherwise be forgotten.

Last year’s papers dealt with a number of issues. Stephen Clark spoke of the unusual attitude of men like George Whitefield, John Wesley and Howell Harris towards marriage. This was because of the rather unexpected and unbiblical way they separated out spirituality from everyday life on earth.

Adrian Brake spoke of Thomas Charles of Bala, and Andrew Davies addressed the unique characteristics and history of Calvinistic Methodism, in which Thomas Charles was so instrumental in Wales.

Mark Jones covered some of the past tensions between antinomianism and the orthodox Reformed position (the latter viewing the moral law as a way of life, but not the way to life). Robert Strivens delved into the life and voluminous works of Richard Baxter, and Andrew Young looked at the international aspect of John Knox’s life.

To buy a copy please email [email protected]

Paul Mackrell


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