I approached this book with hope. The question ‘Who are these guys?’ appears on the back cover. To have a book that answers this question for those looking at the Reformed faith from other Christian backgrounds is laudable.
My first read continued to give hope that this would be a book for them, and also to those within Reformed churches who need to learn more about the basis of their faith.
I initially thought too that the Americanisms used by the author could be overlooked and I even thought I could pass over the omission of the 39 Articles from among the confessions of faith mentioned!
However, considering further, I realised that this could not be a book I would suggest to those from ‘outside’. I might well give it to some pastors I know, who I think ought to know more about the Reformed faith. I would expect them to have a greater understanding of theology in the first place – and so the frequent references to various ‘confessions of faith’ would come more easily, as should the effort needed to get into this book.
But I think that for the majority of those coming from outside the conservative evangelical spectrum, this book asks too much. Yes, it is an accurate synopsis of Reformed belief; yes, it is faithful to the gospel. But no, I do not think it achieves its aim of presenting a ‘clear, insightful, and accessible introduction to the beliefs, practice, and worship of Reformed Churches’ – certainly not for those ‘encountering this new world for the first time’.
I would, however, agree that it is a useful ‘primer for those who want to know more about their Reformed heritage’.