Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Introduction to Puritan Reformed Journal

Monday, February 2, 2009, 8:50
This news item was posted in Editor's Message category.
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Reformed Confessions Harmonized with an Annotated Bibliography of Reformed Doctrinal Works brought Dr. Joel Beeke to the attention of the Hungarian Church and introduced the Hungarian theological heritage to the English-speaking Reformed community. The proposal to produce such a work and to make the Second Helvetic Confession a central feature was raised at a conference of Reformed and Presbyterian publishers in Canada which took place about the time liberation from Communism came to Erdely.

The extensive bibliography first appeared as installments in the Christian Observer and Bernie Woudenberg of the Transylvania Reformed Assistance Committee arranged a significant part of the initial financing. The massive growth of functional Calvinist ecumenism over the last two decades owes much to this book and many others which followed from Dr. Beeke’s desk.

Ministers from our community were there at the start and shared dreams of equipping the church with the tools of genuine Reform. Doctorates, seminaries, and a steady stream of books followed.

Puritan Reformed Seminary is part of this vision. The following article comes from the introduction to the inaugural volume of Puritan Reformed Journal and displays the exciting developments among Dr. Beeke’s students.

Lux Lucet in Tenebris rallied persecuted church in Scotland’s hills and motivated the refugees of the Killing Times as they came from Scotland and Ireland to the hills of Western Pennsylvania and on down the Appalachians into the heart of America.

Whether it is the Turk, the Papist, or some political movement, the shadows cast by enemies of the gospel always provoke in Reformed communities a certainty that the Light Shines in the Darkness and the best days of the church are yet to be.

Dreaming of the dawn I ask you to read the editor’s introduction. Then subscribe. For my friends this is advice. For my co-workers this is an appeal from the heart. For my students this is an assignment.

From the Editors

In his little-known study of the important contributions made by the Puritans, Donald A. Carson concluded that it is “impossible to read them without feeling the fire burn within, without being humbled by their almost fantastic grasp of Scripture and of theology” and prayed that God would again give us “such abundant fruit of superior qualities.” [1] Without claiming to be that fruit for which Dr. Carson prayed, the papers in this inaugural issue of The Puritan Reformed Journal do seek to undertake theological reflection along the very lines laid down by the Puritans, submitting to the Word of God as the final and all-sufficient source of truth about God and His salvation, and seeking to understand the many-splendored contours of the biblical witness about the Triune God in Scripture and history. As the Puritans well knew, this entails various realms of theological reflection: biblical, historical, and pastoral theology, and that jewel in the crown, systematic theology. It is the editors’ hope that, in issues to come, all of these realms of theology will be represented and help the church of Christ to increase in the knowledge of her God.

An essay by Joel Beeke provides an appropriate doorway into this inaugural issue by emphasizing our great need for a God-centered ministry. Through an exegetical analysis of 1 Corinthians 1:1-2:5, Dr. Beeke highlights the fact that such a ministry is inevitably Christological, for the great goal of all of God’s works is the glory of His Son. In a biblio-theological study on preaching Christ from the Old Testament, David Murray continues this theme of the exaltation of Christ. He rightly shows that far too much gospel preaching bypasses the Old Testament altogether, despite Christ’s own declaration that all of the Scriptures of the Old Covenant spoke of Him.

Among the most neglected Old Testament books is Leviticus—though the writer of the letter to the Hebrews uses this book extensively, Johnny Serafini, a Brazilian student at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, seeks to rectify this lacuna by examining the Levitical prohibition on consuming blood, its New Testament fulfillment, and the godly reverence that should permeate our lives because of this command. The usefulness of the Old Testament for New Testament believers also informs the article of Gerald Bilkes on Ezra’s pattern for church reformation today. We delight in being Reformed believers, but we have not arrived, and must ever search the Scriptures to know the paths God would have us take. Dr. Bilkes’s article is a great help to this end.

In the first of two studies in historical theology, Michael Haykin looks at the Scottish Confession of Faith (1560) and the Irish Articles (1615) with regard to their teaching on regeneration and faith, key issues during the Reformation era. One of the great lines of Reformed witness from the Reformation is the Huguenots, whose history is a thrilling story of great exploits for God, horrific persecution, and god’s succor of His people, great preachers, and revival. Among the most powerful of God’s servants in this French community was the nineteenth-century Calvinist Adolphe Monod (1802-1856). Antoine Theron, a South African student at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, opens up Monod’s Christology for us in an informative and insightful essay.

There are three church history studies in the present issue. First, a study of preaching in the Heidelberg Catechism by Daniel Hyde highlights not only the utterly vital role that preaching holds in this confessional document but also its importance in any worship that claims to be Reformed. Second, Randall Pederson offers a fascinating study of a little-known Puritan, Andrew Willet (1561/2-1621), and finally, we have an essay by John J. Murray on his famous namesake, John Murray, undoubtedly one of the key men responsible for the recovery of Calvinism in the latter half of the twentieth century.

If the Puritans were anything, they were preachers and pastors, and it is appropriate that this inaugural issue is rounded out with a trio of pastoralia: an examination of God-centered adult education by Joel Beeke; a meditation on ministerial pride by the Puritan Richard Baxter, who shines most brightly in his dealing with pastoral issues; and a look at pastoral counseling in the face of disease and death by Christopher Bogosh.

Please note that we have purposefully selected articles of varying levels, some being scholarly in nature, others being of a simpler and practical nature, hoping that all readers will benefit. We would love to hear from you as to how we can improve our journal, which we hope to publish twice annually. Meanwhile, if you are not a regular donor to our seminary, please send in your subscription today (regular donors will receive each issue as a complimentary gift) to ensure that you do not miss an issue.

As editors, we hope that you will be edified as you read this issue and that you will support this literary effort to glorify our great God, to whom be glory now and forever.

+ Dr. Edwin P. Elliott, Jr.

To obtain a subscription in the United States send US$ 20 to Puritan Reformed Journal, Mrs. Ann Dykema, PRJ Administrative Assistant, 2865 Leonard St., N.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49525. This is the link for purchasing the initial issue only.

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