From the Editor. I was reminded recently of the pastoral focus of post-Reformation theologians by Petrus Van Mastricht’s (1630–1706) Theoretical-Practical Theology. The very title demonstrates the emphasis that theology is eminently practical: living unto God through Christ. The vital connection between theology and the church, signifying the academy’s service to the church, is especially evident by the fact that Van Mastricht begins his systematic theology with a brief but powerful homiletical treatise, “The Best Method of Preaching.” So now think of your theology as the foundation for your ministry of the Word for the church.
R. Scott Clark accents this emphasis in his article, “The Synod of Dort: Keeping Venom from the Lips.” What was and is at stake in this confessional document, the Canons of Dort, is nothing less than the heart of the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace. The Canons of Dort were meant to protect the church from serious error and supply preachers and teachers with the biblical, Reformed response to the faulty teaching of the Remonstrants. This article should encourage the church to know this Reformed symbol better than it does. To assist in this our new Trinity Psalter Hymnal contains the Canons as one of the Three Forms of Unity, as well as the Westminster Standards.
Coordinating with this article, John R. Muether reviews W. Robert Godfrey’s Saving the Reformation: The Pastoral Theology of the Canons of Dort. Godfrey focuses on the central importance of the Canons to the health and survival of the Reformed churches of western Europe in the seventeenth century. He also demonstrates the falsity of the “Calvin vs. the Calvinists” interpretation in much twentieth-century scholarship. The doctrine and piety that informs the Canons were built squarely upon the Reformation itself.
Our new focus on the classics brings us to another new translation by David Noe: Theodore Beza’s twenty-one theses based on his lectures on the Trinity of Persons and their unity of essence. These will be presented in three parts; this month we have 1–9.
Richard M. Gamble reviews D. G. Hart’s timely new book, Still Protesting: Why the Reformation Matters. Hart demonstrates the real and important differences between Roman Catholicism and the theology of the Reformation in the areas of salvation, worship, and ecclesiology. This is especially important in light of the attraction to Rome experienced by many Evangelical and Reformed young people. As Gamble concludes, “The stakes are ultimate and the significance eternal.”
Ryan M. McGraw, reviews Albert N. Martin’s second volume of his Pastoral Theology dealing with The Man of God, His Preaching and Teaching Labors. This volume is a tour de force, dealing with almost every aspect of the preaching ministry of pastors.
Finally, don’t miss poet Mark Green’s reflections on Genesis 3:20 in his poem “Adam’s Silence.” In April, Mark treated us to the value and beauty of sacred poetry in his New Horizon’s article “Out-of-this-World Poetry.”
Blessings in the Lamb,
FROM THE ARCHIVES “ARMINIANISM, CALVINISM”
Ordained Servant exists to help encourage, inform, and equip church officers for faithful, effective, and God-glorifying ministry in the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its primary audience is ministers, elders, and deacons of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, as well as interested officers from other Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Through high-quality editorials, articles, and book reviews, we will endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic, confessional Presbyterianism.