When I saw this book was available for review, I could not resist! And I was not disappointed.
The book begins with the historical background of what was happening during the time of the Westminster Assembly – which produced the Confession and Catechisms. Context is important as these things do not happen in a vacuum and part of understanding the Standards involves knowing what was going on during that time.
It then dives in and starts doing commentary on the Confession. Starting with the treatment of the doctrine of Scripture, then of God and the decree, spending a great deal of time on the doctrine of predestination. Then the covenants are discussed – the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. In each chapter, this book basically gives commentary on the Confession and Catechisms and what they meant in the context of what was happening historically and theologically at the time of the Assembly. Some of the way things are worded has much to do with beliefs they were countering, particularly in regards to what the Roman Catholic church was teaching.
In addition to commentary on the actual Confession and Catechisms, this book provides some insight into the debates that went on during the course of the Assembly. Not everyone at the Assembly agreed on every doctrine and sometimes what was put down was worded in such a way as to cover more than one view on a particular issue. Notes from the Assembly and even a journal of one of the attendees lend insight into behind the scenes discussions on particular topics. This book contains very fascinating information and also provides what different theologians at the time believed on different doctrines.
I did find some of the book and subject matter a bit over my head in being academic. The average reader might find it difficult to get through. But for theologians and scholars, avid readers of church history and theology, this book is a wonderful commentary on the background and details of the Westminster Standards. I have some friends in mind who I think would really enjoy it!
“The Confession’s opening chapter identifies the well from which all doctrine is drawn, and this reflects one of the chief tenets of the Reformation’s principle of sola Scriptura. Scripture alone is the sole arbiter of Christian faith and practice in the church.”
“…summarizes the early modern Reformed doctrine of Scripture, codifying key doctrinal principles such as the analogy of Scripture, the limits of the canon of Scripture, the sufficiency of Scripture, and the vital importance of good and necessary consequences.”
*I received a copy of this book free on Kindle from the publisher in exchange for my review.