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Book Review - I Believe: Sermons on the Apostles' Creed

Book Review - I Believe: Sermons on the Apostles' Creed

The following review was written January 25, 2024, by John Tipton on the book I Believe: Sermons on the Apostles' Creed by Herman Hoeksema (Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing, 2023).

 

Thanks to the RFPA for sending me a copy of I Believe: Sermons on the Apostles’ Creed by Herman Hoeksema.

Last week, I attended a Ligonier conference on creeds, confessions, and doctrine. I could not help comparing this book to the conference. The title of the book is I Believe. The conference, too, was centered around the Apostles' Creed. The book was far more detailed, but to be fair, the conference was just a day and a half, and Robert Godfrey was not there to balance things with a Dutch reformed flavor.

After reading the book and taking notes on each chapter, I wish that I could have been present for the live sermons.

My favorite chapter was Chapter 3, "The Lord Of All." God is the Lord over man according to Proverbs 21:1. All things are controlled by him. The church glorifies the Lord of all with one accord (Acts 4:24-28), “to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council determined before to be done” (Acts 4:28). Even what happened to Jesus on Earth was only through "the determinate council of God" (Acts 2:23).

Chapters 4-30 center on the person and work of Jesus. The historical consideration of the person and work of Jesus is well-developed. Chapter 12 emphasizes the active suffering of Jesus for his sheep (John 10:11). Chapter 24 deals with Christ ascended into heaven as our glorified priest. Indeed, we have an advocate with the Father. Though we fight against sin within and without, we have been delivered from the dominion of sin to seek the things above, to seek to please him.

In this section, my favorite chapter was Chapter 17, "Reconciled to God." As Hoeksema notes, the gospel proclaims reconciliation, not as a possibility, but as an accomplished fact. The elect are translated from a state of enmity to a state of favor. The elect are surely reconciled once and forever.

Chapter 31 on the Holy Ghost states that the work of creation as well as the work of providence is ascribed to him (Gen. 1:2; Psalm 33:6). Together with the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is the author of our salvation.

Chapters 33 and 34 deal with an holy catholic church. The members are not determined by the will of man, but by the sovereign determination of God. Here, Hoeksema quotes from the Canons of Dordrecht: "that some receive the gift of faith from God, and others do not receive it, proceeds from God’s eternal decree."

Chapter 36 emphasizes that God did not change. The change is in us. Before the foundation of the world, God beheld his people redeemed and forgiven.

The book ends with a chapter on eternal life. The essence of eternal life is true knowledge of God (John 17:3), which is a gift of God (John 6:23). This is theology in the highest sense of the word.

We confess the Apostles’ Creed regularly in the liturgy of my PCA church in Atlanta. We confess that we believe in the Father almighty, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. We confess the forgiveness of sins. We confess that we believe in eternal life. Yet, this book has given me an even deeper appreciation for the creed. It is a source to which I will return in preparation for worship.

 

Click the image or this link to order the book reviewed in this post!






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