Book Review - I Believe
Reformed Free Publishing Association
The following review was written by Ken Vink on the book I Believe: Sermons on the Apostles' Creed by Herman Hoeksema (Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing, 2012). This review was originally published in the September 2023 issue of The Grandville Gleaner.
This recent RFPA publication is a collection of 38 radio sermons delivered on the Reformed Witness Hour by Rev. Herman Hoeksema in the years 1951, 1952, 1954, and 1955. Each sermon was verbally delivered in about 20 minutes. The printed text comprises about 7 pages for each sermon. Due to their length, these sermons could well be used as devotional material.
The 12 articles of the Creed are short and concise, comprising only 110 words. The author used 110,000 words in this volume to expand and explain the creed. He often states that he could say much more but is limited by time. The author generally uses three sermons to develop each article.
The Apostles' Creed is a personal document. Note that it begins with the words "I believe."
The author treats it as such and applies it as to its meaning and importance to the Christian life. Explaining some of the concepts and terms in the Creed is not without difficulty. More than once, the author meets this challenge saying that it is very difficult to explain this, but I will do my best. He then goes on to layout the meaning with precision and care, often using examples. He quotes extensively from Scripture to substantiate his points.
The editor has added two radio sermons to this collection as Appendices. Both are significant. While not strictly included in the author's series on the Apostles' Creed, these two additional sermons address topics in the Creed. The first is Conceived by the Holy Ghost which explains importance of the virgin birth. The author also explains his view that the genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 are that of Mary and not of Joseph as often assumed. The second addition, The Power of His Resurrection, struck me one of the most powerful and meaningful sermons contained in the book. In it, the author applies the power of the resurrection to the Christian life.
Rev. Hoeksema was a powerful preacher and a learned theologian. He directed his preaching and writing to those in the pew. He did not use overly long sentences, mysterious theological terms or sprinkle his writing and preaching with huge multi-syllable words.
The author's work continues to live on in his writing. This volume is a worthy addition to his published works.
I would like to conclude this brief review on a personal note. Growing up, Rev. H. Hoeksema was my pastor (along with Revs. De Wolf and C. Hanko). In fact, Rev. Hoeksema attended our wedding in 1963.
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