The Belgic Confession: A Commentary, Volumes I–II by David J. Engelsma. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2018–19. 348 and 382 pages. Reviewed by Dr. H. David Schuringa, a reformed theologian living in West Michigan (as reviewed in the July 24, 2019 issue of Christian Renewal).
The publishing of Dr. David Engelsma’s two-volume commentary on the Belgic Confession is a welcome event due not only to its meaty content but also to meager current resources. The historic confession comprises a complete dogmatics in its own right as it follows the usual outline of the loci with the doctrines of the Word, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Ecclesiology and Eschatology.
Engelsma maintains, however, that though the confession is doctrinal and systematic, it is not a systematic theology as such but rather, “the confession of the gospel in all its riches as this gospel is known by every illumined mind and embraced by every regenerated heart” (II:366f.). That is certainly true in large measure, which in turn makes these two volumes Engelsma’s own dogmatics of sorts. What Berkhof did for Bavinck, he does for Hoeksema.
We give to you the full Chapter 19 on Article 25: "The Abolishing of the Ceremonial Law."
Walking in the Way of Love: A Practical Commentary on 1 Corinthians for the Believer, volume 2, by Nathan J. Langerak. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2019. 544 pages, hardcover. [Reviewed by Rev. Clayton Spronk]
Rare are the biblical commentaries that provide sound theological instruction. Rarer still are the commentaries that provide sound theological instruction and helpful application to the faith and life of the church today. Even a little of both of these oft-missing ingredients would be enough to recommend a commentary to serious students of scripture. That this volume offers a feast of accurate explanations of the truth of scripture and appropriate applications means that I must highly recommend it to the reader.
IN ONE MONTH volume two of The Belgic Confession commentary will be printed, completing the two-volume set written by Professor David J. Engelsma.
We provide you with an excerpt from Chapter 17: Justification as Experience.
Justification by faith alone, without works, not only excludes works from God’s justifying act, but also from the believer’s knowledge and certainty of righteousness with God. If this were not the case, “we should always be in doubt, tossed to and fro without any certainty, and our poor consciences would be continually vexed.”
Therefore, to teach that in the end the experience and assurance of righteousness with God are realized by the sinner’s good works, or are somehow dependent upon the good works of the sinner, is the denial of justification by faith alone. In that case, faith would need the help of the sinner’s works to give the blessing of justification. Union with Christ and his work would not be enough.
IN TWO MONTHS volume two of The Belgic Confession commentary will be printed, completing the two-volume set written by Professor David J. Engelsma.
An orthodox commentary on the confession, that is, one that is in wholehearted accord with the teachings of the confession, and resolutely faithful to them, will be profitable to Reformed Christians and churches in the twenty-first century, not only for invaluable instruction in the Reformed faith, but also for the maintenance and defense of Reformed orthodoxy.
Founded on holy scripture, the Belgic Confession determines sound doctrine for Reformed churches and believers. This doctrine is rich, lovely, and powerful. The confession also authoritatively exposes contemporary heresies. As they read this commentary which proclaims the doctrine and authority of the confession, all believers who love the Reformed faith will be faithfully guided in the truth of the “old paths.”
*This review by William Hendricksen was published in the September 5, 1969 edition of The Banner.
BEHOLD, HE COMETH! by Herman Hoeksema (author) and Homer C. Hoeksema (editor and reviser), Published by Reformed Publishing Association, 1969; distributed by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503. Price: $9.95.
Truly a formidable volume with no less than seven hundred twenty-six pages, it was the last large work written by the pastor of the First Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, and has been published posthumously. The preparation for publication in book form was begun by the author and completed by his son, who not only did a splendid job of editing but also revised and expanded the exposition of Revelation 19–22.
What is the nature of this book? It is not merely a book of outlines. Neither is it a dry-as-dust exegesis without practical application. It is something far better. It is an exposition in the form of sermons or essays. In serial form the exposition appeared first in The Standard Bearer, of which Rev. Herman Hoeksema was the editor for many years. The author also twice expounded the book of Revelation in sermons. With respect to these his son writes as follows:
His sermons, of which there were two complete sets, totaling well over a hundred…were delivered with a warmth and fervor which kept a large congregation at spellbound attention Sunday after Sunday.
Behold, He Cometh! has recently been reprinted (with a new updated interior design) making this its sixth printing! First published in 1969, the RFPA has now printed 10,500 copies of this title.
Also now available in ebook format for the first time!
VOLUMES 1 & 2
READY TO GET PACKED!
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