His Mercy Endureth Forever illustrated by Kathleen DeJong And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.—Psalm 136:21, 22 "Not all illustrations of Scripture...
Rev. Martyn McGeown's book, entitledGrace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt, emphasizes the necessity, as Reformed Christians, to thoroughly understand our creeds and confessions. These creeds and confessions exhibit what heresies our fathers fought against and what they clung to with ardent zeal. We might ask what value there is in reading a book about the Canons, or we might object that the Canons, Belgic Confession, and Heidelberg Catechism are only creeds. Should we be spending our time studying these old creeds and confessions when we have big enough problems understanding our Bible? Are we not supposed to hold to sola scriptura? While these areas of concern are essential, they express a misunderstanding that we cannot learn from those who came before us. We must be careful in speaking in that way. Instead, we ought to read and listen to those who fought for the truth, seeking the truth from them. By hearing them, we will be better equipped to read God’s word through an informed outlook. So I encourage the use of this book not just for informing us of what our fathers taught, but as a means to examine what we hold to and whether we maintain the understanding of God’s word. To encourage this mindset, a brief explanation of the book is necessary.
The author’s explanation of the Canons begins with the intent, namely to expose Arminianism as erroneous from the ground up. To accomplish this purpose, our fathers had to explain many different doctrines as clearly as possible to leave no room for Arminianism to stand. Where would they begin? Would they start with the main point that Arminian fought against, i.e., reprobation? As a reading of the Canons would illustrate, they did not begin with reprobation; in fact, they did not for some time. The Canons began with who God is and who man is in relation to God. McGeown and our forefathers teach us a crucial bit of wisdom by starting with God in their explanation.
How many Christians can confidently say that they have “mastered” the art of prayer? Probably no one.
What is blessedly refreshing about Professor Hanko’s work, When You Pray, is his admission that none of us is good at prayer—including himself—yet over the years of one’s life, the author assures us, a person can make progress in praying.
Professor Hanko shares with his readers homely yet highly meaningful lessons he learned from growing up in a covenant family and covenantal church community. He also tells the specific benefits of praying to the sovereign God of the universe, who knows our sins and weaknesses but loves us still. Valuable is the professor’s clear explanation of how God can be likened to the father of an earthly family, loving and caring for his own dear children.
An eye-opening and very helpful part of his book is the author’s pinpointing of misconceptions people have about God and prayer that bar them from praying in a God-honoring way.
If you have found your devotional life to be frequently barren, reading what the author has learned the hard way—over fifty years in the ministry—will not discourage you further, but will give you a renewed desire to fellowship with your Father in prayer.