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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
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"With knowledge, wit, and clarity, Carl Trueman brings key insights from the Reformation on Christ, Scripture, and our appropriation of both to bear on the life of the modern evangelical church."
Michael Lawrence, Senior Pastor, Hinson Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon
Carl R. Trueman examines the origins of contemporary Reformed theology in the Reformation world of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After tracing how this heritage shaped and transformed the intervening period, he then describes some of the major challenges being faced by the evangelical church at the present time and suggests ways of responding which remain faithful to the Scriptures and the theology of the Reformers drawn from it and points towards a future that embraces and disseminates these wonderful doctrines of grace.
Carl Trueman is the Paul Woolley Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has contributed to the Dictionary of Historical Theology, the Dictionary of National Biography, The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology and the Blackwell Companion to Modern Theology.
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"Dr Trueman calls us to build on the work of Reformers by a continuing reformation of the church under the Word; especially with regard to the cross of the Christ, the written and preached Word, and thirdly, the assurance of salvation..."
Eryl Davies, Head of Research, Wales Evangelical School of Theology, Bridgend, Wales
"This fine book should be required reading for all Christians-and especially for those who doubt whether the Protestant Reformation has anything left to say to us in our day... Along the way, he scatters nugget after nugget of insight into what is core to the Reformation legacy, motivating his readers to embrace this core again."
Mark R. Talbot, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois
"A great introduction to the present-day meaning of this world-changing event."
Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
"Carl Trueman's Reformation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is a needed corrective and powerful antidote for the spiritual anemia that has infected our chapter of church history."
Rick Holland, Senior Pastor, Mission Road Bible Church, Kansas City, Kansas
A very detailed and thought-provoking work, which will have you thinking about the practices of your church today. The author shows how the teachings of the 16th century Reformers are still relevant for us today, in that although our culture may be vastly different from theirs, the message of God revealing Himself in Christ is still the need of the hour. The author also goes on to show the importance of the preaching of the Bible as God's Word for today. Finally, he concludes with a chapter on assurance for the Christian, based on the teaching of the Bible, rather than on legalistic teaching or personal feelings and experiences. Highly recommended, and containing much timely teaching for the evangelical church today
Posted by Andrew Young, Fraserburgh at 14:17 on Saturday 08 August 2015
There is no question that Carl Trueman is an exceptionally gifted writer and this little book ably displays three aspects of that gift in particular. First, he is able to concisely and cogently cover a great deal of ground and yet do so in a way that gives the reader a real knowledge of his subject and insight into it. Secondly, and even more importantly, in my view, is his ability to make penetrating observations about present day situations and weaknesses within the Christian scene and then speak into them by applying biblical and historical lessons and principles. Third is his non-partisan spirit, as he graciously levels criticisms at 'friend' and 'foe' alike.
In the first of his four chapters, Trueman takes us back to the 16th and 17th centuries, setting the events surrounding the Reformation in their historical and spiritual context. This is not dry and arid history but a vital reminder of the real nature of and reasons for those events that still have a profound influence on the church and on the world today. The author shows how the Reformation was, above all else, not primarily an attempt to change ecclesiastical structures but "to place God as he has revealed himself in Christ at the centre of the church's life and thought" and therein, according to Trueman, lies the usefulness and relevance of Reformation theology to us today.
In each of the next three chapters, Trueman focuses on a different aspect of Reformation theology and how we need to 'revisit' it and apply it to today's situation. He begins with the church's emphasis on the person and work of Christ and shows how, in particular, Luther's "theology of the cross" is at variance with the present popular, triumphalist, "theology of glory" which sidelines and downplays suffering. Says Trueman, "The Christian expectations centre on the cross and involve an acceptance, if not the willing embrace, of the suffering, weakness and marginalisation which inevitably come to those who follow in the footsteps of the Master." He elaborates how this emphasis needs to be redressed, especially in the life of the church and not least in preaching.
Trueman's second focus is on the Scripture. The Reformation was, he writes, "above all a movement of the Word - incarnate in Christ and written down in the Scriptures." He calls for a high view of the Bible and of the preaching and teaching of the Bible and has helpful and apposite things to say about the responsibilities, task and the training and preparation of ministers.
Thirdly, Trueman turns his sights on the subject of assurance. This was the chapter I had to take more time to work through to make sure I followed his arguments, but it is a vitally important issue for these days. Trueman clearly shows how the subject of assurance is inextricably linked to one of the core issues of the Reformation, that of justification by faith alone. He warns against the "legalists" and the "emotional highfliers" who both err by "placing their emphasis ultimately on their own experience" whereas the Reformers followed the biblical teaching that assurance "arose from the perception that God was both trustworthy and that his promise to save was, in an important sense, unconditional." The need today is to return to a preaching that is centred on God, places biblical history high on the agenda and which culminates in Christ.
The church today, 'reformed', 'evangelical' or whatever other labels it claims, needs to hear and act on what Trueman lays out in this excellent and highly commended book.
Posted by John Brand, Principal, Faith Mission Bible College, Edinburgh at 18:45 on Thursday 04 August 2011