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The Quest for Full Assurance: The Legacy of Calvin and His Successors (Beeke)

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SKU:
9780851517452
Author:
Publisher:
Reformation Heritage Books
Pages:
395
Binding:
Paperback


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Product Description

Joel R. Beeke analyzes the doctrine of assurance of faith in the theology of Calvin and the Reformed tradition after him. His conclusion is that Calvin and post-Reformation Reformed theologians substantially share the teaching on assurance, differing only in matters of degree. Therefore, the teachings of 17th century Reformed theology, as characterized in chapter 18 of the Westminster Confession of Faith, is an advancement of the 16th century Reformers rather than a departure. Beeke deals with English Puritanism, and well as its Dutch counterpart known as the Nadere Reformatie (Second or Further Reformation). 

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction

Part One: Assurance Prior to the Westminster Assembly

2. The Early and Medieval Church

3. The Reformation From Luther to Bullinger

            Martin Luther

            Philip Melanchthon

            Huldrych Zwingli

            Heinrich Bullinger

4. Reformed Development in Calvin and Beza

            John Calvin

                        Nature and Definition of Faith

                        Assurance of the Essence of Faith

                        Qualifying Statements

                        Making Sense of Apparent Contradictions

                                    Faith and Experience

                                    Flesh versus Spirit

                                    Germ of Faith versus Consciousness of Faith

                                    Trinitarian Framework

                        The Practical Syllogism

            Theodore Beza

                        Comparison with Calvin

                        The Grounds of Assurance

5. The Fathers of English Puritanism and the Dutch Second Reformation

            William Perkins

                        Structuring Principles

                        The Grounds of Assurance

                        Conversion’s Steps

                                    Step #1: Humiliation

                                    Step #2: Faith in Christ

                                    Step #3-4: Repentance and New Obedience

            William Teellinck

                        Assurance by Faith Working Through Love

                        Assurance by the Promises of God

                        Assurance by the Immediate Witness of the Holy Spirit

Part Two: Assurance From the Westminster Assembly to Alexander Comrie

6. English Puritanism and the Westminster Confession, Chapter 18

            Puritan Thought on Assurance by the 1640s

            18.1: Threefold Possibility

                        False Assurance

                        True Assurance

                        Lacking the Consciousness of Assurance

            18.2: The Foundations of Personal Assurance

                        Divine Promises in Christ

                        Inward Evidences of Saving Grace

                                    The Seat of Assurance: Christ’s Internal Presence

                                    The Method of Assurance

                        The Witnessing Testimony of the Spirit

            18.3: The Cultivation of Assurance

                        The Organic Relation of Faith to Assurance

                        The Time Element in Faith’s Maturation

                        The Means of Attaining Assurance

                        The Duty of Seeking Assurance

                        The Fruit of Assurance

            18.4: Assurance Lost and Renewed

                        The Causes of an ‘Unreachable’ Assurance

                                    Causes in the Believer: Sin and Backsliding

                                    Causes in God: Withdrawing and ‘Tempting’

                        The Revival of Assurance

7. John Owen

            Two Short Catechism (1645)

            The Doctrine of the Saint’s Perseverance (1654)

                        Polemical Response to John Goodwin

                        Setting the Stage for Elaboration on Assurance

            Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

                        Communion with the Father: Love

                        Communion with the Son: Grace,

                                    Conjugal Relationship

                                    Adoption

                        Communion with the Spirit: Comfort

                                    Witnessing in the Court of Conscience

                                    The Believer’s ‘Earnest’

            The Savoy Declaration of Faith and Order

            An Exposition upon Psalm 130

                        Personal Crises

                        Enlargement Upon the Westminster Confession

                                    The Attainability of Assurance

                                    Assurance Normative but not Common

                                    How Assurance is Obtained

                                    Retaining, Renewing, and Improving Assurance

            Pneumatologia: A Discourse on the Holy Spirit

                        The Sealing of the Spirit

                        The Unction of the Spirit

            The Doctrine of Justification by Faith

            An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebews

8. Alexander Comrie

            Historical and Biographical Context

            Saving Faith

                        The Habit and Act of Faith

                        Unity and Oneness (eenheid) of Faith

                        Three Faculties of Faith

                                    Spiritual Knowledge

                                    Spiritual Assent

                                    Spiritual Trust

            Assurance of Faith

                        The Direct and Reflex Acts of Faith

                        Assurance of the Uprightness of Faith and of Adoption

                        Assurance of Faith and Assurance of Sense

                        Conditional and Unconditional Promises

            Faith and Justification

Part Three: Comparison of English Puritanism and the Dutch Second Reformation on Assurance

            9. Thomas Goodwin: The Merging of English-Dutch Thinking of Assurance

                        Goodwin and Owen             

                                    Spiritual Experience and Dutch Influence

                                    Faith’s Relation to Assurance

                                    Assurance and Knowledge of the Divine Persons

                                    Discursive and Intuitive Assurance

                        Goodwin and Comrie

            10. Conclusion

            Appendix: The Dutch Second Reformation

                        The Term Nadere Reformatie

                        The Essence of the Dutch Second Reformation

                        Assessment in Secondary Sources 

Author 

Joel R. Beeke (PhD, Westminster Seminary) is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan; editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth; editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books; and a prolific author.

 

Endorsements

“The first extensive essay on this important topic to appear in the English language…[it offers a positive] historical assessment of the internal development of post-Reformation Reformed theology.” – Richard A. Muller, Calvin Theological Seminary

“A long-needed and outstanding work on the subject of assurance…of permanent importance for preachers and students.” – Iain H. Murray, Edinburgh

“Of great significance…is Dr. Beeke’s recognition that the development of classic Reformed thinking in the Puritan period was in fact an advance in its Trinitarian character…a valuable study in pastoral theology.” – Sinclair B. Ferguson, St. George’s – Tron, Glasgow 

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