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Reformed Systematic Theology, Volume 4: Church and Last Things (Beeke & Smalley)

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Reformed Systematic Theology explores key Scripture topics from biblical, doctrinal, experiential, and practical perspectives, helping readers grow in their understanding and application of the truth presented in God’s Word. Written by Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley, each volume presents a comprehensive yet accessible study of the Reformed Christian faith that ministers to the whole person―head, heart, and hands.

The final volume, Church and Last Things, unpacks important topics around ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church) and eschatology (the doctrine of last things), including the biblical significance of church membership, Jesus’s model for the church, and 7 practical lessons from Revelation. A set of all 4 Reformed Systematic Theology volumes is also available.



Part 6: Ecclesiology: The Doctrine of the Church

Analytical Outline: Ecclesiology

Section A: The Doctrine of the Church’s Nature

Chapter 1: Introduction to Ecclesiology
Chapter 2: Biblical Terms and Biblical Theology of the Church
Chapter 3: Biblical Metaphors for the Church
Chapter 4: Systematic Theology of the Church’s Nature
Chapter 5: Christ’s Teaching about the Christian Church
Chapter 6: Attributes and Marks of the Christian Church
Chapter 7: Membership in the Church

Section B: The Doctrine of the Church’s Authority and Work

Chapter 8: Biblical Structures of Church Government
Excursus: Other Forms of Church Government
Chapter 9: Church Officers, Part 1: Introduction and Elders
Chapter 10: Church Officers, Part 2: Ministers of the Word
Chapter 11: Church Officers, Part 3: The Faithfulness of God’s Ministers
Excursus: Theological Professors or Doctors of Theology
Chapter 12: Church Officers, Part 4: Deacons, Women in Office, and Applications
Chapter 13: Churches in Their Broader Relationships
Chapter 14: The Civil Government and Its Relationship to the Church
Chapter 15: The Work of the Church, Part 1: The Worship of God
Chapter 16: The Work of the Church, Part 2: Edification and Evangelism

Section C: The Doctrine of the Church’s Means of Grace

Chapter 17: Introduction to the Public Means of Grace
Chapter 18: The Preaching and Teaching of God’s Word
Chapter 19: Baptism, Part 1: Meaning, Necessity, Benefits, and Practical Directions
Chapter 20: Baptism, Part 2: Subjects and Modes
Chapter 21: The Lord’s Supper, Part 1: Institution and Christ’s Presence
Chapter 22: The Lord’s Supper, Part 2: Benefits and Practical Directions
Chapter 23: Corporate Prayer and Singing of Praises
Chapter 24: Fellowship and Discipline in the Communion of the Saints
Chapter 25: Practical Conclusion to Ecclesiology: The Reformation of the Church
Part 7: Eschatology: The Doctrine of Last Things 

Analytical Outline: Eschatology
Section A: Preliminary and Special Issues in Eschatology

Chapter 26: Introduction to Eschatology
Chapter 27: The Structure of Inaugurated Eschatology
Excursus: The Eschatological Error of Prosperity Theology
Chapter 28: Bodily Death and the Soul after Death, Part 1: Biblical Teaching and Application
Chapter 29: Bodily Death and the Soul after Death, Part 2: Errors and Experiential Guidance
Chapter 30: Signs and the Man of Sin
Chapter 31: The Interpretation of the Book of Revelation
Chapter 32: Dispensationalism and the Future of Ethnic Israel
Chapter 33: The Millennium and Expectations for the Church
Excursus: Variety and Continuity in the History of Millennial Views
Section B: The Doctrine of Hope in Christ Alone

Chapter 34: The Coming of Christ in Glory
Chapter 35: The Resurrection of the Dead
Chapter 36: The Day of Judgment, Part 1: Introduction to the Day of Christ
Chapter 37: The Day of Judgment, Part 2: Proceedings of the Final Judgment
Chapter 38: Eternal Damnation in Hell, Part 1: Biblical Teaching
Chapter 39: Eternal Damnation in Hell, Part 2: Objections and Applications
Chapter 40: Eternal Life with God in Christ, Part 1: Divine Love and Glory
Chapter 41: Eternal Life with God in Christ, Part 2: Friendship, Rest, Service
Chapter 42: A Brief Practical Conclusion to Eschatology and Systematic Theology
Appendix: A Reformed Baptist Perspective on the Subjects and Mode of Baptism


With volume 4 of Reformed Systematic Theology, Joel Beeke and his faithful theological Barnabas, Paul Smalley, bring to completion their remarkable gift to the church—not only in the United States but also throughout the world. They are to be congratulated for fulfilling the great desideratum of a systematic theology textbook that serves many levels of readership. Balanced in its approach (addressed to both mind and heart), it is rich in its content (both biblical and doctrinal) and comprehensive in its coverage (some five thousand pages of exposition). In addition—to adapt some words of the church fathers from a different context—it is splendidly presented in a style that will enable the theological elephant to swim in it while Christian lambs can happily wade. Following in the footsteps of Paul the theologian, the authors have succeeded in imparting their ‘spiritual gift’ to strengthen us. Their work, too, will surely ‘reap some harvest’ (Rom. 1:11, 13).”
Sinclair B. Ferguson, Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries

“Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley’s fourth and final volume of their Reformed Systematic Theology not only maintains the quality and content of the previous volumes but also covers subject matter (the doctrines of the church and of the last things) that is crucial and controversial among Bible-believing Christians. The product of this colabor between a Dutch Reformed theologian and a Reformed Baptist serves to highlight our common commitments and to make even our disagreements better. I came away helped by their work of presenting ecclesiology and sacraments together. Consequently, Reformed paedobaptists and credobaptists will both benefit from this volume. There are many useful and unique features to highlight: for instance, the ‘Practical Conclusion to Ecclesiology’ in which a pathway is commended for the pursuit of the church’s reformation. But the whole volume (indeed, the whole set) is like this. Even the ‘Analytical Outlines’ are edifying! The theology is never very far away from application, and the application is always derived from the theology. Doctrine and devotion are everywhere intertwined and rooted in clear and faithful biblical exposition.”
Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary

“The last volume of Reformed Systematic Theology has been eagerly awaited, and it does not disappoint. Grounded in Scripture, rooted in the Reformation tradition, theologically faithful and wise, and practically relevant, this volume will not only instruct about the church and last things but also lead the reader into greater worship of our triune God of grace, a love for the church, and a hope grounded in the truths of the gospel. This volume also models how to arbitrate differences among Christians regarding the nature of the church and baptism while demonstrating unity in the faith once delivered to the saints. I highly recommend this and the other volumes in this series for sound biblical and theological formulation at its best, something the church desperately needs in our generation.”
Stephen J. Wellum, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“‘Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!’ This expression of praise from Paul’s great doxology is a fitting response to reading this wonderful work of doctrine and devotion. Though the Reformed faith is often caricatured as merely intellectual, this work demonstrates that Reformed theology is also profoundly experiential, as no chapter fails to move from theology to doxology.”
John MacArthur, Pastor, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California; Chancellor, The Master’s University and Seminary

Reformed Systematic Theology not only takes readers into the depths of our triune God, but also shows what these great truths have to do with the Christian life. No contemporary systematic theology will bring the reader to a greater understanding of how theology blossoms into doxology than this one.”
Matthew Barrett, Professor of Christian Theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Host, Credo Podcast; author, Simply Trinity

“This volume continues the heart-warming approach of volumes 1 and 2. I particularly admire the authors’ insightful and scrupulously fair exposition of positions with which they disagree. Their work offers a pretty comprehensive approach to different readings throughout the history of the subjects dealt with.”
Jonathan F. Bayes, UK Director, Carey Outreach Ministries; Pastor, Stanton Lees Chapel, Derbyshire, England; author, Systematics for God’s Glory and The Weakness of the Law

Reformed Systematic Theology is the ripe fruit of Joel Beeke’s lifelong engagement as a preacher and as a teacher of preachers. This is not a systematic theology written by an ivory-tower theologian, but rather by a seasoned preacher for whom the doctrines he expounds have become, by the grace of God, an experiential reality.”
Bartel Elshout, Pastor, Heritage Reformed Congregation, Hull, Iowa; translator, The Christian’s Reasonable Service and The Christian’s Only Comfort in Life and Death

“Beeke and Smalley have written a work useful to the church at large that teaches Christians what they should believe and how they should love, but they have not sacrificed academic rigor to achieve these goals.”
J. V. Fesko, Harriet Barbour Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson

“Joel Beeke has continued his decades-long service to Christ and his church by presenting us with his mature reflections on the nature of systematic theology. This work is fully reliable, well written, easily understood, and thoroughly researched.”
Richard C. Gamble, Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary

“Joel Beeke is a rare gift to the church, a noted Christian leader who combines the skills of a learned theologian, master teacher, noted historian, and yet also a caring pastor. Reformed Systematic Theology is a virtual gold mine of biblical doctrine that is systematically arranged, carefully analyzed, historically scrutinized, and pastorally applied.”
Steven J. Lawson, President, OnePassion Ministries; Professor of Preaching, The Master’s Seminary; Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries

“Here is theology functioning as it ought to function—calling us to worship. You will not need to agree with the authors at every point to believe and to hope that this work will serve Christ’s church well in our generation and for generations to come.”
Jeremy Walker, Pastor, Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley, UK; author, Life in ChristAnchored in Grace; and A Face Like a Flint

About the the Authors

Joel R. Beeke (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) has written over one hundred books. He is chancellor and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan; the editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth; the board chairman of Reformation Heritage Books; the president of Inheritance Publishers; and the vice president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society.

Paul M. Smalley (ThM, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary) is faculty teaching assistant to Joel Beeke at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He previously served for twelve years as a pastor in the Baptist General Conference in the midwestern United States.