RCH4 A Toolkit for Confessions: Helps for the Study of English Puritan Confessions of Faith
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“As confessional Christians, we are convinced that our Confession of Faith summarizes the system of doctrine contained in the Holy Scriptures. We recognize that it is a human product, the fruit of centuries of Bible study and theological formulation, but I wonder if sometimes we forget that it is not a modern document in the strictest sense of the term.
In fact, it could easily be argued that it is a late-medieval production, published at the very end of that era, just as the Enlightenment was to overwhelm European intellectual life. For this reason, it must be approached cautiously. If the perspicuous Word of God requires careful contextual study and interpretation, how much more so a document of human formulation?
In reality, proper understanding of the Confession requires several things of us—familiarity with theological development throughout the preceding centuries, acquaintance with contemporary theological thought (especially in its Reformed variety), and an unwillingness to import twentieth- or twenty-first-century ideas into its words and phrases. This book is intended to assist the interpreter in doing these things.”
~ James M. Renihan
"When we first arrive at a destination like a famous museum or cathedral it is easy to be overwhelmed. We may look for a guide who will be able to help us understand the background, history, and significance of the place. Our best guides both inform our minds and engage our attention.
When we come to the Second London Confession of Faith, we may be grateful to have just such a guide in James M. Renihan’s A Toolkit for Confessions. Renihan provides us an accessible and instructive introduction to the background, history, context, structure, and contents of the 2LCF. Baptist readers will especially benefit from this study of an important but often neglected part of the Baptist confessional and theological heritage.
Baptist and non-Baptist readers alike will appreciate the ways in which Renihan shows how the 2LCF constructively relates to the broader family of Reformed confessions.
A Toolkit for Confessions is a welcome and valuable addition to the growing body of literature on the confessions and catechisms of the seventeenth century."
Guy Prentiss Waters, Ph.D
James M. Baird, Jr. Professor of New Testament
Reformed Theological Seminary
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