Stephen Ley has an interesting review and comparison between Colin Hanson’s “Restless” and Bob Godfrey’s Unexpected Journey. I’m glad that people are becoming enthused about elements (mainly soteriology) of the Reformed faith. One problem with the “Restless and Reformed” approach is that it is inexperienced and churchless (i.e., it’s not associated with any particular church tradition or confession).
Godfrey is neither of these. He was young and Reformed a long time ago. He was in seminary when I was in grade school and he began teaching at WTS (PA) when I was still in Jr High. Did I mention that, even though he’s remarkably well preserved, he’s really pretty antique? Anyway, the point is that unlike the “restless” cats Godfrey settled remarkably early into a visible, institutional church. He got married, as it were, to a tradition and he’s remained married to that tradition ever since. Indeed, now a minister in the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA) president of Westminster Seminary California, and professor of church history, there have been times in Bob’s life and ministry when, in certain respects, he was one of a very few voices calling us all back to Reformed basics such as justification sola gratia et sola fide and to worship according to the Word of God alone (sola scriptura). As I’ve said before in this space, if you like Horton, Hart, VanDrunen, or Clark, you’ll love Godfrey. Much of what we have learned and taught we’ve learned from Godfrey.
When Bob says “Reformed” he doesn’t simply mean “predestinarian.” Rather, he means “The Christian faith Reformed according to God’s Word and as confessed by the Reformed churches.” That’s a different, more full-blooded definition of the adjective. It includes a view of Scripture, a hermeneutic, a doctrine of God, man, Christ, salvation, church, sacraments, last things, and an ethic. In short it entails a theology, piety, and practice. The adjective “Reformed” was fundamentally defined a long time ago. Read Restless and Reformed, and with all due respect to Colin, I hope you’ll remain restless long enough to keep going and read Godfrey and to follow him toward and into the confessional Reformed tradition and churches.