The bibliopalooza continues. People and Place, the final volume of Mike Horton’s very important, four-volume systematic theology is out and available at the Bookstore at WSC for $27.46.
One of the great failings of contemporary evangelical theology, piety, and practice is that it is churchless. It is churchless because it has no doctrine of the church or sacraments. To the degree that contemporary Reformed has been influenced by the general evangelical theology, piety, and practice it too is often churchless.
Reformed theology is not churchless. We confess a holy catholic church. We confess a vibrant doctrine of the visible church. We confess that there is such a thing as true church, that there are marks of a true church, and that there is a false church, and that there are many sects that call themselves “churches.” We confess that Christ has instituted a visible church with officers, and with real, spiritual authority.
We also confess a doctrine of the sacraments. One of the reasons that evangelicals and fundamentalists give for leaving their traditions and for going to Rome and Constantinople is that they’ve discovered the church and sacraments in place of puppets and playdoh. Tragically they often assume that their fundamentalist or neo-evangelical mega-church or (wannabe) is identical to the Reformation church and thus in rejecting their own background they believe that they are rejecting the Reformation. That’s a huge and false assumption.
In the historic, confessional Reformed ecclesiology there’s a viable alternative to Rome, Constantinople, and the Emergent Village. This volume demonstrates the viability of the confessional Reformed paradigm.
In confessional and conservative Reformed circles we’ve often talked about carrying on the engagement with the contemporary academy but few of us have done it, at least in systematics. Mike’s series marks one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful attempts by anyone in our NAPARC world to address, profit from, and critique contemporary systematics while, at the same time, carrying on the tradition of listning carefully to Scripture and to the Reformed tradition. This is a remarkable series.