Posts by Ryan McGraw

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Every divine work reflects God's Triunity. This means that if we want to understand what God is doing in our lives we must begin with who God is. The Father always acts through his Son and by his Spirit. We come to the Father, by the Spirit, through the Son (Eph. 2:18). Preaching in relation to...
As the previous two posts demonstrated ( #1 , #2 ), Amandus Polanus envisioned Christians interpreting the Scriptures with the help of the church. In colloquial terms, this means that no Christian can read their Bibles well by themselves on a private island with no external aids or input. Yet it...
M y previous post demonstrated Amandus Polanus’ teaching that the Scriptures are clear in themselves and that there is a difference between magisterial and ministerial interpretations of Scripture. Magisterial interpretation belongs to God himself speaking in Scripture while ministerial...
S ola Scriptura is one of the slogans that have come to be attached to the Protestant Reformation.While the so-called five solas , as descriptive terms of Protestant theology, originated long after the sixteenth-century, they capture well some of the primary emphases of Protestant thought as they...
Ulrich L. Lehner, Richard A. Muller, and A. G. Roeber, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theology, 1600-1800 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). $140.28. 668pp. Hardcover. S tudying classic Reformed theology is one of the most important things that Reformed ministers and students can...
A s the previous two posts demonstrated (see here and here ), Patrick Gillespie taught that Christ fulfilled the terms of the Covenant of Redemption in order to establish the gracious character of the Covenant of Grace. While God requires faith as the condition of entering the Covenant of Grace,...
I n my previous post , I provided a sketch of Patrick Gillespie’s arguments for the distinction between the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Grace. Yet some have objected to this distinction by appealing to Westminster Larger Catechism 31, which states, “The Covenant of Grace is made with...
Stephen J. Casselli, Divine Rule Maintained: Anthony Burgess, Covenant Theology, and the Place of the Law in Reformed Scholasticism (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2016). 188pages. [ Book / ebook ] T he function God’s law in Scripture has always raised difficult theological questions...
M ankind needs saving from God by God. As demonstrated in my previous posts on Patrick Gillespie ( #1 , #2 , #3 , #4 ), the broken Covenant of Works paved the way for the salvation of God’s elect in the Covenant of Grace. Yet in the sequel to his Ark of the Testament , Gillespie argued in The Ark...
Synopsis Purioris Theologiae: Synopsis of a Purer Theology , by Walaeus et al., ed. Roelf T. te Velde, trans. Reimer A. Faber, 3 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2015). 659 pages. Volume 1 . T his translation introduces a historically important Reformed orthodox text to the English-speaking world. Four...
We need to hear Christ in order to believe in him for salvation (Rom. 10:14). Ordinarily we hear his voice through his ordained ambassadors as they preach the gospel in demonstration of the Spirit's power (Rom. 10:15; 2 Cor. 5:19-6:2; 1 Cor. 2:5). Yet we can believe these things and still make...
T his post is the final in a series of four (see #1 , #2 , #3 ), which outlines and annotates Patrick Gillespie’s (1617-1675) treatment of the Covenant of Works. In this section, Gillespie illustrates how Adam’s failure in the Covenant of Works paves way for the Covenant of Grace. I will conclude...
However well constructed and attractive, a car is useless without fuel. On the flip side, a motor may have fuel without being a vehicle. Likewise, preaching is a vehicle that requires fuel. God designed preaching to bring us to himself through faith in Christ. If preaching does not have the right...
I n this third part (see parts 1 , 2 ) of my annotated outline of Patrick Gillespie’s treatment of the Covenant of Works, the emphasis shifts from the existence and manner of transacting the covenant to its nature and breach . This material expands the gracious aspects of the Covenant of Works and...
I n my last post , I began to present an annotated outline of Patrick Gillespie’s (1617-1675) treatment of the Covenant of Works from his work, The Ark of the Testament . We saw that he made the case that there was a Covenant of Works with Adam before the Fall. Then he explained how God transacted...
C ovenant theology is a vital and distinctive part of Reformed theology, both past and present. The Covenant of Works, which is questioned by some today, gradually became an essential component of the Reformed presentation of the gospel by drawing parallels between Adam and Christ, as the Second...
Salvation is an expansive term. It essentially means "safety." Salvation includes the application of Christ's work from the new birth, through faith and repentance, to Justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. Christians share in Christ's benefits because they are united to him...
As you know, Meet the Puritans is proud to announce its first published book by our own Dr. Ryan McGraw: Knowing the Trinity: Practical Thoughts for Daily Life . In connection with this book, we present to you the following 2-part interview with Dr. McGraw on practical Trinitarianism: Part 1 of his...
The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of the gospel and the heartbeat of Christian faith and life. Before understanding how to apply the doctrine of the Trinity, however, we must understand clearly what this doctrine entails. Theodorus VanderGroe (1705-1784) helps us understand such truths...
The Heidelberg Catechism has stood the test of time as one of the most beloved confessions used by many Reformed churches. It has also been common, especially from the time of the Synod of Dort in the early seventeenth-century, for Dutch Reformed ministers to preach sermons on the Catechism in the...
Good teaching begins with definitions. Effective schoolteachers tell their students what they are doing and why in order help students learn well. This often means defining terms specific to each subject. Math students need to learn what a hypotenuse is and students of physics need to understand...
M editation is a difficult duty. Most Christians struggle even with where to begin with respect to this duty. It is particularly important for us to mediate upon the Person and work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, since beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ is the primary...
B iblical theology has become a popular topic in recent years. While all theology should be biblical, this oft difficult to define discipline stresses the gradual historical unfolding of God’s self-revelation in redemptive history. People like biblical theology because they want to understand the...
I know many pastors who bought John Owen’s seven-volume “commentary” on Hebrews who had high hopes of reading them while preaching through Hebrews, only to be daunted at the size of the work, the depth of the material, and the breadth of the matter. The temptation is simply to give up. However, C.H...
W alking you through everything that John Owen (1616-1683) wrote would take considerable space. Instead, as I continue my series on helping you read his writings (see part 1 ), I will recommend a few of my favorite books by him, explaining why they are my favorites. This list is somewhat subjective...
J ohn Owen is ranked not only among the most significant Puritan theologians, but also among Reformed theologians generally in the seventeenth-century. He is one of the greatest Reformed thinkers of all time and he always ministers to both our hearts and minds. However, it is also well-known that...
W hat is the true test of sound doctrine? In a previous post , I introduced readers to the recent translation of Johannes Cocceius’ work on covenant theology. In that post, I noted in passing that Cocceius argued that Romans 11:33-36 should be a test of all sound doctrine, “that it may be evident...
Johannes Cocceius, The Doctrine of the Covenant and Testament of God , trans. Casey Carmichael, vol. 3, Classic Reformed Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2016). 408pp. Hardcover. J ohannes Cocceius (1603-1669) was one of the foremost figures in the so-called Dutch Further...
Bernardinus de Moor, Continuous Commentary on Johannes Marckius’ Didactico-Elenctic Comendium of Christian Theology , trans. Stephen Dilday, vol. 1, 7 vols. (Culpeper, VA: L...
S everal posts ago I began a series of short posts on Owen’s teaching on communion with the Trinity under the analogy of building an iPad (part 1 , 2 ). This third and final post presents his teaching on all three persons in the Godhead. What Does the Owen iPad Look Like?: The Father, the Son, and...
Randall J. Pederson, Unity in Diversity: English Puritans and the Puritan Reformation, 1603-1689 , vol. 68, Brill Studies in Church History (Leiden: Brill, 2014). 380pp. Hardcover. *Click here for details on our current giveaway of this book. “P uritanism” is so difficult to define that some...
Last time I began a series of short posts on Owen’s teaching on communion with the Trinity under the analogy of building an iPad. This second post presents the basic building blocks of his teaching. What the Owen iPad Does: The Trinity, Covenant Theology, and Union with Christ Three components make...
W riting on John Owen is like building an iPad (sorry in advance to non-Apple fans). The R...
Peter Opitz, ed., The Myth of the Reformation , vol. 9, Refo500 Academic Studies (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck...
Thanks to our own Dr. Ryan McGraw, we now have a new page on our "Reading the Puritans" dropdown menu: Annotated Bibliography on Reformed Piety . We pray this stimulates you to read and to grow in your love for Christ.
Robert Kolb, Irene Dingel, and L’ubomir Batka, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). 662pp. Hardcover. M artin Luther is one of the most influential figures in world history in the past five hundred years. This is true in the West, even where...
Chad B Van Dixhoorn, Confessing the Faith: A Reader’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith (Banner of Truth, 2014). Chad van Dixhoorn once described a dream of his in which he was puzzling over the handwriting of the original minutes of the Westminster Assembly. In his dream, as he agonized...
William M. Schweitzer, God is a Communicative Being: Divine Communicativeness and Harmony in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards . London: T...
Emidio Campi's, Shifting Patterns of Reformed Tradition , Reformed Historical Theology vol. 27 ( Göttingen: Vandenhoeck...
Can faith damn us? The Dutch “Puritan” theologian Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635-1711) argued that the first sin of Adam and Eve was unbelief. To state this differently, they exchanged faith in the Word of God for faith in the word of the Serpent ( The Christian’s Reasonable Service , 1:372-373; print ;...
Is it possible to undervalue Christ’s sufferings by overemphasizing the cross? One of my favorite seventeenth century Dutch “Puritans” is Herman Witsius (1636-1708). In his Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man , I came across a profound section on the extent to which Christ’s sufferings...
Part of our purpose on Meet the Puritans is to introduce you to good old books. This raises the question that if there are so many good old books, how can there be any need for new books? I spoke to a friend a while back who was writing a book and who asked me, "Why write another book when so many...
Petrus van Mastricht, The Best Method of Preaching . Trans. Todd Rester (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2013). 82pp. Jonathan Edwards once stated that Peter van Mastricht’s Theoretico-Practica Theologia was the best book that he had read apart from the Bible (1). Mastricht was not...
John Flavel, Triumphing Over Sinful Fear (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011). 124pp. This is easily one of the most important Puritan books that I have read. It is deeply convicting, full of Christ, and loaded with sound pastoral wisdom on a vital, yet neglected topic. Flavel...
William Greenhill, Stop Loving the World , ed. Jay T. Collier (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010). 73pp. Worldliness is an increasing problem in Western Christendom. No one wants to admit that they are worldly, but the tragic fact is that Christians have often lost sight of how the...
George Swinnock, The Fading of the Flesh and the Flourishing of Faith , ed. J. Stephen Yulie (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2009). 170pp. When it comes to old books, I am a purist. Ordinarily, something is lost along the way in translations or abridgments. However, as a pastor, I have...