Reformed Forum (Reformed Media Review)

Jeff Waddington reviews Jonathan Edwards and the Immediacy of God by John Carrick.

Jonathan Edwards is one of the outstanding figures in the history of the Christian church—he was, quite simply, a man of towering intellect and towering spirituality. But it has been noted, even by his friends and admirers, that his thought is also marked at times by certain idiosyncrasies which inevitably introduce certain complexities into his philosophical-theological system.

This study contends that the theme of divine immediacy is the controlling theme and the correlating principle within Edwards’s thought. It analyzes the theme of divine immediacy in the thought of Jonathan Edwards under four major heads: creation, the will, ecclesiology, and spiritual experience. Indeed, Dr. Carrick claims that the theme of the immediacy of God is the Ariadne’s thread, which runs with consistency through the multiple aspects of Edwards’s philosophical, theological, ecclesiological, experiential, and homiletical interests.

But sometimes a man’s strength is also his weakness, and it would appear that Edwards’s profound commitment to the concept and the reality of the immediacy of God entails significant problems for his entire philosophical-theological system.

Edwards’s concept of divine immediacy finds its supreme expression, surely, in his doctrine of continuous creation; but is it not the case that this doctrine of continuous creation is in conflict with his determinism, that its tendency is to destroy the moral responsibility of man, and that it makes God both the author and the actor of sin? In short, is it not the case that Edwards’s Ariadne’s thread is, in fact, also his Achilles’ heel?

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Jeff Waddington reviews A Goodly Heritage: The Secession of 1834 by Cornelis Pronk.

From the publisher:

In A Goodly Heritage , Cornelis Pronk surveys the history of the Secession of 1834, beginning with the events leading up to this important spiritual movement and subsequently following its long journey through the Netherlands and North America until 1892. He then focuses on a small minority that decided to continue as the original Christian Reformed Church, considering its growth and how it formulated theological positions in relation to several other Reformed denominations. Throughout, special attention is given to the doctrines of covenant, baptism, and the Holy Spirit's ministry in applying salvation. This work not only explains the concerns of De Cock and other fathers of the Secession. It presses beyond the early years of the reform movement to present a larger picture of the developments of Secession theology and the contributions made by its main representatives.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:57am CDT

Jim Cassidy discusses Therefore the Truth I Speak: Scottish Theology, 1500–1700 by Donald Macleod. The Scottish church was forever altered by the arrival of the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Its legacy endured, and provoked a flurry of theological re–examinations which form the foundation for much of our modern understanding of Reformed Theology. In this informed and accessible historical study, Donald MacLeod, one of Scotland’s current leading theologians, looks to the past to assess the impact of prominent theologians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, always with an eye to demonstrating how their writings speak to contemporary challenges facing the Church today.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Lane Tipton speaks about his new book, available now through Reformed Forum.

Drawing from Genesis 1:1 and subsequent biblical revelation, Lane Tipton argues that before creating the visible world, the immutable triune God created a heavenly temple dwelling, filled that heavenly dwelling with the unchanging glory of his Spirit, and sanctified that heavenly dwelling as the realm of everlasting Sabbath rest.

Adam, as the created image of God and federal head of his posterity, could have advanced through perfect covenantal obedience beyond probation on the mountain of God in earthly Eden into the heavenly dwelling of God in Sabbath rest. This God-centered and heaven-focused theological backdrop enriches our understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ, as the second and last Adam in the covenant of grace, who in his humiliation and exaltation has opened the gates of heavenly paradise for his church.

Copies are available now at

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Camden Bucey speaks about Murray Forst Thompson’s tract, The Auburn Betrayal, which provides historical and theological context for the Auburn Affirmation, an important document in early twentieth-century American Presbyterianism. The tract was published in 1941 by the Committee on Christian Education for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Camden Bucey and Lane Tipton discuss Lefferts A. Loetscher, The Broadening Church A Study of Theological Issues in the Presbyterian Church Since 1869 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1954).

From the Publisher:

The far-reaching social and intellectual changes in the United States since the Civil War have had a definite effect upon the religious thought of American churches. In this volume, a distinguished scholar and theologian has undertaken an inductive study of theological issues in one of the major denominations, the Presbyterian church in the United States of America. Since this church was in the thick of the social and intellectual ferment that changed the living and thinking habits of Americans, much that transpired in it finds broad parallels in other leading American churches. Thus, the story of the Presbyterian church is, in essence, a kind of theological barometer of American history. Avoiding sweeping generalizations, Lefferts A. Loetscher briefly traces the history of the Presbyterian church from its founding by New England Puritans on Long Island in the 1640s to the disruption of 1837 and the "wedding day" of Old School and New School Presbyterians in 1870, following the reunion of 1869. From this point, he examines in detail the development of the church, analyzing the controversies that occurred over the years, interpreting the various theological issues that led to disputes.

Lefferts A. Loetscher was Professor Emeritus of American Church History at Princeton University. He is the author of A Brief History of the Presbyterians.


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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 1:12pm CDT

Jim Cassidy reviews Scott Swain, The Trinity: An Introduction (Crossway)

From the publisher:

The Trinity is one of the most essential doctrines of the Christian faith. The eternal God existing as three distinct persons—Father, Son, and Spirit—can be difficult to comprehend. While Christians often struggle to find the right words to describe this union, the Bible gives clarity concerning the triune God’s being and activity in nature (creation), grace (redemption), and glory (reward). In this concise volume, theologian Scott Swain examines the doctrine of the Trinity, presenting its biblical foundations, systematic-theological structure, and practical relevance for the church today. Scott R. Swain (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) serves as president and James Woodrow Hassell Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He is the author or editor of several books, including The God of the Gospel and Retrieving Eternal Generation. Scott and his wife, Leigh, reside in Orlando, Florida, with their four children. Swain is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America.

Direct download: rmr134.mp3
Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Jim Cassidy reviews Gerald Bray, The Attributes of God: An Introduction (Crossway)

From the publisher:

Throughout history, the church has recognized the importance of studying and understanding God’s attributes. As the Creator of all things, God is unique and cannot be compared to any of his creatures, so to know him, believers turn to the pages of Scripture. In The Attributes of God, renowned theologian Gerald Bray leads us on an exploration of God’s being, his essential attributes, his relational attributes, and the relevance of his attributes to our thinking, lives, and worship. As we better understand God’s attributes, we will learn to delight in who God is and how he has made himself known to us in Scripture. Gerald Bray (DLitt, University of Paris-Sorbonne) is research professor at Beeson Divinity School and director of research for the Latimer Trust. He is a prolific writer and has authored or edited numerous books, including The Doctrine of God; Biblical Interpretation; God Is Love; and God Has Spoken.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

The following books are on our radar for April 15, 2021.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

The following books are on our radar for April 8, 2021.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

These are the books on our radar for April 1, 2021.

  • Kuyper, Abraham. On Business and Economics (Lexham; Acton Institute, February 2021). From the Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series. 192 pages. $29.99. Hardcover with jacket.
  • Selvaggio, Anthony T. Considering Job: Reconciling Sovereignty and Suffering(Reformation Heritage Books, February 2021). 184 pages. $14.00. Paperback.
  • Carr, Simonetta. Questions Women Asked: Historical Issues, Timeless Answers(Reformation Heritage Books, February 2021). 240 pages. $18.00. Paperback.
  • Balserak, John. A Companion to the Reformation in Geneva (Brill’s Companions to the Christian Tradition, Volume 96) (Brill, February 2021). 478 pages. $222.00. Hardcover.
  • Sweeney, Douglas A. and Jan Stievermann (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford University Press, February 2021). 608 pages. $145.00. Hardcover.
  • Dodson, Rhett P. With a Mighty Triumph: Christ’s Resurrection and Ours (Banner of Truth, February 2021). 159 pages. $10.00. Paperback.
  • Wellum, Stephen J. The Person of Christ (Crossway, Feb 2021). Short Studies in Systematic Theology series. 208 pages. $18.99. Paperback.
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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 12:24pm CDT

Whether you are a scholar, pastor, theological student, Bible study teacher, or someone engaged in serious personal study, it is critical to document your sources. Regrettably, most people don’t do this well.

Along with many best practices, there are tested tools used by many scholars in a wide range of disciplines. One of these is Zotero. At root, Zotero is a citation manager. But it does much more than that. It is a tool that helps you collect, organize, cite, and share research.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Ryan Noha brings his collection of Van Til books to the studio for show-and-tell. Join us for a surreal Reformed home shopping network experience. This was recorded in the summer of 2020 along with our course Introduction to the Theology and Apologetics of Cornelius Van Til.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Direct download: rmr127.mp3
Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

A Book on Notetaking? It’s Not What You Might Expect Amazon showed me Sönke Ahrens’s How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers about twenty times in sponsored posts before I finally broke down to see what it was all about. I decided to retrieve a sample chapter on my Kindle. I couldn’t put the book down and read it well into the night. My wife even asked me what in the world I was reading, to which I sheepishly confessed it was a book on taking notes. This book is not about Reformed theology, church history, or even philosophy, but I’m confident many of you will be intrigued. I loved this book so much that I ordered several copies to give as gifts to friends. This book isn’t what you might expect. It’s not a self-help book with tips for becoming a better student, for listening better, and capturing your thoughts for better processing and recall later on. I believe that following the model suggested in this book may in fact make you a better student and researcher. It will certainly help you to process your thoughts. But this book goes much deeper than a series of tips and tricks. It’s a proposition for a more disciplined—yet much more liberating—process of contemplation and writing. The Heart of the Book At the heart of Ahren’s How to Take Smart Notes is a somewhat idiosyncratic notetaking system developed by German sociologist Niklaus Luhmann. He used a system that is known as a Zettelkasten, or notes box. Ahrens categorizes notes into three types. • Ephemeral notes (these get thrown out) • Literature notes (write these as you read a book, but keep them separate) • Zettelkasten (process your literature notes and write permanent notes—one per idea)

Link your note to the other notes in your existing network or note-ideas.

In my conceptualization, Luhmann’s method is a form of atomic writing. You must force yourself to formulate your thoughts and write them as if writing them for someone else. This can be difficult, and you may find much personal inertia to this approach. That’s because you think you know the subject matter better than you do. Writing is the thinking process. By using this method, Luhmann was able to write more than 70 books and 400 scholarly articles before he died at the age of 70. That is impressive. But perhaps even more impressive than his scholarly output is the nature of his scholarship. He was able to approach subjects in fresh ways, finding surprising connections among disparate disciplines. This was due in part to the unexpected connections made by his Zettelkasten.

Luhmann wrote his notes on cards and filed them in a physical catalogue. There is much to be said about the benefits of handwriting and the tactile qualities of this form of note-taking, yet there are also many limitations—particularly with linking and searchability. For those who are interested in a digital approach to Zettelkasten, an entire ecosystem is developing around what generally is called Personal Knowledge Management (PKM). People not only use the Zettelkasten method and its variants for academic research and writing, but also for all types of creative work, personal journaling, and even for CRM (customer/constituent relationship management).

I am currently exploring how to link my thoughts as I read and contemplate Scripture. Intelligently linking all the Scripture references in my notes and sermons may prove to be immensely useful when approaching related texts in the future.

Direct download: rmr126.mp3
Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Michael A. G. Haykin, “‘The Best Friend in the Worst Time’: Pandemics in Church History” The Banner of Truth Magazine, No. 689, February 2021, pp. 4–8. We are prone to think we are the only people ever to experience something like our present pandemic. This last year and last, we have heard the phrase “in these unprecedented times” so often that it has become a cliché. In five brief pages, Michael Haykin surveys the church’s experience with pandemics throughout history. Our times are not so unprecedented as we might think. Still, it is important to consider what is unique about our circumstances even while we contemplate what lessons we might learn from church history.

# On Our Radar

Crowe, Brandon D. The Path of Faith: A Biblical Theology of Covenant and Law (Essential Studies in Biblical Theology) (IVP Academic, March 2, 2021). 208 Pages. Paperback

Harmon, Matthew S. The Servant of the Lord and His Servant People: Tracing a Biblical Theme through the Canon (New Studies in Biblical Theology series, edited by D. A. Carson) (IVP Academic, January 2021). 272 pages. Paperback

Maag, Karin. Worshiping with the Reformers (IVP Academic, February 2021). 248 pages. Paperback.

Carrick, John. Jonathan Edwards and the Immediacy of God (Wipf and Stock, December 2020). 174 pages. Hardcover or paperback.

Reeves, Michael. Rejoice and Tremble: The Surprising Good News of the Fear of the Lord (Union Series) (Crossway, January 2021). 192 pages. Hardcover with dust jacket.

Bullinger, Henry. The Decades of Henry Bullinger, 2 Volumes (Reformation Heritage Books, January 2021). 2055 pages. Hardcovers with dust jacket.

Davies, Samuel. Sermons of the Rev. Samuel Davies, 3 Volumes (Reformation Heritage Books, February 2021). 2016 pages. Hardcover with dust jacket.

Carr, Simeonetta. Phillis Wheatley (Christian Biographies for Young Readers) (Reformation Heritage Books, January 2021). 64 pages. Hardcover. Illustrated.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 12:25pm CDT

Camden Bucey reviews Stewards of Eden: What Scripture Says About the Environment and Why It Matters (IVP Academic, 2020) by Dr. Sandra L. Richter, the Robert H. Gundry Chair of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. In this book, Dr. Richter addresses humanity's role as stewards of creation—those entrusted to care for that which God has placed in their charge. In exploring this theme, Richter addresses issues such as the ethics of sustainable agriculture, the consumer's role within the supply chain, and even mining practices and pollution in light of Scriptural examples and biblical-theological themes.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Danny Olinger and Camden Bucey discuss Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory, which raises many questions about the nature of faith, ordination, and the sacraments through the lens of Roman Catholic theology. Greene said, “The aim of the book was to oppose the power of the sacraments and the indestructibility of the Church on the one hand with, on the other, the merely temporal of an essentially Communist state” (Goodman, 88). John Updike called this novel, “Graham Greene’s masterpiece.”

Danny Olinger is General Secretary for the Committee on Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

Jim Cassidy discusses two recent publications from Lexham Press. In Challenging the Spirit of Modernity: A Study of Groen van Prinsterer’s Unbelief and Revolution, Harry Van Dyke places Groen van Prinsterer's foundational work into historical context. Van Prinsterer addressed the inherent tension between the church and secular society, and Van Dyke demonstrates how this work still speaks into the fractured relationship between religion and society. Abraham Kuyper's Collected Works in Public Theology was created in partnership with the Abraham Kuyper Translation Society and the Acton Institute. It marks a historic moment in Kuyper studies.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 4:00pm CDT

Ryan Noha speaks about several rare books that have been added to our online store.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT

In this episode, we speak to David Woollin of Reformation Heritage Books about several new and exciting projects from the publisher.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 8:15pm CDT

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00am CDT

While at the Shepherds Conference Rob was able to talk with John Rawlinson from Banner of Truth. John talks about how Banner was an influence on his life from childhood.  He introduces some great new books with authors such as Calvin, Ian Hamilton, Puritan paperbacks and Sinclair Ferguson’s new book, Some Pastors and Teachers.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 7:12pm CDT

While at the Shepherds Conference Rob was able to talk with Matthew Robinson from Media Gratiae. They were able to discuss how Media Gratiae was started as well as a wonderful project centered on Martin Lloyd Jones, and an upcoming project concerning the Puritans.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 7:09pm CDT

Camden Bucey and Ryan Noha speak about a biography of Martin Bucer and several new books from P&R Publishing.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00am CDT

Ryan Noha speaks about several rare books to be added to the Reformed Forum online store.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:52am CDT

Ryan Noha speaks about several rare books to be added to the Reformed Forum online store.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 3:11pm CDT

Camden Bucey reviews Yves Congar's The Meaning of Tradition.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00am CDT

Jared Oliphint and Camden Bucey speak about a newly published set of the Bible designed to enhance readability.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:33am CDT

We speak about two biblical theological titles from Intervarsity Press including John Goldingay's Biblical Theology and Unceasing Kindness, a biblical theology of Ruth by Peter Lau and Gregory Goswell.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00am CDT

We introduce two new books from InterVarsity Press: Created and Creating by William Edgar and Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition by Craig Barthlomew.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 7:58pm CDT

Ministry in the body of Christ is trying. We face many challenges as we battle the enemy and the flesh. While some shrink before the battle, others dive in irresponsibly and flameout quickly. Camden Bucey reviews Zeal without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Life

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 12:04pm CDT

A. G. Sertillanges' The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods is a brilliant work on the life of the mind. Balancing definition, practical tips, and warnings against pitfalls, Sertillanges sets a course for the Christian scholar. This book is

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 2:16pm CDT

Jim Cassidy provides notices of several significant recent books.

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Jared Oliphint speaks about Crossway's new ESV Journaling Bible, Interleaved Edition, which includes entire blank pages in between the pages of Scripture. This is a perfect edition for writing notes, reflections, and prayers in conjunction with your Bible reading.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 12:18pm CDT

Camden Bucey and Erica Bucey discuss The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New, an illustrated systematic theology for children. Written by experienced children's author Marty Machowski, The Ology is an excellent resource for families. The book is targeted toward 6–12 year olds and includes scripture memory passages and study questions. The examples and analogies, along with thoughtful illustrations, make complex theological concepts accessible to even very young children. This book will help children understand more about God and how they relate to God, while always pointing them to scripture.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 9:26pm CDT

Darryl Hart reviews Awakening the Evangelical Mind: An Intellectual History of the Neo-Evangelical Movement by Owen Strachan.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 6:12pm CDT

Camden Bucey reviews Writers to Read: Nine Names That Belong on Your Bookshelf by Douglas Wilson.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 8:26pm CDT

Reformed Media Review turn their attention beyond our typical subject matter to speak about podcasts. Reformed Forum has been producing podcasts since 2008. But we're not merely producers, we love to listen to podcasts ourselves. We look at our podcasts clients and speak about some of our favorite programs.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 4:27pm CDT

Erica Bucey reviews God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies, written by Justin Holcomb, Lindsey Holcomb, and illustrated by Trish Mahoney.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 4:07pm CDT

Erica Bucey reviews The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden, which is a biblical theology for children written by Kevin DeYoung and illustrated by Don Clark.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 4:06pm CDT

Jeff Waddington introduces several new and recent books includes titles on Junius, Jonathan Edwards, and Cornelius Van Til.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:31am CDT

Jared Oliphint reviews Beyond the Control of God? Six Views on the Problem of God and Abstract Objects edited by Paul Gould.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:30am CDT

Jim Cassidy reviews Two Views on the Doctrine of the Trinity (Zondervan) Stephen Holmes, Paul Molnar, Thomas McCall, and Paul Fiddes.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 7:43pm CDT

Jim Cassidy reviews Biblical Theology: The Common Grace Covenants by Jeffrey Niehaus (Weaver Book Company).

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 7:42pm CDT

Jim Cassidy reviews Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way by J.I. Packer and Gary Parrett published by Baker Books.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 7:41pm CDT

Jim Cassidy and Camden Bucey introduce books by Jordan Cooper, Gregg Allison, and several other authors and editors.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 7:41pm CDT

Jared Oliphint and Camden Bucey explore the latest version of Logos Bible Software discussing new features and personal use cases.

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Category:Reformed Media Review -- posted at: 11:00pm CDT