January 8, 2012

Book Review: Convenant and Election

Title: Covenant and Election in the Reformed Tradition
Author: David Englesma
Publisher: Reformed Free Publishing Association
Genre: Religious

Among other things, it appears that this book is written in response to an issue that is rearing itself within the modern church world. "The federal vision is the avowed development of the covenant doctrine that teaches that the covenant is graciously made by God in Christ with all the physical offspring of believers alike, but is dependent for its continuance with a child and for its fulfillment in the salvation of a child upon the works of the child." (page 2)

Covenant and election are doctrines that have their roots in the Bible. The covenant being the promise that God has made with his elect. And election being God's actions of having "chosen us in him [our Lord Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him." (Ephesians 1:4) This unconditional covenant is governed by election. These truths are defined and upheld in the Baptism Form of the Dutch Reformed churches and the Canons of Dordt; both of which are upheld by Scripture.

Many theologians have distorted the scriptural teachings of covenant and election. This book wades thru the teachings of others and picks apart their errors. It also defends the stance of John Calvin.

For the importance and depth of the doctrine discussed, the book is a surprisingly easy and quick read. It gives the reader a sharp understanding of God's promise to His elect and uses Scripture and the teachings of wise and godly men. In this book Englesma justly criticizes erroneous stances, but it seems, in at least one case, that the criticized beliefs are not properly defined making the denunciation easier to point out.