Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Book Review: Reformed Dogmatics


Reformed Dogmatics (2 vols., rev. ed.)
by Herman Hoeksema
Reformed Free Publishing Association, Michigan, USA, 2004-2005
Hardback, xxi + 621pp. & xi + 719pp.
ISBN 0916206769 & 0916206777
£50.00 + £5.00 (P&P) = £55.00  (Click here to order it from the CPRC Bookstore)

Large volumes of systematic theology are not most Christians "reading of choice:" the average church-goer will typically prefer a spiritual biography or something seen as being more "practical" for their immediate situation, whilst ministers tend to leave their systematics (along with those Hebrew and Greek lexicons and grammars) on the shelf on leaving seminary and taking up a pastorate. More's the pity! Most errors, and almost all heresies, that have plagued the church from pew or pulpit have sprung from distortion of one or other Christian truth or doctrine, removed from it due place in the overall scheme of redemption and given undue prominence. If you are so enthralled with the carving of a window frame that you make it a foundation stone or capstone of an arch the whole building will soon be in trouble! Systematic study of the truths of Christianity ("dogmatic" or "systematic" theology) is thus of great importance for all believers, and is of vital importance to ministers of Christ. Sadly very little is available that is both modern, comprehensive, and scripturally faithful: a situation in which Hoeksema's magisterial work fills a vital need. Reprinted in a revised second edition (expanded into two volumes) this is the most thorough, comprehensive, detailed, modern systematic theology text available. Hoeksema follows the usual "loci" of Theology (proper), Anthropology, Christology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology and Eschatology, and his theology is unashamedly "high" Calvinism. God is upheld and honoured, and man and works placed beneath His feet. Hoeksema's discussion of salvation is a much needed antidote to much current "easy believism," his dealing with covenant theology is ground breaking, and his locus on the last things (death, heaven and hell, the Lord's return, the day of judgement and the eternal state thereafter) is especially informative and valuable. The work is surprisingly easy to read, and all biblical and non-English language quotations are helpfully given in translation. With comprehensive indices, and an excellent print and binding these are volumes to prize. If you wish to study theology seriously, acquire this set. If you have been struggling with multi-volume nineteenth-century theologies which seem 50% philosophy and spend more time examining errors than expounding scriptural truth, sell them and buy this work instead!  Few will regret the investment.

(Review in the British Church Newspaper)