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This small but important book shows how genuine biblical, Reformed piety, is both covenantally based and experientially lived. Piety, covenant, and experience are all interrelated in genuine and vital Christianity, and all point to Jesus Christ as the head of the covenant and the focal point of true Christian experience. This book is intended as Geoff Thomas says in his Foreword to encourage us "towards Reformed experiential living reflecting something of the Christian’s affection for God, loving Him with all his being, a servant truly on flame for his Lord, who cries, ‘For me to live is Christ’—who is presenting his body as a living sacrifice to God, who like John the Baptist has an awakening ministry, as a burning and a shining light... most needful of all is a close walk with God, a consecration of all we are to all that Jesus Christ is. That must be the one thing we do as Christians, not talking about it, or longing for it, but making progress in appropriating it each day of our lives, in the pulpit, in the home.... The words of this little book will help you to be a better disciple in our short and uncertain earthly pilgrimage.”
Joel Beeke says: In this little book, I aim to accomplish four things: First, to give you a bird’s eye view of what Reformed piety is by looking at Calvin as one of its premier magisterial representatives. Second, to examine how we understand what Reformed piety should be in relation to the covenant of grace. I wish to thank my colleague Dr. Stephen Myers (PhD), Associate Professor of Historical Studies at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, who did the heavy lifting on this chapter for me—hence the co-authorship of this book. Having done his doctoral dissertation on Ebenezer Erskine’s covenant theology, he is eminently qualified to write this chapter. Third, to consider what Reformed piety should be in the context of Christian experience. Finally, to present some conclusions that explore the interface between these three concepts in Reformed thought: piety, covenant, and experience.
This slim volume is an expanded version of a lecture given by Dr Beeke at the 2017 meeting of the International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC) in Jordan, Ontario, at which the reviewer was a delegate. Stephen Myers of Puritan Reformed Seminary has contributed to the expanded edition, particularly on the subject of covenant. The book begins with a concise summary of John Calvin’s piety as both theological and practical. The second chapter seeks to show how piety is related to God’s covenant with his people. Thus Reformed piety is a piety of relationship, a relationship with ethical content and community dynamic. The third chapter demonstrates how Reformed piety is a thoroughly experiential piety, derived from the Word of God applied by the Holy Spirit. It is thus a piety based on the written Word, centred on Christ, applied to practical life, probed by spiritual discernment, energised with idealism, realism and optimism, rooted in heart knowledge and fruitful in holy love. Though short, this is a good introduction to a subject which is of great importance for God’s people as they seek to live faithfully for him in a fallen world.
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