Profiles in Reformed Spirituality: Alert and Review

by on January 29, 2009

With a renewal of Reformed Theology spreading throughout Christendom in the last couple decades, it is truly to our benefit that we look to the past in order to understand how to move forward. This is aptly stated in the Introduction to each book in the Profiles in Reformed Spirituality published by Reformation Heritage Books:

We need to go back to the spiritual heritage of Reformed Evangelicalism to find the pathway forward. We cannot live in the past; to attempt to do so would be antiquarianism. But our Reformed forebearers in the faith can teach us much about Christianity, its doctrines, its passions, and its fruit.

Since the first book in the series was published back in 2006, there have been five stand alone volumes in the series—Jonathan Edwards, Alexander Whyte, Hercules Collins, Horatius Bonar, and George Swinnock. A sixth volume is due out early this year (2009) on John Calvin. The series is jointly edited by Joel R. Beeke and Michael A. G. Haykin. Each book retails for $10 but is available through the above links at Reformation Heritage Books for at least 25% off.

Each book is introduced by a short biography of the subject’s life and his writings with an explanation of how they continue to impact Christianity today. In many cases, we are allowed to peer into the heart of the man and see what “made him tick.” Moreover, we are blessed to read of their love for what Christ did on the cross for their sins and how that impacted their overall life and ministry to others.

For some, these profiles are excellent introductions into otherwise forgotten ministries of notable Christians. For example, not many people have ever heard of Hercules Collins and are only familiar with Alexander Whyte if they have studied much about John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. With chapters not much longer than 4-5 pages, and selections carefully chosen by each editor (the editor(s) differ from book to book), one quickly can ascertain a well-rounded familiarity with these great men from their own writings.

Furthermore, because of the shortness of each chapter, they can be used as devotional material. Personally, I have discovered this to be most beneficial. I usually carry one of the books in my bag and when I am waiting somewhere I will pull it out and read. I usually have plenty of time to start and finish at least one chapter. It also helps that the size of each book (7”x5”) makes it easier to carry these books with you wherever you go.