MASTER'S SEMINARY JOURNAL

BOOK REVIEW

To Glorify and Enjoy God: A Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of teh Westminster Assembly


By John L. Carson and David W. Hall
Carlisle, PA : Banner of Truth (1994). 338 Pages.

Reviewed by
6.1 (Spring 1995) : 98-99

This volume contains the addresses given in London in 1993 at an international conference celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Westminster Assembly. Those Reformed groups that gathered saw themselves "in continuity with history" (4) and knew "the value of spiritual remembering" (ibid.).

The present work has the following aims in commemorating the 1643 event:

  1. To give thanks to God for the work of the Assembly;
  2. To promote unity among Reformed churches around the world;
  3. To advance the Reformed faith by focusing attention on the work of the assembly.

Objectives two and three reflect the assembly's denominational constitution, the churches of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) consisting of The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, The Christian Reformed Church, The Korean American Presbyterian Church, The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, The Presbyterian Church of America, and The Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.

Though much space is given to the history and character of the assembly, the book's primary focus is upon the assembly's enduring contribution: the documents it produced as an expression of theological conviction. These are the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, the Directory for Public Worship, and the Form of Church Government. The original assembly conducted prolonged studies to generate these documents at the request of the English Parliament. The goal was to provide uniform statements of doctrine, discipline, worship, and government for the churches of England, Scotland and Ireland (ix).

In short, to read and ponder John Carson's preface to the volume is to understand, if just a little better, the relationship between five documents and the spirit of the Reformed tradition. The 1993 conference was indeed a celebration! The present volume which it generated records a blend of fascinating historical sketches, refreshing insights into familiar documents, and invigorating fellowship in an ancient city—all of which is encompassed by the eternal themes of the trumpet blasts of God's Sovereignty, Christ Pre-eminence, and the Holy Spirit's Application of Redemption (xii-xiii).

The book is enjoyable reading. For those unfamiliar with the Reformed tradition or those who simply want to know more about one of its foundational historical events, this book should prove helpful and interesting. But for those whose roots come closer to historical Reformation thinking, it will no doubt be a celebration, a spiritual remembering.