A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith by Robert Reymond
In recent studies of every variety I have been consistently and considerably benefited by Robert Reymond's New Sytematic Theology of the Christian Faith. I am confident that any student of the scriptures, whether layman or clergy, will likewise be greatly profited by this phenomenal resource; and so I have decided to write a brief review for the purpose of commending this work to anyone interested, by highlighting four characteristics which I have consistently found in Reymond's writing, to an eminent degree. I pray that God will give this beautifully Christ-centered work a widening circle of influence.
1. Reymond's systematic is thoroughly scriptural
In the entirety of his writing, Reymond is ever careful not to make any assertion which does not have the backing of scripture. His biblical references are pervasive throughout the work; and yet he is studious to avoid proof-texting, always bringing his considerable exegetical skills to bear on the passages he employs.
2. Reymond's systematic is fully reformed
The careful use that Reymond makes of the scriptures, leads him, inevitably, to a fully-orbed Reformed theology and worldview. Although he demonstrates that his ultimate authority is the bible, he is very willing to make use of the church's greatest exegetes and theologians before him. In particular, his concern to interact with the Westminster confession and catechisms is apparent throughout; which is a feature that cannot help but ground anyone who likewise adheres to those statements of faith in their biblical undergirdings and logical reasonableness.
3. Reymond's systematic demonstrates a willingness to advance in doctrinal precision
Reymond's respect for Reformed Theology does not lead him to adopt any historical confession as a constricting or thought-ending doctrinal expression. He evidences respect for historic exegetes and systematizations by a willingness to stand on their shoulders, and not be chained by them. He is always ready to take previous doctrinal labor and advance it to clearer or more precise formulations. He evinces the commendable spirit of semper reformanda -- always reforming. Notable in this regard is his outstanding treatment of the lapsarian question (pp. 479-502).
4. Reymond's systematic is up-to-date, and engages with contemporary doctrinal errors
For example, his critique of Pinnock and the "Free Will Theists" (pp. 346-381). Also, his rebuttal of Dispensationalism, perhaps the most scripturally grounded and logically unassailable I have read (pp.503-544).
In summary, this is an outstanding read, and well-worth the investment of time and expense to become more familiar with it. If anyone is interested, it is for sale here at the Monergism bookstore.
I have included below a brief excerpt, Reymond's summative statement for the doctrine of the believers' union with Christ, both as a passage which has been highly instructive for me, and as an example of the lucidity and brevity with which his deep doctrinal truth is customarily framed.
Union with Christ is the fountainhead from which flows the Christian's every spiritual blessing -- repentance and faith, pardon, justification, adoption, sanctification, perseverance, and glorification. Chosen in Christ before the creation of the world, and in the divine mind united with Christ in his death and resurrection, the elect, in response to God's effectual call, are through God's gift of faith actually united to Christ. Their union with Christ is in no sense the effect of human causation. "The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God's grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband" (Larger Catechism, Question 66). By virtue of his actual union with Christ the Husband in his death and resurrection, the Christian, as Christ's "bride," is forgiven of his sin and liberated from the law -- his previous "husband" -- and made capable of doing that which he could never do before, namely, "bear holy fruit to God" (Rom. 7:4-5). To the degree that the Christian "reckons himself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:11), that is to say, to the degree that the Christian takes seriously the reality of his Spirit-wrought union with Christ, to that degree he will find his definitive sanctification coming to actual expression in his experiential or progressive sanctification. The holiness of the Christian's daily walk directly depends upon his union with the Savior.