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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « The Spirit and the Truth of the Gospel- John 16:1-15 | Main | Series on the Ancient Church by Rev Charles Biggs »

    Reymond's Systematic Back in Print

    NewSystematic.jpgAfter more than 6 months being out of print, Reymond's Systematic Theology (the best one available in our estimation) is back in print.

    A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith
    by Robert Reymond
    (Reviewed by Monergism.com's Nathan Pitchford)

    In recent studies of every variety I have been consistently and considerably benefited by Robert Reymond's New Systematic 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.

    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.

    A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith by Robert Reymond

    Posted by John on October 30, 2007 01:45 PM

    Comments

    Excellent. I already have the second edition, and would recommend it to anybody. His work on the problem of evil and God's "responsibility" is also great.

    Nathan,

    I agree! Reymond's SysTheo is a masterfully put together reformed systematic. I enjoyed his thoughtful exegesis.

    Eilers

    I heard that Reymond reject the Nicene formulation of the trinity. This has greatly concerned some people. Do you have any more details about this? Any opinion about this?

    Josh said,

    "I heard that Reymond reject the Nicene formulation of the trinity. This has greatly concerned some people. Do you have any more details about this? Any opinion about this?"

    I would like to know the answer to this also.

    In Him,

    Alan

    Josh and Alan,

    I apologize for being so slow in answering your question: I just returned from a two-week trip out of the country, where I had no internet access.

    Basically, I would agree that hearing about a rejection of the Nicene formulation is indeed cause for concern, and I would recommend that you read very carefully and critically any author who attempts to play around with such a succinct, biblical, and historically-grounded creed. However, we must also recognize that even the Nicene Creed is a manmade expression, and therefore must be subject to further refinement on the basis of solid exegesis from God's own Word. I will tell you that Reymond slightly nuances an age-old expression from that creed, and would prefer a little different (or clearer) formulation. But what exactly he suggests, I will not say; for such a touchy subject, it is really only reasonable to give an author (especially one who has displayed his solidly biblical stance elsewhere) the benefit of explaining himself. You may agree or disagree with what Reymond has to say on that point, but I think you'll find that he is an orthodox, conservative, and capable scholar, in any assessment.

    In Christ,
    Nathan

    Reymond's rejection of the Nicene formula follows Calvin's critique. Reymond rejects the Creed's teaching about the eternal generation of the Son. I wish I had my copy of Reymond's Systematics and Calvin's Institutes in front of me and I could easily quote their critiques. Nicene was concerned to protect against the modalism, but went too far and seemed to say that the Son was and is DEPENDENT of the Father for His subsistence.

    I do have Berkhof's Manual of Christian Doctrine with me in my home so I am able to quote from Berkhof on page 79. Berkhof believes in the eternal generation of the Son in keeping with Nicene. But for the life of me I don't know what he is trying to say. I do know that Reymond and Calvin would disagree with Berkhof's statement. He says, "By means of this generation the Father does not call the essential nature of the Son into being, but becomes the cause of the personal subsistence of the Son - a second mode of existence - within the divine being. This generation of the Son should not be regarded as an act completed in teh past, but as a necessary and therefore eternal act of the Father. It is timeless, always continuing, and yet ever completed."

    Where can I buy a copy? Thank you.

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