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20 Days with Reformation Theology: Church and State (Peter Lillback) and Eschatology (Kim Riddlebarger)

It’s October and the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is underway! For the next 20 days Credo Magazine will be highlighting chapters (one a day) from the new Crossway book Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary, edited by Matthew Barrett.

Today we highlight two chapters:

Baptism, by Peter Lillback

Rev. Dr. Peter Lillback (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is president and professor of historical theology and church history at Westminster Theological Seminary. He also serves as the president of The Providence Forum and senior editor of the new Unio cum Christo: An International Journal of Reformed Theology and Life.

Dr. Lillback’s academic interests include church history, the doctrine of Scripture, public theology, the theology of John Calvin, Johannine Theology, and Christianity as it relates to American history. For those who are new to Dr. Lillback’s writing and teaching on his research interests, he recommends several resources as places to start. On Calvin, he would recommend starting with his work co-edited with David Hall, A Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes: Essays and Analysis, as well as his lecture “The Place of Covenant in Calvin’s Theology.” Also consider his course Covenant Theology, available free online from Westminster, which specifically focuses on Calvin’s contribution to the development of covenant theology during the Reformation.

Concerning Dr. Lillback’s research on Christianity in American history, he would recommend his publications George Washington’s Sacred Fire and Wall of Misconception, or his lecture “The American Presbyterian Experience of Religious Liberty and the American Amendments to the Westminster Confession.” On the doctrine of Scripture, he recommends his recent work co-edited with Dr. Richard Gaffin Thy Word Is Still Truth, which is a survey of essential writings on the doctrine of Scripture from the Reformation to today.

It is Dr. Lillback’s pleasure, as president, to host a variety of prominent teachers and speakers at Westminster, which he will also share on this site. For example, it was his joy to help establish the Richard B. Gaffin Lectures on Theology, Culture, and Mission, an annual lecture series in honor of the great biblical theologian and Westminster professor emeritus Dr. Richard Gaffin. Past lecturers include Bruce Waltke, Peter Jensen, Robert Letham, Al Mohler, D. A. Carson, John Piper, and more.

What is Peter Lillback’s chapter about?

Church and state in the Reformation were shaped by Caesaropapism and papal primacy. The Medieval era bequeathed Conciliarism, populists, and social movements. Luther’s theology weakened church power. Erastianism, sphere sovereignty, and total separation theories developed, as Reformers appealed to Scripture, classical political theories, and experience. Impelled by persecution, covenantal thinking helped forge theories of resistance to tyranny. Resistance by the lesser magistrate led to theories of popular resistance to tyranny. Lutherans, Calvinists, Huguenots, and Catholics contributed to this process. Mature theory was expressed by Rutherford, Althusius, and Grotius. Natural and biblical law were melded yielding permanent impact on western thought.

The Lord’s Supper, by Kim Riddlebarger

Dr. Kim Riddlebarger is senior pastor of Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim, California, and co-host of the popular White Horse Inn, a radio-internet talk show which first went on the air in 1990.

A fourth generation Californian, Kim is a graduate of California State University Fullerton (B.A.), Simon Greenleaf University (M.A.), Westminster Seminary California (M.A.R.), and Fuller Theological Seminary (Ph.D.) where he worked under Richard A. Muller.  Kim’s doctoral dissertation is entitled The Lion of Princeton — Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield:  Apologist, Polemicist, and Theologian.

Kim has served as a visiting lecturer in the graduate program in Reformation studies at Concordia University in Irvine, CA and was the chairman of the Growing Reformed Churches Conference, cosponsored by First Chino URC and Westminster Seminary California, where he served as a member of the board of trustees.  Kim also served as executive vice president of Christians United for Reformation (CURE), the forerunner of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (ACE).  Kim also served several terms as visiting professor of systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California.

Kim is an ordained minister in the United Reformed Churches (URCNA), is a regular contributor to publications such as Modern Reformation and TableTalk and has written chapters for numerous books, including Power Religion (Moody, 1992), Roman Catholicism: Evangelicals Analyze What Unites and What Divides Us (Moody, 1994), and Christ the Lord (Baker, 1992), Theologia et Apologia (Wipf and Stock, 2006), Called to Serve (Reformed Fellowship, 2007),  Risking the Truth (Christian Focus, 2009). Always Reforming:  Essays in Honor of W. Robert Godfrey (2010), and Planting, Watering, Growing: Planting Confessionally Reformed Churches in the 21st Century (Reformation Heritage, 2011); Reformation Theology (Crossway, 2017)

Kim is the author of four books:  A Case For Amillennialism, (Baker Books, 2003/2013), and The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About the Antichrist (Baker Books, 2006), First Corinthians:  The Lectio Continua Expository New Testament Commentary (Tolle Lege Press, 2013); and The Lion of Princeton:  B. B. Warfield as Apologist and Theologian (Lexham Press, 2015).

What is Kim Riddlebarger’s chapter about?

Martin Luther and John Calvin affirmed the traditional teaching of the church regarding the last things–Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, promised to physically return on the last day in order to raise the dead, judge the world, and then create a new heavens and earth.  Focusing upon the unfolding drama of redemptive-history, both were thoroughly eschatological in their thinking.  Although neither Luther or Calvin sought to make major adjustments to the received eschatological categories of the Christian church, both believed that the death and resurrection of Jesus were the central events in biblical revelation and provided the framework to understand the unfolding course of human history until the Lord returns.  This enabled them to discuss the second coming of Jesus Christ in the non-apocalyptic terms of a semi-realized (already/not-yet) eschatology.  The two Reformers vehemently opposed the radical Anabapists, and all forms of speculative date setting and millennarianism associated with them.  Both men were also convinced that the papacy had become Antichrist–a clear biblical sign of the end–and both believed that God would have mercy upon his people and hasten the return of Christ to preserve his persecuted elect upon the earth.

Who else has contributed to Reformation Theology?

Prologue: What Are We Celebrating? Taking Stock after Five Centuries

Michael Horton


The Crux of Genuine Reform
Matthew Barrett

Part 1: Historical Background to the Reformation

Late-Medieval Theology
Gerald Bray

The Reformers and Their Reformations
Carl R. Trueman and Eunjin Kim

Part 2: Reformation Theology

Sola Scriptura
Mark D. Thompson

The Holy Trinity
Michael Reeves

The Being and Attributes of God
Scott R. Swain

Predestination and Election
Cornelis P. Venema

Creation, Mankind, and the Image of God
Douglas F. Kelly

The Person of Christ
Robert Letham

The Work of Christ
Donald Macleod

The Holy Spirit
Graham A. Cole

Union with Christ
J. V. Fesko

The Bondage and Liberation of the Will
Matthew Barrett

Justification by Faith Alone
Korey D. Maas

Sanctification, Perseverance, and Assurance
Michael Allen

The Church
Robert Kolb

Aaron Clay Denlinger

The Lord’s Supper
Keith A. Mathison

The Relationship of Church and State
Peter A. Lillback

Kim Riddlebarger

Praise for Reformation Theology?

“Dr. Barrett has gathered a full stable of blue-ribbon theologians for this winning volume. All the essays are carefully contextualized, the Reformers judiciously selected, and the bibliographies thoughtfully assembled. Some chapters are especially notable for the breadth and depth of the author’s research, others for their adroit summaries of complex themes. There is little doubt that Reformation Theology will ably serve the church and academy as a textbook for students and a reference work for scholars. It is already reshaping my own teaching on late-medieval and early-modern theology, and I commend it heartily.”
Chad Van Dixhoorn, Chancellor’s Professor of Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary–Washington, DC

“This delightful volume is a breath of fresh air in Reformation studies, putting theology back at the center. It shows with crystal clarity how the Reformers expounded the heart of the Christian faith, and why these evangelical doctrines still matter so much.”
Andrew Atherstone, Latimer Research Fellow, Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford

“This rich book takes up the challenge to think beyond 2017 and does so in a very stimulating manner. Each of the contributors is an expert in his field and knows that the Reformation is a highly relevant treasure for both the church and theology. They convincingly encourage the readers to think through this treasure and adopt it. Everyone eager not just to look back at five hundred years of reformation but also to look forward finds here the perfect material.”
Herman Selderhuis, Director, Refo500; Professor and Director of the Institute for Reformation Research, Theological University Apeldoorn, the Netherlands; author, Calvin’s Theology of the Psalms

“Dr. Matthew Barrett has assembled a first-rate team of pastors and scholars to write an anniversary volume of the Reformation that promises to receive a welcoming readership across a wide spectrum of the evangelical community. At a time when some are suggesting that for all practical purposes the Reformation is ‘over,’ Barrett’s Reformation Theology offers a needed corrective by showing the relevance of the Reformation for healthy church ministry and the Christian life today.”
Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College; author, Loving the Way Jesus Loves

“This collection of essays is both necessary and appropriate. It’s necessary because the issues addressed mattered then and matter now. It’s appropriate because this is how we best remember our past and honor the Reformers. The Reformation is our pivot point in the past, and the issues it addressed remain the pivot point for church life and discipleship.”
Stephen J. Nichols, President, Reformation Bible College; Chief Academic Officer, Ligonier Ministries; author, Martin Luther: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought and The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World

“A superb collection of first-rate essays on Reformation theology—one of the best I have seen. A welcome addition to the swell of literature in this year of Reformation remembrance.”
Timothy George, founding dean, Beeson Divinity School; general editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture

“An anniversary is a great moment to do a book like Reformation Theology. And with the passing of time, Reformation truths and the importance of the Reformation as a milestone in church history get forgotten—incredible as that sounds. But it is true. Perhaps we should not be surprised. How many times in the Old Testament do we read that the Israelites ‘forgot’? So I am enthusiastic about Reformation Theology.”
David F. Wells, distinguished senior research professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; author, The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-Lovers, Marketers and Emergents in the Postmodern World

“Matthew Barrett is certainly to be congratulated on bringing together this outstanding group of top-tier theologians and Reformation scholars to produce this wonderful resource. Not only are readers given a masterful survey of historical theology illuminating the key reformational themes of the sixteenth century, but also we are provided thoughtful and insightful guidance to wrestle with the important theological issues facing the church in the twenty-first century. I am delighted to recommend this comprehensive work.”
David S. Dockery, president, Trinity International University

Reformation Theology promises to be an influential book indeed. Written by recognized historians and theologians, this volume aims to clearly articulate the teaching of the Reformers according to traditional theological categories. It is a genuine contribution and a great read besides.”
Fred G. Zaspel, Pastor, Reformed Baptist Church, Franconia, Pennsylvania; author, The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary and Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel

“Nothing would benefit American evangelicals more than a real rediscovery of the Reformation—not a superficial regurgitation of the familiar talking points but a powerful, experiential encounter with the learned depth, wisdom, humility, piety, and practical know-how of our Reformation forefathers. A volume like the one Dr. Matthew Barrett has put together is a big step in the right direction.”
Greg Forster, Director, Oikonomia Network at the Center for Transformational Churches, Trinity International University; author, The Joy of Calvinism

“The lineup of authors in Reformation Theology and their respective topics reflect the very best in Reformed evangelical scholarship. The book should be of widespread interest. Not only would seminary and college students find the volume profitable in their studies, but all informed Christians would benefit from the essays.”
W. Andrew Hoffecker, Professor of Church History Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary–Jackson; author, Charles Hodge: The Pride of Princeton

“A clear articulation of one’s Reformed faith requires familiarity with the ideas and events in which that faith is rooted. Unfortunately, there are few books on the subject currently in print that are both learned and accessible. Thankfully, this volume offers an outstanding solution to this problem.”
Chris Castaldo, Pastor, New Covenant Church, Naperville, Illinois; author, Talking with Catholics about the Gospel; coauthor, The Unfinished Reformation: What Unites and Divides Catholics and Protestants after 500 Years

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