Case in Point


This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

The Basic Ideas of Calvinism, by H. Henry Meeter (book review: Presbyterian Journal)

Presbyterian Journal
June 30, 1976

After two decades of being overlooked and underused this Reformed classic has been reprinted by Baker. The publisher, in a nationwide publicity campaign, has labeled this small gem one of its “noteworthy new books.” Noteworthy, indeed.

If dogmatics is “the presentation of dogmas in a coherent system” as Haering contends (The Christian Faith) , then this Meeter volume admirably qualifies to go to the head of the class in the one-volume introductory, Reformed dogmatics category.

Again and again I was impressed with the relevance of his arrangement of and arguments for the teachings of Calvinism. The beauty and symmetry of the Reformed systematizing of revealed truth is brought forth with the clarity and simplicity it deserves.

His opening chapter, “The Fundamental Principle of Calvinism,” is almost startling in its elemental profundity. Consequently, I found myself going back to this chapter time and again to better understand my own Christian dogma. Other chapters deal with such topics as culture, politics, the state, civil liberty, internationalism and war.

Dr. Meeter rightly points out that “one outstanding feature of Calvinistic theology . . . is the great stress placed on morals, otherwise known as Christian ethics.” The remainder of the book is devoted to proving that assertion.

In a period such as ours when God’s children have lost the vigor of rigorous Christian moral reasoning and argumentation, Meeter’s book provides a primer in developing a framework to regain the august heritage of a consistent world-life view derived from the Scripture. One only wishes that more Scripture references were included in this fifth edition.

It’s difficult to fault a book on Calvinism written by a scholar who was awarded fellowships by both B. B. Warfield and J. G. Machen. Dr. Meeter graced Calvin College for three decades as chairman of its Bible department. His thoughts ought to grace the theology of today’s Reformed ministers for at least that long.


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