CALVIN ON POSTURE IN WORSHIP

Source: The Calvinist International

SITTING ON THE PROMISES? Portrait of John Calvin

Two of the more common gestural accompaniments of prayer and worship in Scripture are kneeling and the lifting of one’s hands.

In several places in the Institutes and his commentaries, John Calvin reflects on the usefulness of such practices for Christian prayer and sketches an outline of what it is that God intends them to do; or, rather, what God intends to do by them (and the notion of instrumentality will emerge as clearly having been of great significance for Calvin).

We tend, I think, in the Reformed world particularly, to assume that posture has very little to do with prayer, for a variety of reasons (e.g., an allergy to certain traditions with which we’d rather not be associated; an intellectualizing and cerebral impulse in worship that has as a frequent corollary, though not as a necessary consequence, a perhaps too easy alliance with forms that fall within our collective comfort zones; 1etc.). Others perhaps move in the opposition direction, believing that certain actions must be done at certain times, and that a failure to perform these actions makes prayer less, well, prayerful.

For Calvin, both positions are errors because both misjudge the nature of externals and their relation to the worship of the heart–the former too easily dispensing with them and therefore too quickly leaving them to one side, the latter giving them more weight than is due to them. Worship of God without the heart is useless; but, at the same time, what we do with our bodies is closely bound up with what we do with our hearts, and not in a symbolic way merely. The posture of the body ought to be emblematic of the posture of the heart, yes. But, ideally, the posture of the body serves to form the posture of the heart as well: posture, that is, has what we might call, in syntactical terms, both an indicative and a hortatory function. Kneeling is not just a sign of submission; kneeling aids in producing submission.

To approach more closely to what should be involved in thinking about this issue, let us look at some excerpts from Calvin, beginning with the Institutes. (END QUOTE)

For the rest of the article please visit The Calvinist International

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Roger Olsen on Freemasonry

SOURCE

Going where angels fear to tread: Christianity and Freemasonry

One of my biggest culture shocks in moving to the South has been seeing all the enormous Masonic lodges and discovering that many, if not most, older Baptist (and other) men are members.  Where I come from originally (upper midwest), evangelical Christianity (including the majority of Baptists) and Freemasonry don’t mix.  They’re like oil and water.  In fact, some denominations divided over whether members could be Freemasons; the conservatives considered the drift toward allowing it a sign of liberal theology or worse (nominal Christianity).

A friend of mine was in line to succeed the retiring Fire Chief in his town of about 100,000.  Some city council members came to him and told him he would be Fire Chief if he joined the Masonic Lodge.  It was against his evangelical convictions, so he never became the city’s Fire Chief.

As I was growing up in the thick of evangelicalism (my uncle was on the national board of the National Association of Evangelicals) somehow I just knew one could not be both evangelical and a Mason.  None of my relatives were Masons; nobody in our church or denomination was a Mason.

The reasons given when I asked (probably in my late teens when I became aware of Masons through my high school friends who were joining DeMolay–the boys’ branch of Freemasonry) were that 1) Christians should not belong to secret societies and should devote their free time to the church and its mission rather than to an organization that is not specifically Christian, and 2) Freemasonry’s deep background, if not present reality, is inconsistent with evangelical Christianity.

I didn’t really think that much about it for quite a few years.  After all, there were no Masons in the evangelical circles I moved in (even after becoming a Baptist while attending an evangelical Baptist seminary).  The issue really first came to concern me when we made our first move to the South for me to pursue my Ph.D. at a major Southern secular research university.  I became youth pastor and Christian education director at a Presbyterian church and discovered that most of the older men of the congregation were Masons and were inviting the boys of the youth group to join DeMolay by suggesting they would get college scholarships.  They started attending DeMolay meetings INSTEAD of youth group meetings.  It was a struggle to hold on to them for the youth group and church.  I gradually realized that some of the men of the congregation were more invested in their Masonic relationships and activities than in the church.

One elder of the church invited me to lunch to discuss this problem.  I had made a little noise about it–mostly just by asking questions such as “Why are our men drawing our boys away from church to Masonry?”  And I asked some questions about Masonic beliefs and practices–most of which never received answers. The elder, who was a 32nd degree Mason, took me to lunch and said (direct quote seared into my mind): “If there is a conflict between Masonry and the Bible I’ll go with Masonry any day.”

Curious, I decided to do some reading about the history, dogma and rituals of Masonry.  Of course, that’s not easy.  So I looked for a book by a current (not former) Mason that would explain its basic beliefs.  What I found was The Meaning of Masonry by W. L. Wilmshurst, a Grand Master over a group of Masonic Lodges in Great Britain.  Wilmshurst was clearly NOT talking about his own branch of Masonry (whether York Rite or Scottish Rite or whatever); he was talking about the deep roots of Masonry in general.  According to Wilmshurst, an acknowledged authority on Masonic history and beliefs, Masonry necessarily has an esoteric side.  As he described it I recognized it as modern Gnosticism.

What am I saying?  That all Masons are Gnostics?  No.  Of course not.  But, if Wilmshurst (and many knowledgeable critics of Masonry) is right, even in the 20th century Freemasonry is rooted in a basically esoteric quasi-religious belief system that is incompatible with orthodox Christianity.  Do most Masons know that?  I don’t know.  But why would anyone join a group without knowing as much as possible about its history and beliefs–especially if that group requires an oath of secrecy and loyalty?

A few years ago an influential fundamentalist Southern Baptist “anti-cult” watcher led a crusade against Freemasonry especially among Southern Baptists and evangelical Christians in general.  He produced a book and a video attempting to expose Freemasonry as incompatible with Christianity.  He and some of his friends brought a resolution to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention that, if passed, would have asked Southern Baptists to avoid membership in Masonic Lodges.  It would probably also have made it unlikely that Southern Baptist churches allow Masonic ceremonies in them and at Southern Baptist led funerals.  (Masonic members who die are given a special ritual by their Masonic brothers.  One explanation I was given by a Mason is that they do not believe in the resurrection of the body but only in the immortality of the soul.)

The resolution was soundly defeated.

I came to the South again 12 years ago and right away noticed the presence of enormous Masonic Lodges in this relatively small city with over 100 Baptist churches.  I discovered that many, if not most, older Baptist men have at one time or another been inducted into Masonry.  I have been told that all but the most recent presidents of the university where I teach were Masons.  I haven’t asked, but I’m sure many of the older men in the congregation to which I belong are Masons.  It’s part of the fabric of Southern culture including Southern Baptist culture.

Now, let me make clear I am not “against Masonry.”  I know too little about it to be against it.  Rather, I’m perplexed.  First, I was raised to believe that the church is one’s extended family, the family of God, and that one’s energy should be devoted to its ministry and mission first and foremost.  Second, I was raised to believe that membership in secret societies is not compatible with biblical Christianity.  It would be like an early Christian belonging also to a mystery religion; it wasn’t encouraged (to say the least).  Third, I was raised to believe that Masonic Lodges were competitors with the churches even if many Masons also belonged to churches.

Whether all that is true, I’m not sure.  But I continue to be perplexed about it.  How many Masons know that the first modern Masonic Lodges grew out of Rosicrucianism (an esoteric sect on the fringes of Christianity)?  How many know about the esoteric meanings of Masonic rituals?  How many are aware that, historically, Freemasonry denies the resurrection of the body and emphasizes the immortality of the soul instead?  Why would a Christian devote a hearty portion of his free time and energy to a secret society when that time and energy could be devoted to the work of Christ through the church?

These are questions I struggle with.  I’d love to hear real answers that carry some authority and weight from a knowledgeable Mason.  In the meantime I continue to suffer a bit of culture shock every time I drive by one of the several large Masonic Lodges in this region and realize that most of the members are probably Baptists.

Freemasonry and Anglicanism

Source:

Freemasonry and the doctrine of the Church of England

25 Jun 2015

Author:

George Conger

Justin Welby is not now, nor has he ever been a Freemason, a spokesman for Lambeth Palace told Anglican Ink this week. However, the archbishop’s staff declined to comment on the archbishop’s views on the compatibility of freemasonry and Christianity.

While his predecessor, Lord Williams, was an outspoken opponent of freemasonry, blocking masons from senior positions in the church, his successor has so far been silent. The Church of England’s official stance on masonry was set by the June 1987 meeting of General Synod in York, which held Christianity and freemasonry were not compatible.

By a vote of 384 to 52 with five abstentions, the General Synod approved the report, “Freemasonry and Christianity: Are They Compatible”. The 56-page report prepared by a seven member committee led by sociologist Margaret Hewett, which also included two masons, was released after 16 months of study. Whilst the Masonic members believed freemasonry and Christianity were compatible, the non-Masons found a “number of very fundamental reasons to question the com­patibility of Freemasons with Christianity.”

The report stated that it was “clear that some Christians have found the im­pact of Masonic rituals disturb­ing and a few perceive them as positively evil.” They concluded Masonic rituals were “blasphemous” be­cause God’s name “must not be taken in vain, nor can it be replaced by an amalgam of the names of pagan deities.”

It noted that Christians had withdrawn from Masonic lodges “precisely be­cause they perceive their membership of it as being in conflict with their Christian witness and belief.” However, the report did not take the position of the Methodist Church in England that Christians should resign.

In its debate, the synod noted freemasonry advocated a doctrine of works righteousness that conflicted with the Christian doctrine of Grace. A second point of theological concern was blasphemy surrounding the Mason’s use of the word “Jahbulon” for God — an amalgamation of Hebrew, Egyptian and Semitic titles for God.

However some senior churchmen rose in defence of masonry. The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. John Habgood described English Freemasonry as being a “fairly harmless eccentricity”. The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt. Rev. Stanley Booth-Clibborn (the grandson of Salvation Army founder William Booth) stated: “The important point ought to be that there should be no undue pressure on Christians who are Freemasons, and no witch hunt.”

Upon his appointment by Lord Williams as Bishop of Ebbsfleet in 2011, the Rt. Rev. Jonathan Baker resigned from the Oxford lodge. In a statement posted on the Ebbsfleet website, Bishop Baker said he had joined freemasonry as an “undergraduate in Oxford, before ordination. Over the years I have found it to be an organisation admirably committed to community life and involvement, with a record of charitable giving second to none, especially among, for example, unfashionable areas of medical research.”

He added “Had I ever encountered anything in freemasonry incompatible with my Christian faith I would, of course, have resigned at once. On the contrary, freemasonry is a secular organisation, wholly supportive of faith, and not an alternative to, or substitute for it. In terms of the Church of England, its support, for example, for cathedral fabric is well documented.”

However, “I have concluded that, because of the particular charism of episcopal ministry and the burden that ministry bears, I am resigning my membership of freemasonry.”

A number of public cathedral services during Archbishop Welby’s tenure has reopened the issue. On 21 Sept 2013 Canterbury Cathedral marked the 200th anniversary of Royal Arch Masonry with a special service led by the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Ven. Sheila Watson.

Freemasonry Today reported Archdeacon Watson noted the “long connection between the cathedral and Freemasons” and paid “tribute to the masonic principles of unity, fellowship and service to the community, and spoke of ‘service beyond ourselves’, a virtue embraced by the Church and Freemasonry alike.”

The cathedral’s press office declined to respond to request for a copy of the liturgy used at the Freemason service and AI was not able to confirm assertions that Jahbulon was worshipped in the Church of England ceremony.

In 2012 the dean of St Albans, the Very Rev. Jeffrey John, played host to 800 Hertfordshire freemasons and members of the Rose Croix and Societas Rosicruciana celebrating a service of thanksgiving and the rededication of a pulpit, a gift from English Freemasons in 1883.

At the St Albans service, Provincial Grand Master Colin Harris and Dr. John both referred to the relationship between the Abbey and Hertfordshire Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge, No. 8984, Freemasonry Today reported, noting the lodge “regularly assists at major Abbey events.”

Given the growing public profile of Freemasons in England’s cathedrals, has the 1987 General Synod paper on Freemasonry been made obsolete?

Freemasons and the Presbyterian Church

Interesting read.

Source

Masons Have Played Prominent Roles In The Presbyterian Church

The small Reformed Church finally took an official stand against Freemasonry in 1942. The one Presbyterian denomination prior to that time that took a clear stand against Freemasonry was the Associate Presbyterian Church which following the 1757 Secession tradition had forbidden Masonic membership.

In writing this part concerning the Presbyterians, I have taken the liberty to lump the various groups together in the same section—however, they can in no way be lumped together in their response to Freemasonry and the One-World-Power.

Examples of Presbyterian Masons working on the functional church level are Robert W. Cretney (33°, deacon Presbyterian church), Morton P. Steyer (KT, 32°, Shriner, York Rite College, Royal Order of Scotland, and elder Presbyterian Church), and Hugh I. Evans (33°, KT, National Head of the Presbyterian Church, USA.)

33rd degree Mason Hugh I. Evans (1887-1958) deserves some note here. He represented the U.S. at the meeting of the World Council of Churches in Holland in 1948. He was the National Head of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. in 1950-51. In 1955, he became the director of the Foundation of the Presbyterian Church at NYC. and he served for a while as the President of the Board of National Missions.

The Newsletter Free The Masons (Aug. 1990) says “On the other end of that, however, is the church on whose Board sit Lodge members, or whose Deacons or Elders share Masonic secrets. These secrets reflect their higher allegiance to the Lodge, and seem to produce an aloofness from the rest of the Church body. These are ‘good’ men who attend regularly and are often the financial backbone of many small congregations.

“One Pastor wrote of his frustration in a rural church. He put it this way, “As faithful as these men are, I always feel at board meetings that there is a second agenda which is not open to me. It’s like they get their marching orders from the Lodge on how to conduct the business of the church. They are good men, but they seem to operate with some ‘higher’ knowledge than the rest of us. There is no submission to the authority of the church and its members.” ”

Sometimes Masonic literature shows its true colors almost to the point of being embarrasing. The book Standard Freemasonry states that Presbyterians are bad material [for the lodge] until they go against their church.6 The Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Oregon, 1870, p. 209 states that the world is a good place when the Presbyterian church shares its pulpit with a Jewish rabbi in Salem, OR.

The Alabama Grand Lodge reported in 1889 that out of its 7,950 Freemasons in the state 483 were Christian ministers.7 The New York Grand Lodge report of 1890 gives us the breakdown of the 703 Christian clergymen that were N.Y. Masonic members: Methodist(288), Episcopalian(146), Baptist(112), Presbyterian(59), Universalist(31), Congregationalist(21), Dutch Reformed(13), Christian(13), Lutheran(11), Jewish(7), Unitarian(l), Reform Jew(1).8

THE NEW AGE & THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES

The United Presbyterian Church put out a “Report on Occult and Psychic Activities” in 1976 that gave a positive report to various occult activities. It encourages the study of the occult “within the churches” (p.3). The medium Olga Worrall’s book The Gift of Healing gets a favorable review. One of the seven on the task force that wrote up the report was Mrs. Margueritte Harmon Bro who was a medium and the cofounder of SFF.

Another example of the New Age in the Presbyterian church is Pastor H. Richard Neff, of the Christian Community Presbyterian Church of Bowie, Maryland. He authored the book Psychic Phenomena and Religion. He states in his book, “Occult practices…may be beneficial and helpful for many people.” (p. 166)

Presbyterian Pastor Neff believes that only fraudulent mediums are bad, and he advocates mediumism for others. (cf. pp.166-7, 130-1, etc.)

Notes

1. Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A History of Christianity, Vol. II. NY: Harper & Row, 1975, p. 1231.

3. Holmes, Arthur F. The Idea of a Christian College. Grand Rapids, Ml: William B. Eerdmans, 1975, p. 19.

4. Numerous books refer to Anderson. Two references may suffice here, Ferguson, Charles W. 50 Million Brothers, and Jack Harris’ Freemasonry: The Invisible Cult, p. 113.

5. 1982 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches as quoted in the World Almanac 1983, p. 353.

6. Standard Freemasonry, p. 40.

7. Proceedings…Grand Lodge of…California, 1889, p.5

8. Proceedings…Grand Lodge of…New York, 1890, p.37

Regulative Principle

Just to pique your interest…

Samuel Waldron explains the Regulative Principle in his Exposition of the 1689 using the following example. “Mr Anglican must use the materials of the Word of God, but has no blueprint and may use other materials. Mr. Puritan must use only materials of the Word of God and has a blueprint. It takes no special genius to discern which will be more pleasing to God.” Mr. Anglican represents the normative principle and Mr. Puritan represents the regulative principle.

Waldron also notes:

– God alone is to determine how the sinner approaches God in worship
– extra biblical practices usually tend to nullify true biblical worship (see video I posted earlier of holy laughter)
– we call into question the sufficiency of scripture when we add or make additions to the biblical norm
– the Bible explicity condemns all worship that is not commanded (Waldron lists the following scriptures: Lev. 10.1-3; Deut. 4.2, 12.29-32, 17.3; Josh. 1.7, 23.6-8; Matt. 15.13; Col. 2.20-23)
– how God is to be worship is explained here Deut. 12.29-32

John Owen is quoted, ” Three things are usually pleaded in the justification of the observance of such rites and ceremonies in the worship of God: First, that they tend unto the furtherance of the devotion of the worshipers; secondly, that they render the worship itself comely and beautiful; thirdly, that they are the preservers of order in the celebration thereof. And therefore on these accounts they may be instituted or appointed by some, and observed by all.”

Owen recognizes that some are changing the biblical order and practice by instituting what they like forcing others to observe and practice it. I see the regulative principle as freeing me from observing false traditions, human forms of piety, etc.) Owen hits the nail on the head with swift efficiency. All three points tend toward the preferences of man, they are man centered, rather than centered in the word of God.

Considering Deuteronomy: 12:

21. If the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to put his name there be too far from thee, then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the LORD hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. 22. Even as the roebuck and the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat them: the unclean and the clean shall eat of them alike. 23. Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. 24. Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water. 25. Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD. 26. Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose: 27. And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh. 28. Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God. 29. When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30. Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

v. 1.-2 destroy Temples belonging to false religion
v. 4-19 worship is prescribed where God reveals His name…the Tabernacle
v. 4. “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way.”
v.8 “You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes,”
v. 20-21 the revealed will of God regulates worship
v. 29-21 we are not to be influenced by culture
v.31 “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.”
v. 32 “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.”

Just a few notes from my reading on musical instruments being used in worship:

– David was given divine revelation to use them (when to use them, how to use them, etc.) which is why we find them listed in the Psalms (in the AV with instructions on what to use)

– The inclusion of musical instruments was not commanded/given by divine revelation in the NT

– Musical instruments were associated with worship in the Temple

– Synagogues did not use musical instruments because they were apart of worship in the Temple

– The early church, following the pattern of the NT, did not use instruments

– The church at large refused to use instruments in worship until the 19th century

– The new covenant deals with the heart, circumcision was of the heart not flesh, worship in the NT is a matter of the heart

– When Protestants, following the lead of Roman Catholicism, wanted to use instruments the argument was made, “to keep our children from leaving the church”

To say I read a lot is an understatement. My notes in the past have been a mess so I am not sure where the argument, “to keep our children from leaving” was used but I believe it was and Anglican.

What Early Christians believed about USING INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

Interesting read…

Why do the Orthodox not use instruments in worship? Part 01 | OrthoCuban

Should we use instruments during worship? Comment and let me know your thoughts.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Use Suitable Words

SUITABLE WORDS

Dear Brother Beebe: – I heard an Old School Baptist preach some time since, and he remarked that if sinners were lost, it was their own fault. I should like to have your views upon the subject. To me it had an awful, squinting towards Arminianism. I hope you will go fully into the subject as it is one that seems to puzzle the minds of a good many of the Baptists, even in this part of the world, though I am not of that number.

JOHN R. MARTIN
Franklin County, Va., Feb. 3, 1859.Beebe

Reply – Old School Baptist preachers should be exceedingly careful how they express themselves in setting forth their views, as a very considerable of the apparent difficulty which too often agitates the Zion of our God arises from a failure to understand the real meaning of each other. A loose, careless way of dashing out off-handed expressions can hardly fail to produce or promote such agitation, which, when produced, is often very hard to allay. The wise man, we are told, sought out suitable or appropriate words; and words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in pictures of silver. If we would preach, or talk, or write so as to edify the saints, and promote union, harmony and christian fellowship, we should avoid as far as possible all ambiguous expressions. We remember a short time ago a brother in the south said that he did not believe in revealed religion, and the expression startled many of his and our brethren, whereas the brother had no idea of denying what we generally mean when we use those words, but probably designed only to show that in his view the word “religion,” as used in the Scriptures, has reference to the conduct and works of men, rather than to what is revealed to them. So also some expressions made by us, and others, have been so construed as to charge us with holding sentiments for which we have not the least fellowship, and although we have from time to time disclaimed the imputation, the charges are in some quarters reiterated with as much zeal as though we had never disclaimed them.

In regard to the remark which brother Martin heard an Old School Baptist make, we should be at loss to know the meaning of the brother, unless he should explain. In some respects, with brother Martin, we think the remark has a “squinting to Arminianism.”

First. Because it is a favorite expression of all Arminians, and is used by them to signify that in their opinion every guilty sinner has salvation offered to him on certain conditions they are able to perform, and that it is therefore optional with them to be saved or damned.

Second. Should we hear an Old School Baptist make the remark, we would very naturally understand him to signify that he was not in perfect unison in his views with his brethren, or that he designed to convey the idea that his brethren exonerated that class of sinners that are finally and forever lost, from blame, and thus implying a charge of unrighteousness and injustice on God. In either or any case, we think such expressions thrown out are calculated to produce jargon and discord among those who, of all men, should strive to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Third. The IF in the remark seems to imply a doubt whether sinners will be, and a disbelief in the scriptural doctrine that sinners are already, lost; and this we think implies an Arminian idea. The blessed Savior has informed us that he that believeth not, is condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth on him. From the condemnation and wrath of almighty God nothing short of the blood of Jesus Christ can possibly save any of them, and the application of that blood is by no means within the reach or power of any sinner; if it be applied at all, it must be by the sovereign grace of God.

That men are in fault for being sinners, and that they are justly and righteously condemned as guilty sinners, is taught both by the word and Spirit, by the word as recorded in the Scriptures, and by the Spirit in his work on the heart, and in the experience of all who are born of God.

We have not room to pursue the subject farther at this time, but we hope our brethren will be more careful in the selection of words, knowing that we are surrounded by enemies who watch for our halting, and who rejoice when they can, either by fair means or foul, succeed in stirring up strife and discord among us.

Middletown, N.Y.,
March 15, 1859.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 4
Pages 206 – 208

Reformation Heritage Study Bible Premium Hardcover

Ok, I’m back…for a minute.

Bought a new Bible and wanted to share some pics of it since I was unable to find any online, except from the publisher and they were not very detailed.

From 2009 until December of 2015 I used a reference Bible only. In December I started reading The Orthodox Study Bible and found the “study notes1” helpful so I decided to go for it and get the Reformation Heritage Study Bible. The regular hardcover, IMO, looked a little tacky and I wanted just a plain jane cover. The black hardcover was listed as “Premium” for a few bucks more so I took a chance and ordered it.

Why hardcover?

The first two “leather” Bibles I purchased were bonded and felt worse in the hand than any of the high quality imitation leather covers I had seen on the market. After looking around online I ordered a Bible through Trinitarian Bible Society, printed by Cambridge, but straight out of the box the text block had pulled away from the cover. I didn’t complain, just sucked it up, TBS is a good organization worth supporting. It has lasted me seven years so I guess the issue is just cosmetic. When the Westminster Reference Bible was released from TBS I ordered the hardcover and came to prefer it over the limp leather or paperback bindings. The price was also a lot better which means I could save the money for more theological and devotional works. I am still happy with my Westminster Reference Bible and will continue to use it but I wanted a few notes to aid my study when I’m talking with folks at the coffee shop.

Google provided me with a few reviews for the Reformation Heritage Study Bible but nothing for the “Premium” hardcover so I thought I would post a few pictures so folks can see how nice it really is. I am not disappointed and highly recommend the Premium edition. This Bible is substantial with just over 2200 pages, and has a good Smyth sewn binding with heavy cover boards. Compared to the Westminster it is much better bound and the boards are thicker, with a leather look and feel, as well as gold gilding on the pages. The paper seems fine to me by the way. That’s all I’m going to say about the looks of the Bible since, for me, the Bible must be functional and durable rather than pur-tee.

The Notes

The real meat and potatoes can be found in the notes. The notes are taken from the works of the Puritans as well as modern Reformed Christians who have been influenced by Puritanism. The editors of the Reformation Heritage Bible have mined the works of William Ames, Geoff Banister, Charles Barrett, Brian Borgman, Wilhelmus A Brakel, Anthony Burgess, John Calvin, Stephen Charnock, Jonathan Edwards, Christopher Love, John Owen, William Perkins, Richard Sibbes, Thomas Watson, etc.  to provide us with a study Bible that is theological deep as well as practical. With this Bible you won’t have to worry about any modern controversies, modern textual criticism, etc. just time tested exegetical wisdom from solidly biblical Christians. The back of the Bible contains articles, creeds and confessions along with introductions, theological articles and practical questions for rumination. This Bible will help you anchor your biblical faith in the historical church.

Details From the publisher.

Product Description

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A Study Bible to Instruct Your Mind . . .

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Introductions to each section and every book of the Bible
Classic Bible text with explanations of difficult words
More than fifty articles on key Christian teachings
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A Study Bible to Discover Your Roots . . .

Overview of twenty centuries of church history
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All Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bibles are Smyth Sewn for lasting durability. These editions of The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible are being printed by Jongbloed, a Dutch printer reputed as the world’s finest publisher of Bibles.

With the purchase of the Bible, you will receive a free access code to create an account at http://www.holybible.com. This will allow access to all the study notes from the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible online.

Each Bible is packaged in an elegant presentation box.

Smyth Sewn bindings use thread to sew through folded signatures of a book. Signatures are made by printing on large sheets and then folding into groups of pages, usually 16 or 24 at a time. Each signature is sewn individually with threads going through each page several times. The threads are then tied off. All of the signatures are likewise attached together with thread creating what is called the book block. The book block is further strengthened using flannel and adhesive on the spine.

Editors

General Editor: Joel R. Beeke is pres­i­dent and Pro­fes­sor of Sys­tem­atic The­ol­ogy and Homilet­ics at Puritan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, a pas­tor of the Her­itage Nether­lands Reformed Con­gre­ga­tion in Grand Rapids, Michi­gan, edi­tor of Ban­ner of Sov­er­eign Grace Truth, edi­to­r­ial direc­tor of Ref­or­ma­tion Her­itage Books, pres­i­dent of Inher­i­tance Pub­lish­ers, and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Trans­la­tion Soci­ety.

Old Testament Editor: Michael Barrett is Aca­d­e­mic Dean and Pro­fes­sor of Old Tes­ta­ment at Puri­tan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He is a min­is­ter in the Free Pres­by­ter­ian Church of North Amer­ica. For­merly, Dr. Bar­rett served as pres­i­dent of Geneva Reformed Sem­i­nary. For almost thirty years, he was pro­fes­sor of Ancient Lan­guages and Old Tes­ta­ment The­ol­ogy and Inter­pre­ta­tion at Bob Jones Uni­ver­sity.

New Testament Editor: Gerald Bilkes is Pro­fes­sor of New Tes­ta­ment and Bib­li­cal The­ol­ogy at Puri­tan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He com­pleted a PhD (2002) from Prince­ton The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He was recip­i­ent of the United States Infor­ma­tion Agency Fel­low­ship at the Albright Insti­tute (ASOR) in Jerusalem dur­ing the 1997–1998 year.

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1) not really study notes but Eastern Orthodox opinions on the text…but anyway