Old paths - new shoes
The Westminster Conference 2008
OLD PATHS — NEW SHOES
Tentmaker. 136 pages. £5.95
This book gives the substance of lectures read at The Westminster Conference in 2008. The ‘Conference meets for two days annually and comprises six speakers presenting papers examining the history, doctrine and practice of people, events and churches associated with the Puritans, including their forebears and successors’.
In the first chapter, Iain Murray suggests lessons we can learn from the Puritans; such as saving conversion to Christ, Christian discipline, Sabbath-keeping, Christian unity, Protestantism and the preached Word of God. In the second, John J. Murray traces the recovery of the reformed vision up to the mid-20th century.
In chapter three, Paul Brown gives a helpful introduction to the life and legacy of E.F. Kevan, the first president of what was then known as the London Bible College, while, in chapter four, Robert Godfrey looks at the Reformed and Puritan perspective on ‘tradition’.
Jonathan Watson then looks at the subject of spiritual conflict with reference to Thomas Brooks and his book Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices. He calculates that Brooks ‘discovers no less than 38 of Satan’s devices and prescribes no less than 189 precious remedies, which makes, on average, approximately, five remedies for every device!’ In chapter six, Faith Cook gives gripping recollections of William Grimshaw and his preaching. His admirable aim in preaching was to make ‘dark things plain’; a goal all preachers should labour to achieve.
The material in the book will primarily appeal to those who study the Puritans and their theology. It might have been encouraging to note that the death of Dr. Lloyd-Jones did not mark the end of an era. A number of us have suffered at the hands of those who seem to be unable to detach old paths from old shoes, or who think those wearing new shoes are automatically guilty of jettisoning old paths. It would have been good to see evidence drawn since the days of MLJ, showing that the Reformed evangelical faith is alive and well in many places. We must avoid the snare of drifting into antiquarianism.
pastor of Elmstead Baptist Church, SE London