Jonathan Master, Reformed Theology (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2023), 108 pp.
Reformed Theology by Jonathan Master is a short and readable overview that guides people through the basics of this historical theological position. Masters summarizes Reformed theology by pointing readers to the so-called five points of Calvinism, which emerged at the Synod of Dort in 1618-1619. These five succinct doctrinal pillars were direct responses to the Arminians of the day. Reformed theology is also undergirded by the five solas of the Reformation – grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, Scripture alone, and to God alone be the glory.
Master helpfully summarizes Reformed theology by pointing to three key articles. Reformed theology 1) affirms the five solas and all their implications, 2) recognizes the centrality of the covenant in God’s saving purposes, and 3) is expressed in a historic and public confession of faith.
Reformed theology also rightly makes much of the sovereignty of God. The author adds:
Creation shows that God alone is in charge; he alone has the right to demand obedience and allegiance. God’s promise of salvation demonstrates that God is in charge of the future as well as the present and past. He can promise that something will take place, and the fulfillment of that promise is guaranteed.
The covenants of Scripture are explored which “provide the skeleton or structure for what God reveals about himself and for how he redeems his people.” The book surveys the biblical covenants and concludes with the New Covenant which grants spiritual life to the people of God and gives them the ability to obey him and worship him as Scripture demands. Masters concludes:
Understanding the covenantal structure of the Bible is vital to understanding the nature of Reformed theology. Because Reformed theology is centered on the Scriptures, the way in which the Bible reveals God’s salvation must inform how we understand and proclaim it today. When we look carefully at the covenants as they unfold in Scripture, we not only see Jesus Christ more clearly but also see the breadth of God’s salvation to all nations and the glories of a salvation that is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone – all to the glory of the triune God.
Finally, the blessings of Reformed theology is explored. This chapter is a fitting conclusion as the author reveals several practical blessings that are part and parcel of the Reformed approach to understanding Scripture. Reformed Theology by Jonathan Master is a clear summary of the Reformed faith that should grace every pastor’s shelf. Pastors should in turn recommend this powerful little book to inquiry minds and those who need a primer on the basics of Reformed theology.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.