Book Review Shorts

Martyn McGeown. Micah: Proclaiming the Incomparable God Jenison, Michigan: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2018. vi + 229 pp.

As Rev. Martyn McGeown points out in the introduction of this book, Micah is often neglected in our study of Scripture and preaching. This book is known for the prophetic statement about the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, the familiar words of 6:8, and the comforting words of 7:18. This volume is about to change this.

A cursory look at these pages tells us that there is so much material here for study and preaching. A more careful read beyond this will be a real eye-opener. Micah focuses on our great God who judges sin but also has given his only-begotten Son for the pardoning of our sins.

The author began this work as a series on sermons. In a practical way he gives to us his careful exegesis, but not in a way that is over our heads. He has done his homework—and very well. These seventeen chapters will give the reader a glimpse into what this little-known prophet has to say to the church today. As in all good preaching, we as believers are led to Christ and the church to greater faithfulness in this difficult age.

The believer who delights to know God’s Word (every believer should, of course) and the man called of God and ordained to proclaim the great truths of Scripture will find these pages to be spiritually enriching. Highly recommended.

Are you looking for a book to read your little children or your grandchildren?

Connie Meyer s T Is for Tree: A Bible ABC (Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2018; 52 pp.) will fill your need very well.

Each eye-catching, colorful page gives a letter of the alphabet, a short rhyme, and an applicable Bible text. This is the first children’s book of this kind published by RFPA. Highly recommended.

Rebecca Van Doodeward’s How Should I Exercise Hospitality?

(Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2017; 24 pp.) will great help for those who hesitate to invite over fellow church members or visiting worshipers. It gives ideas how these visits can be arranged. Ideas for both wives and husbands are given.

The focus in Ray Pennings, How Can I Serve God at Work?

(Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2017; 38 pp.) is on a Christian perspective of work and not so much on Christians in the workplace.

This is certainly a concern of every believer, or should be. Beginning with a quotation of a sixteenth-century Puritan, William Perkins, Pennings lays out the important concept of vocation. He speaks not only to those of us already busily engaged for life and what our attitude should be, but also to young people who are considering their career options. What he writes is important because we all know that sin’s curse is real, and we feel its effects daily. Speaking of William Perkins, Reformed Heritage Books is publishing his works. Perkins (1558–1602) was an influential preacher in Cambridge, England, and a teacher whose influence continued long after his earthly journey was over. The set is in ten volumes. Volume 5 contains his “Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer” (1592), “Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed” (1595), and a catechism (1590). The first two parts would be of particular value as we study the creed and the Lord’s Prayer.

The Works of William Perkins, Volume 5 Edited by Ryan Hurd, Grand Rapids, 2017; xvii + 547 pp.).

The Rev. Joel Beeke has provided a series of sermons on the book of Revelation for the Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament, a series of books encouraging preaching through the books of the New Testament, and a practice somewhat lost since the days of the Reformation. Regarding himself as an “optimistic amillennialist,” he preached through this more than somewhat difficult book for preachers “in a thoroughly biblical, doctrinal, experiential, and practical way intended to comfort and mature God’s people, warn the unsaved to flee to Christ for salvation, and exalt Christ as the King of kings and only head of His church.”

Joel Beeke’s


(Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2016; xix + 611 pp.). This volume may be of help as you seek the blessed message of Revelation. Reformation Heritage has also published two volumes of sermons on the Heidelberg Catechism by Theodorus Vander Groe (1705–1784). He was one of the last and most well-known preachers representing the Dutch Further Reformation. These sermons are first-time translations of eighty-nine sermons on the Lord’s Days. Some Lord’s Days are broken up into several sermons. There are seven introductory sermons to the Law. These volumes:

The Christian’s Only Comfort in Life and Death: An Exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism

(2 vols., 2016; liv + 556 pp.; vi + 562 pp., includes index) are a joint project between Reformed Heritage and the Dutch Reformed Translation Society and were translated by Rev. Bartel Elshout. The introduction to volume 1 contains a helpful introduction to the Dutch Further Reformation, or the Nadere Reformatie. A minister who approaches these volumes as a prospector for looking for gold will find many ideas for catechism preaching.

Another helpful book on the Heidelberg Catechism is by Cornelis P. Venema, a name familiar to many of us:

The Lord’s Supper and the Popish Mass: A Study of Heidelberg Catechism Q+A 80

(Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2015; x + 103 pp.). This paperback points out why Q80 is in our catechism. Many find its inclusion to be controversial, but Venema shows us the importance of this question. The value of this book is that it reminds us why we have this question, and why we need it in these strange days of spiritual decline.

Also in the series of the books by Venema (Explorations in Reformed Confessional Theology) is a book by Ryan M. McGraw of Greenville Presbyterian Seminary, entitled

The Ark of Safety: Is There Salvation Outside of the Church?

(Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2018; xii + 125 pp.). Perhaps you have been troubled by a statement in the Belgic Confession, Art. 28, that says that outside of the church there is no salvation. This is also found in the Westminster Confession 25.2. The author goes to great pains to explain what this means. (Those who do not maintain the view of invisible/visible church will not be helped.) Worth a read.

If you are interested in what the Bible says about angels, you will be interested in reading the first English printing of Abraham Kuyper’s

God’s Angels: His Ministering Spirits

translated from the Dutch by a retired URC minister, Rev. Richard Stienstra (Victoria, BC: Friesan Press, 2015; 347 pp.). In thirty-six chapters Kuyper deals with the existence of angels, their nature, the sons of God and the daughters of men in Genesis, Gabriel, Michael, and much more. While sometimes Dr. Kuyper becomes somewhat philosophical, there is much which illumines Scripture: We are grateful for Rev. Stienstra’s work!

In these days when there seems to be a growing interest in John Calvin as God’s servant, a volume entitled

Theology Made Practical: New Studies on John Calvin and His Legacy

has been published by Reformation Heritage Books in Grand Rapids (2017; xiv + 248 pp.). It contains fourteen essays by Joel Beeke, David W. Hall, and Michael A. G. Haykin on subjects including material on Calvin’s biography, systematic theology, pastoral theology, and his legacy. None of the essays are lengthy, and all are reasonably easy to read. One quote of Calvin about preaching is a gem for preachers and hearers alike: “We must shun all unprofitable babbling, and stay ourselves upon plain teaching.” For someone who wants to learn and be blessed spiritually, this is a book for you. Church librarians: take note.

If you are looking for a helpful companion to the Bible in personal or family devotions, do not overlook

Family Worship Bible Guide

Joel Beeke with a team of editors has produced this fine guide (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage, 2016; xviii + 856 pp.). For each chapter of the Bible there are one or several meditations, often with a question or so for discussion. Recommended.

Rev. Jerome Julien is a retired minister in the URCNA living in Hudsonville, MI, and serves on the Board of Reformed Fellowship. He and his wife, Reita, are members of Walker URC, in Grand Rapids, MI.