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The Next Great Idea

Great%20Idea.bmpOne of the things Reformed Christians tend to do well is publish and lecture.  Folks who identify with our tradition tend to read widely, and love to educate themselves, as well as stay informed about current issues/controversies through lectures and conferences.

I have had a number of interesting conversations of late with colleagues, church members, and seminary students, about those areas in which our tradition has not written widely, nor provided sufficient instruction through lectures/audio materials.

In light of these discussions, I would like to conduct a survey of sorts. 

  • Can you think of any topic(s) not sufficiently covered by a current (in-print) Reformed writer/speaker? 
  • Are there resources you need, but can't find? 
  • What topics need to be addressed in print (or a lectures series) that haven't been addressed?

Please leave your suggestions in the comments section below. 

Who knows?  You might just come up with the next great idea in Reformed publishing! 

Reader Comments (32)

Old Testament typology. Edwards considered typology to be the chief instructive mode of the OT era, and a long line of heroes of the faith before him took pains to learn of Christ through the overtly typological intent of the OT. But today, in an Enlightenment-influenced world, with a virtually naturalistic hermeneutic wielding much practical influence, such an approach is looked down upon in much of the Reformed world as unscholarly. There are a few exceptions -- I wish there were many, many more.
May 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterpitchford
I am a high school teacher, there is very little Reformed literature available to that level of student. I know this isn't what you asked but it is another way of recognizing a lack, not in area but in audience.
May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPete
Last fall I taught an elective Sunday school class on Calvin's Institutes. The response to my PCUSA (liberal) class was low- enthusiastic to lukewarm at best (they didn't like all that original sin stuff). This was my own first real study of Calvin and I was taken in heart and soul. My search for more has led me to see there isn't much "out there" on reformed thinking written by women, for women, though certainly there are women qualified to write of such things. I have been smitten with Calvin's commentaries and, as a decades-long experienced journalist, am writing a manuscript for women, youth ... people who have had little experience with Calvin, but who might like to "dabble." Writing is one thing. Publishing, however, is another. Keep up the good work, Pastor Kim. I check your site often.
May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterReformed Mama
I know this may seem a little elementary, but there is still a massive group of people in the churches who simply do not know how to read scripture. Too much prooftexting, text jumping, and incoherent preaching has lead to a complete misunderstanding of how to even read the Bible, much less study its depths. My thought is that seminars need to be taught on the process of teaching others how to read the Bible. How to identify and understand a theme of a particular book or genre in scripture, work within that theme and then to the greater theological context.

Just my two cents.

Roger Smith
May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Smith
Orthodoxy ought to lead to orthopraxy yet for all the Reformed theological works out there I do not see a corresponding number of works on how to engage our culture effectively. I have found that the idea of creatively engaging our localities with acts of service,etc. with an eye to proclaiming the Gospel seems all too foreign to many of my Reformed brethren. We've had enough critiques on how not to do it, now a strong Reformed call on how to demonstrate Christ through deed as well as Word is desperately needed.
May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Short
Yes, thank you. As all may have noted from past submissions, I have a Lutheran background. (And I may get shot for this by my Lutheran friends) but when it comes to the difference between Reformed and Lutheran beliefs having to do with the simultaneous physical and spiritual presence of the body and blood of Christ during the sacrament of holy communion, I think that Luther's view may be a bit one-sided. After all, his view were contentious with the Roman church that taught transubstantiation, and they are linked to scripture passages like 1 Cor. 11:26, 1 Cor. 10:16, 1 Cor. 10:16, and 1 Cor. 11:27, all of which may be debated at length, and may ultimately just be passages which we have concede to the Reformed view (wince, wince!).

Having said that, however, and having read and appreciated your detailed essays on the Canons of Dort, I find the Reformed views of "dual predestination" a bit lacking in their scriptural justification. I also look at the 15th and 16th centuries as heavily influenced by the "age of reason" under the "age of enlightenment" (or the other way around, depending on one's historical view), especially so in the French philosophical school of the times which likely influenced Calvin to a great degree. In other words, the scriptures never really clearly say that if one is not elected to salvation from before eternity that they must be effectively elected to is a "logical" conclusion that has primarily been drawn on the part of Calvin's successors. would be nice to have someone pursue scholarly research that either points to the influence of the Zeitgeist affecting those Swiss decisions or accommodates the scriptures in a more serious way than the 16th century conclusion that "if" this (election to salvation) "then" that (predestination to damnation) by virtue of sheer logic.

This could be a very enterprising effort on the part of student of the Reformed school and I, for one, would welcome his essay.
May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
I'm with Godfrey; there is a significant lack of engagement with Pentecostals among the Reformed. There are lots and lots of Pentecostals, and their influence over the Evangelical church has been tremendous. There needs to be a well written critique of Pentecostalism and its influence over American Evangelicalism from a Reformed perspective.

Horton's "The making of Modern American Evangelicals" comes close to what is needed, but is a bit academic, especially in our anti-intellectual age.
May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEcho_ohcE
I'd love to see theologian historical surveys from a reformed persepective.

A ton of theology has been done in the last 2000 years, but as a layperson, I find it difficult to access. More specifically, even Luther had his weak spots. I would really like to read a survey of major theologians from a trusted Reformed perspective, because it would help me to engage them. I would like it to cover everyone from Arius to Augustine to Thomas Aquinas to Calvin to N.T. Wright. All it would need to detail is what were their main contribution, most controversal postitions, where do they break with Reformed thought, etc.
May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterR-nut
I would greatly appreciate having an index for each of Mike Horton's books; most do not have one. His writings have been very beneficial to me, but my memory of where to find certain thoughts or quotes is less than adequate. Even an online index for his works would be helpful.
May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg
... and another thing:

I've downloaded many of your sermons, Kim (thanks!). It might be helpful to have a single pdf download for each book when completed, e.g., Romans.
May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg
Somewhat in agreement with echo on responding to those who are influencing "evangelicals", John Hagee comes to mind since I heard him on NPR today. I cringe every time I hear him and wonder why and where are the reformed voices to counter these views and arguments?

Every time I hear Hagee and others like him talk about the end times I wish us reformed people were more vocal about our understanding of the issues. I am not talking about just end times issues but a total response not unlike Gary Burge's writing.

More Kline broken down for the lay (wo)man would be wonderful as well.

May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRana
You WHInn guys are wonderful right from the beginning! Remember the Horses Mouth.
I listen to show - I try to read the books.
I am getting alot from you, because I do not get it in churche/s!! I am at a loss most of the time for what it is really all about in church.

Are there sources I need and can not find? YES!
right within the churches and what they are supposed to be doing.
Is it right that the sheep can just do what they want and wander off and the shepherd never deals with them? Wolves will get us maybe.

What I don't get is why so called reformed churches can't preach Law and Gospel and exposit scripture like it is supposed to? maybe thats not what they hold to?- have yet to see it in our church so far!
Or is it you do your thing and we do ours.
Everybody can't be right.
How can a member stay away for a whole summer and the church never even cares-never a word from pastor or elder?? amazing indeed.

What we need is a book that helps those of us who are so trapped with certain areas of life for 40 or 50 years maybe less - who knows?
And we wonder way to often - will I really make it - when I come so far short of the goal - I certainly am not up to par like those WHI guys are, one never hears if they really struggle like those of us in the trenches etc.

How can a person be a christian if I just never get over this after 40 years or whatever - You hear it all the time with men. Women too I bet.

We need to know that the WHInn guys or Seminary Profs or whoever have real tough struggles like the rest of us out here - outside the ivory towers and all the fantastic fellowship you guys get in church, sem, conferences and so on.

I am not sure at times I really get it - We are
so bombarded with it all from every side that one is not sure what to believe or where to even go anymore. '
There is never any conferences in the midwest like those go on on east coast and west coast areas have.
For some its the cost of it all; to try to go to these conferences etc.

In reality!
- WE DON"T NEED anymore books!
it gets to where so many are required or suggested reading that we lose for a lack of reading the real BOOK and knowing the real LORD because of being so overwhelmed with it all and everybodies opinion on some topic of whatever - and the problem gets to where its mass confusion. F.V.- Justification controversy - and on and on and on.

What we need is discipline of pastors and elders that refuse to do service they (were) called to do. To be called whats that mean?

I read DM Lloyd-Jones Bio by I Murray - my 2 favorite books - what he did in the church was amazing. where is that today. Oh how I envy getting that in church!!

We don't need books! we need far more are
pastors and elders to start doing for the people what scripture calls for -

When you ask a one time elder in a chat what is salvation and he tells ya - "that in his book - its behaving and doing good work" this is in a so called reformed church, what happened there?

So I would have to say that I am a very lacking, confused etc etc sheepster that wants to see what can be determined by this kind of response to Kims request by those who see, what I hope is wrong etc, and goes from there.
I don't have answers - I am just little people.
But I really do like Scott Clarks sermon he did on you tube - how we are bad really bad and so on. Thats what I need to hear and the sweetness of what Christ has done afterwards.

So take it for what its worth - or write me off as some kinda reformed nut and move on.
I am just so tired of being at a loss in so many ways.
My wife and I have contemplated moving to Cal just so we can go to an imperfect reformed CRC church and get in on all the wonderful everything that goes on out there - here we got nothin.

So what we need is:
Return to God's word. not more books.
Sources: as stated.
Topic: Evangelizing the church again.
Teaching us doctrine, theology and truly explaining what the confessions really mean for us today, for ourselves and how to deal with this world we have today.

Thats what I suggest - I hope this is ok!

Good day to all - eirene

A good Reformed commentary on the Minor Prophets at the pastoral level. This section of scripture is usually left in last place, but it seems to be extremely dogged by our camp. The categories are there for interpretation, but not enough exegetical work. If such a resource exists PLEASE send the information on!
May 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy
First, reprint Sinclair Ferguson's little Banner of Truth booklet, "What is the Reformed Faith?" Also there is needed an overview of historical theology for Reformed churches, much like Horton's God of Promise, did for theology.
May 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRaymond Coffey
for all the little people wrote:

"My wife and I have contemplated moving to Cal just so we can go to an imperfect reformed CRC church and get in on all the wonderful everything that goes on out there - here we got nothin."

I empathize with much of what you have written. Four to five years ago I did a long study in Romans and (was) emerged from the Matrix of American conservative fundamental "evangelical" "Christianity" to find the church, as I knew it, to be in reality a narcissistic church of moralistic therapeutic deism. At times I've felt like Rip Van Neo; and, at times I've ever-so-briefly considered moving to S. Cal for the reasons you've stated.

In my eyes, I'm just a little (inadequate) person, too. However, I've concluded that my role in this grand Gospel drama is intended to be played out here, where I now live. For me, I was looking for heaven now.

So instead of moving I've offered myself to God here. Two pastors, several elders, numerous family members and friends, business people, medical staff (I've got life long, disabling health issues, lost my wife to cancer nearly two years ago and have two teenagers) and complete strangers have come into my life; some only briefly. As the opportunity arises, I share the one and only Gospel with them.

I am not trying to change (transform) the world. I'm not responsible for changing the church either. But, if God chooses to do so, it will be through the proper proclamation of the Gospel. So, I'm simply responding with profound gratitude to the immeasurable grace that God has boundlessly bestowed upon me (us). Sometimes I'm sowing the seed. Other times I'm seeking in love, gentleness and humility to correct the message of other seed sowers (even the pastors who might unintentionally neglect certain aspects or put too much emphasis on application). They (pastors, elders, etc.) may not perceive what has gone wrong in this church-gone-mad, but as God has graciously made me aware, I seek to share with them, if I am met with receptiveness.

Relative to being fed, many times, I've feasted on the Gospel via mp3 downloads, personal studies, and even hearing myself proclaim the Gospel to others. Less often I hear a solid proclamation of Christ crucified at church. One way or another I am fed and I always long for more, but it is not heaven yet!

I thank God for the White Horse Inn and I know you do, too! (Also, I am encouraged by the blogs such as this and that of Scott Clark and Zrim.) And we do need more books. And we need more who will be real shepherds to the sheep. We need more who will spread the seed with spontaneity. We need more who are willing to leave their "comfort zones" to challenge with charity and boldness the Gospel that is improperly preached (or distracted/detracted from) in churches.

Sometimes those who are needed turn out to be us. In any event, I do know that God will provide for you and for me in all our needs; even when we cannot see the "how". (Confessional Reformed churches are few and far between where I live, too!)

May God's peace and grace be upon you!
May 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg
Thanx Greg!
too bad we can't have a soda together and chat.
What I want most is a fellow reformed type who will talk about whats real - and not be told to mind my own business when I want to help out in some way, etc, by the pastor, etc.

The elders told me they just read their hunting and fishing magazines - theology and all that stuff is not for them.
Which from what we have seen ourselves - how true. Even the pastor conferences I have gone to were - well whatever.

I will just keep moving along and stick with Kim's and Scotts blogs - any more than that is too much for this pea brain. Can't, at my age keep it all straight anymore!

Books - I finally got Bavincks 4 books - will see what that entails?

As for sources - WHInn is my source - just wish I could keep supporting them and get the wonderful CDs and magazine - but - cheap gas, etc makes things more pressing - sorry to say.

So we will hang in there and see what the Lord does - if anything - He is the Potter and we are the clay.
I will stay where we are - just dreamin'

Thanx again!
I echo Echo's sentiments re Pentecostalism. But there are not only the 'traditional' charismatic / pentecostalism doctrines - what about the "New Apostolic Reformation" of C.Peter Wagner, or the 'gift centred ministries' of people such as Rick Joyner, Bill Johnson, Todd Bentley, Dutch Sheets, Jack Deere, Chuck Pierce, Cindy Jacobs, and others. They have written books, run websites, run "prophetic'conferences on a regular basis. They have a running message concerning making experiential things the touchstone for how you go about doing ministry. An awful lot of their message is not really challenged. If there is a common mantra it would say something like; 'This is a new day for the Church; the landscape of the church is undergoing profound change;those churches who do not allow the Spirit to move in their ministries will fall away - God is doing a new thing and we must be ready'. Right now there is 'an exceptional outpouring of the Holy Spirit out at Lakeland in Florida.See for yourself at or Go there & you can 'soak up & receive an exceptional outpouring of the Holy Spirit'. I struggle to get my head around it all.

Has this revival of 'latter rain'theology been even acknowledged in Reformed circles, and if so where are the informed critiques of it?
May 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDown Under
I will echo the refrain of Pentecostal / charismatic / Third Wave / etc. groups (and the people mentioned by Down Under). I came from this hodge podge and would like to see a comprehensive work of the Holy Spirit as well as a thorough critique of the above mentioned movements.
May 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris Malamisuro
As a Reformed person who lives in a heavily Mennonite area and teaches in a Mennonite School, I have been wishing for an examination and critique of Anabaptism from a Reformed perspective. I am not speaking of the issue of believer's baptism vs. infant baptism either. I am thinking more about Anabaptist soteriology and theology in general (things like Anabaptist views of election, justification, law, gospel, etc.). I only have come across passing references to the excesses and errors of the Anabaptists in Reformed literature and programs like the White Horse Inn, but those references never seem to be followed up with any thorough explanation or analysis.
May 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJesse Light

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