My introduction to reformed soteriology began in 1975, when my wife and I were serving with a church-planting mission in Peterborough England. A colleague in Germany, serving with the same mission, asked me to order some books for him from Banner of Truth Trust in Edinburgh, Scotland – these were the days before online shopping.
A couple of weeks after placing the order, I received a package from Banner of Truth with their latest catalog and the current issue of their magazine. I can still see the picture of theologian Geerhardus Vos (1862-1949), an American Calvinist considered by many to be the father of Reformed Biblical Theology, on the front cover of the magazine. But what stands out most in my memory is an excerpt from a commentary on the Psalms written by William S. Plumer (1802-1880), an American Presbyterian pastor and theologian.
Reading the excerpt, I was captivated by Plumer’s insight and ability in applying timeless biblical truth to everyday matters of Christian living. I ordered a copy of the commentary which I continue to consult to this day. In future posts hope to write more on what I find inviting about Puritan commentators.
Studies in the Book of Psalms: Being a Critical and Expository Commentary with Doctrinal and Practical Remarks was first published in 1867 and reprinted by Banner of Truth Trust in 1975. It does not appear to be available from Banner now, but you can get a free digitized copy here.
I so enjoyed reading that sample issue of the monthly Banner of Truth magazine that I subscribed to it. And so I found myself entering a theological conversation worlds away from the Scofieldian Dispensationalist world of fundamentalist Baptists in which I was raised. Today, 39 years later, I am still a Baptist, but now with a distinctly reformed understanding of soteriology – the doctrine of salvation.
I am thankful for that request to place that order of books with the Banner of Truth Trust, because in God’s providence, it opened a world of theological truth I had not yet encountered even though I had graduated from Bible School, been ordained to gospel ministry, and was nearly five years into vocational ministry.
Founded in London (1957), the Banner of Truth Trust was a clear leader in reintroducing the Puritans to 20th century Christians. We owe a great debt to the vision and tenacity of men like Ian Murray and Jack Cullum who believed that much good could result in bringing the riches of Puritan theology back into the conversation. You can read about the beginnings of the respected Christian publisher here.
If you are hungry for something beyond the ubiquitous guide-to-losing-weight-through-healthy-eating, better-marriage-through-exciting-sex, biblical-principles-for-growing-wealth, five-minutes-with-God, approach to Christian living, you may find reading the Puritans a refreshing change.
The Banner of Truth Trust is a great place to stop by on your journey to a deeper, more robust theology.