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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Book Review: Lyle D. Bierma - The Theology of the Heidelberg Catechism: A Reformation Synthesis

I have always thought of the Heidelberg Catechism as a strictly Calvinist document. Here, Lyle D. Bierma, convinces otherwise.

Over the years, I have read a few commentaries on the Heidelberg, but this book is a little different. It is not a commentary, per se; it is more of a history of its theology.

Bierma's thesis is that the catechism was a synthesis of Calvinism, Lutheran and some times Zwinglian theology. He believes it was an ecumenical document to be used in more than just the Calvinist Reformed churches. His arguments are precise and convincing.

In this work he takes us through each question of the Heidelberg comparing them to other catechisms and documents of the time. His goal is to prove that the origins of the wording were taken from multiple sources.

In this short but convincing work , Bierma accomplishes the task he sets out to perform. The writing is straight forth and readable. I believe the sections concerning baptism, the covenant, and the Lord's Supper are the most persuasive.

I enjoyed this book and will now look into reading, what seems to be, the companion volume, "Introduction to the Heidelberg Catechism", by the same author

Though not for everyone, I recommend it and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

I received this book, free of charge, from Westminster John Knox Press and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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