The United Kingdom's Paternoster Press often publishes books of interest to our readers. Many of them are not available under any imprint in the United States, but it is easy to log on to Paternoster's Website (www.paternoster-publishing.com) and order them directly.
In one sense, this particular work is aimed at the scholars among us. It is a work of self-conscious historical theology that aims to overcome specific longstanding philosophical and theological assumptions that have distorted our understanding of the development of post-reformational Protestant theology. Too much historical theology has tended to wrench the Protestant scholastics out of their historical contexts, creating artificial divisions between them and the reformers and implying that to describe a theology as "scholastic" is to say more about its content than its method. Too much of it has also succumbed either to unhistorical, "Golden Age" romanticism about an earlier epoch of Church history when everything was right theologically or to the relativizing of doctrinal certainty by allegiance to a Hegelian-inspired dialectical approach to theological development. The eighteen essays in this volume-all but a couple of which focus on a specific reformational or post-reformational Protestant theologian-aim to lay these distorting assumptions and influences to rest.
Yet this book's lessons are crucial to the Church at large. True-blue, ordinary, pew-sitting Lutheran and Reformed believers all-too-often tend to pine for an idealized past, when there allegedly was no serious doctrinal disagreement among sincere believers. And earnest, intellectually committed undergraduate and graduate students are far too frequently tempted to skepticism or cynicism when they first encounter the theological disagreements and dissonances of uncensored Christian history. This volume's essays by Protestant scholasticism's leading experts can, when properly digested, counter both the ordinary believer's unhelpful idealism and the budding intellectual's untenable relativism. Thus, it can be read with great profit especially by pastors, who can then convey its lessons to students and common folk alike.