RHB. – 2020. lfpb. 253pp. Classic Reformed Theology Series.
Ames’s method in this book is not an analysis of the Catechism itself. Rather, he chooses a particular text of Scripture that supports the main thoughts for a given Lord’s Day. While the exposition is directly from the Bible, Ames’s doctrinal conclusions interact with the corresponding Questions and Answers of the Heidelberg Catechism.
Joel R. Beeke and Todd M. Rester’s introduction provides valuable background on Ames and his work. Rester’s fresh translation from the Latin opens several avenues of interest for modern-day English readers. Historians of 16th and 17th century thought will value the critical English translation of a much-neglected text, and the fact that it demonstrates the interaction between English Puritanism and the Dutch Further Reformation.
Reformed pastors will also take interest in this, as it provides another important resource on a classic doctrinal standard.
A Sketch of the Christian’s Catechism is the first volume of the Classic Reformed Theology series, edited by Dr. R. Scott Clark. This series seeks to produce and provide critical English translations of some of the more important but generally neglected texts of the orthodox period.
“This is an important project that promises to make available in good editions and translations a series of eminent works of Reformed theology from the era of orthodoxy. These volumes will offer students of the Reformed tradition an invaluable resource and will hopefully stimulate interest in the carefully defined and highly refined thought of an era that was formative of the Reformed faith and that assured its intellectual and spiritual vitality for later generations.” – Richard A. Muller, Calvin Theological Seminary
William Ames (1576-1633) was educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where William Perkins was his tutor. He attended the Synod of Dort as an English observer and there began to develop his reputation as a brilliant theologian. From 1622, he was professor of theology at the University of Franeker in Holland, where he attracted students from all over Protestant Europe.
“This new edition of Ames’s Sketch of the Christian’s Catechism is welcome indeed. William Ames, ‘the learned doctor’ of seventeenth-century Puritanism, was preeminently the teacher that showed Christianity as combining both doctrine and practical living. The new translation with historical introduction will be helpful to scholarly and general readers.” – Keith L. Sprunger, Bethel College