All for Jesus

All for Jesus:

A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Covenant Theological Seminary

Robert A. Peterson (ed.)

Mentor/Christian Focus, 2006    £19.99hb    416pp

Covenant Theological Seminary in St Louis, Missouri is the national seminary for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and one of the larger seminaries in the USA, with a reputation for Reformed and Evangelical theology and some very good free resources online in their ‘Worldwide Classroom’. This celebration of a recent milestone in their history is something of a mixed bag, as such compilations often are, but is noteworthy for some unique and insightful chapters. It is split into five sections, looking at Christ-centred stories, gospel, disciplines, mission, and sermons, followed by two brief appendices. Those interested in the history and struggles of this well-known institution will find the chapter by David Calhoun, famous for his excellent two-volume history of Princeton Seminary, an enlightening read. Founders of the seminary were veterans of the ‘fundamentalist-modernist controversy’ in the early part of the Twentieth century along with men such as J. Gresham Machen, and they stood for fundamentals such as penal substitution and inerrancy. Their commitment to the original languages of Scripture can be seen in the early curriculum: the first catalogue listed courses not just in advanced Hebrew grammar but also in Syriac, Arabic, and Babylonian! How they have continued to hold to Reformed distinctives in a changing church and world is an encouraging story. Bryan Chapell and Robert Peterson have good chapters on grace, Mark Dalbey has a stimulating discussion of the Regulative Principle in relation to churches in Ghana, Michael Williams has a solid exploration of systematic theology as a biblical discipline, and Philip Douglas looks at ‘Grace-Centred Church Planting’. This is a worthy tribute to a faithful establishment.

This review first appeared in Churchman 126.2 (2012).

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