by Morton H. Smith
In today's Church, sadly, there seems to be more emphasis on contemporary music and gourmet coffee than a real commitment to doctrine. Finally, in this wonderful handbook, Dr. Morton H. Smith lays out the standard for Protestant doctrine that is both easy to understand and backed by extensive Scriptural references. Furthermore, there are study questions and answers (catechisms) that make this an invaluable study tool for family devotions, Bible Studies, and Sunday Schools.
In this wonderful volume, Dr. Morton H. Smith helpfully lists together the various corresponding parts of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. This harmony will be of invaluable use for Bible Studies, Sunday Schools, as well as other venues.
The Westminster Standards are unsurpassed among confessional statements in precision and comprehensiveness and few would deny that they deserve close reading and careful study. But it is easy to be overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of the Standards, and a as a result many parts are often neglected. The Confession's statements about Scripture, and the doctrines of God, predestination, providence, and the person and work of Christ, as well as the famous first question of the Shorter Catechism, are, of course, known to many. But few have been introduced to what the Standards have to say about sanctification, faith, ethics, prayer, the sacraments, the church, etc. Even fewer have been introduced to the Larger Catechism which expands on points covered in the Confession and Shorter Catechism, and at times, provides material that can be found nowhere else in the Standards.
The Harmony was designed to remedy this situation. First, the distinct, somewhat self-contained paragraphs of the Confession are used as the anchors of the work and these smaller, digestible pieces are easier to follow and grasp. Second, points made by the Confession are, of course, often reiterated by the Catechisms. This repetition helps with retention and comparison of the documents also forces one to look more closely at each statement. Third, all of the statements of the Catechisms are included in the Harmony. This especially makes the Larger Catechism more accessible. Fourth, the wide margins provide space for personal notes. The Harmony has, therefore, been a useful and popular tool for the study of the Standards for many decades. It is our prayer that it will continue in its usefulness for many more, helping God's people to see the beauty and richness of the faith that has been so carefully summarized in the Standards, and ultimately, driving them back to the Word of God and the worship and service of our great God and Savior. Soli Deo Gloria!
About the author: Morton Howison Smith has taught Biblical and Systematic Theology to several generations of college and seminary students. Reared in a home with deep Presbyterian roots, he found assurance and comfort in Christ at an early age, was actively discipled by his pastor during his teenage years, and sensed a call to the ministry soon after college. Throughout his ministry, Dr. Smith has consistently set an example of godly piety and a love for the Word of God, the Westminster Standards and Reformed confessional theology, and the history and work of Christ's church. He has faithfully served as pastor, stated supply, guest preacher, and teacher. He actively participated in the founding of Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi (1966), the formation of the Presbyterian Church in America (1973), and Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (1987). He also served the Presbyterian Church in America for fifteen years as her Stated Clerk. Dr. Smith has always loved the outdoors, and he and his wife, Lois, currently reside in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.
Hardback (8.5 x 11"); 170 pages
Dr. Steven Craig Riser (Submitted on 7th Oct 2013)
In reflecting over 50 years of studying God's Word, one of the most helpful things I have done is to memorize the Westminster Shorter Catechism. This book harmonizes one of the greatest confessions of the faith ever compiled - the Westminster Confession of Faith with its accompanying larger and shorter catechisms. I heartily recommend it.
SDG, Dr. Steven riser