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The Mercersburg Theology and the Quest for Reformed Catholicity: Paperback – June 27, 2009


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The Mercersburg Theology and the Quest for Reformed Catholicity: + John Williamson Nevin: High-Church Calvinist (American Reformed Biographies) + The Mystical Presence: A Vindication of the Reformed or Calvinistic Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub (June 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606082418
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606082416
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,639,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Adam S. Borneman on June 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
Littlejohn's work is not merely a welcome addition to studies in the Mercersburg theology; it will be appropriately regarded by most (including this reviewer) as the new standard. In the midst of a powerful resurgence of scholarly interest in the Mercersburg theology, Littlejohn not only effectively synthesizes the various themes of Mercersburg - soteriology, ecclesiology, sacraments, liturgy, and catholicity - into a comprehensive analysis, but does so while also making the case (and making it remarkably well) that the Mercersburg theology is the most appropriate and effective theological trajectory towards unity and catholicity. To this end, Littlejohn demonstrates not only an astute understanding of the Mercersburg theology, but also a remarkable - to be sure, a rather impressive - knowledge of other theological traditions. For theology students who want to take their theology seriously while simultaneously seeking unity in the Church, Littlejohn's book is a must-have. He has done the church and the academy a great service, one which is sure to be appreciated by students, scholars, and pastors for many, many years to come.
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Format: Paperback
GUEST POST by Multnomah University student, Andy Lofthus:

The Mercersburg Theology and the Quest for Reformed Catholicity
by W. Bradford Littlejohn
(Pickwick, 214 pages, $23.00)

“Can Protestants be Protestants, and yet also be committed to the unity of the church? Is there such a thing as a catholic Protestantism, a Protestant catholicism?” (xi). So asks Peter Leithart in his forward to Brad Littlejohn’s The Mercersburg Theology and the Quest for Reformed Catholicity. The answer in this book is a clear and unhesitant yes. This is largely a work of ressourcement, a fancy word that simply means, “going back to the sources”. Littlejohn enlightens us to the Mercersburg Theology, which as John mentioned a few posts ago, was a somewhat obscure 19th century theological movement led by John W. Nevin and Philip Schaff, the movement itself a work of ressourcement. In looking back to Patristic and Reformed sources, the main thrust of the Mercersburg theologians was to challenge the individualism, subjectivism, and sectarianism rampant in the American Reformed churches of their day, and to put forward instead a Christianity that had a central place for the sacraments and the visible church. The problems of their day are so not so different from our own, making their work, and Littlejohn’s introduction to them, very valuable indeed.

In chapters 1-3, Littlejohn does a masterful job putting the Mercersburg Theology in its historical context, showing us its relation to important philosophical movements which came before it, and then entertainingly recounting the interaction and debates that occurred between the Mercersburg men and Charles Hodge of Princeton University, a name much more familiar to Christians today.
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This book makes an excellent introduction of Mercersburg Theology to the uninitiated and the ecumenically included. For the old Mercersburger it is a delightful read. We used this in a pastors' discussion group (United Church of Christ).
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