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The Church's Book of Comfort Hardcover – January 1, 2008
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
The The Church's Book of Comfortsheds new light on the historical milieu, composition, authorship, and production of the Heidelberg Catechism...The history of catechism preaching over the centuries follows many fascinating twists and turns. --Joel R. Beeke, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids
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This book discusses the following areas:
1) Social, political, and ecclesiastical surroundings of the Heidelberg Catechism, including the influence of Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin as well as Electors, professors, and even elders of the churches. The authors of the book aren't narrow when discussing these things; they focus on the broader contexts of church, politics, and theology of the HC years.
2) Family, church, and school religious education. I was amazed at the amount of details the authors gave about how, when, why, and where Christian education happened in this era, including how the different Classes and Synods emphasized schooling. There are also discussions and brief samples of kids' catechisms of the era, which supplemented the HC.
3) There is also a chapter devoted strictly to the HC's theology. It is a sweet chapter in which the author basically narrates the HC out theologically. This is an excellent way to review the HC.
4) The historical details of "The Church's Book of Comfort" are amazing. In it, the authors discuss how different teachers, classes, and synods dealt with preaching the themes in the HC. In fact, in more than one place the reader learns about the "second service" in HC churches, which was a teaching service based around kids/adults' understanding the HC using appropriate Scriptures to make the points.
In sum, this is a great and necessary resource when studying the background and importance of the HC. Again, over the period of quite a few years, I've read many things on the HC; this one is right up there with the best of them. In this book, I learned more about Dathenus, VanDerKemp, Faukelius, Hellenbroek, and the rest. One further area that this book expands on is the HC in the 18th century and a bit into the 19th century, an era which is more than fascinating.
There is one major downfall to this book: there are no citations/footnotes! There is a bibliography in the back of the book, but not a single citation in the book. I typically refer to citations quite a bit, so I was "lost" with out them. Though this is a big disappointment, it doesn't take away from the structure and content of this excellent resource. I highly recommend it for HC students.