- Series: Biography
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Christian Focus (November 20, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1781916845
- ISBN-13: 978-1781916841
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,651,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Theodore Beza: The Man and the Myth (Biography) Paperback – November 20, 2015
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For a man who was John Calvin's assistant and successor, Theodore Beza is surprisingly little known. This book does us the great service of introducing the man in and through his major works. (Gerald Bray ~ Research Professor, Beeson Divinity School at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama)
Among the litany of books on Beza this latest work offers a most genuine contribution in its ability to countervail the many modern misconceptions surrounding "the Calvinist." From the aftermath of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre to the Colloquy of Montbeliard, Beza proved himself to be more than a theologian; he was a statesman and an ambassador for the Reformed faith. Theodore Beza: The Man and the Myth is a robust depiction of Beza in all of these roles. (Obbie Tyler Todd, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana - Writing for The Gospel Coalition)
This title opens with, 'Theodore Beza? Who's he? Why should I care about him?' The author answers these questions with warmth and clarity ... though Beza was a theologian of great intellect, he was a man of great devotion to God and pastoral sensitivity in dealing with God's people.
Overall, an excellent introduction to the life and writings of Theodore Beza. (Mark Rowcroft, Evangelical Times)
An enrichingand heart warming experience ... Alec Motyer is a Hebrew scholar with a love and respect for God's Word, we can have confidence in what he has done. There were wonderful moments where the Psalms came alive. (Evangelical Now)
Shawn Wright is a rare gift of a careful historian with a pastor's heart. In this moving tribute on Beza, Wright captures the true man behind the myth and demonstrates why Beza should be both relevant as well as inspiring to the modern pastor. (Brian Croft ~ Pastor, Auburndale Baptist Church and Senior Fellow of the Mathena Center for Church Revitalization at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky)
Wright's own instincts of pastoral sympathy help clear away much of the historiographical garbage that has accumulated around the legacy of Beza and made him a feared step-child of the Reformation. (Tom J. Nettles ~ Former Senior Professor of Historical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky)
Well researched and well written, this is an important book about Beza based on a close reading of Beza ... A stellar contribution to Reformation studies and pastoral theology alike. (Timothy George ~ Founding Dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama)
About the Author
Shawn D. Wright is Associate Professor of Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and serves as an elder at Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky,
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What do you know about Theodore Beza? Anything? If you're like most people, the answer is "nothing at all." If you have heard of him, odds are that there's only a couple of things you may know — that he was Calvin's successor and that he is famous for double predestination.
theodore-beza-the-man-and-the-mythPerhaps you've heard that he is actually responsible for what is known as "Calvinism" today, and that he took Calvin's teachings and distorted them, and that what Calvin actually believed was different than what we call Calvinism today.
What part of this is true, and what is myth? Are these facts about Beza — that he was Calvin's successor and famous for double predestination — all that is really of value for us to know about this man?
Who is Theodore Beza?
It is in response to these questions that Shawn Wright, professor of Church History at SBTS, has written a new book on the man — Theodore Beza: The Man and the Myth.
Why Read This Book?
Wright is convinced that there are at least 3 reasons that you should consider reading this book and learning more about Beza:
1. Theodore Beza's example of loving the Lord Jesus Christ and trusting Him in the midst of tremendous difficulties is worth our investigation
Beza struggled through some seriously tumultuous times. Yet throughout his writings and life, we see a man who, though not perfectly, continues to press on loving and trusting in Jesus Christ.
2. Beza has been regularly maligned by both historians and theologians
Some have casted Beza as a rigid philosopher, morphing Calvin's ideas away from the Bible and more toward a logical, philosophical, non-biblical system. Wright says: "In this book I hope to introduce you to the real Beza, not a figment of other people's imaginations" (10).
3. We live in a time of revival of interest in Calvinistic theology and history.
With this in mind, Wright notes: "What better way could there be to enter into the discussion of Calvinism than by reading about 'the Calvinist' himself?" (11).
After laying the foundation of why we should care about Beza and consider spending our time reading 250+ pages about his life and work, Wright moves on to the book itself. In chapters 2 and 3, Wright helps the reader understand the man. In chapter 2, he sketches a brief historical setting to put into context the situation in which Beza lived, and then in chapter 3 Wright attempts to get into the mind and heart of Beza, laying out the thing that drove him to do all that he did.
Following these introductory chapters are the 5 main chapters of the book, each dealing with a different work of Beza that explains an important part of his thinking and theology. Each chapter looks at the particular work of Beza, helping you as the reader understand what Beza wrote, then ends with some points of application, followed by some "uses," or ways that the reader could use what he's read in that chapter to further explore the subject.
Finally, Wright concludes with a final chapter that helps synthesize everything in the book and give the reader something to walk away with.
I was blessed to have Dr. Wright as a professor at Southern Seminary while doing my M.Div. there. I can tell you from personal and professional interaction with Dr. Wright that he is a theologian and historian with an incredible pastor's heart. In the end, Wright wants you to better understand and apply God's Word to your life as you progress in following Jesus and becoming more like Him.
In this book, you get that same heart from Dr. Wright. Whether you are wading into the deep end of the pool looking at double predestination, looking at Beza's treatment on the believer's assurance of his salvation, or reading about the historical background to understand Beza the man, everything is done with the intention of you, the reader, better understanding God, through His Word, and better applying His Word to your life in order to honor and glorify Him in all things.
Whether you are interested in history or not, whether you are interested in Calvinism or not, whether you have ever heard of Beza or not, I believe that this is a book that will serve you well in better understanding a hero of the faith, his contributions to Reformed theology, and the deep theological issues that he dealt with and that we are still wrestling through today.
As you read through this book, you see what Wright reminds us on the last page of the book — that Theodore Beza was a man who loved the Gospel ...
"Theodore Beza loved the gospel. He loved it because he believed that it was God's chosen means of saving lost, hopeless sinners like him. He loved it because it vividly portrayed both the justice and the mercy of God. He loved it because in receiving the Christ of the gospel Beza both had life an had a vibrant relationship with the living God. He loved it because it was God's ordained means of keeping Beza in the faith through the turmoils of life and of bringing him to be with his heavenly Father for all of eternity. May his love for the gospel — and the God of the gospel — result in our having greater love for our God too" (256).
I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this book, separate the man from the myth, and grow in your love for the Gospel as you read about a man who lived his life for that Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank Christian Focus publishers for providing me a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.