Presbyterian view of the Church

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Stephen L Smith, Feb 22, 2019.

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  1. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I am interested in two books on the Presbyterian view of the Church
    1. The Westminster Assembly's Grand Debate: How the Presbyterians and Congregationalists Wrestled Over the Matters of Church Government
    2. The Church of Christ (James Bannerman).

    Is one book in particular more helpful on reading on the Presbyterian view of the Church, or are both equally good?

    How do they compare with The Scriptural Doctrine of the Church (Douglas Bannerman)?
     
  2. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    The two best books on the subject that I have read are Bannerman's "Church of Christ" and Thomas Witherow's "The Apostolic Church."
     
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  3. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Grand Debate is out of print from me so if SGCB's has a copy, get it. The Bannerman will be far easier to get later than Grand Debate. There's only like 650 copies of the NP edition of Grand Debate; many more of Bannerman.
     
  4. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you Chris, I got a notice from SGCB. But I was really asking which book would teach you more about Presbyterian polity and defend it Biblically.
     
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Bannerman would be distilled and fuller being a more modern (mid late 19th century) work. Grand Debate is limited in that it deals just with the subject as defined by the debates of the WA. So if you have to choose one resource, then the Bannerman. The smaller version of the Witherow is an introductory work comparing the three forms of government (Presbyterian, Congregational, Episcopalian); I forget how different the longer work by him is, except in the larger work he defends the office of widow or deaconess, I forget which.
     
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  6. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Douglas Bannerman's work is more about the development of the Church throughout the Scriptures--it's not a work of polemical or systematic theology. He starts with Abraham. You are at p.427 before you get to the section entitled "New Testament Presbyterianism" (mine is the 1955 Eerdmans version).
     
  7. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    So do you think the James and Douglas Bannerman works compliment each other?
     
  8. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'd go for James Bannerman's The Church of Christ. As Chris writes above it is very full, covering aspects of constitutions, sacraments, government and order. I really enjoyed it and was largely convinced of presbyterian connectionalism through it, his manner of writing is very logical and he builds up his arguments cumulatively so that by the end of a section he's left you nowhere to go! As I remember it his chapters on the sacraments are very helpful.
     
  9. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I have not read either book cover to cover, but the sense that I get is that DB examines the Church from a redemptive-historical perspective, while JB examines it from a systematic theological perspective.

    I'm hesitant to give an endorsement of DB. His days were days of decline in the Free Church of Scotland, especially in the area of exegetical theology. I don't know him well enough to say whether he was a part of that decline. He was contemporary to William Robertson Smith.
     
  10. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    According to Alan Harman's entry in the Dictionary of Scottish Church History & Theology, D. D. Bannerman edited his father's book, The Church of Christ. I have yet to read either volume, but Dr Harman concurs with what has been stated above about the differing approaches of the two books.
     
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