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We often hear the Covid-19 pandemic described as “unprecedented”, yet for Christians of earlier times, plague was nothing new. For generations, Church leaders regularly faced the sorts of ethical questions that still prove divisive today.
Selecting from the great “plague writings” of the historic church, Todd M. Rester and Stephen M. Coleman have translated and assembled a one-of-a-kind anthology. The wisdom of the past collected in this book offers much-needed and trustworthy illumination for pastors, leaders, and laypeople in times of crisis and uncertainty.
Many of the works appearing in Faith in the Time of Plague have never been available in English until now. Included in this volume are the writings of Martin Luther, Theodore Beza, Ulrich Zwingli, Cyprian of Carthage, Zacharias Ursinus, Gisbertus Voetius, and many more.
Introduced by Peter A. Lillback, Faith in the Time of Plague also includes a Foreword from Mayo Clinic Virologist, Dr. Gregory A. Poland.
|Title: Faith in the Time of Plague: Selected Writings from the Reformation and Post-Reformation|
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Westminster Seminary Press
Publication Date: 2021
|Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 X 1.25 (inches)|
Weight: 1 pound 10 ounces
Stock No: WW627253
“Acutely pertinent to our 'right now' this book matters–and matters greatly. I wish it could be required reading for every pastor, every theologian, every church member, every public health official, and every physician.”
Dr. Gregory Poland, Mayo Clinic Virologist
“Faith in the Time of Plague: Selected Writings from the Reformation and Post-Reformation could, I suppose, be read as a scholars’ inquiry into classic Protestant writings. But that misses the real point: this is serious theology for serious times—for our times—tightly reasoned, and balm for the soul. All the great voices of classical Reformed thought are here: Beza, Voetius, Rivet’s plea against recklessness, Ursinus on mortality, the prayers of the Reformed English Church. And there is even Luther, reminding everyone caught up in pandemics that ‘God himself shall be his attendant and his physician, too.’ Here is sane advice which, although hundreds of years old, we could wish some modern authorities had heeded. Bounty, indeed, in time of need, and a book for the bedside and chairside.”
Allen C. Guelzo, Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University, Director of the James Madison Program Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship
“When Christians face an outbreak of deadly disease, they wrestle with many questions about God’s sovereignty and human responsibility, science and the Bible, faith and fear, grief and worship, and prudence and faithfulness. What we sometimes forget is that godly people have thought through these issues centuries before us, and we can learn much from them. This collection of writings on the plague by Reformers and Reformed orthodox theologians is full of wisdom and comfort for the crises of our modern era.”
Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
“What a tremendous pastoral resource this is for the trying days in which we live. Our Christian forebears of the early modern era, who lived through times as grim and fearsome as ours—some might say that grimmer days were theirs—have much to teach us about living for God in times of fear and dread. Although our technological resources for dealing with pestilence and pandemic are far greater than theirs, the deep sensibilities of the heart are the same and it is there, within those affections, that we need to heed their voices. Most welcome and highly recommended.”
Michael A.G. Haykin, Chair and Professor of Church History, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“We are often told that the coronavirus pandemic has thrown us into unprecedented times. Faith in the Time of Plague shows that such a description is historically myopic: there is nothing new about pestilence and plague. By gathering rich reflections on contagious disease from great Protestant theologians like Beza, Voetius, and Luther—Christians who wrote theology against a backdrop of plague—this volume has given us a helpful resource with which to approach the challenges of our own (thoroughly precedented) times.”
James Eglinton, Meldrum Senior Lecturer in Reformed Theology, University of Edinburgh
“The exercise of humility almost always leads to learning. So it is with these texts from church history. If we in the church today humble ourselves enough to ask if there is anything we can learn from the past regarding plagues and pandemics then we will be setting ourselves up to learn. We’ll learn of faith and courage in the face of death and upheaval. We’ll see examples of loving one’s neighbor. We’ll find guidance for gracious debate regarding our response. And, above all, we’ll be reminded anew and afresh to look to our King, who is good and sovereign, and to look toward Heaven, our eternal home.”
Stephen J. Nichols, President, Reformation Bible College, Chief Academic Officer, Ligonier Ministries
“As much as the COVID-19 pandemic feels ‘unprecedented,’ plague and pestilence are nothing new. Throughout church history Christians have faced similar circumstances and thought deeply about what it means to live faithfully amidst them. We might even speak of a ‘plague theology’ or ‘theology of pandemic’ that has developed in the church’s historical reflection. It is astonishing how much we can benefit from listening to the wisdom of prior generations and encouraging to know we are not the first to face such challenges. Todd M. Rester and Stephen M. Coleman have provided the church with a wonderful and amazingly useful resource in this collection of previously untranslated writings.”
Gavin Ortlund, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Ojai
“Times of plague throughout history have always elicited honest and challenging questions. Is pestilence a result of God’s wrath and judgment? What is the Christian’s duty as it concerns care for the sick and dying during a highly contagious pandemic? Should pastors always visit infected members of the flock or are there occasions to flee and seek safety? This rich compendium of Reformation and Post-Reformation era writings serve to answer these and many other complex and important questions from a biblical perspective. This remarkable volume is brimming with ageless wisdom and truth for today’s believer.”
Jon D. Payne, Senior Pastor, Christ Church Presbyterian, Charleston, Executive Coordinator, Gospel Reformation Network
“In times of epidemic disease, how should pastors care, courageously and tenderly, for the fearful hearts of Christ’s flock? I did not wrestle with that question as a seminary student, nor did I address it in the pastoral theology courses that I taught over the decades. We now know how vital that issue is. In order to navigate these perilous and—to us—uncharted waters, we need not only the divine wisdom of God’s Word and Spirit but also the sage voices of our pastoral predecessors, who tended Jesus’ lambs in times of widespread, deadly disease. In Faith in the Time of Plague we hear the biblical, theological, and pastoral wisdom of those whom God called, as he has called us, to minister to those who walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I thank God that this timely book has appeared at this particular moment.”
Dennis E. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California
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