I am seething with excitement as I am now in possession of what could arguably be considered as the three most important literary works of the Reformed tradition outside of the creeds and confessions. I am referring to John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, Francis Turretin's 3-volume Institutes of Elenctic Theology, and Herman Bavinck's 4-volume Reformed Dogmatics.
The former two I acquired myself through Amazon, and they have been my most expensive book purchases. What has raised my joy, even beyond belief, is that the latter was given to me—for free! That's right. Bavinck's RD would have been the most costly for me to acquire and yet I now have it sitting on my shelf, a testament to the mysterious ways that are often the hallmark of God's providence.
This is how it happened. It was a Saturday, and you could imagine my glee when my order of Turretin's Institutes finally arrived. It kickstarted one of the best Saturdays I've ever had. I was so inspired that my thoughts of yesterday, about street children and how they reminded me of my love for my kids and God's love for the undeserving elect, were effortlessly drawn out from me and down into blog writing.
After posting the blog entry entitled, "The Analogy of Poor Street Kids," it didn't take a long while before a Facebook friend of mine "liked" on the post. It was a Reformed Filipino doctor from the U.S. whom I've known to be an "appreciator" of my blog and posts. He commented on my FB post about the blog entry, stating how much he liked my choice of words. I would've been stuffed full by the compliment, but then I received a PM (private message). He was offering to buy me any book that I wished!
Let me tell you about Filipino coyness and courtesy in situations like this—the first instinct would be to politely demur. That is what I did, not in flat out refusal, but with a bit of wit and humor-laced ascertaining of whether my friend was sure. After determining that he was intent on being generous, founded on his desire to be a blessing to myself and to those in the Philippines whom he considers as his siblings in the Reformed faith, I replied and posted an Amazon link to Bavinck's RD.
I waited for his reply, expecting rejection, as the 4-volume magnum opus was worth no loose change. And then it came. He said that he was very pleased with my choice since it was the same book that he was currently reading. I was floored! Is this really happening? I immediately told my wife and she was embarrassed for me. LOL! My friend immediately made the order at Amazon, selecting expedited shipping. After a little over a week, Bavinck's RD was mine!
I would tell you who this guy is, but I don't think that that would be his wish (never met anyone who wanted to be on the Santa Claus side of a gift—LOL).
I wrote this post for the same reason I love theological books—gratitude.
Devotion to God is predicated on the gratitude that the knowledge of Him and His ways fosters. Doctrine defines doxology.
Given that the Holy Spirit checks my motives when, left to myself, I would fall headlong into fits of unfounded pride, my desire for knowledge is my desire for godliness.
Thank you, brother!
Thank You, my Covenant Lord!