Learning Reformed Theology

John Piper, at an event Tuesday night at Westminster Theological Seminary, recounting his seminary days at Fuller (1968–71):

I didn’t learn my reformed theology mainly from John Calvin, or even from Jonathan Edwards (whom I esteem as highly as one can possibly esteem a non-divine being). I learned it from Romans 9 and Romans 1–8 and Galatians and the Sermon on the Mount and 1 Corinthians with Dan Fuller pushing my nose down in the nitty-gritty of the conjunctions and the connectors [of the biblical text]. To this day, I find the theology inescapable in the Bible. . . . In my early days, Romans was the key watershed document to turn my word upside-down. And you know who it was who guided me through Romans? John Murray. That is the most beautifully written commentary on the planet.

HT: @JaredOliphint


Some reference books are so valuable they should read be read from cover to cover annually. In this category I would place the Collected Writings of John Murray (Banner of Truth, 1976–1982). On just about every page the reader will find gems like this one (1:183):

Godliness is God-consciousness, an all-pervasive sense of God’s presence. It will mean that never do we think, or speak, or act, without the undergirding sense of God’s presence, of his judgement, of our relation to him and his relation to us, of our responsibility to him and dependence upon him.

John Murray on Union with Christ

A favorite little theology text is John Murray’s Redemption: Accomplished and Applied (Eerdmans). It’s not a large book and it’s not a new book (now 55 years old), but it’s the wonderful fruit of a first-rate theologian. Since I recently posted my scribbles from a lecture on the topic of union with Christ I figured I would post a few quotes from the second-to-final chapter of Murray’s RAA (“Union with Christ,” pages 161–173). Murray is not a man of overstatement.

On page 170: “Union with Christ is the central truth of the whole doctrine of salvation. All to which the people of God have been predestined in the eternal election of God, all that has been secured and procured for them in the once-for-all accomplishment of redemption, all of which they become the actual partakers in the application of redemption, and all that by God’s grace they will become in the state of consummated bliss is embraced within the compass of union and communion with Christ.”

On page 171: “It is out of the measureless fullness of grace and truth, of wisdom and power, of goodness and love, of righteousness and faithfulness which resides in him that God’s people draw for all their needs in this life and for the hope of the life to come. There is no truth, therefore, more suited to impart confidence and strength, comfort and joy in the Lord than this one of union with Christ.”