RPM, Volume 15, Number 17, April 21 to April 27, 2013

Where'd All These Calvinists Come From?

Part 3 of 10

By Mark Dever

From the Great Plains of Kansas, I write a brief blog suggesting a third influence on the resurrection of Reformed Theology in this generation �" The Banner of Truth Trust. In 1957 Iain Murray and others with a shared vision and funds began to reprint Puritan and other reformed titles. A magazine appeared, which reacquainted us with ministers and authors of the past. Books appeared. Well-bound and attractively presented, no such editions of Reformed works from the English-speaking tradition had been popularly published for a century. Through consistently keeping key titles in print, carefully screening what would be published, word of mouth, huge 50% (or more) discounts for theological students, the Banner brought affordable, well-presented re-prints of classic works to a new generation. The libraries of our generation of ministers are filled with books written decades and even centuries earlier, newly re-printed. Some contemporary authors were published �" not least of whom is Iain Murray himself. He has produced a series of productive works, uniting piety, theology and history, all in a popular style and with an eye to instructing and edifying the church.

But what was most exceptional about the Banner in the late 1950's was its widespread distribution of literature from the past. The Princeton faculty teach us again through their books. Dutch Calvinsts and English Puritans appeared again. Readers were introduced to 19th-century divines (the Bonars', Charles Bridges). Furthermore, the Banner was in it for the long-term. They were theologically motivated. They were not put off publishing a work because it would not sell immediately. They gave time to allow an old classic to slowly disseminate through networks of Christians and fraternals of ministers. And their assiduous work in publishing in the 1950s and 1960s and 1970s has clearly helped to bring forth (and equip) a harvest in the 1980s and 1990s and still today.

Subscribe to RPM
RPM subscribers receive an email notification each time a new issue is published. Notifications include the title, author, and description of each article in the issue, as well as links directly to the articles. Like RPM itself, subscriptions are free. Click here to subscribe.