Reviewed by: Jeffrey C. Waddington
Date posted: 08/13/2017
The Lordship of Christ: Serving Our Savior All the Time, in All of Life, with All Our Heart, by Vern Poythress. Crossway, 2016. Paperback, 224 pages, list price $19.99. Reviewed by OP minister Jeffrey C. Waddington.
One of the latest writings of Vern Poythress, a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary, is The Lordship of Christ. In it, he delineates in broad strokes what the intellectual development of a Christian mind-set or worldview involves.
The Lordship of Christ is beautifully and clearly written, combining depth of subject matter with enviable simplicity. The book consists of twenty chapters in four parts, along with a summary conclusion and a valuable appendix on the increasingly popular Two Kingdoms theology. Poythress is able to describe and evaluate the Two Kingdoms movement irenically, while disagreeing with it at points.
Part One addresses the call to serve Christ. Here the author lays down his thesis that the development of the life of the mind is an integral part of our personal and corporate sanctification. Poythress provides a basic primer on what it means to be a Christian, what the biblical story line entails, why we should be obedient to Christ, how we can serve Christ in our knowledge, and how Christian thinking contrasts with worldly thinking. The influence of Abraham Kuyper, Geerhardus Vos, and Cornelius Van Til is evident throughout this material.
Part Two examines various resources we can draw upon in serving Christ in our knowledge. In this major section, the author manifests his commitment to the Reformed tradition. He reminds us of our basic spiritual resources (the ordinary means of grace), which God has said he would bless to our spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. Additionally, Poythress opens up a window on historical resources (which are not infallible), including the insights of Herman Bavinck and Herman Dooyeveerd. Poythress points out more recent resources as well.
Part Three is essentially a brief introduction to, and exposition of, Kuyper’s Lectures on Calvinism. The author reminds us of the Kuyperian (and biblical) dictum that all of life is lived under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Poythress includes chapters on politics, science, art, the future, education, and work. He reminds us that we must seek to bring our whole lives under Christ without falling into triumphalism.
Part Four deals with traps that Christians can fall into in seeking to honor Christ in our knowledge. These traps include our motivation, norms, situations, and hopes. Readers familiar with the work of John Frame and Vern Poythress on perspectivalism will recognize this theological approach. This segment is especially helpful in reminding us of some of the practical pitfalls to avoid in developing our Christian minds.
This is an excellent book to give to new believers, as well as to those who have been on the journey for some time now. As we progress from here to eternity, it is good to be reminded that Jesus declares that every stretch of the pathway is his.