Mark Dever does a scintillating and penetrating study of the life of Sibbes. His sensitive and surefooted expostion of Sibbes's theological postion is fresh and he portrays Sibbes as "one of the last great Reformed preachers of England to believe in theory and know in practice an officially undivided covenant community." He brings to his expostion of Sibbes's subtle and highly personal practical divinity a wide and deep acquaintance with sixteenth and seventeenth-century Reformed theology, but also a sensibility which is warmly sympathetic to the nuances of Sibbes's writing while remaining sharply and critically alert. The result is a marvelously lucid and persuasive account of a key moment in the evolution of early modern protestant thought, in a period which Sibbes himself described as "the best tymes of the gospel." 269 pages, softcover from Mercer University Press.
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Review 1 for Richard Sibbes
Date:July 3, 2005
Dr. Robert W. Kellemen
Pastor Mark Dever, author of "Nine Marks of a Healthy Church," originally penned "Richard Sibbes" as his doctoral dissertation, and then revised it for this book-length edition. In the first half of his work, Dever summarizes the life and influences of Richard Sibbes. It is in the second half of the book that Dever excels. His explication of Sibbes affectionate theology demonstrates thorough research and accurate understanding. The only exception to this is Dever's summary in a footnote that for Sibbes "imagination" is similar to what we would call "emotions" today. Actually, in Puritans such as Sibbes and Edwards, the imagination was a rational faculty of the soul, deeper and more primary than the emotions. This interpretation not withstanding, Dever's work is an excellent secondary source for understanding the life, ministry, and theology of an oft-neglected English Puritan.