Tim J. R. Trumper. When History Teaches Us Nothing: The Recent Reformed Sonship Debate in Context. 2d ed. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2022.
Tim J. R. Trumper draws on his decades of historical, biblical, and theological research into the doctrine of adoption to offer a unique reflection on the Sonship debate — one with lasting implications for the Reformed tradition.
Much the buzz in confessional Presbyterian circles around the turn of the millennium, the debate concerned the discipleship course developed by practical theologian John C. (“Jack”) Miller (1928–1996) and his wife Rose Marie. Whereas some testify to this day of God’s use of Sonship in their spiritual rejuvenation, others questioned its Reformed credentials.
Setting the debate, in pioneering fashion, against the backdrop of the historical theology of adoption, Trumper offers an assessment that is enlightening, evenhanded, and constructive. His fresh portrayal of the history of the Reformed tradition teaches the value of pausing before rushing to judgment, and is a reminder that the meeting of spiritual needs requires more biblical exposition not less of it.
While addressing the points of debate, When History Teaches Us Nothing is, above all, a call to the church to recover the doctrine of adoption, and to the Reformed community to revive her creative orthodoxy, to recapture Scripture’s balance of the juridical and familial aspects of the faith, and to do so with grace.
Tim J. R. Trumper is Founder and President of From His Fullness Ministries (www.fromhisfullness.com), and is Senior Minister elect of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Previously, he served as Senior Minister of Seventh Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan (2007–2017).
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