Book Review: A Place Like Heaven by Samuel Miller

eoem3usI requested this book (or booklet) from Log College Press not only to share some quotes or do a review, but also get to know the Synod of Dort. As you might not know this year marks the 400th year of the event. It’s worth celebrating because how the church stood up and defend the doctrine of grace against Arminianism.  I have been exposed to it on a lecture of Ryan Reeves on Youtube and it’s excellent. And after reading  A Place Like Heaven, all I can say that it shares the impression I have with the Ryan Reeves video. It’s excellent!

A Place Like Heaven is a primer booklet that explores Synod of Dort. The booklet tackles the events that leads to the synod, during the deliberation and the aftermath of this ecumenical gathering with a American Presbyterian perspective. It ends with some defense on the doctrine of grace. The title of this work came from one of the moderators of the synod describing it as a “place like heaven’. The title might sound like a devotional book but that doesn’t discount the weight of what has been examine in this booklet. I think it lightens up a bit by putting an encouraging tone to the book.

Though this is a primer, you’ll praise Samuel Miller for his remarkable writing that which makes this booklet accessible and clear. At first you might have some inhibitions  reading this, although short it’s written in an 18th century English. However as you read on, you’ll get the hang of it. The content is actually engaging and what you might dismiss as a Smithsonian relic, this booklet is really good. Whenever you start reading it, it grabs your attention and for me this is not a boring read. Miller ends this booklet by answering some arguments against the doctrine of grace.

For a 48 page booklet, I can’t believe I learned a lot about Synod of Dort. Sometimes I ask myself if this is really a primer because it really covers lots of areas of the event. Not that it gave all that is to know about the Synod of Dort but the content of this is enough for you to appreciate that important event. Once you read this, Log College Press books will be on your reading list.  A Place Like Heaven is a great addition for your Synod of Dort resources. Please don’t miss out on this book. Highly recommended!

My verdict:

5 out of 5

The Quotable Round-Up #116

znu4bd1Log College Press has a latest book that I recently received. A Place Like Heaven by Samuel Miller tackles Synod of Dort, an important event for the doctrine of grace, with an American Presbyterian perspective.  My book review is on the way but for now, you can be assured that this is a great book and you can get it through Amazon by clicking this link. Here’s some nuggets from the book that I hope you’ll enjoy.

“It was fondly hoped by many that when Arminius died, the controversy to which his speculation had given rise, would have died and been buried with him. But this, unhappily, by no means, proved to be the case.”

“When heresy rises in an evangelical body, it is never frank and open. It always begins by skulking, and assuming a disguise.”

“The opinions denominated Arminian had been substantially taught long before Arminius appeared. The doctrine of Cassian, of Marseilles, in the fifth century, commonly styled Semi-Pelagianism, was almost exactly the same system. Bolsec, too, in Geneva, about the year 1552, according to some, had also taught very much the same doctrine, though justly regarded as infamous on account of his shameful moral delinquencies. And about fifteen or twenty years before Arminius arose, Corvinus, in Holland, had appeared as the advocate of opinions of similar import. But having less talent than Arminius, and being less countenanced by eminent men, his error made little noise, and was suffered quietly to sink into insignificance, until a stronger and more popular man arose to give it new consequence, and a new impulse.”

“Perhaps it may be said, that no theological system was ever more grossly
misrepresented, or more foully or unjustly vilified than that which is commonly
called Calvinism; but which had been drawn from the word of God, and preached
by some of the best men that ever lived, many hundreds of years before Calvin
was born.”

“The enemies of the system allege, that it represents God as really the author
of sin, and man as laid under a physical necessity of sinning, and then as damned
for it, do what he can. They insist that our doctrine of depravity, and the mode
of inheriting it, if true, destroys moral agency; reduces men to the condition of
mere machines; and, of course, makes all punishment of sin unjust and absurd. In
short, they contend, that the views which we give of the plan of salvation, makes a system of heathenish fate, or of refined Antinomianism, equally destructive
of holiness and of comfort; and that, under the guise of free grace, we build up
a fabric of favoritism on the one hand, and of fixed necessity on the other; at
once making God a partial being, and a tyrant, and man a mere passive subject
of his arbitrary will. But, is it true that Calvinists embrace any such system as
this? Nothing can be further from the truth. It is a shameful misrepresentation,
which has no correspondence with anything but the caricatures of prejudice
and bigotry.”