God’s Ambassadors: The Westminster Assembly and the Reformation of the English Pulpit, 1643–1653, by Chad Van Dixhoorn. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage, 2017, xxi + 215 pages, $40.00.
The mere convening of the Westminster Assembly in 1643 is a wonder. Since the days of Edward VI, reform efforts in the church of England had stalled or been reversed under his Protestant successors, Elizabeth, James, and Charles I. The eruption of the English Civil War, with its political and military tumult, made the convening even more unlikely.
But convene it did, and over the next decade, the fruits of its labors were prodigious. General histories and expositions of the assembly’s Confession of Faith and Catechisms are many. What distinguishes God’s Ambassadors: The Westminster Assembly and the Reformation of the English Pulpit, 1643–1653 is its concentration upon the value that the Westminster Assembly placed upon preaching and its efforts to reform England’s preachers and preaching. With skill, Chad Van Dixhoorn, a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, professor of church history, and the director of the Craig Center for the Study of the Westminster Standards at Westminster Theological Seminary, guides readers through the assembly’s debates, theological examinations, journals, minutes, and formal documents.