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VitringaThis week’s book of the week is from Dutch Reformed theologian Campegius Vitringa’s work entitled “The Synagogue and the Church”.

In this antique yet scholarly work Vitringa does some scrupulous studies on the Jewish synagogue (its origin, its worship, its government, its difference from the temple, etc) and shows the clear resemblance of the Christian church to the Jewish synagogue.

He also as a reformed theologian critiques the Roman Catholic understanding of the church’s relation to the Old Testament. For example Roman Catholicism derived its government of the church from the Old Testament Temple. Thus their minister’s are priests (the Pope the high priest) their communion table the altar, and the bread and the wine the sacrifice. On the other hand, Presbyterianism derived its government of the church from the Old Testament Synagogue. The government is the same with elders (bishops/pastors) and deacons, the discipline is the same, the collecting of alms is the same, the worship is the same (exclusively psalms), the reading and preaching of the law is the same, etc.

Although Vitringa himself didn’t allude to exclusive psalmody much (he did in a few instances) there is a direct correlation from the Jewish synagogue and the Christian church.

Some quotes I found helpful are:

1. “Ekklesia… signifies the whole Christian community, the entire body of believers,—governed by one Spirit, united by one faith, with one supreme head, Jesus Christ, in heaven ; it is also applied to the Christian community in one city, or even to the congregation accustomed to assemble in one house…[signifies] a legal bond of union”

2. “…there is strong presumptive evidence, amounting almost to certainty, that the early Christians, when ordering and arranging their places and forms of worship, the discipline, the government, &c. of their Church, had especially in view the Jewish Synagogue”

Anyways there was a lot that I learned from this book even though its out of print because its not recognized by Reformed folks (even in the Dutch camp). It is an old book but it is super easy to read and understand the points.

All in all I gave the book a 4.5/5 because of his expertise in the Jewish religion and its comparison with the Christian church…

find the free version here…http://books.google.com/books/about/The_synagogue_and_the_church.html?id=ow9MAAAAYAAJ. This is the only one available as far as I know.

Enjoy! Book-of-the-Week

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