Reviewed by Michael A.G. Haykin
This new work by historian Stephen Nichols, president of Reformation Bible College in Florida, is a fine study of the nature of Christian confidence. Nichols skilfully intertwines short expositions of biblical passages with lessons from church history and contemporary events to help Christians have confidence in God, in his Word, in his Son, in the Gospel, and in hope. Each of these foci of confidence forms a chapter. Together they make a compelling case that ours is a day for Christians to be a people dominated not by fear, terrified by a culture seemingly spinning out of control, but marked by firm convictions and confidence in their God and his purposes in history and plans for the future (the latter forms the substance of the chapter on “confidence in hope”). Nichols’ study is an extremely helpful response to the fresh cultural challenges facing Christians in the world of post-modernity and “post-truth.”
There are a couple of historical faux-pas. The date of the Salters’ Hall Synod was 1719, not 1727, and the issue at stake was subscription to Trinitarian confessions not “the deity of Christ” per se (p.59); and John Wesley was converted at a Moravian society meeting in a room on Aldersgate Street, not “outside” listening to Luther’s preface to Paul’s letter to the Romans being read within (p.104). Such quibbles aside, Nichols has clearly demonstrated the conclusion of his study: “This is a time for conviction. This is a time for confidence” (p.144).
Michael A.G. Haykin
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary