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Title: Our Covenant Heritage: The Covenanters’ struggle for unity in truth
Author: Edwin Nisbet Moore
Published: Ross-shire, Christian Focus, 2000

This book is not as well known as it perhaps should be, maybe because it contains an unusual mix of history and historical/systematic theology. The main time period focused on by the book is the Second Reformation [link], and especially the 28 years of persecution faced by the Covenanters from 1660-88.

The historical section of the book is very well researched and referenced from primary sources. It also contains large extracts from the life of James Nisbet (son of the Covenanter John Nisbet) which gives a first-hand account of many of the events mentioned, but also means the historical section is longer than it could have been. The historical section is however in strict chronological order, which gives it one advantage over Vos’ The Scottish Covenanters. Unlike Vos however, the author of this book is not a Reformed Presbyterian, and is sometimes less sympathetic with the position taken by the consistent Covenanters.

The rest of the book is mainly theological (taking as its starting point the sermons of John Nevay, a Covenanter minister), dealing with the Covenant of Grace, the Bible and Sanctification. It also covers the main theological developments in the Presbyterian churches in Scotland and America up until the end of the twentieth century.

In short
This book is a good, easily available and historically accurate guide to the history of the Covenanting period. Although it is over 400 pages long, the history section covers less than 150 pages, and it is worth getting for this part alone.

Stephen Steele

Title: The Scottish Covenanters
Author: Johannes G. Vos
Published: 1940. Reprinted by Blue Banner Productions, Edinburgh, 1998.

This is the ultimate book on the history of the Covenanters. It covers the First and Second Reformations, as well as the reaction of Covenanters to the Revolution Settlement and the continuing history of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland. It closes with sections on 3 key covenanting beliefs: the continuing obligation of the Scottish covenants, the sole headship of Christ over the church, and Christian civil government. Despite referencing mainly secondary sources, it is historically accurate. As it was written by a Reformed Presbyterian pastor and missionary, it is fully in support of the position taken by historical and present-day Covenanters (while not endorsing everything the Covenanters ever did).

The one downside of the book is that it is arranged thematically rather than straightforwardly chronologically, which makes it harder to use as a reference book. Some readers may find it easier to get a grasp of the main events by reading the historical part of E. N. Moore’s Our Covenant Heritage [link to review].

Apart from that, at 230 pages, this is the first book to turn to if you want a solid grasp of Covenanter history.

Stephen Steele


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