Posts Tagged ‘The Imitation of Christ’

If you have ever ready any of Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ, perhaps you have wondered how it relates to one’s Reformed piety? I remember the book came highly recommend to me by a fellow Presbyterian as one of the most impacting books I should read to better understand the Christian faith. I was lent the book and began reading.

But after a little while I was astonished at the absence of Christ being set fourth as the foundation of one’s righteousness and assurance before God. It seemed to me little more than Medieval moralism.

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635–1711), a Dutch Puritan and leader in the Dutch Further Reformation, offers a helpful balance:

Thomas à Kempis….. having written that excellent treatise The Imitation of Christ in three volumes. The fourth volume is not authored by him; it is idolatrous and has been added by someone else. However… à Kempis [has] little to say about the Lord Jesus as being the ransom and righteousness of sinners–about how He, by a truth faith, must be used unto justification and in approaching unto God, beholding in His countenance the glory of God, and practicing true holiness as originating in Him and in union with Him. Readers must note this about [à Kempis], keeping this in mind when they read… They will then be able to benefit from [his] writings.
The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Vol. 2, pp.  640-41.

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