Preservation, Preaching, and Evangelism

On this Lord’s Day morning, we briefly consider the relationship between Scripture’s preservation, preaching and evangelism in Andrew Willet’s 1611 commentary on Romans. Under the heading “Places of confutation,” he engages in discussions with those who stand opposed to major Christian doctrines. The first controversy was “Against those which think it is against the nature of the New Testament to be committed to writing.” Willet has those with a “fanatical spirit” in mind, those who held that the writing of the law in one’s heart and through the Spirit (Jer. 32:33; 2 Cor. 3:3) make a written testament unnecessary. To this Willet replies that the writing of the Scriptures was given by the direct command of God (Rev. 14:13), “and St. Paul saith, that all Scripture is given by inspiration:  2 Tim. 3:6,”[1] and that “[T]he Spirit of God then moved them to put in writing these holy books of the New Testament; which are part of the Scripture.”[2] Reinforcing his answer, Willet writes,

“It followeth not because the Lord writeth the Gospel in our hearts by his Spirit, that therefore it is not to be written: for by the writing thereof which is preached and read, faith is wrought in the heart by the operation of the Spirit: As the Apostle saith, Rom. 10:17, that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word.”[3]

Willet concludes his discussion by summarizing the three primary reasons the word of God was committed to writing: “1. Both in respect to that age present, for the preventing and stay of heresies, which might be more strongly resisted and gainsaid, by an evident and extant rule of faith; 2. In regard of those Churches, to whom the Apostles preached not by lively voice, it was necessary that they should have some perfect direction in writing; 3. And that the ages also to come might have a rule of their faith.”[4]


[1] HR, p. 5.  Read 3:16.

[2] HR, p. 5.

[3] HR, p. 5.

[4] HR, p. 5.

Published by Dr. Peter Van Kleeck, Sr.

Dr. Peter William Van Kleeck, Sr. : B.A., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1986; M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1990; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998; D. Min, Bob Jones University, 2013. Dr. Van Kleeck was formerly the Director of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, Grand Rapids, MI, (1990-1994) lecturing, researching and writing in the defense of the Masoretic Hebrew text, Greek Received Text and King James Bible. His published works include, "Fundamentalism’s Folly?: A Bible Version Debate Case Study" (Grand Rapids: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1998); “We have seen the future and we are not in it,” Trinity Review, (Mar. 99); “Andrew Willet (1562-1621: Reformed Interpretation of Scripture,” The Banner of Truth, (Mar. 99); "A Primer for the Public Preaching of the Song of Songs" (Outskirts Press, 2015). Dr. Van Kleeck is the pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Manassas, VA where he has ministered for the past twenty-one years. He is married to his wife of 43 years, Annette, and has three married sons, one daughter and eighteen grandchildren.

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