Faith in the Time of Plague

Coleman, Stephen M. and Todd M. Rester (editors)

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We often hear the Covid-19 pandemic described as “unprecedented”, yet for Christians of earlier times, plague was nothing new. For generations, Church leaders regularly faced the sorts of ethical questions that still prove divisive today.

 

Selecting from the great “plague writings” of the historic church, Todd M. Rester and Stephen M. Coleman have translated and assembled a one-of-a-kind anthology. The wisdom of the past collected in this book offers much needed and trustworthy illumination for pastors, leaders, and laypeople in times of crisis and uncertainty.

Many of the works appearing in Faith in the Time of Plague have never been available in English until now. Included in this volume are the writings of Martin Luther, Theodore Beza, Ulrich Zwingli, Cyprian of Carthage, Zacharias Ursinus, Gijsbert Voetius, and many more.

Introduced by Peter A. Lillback, Faith in the Time of Plague also includes a Foreword from Mayo Clinic Virologist, Dr. Gregory A. Poland.

Endorsements

“We are often told that the coronavirus pandemic has thrown us into unprecedented times. Faith in the Time of Plague shows that such a description is historically myopic: there is nothing new about pestilence and plague. By gathering rich reflections on contagious disease from great Protestant theologians like Beza, Voetius, and Luther—Christians who wrote theology against a backdrop of plague—this volume has given us a helpful resource with which to approach the challenges of our own (thoroughly precedented) times.”

James Eglinton Meldrum Senior Lecturer in Reformed Theology, University of Edinburgh

“The exercise of humility almost always leads to learning. So it is with these texts from church history. If we in the church today humble ourselves enough to ask if there is anything we can learn from the past regarding plagues and pandemics then we will be setting ourselves up to learn. We’ll learn of faith and courage in the face of death and upheaval. We’ll see examples of loving one’s neighbor. We’ll find guidance for gracious debate regarding our response. And, above all, we’ll be reminded anew and afresh to look to our King, who is good and sovereign, and to look toward Heaven, our eternal home.”

Stephen J. Nichols President, Reformation Bible College, Chief Academic Officer, Ligonier Ministries

“What a tremendous pastoral resource this is for the trying days in which we live. Our Christian forebears of the early modern era, who lived through times as grim and fearsome as ours—some might say that grimmer days were theirs—have much to teach us about living for God in times of fear and dread. Although our technological resources for dealing with pestilence and pandemic are far greater than theirs, the deep sensibilities of the heart are the same and it is there, within those affections, that we need to heed their voices. Most welcome and highly recommended.”

Michael A.G. Haykin Chair and Professor of Church History, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary