I’m excited to announce that Theodore Beza, Calvin’s great successor, just arrived at Reformation Heritage Books in the form of his A Clear and Simple Treatise on the Lord’s Supper—now translated from Latin into English by David Noe. R. Scott Clark wrote the foreword and Marty Klauber wrote a great intro. I had the privilege of serving as final editor of this great book.
Theodore Beza’s book, first published in 1559, advances a tireless defense of the Reformed perspective on the Lord’s Supper, responding chapter by chapter to specific arguments raised against John Calvin by his Lutheran opponent Joachim Westphal. Beza makes great use of the concept of metonymy, or a figure of speech, in his interpretation of the words of institution, yet he equally champions the position that the Lord’s Supper is not a bare symbol and in it we have true communion with the risen Christ. And like Calvin, Beza refers extensively to the church fathers, especially Augustine, in defense of his position.
This often-overlooked treatise marks some of the major differences between the Reformed and the Lutheran movements during the so-called second generation of the Reformation. A critical issue at the time, sacramental theology was at the forefront of the original break with Rome and prevented the various Protestant movements from uniting. Its translation into English from the original Latin provides a wider opportunity for those interested in these movements to learn more about some of the substantial issues of the period.
Appended to the book are two smaller treatises of Beza: A System of Doctrine on the Sacramental Substance and The Law of God in Various Classes.
As Dr. Clark says in the foreword, in this book we find Beza to be “a happy warrior” for the truth, using wit and learning to explain the Holy Scriptures for the edification of the saints. May God bless the translation of this classic text, and be pleased to employ it to advance our understanding of that precious gift of the Lord’s Supper.