One of the Most Important Works You’ve Never Read

a-system-of-christian-theologyJohann Heinrich Alsted wrote: “The article of justification is said to be the article by which the church stands or falls.”  The Reformers sought to recover this vital doctrine, which is at the very heart of the gospel. Brave men such as John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Heinrich Bullinger, Theodore Beza, John Knox, and many others gave their lives—often literally—to recover this quintessential doctrine of grace.

But the Reformation recovery of these great truths was immediately threatened by two very different, but equally militant, movements—the Counter-Reformation and the Radical Reformation. The Reformers wrote a great body of literature to guide the church through the time’s treacherous waters, but one generation after the Reformation, there remained little in the way of a comprehensive, rigorously systematized synthesis of Reformed theology to preserve the Reformers’ legacy.

Christian ethics, the needs of the church, and more

In the midst of this battle for truth, the gifted scholar Amandus Polanus provided the Reformed churches with one of the earliest and most extensive Reformed systematic theologies: the Syntagma. This monumental achievement synthesizes the body of Reformed theology into a coherent and rigorous system. Not only does it preserve and defend the Reformers’ original theology; it also presents it in a precise, nuanced way. The Syntagma covers all the topics addressed in standard theologies, and addresses the church’s practical needs with an extensive treatment of Christian ethics.

Polanus’ importance as a preserver of the Reformed tradition and a shaper of its development is undeniable. As a student, he was trained at Basel by Calvin’s successor, Theodore Beza. He later became an influential professor at Basel, where he instructed important figures such as Johannes Wollebius and others who would become the next generation of Reformed theologians and ministers. Polanus’ work served as one of the primary sources that would go on to influence the enduring Reformed confessions, such as the Canons of Dort and the Westminster Standards.

Pre-order before the price goes up!

Lexham Press wants to produce the first-ever English translation of Polanus’ Syntagma, previously available only in rare Latin editions—but we need your help. The more pre-orders we get for this classic, the more quickly we can get it to you. Pre-order your copy of Polanus’ A System of Christian Theology today, and join Polanus in preserving the legacy of the Reformation.

Don’t wait—pre-order your copy before March 7, when the price goes up!


  1. So excited for this!

  2. The comments above are interesting, but the "radical reformers" that I know of (the Anabaptists aside from the Muensterites) were not "equally militant." They refused to revile. They followed Christ's teachings from His Sermon on the Mount, turning the other cheek, and as men and women (and yes, even children! – read The Martyrs' Mirror), they yielded up their lives for the truth of the Gospel, in spite of the persecution of both the Catholic and Protestant churches. Just a thought…
    Otherwise… thanks so much for the rich collections of literature that have been coming forth that deal with church history and theological thought from times past! Keep up the great work!

  3. I have to agree that the second paragraph of this article is inflammatory and poor historical scholarship. There's a lot to be learnt from Reformed theology and history and I am really enjoying reading some of the neo-reformers as well, but statements like that paragraph put people off.

  4. Certainly much of the Reformer's thoughts and doctrines are under attack by N. T. Wright. Be sure and read his "Paul and the Faithfulness of God."

  5. "Militant" as a description of the Radical Reformation here doesn't refer to physical violence. It is just saying that the teaching of the Anabaptist opposed Reformed orthodoxy from the opposite side that Romanism did.

  6. Thanks for the comment John. Please look at the response above. "Militant" was not meant to be derogatory, but simply to describe the opposition between views. The Reformers were equally militant in defending the Reformed tradition.