Inleiding in de Zendingswetenshap (Introduction in the Science of Missions), by Dr. J.H. Bavinck. Published by J.H. Kok, Kampen, the Netherlands.
This is one of the best books on the subject of mission, from a Reformed viewpoint, that I have yet read. It consists of three parts, The Theory of Missions, Elenhs, and the History of Missions. In the first part the author discusses the basis of missions. In the second part he discusses the idea, place, and task as well as the main lines of elenctical science (the science of refutation). In the third he presents the idea and task of the history of missions to close with a chapter on the future of missions.
Once more I wish to state that this book made a very good impression on me. If it were not for the fact that it is written in the Holland language, I would probably have used it in our theological school in my course on the Principles of Missions. It, evidently, was designed as a textbook, and for this it is very well adapted. What impresses me especially is the theological approach. Throughout Dr. Bavinck emphasized that, not man, not even the Church, but God in Christ is the author of missions and that He alone gathers His Church.
From this viewpoint, I consider the part that treats the mission-approach the weakest.
I would consider it worthwhile that someone translate this book by Dr. Bavinck.
De Geregormeerde Zede (The Reformed Morals(s) or Morality) by Dr. R. Schippers. Published J.H. Kok, N.V. the Netherlands. Price f 7.90.
The term “zede” in the title of this book is somewhat difficult to translate. “Ethics” will not do because it refers to the science of the system of moral rules, and Dr. Schipper did not mean to write a book on that science. Literally the translation would be “The Reformed Moral” which is somewhat clumsy and, besides, in English the term “moral” is generally used in the plural. When I read the book of Dr. Schippers I considered other translations such as “moral customs” or “moral norms” because the author again and again refers to what was considered normative in the past from an ethical viewopnt and is bring repudiated or criticized in the present. But I finally decided upon the translation I offer above. Perhaps, the reader of Dr. Schipper himself can suggest a better rendering.
In the above I also briefly characterized the contents of the book. The law of God is, of course, the standard and criterion of all morality and ethics, but the concrete interpretation and application of that law are not always the same. Besides, the world and life in the world changes. And so, the question arises: what must be considered normative in our day and age from a Scriptural and Reformed point of view?
In his book, Dr. Schippers also discusses some modern practical problems such as that of our “spare time” and of “amusements,” particularly the movie and theatre as well as the dance. Still other problems are those of the Sabbath, forced marriages, sexual intercourse before marriage, and birth control.
In regard to some of his solutions of these problems, I would remark: “Het kan wel, maar pas op!” It is possibly, but beware! In fact this expresses the author’s own attitude. As to my own view, I would rather express my condemnatory opinion more strongly.
But read the book, if you are acquainted with the Dutch. It is worthwhile.
Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. Published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eight volumes. Price per volume $5.95.
Sometime ago I reviewed on volume of this commentary, which, at that time, was not complete. Now I have all the volumes. What I said then about the one volume I may now repeat about the whole set.
It is, of course, impossibly to review and criticize in detail a work of this nature. I would hesitate to recommend it at all, if, during the course of my almost forty years of ministry, I had not become acquainted with the commentaries of Ellicott. And on this basis I certainly recommend this commentary very highly. It proceeds throughout from the principle that the Bible is the inspired word of God and is characterized by honest dealing with the text.
It is a commentary that can very well be used, not only by the scholar but also by the layman.
I congratulate Zondervan on this reprint of a very valuable commentary.