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The Holy Spirit—His gifts and Powers, by Dr. John Owen. Published by Kregel, Grand Rapids, Mich. Price $3.95. 

This well-known work by Dr. Owen, a production of the seventeenth century, was published again by the Kregel Bookstore, in an abridged form for the convenience of the modern reader. George Burder who abridged the book has, indeed, been eminently successful in doing so. He presents the work to the modern reader in this abridged form without omitting anything essential either to the thought or to the argument. In fact, after comparing the original with the present form, I could conceive of abridging it still further. 

In four chapters, Dr. Owen in this work treats of the names, attributes, person, and divinity of the Holy Spirit, of His power and work, more particularly of the work of regeneration and sanctification of the elect. He makes a sharp distinction between mere natural morality and sanctification and its fruit. In this respect the book could easily have been written in our modern times. 

The style is very clear so that it is easily accessible to the general reader, to whom, by the way, I gladly recommend the book. And the arguments are cogent because they are, generally speaking, scriptural. 

I have one remark. In his discourse on progressive sanctification, the author, to my mind, forgets too much that, the very holiest have but a small beginning of the new obedience, and that, therefore, regeneration does not essentially develop as long as we are in this life and in the present body of this death.

But I wish to congratulate Kregel for publishing books of this nature, and I whole heartily recommend it to our readers. 

A Theology of Grace, by Dr. James Daane, published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. Price $3.00.

This book purports to be a criticism of Van Til’s conception of grace with several side-glances at the undersigned.

Frankly, I do not like this book. And my chief reasons are the following:

1. The book is entirely negative. There is nothing positive or constructive in the whole book. Dr. Daane ought to remember that it is comparatively easy to criticize someone else’s work. And I have notified more than once that Dr. Daane is rather a strong critic but weak when it comes to deliver something positive and constructive of himself. Yet, it is much more difficult to deliver something constructive and positive, especially on the subject of grace. This is also much more to the benefit of the Church of Christ in the world. Criticism and apologetics are certainly necessary, and even polemics. But without a positive development of the truth all this is empty. And Dr. Daane offers nothing positive.

2. The book is not Reformed, especially not with regard to the fundamental truth of predestination, including election and reprobation. Of this I could quote several passages of the book in proof. But I will refrain from this, unless I am challenged by Dr. Daane. I have the passages of the book, to which I refer, marked. To say the least, I do not believe that Dr. Daane has a truly Reformed conception of predestination. 

3. I could, of course, easily criticize Dr. Daane’s criticism of Van Til and me. But I will not do this in this book review. Only, I would advise Dr. Daane to be true and matter of fact in his criticism, rather than philosophical in the bad sense of that term. However, I ask all our discerning readers to read the book for themselves. 

The Well-Meant Gospel Offer, by Dr. A.C. De Jong, published by T. Wever, Franeker, The Netherlands. Distributed here by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Mich. 

In this book, the views of Hoeksema and Schilder, particularly in regard to so-called “common grace” and, more particularly still, to the well-meaning offer of grace and salvation to all men, are set forth and criticized. 

On the whole, Dr. De Jong presents (not criticizes) my views rather fairly and honestly. This is not true of my conception of the relation between election and reprobation. Dr. De Jong ought to know, is in a position to know, that the way he presents it is not my view. 

The book is not entirely negative, as is that of Dr. Daane. The author also defends his own view of the “well-meant” offer. Nevertheless, in this he develops nothing new.

That I cannot agree with the views expressed in this book is so well know that I would but have to fall into endless repetition if I should criticize the book in this respect. Dr. DeJong’s view is not Reformed, any more than that of Heyns and of the “Three Points.” Fundamentally, he must have nothing of the Reformed truth of reprobation. This, to my mind, is very serious.

In this conviction I am rather unexpectedly supported by J. Kamphuis in the Reformatie, number 38, 1954, a liberated theologian. May I refer Dr. De Jong to what he writes on this subject in connection with his book?

Dr. De Jong’s exegesis of Rom. 9 is clearly a distortion, not an explanation of the text.

Finally, I would ask Dr. De Jong to give an answer to the question which we, in 1924, sent all over the Reformed church world, and to several Reformed theologians: What grace do the reprobate receive in and through the preaching of the gospel?