A Presbyterian Review

In The Presbyterian Journal of April 17, 1968 there appeared the following review of “Reformed Dogmatics” which we quote in full. For the information of our readers, The Presbyterian Journal is a weekly magazine which represents the conservative wing in the Southern Presbyterian Church, a denomination currently working toward a possible merger with the Reformed Church in America. We hereby express our thanks for this review. 

REFORMED DOGMATICS, by Herman Hoeksema. Reformed Free Publishing Association, Grand Rapids, Mich. 917 pp. $14.95. Reviewed by the Rev. Adrian DeYoung, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Prattville, Ala.

This volume, published posthumously, is the work of a controversial figure familiar to Calvinists of the Dutch tradition, those of the Christian Reformed Church in particular. In brief, Hoeksema was judged to differ from Reformed standards in the area of common grace. 

The dispute, which occurred about forty years ago, resulted in the formation of the Protestant Reformed Churches. Reformed Dogmatics represents Hoeksema’s lectures to their theological students. 

The usual loci of theology form the book’s outline, while the confessional materials of the Dutch Calvinists influence the development. Presbyterians will miss a treatment of the Word of God. Special emphasis is given to the covenant of grace, the Church, the sacraments, and the last things. 

An unashamed dogmatician, Hoeksema took strong positions. His rare stance as a supralapsarian makes his treatment of election and related matters interesting to the student. Little space is devoted to defense. The Scriptures and Reformed confessional statements, extensively quoted, settle matters. Frequent appeals to the divine sovereignty buttress views. 

Some peculiar features of this large work may be mentioned. There are lengthy expositions of the six days of creation in Genesis, and of the seven seals in Revelation. 

Contemporary theology is all but ignored, with Barth quoted four times. Theologians Kuyper and Bavinck come in for most of the author’s attention.

Paragraphs of extreme length, an absence of any visible outline within the chapters, and a rather heavy style are distractive. There is a frequent eloquence, however, that will make the student want to go further.