Faith and Perseverance, by G.C. Berkouwer; translated from the Dutch, by Robert D. Knudsen. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Price $4.00.
This is a very good book written by the well-known professor of Systematic Theology in the Free University of Amsterdam. On the whole it is written in sufficiently clear language and style so that not only theologians but also laymen who are interested in doctrinal-works of this nature may well be able to study it. This is, no doubt, partly due to the nature of the subject: Faith and Perseverance. To this subject eight chapters are devoted. There is an introductory chapter on the importance and timeliness of the subject. Then follows a chapter on the question of perseverance and faith in the Confessions, and this is followed by a discussion about three controversies, the controversy with the Arminians, that with Rome, and that with the Lutherans. After that the subject itself is treated. The professor discusses perseverance in relation to prayer, to admonition, to temptation; he points to the comfort of this doctrine, and closes with a chapter on the reality of perseverance.
This brief review of the contents must suffice.
I heartily recommend this book to our readers.
The Greatest of these is Love, by A.A. Van Ruler; translated by Lewis B. Smedes from the Dutch. Published by William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Price $2.00.
This book contains a series of expositions or meditations on I Cor. 13, the well-known chapter on love. On the inside of the cover of this book we read that this book is a “beautiful and illuminating essay on Paul’s classic hymn of love.” With this I can hardly agree. That it is beautiful in a way I may admit, although clarity is, to my mind essential to beauty. And many passages of the book are, to my mind, not clear but dark. I will quote just one passage to show what I mean. On p. 62 we find the following: “When truth is obeyed, God and man find each other. It is then that man acquires a taste for God’s will. And it is then that God looks with great pleasure on men. The medium for this is the world. God wants more than a human soul. He wants the world. It is His world; it is the truth. And God wants men to experience true reality. Therefore man can never come to God merely by himself. He must come with the world. He bas to experience God’s great and beautiful world, making his experience a service of praise to God whose world it is. Only then is he a full participant of redemption. Only then does he come into the Kingdom of God.”
I profess that the thoughts of the writer are strange to me. Nevertheless, I wish to recommend this book to the reader because of the many worthwhile passages in it.
Pastorale Adviezen (Pastoral Advices) by C. H. Spurgeon; translated from the English by the Rev. W. De Graaf. Published by J.H. Kok, N.V., Kampen, the Netherlands.
This is a translation of part of Spurgeon’s lectures to his students. It is, to my mind, a book of great value which every minister ought to have in his book case, and which even common members, in as far as they are able to read the Holland language, may well enjoy reading. The book contains what may be called homiletical lectures in very popular style. It treats such subjects as the calling to the ministry, the choice of a text, the preparation of and for the preaching of a sermon, the use of the voice, etc. The book presents very interesting reading. When once you start reading you can hardly quit till you have finished it.
Of course, this does not mean that I would agree with every part of the contents of the book. To my mind, for instance, he overemphasizes the so-called internal calling of anyone to the ministry of the Word at the expense of the external calling by the church, which is most important. But this does not detract from the value of the book.
Tact en Contact (Tact and Contact), by the Rev. P. Overduin. Published by J.H. Kok, Kampen, the Netherlands.
Also this book I gladly recommend to the reader who is able to read the Holland language. It is a treatise on the work of Evangelism. In a preface the author writes (I translate): “With all kinds of different people the minister comes into contact, with farmers and people in the city, with people out of work and rich business-men, with imbeciles and intellectuals, with non-social people and neat citizens, with artists and officials, with rich and poor, people of different descent, heritage, circumstances, character and convictions. And Jesus Christ came for all these sorts of people. He seeks behind all these differences: man, the sinner, God’s creature. The question is how to get contact. Tact signifies to touch, not to collide, nor to float alongside of each other, or simply to pass each other.”
Now this book is designed to teach how to exercise tact in order that contact may be established in the work of Evangelism, which, according to the author is very often lacking for various reasons.
Also in respect to this book I must remark that I cannot agree with everything. Thus I would criticize what the author writes on pp. 59-60; 73-75; 77-78, etc. I doubt whether all this is the correct, the Christian way of getting contact.
Nevertheless, I heartily recommend this book.
The Deeper Faith, by the Rev. Gordon Girod; published by Reformed Publications, 1819 Newton Ave., Grand Rapids, Mich. Price $2.50.
This is a book after our own heart. It is an exposition of the Canons of Dordrecht in the light of Scripture.
Let me just give you a taste of the contents of this book. On the fifth head of doctrine, that of the Perseverance of the Saints, the author writes in a few introductory sentences: “It is not the perseverance of man but the perseverance of God which is assured us in the Scriptures. It is not the faithfulness of man which is assured but the faithfulness of God. It is not the changelessness of man which is assured, but the changelessness of God.
But you better read the book. It is thoroughly Scriptural and Reformed.