Christianity and Liberalism, by J. Gresham Machen. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.
This is a very good book. And although, in our churches, we have, by the grace of God no liberal element, I heartily recommend it to all our readers. Dr. Machen criticizes modern liberalists and clearly shows that it is un-Christian. The book, after a rather lengthy introduction, starts with a chapter on doctrine of which liberalism must have nothing. According to the liberalist we must have not doctrine, but life. Over against this idea, the author shows from Scripture as well as from the history of Christianity that doctrine is essential and is the basis of a Christian life. This is followed by chapters on God and Man, the Bible, Christ, Salvation, and the Church.
On pp. 48-53 the author discusses several points of difference in doctrine among believers. He introduces this by saying: “we do not mean . . . that all points of doctrine are equally important.” And then he continues to discuss several points of difference such as premillennialism, the Lutheran view of the Lord’s Supper, various views of the ministry, the difference between the Reformed and the Arminian view of predestination, and he even speaks of the difference between Protestants and Roman Catholics who, in spite of the differences between them, have much in common. It is not my purpose to criticize this part of the book, although I cannot agree with all of it. But my purpose is to point out that this hardly is an integral part of the book.
It stands to reason that I do not agree with the brief mention of “common grace” on p. 135.
But the book I, nevertheless, recommend to all our readers.
Tempest Over Scotland, by Norman E. Nygaard. Published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Mich. Price $2.50.
This book is an account of part of the life of John Knox, the well-known contemporary of Calvin. It is very interestingly written in the form of a story. Our readers ought to read it for themselves and also give it to their children to read. I have two remarks:
1. I hardly think that John Knox would have made the remark that the author records him to have made, in a conversation with Marjory, his future wife: “God has not foreordained anyone to perdition, Marjory,” Knox replied. “True, He has given us the choice between good and evil and there are some that deliberately choose evil but God, from the beginning of time, before ever you or I were born, did not decide that either one of us should be damned eternally.” I cannot believe that Knox thus denied the truth of reprobation and taught freewill.
2. The story is not finished. It stops right in the middle. It ends with a conversation Knox had with queen Mary. When the reader looks for a few more chapters, he is disappointed.
Christelijke Encyclopedie, Vol. 4; redactors Dr. F. Wi Grosheide and Dr. G. P. Van Itterzon. Published by J. H. Kok, Kampen, the Netherlands. Price f 29.50.
Also this work I recommend to all of our readers who can still read Dutch. It stands to reason that no one expects to read a volume of this kind thoroughly, from beginning to end. Nevertheless, I perused it sufficiently to be able to recommend it to our readers. It is very clearly written and represents the Reformed view. Thus it is, for instance, with the article on Infant Baptism, written by Dr. J. Van Genderen, which gives the grounds for infant baptism over against the Baptists. Besides, the reader will also find many interesting pictures in this book.
Once more, to all who are able to read the Holland language I heartily recommend this encyclopedia.
It contains a wealth of information.
Abraham Kuyper, Frank Vanden Berg; 306 pages, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. Price: $4.00.
This book fills a need for some English language material on the great Dr. A. Kuyper Sr. It is, of course, a biography; and as such it left the impression on this reviewer of being rather complete and accurate in its information. Because of the position which Dr. Kuyper occupied, the book at once serves the purpose of furnishing a good deal of information on the history of the reformation, of 1856, the Doleantie, and also gives much of the history of the Free University of Amsterdam and of Dutch national politics, specifically of the Antirevolutionary Party. Those who are interested in these matters, â€• and who of Dutch and Reformed ancestry, should not be? â€• will do well to read this volume.
The book is rather interestingly written too, although not above criticism from this point of view. The style is a bit stiff at times; nor is it free from clichÃ©s and Dutchisms. Besides, although the author is perhaps limited by his material in this respect, one tends to get lost occasionally in the details and intricacies of the Antirevolutionary Party’s politics. All in all, one’s own interest in that particular period of history must sometimes carry the reader through some rather dry passages.
As far as the content is concerned, my main criticism is the author’s obvious bias in favor of Dr. Kuyper, which, in my opinion, prevents him from making any important negative criticism of the great Kuyper and results in a tendency to justify somewhat almost all of Kuyper’s views and actions. Mr. Vanden Berg seems to be a rabid admirer of Kuyper.
The book is enhanced by some photographs of Dr. Kuyper and also by the famous cartoon, “Abraham de Geweldige.” These add interest.
We recommend the book with the above reservations.