Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries (Torrance Translation), Vols. I, II, and III (Harmony of the Gospels, plus James and Jude); Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.; each volume $7.95. Reviewed by Prof. H.C. Hoeksema
The publication of these three volumes marks the completion of the New Testament section of the new twelve-volume set of the Torrance Translation. The Eerdmans Company is to be congratulated on their publishing of such a set as this.
Calvin needs no special recommendation. Anyone who is building a library of sound and dependable commentaries should think first of Calvin. And even though I personally could not and cannot see a dire need and a great benefit in a new translation, nevertheless I can only be happy about the perpetuation of the exegetical heritage handed down from Calvin. Moreover, I can understand that some will benefit from the modernization of the language in this translation; and, in so far as I have checked up on these three volumes, the translation appears to be a good one, comparing favorably with the Pringle translation.
A few informative notes may be in order. The Harmony of the Gospels was the last of Calvin’s Commentaries to be written. Calvin wrote on all of the New Testament, except II and III John and Revelation. Volume I (336 pages) covers Matthew 1-10:42; Mark 1-9:41; and Luke 1-14:33. Volume II (320 pages) comments from Mark 6:12 and Luke 9:6 through Luke 19:44. And Volume III (352) comments from Matthew 21:10; Mark 11:11; and Luke 19:39, through the end of the Synoptics. In addition, the commentaries on James and Jude are included with Volume III. Perhaps it should be noted that this new set is not arranged so as to be compatible with the old set—just in case any reader might be considering filling in an old set with volumes from this new set.
The volumes are neatly and attractively published and appear to be well bound. And in today’s market, the price is not exorbitant. Recommended for your reference library.
The Five Points Of Calvinism, A Study Guide, by Edwin H. Palmer; Baker Book House, Grand Rapids; Mich.; 109 pages, $1.95 (paper). Reviewed by Prof. H. C. Hoeksema.
This little book is a rather traditional treatment of the Five Points of Calvinism. By this I do not mean to say that in many of its parts the book is not orthodox. But the book is rather prosaic. It does not sparkle. It lacks dynamic.
There are some good points. One of these is that it furnishes explicit Scriptural proof in many places. It also points out where Calvinism and Arminianism differ.
The book is badly marred, however, by its insistence upon common grace and “relative good” of sinners in its treatment of total depravity. It is marred by its insistence upon the “offer of the gospel” in connection with limited atonement, as well as by an extremely unsatisfying treatment of the contradiction between the two. And, to say the least—and more could be said if a detailed critique were to be written—the chapter entitled “The Great Mystery” is hardly useful as a studyguide. This treatment of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility would be confusing to anyone seeking guidance.
To sum things up, it simply does not work to “hedge” in maintaining Calvinism. One is either a consistent Calvinist, or he gets himself into trouble by “hedging.”
Sorry, but I cannot go along with the jacket-claim that this book is “ideal for group and class use as well as for individual study.”