QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE BIBLE, by E.W. Johnson; Sovereign Grace Publishers (Pine Bluff, Arkansas), 1984,; 103 pp., $3.69 (paper). (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko)

The author of this book is the pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. It is perhaps best to let the author himself state the main theme of the book:

May I repeat the theme of this study? I am not basing the canon of the Bible, of the Old Testament or the New, on historical evidences. The canon of the Bible must be found in that logical deduction which the child of faith must draw from

II Tim. 3:14-17,

that if the sacred writings were given by our sovereign God that His chosen people, called to be saints, might profit from them, surely He has brought His church to receive those writings as of authority among them (p. 33).

The argument of the author is not very clear on this matter; sometimes it appears as if he is merely arguing what the church since the Reformation has always said, namely, that Scripture gives testimony of itself that it is the Word of God; other times his argument seems to be taking off in different directions. However that may be, the author deals with other pertinent and related subjects such as the inspiration of Scripture, the question of the correctness of the “Received Text,” and other matters. There is one historical error of some importance found on p. 4 where the author writes:

Papal authority has not determined the canon of the Scriptures. We know this because the canon of the Old Testament was established before the popes came on the scene, and the popes since the Council of Trent (1545-1563) have attempted to include the apocrypha in the canon of the Old Testament, which the church that is truly universal has never included.

The fact of the matter is, as the author ought to know, that the Canon of Scripture was officially set forth by the Council of Hippo (393) and the third council of Carthage (397), both of which included in the canon the Old Testament apocrypha. The Reformers, as we know, rejected these books as canonical and the church since then has agreed. But the “truly universal church” nevertheless held this position for over a millennium.