Book Reviews

THE DOCTRINE OF SCRIPTURE (Locus 2 of Institutio Theologiae Elencticae); Francis Turretin; Edited & Translated by John W. Beardslee III; Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan; 234 pp., $7.95 (paper). (Reviewed by Prof. H.C. Hoeksema)

This is a most welcome little volume. Francis Turretin was a giant among Reformed theologians, For many years the use of Turretin’s dogmatics, his Institutes, was standard in Presbyterian seminaries, in spite of the fact that students had to struggle with his seventeenth century Latin. When knowledge of the Latin language became a thing of the past, Turretin was lost to most students and theologians. This was indeed a loss! Agreement with Turretin on all matters is neither possible nor necessary. But that many students and theologians can profit from his instruction far more than from many a modern theologian cannot be debated. 

This book arrived in my mail just when I was making a study of the matter treated in my editorial. It was therefore doubly welcome. In fact, I found it so fascinating that I could not put it down. The style is typically that of Reformed scholasticism, but this is no hindrance. Beardslee’s translation is smooth-flowing and easy to read. 

Every minister and student, plus a good many others, should add this volume to their libraries. 

Highly recommended.

J. GRESHAM MACHEN, A SILHOUETTE, by Henry W. Coray; Kregel Publications, 1981; 128 pages, $4.95 (paper); (Reviewed by Prof. R.D. Decker)

Dr. Machen was a valiant fighter for the truth over against unbelief and liberalism in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. in the 1920s. This cost him his position as Professor of New Testament at Princeton Seminary. Subsequently Machen became one of the founders of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and one of the early leaders of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. 

Henry Coray, a former student of Dr. Machen, attempts to bring “forward certain features of Dr. Machen’s life and character perhaps not known to many of the present generation. It is particularly slanted toward young people” (from-the Preface). Coray has succeeded in his purpose admirably. The book is full of both amusing and serious anecdotes and quotations from Machen’s preaching, teaching, and writings. The book is a delight to read. Coray is a good writer. He has “a way with words.” 

The memory of such giants in the church ought not be forgotten by us and our children. The battles which Machen and his contemporaries fought are still being fought today. We must learn from the past and follow the example of men such as Machen who were indeed “valiant for truth.” Interestingly enough the foreword is written by David Otis Fuller, D.D., recently retired pastor of Wealthy Street Baptist Church in Grand Rapids. Fuller was also a student of Machen at Princeton.