FREEDOM AND GRACE: ESSAYS by J.R. Lucas; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976; 138 pp., $7.95.
The author of the essays in this book is a fellow of Merton College, Oxford. The book was first published in Great Britain, but Eerdmans has received publishing rights in this country. The author is an excellent writer, somewhat on the order of C.S. Lewis; and the book makes for interesting reading.
However, while Lucas claims to be a Christian, and is in fact a member of the Anglican Church of England, he denies in this book the fundamental truths of Scripture. He is concerned to explain philosophically various theological problems. His philosophical approach is due to his denial of the infallibility of the Scriptures.
The first essays in the book treat particularly the relation between God’s sovereignty and man’s accountability and freedom. Lucas comes down strongly on the side of the freedom of man—to the extent of denying explicitly God’s sovereignty, omniscience, omnipotence, unchangeableness, etc. The last part of the book is an attempt to outline a Christian morality on a philosophical basis. In this attempt the doctrines of the historicity of Genesis 2 &Genesis 3, original sin, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, etc., fall by the wayside, and what is left is a Pelagian moralism.
Two thoughts especially came to mind as I read the book: 1) what a shame that such talent in writing is made subservient to the propagation of doctrines inimical to the Christian faith; 2) those within Reformed circles who have recently attacked the doctrines of predestination and the absolute authority of Scripture would do well to read this book to find out where they will themselves be a few years from today.