This book is comprised of a collection of addresses delivered at the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology during the years 1977-1979. They were given by such men as John H. Gerstner, R.C. Sproul, James M. Boice, Edmund P. Clowney, Roger R. Nicole, and J.I. Packer. The book is divided into four sections: Man the Sinner, Christ the Savior, The Word of Christ, and Electing Love.
The book is, on the whole, an excellent defense of the five points of Calvinism. Some of the addresses are good, some are of exceptional value. The defense of the five points is, throughout, pointed, uncompromising, interestingly presented, and above all, Biblical. There are excellent sections dealing with the Scriptural doctrines of the place of women in the Church (by Elizabeth Elliott), the total depravity of man (even in connection with the so-called good that sinners do), the bondage of the will, particular redemption, and sovereign election. There is also an interesting section on the Puritan concept of “seeking” as a tool of evangelism-a concept with which I cannot agree, however. And there are passing references to the free offer of the gospel and God’s intent to save all-although these latter are very few and far between and not developed.
I recommend the book strongly to all those who are interested in the Reformed faith. I was personally extremely pleased to see such a strong defense of these doctrines in this age of doctrinal indifference and apostasy. A book such as this can go a long way towards a return to historic Calvinism. We hope and pray that this may be so.
SERMONS ON THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, by John Calvin; Edited and translated by Benjamin W. Farley; Baker Book House, 1980; 326 pp., $12.95. (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko)
A major effort is being put forth in the past few years to publish (often after decades and even centuries) Calvin’s sermons which he preached while pastor in the Church of Geneva. We commend this effort wholeheartedly and urge all our readers to purchase and read these books of Calvin’s sermons. They make some of the finest reading available.
The sermons on the ten commandments, a part of a rather lengthy series on Deuteronomy, were preached in June and July of 1555. During that year Calvin saw the final downfall of the Libertines in Geneva, after a long and bitter struggle which lasted for the better part of a decade, and Calvin fought a battle in defense of the truth of sovereign predestination against heretics from Berne who attacked his doctrine. These issues which the Genevan Reformer faced are reflected in these sermons.
The sermons are a practical and homiletical development of the basic thoughts on the ten commandments which are set forth in Calvin’sInstitutes. They give flavor and spice to Calvin’s treatment of the law in the Institutes and they show (along with Calvin’s other sermons) that the great Reformer was, above all, a preacher of the Word of God. They give a dimension to Calvin which is not often known and they shew the peerless character of Calvin’s ability as Geneva’s pastor.
It would be well worth while for every minister to read these sermons in connection with his own preaching on the Decalogue, and it would be equally well for all who hear the preaching of the law to read these sermons as part of their spiritual preparation.
The price of the book is a real bargain in these days of high cost books.