LETTERS TO POLLY. . . on the gift of affliction; by Melvin Schoonover; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971; 106 pp., $3.95.
The author of this book suffered the rare and dreaded disease of osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease which leaves the bones so brittle and fragile that they can be broken by the slightest jar. In time the author married. After being assured by many doctors that there was almost no chance of any children he might have being afflicted with the same disease, a daughter was born to this couple. But the daughter also was born with the same disease as her father.
In the book the father writes several letters to his daughter in which he tells -her a great deal about his life, his struggle to adjust to his affliction, the spiritual turmoil the disease wrought in him and his efforts to come to peace with God. He writes about how he overcame his handicaps, graduated from college and Seminary to become a minister, traveled over much of the world and lived a comparatively normal life.
It is an interesting book and well worth reading. However, his theology is less than Biblical and the final resolution of his spiritual turmoil is not the resolution of the believer who commits his way into the hands of his heavenly Father.
THE HOLY TRIANGLE, by Joel Nederhoed; Baker Book House, 1971; 143 pp., $1.25 (paper).
When this country is experiencing a decline in morals which touches upon every aspect of courtship, marriage, sex, child-bearing, child-rearing, etc., a book like this could be very helpful and influential. One would hope that the radio minister of the Back to God Hour would provide just such a book. Yet it is a disappointment in many respects.
It is a very practical book, with a good part of it devoted to warnings against such things as abortion, state control of education, etc.; and in this respect the book is worthwhile. But the approach of the book is wrong. In the discussion of the question of divorce and marriage, the approach is not that divorce is sin, but how best can a marriage from a practical point of view be held together. So often various actions are condemned or advocated, not because they are right or wrong according to the principles of Scripture, but because of the consequences of the act. Thus the book becomes rather like a social tract with some religion added. How, for example, is it possible to discuss marriage from a Christian point of view and never mention Ephesians 5:22-33? Yet this book manages to do exactly that.
The author forgets that sound Christian “practice” is based upon principle and doctrine. If not, it is reduced to morality. It is a book which is more than moral homilies which the Church needs in this day when the Christian home is threatened by so many evil forces.
GOD IN THE DOCK, by C. S. Lewis; Edited by Walter Hooper; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1970; 346 pp., $6.95.
Walter Hooper brings together in this newest volume of the writings of Lewis a large number of papers, articles, and letters which were culled from Lewis’ writings. The papers cover a wide range of subjects and were written over a period of twenty-four years. They deal with theological, ethical, and philosophical questions and with many issues of the day to which Lewis addressed his powerful writings. Most of what appears in this book has not been published before in a form available to the general public. But one will recognize in them many themes which are developed in other writings of Lewis and which have been on the market for a long time. In fact, because of the many papers brought together in this volume, there is a great deal of duplication also within the book itself.
The title, not particularly attractive, is taken from an essay about the difficulties of trying to present the Christian Faith to modern unbelievers. The paragraph from which the phrase comes gives a taste of what the book contains.
The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the roles are reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge: if God should have a reasonable defense for being the god who permits war, poverty and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that Man is on the Bench and God in the Dock.
While the book will not add measurably to an understanding of Lewis, his theology and views, it makes for good reading if one reads knowing that many of Lewis’ views are not Scriptural. He is always provocative, and his skill in the English language is a pleasure in its own right.