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A Theology Of The Holy Spirit

A THEOLOGY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, by Frederick bale Bruner; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan; 390 pp., $8.95.

Recently many books have come from the presses about Pentecostalism and tongue speaking, due undoubtedly to the almost wild fire spread of this movement even outside of denominations officially committed to the views associated with tongue speaking. I suppose the writing and publishing of many such books is almost predictable and unavoidable when such errant views and phenomena gain a prominent place on the ecclesiastical horizon; but I can never quite avoid the feeling that some authors and publishers are lurking in the shadows opportunistically waiting for a popular and more or less prominent phenomenon of this kind to make its appearance so that they can write arid publish a book. Most such books are largely negative in the nature of the case; and most of them are of little value.

However, this book, in my opinion, is an exception.

It is well written, thoroughly documented, exegetically founded in its critique, and therefore can serve as a valuable source of information and criticism of the Pentecostal and neo Pentecostal movement.

The book is divided into two main parts. The first part is descriptive. It speaks of: 1) The contemporary place and significance of the Pentecostal movement; 2) The background and beginnings of the movement; 3) The baptism in the Holy Spirit in the Pentecostal movement; and, 4) The gifts of the Holy Spirit in the movement. There are especially two aspects of this part which I like. The first is that the author provides thorough documentation—usually from the Pentecostals themselves. The second is that he enters into thetheology of the Pentecostal movement, rather than merely studying the phenomenon of so called tongue speaking. And he certainly exposes this theology as something with which no Reformed man could ever agree.

The second main part of the book is exegetical. It deals largely with the passages from Acts and from Corinthians to which appeal is made for support of the Pentecostal views. But also this part of this study is positive as well as negative. And while I would not agree in every instance with the author’s exegesis, nor with his theological conclusions, yet, in the main, he draws correct lines.

This is a valuable source book on the Pentecostal movement. I would warn that it is not easy reading. If you would follow the author, you must put on your thinking cap. But the book is well within the grasp of the non theologian. Highly recommended.

Divine Inspiration of the Bible

DIVINE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE, by L. qGaussen (translated from French by David D. Scott); Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan; 382 I)ages, $5.95. (Reviewed by Prof. H.C. Hoeksema)

This is an excellent volume in a series of reprints called the Kregel Reprint Library. These reprints are chiefly intended “for Pastor and Student.” And in4deed, some of the books in this series would be of no help to others because of their technical nature. But for anyone who is willing to put on his thinking cap, there is much profit and spiritual enjoyment to be gained from this volume. While the English is obviously dated (the book was originally published in 1841), and while the style is a bit heavy and plodding (partly because theologians of that day were wont to go into Nary careful detail), anyone who can read English can read this volume; and all references to foreign languages are put in parentheses and are translated.

To put it in the author’s own words, “Our object in this book is, with God’s help, and on’ the sole authority of His Word, to set forth, establish, and defend the Christian doctrine of divine inspiration.” And this is precisely what the author accomplishes, and that, too, without compromise. The author not only takes a so-called “high view” of Scripture; but he takes what I would call the “purist view” of the Bible: it is in its entirety the Word of God, with no “ifs” or “buts”. Moreover, the foundation of all that the author teaches is the Scriptures themselves. There is abundant appeal to Scripture in a very healthy and careful manner. The author is not satisfied with mere “proof texting;” but he engages in very careful exegesis, pointing out the Scriptural implications of the passages which he cites in developing the doctrine of divine inspiration. The first two chapters alone, on “Its Meaning” and “Its Scriptural Proof,” would, in this reviewer’s opinion,make this volume worth its price.

But also the remaining chapters, on “Its Doctrinal Aspects … .. Its Objections Examined,” “Its Evasions Examined,” and “Its. Scientific Criticism,” are very instructive. We are living in a day when the doctrine of Holy Scripture is being subjected to many objections and evasions and much scientific criticism. Actually, however, all of these objections are very old, though they may be clothed in new garb and may be given new names. And while the author wrote for his day and with reference to the objections and evasions and criticisms of his day, nevertheless this book will serve as a very helpful guide and instructor over against today’s attacks on the Word of God.

The work is enhanced by a good subject index and Scripture index, and especially by a detailed chapter analysis, in which each chapter is very detailedly outlined. This latter feature enables one to use the book as a reference volume.

I may add that I found the section on the individuality of the sacred writers in Chapter I to be especially clear and sound; and I found Chapter 2 (Scriptural Proof of Theopneustia) to be very thorough and cogent.

Highly recommended.