COMMENTARY ON REVELATION, by Henry Barclay Swete; Kregel Publications, 1977; 338 pp., $12.95. (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko)
There are not many good commentaries on the book of Revelation, so this volume is a welcome addition to one’s library. The author lived in the 19th Century, served as a pastor in an Anglican church and became professor, of pastoral theology at King’s College, London in 1882.
There are several valuable features about the book. For one thing, it has a valuable introduction of 219 pp., in addition to the 338 pp. of the Commentary proper. The Introduction treats of matters such as contents and plan of the book, Christianity in Asia at the time of writing, use of the Old Testament and other literature, Doctrin6, history and methods of interpretation, and many other subjects. Another valuable feature, especially for a minister, is that the text contains the entire Greek text of the book along with critical notes. Further, the interpretation is reasonably sober, brief and to the point.
The main criticism of the book is the influence of higher criticism. This is not all-pervasive, but it does require that the commentary be used with care. The author, e.g., believes that Daniel was not the author of the last part of his prophecy; that the narrative of Acts 2 is perhaps unhistorical; that inspiration has some human limitations. The effects of this higher critical approach can be seen, e.g., in the author’s interpretation of Rev. 13. The beasts of this chapter are made to refer to the Roman Empire because the wound of the beast (the death of Nero) and the healing of the wound (the story that Nero was not really dead) were ideas influencing Christian thought of that time.
Nevertheless, the book can be of help in understanding Revelation and in giving the student of Revelation new ideas to ponder and study.
ANATOMY OF AN EXPLOSION, by Kurt E. Marquart; Baker Book House, 1977; 176 pp., $3.95 (paper). (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko)
The Missouri Synod Lutheran Church has been tom by conflict, which conflict is not yet over. This book deals at length with the strife which has gone on in that Church body, and, as the subtitle says, it concentrates on the theological questions. The subtitle reads: “A Theological Analysis of the Missouri Synod Conflict.”
It includes a brief history of Lutheranism in this country and investigates the conflict from the broad perspective of Lutheranism throughout the world. In discussing especially the theological issues involved, it takes a close look at how the heretics dealt deviously with the Lutheran Confessions and shows the danger of this. This section of the book is valuable reading for those who must deal with the same problem in Reformed and Presbyterian circles.
Written from the Lutheran perspective, the book sharply sets forth the Lutheran position, especially over against Calvinism, and, more especially, on the question of the sacraments. Its Lutheran bias is unmistakable.
Especially valuable is the lengthy discussion of the attacks on Scripture made by the heretics as they sought to defend and develop the historical-critical view of the higher critics. There is a wealth of material here and many pungent and excellent criticisms of the method, which makes for good reading for all who defend the integrity of Scripture and the truth of its infallible inspiration.
We recommend the book.
PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, by H. C. G. Moule; Kregel Publications, 1977; 252 pp., $5.95. (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko)
Kregel has printed a number of commentaries by this same author, some of which have been reviewed in these columns. This work on the Holy Spirit includes a number of papers written by the author which are collected for the first time in book form. These studies are more devotional than theological, although, of course, they include many theological insights. Subjects such as the following are .included: “The Dual Procession”; “Union With Christ by the Spirit”; “The Holy Spirit as the Interpreter of Scripture”; “The Spirit Convincing of Sin”; “The Spirit Glorifying Christ to the Soul”; and a treatment of the doctrine of the Spirit in the various New Testament writings. While adding little that is new to the truth concerning the Holy Spirit, the book makes interesting reading and is recommended.