PAPAL INFALLIBILITY, It’s Complete Collapse Before A Factual Investigation. J.B. Rowell; Kregel Publications; 171 pages; $3.50.
The claim to papal infallibility was made church doctrine at the First Vatican Council held in 1870, In this book, the author investigates this contention and examines whether it is proper for the pope to claim such infallibility when he speaks ex cathedra. He proves that this doctrine is an arrogant assumption on the part of the pope in the light of the gross wickedness of past popes, the opposition to the doctrine within the Roman Catholic Church before 1870, the fierce opposition at the First Vatican Council where the doctrine was established, the contradictions in papal decrees and conciliar decisions, and in the light of Scripture itself. Added to this is a brief discussion of the Second Vatican Council which was about to get under way when the book was written.
It is an effective refutation of the claims that the pope has made to be the infallible spokesman for Christ upon earth and it completely annihilates these haughty presumptions of the bishop of Rome. Especially in the light of the fact that Rome still insists on this doctrine, and in the light of the fact that many within Protestantism are eager to establish more cordial relationships with Rome, if, not to return to her communion, the book is an exceedingly timely one.
—Prof. H. Hanko
“Adventures of a Deserter,” by Jan Overduin. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 153 pages. $3.50.
The author of this little book of 153 pages is a minister of a Reformed Church in the Netherlands. We are informed on the fly-leaf that he had his theological training in the Free University of Amsterdam, that he is “a well-known pulpit orator, radio speaker, and publicist.” He is the author of several books. During the second World War and the German occupation of the Netherlands, Rev. Overduin was imprisoned for more than a year and a half for his “courageous and tireless activity in battling the occupational forces for the cause of Christian education.”
This book, which is translated into the English by Harry Van Dyke, is a story of Jonah who is called “a deserter” because he fled from his calling to preach to Nineveh. The author attempts, and we believe quite aptly, to emphasize the universality of Jonah’s experience, applying it not only to ministers who have the special calling to witness for the truth, but to all who tend to shirk their calling.
The author is adept in the language of the day, a fellow traveler in the space age, and speaks of travel to the moon and astronauts as easily as he does of surgical operations and selling of cars. In one word, the author is thoroughly acquainted with what is going on in the world of our day, and the problems that confront us, and approaches the story of Jonah with application to our day.
The book is quite true to the Scriptural narrative. It explains the thinking of Jonah, his sins, his conversion, his preaching in the light of our time. Very refreshing reading, I’d say!
This does not mean that we subscribe to all that is said in the book. For example, the book repeatedly speaks of the patience of God. This may be due to the fact that it is a translation. We have not the original Holland. But the expression “patience of God” is not a Scriptural concept. Never do you read in the Bible that God is patient. He is said to be longsuffering and forbearing. He is also said to be the God of all patience. But that is quite different than to say He is patient. Patience is a grace He gives to His people, but He Himself is never said to be patient. Nor do we agree that all the children of God have the same experience and calling that Jonah had, as the author seems to imply.
But if you wish to study about Jonah, and at the same time read a refreshingly written book related to him, we recommend that you get this book, which was published as late as November 5, 1965.
—Rev. M. Schipper
“The Church In The Age Of Revolution” (Vol. V of “The Pelican History of The Church). by Alec R. Vidler. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; 287 pp. $5.00.
Reviews on two other volumes in this series of books on Church History have appeared earlier in The Standard Bearer. This volume covers the history of the Church from 1789 to the present day.
The date 1789 is chosen because this is the date of the French Revolution which, according to the author, had profound impact upon subsequent times up to the present. Hence the age which is covered by this book can appropriately be called “An Age Of Revolution.” Taking his starting point therefore in the political revolution in France, he goes on to discuss the revolution in philosophy led by Schleiermacher, Kant and Hegel; the revolution in the form of the Church—especially in England, Ireland and Scotland as the Church lost its character of The Establishment; the revolution in Biblical studies under the influences of higher criticism; the revolution in theology under the impact of Darwinian evolution, scientific technological advance and liberal theological thought from such men as Barth, Niebuhr, Tillich and Bultmann; and the revolutionary character of the Church as it developed in America so differently from the Church in Europe.
Included are discussions somewhat brief on Eastern Orthodoxy, particularly in the Russian Orthodox Church, mission work, and the ecumenical movement.
While the book treats particularly of the major trends in the Church and the world (and is in this respect extremely valuable), we have the same criticism to make of this volume as we have made of the others. It offers no evaluation of philosophical and theological trends, speaks without criticism of the rise of higher critical studies, the liberal trends in the Church and modern ecumenicism; it speaks only disparagingly of Calvinism and mentions very briefly the history of the Church which through these revolutions kept the faith.
For those who want a compact survey of the period treated, this book is a valuable asset.
—Prof. H. Hanko