“The Anatomy of Anti-Semitism, And Other Essays On Religion And Race.” James Daane. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 84 pages. $1.45 paperback.
Although somewhat revised, these essays originally appeared in either Christianity Today or The Reformed Journal. The one exception is the last essay in the book on the New Morality. Although the title of the book is “The Anatomy of Anti-semitism,” only the first article deals with this subject. The second essay deals also with the broader question of race relations including the Negro. The third essay, entitled “At The Cross,” touches only incidentally upon the place of the Jews in God’s work and speaks of the cross from the viewpoint of God’s election—particularly of Christ. The fourth essay “The Glory of God” speaks in general of the Christian’s calling to emulate Christ in His perfect self-sacrifice on the cross. The last essay deals, as we said, with “The New Morality.”
Dr. Daane is a lucid and interesting writer; and this is evident also from this short book. His insights into various vexing problems are also interesting and stimulating. Whether one always agrees with Dr. Daane or not, he is worth reading.
As far as the content of these essays are concerned, particularly the essays on anti-Semitism and “The Glory of God” were good and struck this reviewer favorably. On the question of race-relations, one could wish that the author would sound a warning against the strong tendencies of our times to bring the Church into the arena of social problems to solve these problems in a social context.
In discussing the place of the Jews in the purpose of God, Dr. Daane makes the following interesting observation: “And the future may disclose that the stirrings in the Israeli-Arab world are far more decisive for the future history of the world than the movement of World Communism.”
Dr. Daane has written extensively on his view of the doctrine of election. He speaks of it also more than once in this brief book. With his view of election I cannot agree; and there is no question about it but that it is not historically Reformed, nor is it Scriptural. One quote especially puts him seemingly in the camp of those who maintain conditional election: “The critical question is not to ask in the abstract, apart from the Cross, whether I am one of God’s elect, but whether in terms of the Cross I am willing to be one of his elect.”
—Prof. H. Hanko
CHRISTIAN COUNSELING AND OCCULTISM, by Dr. Kurt E. Koch; Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1965; 299 pages; $4.95. (Translated from the German by A. Petter.)
Dr. Koch, a minister in the State Church in Germany, has, according to the jacket, “given a lifetime to a special study and ministry with those suffering from demon possession and occult entanglement.” This book is, as the title suggests, a handbook to guide the minister in counseling those who are involved in every form of occult entanglement. The author discusses the whole field of occultism including extra-sensory perception, spiritism, necromancy, table lifting, clairvoyance, astrology, magic, spooks and demon possession. He discusses all these aspects of occultism not only from the medical and psychological point of view, but mainly from the theological and pastoral viewpoint.
To whatever extent one may agree with the author’s conclusions (this reviewer is not prepared to accept all of the conclusions by any means) this book is a thorough treatment of the entire field. The author includes many case studies and shows a thorough knowledge of his subject and of the problems involved. His evaluation of many of these problems is, on the whole, quite balanced.
There are several interesting and important points which the author makes again and again throughout the book. One is that all occult practice in every form is a violation of the first commandment (by which the author evidently means both the first and second commandment, following the division of the law made by Roman Catholicism) and is therefore a most serious sin punished in the line of generations—”I will visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. . . .” Another point is that every single aspect .of occult activity is completely under the control of Satan and the forces of hell which bring the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of Christ into open and perpetual and fierce warfare. Hence there is in any kind of occult practice a most terrible threat to the spiritual life of the Christian. He warns again and again that the Christian must flee from all these things, must detest them with his whole being and must remember that they constitute a constant peril to his soul. This includes what are sometimes considered innocuous participation in mind reading, table lifting, automatic writing, etc.
Another point which is worth the attention of ministers is that he warns ministers to mind their own business and deal only with the spiritual needs of their sheep without trying to play the part of psychiatrist, psychologist and medical doctor.
In treating these occult practices the author posits an unacceptable dualism forgetting that also hell’s powers are under the sovereign control and direction of God. But his clear and sharp description of the battle waged between the powers of the kingdom of the devil and the kingdom of Christ with the victory of Christ assured is important.
While the book may be of some help to those who must work with problems in this field, its use for laymen is limited by the technical language. This reviewer finds himself unable to understand some of the technical problems and to weigh the evidence in support of the author’s contentions.
Further the book is marred by many typographical errors and by occasional clumsy and involved sentence structure in the translation.
—Prof. H. Hanko