SLAVERY, SEGREGATION AND Scripture, by James Oliver Buswell, III; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; 1964; 101 pp.; $2.50.
This book is an examination of the Scriptural, cultural, and sociological arguments that have been adduced over the years in support of slavery and segregation. Examining these arguments from the viewpoint of a Christian anthropologist, the author finds them all wanting as support for the institution of slavery and current segregationist practices.
While the book is of some value in that it demonstrates the wrong of many such arguments, it fails to find Scriptural solutions to the racial problems which trouble this country and the world. And this, in turn, follows from the author’s failure to put the question of racial differences in the perspective of Scripture. The book is almost entirely negative. Prof. H. Hanko
THE PLIGHT OF MAN & THE POWER OF GOD, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966; 94 pp. $2.50.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is minister of Westminster Chapel where this book was first given in sermon form. It was later reorganized into a series of lectures, and then published in book form in England.
The book consists of an exposition of Romans 1beginning with vs. 18 and concluding with an explanation of Rom. 1:16. It is intended to be an elucidation of the power of sin in the life of man and his hopelessness without the gospel. The author insists that while the Church itself has grown, she has lost the spiritual strength which she possessed in her earlier history after the time of the apostles.
I cannot agree with all the exegesis in the book, e.g., the author refers Rom. 1 to the revelation of God in Scripture as well as in creation, and also suggests thatRom. 7:15, ff. refer to the natural man. Further, the author writes in the “evangelical” vein with its emphasis on the offer of the gospel as a manifestation of God’s concern for the salvation of all men. Nevertheless the book gives important and interesting insights into the terrible power of sin in the lives of men and the hopelessness of man apart from grace. Prof. H. Hanko
CHURCH GROWTH IN CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN NIGERIA, by JohnB. Grimley & Gordon E. Robinson; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966; 386 pp, $3.25 (paper).
This is really two books under one cover, the first dealing with Central Nigeria and the second with Southern Nigeria. The books contain a brief description of the land, the people occupying it and the history of mission work in the country. The greater part of each book deals with a description of the growth of the Christian Church in the area, an analysis of the factors of growth and lengthy discussions of methods of missionary work, past and present. There is also an evaluation of future work and prospects and discussions of different methods to obtain greater results.
This is the weakness of the book also. While there is no elaborate discussion of the principles of missionary endeavor, obviously all the emphasis in the book falls upon the work of man. The authors indicate that they are not satisfied with the progress of the work there and are ready to alter their methods considerably and perhaps even make adjustments in the preaching to gain more converts. One quotation will suffice to demonstrate the truth of this: “Even more important is our general attitude toward the adult population and the urgency of the task before us. Do we really desire to win the whole population for Jesus Christ? Or are we satisfied with an attitude that rejoices in a few ‘called ones’? This attitude, while contrary to Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations.’ ”
The books are filled with charts, graphs and maps and are interesting from a statistical point of view. Anyone interested in this phase of mission work will enjoy the book. But from a theological point of view one wonders what gospel is being preached in Nigeria.
THE SOUL OF THE SYMBOLS, A Theological Study of Holy Communion; by Joseph R. Shultz; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co; 1966; 198 pp.
Beginning with the doctrine of the Person of Christ as the Host of Holy Communion, the author treats the institution of the sacrament, its significance and meaning , and concludes with the believer’s response of faith.
While there are some interesting points in the book and while the importance of the sacrament is strongly emphasized, nevertheless the book is weak. It is not clearly written; the doctrinal implications of the sacrament are not thoroughly treated as one would expect in “a theological study”; the meaning of the author is not clear on the spiritual presence of Christ in the sacrament. He rejects Calvin apparently, but does this with a brief wave of the hand. It is also possible that he misunderstands Christ’s omnipresence, seeming to fall into the Lutheran position of ubiquity. His remarks about the two natures of Christ united in one person are sadly deficient: he dismisses the doctrine with the remark that Christ was not interested Himself in it in His teaching and the whole truth is supranational. He pleads for a re-institution of the ceremony of foot-washing and castigates the Church for abandoning the love feast practiced by the early Church.
As a book emphasizing the importance of the sacrament, it is successful. As a theological study of Holy Communion, it is a failure.