MY HEART’S DESIRE FOR ISRAEL, by Richard R. De Ridder; Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1974; 126 pp., $1.95 (paper). [Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko]
This book written by the Guest Professor in Missions at Calvin Seminary, and is part of a series of books called “World Focus Books” edited by Harvie M. Conn. The sub-title reads: “Reflections on Jewish-Christian Relationships and Evangelism Today.” The book deals with the perennial question of mission work among the Jews and has as its theme that we live in a time of ideal conditions for Jewish evangelism. The disappointment of the book was that it fails to deal with the exegetical questions involved in Romans 11, e.g., and the various other problems which have consistently come up in connection with evangelism among the Jews from the viewpoint of their place and purpose in God’s work of salvation.
EXPOSITION OF THE PARABLES, by Benjamin Keach; Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Mich.; 904 PP., $12.95 (cloth). [Revised by Prof. H. C. Hoeksema]
This is a large volume containing a mass of material in rather fine print, and it is another volume in the Kregel Reprint Library. Considering the size of the volume and the mass of material contained in it, as well as the quality of this book and its attractive format, this book is well worth the price of $12.95.
I am sure that to most of our readers the name of the author will be unknown. Hence, let me introduce him by quoting the biographical note from the dust jacket: “Benjamin Keach was, born in February of 1640 in Buckinghamshire, England and died in London, 1704. He was a self-taught man and suffered much persecution for his faith. Among those struggles was the infamous trial for views which he had expressed regarding The Second Advent in a catechism he had published. He was given two weeks’ imprisonment including exposure in the pillory, and fined twenty pounds. This sentence was rigorously executed and Keach’s little book was burned by the public hangman.
“Keach gained fame as a powerful preacher and .defender of Baptist doctrine; being one of the main contributors to the Baptist revision of the Westminster Confession made in 1689. He began to preach at 18 years of age and during a long, profitable ministry, over forty works came from his pen. The church owes its hymn singing to this warrior for he it was who first introduced the practice of singing hymns in worship.”
As to the contents of the book, it contains expositions of more than the parables. Included among the parables are some which I would not classify as parables; and besides, there are expositions of what the author calls “similitudes.” As an example of such “similitudes,” we may mention the “Similitude of the Fan in His Hand,” Matthew 3:12. As far as the quality of the expositions is concerned, I have two comments. In the first place, the author frequently makes the mistake of attaching significance to details in the parables which do not really have significance, but may be called embellishments. In the second place, even in connection with his legitimate and correct explanations of various parts of the parables the author has a tendency to go off on tangents and to engage in rather lengthy and tedious explanations of subjects which are but indirectly related to the text. This is not unusual, however, in writings of the period to which this author belongs. Nevertheless, it means that to reap any value from this book one has to have the patience to wade through a considerable amount of material that is really extraneous and that, besides, is written in a rather heavy style and in a format typical of that period. If one has the patience to do this, he may indeed reap considerable benefit from this book.
I must also caution that the doctrinal position of Benjamin Keach is certainly not beyond criticism. For example, he tries to hold to sovereign election, but conditional reprobation. (pp. 536 ff.)
Nevertheless, one could certainly do worse than to add a book such as this to his library. There is much instruction to be gained from it. And in a day when there is much religious trash on the market and many books which evince no respect for the Scriptures as the Word of God, books which are genuinely pious and which aim to be true to the Word of God are worthy of recommendation