A Look at Books

CREATION ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD by John C. Whitcomb Jr. Published by The Reformed Fellowship, Inc., Grand Rapids, Michigan. 29 pages. Price 25¢ each, discounts for quantities of 50 or more.

Dr. Whitcomb is Professor of Old Testament Studies and Director of Post-graduate Studies at Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana. This booklet contains three lectures which he delivered under the auspices of the Reformed Fellowship the Fall of 1966. Considering the limited space of this pamphlet it is remarkable that the author has succeeded in treating the subject so comprehensively. The lecture or chapter headings are The Nature of Biblical Creation, The Creation of Plants and Animals, and The Creation of Mankind. Exceedingly important and live subjects are treated under these headings, such as the supernatural and instantaneous character of creation, the superficial appearance of history (or the apparent age) of the objects created, including man, the so-called literary framework theory, the “double-revelation theory” (nature and Scripture), the original abundance of life and the limits of variation, the dignity and antiquity of man, theistic evolution and the direct creation of Adam’s body, as well as many others. Dr. Whitcomb does not treat these topics abstractly. In each instance several portions of Scripture are discussed, as well as the positions occupied by a number of writers known among us, of course, either with approval or disapproval. In fact, in this booklet I find as good and comprehensive a survey of the field as could be expected in the space allotted. We owe it to ourselves as Bible-believing Christians to read it.

Needless to say that Dr. Whitcomb approaches his subject as a theologian not only, but as a believer in the Word of God. I know that present day “scientism” may for that reason challenge the competence of the author to treat the subject. This field, so it is claimed, should be reserved for natural scientists exclusively a theologian has no right to enter it. However, scientists in various disciplines will question each other’s competence not only, but at times do not hesitate to enter the field of theologians and to speak with authority about hermeneutical and exegetical questions. Frequently it seems as if natural scientists may enter the territory of theology, but that theologians are not permitted to evaluate the speculative conclusions of scientists. Though it should be acknowledged that fields of inquiry vary greatly, so that specialists in restricted sub-divisions are indispensable, yet the fields constitute a unit and are integrated. As soon as the one scientist or scholar ignores the other, he goes off on a tangent and his work will lose contact with reality. Moreover, the theory of evolution by no means concerns the realm of nature alone, but it seeks to shape and to interpret religion and theology. its origin and character, as well. For that reason no scholar should be denied a hearing and Dr. Whitcomb, also as a theologian, is entitled to this. Bigotry alone will cause anyone to neglect the cogent argumentation of the author.

In addition, these lectures are reassuring to those of us who cannot possibly harmonize the assertions of evolutionism, also of the theistic type, with Scripture. The reading of this pamphlet will prove to be greatly rewarding. I should like to suggest and to urge that this booklet be purchased in quantities (the price being reasonable and nominal) and that it be studied by societies or groups of Christians.

While I recommend these lectures heartily, I cannot refrain from calling attention to the parallelism drawn by the learned author between the “faith” of an evolutionist and the “faith” of a believer in the Word of God (p. 15). I know that this parallelism is often made. Yet I suspect its legitimacy and propriety. Are these “faiths” not different in character, so that the one does not run parallel to the other? However, I admit that this question deserves more extensive treatment than this brief review allows. It certainly does in no way detract from the importance of the booklet and the great value of these lectures.


THE GRACE OF LAW, A Study of Puritan Theology. Ernest F. Kevan; Baker, 1963, 294 pp.

That the present-day moral decay is caused by neglect of the law of God is noted and “the object of this work is to explore the Puritan teaching on the place which the Law of God must take in the life of the believer.”

The book quotes copiously from Puritan and other relevant writings of 17th century England, the period under special study, and says “Puritan authors surveyed the evidence and marshalled the arguments with a precision that was minute and an order that was massive …,” and, “Puritan doctrine was governed by a deep reverence for the glory of God and complete submission to the exclusive authority of Scripture.”

The Puritans owned their debt to the Reformers, especially to Calvin with his stress on the normative use of the law. “Sin is the transgression of the Law, the death of Christ is the satisfaction of Law, justification is the verdict of Law, and sanctification is the believer’s fulfillment of Law.”

The book is much concerned with Anti-nomianism, which confused justification and sanctification, holding that Christ brought the moral demands of the law to an end. The Puritans earnestly maintained that though the debt of punishment is paid, the debt of obedience is not abrogated; the law is the unchanging expression of God’s eternal and unchangeable holiness and justice.

Where Barth relegates Creation and Law to the background, Puritan doctrine, resting firmly on “the Bible in its wholeness,” sees God’s right to rule especially in his creatorship.

Noted is the number of recent books reflecting renewed interest in studying the Law or God and that the Puritans have rendered great and abiding service to the Christian doctrine of sanctification. For them the Grace of Law “brought a seriousness into life…a seriousness with a glory.”

A good book for study and for guidance!


THE PLIGHT OF MAN AND THE POWER OF GOD by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Eerdmans, 1966, 94 pages.

Here the gospel, God’s power unto salvation, stands forth as the sole, sure cure for man’s sin-rooted plight.

The presentation, based on parts of Romans 1, gives what one critic aptly calls “an exposition of biblical theology with an avoidance of technical terms.”

The five chapters are: The Religious History of Mankind—God’s gracious self-revealing but man’s ingratitude, rebellion, and pride; Religion and Morality—ungodliness spelling unrighteousness; The Nature of Sin—not essentially a lack or immaturity but deliberate, debasing, disgusting; The Wrath of God needing emphasis in theology and life; The Only Solution—the gospel!

Central, simple, clear, and convincing!