A Look at Books

HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM by Anthony A. Hoekema. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1972, 101 pp., $1.95, paperback. Reviewed by Rev. Jerome Julien, pastor of the Faith Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Here is a book that goes to the very core of the current Neo-Pentecostal teaching: baptism in the Holy Spirit. The author correctly maintains that this is the teaching Ulat serves as the foundation for Neo-Pentecostalism. In the professor’s typieal1y readable style he offers a summary of the new teaching on baptism in the Holy Spirit and an exposition of what the Bible actually says concerning it. The nature of tongue-speaking and the fact that miraculous gifts are no longer among us, the fruit of the Spirit and the fulness of the Spirit arc also discussed. A reader can certainly profit from this little book.

Professor Hoekema offers a number of good insights into how to properly understand Bible passages which on the surface seem to be favorable to Neo-Pentecostalism. Tragically, many Christians are not being fortified with the Troth concerning this heresy which is current in the various church circles. Here they will learn to handle the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” in one of the current battles for the Faith.

Though I appreciate this book very much—and , make this statement having read through a number of books on this subject, some good, some bad—I must admit that the irenic (i..e, peace-loving) spirit in which it is written is somewhat disturbing. Now, of course, we ought to be at peace with our neighbors, but we also must be prepared to define sharply what the Truth is. To be sure, Professor Hoekema has not failed to say what the Truth is. He has said this in a clear and readable way. And for this I rejoice. I just wish that he would have said as clearly that the opposite view is error.

However, if you have any questions concerning this movement among us, called Neo-Pentecostalism, go to this professor’s feet and learn. You can’t help but learn as you read this delightful volume.

Ds. M. P. van Dyk:. NIEUW CREDO. Proeve van cen nieuwe belijdenis. Theologie and Gemeente 1. J. H. Kok, N.V. Kampen. 93 pp. Reviewed by Rev. Johan D. Tangelder, pastor of Riverside Christian Reformed Church of Wellandport, Ontario.

On October 31, 1969, the Synod of the Reformed Churches (Gereformeerde Kerken in the Netherlands gave a mandate to a committee to face the question whether or not the church needs a new confession; and, if so, how the church can formulate one in today’s language. Rev. M. P. van Dyk responded to the mandate with his book Nieuw Credo. He opines that the church is able to formulate a new confession, and he has drawn one up as an example. Rev. van Dyk has made an important contribution to the whole discussion on creeds and confessions. He wants to inform the church about the issue modem man is facing and to stimulate the discussions with the Gereformeerde Kerken. Rev. van Dyk sees the need for a church to be confessional, while directing itself to the issues of our times (p. 6). He wants to remain Reformed and has tried therefore to keep true to the intentions of the three forms of unity within his “trial” confession.

Rev. van Dyk is a capable, all-round, orthodox theologian, who wants to remain faithful to the infallible Word of God (pp. 44f). He has tried to show the churches in the Netherlands the way to a new confession. He has written a fine document that shows real awareness of the problems we are facing today. The Christian Reformed Church is also discussing new creedal formulations. It would be wise therefore for all concerned to study this work carefully.

The outline of the “trial” confession is as follows: 1. Introduction (p. 9). 2. Our Father and our Creatioll (pp. 9f). 3. The Son and our Redemption (pp. 11f). 4. The Spirit and our renewal (pp. 12f). 5. The Holy Scriptures (pp. 12f). 6. The Sacraments (pp. 16f). 7. The Commandments (pp. 17f). 8. Prayer (pp. 20f). A commentary on the confession has been added and is most helpful and enlightening (pp. 22f). The book concludes with some extensive notes. Those who are interested in the problematics presented by Dr. H. Kuitert and Drs. Tj. Baarda will find some helpful material in these notes.

I won’t attempt to give a critique on this proposed confession. I appreciate the great effort put into this work; and to give criticism on a proposed creed is not so difficult. However, while I was working on this book review, I received Gereformeerd Weekblad of January 21, 1972; and one article in particular drew my attention. Rev. van Dyk in that issue had written an essay entitled “Einde van de Gereformeerde Kerken?” (The end of the Reformed Churches?) His article disturbed me. He is far from optimistic about the future of his church, He asks if the Reformed Church can continue to exist if the basic theology that undergirds it is no longer Reformed. He says that more and more laymen and also ministers are openly attacking the Three Forms of Unity. He fears that the Gereformeerde Kerk has already become a “modaliteitenkerk.” In the light of this alarming article, I wonder if he has become discouraged in the efforts put into the making of his book. How can the Gereformeerde Kerk in its confused state come to a common confession? There is so much disagreement on basic issues.

Read Nieuw Credo. It is written in clear and precise Dutch. It offers excellent insights on topics we too are discussing. But let us remember that also we as a Christian Reformed Church are in no position to formulate a new creed. I still hold to what I wrote in THE OUTLOOK of June 1971: “Let us hold on to our creeds. Let us study them. There is a lack of reading and Bible study also among our elders and deacons. Let us struggle with the creeds as each generation has done. Let us through study make the confessions our very own” (p. 24).

JEANETTE LI the autobiography of a Chinese Christian, translated by Rose Huston. Banner at Truth Trust, London. 1971. 361 pp., $2.50, paper. Reviewed by Rev. Jerome Julien, pastor of Faith Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Jeanette Li believed in God’s providence—and not just as an abstract doctrine hut as a living truth. She could testify of God’s hand in every detail of her life. There were those early years in a pagan home, those early years of training, those years of missionary service in Manchuria when the Japanese occupation held great trials for her, those days of fleeing from Communist oppression and ultimately her miserable experience with that Communist army which represents hell. In all of this and in her final escape to freedom she could show again and again the hand of the Lord.

When we read this account we realize the demonic nature of Commununism, in spite of the nice report that was televised from Red China during President Nixon’s visit. Also, it reminds us that our troubles in the free world are very small—though, for us, they seem insurmountable. Another thing that struck me was Jeanette Li’s use of the Psalms. When so many want to identify the singing of Psalms with being Dutch (or Scottish), and, sad to say, contributing to a deadness in the Church, Jeanette Li shows us that the Lord’s people among the Chinese find God’s songs precious and that they express a warm, living faith. How often she uses them to express the thoughts of her heart.

This book will warm your heart. For those addicted to the sentimental novels of today this will be a good antidote. Amazing as it is—sometimes even fantastic—this story is true.

Young, Edward J. COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH, Vol. 2 and 3. New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 604 pp. and 579 pp. $9.95 each. Reviewed by Rev. Henry B. Vanden Heuvel, pastor of Bethel Christian Reformed Church of Sioux Center, Iowa.

On February 14, 1968 Dr. Edward J. Young passed away very suddenly of a heart attack. His untimely death was a tragic blow to the Reformed world especially in the sphere of Old Testament scholarship. For Dr. Young was the leading conservative Old Testament scholar in the world. He had been for many years the Professor of Old Testament at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.

Even though the Lord was pleased to take Dr. Young out of the midst of life, He graciously allowed him to finish what will undoubtedly become the most important of his many literary efforts. He had just finished the manuscripts for both Volumes 2 and 3 of the Commentary on the Book of Isaiah at the time of his death.

The structure of these two Volumes is based, as is Volume One, on the essential assumption of the unity of the book of Isaiah. Dr. Young maintains that the entire sixty-six chapters were written by Isaiah the prophet. This assumption immediately sets this commentary apart from most modern scholarship, and therefore from most modern commentaries on Isaiah. It is therefore the key to one’s appreciation of Young’s approach to this book, as well as his interpretation of it. This fact, coupled with Dr. Young’s warm expository approach, makes this commentary the finest work on Isaiah since Calvin. There is no doubt therefore that it will find its place among the most important books published in this century.

Another feature of this commentary is its concern for the reader who does not have access to technical Hebrew knowledge. The Hebrew textual allusions are restricted to footnotes, special notes, and appendices. The Sunday School teacher will greatly benefit from this work, as well as those with more technical skills and training.

Dr. Young’s treatment of Isaiah 40 in relationship to Chapter 39 brings out both the scholarly and expository nature of his commentary. He shows how the apparent contrast between these two chapters is not as great as appears at first glance. Rather God is bringing to His people the comfort of the Messianic salvation after He has prophesied judgment through Babylonian exile. Those readers who have had difficulty accepting the unity of Isaiah because of this apparent contrast between chapters 39 and 40 owe it to themselves to read this masterful and Biblical exposition in this commentary.

Christians everywhere will welcome the publication of Volumes Two and Three of the Commentary on the Book of Isaiah by Dr. Edward Young.