A Look at Books

MALEACHI, by Dr. P. A. Verhoef. Kampen. J. H. Kok. 1972. Reviewed by Dr. Louis Praamsma, pastor of the Christian Reformed Church of Colling. wood, Ontario.

This book belongs 10 the series of Dutch commentaries on the Old Testament edited by Professors W. H. Gispen and N. H. Ridderbos. The author, Dr. P. A. Verhoef, is professor in the exegesis of the Old Testament at the Seminary of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, in Stellenbosch. He has written a sound and solid commentary on the last book of the Old Testament, the book of Malachi.

The introduction itself (69 pp.) is worth. while reading. As in the whole commentary, the author shows a scholarly, thorough knowledge of the contemporary literature concerning this prophet; apart from other points of interest in this introduction, the most important one is that Dr. Verhoef stresses the significance of this book in the canon of the Bible, which he finds In the concept of the covenant.

In the preaching of Malachi the idea of the covenant receives its deep theological conlent and its wide perspective. The God who speaks in the preaching of Malachi is the great King, the God of the covenant. And the people of the covenant are a handful of feeble Jews, subjects of the Persian government, afflicted by failure of crops, declining in their worship-services, in their life of marriage and in their theology. And yet they are “Israel,”the holiness of the LORD,” the people that He loves, and those who belong to Him in a special way” (p. 69).

In the exegesis of the several texts of this book we meet the ideas of many present-day exegetes; the author reaches his own conclusion only after a careful examination of the points of view of others, from all theological quarters of the world.

Ally minister who wants to make a real in-depth study of this book of the Bible should consult this reliable commentary.

In the tradition of this series, this book is not a “homiletical commentary,” however.

This is as much an advantage as it is a disadvantage.

It is an advantage because the author never forgets his scientific responsibility, he never takes refuge in a cheap form of devotionalism. It is a disadvantage, however, when a pastor, often pressed for time, wants to see clearly the meaning of the text and to be stimulated for the message he has to bring, and then he must first wade through a broad river of many different opinions.

This book has been dedicated by the author to the Seminary of Stellenbosch. The author could show in no better way that there are very able and sound Reformed Biblical scholars in South Africa.

FEED MY SHEEP, by Harold Camping, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Box 185, Nutley, New Jersey 17110, 83 pages, $1.95. Reviewed by Rev. Frank De Jong, San Jose, California.

The author of this book is a graduate construction engineer and present Chairman of Family FM Radio Stations. During the years of his very busy career he has made a thorough study of the Bible, setting forth his findings on a fascinating subject in this book.

Camping’s study of the Scripture leads him to conclude that there was no death in the animal world before sin marred God’s creation. All animals, therefore, must have been llerbivorous and only became meat-eating creatures after the fall. He contends that the animal world once more will return to this state on the new earth.

The main thrust of the book rests upon Mr. Camping’s interpretation of God’s original command to Adam and Eve in the Garden when God said, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living tiling that moves upon the earth” (Gen. 2:28). Just what is implied in the command, “subdue it” and “have dominion”? The author contends that this divine command “have dominion” was never repeated after the flood and that dominion over the creatures was transferred to the Prince of this world, Satan.

For the people of God, the author claims, there is no other responsibility than to “subdue” the influence of Satan in man’s heart. This is done by bringing the gospel of salvation in printed form, by means of the spoken word, and by a good example. Jesus Christ by His suffering and death on the cross has fully satisfied God‘s demands and has overcome the devil and his whole dominion.

This special assignment given to the redeemed children of God is what the author means by the title of his book, Feed My Sheep. That is the sole reason for our salvation, to glorify God by subduing evil in man‘s heart.

I have a problem with this interpretation. As those who accept the Calvinistic interpretation of Gods plan with man, we believe God’s Word reveals a “World and Life View” for the redeemed children of God. If we arc to be “the salt of the earth,” “the light of the world,” reflecting THE Light of the world, it is our responsibility to exercise this influence in every sphere of life. Hebrews 2:7, 8 teaches us, “. . . thou didst set him over the works of thy hands; thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet . . . he left nothing that is not put under him.” The complete dominion, to be sure, came when the Son of Man appeared on earth; but, this does not remove from the children of God the honor of exercising to the best of his ability the dominion given man from the beginning.