Banner of Truth (book reviews)

BEGINNING WITH JOHN’S GOSPEL by Susan Harding Paperback, 68pp., $5.99 ISBN 0851516874

Writing for children aged seven to ten, Susan Harding uses the opening verses of John’s Gospel to explain who Jesus was and why He came into the world. Explaining each phrase of John’s marvelous description of Jesus, Beginning With John’s Gospel also shows how everything said in introducing the Savior is perfectly illustrated later in His life and ministry. Like John’s gospel itself, the pages of this attractively illustrated book are designed to point the way to Jesus as Savior and Lord.

TRUTH AND LIFE by Stephen Charnock Cloth-bound, 608pp., $26.99 ISBN 0 85151724 2

This concluding volume of Charnock’s works focuses on truths which convey eternal life and characteristics of that way of life which commend them. The truths relate to the greatness of Christ in His death and exaltation, as the object of faith; on man’s enmity to God and God’s mercy to sinners. These are core gospel truths. They need to be emphasized today. The characteristic features which they generate are shown in their individual, domestic, social, ecclesiastical and national contexts. Enduring afflictions, struggling with sinful thoughts and deeds, delighting in prayer and seeking fresh pardon are highlighted in the individual contests. In the family context, there is a sermon on comfort in child-bearing. In society, mourning for other people’s sins indicates spiritual life. From the ecclesiastical standpoint, the stability of the church and the way in which the gospel may be lost are examined. Nationally, there is a sermon on the significance of November 5th. All these are pressingly relevant areas of the contemporary scene.

Truth and Life is a cameo of Puritan preaching which needs to find its counterpart in pulpits today.

THE WAY EVERLASTING: A Study in Psalm 139 by Edward J. Young Paperback, 128pp., $7.50ISBN 0 851517315

True wisdom, wrote John Calvin, consists of two parts, the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves. With an eloquence which is itself awe-inspiring, Psalm 139 shows us how such true wisdom is discovered. Its magnificent statement of the glorious majesty, omniscience and omnipresence of God combines with its profound and penetrating description of the experiences of the children of God.

In this small volume, originally published in 1965, these Biblical truths are given clear and satisfying exposition in the hands of one of the great modern masters of the Old Testament.

The late E.J. Young, for many years Professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, was widely acknowledged as the prince of conservative Old Testament scholars. His combination of deep personal devotion with meticulous scholarship, and love for God’s Son, left an abiding impression both on his students and on the many Christians who were privileged to hear his more popular expositions of the Scriptures. In this exposition of Psalm 139 the legacy of his ministry lives on.

  Grace Unknown by R.C. Sproul Baker Book House ISBN 0-8010-1121-3· 232 Pages $16.99· Cloth (6 x 9)

In Grace Unknown R.C. Sproul explains the Reformed faith that he believes offers pure, Biblical truths. Like his entertaining yet substantive videos, Sproul’s message contains valuable teachings for all traditions of evangelical believers. Christian faith is examined at three levels:

• The author leads back to theology, the study of God. He explains how churches have been pulled from their center in God to Christianity as “religion.”

• He calls Christians to Reformation theology, a return to the cries of Luther and Calvin: “Scripture alone” and “faith alone.”

• He breaks apart distinctives that separate Reformed Protestants.

Anyone who has wondered about the significance of the “five points of Calvinism” will be encouraged to embrace a larger vision of radically God-centered and Scripture-directed spirituality.


REASONS OF THE HEART Recovering Christian Persuasion by William Edgar Baker Book House ISBN 0-8010-5138-X· 128 pages • $7.99 paperback

Bill Edgar directs us to an apologetic that is many-sided, to meet the needs ofthe vast diversity ofpeople we will likely encounter. – Dick Keyes of L’Abri Fellowship

William Edgar calls Christians individually and collectively to return to the hard work of apologetics—learning to give a reasonable defense.

That work, he believes, has faltered. Believers have preferred to seek political power or disseminate a one dimensional, one-size-fits-all gospel. At the other extreme, they have abandoned the world to its fate.

To recover Christian persuasion, this new Baker Book House publication looks for a generation willing to communicate a balanced message of heart and mind, apologists who know the answers, understand the needs, and are convinced that the gospel is fresh, surprising good news.

Evangelism proclaims the gospel; apologetics demolishes the arguments and pretensions put up against it “So apologetics is a kind of science,” according to Edgar, “a discipline that develops sound ways of presenting the gospel.”

To establish the basis for this science today, Edgar lays a foundation for apologetics, clarifying its Biblical mandate and showing opportunities and obstacles to its use. He then deals with questions that arise in apologetic discussion and barriers to belief.

Chapters look at the three dominating charges that must be answered in this generation: 1) that Christianity is an illusion; 2) that all religions are the same; and 3) that Christianity doesn’t answer the problem of evil. The final section encourages the apologist to give honest answers to honest questions. Recovering Christian persuasion, through reasons of the heart, means adapting the gospel to both technology and need.

William Edgar is professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, and holds degrees from Harvard University and at the Universite de Geneve.