Book Reviews

Communism and Christian Faith by LESTER DE KOSTER Eerdmans. 150 pages. $3.50.

Communism, Its Faith and Fallacies by JAMES D. BALES Baker. 211 pages. $3.95.

Speaking of De Koster’s, book first, there is one word to describe it; Brilliant. Both as to form and content, this is as readable a volume on communism as anyone will ever come by. As to form, De Koster has a command of language and a vigorous style that is the envy of this reviewer. Every sentence exudes conviction, enthusiasm, and power.

Not a sentence is superfluous; not a word is misplaced.

What makes this book so compelling? That is relatively simple. De Koster explodes the popular fallacy, so prevalent in religious circles, that it makes no difference what one believes, just so he lives right. In other words, the separation between doctrine and life. The conduct of the communist is based upon doctrine, upon his

creeds. Communism rests upon principles, upon a doctrine, a philosophy. And if it is to be effectively combated it must be done on principles. Especially two chapters, the one on Dialectical Materialism and the other on Christian Anti-Communism, make this abundantly clear. All the ballyhoo of public rallies, the denunciations of demagogues, but also the do-gooders of humanism, or the give-away programs or the Peace Corps of the U.S. will be unavailing in this titanic struggle of spiritual forces. The author said it well.

Of course De Koster will be the first to admit that the is not the last word on the subject. We like to pose two questions.

(1) Calling communism a religion, docs not this pose for us Americans a horrible dilemma? For instance, “Understand communism, then, as a religion; or miss the secret of its power.” Believing in freedom of religion as we do, if no man is to be denied public office on account of race, color, or creed, or national origin, can we then deny to the communist the right to public office?

(2) Would not this excellent work have been even better if the author in his own convincing way had demonstrated that the materialism of the welfare state is fundamentally not different from the dialectical materialism of Karl Marx? True, that is touched upon in his chapter on Christian Anti-Communism, but the subject is worthy of further exploration. But perhaps De Koster has another book in his system on this phase of the struggle. May we look forward to its appearance?

Anyway, this volume must be read. It is entertaining, instructive, and convincing.

The book of Bales also is worthy of careful perusal The author is well qualified to speak. His travels have taken him to those parts of the world where he has seen communism in action. As is expected of a professor in Bible, he lets the Bible speak. Bales also argues on the basis of principles. Though the material is substantially the same as in the volume reviewed above, the treatment is somewhat different. His style is not ponderous and the layman without a formal education will find this easier to read than De Koster’s. One outstanding virtue of the book is that the author’s contentions are well documented. Voluminous footnotes and references are found on practically every page.

Both volumes are recommended without any restrictions. The mechanics of both are a credit to the publishers.