Book Reviews

Hanko, Ronald. Doctrine According to Godliness: A Primer of Reformed Doctrine. Grandville, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2004. xiii, 338 pp., including index. $28.95, hardback.

This is a book for every home! It is a book of answers for the questions that often come up in family discussions, or in our meditation on God’s amazing Truth. In over two hundred sections, most only a bit longer than a page, Rev. Hanko deals with such subjects as: “The Importance of Doctrine,” “The Plenary Inspiration of Scripture,” “The Verbal Inspiration of Scripture,” “The Sovereignty of God,” “Human Responsibility,” various attributes of God, “The Trinity,” various aspects of the covenant, “Creation in Six Days,” “Evolution,” “Theistic Evolution,” “The Day-Age Theory of Creation,” and many more. The beauty of this book is that in a few words the specific subject will be explained in the light of Scripture. It is explained in ways that are not dry and difficult to follow. Besides, it is almost devotional in nature. What more could we ask for?

In writing about faith and trust, Rev. Hanko writes, “Trust, as an element of saving faith, not only allows a person to see that the Word is true, but also that it is true for himself. Trust, therefore, can be described in terms of yielding oneself to Christ or in terms of resting in him (Matthew 11:28). It involves the complete abandoning of self and the surrender of the soul to him by the power and grace of the spirit.”

Of course, we have learned all of this, and more, in catechism and we have heard this and been blessed to hear God’s Word faithfully preached. However, of all this we need to be reminded so that God’s Truth will burn within us. This is a wonderful gift book, should you need one. But get one for yourself, too!

Van Rijswijk, Cor. Abraham’s Sacrifice. Gideon Blows the Trumpet. David and Goliath. Neerlandia, AB, Pella, IA: Inheritance Publications, 2001-2003. 43 pages each. $8.95 CN, $7.90 US, hardcover.

As Reformed books continue to be published, our young children should not be left out. They are important, too. Three small volumes in “The Word of the King Series” are now available. Each one is attractively and well bound. Each is nicely illustrated by Rino Visser. All three are familiar Old Testament stories written for us and our young children. Our four and five year olds will enjoy having them read to them, and our six and seven year olds will find them good reading material. The stories are not, as so many are today, filled with moralism. They point us to Christ who is at the center of redemptive history.

In addition, a compact disc has been developed with Theresa Janssen reading each story. There are appropriate musical selections interspersed through each of the stories, bringing us to see the Psalms and hymns in relation to the stories. These CDs are also available from Inheritance Publications.

These books by Van Rijswijk deserve broad usage. Our children can learn to read while learning God’s great way of salvation. The books used along with the CD will help with learning reading. What a tremendous help for Reformed parents who home school! These are also great for grandparents to use with their precious grand children.

If these publications are not available in the nearby bookstore, contact Inheritance Publications, Box 154, Neerlandia, AB T0G 1R0; or Box 366, Pella IA 20219. If you are interested in getting the volumes in Dutch, you can contact Inheritance, as well.

Hanko, Herman. We and Our Children: the Reformed Doctrine of Infant Baptism. Second Edition. Grandville, Michigan: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2004 xviii, 165 pp. $15.95 paperback

What a timely book! In some circles there is much discussion on baptism and God’s covenant. Here is another contribution to this discus-sion—and worthwhile material, at that!

Originally written as a series of articles in answer to the Reformed Baptist view of the covenant, especially as it is set forth in David Kingdon’s Children of Abraham. This has become a well-worked out expression of the Reformed view of the covenant and baptism. Admittedly, there are a number of explanations on that subject among Reformed believers, and this book focuses on the view of covenant, which is considered the organic view. In his introduction, Professor Hanko explains the term “organic,” connecting it with the more familiar term “federal.” He writes, “Both terms mean approximately the same thing, and the two ideas are related to each other.” After dealing with Dispensationalism’s errors in relation to the covenant, Hanko goes on to consider “One Church,” One Covenant,” and “One Sign.” Next, he writes about the “Covenant with Believers and Their Seed.”

Professor Hanko does not draw back from discussing the question, “Are All Baptized Children Saved?” He carefully explains the difficulties with the various terms used in answering this question. He writes about “pre-supposed regeneration,” the inward and outward sense of the covenant, and the “blank check” idea. He also deals with the presence of the elect and reprobate in the covenant. Of course, not all who are baptized are saved.

Hanko concludes his helpful book with these words, “Indeed, it is my conviction that a clear and unambiguous stand for the Reformed faith over against Arminianism, which has its stranglehold on the church of our day, requires faith in covenant theology.”

Definitely worth a read! More definitely worth a study!

Alcock, Deborah Crushed Yet Conquering: a story of Constance and Bohemia. Neerlandia, AB, Pella, IA: Inheritance Publications, 2002. 430 pages each. $19.95 CN, $14.90 US, paperback.

Many Christian believe that the Reformation was actually one date in history, October 31, 1517, and basically the work of Martin Luther. Other reformers such as Calvin and Knox just came a bit later. Actually, October 31 was a pivotal date on which everything began to move so that the Reformation became a living reality that would shape the church and affect the world. However, long before Luther, there had been reformers in the wings. They were laying the ground work not only on the continent, but also in the British Isles. This book of historical fiction takes us back to the early fourteen hundreds. One hundred years before Luther, a man named Jan Hus was seeing the truth of Scripture, at least in part—and teaching it.

Although he was a popular preacher and priest at Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, and also the leader of the Bohemian reform movement, it is understandable and lamentable that the Romans Catholic Church branded him as a heretic. Ultimately, he was burned at the stake. This book takes us through those tumultuous days and gives us an understanding of some of the struggles of this reformer before the Reformation. Obviously, not all the fine points of the Reformed Truth were taught by Hus (the Reformation was just beginning), but he was valiant for the truth, nevertheless. The reader of this book will get a broader view of God’s hand in bringing about the Reformation, which is so precious to us today.