Book Reviews January/February 2015

In Six Days God Created: Refuting the Framework and Figurative Views of the Days of Creation.

By Paulin Bédard Xulon Press, 2013 Paperback, 252 pages ISBN 9781625092991

We often hear of our sister churches in Quebec, the Eglise Reformee du Quebec, but now we have an opportunity to read a volume produced by one of their ministers. The Reverend Bédard has produced a well-written and thorough work on the much talked about framework and figurative views of the days of creation in the first chapters of Genesis. This volume is certainly a help in these days when we are being besieged by arguments for these views. Our author painstakingly and carefully writes about the meaning of the biblical text and about the difficulties when the text is interpreted in a way different from the literal meaning. He gives many notes and a thorough bibliography which shows how each author he quoted and used stands concerning this important issue. As he begin, Bédard quotes R. C. Sproul, who recently left the framework position for a literal six-day creation position, when he said, “One must do a great deal of hermeneutical gymnastics to escape the plain meaning of Geneses 1 to 2.” In the conclusion Bédard writes, “After all, God was the only eyewitness of these unique and majestic events.” His conclusion is clear: “The framework interpretation and other similar figurative theories are not faithful to Scripture and thus must be rejected.”

Certainly there will be those who disagree with this book. Yet, it is one to be read and studied. We are to be people of the Book . . . the Bible. Therefore, we must consider what Bédard has written. Take some time to read and prayerfully consider what he has written.

1834: Hendrik De Cock’s Return to the True Church By Marvin Kamps Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2014 Jenison, MI Hardback, 491 pages ISBN 978–1-936054–32–9; e-book ISBN 978–936054–23–7

For people of Dutch Reformed persuasion, this volume should hold a special interest. Volumes have been produced in English on the Afscheiding of 1834, but to my knowledge nothing has been available in English on the involvement of Hendrik de Cock, the leading minister in that great 1834 secession. He was willing to put it all on the line to be faithful to God and His Word.

Marvin Kamps has produced a superb work on Domine de Cock and his witness to the truth of the Reformed faith. He lays before us the national, ecclesiastical, social, familial, and educational circumstances leading up to 1834, and the effect of all these on de Cock. The reader can only shake his head and feel great pity for the saints who lived in those days. The author shows de Cock’s spiritual journey through all of this to the point where he had to leave the Hervormde Kerk of the Netherlands. He gives insight into de Cock’s theological understanding and witness to God’s truth. Do not think that this is just “dry” history. The author makes comments and applications as he writes.

Almost one-half of this excellent volume contains translations of the Dutch tracts of those days which shed light on this great ecclesiastical event to which we trace our spiritual roots. This collection now made available in English is alone worth the price of the book!

We read of the theological collapse of the Dutch State Church, the attempt to control those who dissented because of its weaknesses, and the weak attitude of many within the State Church. Also, we learn what our spiritual forefathers experienced so that their children and ours would know the faith once delivered unto the saints. It is good to know something of our history. Without our knowing this we are doomed to repeat it! But haven’t we already seen carelessness concerning the confessions and the Formula of Subscription? It is always just around the corner.

Every Reformed church library should have a copy of 1834, and Reformed readers everywhere should read it. For those interested, it is also available in e-book form.

Cracks in the Crescent By Hussein Hajji Wario Published by the author, 2009 Grandville, MI Paperback, 252 pages ISBN 978–0-578–00155–5

We hear much today about Islam. There are many who dismiss it as not being a problem as it continues to spread. There are others who are deeply concerned about its spread. This book will give every reader something to think about as Islam continues to spread. In the preface, the author writes:

I was raised as a Muslim who studied Islam in a madrassa (Islamic religious school), which equipped me with wide-ranging knowledge of the Quran and the Hadith. With this background, I wrote my story in this book, Cracks in the Crescent, to give the reader a better understanding of Islam. I use objective evidence, such as references to Islamic texts and Islamic scholars, in every analysis of a topic in Islam. In addition, I enunciate some esoteric aspects of Islam.

The first fourteen chapters of Cracks in the Crescent cover my upbringing as a Muslim, my conversion to Christianity, and the ensuing persecution. Various topics in Islam are discussed objectively in the context of my experience. The last two chapters are devoted exclusively to two topics in Islam that both Muslims and non-Muslims mostly misunderstand. Understanding these topics is crucial for deciphering Islam accurately. Chapter 15 is about the “Jesus of Islam,” and chapter 16 examines the Muslims’ contention that the Promised Comforter in the Gospel of John chapters 14 and 16 is Prophet Muhammad.

The story of Wario’s life is an eye-opener. God in His amazing grace brought him to see the gospel of salvation. After his conversion, life was not easy, but it was a preparation to bring him to America, where he attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and came to know the Reformed faith.

This volume would be a worthwhile read for all believers in these uncertain and troubled times. This little book would be a valuable addition for our church libraries.

Trust God, Keep the Faith: the Story of Guido de Bres By Bartha Hill-deBres Inheritance Publications, 2011 Neerlandia, AB/Pella, IA. Paperback, 89 pages ISBN 978–0-921100–10–2

It is wonderful that in recent years some volumes have been made available about other reformers who have been somewhat lost to us. Now, along with the work of Thea Van Halsema, which has long been available, and the book for young people—and older ones, as well—by Rev. William Boekestein, a new writer is on the shelf having produced another book on Guido de Bres. Bartha Hill-de Bres had a special reason for writing: she is descended from de Bres, the author of the Belgic, or Netherlands, Confession, a confession we Reformed believers hold dear.

In developing this short work, she used letters of de Bres and material in the Royal Albert Library at Brussels. Her purpose is to “help readers to understand the story of Guido de Bres and draw them nearer to the Saviour he loved and served” (p. 9).

Although this book is written so a young person can understand it and not get weary reading a biography, every adult will not only enjoy it but also learn about one of the martyrs for the Reformed faith. Even I, who have spent many years reading sometimes heavy biographies, found it to be a delightful and educational read.

Here is another book for your shelves at home and for every Reformed church library.,Keep-the-Faith.html

Thanks, Inheritance!

The Refugees: A Tale of Two Continents By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Inheritance Publications, 2004 Neerlandia, AB/Pella, IA: Paperback, 369 pages ISBN 0–921100–67–1

In his introduction to this volume, the publisher, Roelof Janssen, writes of his Huguenot Inheritance Series: “Most titles in this series were published for the first time about one hundred years ago.” This volume first appeared in 1893.

Although it was not written as a Christian novel, it gives a good insight into the experience of the Huguenots in France and Canada. Roman Catholic persecution of these French Reformed people was relentless and especially so after revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685), which had originally given them some freedom. Because of this governmental action in France more than 400,000 left France for England, Prussia, Holland, or America. These became very useful citizens in their new countries.

This piece of fiction is about representatives of two different Huguenot families who, after great difficulties in France, made their way to America. These well-todo people arrived first in Canada because of trouble on their passage by ship. What a difficult trip they had! Roman Catholic clergy and Indians gave exciting adventures through Canada to the US.

Written by the author of the Sherlock Holmes tales, this book is evidence of very good writing skills; it is also very different from his more popular writings.

Inheritance has a good thing going in this series. It is an area of church history that we Reformed people ought to know about. I hope there will be many more volumes.

Rev. Jerome Julien is a retired minister in the URCNA living in Hudsonville, MI and serves on the Board of Reformed Fellowship. He and his wife Reita are members of Bethel URC, in Jenision, MI.