Book Reviews

Review of Reformed Dogmatics by Herman Bavinck

Reformed Dogmatics, Abridged in One Volume, by Herman Bavinck, ed., John Bolt, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011, 847 pp. Well, that took a while to read. I generally liked Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics but can’t really give it a special place in my heart. It is at the same level of the systematic theologies of say Charles …

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Review of Herman Bavinck by Ron Gleason

Herman Bavinck, Pastor, Churchman, Statesman, and Theologian, by Ron Gleason, Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2010, 511 pp. This is one of the more interesting and informative biographies out of the couple dozen or so that I’ve read on various church figures. Herman Bavinck had a central place in the Dutch Reformed churches in the late 19th …

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Review of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The First Forty Years by Iain Murray

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The First Forty Years, 1899-1939, by Iain H. Murray, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1982, 394 pp. This is the first time I’ve ever read a “biogr.” A what? A half biography, of course. I am glad to find out that Iain Murray later wrote the second “aphy” half as David Martyn …

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Review of The Origin of Paul’s Religion by J. Gresham Machen

The Origin of Paul’s Religion, by J. Gresham Machen, 1925, Eerdmans 1947, 329 pp. In The Origin of Paul’s Religion J. Gresham Machen argues against various modernistic theories of the sources of the Apostle Paul’s Christianity. Machen’s contention is that the Biblical account itself provides the best explanation of the resulting history. He concludes, “Everywhere …

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Review of The Incredible Scofield and His Book by Joseph M. Canfield

The Incredible Scofield and His Book, by Joseph M. Canfield, Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1988, 2004, 394 pp. The Incredible Scofield and His Book is an expose of Cyrus Ingerson (C. I.) Scofield (1843-1921) and his Scofield Reference Bible. The historical research put into this volume is impressive and the reading is interesting, but …

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Review of The Word of God and the Mind of Man by Ronald H. Nash

The Word of God and the Mind of Man, The Crisis in Revealed Truth in Contemporary Theology, by Ronald H. Nash, Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1982, 132 pp. After a few comments, the following is not a review so much as a really long summary of Ronald Nash’s The Word of God and he Mind of …

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Review of Confessions by St. Augustine

Confessions by St. Augustine, originally written in Latin in thirteen books from AD 397 – 400, translated by R. S. Pine-Coffin, Penguin Books, 1961, 347 pp. Surely many reviews of Augustine’s Confessions have been written which well summarize and explain the text. The purpose of this review will be merely to note some important things …

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Review of Presbyterians in the South, Volume Three: 1890-1972

Presbyterians in the South, Volume Three: 1890 – 1972, by Ernest Trice Thompson, Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1973, 636 pp. This book is the third of three volumes of Ernest Trice Thompson’s Presbyterians in the South. I found this volume to be the worst of the three. Much of the book is tedious to …

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Review of Christian Philosophy Made Easy by W. Gary Crampton and Richard Bacon

Christian Philosophy Made Easy, The Basics for Developing a Christian Worldview by W. Gary Crampton and Richard Bacon, Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2010, 106 pp. The second half of this volume reprints essays of Gordon H. Clark, John W. Robbins, and W. Gary Crampton found elsewhere. Thus it is the first half of the …

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Review of The Captives of Abb’s Valley, Revised and Annotated

The Captives of Abb’s Valley, by The Reverend James Moore Brown, D. D., Revised and Annotated by Dennis Eldon Bills, New Martinsville, WV: ReformingWV Publications, 1854, 2019, 110 pp. This is the true story of a pioneer family in southwestern Virginia who is raided by Shawnees Indians. The first raid sees the capture of a …

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Review of Presbyterians in the South, Volume 2: 1861-1890

Presbyterians in the South, Volume Two: 1861 – 1890, by Ernest Trice Thompson, Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1973, 490 pp. This book is the second of three volumes of Ernest Trice Thompson’s Presbyterians in the South. That which most sticks out in this volume is Thompson’s desire for mergers; particularly merger between the Southern …

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Review of Presbyterians in the South, Volume 1: 1607-1861

Presbyterians in the South, Volume One: 1607 – 1861, by Ernest Trice Thompson, Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1963, 571 pp. This book is the first of three volumes of Ernest Trice Thompson’s Presbyterians in the South. Thompson (1894 – 1985) himself was a liberal who advocated in his time those terrible positions that have …

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Review of Biblical Hermeneutics by Milton S. Terry

Biblical Hermeneutics by Milton S. Terry, 1883, Reprint by Zondervan Publishing House, n.d., 782 pp. Though I’ve titled this post a “review” it is more accurately just some notes on Milton Terry’s rather lengthy book Biblical Hermeneutics. While Biblical Hermeneutics has been recommended to me by some Reformed persons, whether Milton Spenser Terry (1840 – …

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Review of By Scripture Alone by W. Gary Crampton

By Scripture Alone, The Sufficiency of Scripture, by W. Gary Crampton, Unicoi, TN: The Trinity Foundation, 2002, 245 pp. Though the subtitle of By Scripture Alone is “the sufficiency of Scripture,” the book does cover quite a lot more than that. The first part of the book is framed as a commentary on chapter 1 …

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Review of The Lost Continent of Mu by James Churchward

The Lost Continent of Mu, by James Churchward, 1931, New York, Paperback Library Edition, 1959, 286 pp. The Lost Continent of Mu is an exercise in poor logic, weak citations, and the art of jumping to conclusions. Basically, James Churchward figured out the method of presentation now used by those advocates of the History Channel’s …

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Review of How Do We Know? by James K. Dew Jr. and Mark W. Foreman

How Do We Know? An Introduction to Epistemology by James K. Dew Jr. and Mark W. Foreman, Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2014, 174 pp. Though my own views on epistemology differ considerably from those of the authors of How Do We Know?, I found this to be quite an excellent read. Unlike Moser’s The …

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Review of Calvinism: Pure & Mixed by W. G. T. Shedd

Calvinism: Pure & Mixed, A Defence of the Westminster Standards, by W. G. T. Shedd, 1893, Banner of Truth, 1986, Reprinted 1999, 161 pp. Calvinism: Pure & Mixed is an ironic title to be carried by Banner of Truth since this publisher itself promotes Calvinism sometimes more purely and sometimes in a rather mixed form. …

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Review of Coffee and Coffeehouses by Ralph S. Hattox

Coffee and Coffeehouses, The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East by Ralph S. Hattox, University of Washington Press, 1985, 178 pp. Coffee and Coffeehouses reads at times like a dissertation. The author, Hattox, apparently didn’t think his book would reach an audience beyond scholars of his subject. Thus he writes, “The …

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Rating 100+ Books I’ve Read This Year (2018)

2018 has already been my reading-est year ever. I’ve made a dedicated effort to read as often as possible. I’ve done some of this by waking up at 5 A.M. to stay on schedule with my wife who worked some early morning nursing shifts at the hospital. Many book reviews, particular of Christian (or “Christian”) books …

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Review of Melanchthon, The Quiet Reformer by Clyde L. Manschreck

Melanchthon, The Quiet Reformer by Clyde Leonard Manschreck, New York: Abingdon Press, 1958, 350 pp. Melanchthon, The Quiet Reformer was an interesting read with no fluff. That is, Manschreck chose his words carefully. I found essentially every paragraph in the book to be meaningful, even if in some places his conclusions are doubtful. Manschreck writes …

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Review of Gospel Truth of Justification by David J. Engelsma

Gospel Truth of Justification, Proclaimed Defended Developed, by David J. Engelsma, Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2017, 510 pp. My greatest interest in Christianity has long been soteriology, the study of salvation. It was a study of salvation years ago that convinced me of the truth of the Reformed Faith over and above the …

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Review of Christian Reconstruction by Michael J. McVicar

Christian Reconstruction, R. J. Rushdoony and American Religious Conservatism by Michael J. McVicar, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015, 309 pp. Christian Reconstruction is a thoroughly researched and well-written book about a theological and cultural movement and its founder, Rousas John Rushdoony. The writing captured my attention in part because I have some …

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