Book Reviews

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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Review of An Introduction to Christian Apologetics by Edward John Carnell

An Introduction to Christian Apologetics by Edward John Carnell, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948, Fifth Edition 1956, 379 pp. While Carl Henry and John Robbins might be the first two to come to mind when thinking of notable students of Gordon H. Clark, Edward John Carnell deserves mentions as well. (Though I believe John Robbins most …

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Review of Thomas Jefferson's Military Academy

Thomas Jefferson’s Military Academy, Founding West Point, ed. Robert M. S. McDonald, Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2004, 233 pp. My good friend Ben House sent me a free copy of this volume on condition that I write a review of it. As I am not by any means a Thomas Jefferson scholar, perhaps …

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Review of Creative Historical Thinking by Michael J. Douma

Creative Historical Thinking by Michael J. Douma, New York: Routledge, 2018, 168 pp. Creative Historical Thinking takes the reader into the mind of an historian, and what you find is almost certainly not what you would expect. Writing history turns out to be more about creativity, metaphor, entrepreneurship, and networking than memorizing facts, being accepted …

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Review of For a Testimony by Bruce F. Hunt

For a Testimony, The Story of Bruce Hunt Imprisoned for the Gospel by Bruce F. Hunt, First published 1966, Banner of Truth Trust, Reprinted in 2000, Philadelphia: Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 150 pp. For a Testimony is Presbyterian missionary Bruce Hunt’s first-hand account of his imprisonment in Manchuria in the early 1940s. This was an era …

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Review of Choosing the Good Portion

Choosing the Good Portion, Women of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, ed. Patricia E. Clawson & Diane L. Olinger, Willow Grove, PA: The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 2016, 470 pp. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church has done a far better job than any other presbyterian church I know of in recording its history. Until now, however, the role …

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Review of The Separated Life by Johannes G. Vos

The Bible Doctrine of the Separated Life, A Study of Basic Principles by Johannes G. Vos, Philadelphia: The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, no date, 35 pages. Reading this pamphlet just after finishing Rosaria Butterfield’s The Gospel Comes with a House Key makes for an interesting comparison. But the “Separated Life” of Vos is not antithetical to …

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Review of The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield

The Gospel Comes with a House Key, Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World by Rosaria Butterfield, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018, 240 pp. I could provide a host of criticisms of this book (Including the author’s regular use of the term “image of God” without much of a definition of it, her apparent acceptance …

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Review of Intellectuals by Paul Johnson

Intellectuals by Paul Johnson, New York: Harper and Row, 1988, 385 pp. Intellectuals is Paul Johnson’s critique of those who have set themselves up as critics and social revolutionaries. He seeks to show that their lives grossly fail to meet the standards set down by their own philosophies. He targets twelve of these intellectuals in …

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Review of Pleading for a Reformation Vision by David Calhoun

Pleading for a Reformation Vision, The Life and Selected Writings of William Childs Robinson (1897–1982) by David Calhoun, Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2013, 309 pp. The biography section of this volume is rather short; extending only to page 126. The remaining 60% of the book then is selected writing of William Childs Robinson. The …

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Review of Lectures on the South by Joe Morecraft

Lectures on the South by Joe Morecraft, III, self-published, no date, 172 pp. This volume contains five essays on Christianity and the nineteenth century American South by Presbyterian minister Joe Morecraft. Morecraft was a founder of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, United States and today has his ministerial credentials in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hanover Presbytery. …

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Review of The Basis of Christian Faith by Floyd Hamilton

The Basis of Christian Faith, A Modern Defense of the Christian Religion by Floyd E. Hamilton, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1927, Third Revised Edition 1946, 354 pp. Though largely overlooked today, Floyd Hamilton was an important figure in the early history of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. For many years he was a professor at …

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Review of Letters From The Front, ed. Barry Waugh

Letters From The Front, J. Gresham Machen’s Correspondence From World War I, transcribed and edited by Barry Waugh, Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2012, 342 pp. While I appreciate Barry Waugh’s work in putting this book together (as well as I appreciate his online writings on Presbyterian history), Letters From the Front is rather boring. Basically, J. …

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Review of Corrupting the Word of God by Herman Hanko

Corrupting the Word of God, The History of the Well-Meant Offer by Herman Hanko and Mark H. Hoeksema, Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2016, 257 pp. I generally agree with the views of Herman Hanko and Mark Hoeksema presented in this book. Therefore the only criticism that I have of the book is not …

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Review of "The Infallible Word" ed. Ned Stonehouse and Paul Woolley

The Infallible Word, A Symposium by The Members of the Faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary, ed. N. B. Stonehouse and Paul Woolley, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1946, 300 pp. This is one of many books I have gratefully acquired from the library of Howard and Genevieve Long. The Longs were friends of Gordon Clark and a …

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Review of "Seeing Christ in All of Scripture" ed. Peter A. Lillback

Seeing Christ in All of Scripture, Hermeneutics at Westminster Theological Seminary ed. Peter A. Lillback, Philadelphia: Westminster Seminary Press, 2016, 86 pp. Before reaching the main content, the reader is presented with thirty-five (!) endorsements of the book by prominent Christian theologians. In these endorsements one learns that Seeing Christ in All of Scripture was …

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Review of Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig

Reasonable Faith, Christian Truth and Apologetics by William Lane Craig, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1984, Third Edition 2008, 415 pp. William Lane Craig has had greater success in promoting his views than nearly any other contemporary Christian apologist. Many have benefitted from Craig’s work; some even having come to the faith through it as an instrument. …

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Review of Samuel Davies, Apostle to Virginia by Dewey Roberts

Samuel Davies, Apostle to Virginia by Dewey Roberts, Sole Fide Publications, 2017, 436 pp. This is a thoroughly-researched and fascinating biography of Samuel Davies, a prominent but often overlooked 18th century American Presbyterian minister. In the preface, author Dewey Roberts lists ten “partial or brief” biographies of Davies that have been written through the years. …

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Review of Christianity at the Crossroads by Michael J. Kruger

Christianity at the Crossroads, How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church by Michael J. Kruger, Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity, 2018, 256 pp. Christianity at the Crossroads is a well-written and interesting book; scholarly, but also accessible on a popular level. In it Michael Kruger explains important 2nd century church developments, proceeding topic-by-topic …

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Review of Absolute Predestination by Jerome Zanchius

Absolute Predestination by Jerome Zanchius, Grand Rapids, MI: Sovereign Grace, 1971, 126 pp. Absolute Predestination is a translation in English from the original Latin text of Jerome Zanchius (1516-1590). It presents a strong Calvinistic view on God’s will, election, and reprobation. Modern “Calvinists” who teach the error of the so-called “well-meant offer of the Gospel” …

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Review of No Final Conflict by Francis A. Schaeffer

No Final Conflict, The Bible Without Error in All That it Affirms by Francis A. Schaeffer, L’Abri Pamphlets, InterVarsity Press, 1975, 48 pp. While the subtitle of this pamphlet does properly indicate that it is about biblical inerrancy, that main title more accurately reflects the specific intentions of the author, Francis Schaeffer, who contends that there …

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