Evolution and Christian Thought Today
Russell L. Mixter (ed.) – Eerdmans – 222 pp. – $4.50
Ever since Copernicus demonstrated that the sun and not the earth was the center of our universe, the “Sea of Faith” has, for the educated, been at ebb tide. Most scientific men can only “hear its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating.” The science that in its infancy destroyed theology’s unfortunate excrescences, in its lusty manhood seems intent upon demolishing theology. In Christian circles, the conflict has centered about the formation of the world. The Christian view has always been that the universe was created by God; science insists – most strongly since Darwin’s The Origin of the Species – upon evolution as the explanation.
Twelve auspiciously educated scientists fully “committed to the evangelical Christian doctrine that the world and its living members are the result of the activity of God as declared in the Holy Scriptures” maintain in this book that the basic maxims of science and the teachings of Christianity are not contradictories. The area examined are wide-ranging. Each of the twelve men probes into a specific field of science (e.g., origin of the universe, origin of life, and fossils), states the evolutionistic theories drawn from that field, and proffers a harmony between the scientific facts about the teachings of Scripture. The general consensus is that the creationist often “exhibits in . . . his anti-evolutionary literature an antiquated, ‘moth-ball’ conception of evolutionism.” The contributors to Evolution and Christian Thought Today agree that the proper correlation between Scripture and natural revelation is a belief that god (contra the evolutionists) created the world by progressive or developmental means (contra the “hyper orthodox” – as discussed on p. 168).
Dr. Carl F. H. Henry sums up the situation in the last chapter. The learned (B.A., M.A., B.D., Th. D., Ph.D.), prominent theologian points out the vagueness of many, often unquestioned, evolutionary axioms and concludes with the telling remark that “the rejection of the Logos in nature, history, and conscience is but the first step to the rejection of the Logos come in the flesh Jesus Christ.”
Although treating the first three chapters of Genesis more like poetry by Eliot Pound than infallible Scripture by God, authors have produced a work which is highly relevant to all Christians. Every student and inquiring layman should consider this book a “must” in his education.
The Way of Salvation
Gordon H. Girod – Baker Book House – 157 pp. – $2.95
The author of this book is a Reformed minister, pastor of the Seventh Reformed Church of Grand Rapids. His radio ministry, his talented pen, and his effective preaching have made him well known in Reformed church circles. His capabilities are evident in this book also.
His style of writing makes the book very pleasurable reading. His communicationis personal and direct. He writes rhetorically, just as if he is preaching to an audience, an audience whom he desperately wants to move and inspire. To a large measure he is successful. His writing is very clear and easy to understand, for he includes abundant, lucid, highly-illustrative examples and analogies.
The book contains ten chapters on topics such as election, regeneration, faith, conversion, sanctification, and glorification. It treats the order of salvation (Ordo Salutis) which is found in abbreviated form in Romans 8:30.
Girod’s treatment is very sound, with no doubt of proper emphasis. The conclusions of the book are firmly rooted in Scripture and the Reformed confessions, to which many references are made. Some confusion results, however, with Girod’s use of the word “invitation,” although he equates it with the external calling, the preaching of the word.
The book is highly recommended for all our people, particularly for our young people. It is fairly short, extremely interesting, and spiritually edifying.
God’s Son and God’s World
(79 pp) – A.A. Van Ruler – Eerdmans ($2.00) – translated by Lewis B. Smedes)
In brief, swiftly moving chapters, Dr. van Ruler expounds and relates the “I am” claims of Jesus (“I am the bread of life,” “I am the true vine”) and the poetical ecstasies of the Psalmist about nature. The language is simple and the insight penetrating. That Christ is the vine and we the branches finds its basic meaning in the keen extension of the metaphor, namely, the bringing forth of fruit. Upon that fruit of faith, hope, and love, the children of God thrive, in fact, they become intoxicated; “The holy intoxication is born out of the immeasurable and all-embracing love, the love that is in Christ, the love by which we learn to praise God Himself in all the works of his hands.”
Author van Ruler contends that the spiritual truths of John’s narrative result in an intensified joy, on the part of a Christian, in nature. One who has experienced and recognized the transformation worked by Christ, glories in the creation as does David in Psalm 104. Too much emphasis can be placed upon nature, however. And here van Ruler gives a sedate backhand to the Catholics’ Thomism. All attempts to logically prove God from a survey of the natural world are “academic” and “artificial”; “the living God is in the world of nature, to be sure, but He is there, not in nature’s way, but after His own manner.’ Creation is a work of art, not a logical syllogism.
Mass and Purpose
The meaning of the Son of God gives mass and purpose to life. A Christian’s life is joyous, humorous, livable because of – not in spite of – his Godliness. Despite its brevity, the book drills this theme home, opportunely and artistically.
Talks to Young People
C.B. Eavey – Baker Book House – 110 pp. – $1.95
. . . talks directed to young people for the development of their physical and spiritual life as well as their social life. It includes discussions on New Year’s Day, Good Friday, and Thanksgiving Day.
Successful youth Meetings
Grenville W. Phillips – Baker Book House – 76 pp. – $1.00
. . . semi-profitable material on programs for young meetings. Material includes Bible quizzes and drills, and a section on poetry.
30 Programs for Young People
Hoyt Evans – Baker Book House – 106 pp. – $1.50
. . . provides programs for youth organizations on such topics as singing in church, death, a Christian family life, and honoring God with money.
- B. Eavey – Baker Book House – 116 pp. – $1.95
. . . 50 short, widely-ranged topics pertinent to young people such as manners, obedience, selfishness, books and reading, friends, and gossip.