Girardeau, John L.  The Federal Theology: Its Import and Its Regulative Influence.

 

Reformed Academic Press, P. O. Box 8599, Greenville, S.C.  29604.

55 pages.     ISBN 1-884416-05-5

 

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John L. Girardeau (1825-1898) was a successful pastor who among other charges, founded Zion Presbyterian Church in Charleston and building it from 36 black members to an average attendance of 1500 each Sunday.  He was for many years professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary.  He had been taught theology by James Henley Thornwell.  He was an ally of Robert Lewis Dabney in opposition to the evolutionary teaching of Dr. James Woodrow of Columbia, a bitter issue in the old Presbyterian Church U.S.

 

This little book is an address that Dr. Girardeau gave on November 7, 1881, to the Columbia Theological Seminary Alumni Association.  He feared that the institutions of the church were departing from federal theology, and that this departure did not bode well for the future of the Church.  His fears have been realized.  The influence of rationalism, evangelical Arminianism, dispensationalism, and reductionism have resulted in such an attenuation of theology that the voice of the covenant is hardly heard among us any more.  It is only used nowadays, it seems, is when it is necessary to drag it out, dust it off, and use it in defense of infant baptism, or restrictive communion.  That it might possible have wider significance is lost even to many Reformed and Presbyterian bodies.   Individualism, emotionalism, pretended and imagined revelations and experiences have well now silenced the voice of Scripture in the pulpits of the nation.

 

With crystal clarity, Dr. Girardeau sets forth the biblical doctrine of the Federal Headship of Adam and the Federal Headship of the Last Adam, the Savior Jesus Christ.    Ministers should read this little book, and let their pulpits again ring the changes on the fundamental doctrine of Scripture.   If we are going to be delivered from the smothering effects of charismatic and other irrational movement, and have our confidence restored in the inerrant Scriptures, this great doctrine must again be preached and believed.

 

The value of the book is enhanced by a bibliography of Covenant Theology by J. Ligon Duncan III.

 

Johnson, Phillip E.  Defeating Darwinism.  InterVarsity Press, P. O. Box 1400,  Downers Grove, Illinois 60515.    1997.  131 pages   ISBN 0-8308-1362-4

This dynamite little book was written for high school students or others who desire to successful confront Darwinism.  The writer is the author of Darwin on Trial and Reason in the Balance, which have rocked the evolutionary world.   Dr. Johnson teaches us how to develop a “baloney detectors” to see the fallacies of what they hear in schools, and how to successfully confront the issues, by going to the underlying presuppositions of Darwinism such as materialism, and dishonest logical devices as appeals to authority,  attacking straw men, begging the question, and shifting definitions.    This book ought to be in every church library, promoted, and given away to young people.

 

Macleod, Donald.  Shared Life, The Trinity and the Fellowship of God’s People.

Reformed Academic Press, P. O. Box 8599, Greenville SC 29604.  1994.

[Originally published by Scripture Union, London, England  1987.  Limited permission granted to Reformed Academic Press for publication of 200 copies in the U. S.]     96 pages

 

What a fantastic little book!   Dr. Macleod is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Free Church of Scotland College, Edinburgh, and is editor of The Monthly Record.   This little book has the clearest exposition of the orthodox and traditional doctrine of the Trinity that this reviewer has seen.  Fully in agreement with the great creedal statements of Nicea, Chalcedon, and the great Protestant Confessions, Professor Macleod has found a way to express this difficult doctrines in clear and understandable terms.  He even deals with the filioque and knows it is important!

 

Most Christians in America profess belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, but the value of Dr. Macleod’s work is that he applies the doctrine to the life of the Christian in the home, the church, and the community.   Instead of a dry theological concept useful to bash heretics, the doctrine of the Trinity comes alive in its application to the peace, love, and communion that ought to exist in the congregations of the faithful.

 

Lubenow, Marvin L.  Bones of Contention.

Baker Books, P. O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287.  1997. 

ISBN 0-8010-5677-2   295 pages.

 

The fossil records proves evolution.  Right?   Evolution is a fact.  Right?   We cannot explain everything, just as we cannot explain everything about light, but the fossil record has established evolution as a fact as surely as light is a fact.  Right?    Professor Marvin L. Lubenow [Professor of Bible and Apologetics at Christian Heritage College, El Cajon, California] says “WRONG!” on all counts.

 

The fossils simply don’t line up the way evolutionists pretend that they do.   Fossils charts are seldom included in school text books anymore, because they show the wrong things.   Professor Lubenow simply sets it all out in charts for everyone to see.   He documents the shifts and backtracks of evolutionists with great clarity and charity.  He is no raving polemicist, but he does not allow bias and prejudice to be passed off as honest “self-correction” of scientific method.

 

Wedgewood, C. V.  William the Silent.

Book of the Month Club, 1997.  Originally published 1944.   

253 pages.    ISBN (None in my copy)

Kaman, Henry.  Philip of Spain. 

Yale University Press, New Haven, 1997. 

ISBN 0-300-07081-0.   321 pages.

 

Ms. Wedgewood is a distinguished historian who has had her work republished by the Book of the Month Club.  In addition to William the Silent, she also authored The Great Rebellion, a trilogy on the Parliament/Charles I civil war in England that ended feudal monarchy and set the stage for the constitutional monarchy of 1688 under William and Mary.

 

All the glory, tragedy, and drama of the Dutch rebellion against Philip II of Spain (for a great companion volume see Henry Kaman's Philip of Spain) is captured in William.   The author is more interested in the human elements than the complex political and religious causes of the conflict.  She is more disposed to take the reasons expressed by those who lived during the times than to assign reasons from a distance.  The latter approach is also legitimate, for often those who live through turbulent times are not conscious of motives and explanations that may be revealed later.  But it is also important to understand what the actors say is their reasons.  All men are liars, but they do not lie all the time.

 

In this volume, William, the Silent, of Nassau, Prince of Orange, emerges as a tender-hearted man, who dearly loved his family, and dearly loved the people of the Netherlands.  Much more modern in his view of persecution than most of his contemporaries, he could see beyond the religious labels--Roman, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anabaptist--to see the man who was suffering.  To him it was all one--the men of the Netherlands were his people, and he did not want them to suffer, no matter what their religion.  In this he was very modern, and a New Man for his age.  This new model was already emerging in France, where men were Frenchmen first, and then Catholic; and was also coming of age in Elizabeth's England, where Philip found to his chagrin that even Catholic Englishmen were Englishmen, and specifically Elizabeth's English men, before they were Catholic. 

 

From the conflict in the Netherlands emerged a most modern document, William's famous Apology, which justified the rebellion, which he laid before the Estates of the Netherlands in December, 1580.   In the old world it was not sufficient to be successful in rebellion, you must justify it in terms of the law.  Without such justification, any prince in Europe could turn on William and the Dutch people and treat them as outcast, to be betrayed and deserted.

 

William's coup in the Apology was to turn the tables on Philip II, just as Cromwell was to do to Charles I in England.  It was Philip who had failed in his duty.  It was Philip who had broken the covenant and the law.  It was Philip who had waged war on the Netherlands and had betrayed his trust.  In this William was strongly influenced by the Frenchman, Duplessis Mornay, who was a resident at William's court, and had recently published Vindiciae contra Tyrannos.   The new theory in these works was the Calvinistic theory that when the sovereign fails in his duty, the people are not only justified, but morally bound, to dethrone him.  It was this theory that brought many a night's unease to the crowned heads of Europe, and would cause many of them to fall in the next centuries.  The Calvinist philosophy is also seen in Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence for the colonies of England in America.

 

The underlying presupposition of the Calvinist idea is that both sovereign and people are under law.  Both the sovereignty of the people and the sovereignty of the government are rejected in terms of God as the source of law.  To this, both people and government must submit.   Tyranny was the imposition of law not from God, which were therefore to be rejected and not obeyed.

 

William of Orange never saw the realization of the fruit of his struggle.   He was assassinated by a derelict who desired to collect the bounty placed on William's head by the king of Spain.   The fruit was to come to the descendents of William:  Maurice, the frail son of William's mad 2nd wife, one of the world's great military geniuses; Frederick Henry, his youngest son whose name would stand for the Golden Age of Dutch history; and his grandson William III, who with his wife Mary, ascended the English throne in 1688 in the Glorious Revolution that would establish the Reformation firmly in England, and make the name Orange synonymous with Calvinistic liberty.

 

Philip II and Spain never recovered from the disaster of the Dutch rebellion.  Four years after the death of William, Philip launched the Great Armada against Elizabeth of England, to punish her for the execution of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and for her clandestine help of the Dutch rebellion.  The Armada's disaster, coupled with the losses in the Netherlands, left Philip's treasury exhausted.  Ten years later he was dead, his body rotted away with gout, his spirit tormented with failure, despised by his own people for the fruitless wars against the Dutch, the English, and the French.   Certain of his own divine right as king, certain that the Catholic faith was the true faith, certain that his motives were pure and his goals godly, he had nevertheless ruined his empire with war, debt, and decay.   He never understood the changes in the world.  Thus may it always be with tyrants.

 

 

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