BOOKS - for your library

Book reviews.

Facing the Unfinished Task, messages delivered at the Congress on World Missions, compiled by J. O. Percy, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1961, 281 pages, $4.50.

The Congress on World Missions arranged by the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association was held in Chicago, December 4-11, 1960. More than 500 evangelical missionaries and pastors gath­ered to study the challenge of a world in desperate spiritual need.

During the intervening days a number of leading evangelical missionaries and church leaders poured out their souls in stirring messages concerning the unfinished task, which mightily moved the hearts of those attending this congress.

The messages of these men, together with reports of the Mission Forum held nightly, are compiled and given in this book. These messages show con­clusively that these zealous, God-fearing evangelical mission leaders do not agree that the day of the missionary is past, as some would have us think.

Facing the Unfinished Task points out that for the first time in history it is possible for every tribe and nation to be evangelized. Even those behind the iron curtain can be reached through literature and the radio.

Around such a positive note of potential victory for Christ do these forthright messages revolve.

R. S. Watts

 

Watch With Me, G. W. Target, Gerald Duckworth & Co., 3 Henrietta Street, London, W.C.2, Eng­land, 1961, 96 pages, 85 cents postpaid.

This unusual devotional book by an Adventist author has very real merit. G. W. Target has built his message around the following well-known state­ment by Ellen G. White:

"It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagi­nation grasp each scene, especially the closing ones.

As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross."—The Desire of Ages, p. 83.

The Christian church pays annual homage to the passion of our Lord prior to and during Easter. Then having sung, "Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!" many jauntily go back to their homes or their tasks, feeling that a duty has been accom­plished. But as the author points out, if we would really grow in grace we must take time to visual­ize the great sacrifice made for us on the cross.

We must in thought go down to the Garden and see our Lord wrestling in tears and blood; then follow Him to the judgment hall and on to Calvary. We must see Him as the King of Righteousness and King of Peace who began His reign from an ugly tree. Such meditation will mean more in the devel­opment of real Christian virtues than anything else.

Contemplative reading is what we need if we would become Christlike. G. W. Target has made an impressive and important contribution to the devo­tional literature of the church. This little volume would prove an excellent source of inspiration for prayer meeting studies. We heartily recommend it to our readers.

R. A. Anderson

 

Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions, Roland de Vaux, O.P., McGraw Hill Book Co., Inc., New York, 592 pages, 1961, $10.95.

This is a truly classic book in Old Testament sociology. The unusually well-qualified author is director of the famous Dominican Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem (Jordan), and was senior member of the committee that recently translated the Bible de Jerusalem from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic into French. He was codirector of archeological excava­tions at Khirbet Qumran and Feshka, and he did valuable research in the caves of the Dead Sea' scrolls, 1949-1958.

This book of massive detail is extremely well or­ganized. It has an extended table of contents as well as complete general and textual indexes with an extensive bibliography. Part I begins with the nomadic background of Israel, on through the tribal organization, and gives a wealth of detail on the laws of hospitality, asylum, blood vengeance, et cetera. Then follow in succeeding parts family insti­tutions, polygamy, the position of women and children, education, adoption, funeral rites and their meaning, civil institutions, etc., with little-known facts that are rich backgrounds for preachers.

The author then traces the development of state­hood, institution of monarchy, the postexilic com­munity, the coronation rites, the royal household, officialdom, law, cities of refuge, justice, finance, the calendar, weights and measures, military institu­tions, the holy war, religious institutions (great de­tail here), liturgical worship, et cetera.

It is impossible to overstate the value of this work of reference to the studious preacher. The book is replete with Biblical documentation from beginning to end. Even where the reader may hold divergent views the presentation is always informative. The translation from the French must be excellent, for the reading is smooth despite its technical nature, and the style is gripping. I listed many obscure points from my own ignorance of social and religious life in ancient Israel, and every one appeared in the book, much to my satisfaction and enlightenment.

Dr. William Albright says, "The present volume is without a peer in its field."

H. W. Lowe

 

The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe (Forty American Scientists Declare Their Affirma­tive Views on Religion), Edited by John Clover Monsma, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1958, 250 pages, $3.75.

Here is a book that should be in every minister's library. It is an invaluable tool that should adorn any well-equipped preacher's workshop. As a rule the minister's professional training does not equip him to speak as an authority on scientific subjects. He lacks the technical knowledge and an adequate acquaintance with the relevant facts to speak as an expert on many of these subjects. But here is a book in which forty American scientists speak with authority and conviction concerning their discov­eries in the laboratory. They point out the theologi­cal, cosmological, and anthropological evidences for a firm belief in God. These scientists invite us to look through the microscope and the telescope to see the fingerprints of a Supreme Creator, a Creator possessing infinite wisdom and power.

We believe a brief sampling from the book will be sufficient to whet the appetite of each reader of this column. Dr. Thomas David Parks, research chemist, states, "I see order and design all about me in the inorganic world. I cannot believe that they are there by the haphazard, fortunate coming together of atoms. For me this design demands an intelligence, and this intelligence I call God." Then after an intriguing discussion of water Dr. Parks continues, "There are other unique properties of water which appeal to me as having been designed by a Creator who has concern for His creatures. Water is the only known substance which becomes lighter as it freezes. This is tremendously important to life. Because of it, ice floats instead of sinking to the bottom of lakes and rivers and gradually forming a solid mass. On the top of the water it forms a layer of insulation to maintain the water below at a temperature above freezing. Fish and other marine life are preserved. . . .

"Personally, I have found my explanation of these marvels—a satisfying explanation—in relating Nature's order to a Supreme Intelligence and its design to a Supreme Designer, and in it all I see more than cold, rational planning—I see the concern and love of a Creator for His creatures."—Page 76.

Dr. Edmund Carl Kornfeld takes us into his lab­oratory. Here is what he says about his discoveries, "While laboring among the intricacies and infinitely minute particles of the laboratory, I frequently have been overwhelmed by a sense of the infinite wisdom of God. So highly intricate are the organic and bio­chemical processes functioning in the animal organism that it is not surprising that malfunction and disease occasionally intervene. One is rather amazed that a mechanism of such intricacy could ever function properly at all. All this demands a planner and sustainer of infinite intelligence. As I continue my labors, my belief in God is progressively strengthened and the attitude of unbelieving col­leagues, anywhere in the world, becomes more and more an inexplicable conundrum. The simplest man-made mechanism requires a planner and a maker. How a mechanism ten thousand times more involved and intricate can be conceived of as self-constructed and self-developed is completely beyond me."—Page 176.

Dr. Kornfeld quotes Prof. Edwin Conklin, biolo­gist at Princeton University, "The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the Unabridged Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop."—Page 174.

Dr. Andrew Conway Ivy, renowned physiologist and vice-president of the University of Illinois for many years, adds his strong testimony to that of the other thirty-nine scientists. "Belief in the existence of God provides the only complete, ultimate and ra­tional meaning to existence. Belief in God is the only ultimate reason for the absolute certainty that man is a person and something more than a parcel of matter and energy. . . .

"In the science of physiology, the gills of fish demonstrate the priority of water; the wings of the bird and the lungs of man demonstrate the priority of air; the eyes of man the priority of light; scientific curiosity the priority of facts; the presence of life the priority of a natural law providing for the pro­duction of life. Now I ask: Does deep insight, great clear rational thinking, great courage, great duty, great faith, great love demonstrate the priority of nothing? It is preposterous to argue that the most profound thoughts, sentiments and actions of man argue the priority of nothing. They demonstrate the prior existence of a Superior Mind, a Creator who is revealed in the world of experience to those who do not erect a barrier to the search for that Superior Mind or Creator.

"The law of causality cannot be disproved. With­out its operation all living things would die. The human mind cannot function except on the basis of causaJity. I submit that the law of causality is something real."—Pages 224-235.

These are just a few paragraphs gleaned from the 250 pages of this unusual book. In my personal copy there is hardly a page on which I have not marked some scintillating sentence or thought-pro-voking phrase. Every minister will find valuable ma­terial in this veritable gold mine!

A. A. Esteb

 

Jeremiah, Elmer A. Leslie, Abingdon Press, New York, 1961, paperback edition of 1954 original, 349 pages, $2.25.

The author is professor emeritus of Hebrew and Old Testament literature at Boston University School of Theology where he received his Ph.D. degree. He is the writer of a number of books.

The special value of this fine paperback is its chronological arrangement, careful translation, and interpretation of the great Hebrew prophet Jere­miah. The author has liberally drawn from contem­porary scholars recognized for accuracy. He shows instinct for the poetic portions of this Bible book. The writer's Christian evaluation of Jeremiah's prophetic office makes it of great interest to Advent-ist ministers and instructors. His last-day applica­tions for some of the political issues of Jeremiah's time, will furnish new spark for our evangelists.

I carefully studied Leslie's textbook and was en­riched in my understanding of the prophet Jere­miah's distinctive message and mission. I recommend it for personal study and for library use in our colleges and universities.

Louise C. Kleuser

 

Anabaptistism in Flanders, 1530-1650, A. L. E. Verheyden, Herald Press, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, 1961, 136 pages, $3.75.

Here is a very illuminating book on Anabaptist and Mennonite history. It is recommended as offer­ing the first comprehensive study of Anabaptism in Flanders in the sixteenth century. Flemish Ana­baptism is well portrayed as being peaceful, non-resistant, and after the pattern of Menno Simons.

A very thorough reading of this book helped us materially to interpret various Reformation groups. Its excellent documentation, with copies of originals, reveals careful scholarship. Students of comparative religions, ministers working in areas where Men­nonite Christians witness for Bible baptism, will find this work very instructive and helpful in evan­gelistic contacts. Adventists share in the struggles for religious freedom and they will admire the Ana­baptists' loyalty to Bible principles. Our college and university librarians should consider this book im­portant in the field of research.

L. C. Kleuser

 


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May 1962

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