As the Crowe Flies

Book Reviews
by Donald D. Crowe, Ph.D.
T
he treasury of biblical theological exposition has just become available as a
complete set of 5 large volumes. Tere is also a PDF CD with the entire work
in searchable form to easily find where any particular topic is discussed, and handy
for cutting and pasting quotations.
I have had opportunity to read volume 1, which was made available in advance
of the other four volumes. A few comments are in order regarding volume 1.
Volume one covers questions 1-35 of the Westminster Larger Catechism. As
the back covers says, “Culminating a lifetime of learning, preaching, and pastoral
care, this five-volume work incorporates the most stalwart of Reformed theology
from recent centuries as well as past masters, and exegetes the teachings of the
Catechism through potent insight, consistent application, and relentless recourse
to God’s Word.”
Te major topics covered in this volume include “Te Reality of Divine Rev-
elation,” “Te Perfections of God,” “Te Holy Trinity,” the reality of Creation and
Providence, and “Te Covenant of God.” To get the full range of subjects well cov-
ered, I will have to leave it to the reader to study these volume. To mention only
Authentic Christianity:
An Exposition of the Teology and Ethics of
the Westminster Larger Catechism. 5 volumes
by Joseph C. Morecraft, III
American Vision Press and the Minkoff Family Publishing. 2009.
Available from www.AmericanVision.org
27 Counsel of Chalcedon • Issue 5 • 2010
As the Crowe Flies: Book Reviews
one section, I would particularly like to call attention to the excellent treatment
of the Covenant of God. Nearly 180 pages cover the Covenant of God, noting the
one covenant with different administrations. Tracing the progress of revelation,
the author takes us through the various administrations: Adam, Noah, Abraham,
Moses, David, and the New Covenant in Christ.
Te covenant of God is a covenant of redemption, of grace, of salvation, of
promise. Te reader will be edified by reflecting on the promises of the covenant
and the participants of the covenant, specifically the place of our children in the
covenant.
Authentic Christianity is a very appropriate name for the Reformed faith so
well set forth in these volumes. Te book is not difficult to read, the proof-reading
was very well done, and it provide quite a theological education that would benefit
both minister and congregation.
I can see this work serving the same purpose in the homes of Reformed con-
gregations that the volumes of a’Brakel did for Dutch families for many genera-
tions. (Pastor à Brakel published Te Christians Reasonable Service in 1700 and it
is again available). By reading a little each day, Dutch families could read through
the four volume set of a’Brakel more than once. A well catechized family is well
rooted in the faith, and Authentic Christianity can likewise benefit the English
speaking Reformed families today. Te Scriptural view of the covenant is set forth
drawing from sound reformed works new and old. Readers will be equipped in
knowing the scripture and the doctrines of the faith. Both old and new deviations
from the faith are answered. By reading a section each day, or by searching out
particular questions you may have, pastors and heads of households can greatly
benefit by being equipped for Christian leadership, and able to be a guardian of
truth for their families and churches.
Counsel of Chalcedon • Issue 5 • 2010
28
As the Crowe Flies: Book Reviews
R
ay Rhodes, Jr. serves the Nourished in the Word Ministries, and pastors a
church in Dawsonville, GA. He has written this booklet to help Christians
understand sexual intimacy as a gift from God within marriage. He encourages
us to think of the biblical gospel as reaching beyond conversion into every area of
life. Tis booklet is designed to be given to married couples in order to help them
through any obstacles hindering the enjoyment of sexual intimacy.
Hebrews 13:4, Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but
fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
“Tis verse presents a brief summary of biblical teaching. Te first part of
the verse expresses the positive blessing of God; the last part condemns abuses of
God’s gift of sexuality.
Perhaps a sinful past haunts you, either because you were sinned against by a
trusted one who abused you, or because you have given into to sexual temptation.
Ten you may find it difficult to see the marriage bed as a place of godly pleasure.
Te gospel remedy is to repent of sin, and believe the gospel with its forgiveness of
sin. Hate sin, but love righteousness. “
Te book confronts seven common excuses for lack of intimacy. Everything
from “I am too tired,” “I have been hurt too much,” to “I am no longer attracted
The Marriage Bed
by Ray Rhodes, Jr.
Books Tat Nourish Publishers, 2010.
32 page booklet - $4.99
www.booksthatnourish.com
btnpub@gmail.com
678-697-4495
29 Counsel of Chalcedon • Issue 5 • 2010
As the Crowe Flies: Book Reviews
to my spouse.” Tere is a call to repent of sinful attitude and know our identity in
Christ as accepted and forgiven.
Tis is a biblical and practical booklet. Te “Seven Day Plan for Cultivating
Intimacy in Your Marriage” involves working on your communication issues,
spending time together, praying with one another, and going through the Song of
Solomon together meditating on its true view of marital joy.
Tis book will be especially useful to pastors counseling married couples who
are having difficulty mirroring Christ and His church in their marriage.
God versus Socialism:
A Biblical Critique of the New Social Gospel.
by Joel McDurmon
American Vision Press, Powder Springs, Ga (2009)
A
hard hitting critique of Socialism and the New Social Gospel espoused by Jim
Wallis, Tony Campolo, Ron Slider, et al.
Te basic problem with Socialism is that civil government, the State, does not
confine itself to the God-given responsibilities of protecting the rights of all its cit-
izens to life, liberty, and property. None of these legitimate powers involve forcibly
taking money from one group of people in order to distribute it to another, minus
Counsel of Chalcedon • Issue 5 • 2010
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As the Crowe Flies: Book Reviews
the bureaucracy’s cut. Tis is a form of theft, a sin against God. [In the words of
Augustine, the State may become little more than “a band of robbers.”]
Te problem is not being addressed by the major political parties. [One party
believes in grand theft, the other leans more toward petty theft.] When the State
promises salvation, it always fails. Te failure is blamed on lack of power and short-
age of resources. But political salvation has always failed; we need a real Savior.
Despite the fact that the State has usually contributed to the problem (be it
inflation, shortages, anti-business policies) it still presents itself as the solution.
[Create a crisis; use that crisis to advance the agenda.]
Te English Fabian Socialists and their ilk, resolve to bring about socialism
without revolution. Tus they were promoting Marxist goals without the provo-
cation of calling for revolution. Despite the actual words of Scripture standing
in opposition to socialism, there are professed evangelicals who advocate some-
thing they call “Christian Socialism.” [Which Joel McDurmon rightly identifies
as an oxymoron.]
Calling themselves “Red Letter Christians” they have conveniently rid them-
selves of about 99% of the Bible. Going further they do not take all the red letters
seriously—for example the parable of the talents with its anti-socialist assump-
tions. All they are left with is to take biblical exhortations about “caring for the
poor” or upholding “justice” or showing “mercy.” But these are not taken in the
biblical sense of a life transformed by the grace of God and given to demonstrating
love for others in acts of voluntary charity. Instead the biblical terms are stuffed
with socialist meanings, leaving the State to establish by force of law redistribution
of wealth programs.
McDurmon has some clever, but appropriate, titles for the agenda of the New
Social Gospel. He calls Ron Sider’s agenda “Te Sider House Rules.” Tis is a take
off on the movie “Te Cider House Rules” in which people express their opposition
to obeying “someone else’s” laws. Sider, Campolo and Wallis make up their own
rules for what ought to be done—in preference to the specific social blueprints
set forth in the Bible. Since some of these very specific instructions are in the Old
Testament, they do not count since they are black letter verses. Somehow their so
called “Christian Socialism” or “Red Letter Christianity” always lines up point for
point with the platform and agenda of the far left.
Tere is much more detail refuting the social gospellers and it is well worth
reading. We are left with a challenge for Christians to be involved in applying the
Bible to the political area as well as all others. Christians who remain silent, let
these “Christian Socialists” speak for Christianity and allow the nation to further
deteriorate and more people to be deceived.
According to the founders of socialism, Socialism and atheism are essential
to each other, but socialists presently believe they need the support of Christians
in order to force their agenda upon the nation. [We can easily imagine a political
candidate inexperienced and inept, a dedicated socialist who feels he must profess
to be a “Christian” in order to get elected and enact his anti-Christian agenda.
Socialists regard the Christians they can deceive as “useful idiots” who are actu-
ally undermining biblical Christianity and aiding the socialist-Marxist agenda.]
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As the Crowe Flies: Book Reviews
An alarming number of the Marxist platform items have already been enacted, and
more are advocated: graduated income tax, compulsory & uniform state education
for all children at no tuition charge, the multitude of redistribution programs, and
excluding God and Christianity from the public square dialogue.
An appendix gathers comments of C. H. Spurgeon regarding Socialism,
showing that he denounced socialism from his pulpit, especially from 1878-84 as
Fabian socialism was vying for the allegiance of the people. Engels pronounced
Spurgeon his “most hated” individual for his effectiveness. Te obvious implica-
tion is Spurgeon was not silent; why are modern preachers so silent about this
faith destroying danger?
Te socialists will probably try to ignore the sound critique of this book as they
have done with David Chilton’s Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipula-
tors. If they attempt to answer it, they will likely resort to criticizing the “tone” of the
book. [After all, it is very difficult to reply to such a vague and subjective charge.] Tis
is a great strategy for those who have nothing of substance to offer. Liberals never
like the “tone” of any criticism, especially devastating criticisms, made against them.
In the opinion of the gang of three, it is a sin to disagree with them. [You will have to
read their comments for yourself to believe the abuse of scripture and the audacity.
I did not like their “tone” or their substance. ddc] But since only God can define sin,
let the opposition to socialism continue and increase.
Donald D. Crowe Ph.D.