Sunday, November 20, 2011

December – Two New Books

The piece on Calvin on necessity, promised for the middle of November, has grown a little and so I have decided to divide it in two, the first episode to appear in Helm’s Deep in December, the second in January 2012.

To make up for this I here draw attention two previously-announced books which are now published. The first is William Young’s Reformed Thought: Selected Writings of Dr William Young, (Reformation Heritage). Bill is a nonagenarian, who at present has frail health. I learned much from him in earlier years and in fact the debt I owe to him is enormous. He taught for many years in the Philosophy Department of the University of Rhode island, and subsequently a minister in the Presbyterian Reformed Church at Greenwich, R.I. which he continues to attend. His Writings, some previously unpublished, include theological and philosophical articles, encyclopaedia entries, pieces from the magazine of his denomination, sermons and reviews. In one way and another they reveal the depth of his theological knowledge, and the acuteness of his judgment, and most of them indicate the strength of his adherence to the Reformed faith in its purest and most uncompromising expression, especially to the doctrinal and experimental writings of the seventeenth century. The book has taken a while getting to print, and has been helped along in its final stages by the energy and enthusiasm of Joel Beeke; so a special word of thanks to him.

The second title is James Dolezal’s God Without Parts, (Wipf & Stock, Pickwick Publications) the wording of which is taken from Chapter 2 of The Westminster Confession, where God is stated to be ‘without parts’, and so ‘simple’. In a way the entire book can be said to be an articulation and defence of that entire chapter, or at least of its ontological assumptions.

One wonders how much those who adhere to the Confession and extol its teachings are familiar and in sympathy with this material. It is surely part of the intellectual discipline of being a Christian that one inducts oneself into its theological grammar. James has an excellent grasp of both the historical and the contemporary dimensions of perfect being theology, and the work is to be warmly welcomed. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Craig Center for the Study of the Westminster Standards, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia.