Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord, 3 vols. John Brown; 1990 (reprinted from 1852), 3 vols. 1537pp. Banner of Truth, $74.95.

Reviewed by Tom Ascol

Twelve years ago I secured a one-volume reprint edition of John Brown’s Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord. The print was tiny and the Table of Contents virtually useless, consisting of nothing more than a numeric ordering of the expositions followed by a page number (“Exposition XV . . . 343″). In the absence of an index, locating Brown’s comments on particular passages proved to be an exercise in patient searching. The rewards, however, were well worth the effort.

Now, with the reissuing of the 3 vol. edition (Banner first reprinted this work in 1967), with its extensive, annotated Table of Contents, I have found Brown’s Discourses far more accessible.

Brown’s insights into the teaching of Christ are a rare mix of theological depth and pastoral sensitivity. Consider his explanation of “Judge not lest ye be judged” (Mt. 7:2). After demonstrating that these words cannot be a prohibition bind us from making any judgments of others, Brown warns against being “officious, rash, presumptuous, severe, or partial in forming” them (288). Neither would Christ have us be hasty in declaring our judgments: “What I hastily condemn, if I knew all, I might only pity, perhaps approve” (289).

This work contains 25 expositions, the last of which, on John 1416, is divided into 22 chapters and fills the whole third volume. Other segments of the 4 Gospels which he exposits are: John 3-6, 7-8, 10, 12, 13; Matthew 5-7, 15; Mark 7; and Luke 11-12. His treatment of the Sermon on the Mount was relied upon heavily by A. W. Pink in the latter’s exposition of that passage.

Spurgeon (who was 24 years old when Brown died) made this assessment of this 3 volume set: “Of the noblest order of exposition. Procure it.”

Missing From Action Weldon M. Hardenbrook; 1987, 192 pp. Thomas Nelson, $9.99.

Reviewed by Tom Ascol

A recent Time magazine cover story chronicled the disintegration of fatherhood in American culture. Citing overwhelming statistical evidence, the article demonstrated the personal and societal devastation that results from the absence of a father in the home.

Weldon Hardenbrook has been speaking out against this trend for years. As senior pastor at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Orthodox Church in Santa Cruz, California, he has become well-known as an crusader for renewal among Christian men.

Hardenbrook contends, and argues convincingly, that, in the midst of a heated cultural war, Christian men in our society have largely gone AWOL. Hence the title of his book.

The author attributes vanishing manhood in our nation to the feminization of the American male. We have shifted from a patriarchal society where Dad was not only involved in the home but was its undeniable leader, to a matriarchal one where little boys often grow up with little proper masculine influence and no role models of biblically defined manliness.

One of the more provocative elements in the book is the author’s use of the Trinitarian relationships of God as a guide for men to follow. This generation has lived through renewal movements which emphasized the Son and the Spirit. Perhaps, Hardenbrook argues, it is time that we begin to think more deeply about God the Father.

This is not a book that denigrates women. Rather, it challenges men to examine biblical manhood and to repent of their abdication of God-given roles and responsibilities.

If some of the statements are at times extreme, they do not significantly detract from the overall value of this book. It would make an excellent resource for a men’s retreat

Calvin’s Wisdom edited by Graham Miller; 1992, 424 pp. Banner of Truth, $35.95.

Reviewed by Ernest C. Reisinger

This book will be a time-saving friend to all preachers, teachers and serious students of the Bible. It is subtitled, An Anthology Arranged

Alphabetically. Really, it is a virtual dictionary of Calvin’s thoughts and almost an encyclopedia of his theology.

Graham Miller has accumulated “bite-size” excerpts from Calvin’s writings (his commentaries, three volumes of tracts, and the Institutes). On some 170 biblical subjects the editor gives numerous quotes and references from Calvin’s works.

The subjects covered include Adoption, Afflictions, Backsliding, Burial, Conscience, Controversy, Death, Difficulties in the Scriptures, Egotism, Envy, False Prophets, Fasting, Flattery, Government, Guidance, Heaven, Hell, Humanity of Christ, Humility, Immortality, Jews, Judgment, Kingly Rule of Christ, Laziness, Liberty, Marriage Mass, Ministry, Numbers in Scripture, Old Age, Prayer, Preaching, Pride, Revival, Roman Catholicism, Sabbath, Satan, Schism, Second Advent, Sorrow, Superstition, Temptation, Union with Christ, Unity, War, Wealth, Wisdom, and Works of the Believer.

Thomas More said, “Sell your bed and buy a book.” I will not go that far-but I will say, “Buy this book!”


“Election does not mean that God instituted a general plan of salvation and decreed that whosoever would should be saved and, therefore, the man who wills to be saved is elected in that he brings himself within the scope of God’s plan. It is true that God has decreed that whosoever will shall be saved; but election is something more specific and personal than that. It means that God decreed to bring some, upon whom his heart has been eternally set, who are the objects of his eternal love, to faith in Jesus as Saviour.”

W. T. Conner (1877-1952)

for 39 years professor of theology at Southwestern