Adding detail to previous reviews of this book, Dr. Douma's treatment of the Ten Commandments is truly a treat.
Douma starts looking at the context in which the commandments were given: Israel was freed from slavery in order to be free to obey him. Thus always is the state of God's chosen people: and what we need to understand is that true freedom comes not from doing whatever we please, but in obeying God within the context of, and by the empowerment of, his grace.
The body of this book considers the implications of the Ten Commandments for sincere Christians in today's world, in different perspectives:
- How these apply in a society not ruled by Mosaic civil law;
- How these apply in a society with modern technology, entertainment, etc.
- How the principles of the 10 commandments are worked ont in related topics throughout scripture
The treatment of the commandments must go beyond a world of ancient olive groves and manual wine presses (though let us never defame God's blessings of olive oil and wine!) Douma considers each commandment thoughtfully, and elaborates on its implications and subtleties rather than jumping to quick and easy but inadequate answers.
As an example, on "Honour your father and your mother...", Dr. Douma spends about 45 pages to discuss:
- the role of parents
- the relationship between this and freedom
- the nature of the associated promise
- what it means to 'honour', including how that relates to choosing a spouse in western society
- limits and style of obedience
- implications for other forms of authority, within the family and of the state; including thoughts on revolution and civil disobedience.
Gratefully, Douma's consideration avoids the frequent digression into extemes of pietism (treating one's religious observance as a purely private affair) or theonomism (treating it as purely a matter of state).
My one incompleteness in reading this book is that I did not come away with an adequate handle on how the Sabbath commandment applies today, which I fear is the most misunderstood and unobeyed of the commandments (through misinterpretation of a subset of Paul's comments about it that disregards his other comments and practices). He does point out the inaccuracy of some common teaching on the topic. I appreciate Dr. Douma's insights, and plan to pursue some of his references for further reading on this topic.