on 17 March 2014
Relying on the J.I. Packers’ introduction to the book and full of expectations built when reading Frame’s books on Cornelius van Til’s apologetics, I hoped I am purchasing a definite and in-depth exposition of the crucial and complex topics underpinning Reformed doctrine. But I am very disappointed. It is basically an elegant, non-controversial summary of the surface points you can get from other books and written on the introductory level. I should have read the full title but I didn’t.
I hoped that an experienced and famous theologian would directly explain, share and simply shed more light on the more sophisticated aspects of the Reformed doctrine rather than offering an endless list of redirections to his other books, such as those written by Bavinck, or Murray.
Take for example the chapter on the Guilt and Original Sin: rather than clearly stating the doctrine, explaining what it actually means that “we all sinned” and defending it against contra-arguments, the author uses a couple of weakening reframes (from Gruden) to eventually redirect us to what appears to be a difficult to get book on Imputation by John Murray. This approach is OK for Internet pages with live links, but the printed text should be to some extent self-contained.
I will keep the book cause I like a couple of other things about it, but again – this is an introductory level intro to the doctrine, without in-depth level detail on things controversial and difficult. I find Packer’s Concise Theology to go much deeper on some subjects, even though it is probably 10 times shorter.