The Tabernacle, Camping with God by Stephen F Olford; published by Kregel Publications; price £8.50. Available from John Ritchie Ltd.
The Tabernacle, Camping with God was first published in 1971 and is now released again by Kregel Publications. Its 156 pages deal with the Tabernacle, its priesthood and offerings, and as a result this paperback does not offer an in-depth study of these important facets of divine truth. However, the book will assist many who are not seeking a more detailed study. Its presentations of Christ will delight all who know the Lord. The reader will be aware from the beginning that the author has not succumbed to a tendency of the last fifty years to minimise the presentation of the Cross.
Perhaps in the interests of brevity, the author does what some others do who write on this subject. They present the conclusions reached from their own studies but without the reasoning that led them to those conclusions. Olford rightly links almonds and resurrection but does not tell the reader why. Many a younger reader might not be aware of the almond tree fruiting early. At times the reviewer was unsure of the route the authors mind had taken, for example in relating the chapiters of Exodus 38 with "the experience of salvation". Sometimes too his use of alliteration may becloud important lessons, as when he finds in the cherubim "the intensity of Christs severity". Probably he is identifying the cherubim as executors of judgment.
What is also appealing about The Tabernacle, Camping with God lies in the Preface. The author recalls his father F E S Olford who served the Lord in Angola when it was Portuguese West Africa, teaching lessons from the Tabernacle to African evangelists and others around the campfire outside their tent. One would trust that Africa still has some who follow that good example. But English-speaking countries also need to know about what the author calls "The Tabernacle in the wilderness". Sadly such truth is all too rarely taught.
Modern Trends in Morality by William T McBride; published by Gospel Tract Publications; price £6.95. Available from John Ritchie Ltd.
This 156-page hardbacks full title is A Scriptural Analysis of Modern Trends in Morality in the light of Israels Bill of Divorcement and Related Doctrines. The author deals with both Old and New Testament passages in his analysis of particularly the issue of divorce. Unlike most publications dealing with modern trends in morality, it assumes the reader is aware of the nature of those trends. In many cases, but not all, this would be a reasonable assumption. Briefly, in the closing chapter dealing with washing, the author does cite 1 Corinthians 6.10 to identify "behaviours considered illegal in the New Testament". However, the principal focus of Modern Trends in Morality is marriage and divorce.
The author lays his foundation in treating broadly important passages relevant to his subject in both Testaments. He distinguishes the five Hebrew words "sometimes translated to marry", and also between the Decalogue and the laws of the lands; he views the Decalogue as having continuing significance, but the laws of the land as "done away in Christ". It is in the doctrinal context of these considerations that he addresses questions relating to divorce arising from Deuteronomy 24, Isaiah 50, Hoseas prophecy and Matthew 19. Other Scriptures are considered, these being helpfully listed in a six-page Index. Throughout, the author boldly opposes the view " that God pragmatically manages behaviours under law even though (it is argued) they are sinful". That conviction is evident in his approach to the subject of divorce and the passages listed above.
The author does not demand knowledge of Hebrew grammar, but does require the reader to follow carefully several points based on Hebrew grammar. However, he assists the diligent reader by presenting lucidly the more technical aspects of his case. Modern Trends in Morality does repay diligence in respect of both grammatical points and the authors closely-reasoned arguments. This book will be richly rewarding, as it drives the reader to study again what Scripture teaches.