No Other Doctrine - The Gospel and the Postmodern World, by John F Parkinson; published by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 184 pages; price £6.95.
In a society more than ever beset by doubts and led astray by falsehoods, it is refreshing to read something which lucidly declares the solidity and reliability of the Gospel of Christ while examining the origin and the outcome of the worlds thinking. The author has done his research thoroughly, and what he has written will be of great benefit to help young people find their way through the bewildering maze of current education. But also Christian parents, assembly teachers and leaders, and all who would make known the Gospel in todays confused society will find this book very helpful and relevant to their tasks.
The doctrine of the Gospel, based on the Roman Epistle, is first of all comprehensively and clearly set out. The hostile reception this Gospel received from different first century audiences, Jewish, Gentile, religious or pagan, is also described, and shown to be the prototype of todays hostility. Old lies are repackaged with new names! It is well stated that "Although men have made gigantic strides in science and technology, their prevailing philosophies and life views have changed remarkably little." Human nature has not improved, and mans need is the same.
On the question of origins, some very useful scientific material is given which refutes Darwinism and its dogmas. It is then shown how reaction to dogma has led to uncertainty and into "New Age" thinking, self-centred psychology, and occupation with the occult - all of this fashionable but spiritually damaging.
Todays "postmodern" philosophy states that truth is relative, temporal, ethnic, pluralist, and fragmented - not absolute, eternal, universal, exclusive, and unified. Thus its errors attempt to undermine the foundations of divine revelation and Christian doctrine. It is our duty to bring the Gospel to people who have absorbed such notions. We cannot and must not attempt to change the Gospel - it must be Bible based and Christ centred, as it was in the days of the Acts of the Apostles. It must be founded upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Our attempts to reach others, however, will be more effective when we realise what people are thinking nowadays. This book does us all great service in this respect, and I recommend that you read it all - whatever age group you belong to!
The Perfect Servant, by Samuel W Jennings; published by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 245 pages; was £6.95, now £2.99.
As the title fittingly suggests, The Perfect Servant is a 245-page commentary on the Gospel according to Mark. It clearly comes from the pen of one who knows the Gospel and the One whom the Gospel reveals.
In his "Introduction to the Gospel" Samuel Jennings begins with the evangelist chosen of the Spirit. He traces a man drawn out of "affluent circles" to face the rigours of itinerant evangelism. He does not overlook his failings. However, as Thomas Jennings preface suggests: "As we are led by Mr Jennings along the storyline and arguments of this beautiful Gospel, our hearts are drawn to walk in the shadow of Gods Perfect Servant".
Young believers newly come to the faith will not find difficulty in following the authors treatment of Christ. His approach is not analytical. He emphasises that Marks Gospel is orderly and structured. He considers the number four to be significant in this Gospel and divides the Gospel into four sections under the heads of Power, Communion, Glory, and Suffering. He does not labour this thematic approach. In the parable of the seed and its progress while the man who sowed it slept (Mk 4.26-29), the author sees the mans first and last actions sowing and reaping as "the work of the Lord Jesus". His sleeping he sees unusually as the period of gospel activity "while men sleep". He offers no comment on its inclusion by Mark alone.
Many have raised questions about Mark 16.9-20, but, wisely, Samuel Jennings does not enter into debate about their authenticity but finds in the verses a "focus on the gospel being preached among the nations". However he does comment on the Lord appearing "in another form" to two disciples after His resurrection (Mk 16.12). He concludes that "the Lord
had undergone a change from His former appearance".
The Perfect Servant is written in uncomplicated prose. It lays great emphasis on important features of our Lords service. Younger saints would find it helpful.