The Book Corner
The Farewell Ministry of Christ. By T. Ernest Wilson. Neptune, N.J.: Loizeaux Brothers, 1981. 96 pages. Paper, $2.50.
The author, a missionary to Angola, Africa, for nearly 40 years, brings us a keen analytical commentary on the ministry of our Lord during the hours before His crucifixion. Starting before the Passover meal, and for about three hours, the Lord delivered His farewell ministry to His disciples, introducing them to a new relationship to the world, a new covenant, a new dispensation, and a new commandment: of love. The principal message of this ministry was to prepare His disciples for His imminent separation from them, with instructions for their conduct after His departure.
Many of the basic truths of Christianity, including the work of the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of prayer, and His relationship with the Father, are revealed to the disciples during the Passover meal.
The final scene in the Garden of Gethsemane gives us a preview of the intercessory work of Christ at God’s right hand for all believers today; in Mr. Wilson’s words, “The unity of God’s people is one of the most prominent themes of the prayer.”
This account of our Lord’s final ministry is also a devotional study, with outlines and word studies. The reading of this inspirational and informative little book will bring to all believers a fresh appreciation of these sublime chapters in John’s unique Gospel.
—Arthur F. Wilder
A Christian Manifesto. By Francis A, Schaeffer. Westchester, II: Crossway Books, 1981. 157 pp. Paper, $5.95.
A manifesto is a “Public declaration of intentions, motives, or views.” This book presents Francis A. Schaeffer’s views on the decline of moral values in the political, social and educational life that has taken place in America in the last 40 years. He urges Christians as individuals and as a corporate body to stand up and be counted in the fight against humanism which places material, energy, and man himself at the centre of all things. Truth and morality, he maintains, have been replaced by expediency and moral chaos, aided and abetted by thoroughly humanistic media.
The author further stresses that the principles on which the United States was founded have been eroded by secular humanism which bases its stand on a false interpretation of the first amendment to the Constitution. The battle cry of humanism is the separation of church and state, but this was never the intent of the founding fathers. The original intent was freedom for all, and especially for religious exercise. Schaeffer states that evengelicals have been silent too long about the insidious takeover of schools and government by liberal thinkers who have disregarded the Judeo-Christian principles on which our freedom is based.
In chapter 6 the author lists 31 vital issues which are pending before various judicial bodies and in which Christians should take a militant interest in order not to be deprived of their legal rights. In the last four chapters, Schaeffer urges Christians to take whatever action seems necessary, within legal means, to protest government mandates when they conflict with the teachings of the Bible. He appeals to the fact that Christ taught in Mark 12 that we are to obey duly constituted authority but we are not to put God and Caesar on an equal footing. God is sovereign in the affairs of men and this includes politicians in any branch of government. We must always be subject to the office but not to the man who holds the office if he dictates what is contrary to God’s law.
Schaeffer summarizes by saying, “The bottom line is that at a certain point there is not only the right, but the duty, to disobey the state.” In so doing, force may be used if there is a legitimate basis for it, but it must never be allowed to degenerate into violence.
This is a book for people who are disturbed over the moral decay around us and have until now been reluctant to speak out against the trend. The author also cautions against abuse of the principles stated in his book.
—Arthur F. Wilder