The Book Corner
God’s Method with Man. By Fredk. A. Tatford. Everyday Publications Inc.: Toronto, Canada, 1978. 63 pp. Paper, $1.25.
Although this book has only 63 pages, it is full of helpful teaching and contains a good study of the dispensations. Care is taken by Dr. Tatford to point out early in the book that “the basis of salvation has always been the work of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary … nevertheless, it is evident that God’s dealings with man have not remained unchanged throughout the history of the human race.”
Each dispensation is identified and the covenant (or covenants) applicable to each is explained. The author deals with eight such covenants, showing that in some instances blessing was promised unconditionally and on the ground of God’s sovereign grace or mercy. He also shows that divine revelation unfolds progressively, is cumulative, and often overlaps from one economy to another. It is interesting to note that fifteen to twenty percent of the book is devoted to the Abrahamic Covenant due to its importance in the author’s mind. It is certainly a major key to the interpretation of prophecy, and his treatment of it is excellent.
This reviewer has always held that plausible reasons can be given for seemingly unreasonable requests by God in Scripture, if we had but eyes to see and understanding to comprehend. One such explanation was a delight to read regarding the often heard question, “Why did God prohibit man from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” Dr. Tatford reasons that “With the knowledge that would be derived from eating the fruit of that tree, man would be brought into a wider and totally different sphere of responsibility, from which he was spared while he was obedient to the divine command. Infringement of the command might result in his understanding being enlarged, but not necessarily for his own good.”
One is impressed with the author’s orderly development of the dispensations and how they affect the correct interpretation of Scripture. Each dispensation prepares the succeeding generation for the next age. This little book is a good study on the dispensations and could be used as background material for a series of Bible studies on this vital subject.
—Joseph M. Cumming