From the Editor. It is not a call to the ministry of the Word to be envied—swallowed by a great fish and spit onto land. But Jonah’s experience is a reminder that when God calls us to this office he means business. Robert Missotti explores the relationship between Jonah’s baptism into ministry and the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in his article “Jonah’s Baptism”—a typological connection that is given to us explicitly by the Lord Jesus himself.
For reviews this month we have Carl Trueman reviewing David VanDrunen’s significant contribution to the Reformed theory of natural law in Divine Covenants and Moral Order. Embedding the Reformed doctrine of natural law in extensive biblical exegesis makes a strong case for this recently forgotten post-Reformation teaching. Please note that a clarification was added three days after the initial online publication of this review. Carl Trueman graciously agreed with the clarification.
Ted Turnau reviews Os Guinness’s latest contribution to worldview apologetics Fool’s Talk in “Insightful Fool’s Talk.” Guinness makes a plea for the revival of the art of persuasion, and Turnau brings Van Tilian insights to bear on the book.
Sherif Gendy critically reviews Aaron Chalmers’s Interpreting the Prophets by contrasting the difference in interpreting the prophets from a canonical perspective and the more tenuous view of assumed historical contexts.
Richard Gamble briefly reviews Larry Siedentop’s Inventing the Individual, disapproving of Siedentop’s coopting of Christianity “for the purposes of present action and not for the purposes of cultivating historical consciousness.”
I review two homiletical books: R. Larry Overstreet’s Persuasive Preaching and Duane Litfin’s Paul’s Theology of Preaching in a review article, “To Persuade or Not to Persuade,” comparing two very different assessments of the concept of persuasion in Paul’s homiletical theology. Litfin’s book is a revision of his 1994 St. Paul’s Theology of Proclamation and a major contribution to our understanding of Paul’s defense of his preaching in the Corinthian church.
Our poem this month is Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Cowper’s Grave.” This double couplet quatrain in iambic heptameter (“a fourteener,” fourteen syllables in seven iambic feet) is a serious meditation on the mixture of hope and gloom in the life of poet William Cowper (pronounced Cooper). Neither Browning nor Cowper are read much today—a pity, especially in the case of Cowper. The demanding critic Harold Bloom considers Cowper’s poem “The Task,” written shortly after his conversion, to be one of “considerable aesthetic merit.” Fortunately we have six Cowper hymns in the Revised Trinity Hymnal (128, 145, 253, 377, 534, 621). Bloom laments that Browning, whose poetry he thinks aesthetically inadequate, has recently eclipsed her husband Robert’s poetic genius due to feminist prejudice. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide.
Blessings in the Lamb,
Ordained Servant exists to help encourage, inform, and equip church officers for faithful, effective, and God-glorifying ministry in the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its primary audience is ministers, elders, and deacons of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, as well as interested officers from other Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Through high-quality editorials, articles, and book reviews we endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic, confessional Presbyterianism.