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If Thou Shalt Confess

Book by J.K. Van Baalen—Eerdmans—65 pp

This booklet of 65 pages is intended for those confessing their faith in the bosom of the Christian Reformed Churches.  The author touches upon no less than eighteen topics, facets of the Christian life and experience.  These topics are not in any way arranged logically to the subject which the book bears as title, nor are they in any way meant to be subtitles.

The author, now admittedly advanced in years, gives many suggestions of a practical nature which are worthy of being stated, and equally worthy of being remembered.  However, one fails to detect a strong Reformed orientation in the book, viewed against the background of the three questions asked of the confessor.  1. Concerning faith in the doctrine of the Old and New Testaments 2. The promise to reject all heresies repugnant to this teaching, and a godly life 3. The promise to submit to Christian discipline.  This lack of orientation possibly accounts for the terminology such as “joining church”, and for characterizing the Church as being an “army” rather than that she is the “body” of Christ.

What the author insists as being the Biblical teaching concerning tithing simply is not true.  Since this is the only point he argues in this booklet, and that, too, so very erroneously, we must utter just a word of precaution to the effect that Scripture most definitely teaches that tithing was an integral part of the ceremonial laws and ordinances.  It was an integral part, the very warp and woof of the laws of the first-fruits of the harvest, the tenth part for the Levites, of which tenth part again a tenth was assigned to the priests proper.  Confer Lev. 27:30-32; Numbers 18:24-28; Deut. 12:6, 11, 17; Neh. 10:38 etc.

To argue for “tithing” in the literal sense is not New Testamental.  Here the rule is the principle of the “tithe”, that in the tenth part the whole is represented, proclaiming that all belongs to the Lord.  Hence the New Testament rule is “according to the need” and “according to ability” from a liberal heart.

With these reservations I recommend this booklet to those interested to read it.

And:  sapienti sat!