Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 08:24 (Aug 2004)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew by Craig Keener, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999, cloth, xxii + 1040 pp., $60.00

Keener states his approach to the first gospel thus: “This commentary focuses especially on two aspects of interpretation: analysis of the social-historical contexts of Matthew and his traditions on one hand, and pericope-by-pericope suggestions concerning the nature of Matthew’s exhortations to his Christian audience on the other” (1). A few examples will demonstrate that his commentary is a mixture of conservative and moderate beliefs.

As with any philosophy, this one has both good and harmful aspects. The good is that much external evidence is presented in support of the authenticity of many passages. The harmful is the flip-side of that coin. Keener is very hesitant to accept the authenticity of any passage which does not enjoy such corroboration.

He favors Matthean authorship but is not firm on it (40). The parables in Matthew 13 reflect an already/not yet understanding of the Kingdom. It is now present but is hidden (yeast in dough, treasure buried in field, etc.).

Keener’s explanation of “sons of the kingdom” and “outer darkness” is correct, stating that the former “refers to Jewish people - those who expected salvation based on their descent from Abraham,” and the latter “plainly signified damnation” (269).

With the exception of Matthew’s theology, this work is very thorough, interacting with hundreds of primary and secondary sources. It also sports dozens of excurses, a 150-page bibliography, hundreds of footnotes, and 167 pages of indeces.

But not every paragraph is technical. A higher than expected number of applicational insights is furnished as well.

Conservatives will disagree with Keener here and there, but overall this is a very fine commentary.

Charles H. Ray, Associate Editor

Chariots of God by Alan Cairns, Greenville, SC., Ambassador-Emerald International, 2000, 316 pages, paperback, $19.99

This book, subtitled, “God’s Law in relation to the Cross and the Christian,” contains messages edited for publication by a very capable Presbyterian minister from Greenville, SC. The book is full of thoughtful content, and would make a useful guide on how to write good sermons.

But dispensationalists would find problems with it. First, Cairns slices the Law into the usual three divisions of moral, ceremonial, and civil (28). This procedure would be fine except for the fact that Cairns wishes...

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