Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JETS 32:3 (September 1989) p. 373
The Fatherhood of God. By J. S. Lidgett. Minneapolis: Bethany, 1987, 192 pp., $5.95 paper.
This study by Anglican theologian Lidgett is an edited and condensed edition of a book published in 1902. The author’s thesis is that the doctrine of the fatherhood of God is more fundamental in Scripture and theology than is the Augustinian-Reformed doctrine of divine sovereignty. Lidgett argues that this doctrine was lost sight of throughout most of Church history from the time of the early Church fathers onward. It was not until the nineteenth century that the doctrine finally received its due. After tracing the doctrine of the fatherhood of God through the OT and NT and the history of doctrine, the author concludes by discussing the theological and practical significance of this teaching.
As far as the main line of argument is concerned, in my opinion Lidgett fails on several accounts to present a cogent and Biblically persuasive interpretation of the doctrine of the fatherhood of God. His grasp of historical theology is questionable. Without substantive analysis and criticism he takes exception to Reformed theology on numerous issues, including the doctrines of the decrees of God, the covenants, and human depravity. In a decidedly unorthodox manner he speaks of Christ’s divine sonship as “the realization of the implicit possibilities of mankind” (p. 42; cf. the extended discussion on pp. 159-174). He perceives his own interpretation of the doctrine of the fatherhood of God to strike the proper balance between contrasting theologies battling one another in the long centuries of debate and controversy. “When this relationship [namely, that of God the Father to Christ—and to his creation] is fully understood, it harmonizes the two great opposing principles of Calvinism and Arminianism, which in opposition became one-sided and even false. The Calvinist principle made the glory of God supreme, but believed glory consisted in God predestinating His creatures and sacrificing them to secure its ends. On the other hand, the Arminian principle—God’s end is, above all, the well-being of His creatures—if it magnified the benevolence of God it did so in a way that went far to treat God as a means to His creature’s end” (p. 163).
Surely there are many older works in the rich corpus of evangelical literature worthy of republication. In this instance we can only express our appreciation to the publisher for sparing us from reading Lidgett’s original treatise in its entirety.
Mark W. Karlberg
The Atonement. By Gordon H. Clark. Jefferson: Trinity, 1987, 181 pp., $8.95 paper.
Clark’s primer on the atonement is certainly not a compre...
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