Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 49:2 (Fall 1987)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

James B. Jordan: The Law of the Covenant: An Exposition of Exodus 21–23. Introduction by John M. Frame. Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1984. xx, 310. n. p.

The author, by his own admission (p. vii), has written “as a Christian addressing other Christians, rather than as a scholar addressing other scholars.” Yet it should be evident to the reader that the author is indeed a scholar. Jordan shows throughout the book that he is acquainted with both the critical and theological literature pertaining to these very important chapters in Exodus—the Book of the Covenant. While there are numerous points in the exposition where I am in disagreement with the author, I cannot fault him for not doing his homework. In addition Jordan appears to approach his topic with considerable thought and, at times, brilliant insights.

Also right at the outset of this review I want to express my appreciation of the author’s zeal for the glory of God. Though I am not in agreement with the theonomic position espoused in the book, it was still refreshing to read a book where the author’s major concern went beyond that of advocating his theological position to the higher goal of promoting the honor of God in a world that is bent on giving the honor to anyone but God. Hopefully reviewer and author will be able to meet each other someday and rejoice together in our great God.

However, having said all this, I find two main faults with the book. The first has to do with the theonomic stance of the author. While the debate over theonomy has been extensive and I realize that the issue is not going to be settled in this review, I would suggest that there are a couple of premises upon which theonomy is based (and of course, this book) which need to be more critically examined.

The first of these premises is spelled out by Jordan on pp. 5-8:

Were we to make a transcription of the moral character of any one person of God, or of the One Person of God, we should have a description of a morally perfect man as well, because man is the image of God…. How does this relate to law? The law of God is a transcription of His holy character, both individual and social…. God’s law is a description of His own moral character.

The problem I have with this premise is that it simply does not appear to be the case. That the law God gave the Israelites is a reflection of or testimony to his own moral character, I readily grant; but that it is an actual transcription of his character, I cannot allow. God is infinitely holy, and though we may dimly see that holiness in the statutes given to Israel, we d...

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