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vanDelden: Lest Any Man Should Boast

Lest Any Man Should Boast.doc

Book Review

Arthur van Delden, Lest Any Man Should Boast: The Canons of Dort simply explained.  
Pro Ecclesia Printers, 2004.  353 pages.

Throughout today’s western culture, both the greatness of God and the smallness of man are denied.  It happens not just amongst the non-Christians of our society, but also amongst numerous Evangelicals.  It’s an error that lies in the heart of each of us.

Rev vanDelden (currently minister of the Free Reformed Church of Rockingham, Australia) shows that there’s nothing new in this sentiment.  The churches faced a subtle and profound manifestation of this self-inflation in the preaching and teaching of Rev Jacob Arminius more than 400 years ago.  By the grace of God, the churches of the day rose to defend the truth of God’s greatness and man’s dependence at the great Synod of Dort.  Though the findings of that Synod date from more than four centuries ago, Rev vanDelden shows that the Canons accurately echo what the Lord has revealed in His holy Word – and therefore are invaluable instruction for Christians living in today’s climate.

Rev vanDelden has given his book a telling title: Lest Any Man Should Boast.  Therein he has captured the heart of the Canons, for man indeed has nothing about which he may boast; modern man is as dependent as any generation ever has been.  Rev vanDelden added a subtitle: The Canons of Dort simply explained, and that too captures something of the book.  Though it’s material is profound, it is written in a very readable and understandable fashion.  He writes that he has pitched his book to young people; this reviewer would consider his effort successful.  

Each article of the Canons of Dort is simply explained, set against the background of the Arminian error, and shown to be Scriptural.  Each article is also followed by a set of questions for discussion.  To make the book more agreeable to the eye, each page is broken with a colorfully highlighted caption.  Some appendices have been added to the book to cover aspects of the Canons that could not be sufficiently touched in the discussion of the articles.  On the whole, the book is very attractive.

No work is perfect, and this book is not either.  There is, however, no point in finding fault, particularly when the message of the book is so vital to today’s problems.  Catechism instructors are encouraged to use this book when they give instruction in the Canons of Dort.  Parents too are encouraged to read the book for personal Bible study, as well as present a gift copy to their children.  Bible study societies too would do well to include the Canons on their agendas, and use this book as a study guide.

Rev vanDelden has spent years preparing this book.  His perseverance should be complimented, for he has done the churches a service with this publication.

C Bouwman
16 May 2005