1. Samuel Blumenfeld’s newest book, The Whole Language/OBE Fraud, reveals the shocking story of how America is being dumbed down by its own educational system. The book is more valuable than the other books in recent years that have exposed the educational tyranny of such socialistic schemes as OBE and Goals 2000. Blumenfeld traces the sordid (and Soviet!) history of the schemes, which are nothing more than a single web in a broader lair of anti-Christian statist socialism. It is a stinging indictment of the bankrupt American public educational system, a book which both Christian and secular educators should read with care. It is printed by and available from The Paradigm Company, P. O. Box 45161, Boise, Idaho 8371I (208-332-4440), for $19.95.
2. The Committee for Biblical Principles In Government, P. O. Box 6031, Aloha, Oregon 97007, 503-357-9844, order line 1-800-775-4422, has issued an entire battery of booklets with accompanying study guides setting forth in simple but powerful terms a fervently Biblical view of civil government (see the feature article in the November Chalcedon Report). One of the latest titles is The Challenge of Godly Justice, with an accompanying leader guide. Please write this organization for a catalogue of their materials. It has significantly influenced civil government in the state of Oregon (and other states). For example, in a recent letter to me, one of these organization’s directors, Frances Rath, stated, “I just had a call from representative Charlie Howard’s office at the state capitol in Austin, Texas. He placed an order for 22 copies of The Challenge of Godly Government. His Legislative Assistant will be leading a group of other staffers in an intern class.”
3. Were it not for R. J. Rushdoony, I would not have come across Ethelbert Stauffer’s Christ and the Caesars (London, 1955). The book is hardly ever mentioned these days, and quite difficult to locate. If you can locate a copy, sell your shirt and buy it. It is one of the most powerful statements on the genuine character of the struggle between early Christianity and the Roman Empire ever written. Of special interest is Stauffer’s examination of Roman numismatics—the significance of coin-striking. Coins in that era (and even somewhat in our own!) were a principal means of political propaganda, the emperors depicting themselves in gallant, victorious poses or amid symbols of virility and success, with the design of striking reverence and support in their citizens, and awe and trepidation in their enemies. Stauffer devotes an entire chapter to Jesus’ miracle in the recovery of the lost coin, and to the meaning of his statement that Christians must render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. His wholly Christian explanation avoids the pitfalls of revolutionary anarchism on the one hand, and servile obedience on the other. Christians do not attempt to destroy the socio-political order, but to redeem it by the gospel of the grace of God and Jesus Christ. Christians are not political revolutionaries, but religious “revolutionaries.” Stauffer reminds us that the conflict of the early Christians was not between church and state, for the Christians were the best citizens of all, but between emperor worship and Christ-worship. His accounts of confrontations between a number of the early believers and the Roman rulers is more than moving—it is strikingly inspiring and invigorating. This much neglected-book is one of the best I’ve read. A book about the same era is William Kip’s The Catacombs of Rome, subtitled As Illustrating the Church of The First Three Centuries (New York, 1890). This work is both a description of the Roman catacombs (with fascinating illustrations) as well as a revelation of the meaning of Christianity as expressed by the structure of imagery within the catacombs. We learn of the abject poverty but simple faith of the early believers, of the origin of the fish symbol, of the early Christians’ opposition to cremation, of their occupation with the resurrection rather than the crucifixion and many more important facts. Like Stauffer’s Christ and the Caesars, Kip’s The Catacombs of Rome is not merely descriptive; it is profoundly inspiring. I suspect this book may be technically classified as rare. I picked up my copy, the 1896 edition, at a good used book store. I suspect it may be in a number of good university or religious libraries.
4. A number of books over the last thirty years have lamented the incremental loss of literacy and thus loss of resultant deft verbal communication created by modern mass technological society; but Tom Shachtman’s The Inarticulate Society (New York, 1995) develops this thesis in a most winsome and cogent way. The author demonstrates “the shift away from the use of the full, literate-based language and toward a culture of secondary orality that derives its literacy from television, music, telephone conversations, and the like.” The result is that “speech forms, the vocabulary, and some of the thought processes of this secondarily oral culture are more reminiscent of cultures without a written language than they are of cultures that possess vocabularies in the hundreds of thousands of words. In secondarily oral cultures people become unable to sing the songs of complex argument because they no longer know the words and are reduced to humming simple melodies” (p. 235). He explains the causes of this malady and offers suggestions as to how to combat it. “Rap [music] in fact, may be the first flowering of a secondarily oral culture,” Shachtman suggests, and notes that as such a culture dissolves its intelligent articulateness, it adopts increasingly emotional communication techniques and responses reminiscent of underdeveloped pagan cultures.
5. In our family worship we are reading W. G. Van de Hulst’s William of Orange: The Silent Prince, published by Inheritance Publications, P.O. Box 154, Neerlandia, Alberta, Canada TOG IRO, 403-674-3949. We have reviewed and promoted their works many times before; however, I cannot recommend their children’s publications strongly enough. These works—many of them biographies of our Reformed forebears—are ideal for teaching our children crucial elements of our heritage. I don’t want to give the impression that Inheritance Publications generates only children’s books; their other works are outstanding also, but my family has derived the greatest benefit from their children’s books. Please contact them for a catalogue and information about ordering. You won’t be disappointed.
6. William O. Einwechter’s English Bible Translations: By What Standard? summarizes and updates the ground-breaking work of Edward F. Hills in presenting a defense for the catholic Received Text and our Protestant King James Version. The book is available for $10.50 (postage paid) from Preston/Speed Publications, R R #4, Box 705, Mill Hall, PA 17751. I penned the foreword, and highly recommend this important work by one of Christian reconstruction’s leading new thinkers and writers. While I am at it, I should mention again his outstanding earlier work Ethics and God’s Law: An Introduction to Theonomy. It too is a work worthy of careful investigation.
7. I read with great interest Andrew Louth’s The Origins of the Christian Mythical Tradition From Plato to Denys (Oxford, 1981). It is truly a definitive work on the subject. The root of the retreat of the modern church over the past 150 years can be found in the patristic church’s assimilation of Creek philosophy, as Louth’s work so cogently demonstrates. I lent the work to Colonel Doner, who is finalizing an incisive, hard-hitting critique of the ravages of mysticism, dualism, and retreatism of modern evangelicalism; and he told me that the invaluable information from Louth’s work persuaded him to revamp one of his crucial chapters in his forthcoming book. The very first page of this book sets the tone: “Plato sees the world in which we live—a world of change and conjecture and opinion—as a world in which knowledge is impossible. For knowledge must be certain, and the object of knowledge must therefore, he says, be immutable, eternal. And nothing in this world satisfies those requirements. The recovery of true knowledge of Truth and Beauty, of what alone is Real, is the object of philosophy. Such knowledge in its perfection is impossible in this life, so philosophy is a preparation for the dying and being dead . . . .” This is precisely where Platonic philosophy leads—death and despair, and why assimilation of Greco—Roman philosophy is destructive of historic. Biblical Christianity. Louth notes how early creedal orthodox}’, far from reflecting Creek philosophical presuppositions, was actually in large part a repudiation of those presuppositions. This puts to lie the frequent liberal (and fundamentalist) canard that we should dispense with Christian orthodoxy since it is essentially Creek and not Biblical. Louth’s work is a standard in its field.