Reformed Reflections

Hope For a Despairing World: The Christian Answer to the Problem of Evil, by Philip E. Hughes; published by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1977; 125 pages

Occasionally, faculty members of the Christian Reformed Seminary and Bible College travel to various localities to conduct seminars. At the invitation of some local churches and Christian student organizations in Los Banos near Manila, the CRSBC conducted a seminar on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit at the campus of the University of the Philippines.

A young man told us during the question and answer period after a lecture on the Holy Spirit and regeneration, "When I meet the Lord, I will be able to say, I am proud that I was able to choose for you." Another young man had trouble understanding the doctrine of total depravity. "I am not so bad," he said. Arminianism is very influential amongst evangelicals in the Philippines. Where do they get this teaching? Most of the North American missionaries here are Arminian. Dr. Philip E. Hughes' book serves as a strong antidote against Arminianism.

The author raises such questions as: If there is a God, why doesn't He just right wrongs in the world? Why doesn't God take decisive action to eliminate evil once and for all? In trying to answer these questions, Dr. Hughes considers first of all "The Human Predicament"; secondly, "The Creation of Man"; thirdly, "The Redemption of Man"; and fourthly, "The Judgment of Man." In these four chapters, the author summarizes the great doctrines of salvation. He makes clear that our Sovereign God is in control of mankind and events. God, the Creator of heaven and earth, is compassionately and redemptively involved in the recreation of both man and the world. Not the devil, but God has the last word. Dr. Hughes writes, "God has decreed an end as well as a beginning, a fulfillment as well as a development. History has meaning precisely because it is moving on towards a conclusion sovereignly predetermined by God." "The work of recreation, which is the means of bringing the beginning to the end, could not fail or come to nothing because it was the work of God."

I heartily recommend this book to our readers. Catechism teachers and society leaders will find it good resource material for their lesson or essay preparation.

Dr. Philip Edgeumbe Hughes, Anglican scholar and author, is Visiting Professor of New Testament at Westminister Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. His published works include Theology of the English Reformers and commentaries on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians and the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Johan D. Tangelder