"Federal Husband" is author Douglas Wilson's second tome on the subject of family and marriage. According to the Prologue, the impetus for writing it"Federal Husband" is author Douglas Wilson's second tome on the subject of family and marriage. According to the Prologue, the impetus for writing it stemmed from two motivations: the safety in reemphasizing the themes of his first book, "Reforming Marriage" (ala Phil. 3:1), and the xenophobia of the modern mind toward covenantal (i.e. federal) thinking. Hence, in this book, Wilson considers the role of a husband from its proper federal perspective (i.e. from a covenantal point of view).
Wilson develops the book through four sections. Section one (“Federal Husband and Christ”) focuses the relationship of husbandry to covenantal thinking in general and to Christ's federal headship in particular. This section is filled with many valuable observations, including the importance of living out a theology of the cross and Jesus' faithfulness in fulfilling his federal role as the head of the Church. The second section, entitled “Federal Husband Against Himself,” focuses on the tendency of Christian husbands and fathers to subvert their own federal roles in both how they think and how they act. Wilson's comments here are as wide as they are deep. The Bible not only shows men their sin and their need to treat their wives with proper respect. But the Scriptures also lay bare the lies of our current culture, especially with regard to gender and their respective roles (namely that, according to the world, there are none). Consequently, Wilson has advice for men on how biblical masculinity should express itself from clothes to hair to jewelry. But most importantly, a Christian federalist ought to be defined by his practical wisdom and industry, especially of the spiritual kind. “Federal Husband and Society,” the third section, observes the undeniable reality of cultural hierarchy, urges real men to accept it (even if they don't like it), and ends by lambasting the modern idea of women serving in combat. The last section, “Federal Father,” urges Christian men to embrace fatherhood as organic to their federal role as husbands. This begins with honoring pregnancy and seeing children as the blessed fruit of covenant homes. It continues with cultivating the roots of biblical family life, recognizing our children's sins while nurturing their unique differences, and discipling them through the principles of biblical discipline. All of this should ultimately express itself in fathers teaching their sons how to look for a proper wife. Oddly, the corresponding advice for fathers to their daughters is missing, but perhaps one can find it in "Her Hand in Marriage," another Wilson volume that this section mentions in passing.
For all if this book's strengths (and they are manifold, both in terms of practical application and philosophical analysis), the sad story is that it misses the most important part of being a Christian husband and father. And that's grace. For this reviewer, such a blunder is inseparable from Wilson's wider associations with the Federal Vision (FV) movement. His opening remarks regarding the meaning of “federal” or “covenant”—-that such an idea is “the backbone of historic Protestant orthodoxy”—-are representative of the covenantal overemphasis (rationalism is a better, if bigger, word) of the FV. Both historically and biblically, the backbone of Protestant orthodoxy has not been federalism (see, e.g., the silence of Lutheranism), but rather the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith. While having federal underpinnings, this doctrine is fundamentally not about practicing federalism in the great family-church-society complex, but about living in gratitude to God (in every area of life, but especially in the society known as the Church) for his grace in Jesus Christ. This neglect of grace is no doubt a consequence of Wilson's and the FV's conflation of the covenant of life/works and the covenant of grace. The result in this book, as with FV doctrine in general, is reference to the active obedience of Christ as model for our own living (dare I say works?), rather than primarily as the good news upon which Christian fathers and husbands can hope when faced with the painful knowledge of their own inadequacies and ignorance (which, I am not ashamed to say, is the grace of faith).
If you are looking for a book on being a better father and husband, I would recommend something from Dr. Joel Beeke, such as "Parenting By God's Promises." You will get all of the same practical and philosophical strengths of Wilson, but with a better covenant having much more of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. ...more
E. J. Young (late OPC minister and Westminster Theological Seminary professor) explicitly wrote "An Introduction to the Old Testament" to contribute tE. J. Young (late OPC minister and Westminster Theological Seminary professor) explicitly wrote "An Introduction to the Old Testament" to contribute to the Old Testament (OT) field of Special Introduction. In the field of OT biblical studies, Special Introduction is contrasted with General Introduction. Young describes it this way: "General Introduction is concerned with topics which relate to the Bible as a whole, such as the Canon and text. Special Introduction, on the other hand, deals with subjects which refer to the separate parts or individual books of the Bible and so treats of such questions as unity, authorship, date, genuineness, and literary character." In other words, General Introduction is concerned with the contents of the OT on the whole; Special Introduction is concerned with the composition of its parts.
Young has structured the book into three major sections, corresponding to the traditional division of the Hebrew Bible (Law, Prophets, Writings). Each of these sections begins with a chapter introducing the division as a whole, and then each of the chapters following covers a book in that division. There are "exceptions" to this, however (at least from the perspective of English Bible readers), in that Young treats books according to the Hebrew canon. For example, one chapter covers the Book of the Twelve (also called "the Minor Prophets") and one chapter each is devoted to the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles (even though each of those books is two in English Bibles).
The weakest chapter of Young's book is the opening chapter "The Study of Biblical Introduction." Actually the chapter is only made weak by the section subtitled "How Shall We Regard the Old Testament?" The other sections--which introduce OT Introduction, give a short history of it, and talk about the canonization of Scripture--are all quite strong. In "How Shall We Regard...," however, the informed reader immediately recognizes Young's attempt to defend the OT as God's Word via the methodology of Christian apologist Cornelius Van Til. Sadly, however, the section not once references Van Til by name nor its indebtedness to his ideas and methodologies. Since few scholars or students in evangelical circles have exposure to Van Til, this unnamed use of Van Til's ideas and convictions is sure to confuse as much as edify. In my opinion, the section should either be omitted (since treating Van Til adequately would require much more space) or placed in an appendix. Or Young could write another book to discuss--and footnote!--Van Til's significance for approaching the OT. To do less than this is a gross disservice to the reader.
Additionally, the chapter on Hosea argues for a symbolic reading of Hosea's marriage to Gomer based on the difficulties--moral and logistical--it would have created for the prophet. These objections, however, can easily be turned into advantages for the prophet and his audience by those who view the marriage as historical. Young's argument here is generally unconvincing. This is a minor criticism, however, and should not detract from the strengths of the book.
And its strengths are many! As a high quality work of professional OT scholarship, it gives a very helpful literary analysis of each OT book, highlighting important features without (generally) getting lost in the weeds. Certain of Young's analyses deserve special mention.
The last chapter under Part I, "The Literary Criticism of the Pentateuch," has no peer (that I am aware of) in the subdiscipline of Introduction. This remarkable chapter provides an overview of negative criticism of the OT from before Christ up through the mid-20th century. Certainly, the quality of this chapter stems from its being a condensed form of Young's Ph.D dissertation. It alone makes the book worth its price!
Throughout the book, Young dismisses the "Aramaism" argument by pointing to the Aramaisms present in the Ugaritic literature from Ras Shamra (11th century BCE). This constant reminder is extremely helpful, especially to students and pastors, since negative criticism (Young's designation for the more common "higher criticism") repeatedly uses this argument for late authorship in many OT books.
The chapter on Isaiah argues persuasively for the unity of that book, effectively demonstrating the literary connections between chapters 1-39 and "Deutero" (40-55) and "Trito" (56-66) Isaiah.
Young highlights the aspects of Joel most helpful in dating that notoriously difficult-to-date book.
Young's typological reading of Jonah 1-2 generally misses the more immediate and concrete message of those chapters, but he makes up for this by his answers against the negative critics regarding Jonah's Aramaisms and their objections to the description of Nineveh.
Young's peculiar reading of the Song of Songs is an interesting alternative to the usual allegorical or less-usual-but-still-common typological reading. It affirms the book as wholesome human love poetry, regarding such love as a reflection of the love of God for his Church.
If you are searching for a refutation of higher criticism based on the literary unity of the Old Testament as God's Word, I heartily recommend this book. ...more