Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Friday, July 28, 2006



By Forrest W. Schultz

During the past year or so I have been reading many news items about the persecution of Christians in India. It was therefore interesting to read the SCP Staff Report about “India’s Spiritual Background” which presents the impressions the staff members received from their recent visit to India. There were two items I found especially striking. One was the abundance of miracles the Indian Christians are experiencing, a situation they regard as normal, not extra-ordinary. The other was the concern about the false teachings emanating from various “Christian” teachers on American “Christian” television.

This latter topic is dealt with extensively in an article entitled “God TV” by Alan Morrison in the SCP Journal, which focuses on the three false teachings in the “Prosperity” Gospel – that God wants all Christians to be wealthy, that this wealth can be obtained through “word power” (The Name It and Claim It notion), and that this is possible because Christians are “little gods”. The Journal also includes another (Part II) well researched, hard hitting article by Lee Penn on The DaVinci Code and Opus Dei. Since there is such a long time between issues ( 3 months) the editors should consider having a single issue devoted solely or mainly to topics like this instead of splitting them up among subsequent issues. The current issue of the Journal also includes Part I of a series on Witchcraft by Brooks Alexander. I found the article to be frustrating because he spends the entirety of it refuting false views of witchcraft and makes us wait to the next issue to find out the real deal. Here again, I think it would be preferable to deal with the subject in just one issue instead of splitting it up.

As usual, the articles are well written and the cover graphics and the photography of the Journal are excellent. I guess this is not surprising in light of the intellectual and academic credentials of the staff, discussed on pages 1 and 6 of the Newsletter!

Thursday, July 06, 2006



By Forrest W. Schultz

A Review of Craig Parshall, Trial By Ordeal (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 2006)
$12.99 ISBN 0-7369-1513-3

Craig Parshall belongs to the new breed of exemplary Christian fiction writers which began arriving on the scene about a decade ago to produce the literary feast we now enjoy so much that we have forgotten the thirty year famine that preceded it! Parshall's newly published Trial By Ordeal is most noteworthy for the way in which it takes legal suspense to a deeper level by showing how God can use legal hassles to awaken a man to his spiritual wretchedness.

History professor Kevin Hastings' plan to get rich quick through real estate speculation lands him into a nightmare of legal entanglements plus threats from the local Mafia. And the attorneys he hires are further complicating instead of solving the mess. Things look bad until godly attorney Daniel Petranelli arrives on the scene and struggles valiantly to see if he can extricate Hastings from the quagmire before the clock runs out.

Architectural preservationist Tess Collins has long been aware of the spiritual vacuum in her life and has recently discovered that the New Age movement was unable to fill it. After his spiritual awakening Hastings turns away from his shallow girlfriend Charlotte and becomes interested in Tess. His ever deepening attraction to Tess forms an important sub plot in the story.

Parshall's five previously written legal thrillers all feature attorney Will Chambers, and thus are dubbed "The Chambers of Justice" series. Trial By Ordeal is not in that series; its heroic attorney is Daniel Petranelli, not Will Chambers. It is unclear whether Trial is a stand-alone novel or whether it is intended as the first of a new series. Perhaps Parshall is hinting at the latter by what he tells us on the last page.


Like the other new Christian authors of high quality fiction, Parshall writes using language which is both realistic and wholesome, thereby avoiding both pietistic clichés and debased phraseology. Parshall skillfully flavors his story – often times in a humorous way – with various allusions to historical events and quotes from renowned literary works. Unfortunately, he makes one egregious error when he attributes to Pythagoras, rather than to Archimedes, the notion of being able to move the Earth with a long enough lever. (p. 140) And that, my friends, is about the only flaw I have found in this book, which I highly recommend to anyone who likes legal suspense.


I am reviewing this book at the behest of Stacy L. Harp, President of Active Christian Media (formerly Mind and Media).

Forrest W. Schultz has degrees in engineering and theology. He has served as President for three literary organizations: The C.S. Lewis/J.R.R. Tolkien Society of Philadelphia during the late 1960s, Alternate Dimensions: Southside Science Fiction and Fantasy Society in Riverdale, GA during the late 1980s, and currently, the Coweta Writers Group in Coweta County, GA. Although he has written some short stories, most of his writings has been Biblical world-view research papers, book reviews, and news releases about the Coweta County Georgia arts scene. He can be reached at 770-583-3258 or by email at