Van Til Tool

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

Monday, March 23, 2009


An Expose' Of The Nature of Islam

A Review of Peter Hammond Slavery, Terrorism, & Islam: The Historical Roots
and Contemporary Threat (Cape Town, South Africa: Christian
Liberty Books, 2008)

ISBN: 978-0-9802639-1-6 182 pp Price R58

Reviewer: Forrest W. Schultz

The book under review here is one of the latest in a series of recently published books which have been bringing to light many hitherto unknown and horrifying facts about Islam. The author, Dr. Peter Hammond, bases his portrayal of Islam on history, on his own experiences in Africa, and on the Islamic authoritative writings, the Quran and the Hadith.

This book should be recommended not only to those who know little about Islam but also for those who have become fairly well acquainted with it, for two reasons. First, the book not only includes the fact that the African slave trade was started by the Arabs, but it also details the horrific mistreatment of these poor souls by the Arab slave traders, who were far crueler than the European slave traders, which I had never heard before. And the book recounts the author's own first hand experiences as a missionary in Africa, including a death threat fatwa against him by Sudanese Islam. So Dr. Hammond speaks as someone who is on the frontline in the battle against Islam, and, indeed, his organization is called Frontline Fellowship.

I want to especially commend Dr. Hammond for the very informative Appendix (pp. 158-159) which contains the astounding fact that Winston Churchill was well-acquainted with the nature of Islam!! This is nothing short of amazing! Now everyone knows that Churchill was among the first to recognize the danger of Nazism, and there are some who also know that Churchill warned about the danger of Communism and coined the term "Iron Curtain", but I never before heard anybody before say that he warned of the danger of Islam. This is almost incredible -- the same man warned of all three of the main dangers of the 20th and 21st centuries: Nazism, Communism, and Islam!! And in a Google search I just did, I discovered that Churchill's grandson is going around now giving speeches warning of Islam based on what his grandfather said!!

Hammond's book also is different in that he strongly advocates missions to Muslims, which is not suprising considering he is a missionary to them.. One thing I did find suprising, though, is that he did not mention what used to be a widely held myth, namely that Muslims could not be converted to Christ or that conversions were extremely rare. Maybe no one believes in that myth anymore -- it is certainly disproven by the facts today -- but I well remember hearing it when I first learned about missions back in the early 1960s.

There also is some information in Hammond's book dispelling fallacious ideas about the Crusades, including those portrayed in the recent motion picture The Kingdom Of Heaven.

The book is an easy read in one sense: it is well written; but it is a tough read in another sense: it is so disgusting learning about the horrifying stuff the Muslims have done. But we do need to know this if we are to face the threat they pose to civilization.

Saturday, March 21, 2009



A Review of Mark Dever The Gospel and Personal Evangelism (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007)
ISBN 978-1-58134-846-0 $9.99 125 pp.

By Forrest Wayne Schultz

If you are looking for a short, newly written, easy to read re-statement of the basic principles of personal evangelism, I would recommend the book under review here. The style and theology is that of the solid, moderate Calvinism characterizing such great Britishers as Flavel, Spurgeon, J. C. Ryle, C. S. Lewis, J. I. Packer, John R. W. Stott, and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, all of whom are either quoted and/or mentioned as sources or corroborations of the author's views. These are the same men who were often quoted and recommended in the teachings I received as a new Christian in Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) in Philadelphia in the early 1960s, so that the reading of Dever's book has, for me, brought back memories of that exciting time. (Stott, by the way, was the Bible teacher at IVCF's Urbana Missionary Convention in 1961 -- that was back in the day when "Urbana" was held at Urbana!) I saw in one of Dever's footnotes (p. 122) that Packer's (now classic) work Evangelism and The Sovereignty of God, which was then a newly published (and often referred to) book, was republished by IVCF Press in 1991, a fact of which I had been unaware. And Dever's specific teaching in his book is the same as I received them, except for one omission.

Back then one of the things IVCF stressed was that there is no simple mechanical formula for evangelism that can be used regardless of the particular person to whom one is speaking. Back in the 60s such evangelism formulas were very much in vogue, the two main ones being the "Romans Road" method and the "Four Spiritual Laws" method. I am not sure why Dever omitted a polemic against the mechanical usage of such formulas. Maybe no one uses them any more!

Dever organizes his chapters to deal with What the Gospel is, and Who should do evangelism, How it should be done and Why. He also writes an introductory chapter answering why christians do NOT evangelize. That chapter is satisfactory for an introductory work, but it does not deal with deeper, more painful issues, such as Christians not being zealous to evangelize due to their dissatisfaction with the results of salvation in their own lives and in their families and their churches. Of course, that kind of probing was rarely dealt with in Evangelical circles in the early 60s -- it was not until Francis Schaeffer came on the scene that such tough embarrassing things were discussed.

I wish to conclude by commenting on something rarely noted in book reviews and that is the great cover art on this book showing a man pointing to Christ on the Cross. Page 6 (where the copyright info is found) tells us that this art work is found in the Bridgeman Art Gallery, but it tells us neither the location of this gallery nor the title of the art work nor the artist. I find it very commendable that the cover of a book authored by a Reformed leader is graced by such a fine work of art, hopefully thereby indicating that the traditional Reformed hostility to or indifference to art is over. Let me provide another example of this -- a Reformed book I reviewed in 2006 which had just been published (Rediscovering The Natural Law In Reformed Theological Ethics by Stephen J. Grabill) whose cover was adorned with an excellent painting of the Convocation of the Synod of Dort. Now, like Dever's book, this book provided the name of the gallery (it was the Dordrect Museum) where the great painting was hung, but it also told us the city and state (Dordrecht, Holland) and the title of the painting, though it did not mention the artist. I thank Crossway for this fine book and would like to suggest that its future books include the total information on the cover art paintings -- name of artist, title, gallery, and location of gallery.

This Review Written Under The Auspices Of Active Christian Media

Forrest Wayne Schultz has degrees in engineering and theology, including a Th.M. from Westminster Theological Seminary. He has had articles and book reviews published in The Chalcedon Report, The Journal of Christian Reconstruction, and several engineering and space magazines. He writes news releases covering the arts scene in Coweta County, GA, where he resides, and this will be the second year he will be leading a workshop on the writing of news releases at the international Muse Online Writers Conference. He can be reached at 770-583-3258 or by email at

Reviewer's Note: I reviewed this book right after it came out in 2007 and thought I had already posted it here but found out, to my chagrin, that I had neglected to do so. So this is the reason for the tardiness. F.W.S.

Sunday, March 15, 2009





By Forrest Schultz

     Let me begin by saying that I am not kidding. I just finished reading a Vantillian fantasy novel. I really did. And the title of it really is The Wordsmith, The Kid, and The Electrolux.

     I know it sounds strange because when you think of Van Til and something being Vantillian, you think of philosophy and theology and world-view. You do not think of literature, and you certainly do not think of fantasy literature! Now you might think of the Vantillian method of analyzing the thought in a work of literature (including fantasy). But you do not think of a work of literature itself, esp. not a work of fantasy, as itself BEING Vantillian!! Yet, here we have an example, the one I just noted.

     Now because this is indeed a work of literature, i.e. because it tells a story, I cannot proceed to conduct the kind of analysis you expect by a Vantillian on a work of non-fiction. The reason, of course, is clear. I do not want to "give away the story". I do not know how I can analyze it without doing just that. So I shall refrain from doing so and will simply ask you to read the story for yourself. I am not going to need to prove to you that this is a Vantillian fantasy because, to use one of my favorite vantillianisms, its fantasy character will be "self-attesting" to you after you have read it. If you know what the Van Til Perspective is and if you understand what you are reading in this story, its vantillian nature will indeed be self-attesting.

     I will tell you just a bit about the author, though. His name is Clifford Leigh, and you can learn about him by visiting his website at It is a beautiful website, which is not surprising, because Leigh is an artist as well as a writer. In fact he designed the front and rear covers of the book, the few pictures within the text, and the pictures accompanying the chapter titles.

     The book was published by Oak Tara Publishers based in Waterford, VA. Their website is The publication date is 2008, the page count is 229, the price is $16.95 and the ISBN is: 978-1-60290-049-3

OK, that's it.

Good Reading!!