Van Til Tool

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

Friday, February 25, 2011


 The  "Coming  of  Age"  of  Super-Heroes  And  Author  In  The Gifted



A review of


Steve Wilson The Gifted, Book 2:  Coming of Age (Create Space, 2011)
                     $10.00    204 pp   ISBN: 9781456574994


Reviewer:  Forrest W. Schultz


     One of the toughest stages in the human maturation process is the transition from adolescence to adulthood.  The focus in the book under review here is a group of teens for whom this transition is more difficult than usual because they also need to mature in their usage of the super-powers with which they have been endowed.  This super-hero maturation involves not only mastery of the technical skills involved in using these powers but also the development of an ethical concern to be certain they are used for good and not for evil.


     This ethical development is complicated by the fact that there is still a lot of mystery concerning who all was involved in the bestowal of these super-gifts and what their purposes were and are.  Perhaps the most immediate pressing concern involves one of the main characters in the story, General Raines.  Can he be trusted?  Is he working for the good guys or the bad guys?  And exactly who are the good guys and the bad guys anyway?  And these guys involve not only humans but extraterrestrials as well, which appear to be what is ultimately behind the bestowal of the super-powers.


     The teens mentioned are "The Gifted" and the "Coming of Age" refers to the maturation discussed above.


     As I noted in my review of Book 1 of this series, there is a resemblance between "The Gifted" and the television series "Heroes".  Speaking of that, I feel, with what I know at this point, that The Gifted would be far easier to make as a movie or television series than as a series of books.  The author should seriously consider making this into a film or series of films.  I believe this would be helpful not only in displaying these superpowers but also in making the characters more memorable.  These powers are easily shown on screen; showing them on the printed page is not easy.  The characters in Heroes were so memorable not just because of their development by the writers but especially because of the really great way they were portrayed on film.  So far, the characters in The Gifted are not nearly as well developed as, for instance, Claire the Cheerleader -- you know the one for whom the slogan "Save The Cheerleader:  Save The World" was coined.  I have a feeling that some of the characters in The Gifted have such a potential but it has so far not been realized:  at this point we only see hints of it. 






     One of the greatest experiences of a novel reader is seeing a character there who is so memorable you would like to meet him or her.  The challenge the author faces is developing his characters so that they have that effect on the reader.  I see a potential here but it is not yet reached.  In the Heroes I would love to meet Claire and those two funny Japanese guys and some of the others.  So far, I cannot say that about any of the characters in The Gifted.  Maybe in the future books we will see a Coming of Age in this character development!


     As to the story line, it is hard to know what to say without knowing what is really going on behind the scenes, esp. with the ETs.  I find that frustrating but it is clearly part of the story and we shall have to wait for the future books to find out what is going on.  But I do not wish to say more about this now because my real concern is with the characters. 


     This author clearly has potential.  I shall look to see its development in the future stories.  I really want to see someone like Claire The Cheerleader emerge -- wouldn't that be exciting.  Sooo, stay tuned!


February 25, 2011





Friday, February 04, 2011

KUDOS TO THE KING JAMES VERSION !!! - A Review of Leland Ryken’s “The Legacy of the King James Bible”

Kudos To The KJV !!

A review of

Leland Ryken The Leagcy of the King James Bible: Celebrating 400 Years of the Most Influential English Translation (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010) $15.99 265 pp ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-1388-6

Reviewer: Forrest Wayne Schultz

     A lifetime of scholarship in English literature and Bible translation has led Leland Ryken to become an ardent admirer of the King James Version both as a translation and as a work of literature. Ryken has honed his writing skills, which he has used to author a number of important books which, like the Bible itself, are readable both by laymen and scholars. Therefore it is not surprising that Crossway chose Ryken to write a volume celebrating the Quadricentennial of the KJV. Yes, is is now 400 years old: 1611 + 400 = 2011 !

     The purpose of the book is to show: (1). how and why the KJV became an excellent translation and literary work; (2). the nature of this excellence; and (3). how the KJV influenced the religion, Bible translation, language, education, culture, and literature of English speaking peoples. As the author indicates, this book is to be regarded as a summary. Each chapter recommends several books for further reading, to which could be added some of the works mentioned in the footnotes.
As in his previous writings, Ryken contrasts the essentially literal translation methodology of the King James Version with the dynamic equivalence method (used in such modern translations as the NIV), explaining the inferiority of the latter. He also contrasts the modern versions which sound like newspapers with the language of the KJV, which uses ordinary English words to produce a work of elegance and majesty.

     The Afterword sums up the great harm produced by the turn away from the KJV to the plethora of modern inferior translations. In light of what great historians like Toynbee and Spengler have shown, such decadence is the not-to-be-unexpected expected result of The Decline of The West, something which Ryken surprisingly fails to mention.

     In what Ryken does say I am in agreement except for his failure to see the erroneousness of the Westcott & Hort Theory, which turned away from the Textus Receptus, an egregious blunder which is both out of accord with the data and in violation of the Doctrine of the Providential Preservation of the Biblical Text set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith. Aside from that, I recommend Ryken's book.

     Martin Selbrede recently called upon Christians to strive for excellence, using Bach as an example in music. I agree and would suggest we use the KJV as our example in literature.