This edition of the Journal contains seven articles, six by contemporary Free Church (Continuing) ministers who have lectured at the seminary, and one by a nineteenth-century Free Church of Scotland theologian, George Smeaton.
The work could have done with better editing. There are too many spelling mistakes and examples of incorrect grammar, and occasionally footnotes appear on the wrong page.
Three of the articles deal with large theological themes. John Morrison writes on the atonement, William Macleod on Christology, and James Clarke on God’s immanence and transcendence. In a volume of this size, the treatment of these major themes is inevitably sketchy, but the authors succeed in summarizing the main issues.
In his article ‘Hebrew Language’, James Gracie defends the view, contrary to the prevailing notion, that the pointing in the Masoretic Text of the Old Testament is a part of the original inspired text. John Keddie’s article on the Reformation demonstrates by its effects that the Reformation was a genuine work of the Holy Spirit, a great movement of revival.
The article included by Smeaton is a sermon which he preached at the funeral of Samuel Miller of Glasgow in 1881. He portrays the faithful pastor as a minister of Christ, a minister of the church, and a minister of the word.
The editor expresses the legitimate hope that this will provide relevant insights and challenges to ministers and seminary students today.
Particularly excellent, in my opinion, was Harry Woods’ article, ‘The Minister’s Self-Watch’. It is full of practical suggestions as to how a pastor may maintain an effective disciplined life to sustain ministerial usefulness. Especially pertinent was the warning of the danger of falling ‘into the sin of thinking that the congregation is there for you and not you for the congregation’ (p.49).