The publication of Gabriel Hebert’s book Fundamentalism and the Church of God has created considerable interest in Australia. Some years ago Hebert was appointed to the staff of the Society of the Sacred Mission in South Australia. He already enjoyed an international reputation as the translator of Gustaf Aulen’s Christus Victor and Nygren’s Agape and Eros, as well as in his own right as the author of Liturgy and Society and The Throne of David. Father Gabriel Hebert is now an old man, but he has brought a rich contribution to the theological life of Australia.
His latest work is important, not so much for what he says, but for the way in which he says it. It is written in anirenical spirit. The author makes a genuine attempt to understand and appreciate those who are so often contemptuously dismissed as obscurantists and fundamentalists. It is a regrettable fact that theological discussion between liberals and conservatives again and again has been bedevilled by wilful misrepresentation. Partisans have been content to damn what they have not attempted to understand. Abuse has been substituted for argument.
Father Gabriel Hebert has been guilty of none of these things. He has made a sincere and painstaking attempt to understand those from whom he differs. He is concerned to do justice to the contributions evangelicals have undoubtedly made to the life of the Church. It is an open secret that Father Hebert was greatly helped in arriving at this understanding by personal links with some younger evangelical scholars in Sydney. As a result, his work is free from certain common errors.
Nevertheless, Father Hebert has still something to learn. He makes no reference to the massive works of B. B. Warfield, a strange omission in a work ...1
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