Education Within The Religious Community

Christian Nurture and the Church, by Randolph Crump Miller (Scribner’s, 1961, 208 pp., $3.50), is reviewed by C. Adrian Heaton, President, California Baptist Theological Seminary, Covina, California.

Three convictions underlie the latest book by Randolph Crump Miller. First, religious instruction carried on outside the vital fellowship of the Church is often “both useless and dangerous.” Second, the church must engage in a clearly-formulated program of teaching its members to be the Church. Third, all activities of the Church have important educational implications.

In this volume, Dr. Miller, professor of Christian Education at Yale Divinity School, gives the content and shares the spirit of much of the best contemporary writing about the Church—the place of the laity, her ministry in the world, and the bipolarity of her “gathered” and “scattered” life. His writing sparkles with lively quotations and churchly slogans. Although his writing may sometimes lack integration and depth, it affords a good review of contemporary thought concerning the Church.

At a deeper level, the author keeps coming back to his central convictions. God is at work in the Church; there is an important ministry of both the laity and the apostolate; education must be carried on “with theology in the background and the grace-faith relationship in the foreground;” words and symbols are important when there is sufficient community and genuine experience to give them meaning and significance; although the life of the Church usually centers in the local congregation, one must always be aware of the total eccumenical relations which the Church must maintain.

One of the finest contributions of the book is Dr. Miller’s ...

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