Forecasting is usually a risky business, but book publishers remove most of the hazards. Before me lies a host of book tides, each with but gently tempered claims of its “uncommon values,” “unique approach,” and “significant treatment.” Although some books may offer less than their titles promise, and others fail to measure up to their dust jacket reputation, I “bravely” prophesy concerning the books to come. I rest on the promises of the publishers. What else can I do?
Since books come from the presses in a tumbling profusion of variety, I must create some order by placing them in categories. But let readers beware and authors be kind, for some books fit no category at all, and some fit five equally well. Charity is therefore in order, for the forecaster is to inform the reader concerning books he has not read, or even seen—these being the rules of the game.
Looking then to the future we have in the area of THEOLOGY Scribners promise of the late John Baillie’s The Sense of the Presence of God which takes into account existentialist movements in theology; Moody’s promise of The Future Life by René Pache; A. R. Allenson’s Biblical Words for Time by J. Barr; and Abingdon’s symposium on the theology of R. Bultmann by such men as W. Künneth, H. Diem, E. Kinder, edited by C. E. Braaten and R. A. Harrisville, titled Kerygma and History.
Although the nature of history is currently in question, there are ample offerings in HISTORICAL THEOLOGY with Oxford offering Grace and Reason, Brian Gerrish’s study of the theology of Luther; Sheed & Ward, Grace by R. W. Gleason, S.J.; Abingdon’s Man’s Faith and Freedom, G. O. McCulloh’s study of the theological influence of Jacob Arminius, and The Work of the Holy Spirit, L. M. Starkey, Jr.’s study of Wesleyan theology. The Augsburg Publishing House offers a translation of the doctrinal writing of Martin Chemnitz and Johann Gerhard, edited by H. A. Preus and E. Smits under the title The Doctrine of Man in Classical Lutheran Theology, and C. L. Hill and L. Satre’s translation, Melanchthon: Selected Writings. John Knox offers God Loves Like That, J. R. Taylor’s presentation of the story and theology of James Denney.
The category of ECUMENICS is occupied almost exclusively by Roman Catholics seeking to expand the “dialogue” on the theological differences which separate Protestants and Roman Catholics. Insisting on doctrinal agreement as a necessary basis for any possible union, Roman Catholics may thrust liberal ecumenists, who often prefer union on other bases, into a wholesome doctrinal confrontation and theological concern. Sheed & Ward promises the publication of The Council Reform and Reunion by Hans Kung—a book for which both Gustave Weigel and Bishop James A. Pike have a good word. Hawthorn Books promise The Second Vatican Council by Henri Daniel-Rops which tells the story behind Pope John XXIII’s calling of his ecumenical council, Scribners promise Paul Tillich and the Christian Message by Roman Catholic George H. Tavard, and Seaburg The Voice of the Church: The Ecumenical Council, by Eugene R. Fair-weather and Edward R. Hardy, an Episcopalian reaction to the call of the Vatican. Another bright promise is the John Knox production Beyond Fundamentalism in which B. Stevick calls conservatives and liberals to theological conversation. May this summons be heeded.
In the field of the OLD TESTAMENT spring will bring a translation of G. von Rad’s provocative Theology of the Old Testament (Harper, also Oliver & Boyd) in which von Rad does to the old Testament what R. Bultmann does to the New Testament. Harper will proffer Israel’s Prophetic Heritage, a discussion of crucial problems by eminent American and European scholars and edited by B. W. Anderson and W. J. Harrelson; Zondervan, J. B. Payne’s Theology of the Older New Testament, and Muhlenberg Press, Claus Westerman’s A Thousand Years and a Day. Also to come are The Old Testament Roots of Our Faith (Abingdon), by Paul and Elizabeth Achtemeier; Exile and Return (Baker), C. F. Pfeiffer’s history of Old Testament Israel 600 to 400 B.C.; and Distinctive Translation of Genesis (Eerdmans), by J. W. Watts. Sovereign Grace Publishers proffer The Moral Law by the principal of London Bible College, Ernest Kevan.
In Old Testament ARCHAEOLOGY Eerdmans will print J. A. Thompson’s The Bible and Archaeology and Nelson B. Rothenberg’s God’s Wilderness containing the findings of the first archaeological survey of the Sinai peninsula tracing the routes of the Exodus.
In NEW TESTAMENT studies the never-ending debate on infant baptism is continued by G. R. Beasley—Murray in Baptism in the New Testament (Macmillan); Nelson & Sons present an eight-version New Testament Octopla, edited by L· Weigle; Harper, Current Issues in New Testament Interpretation edited by W. Klassen and G. F. Snyder; and Zondervan presents M. F. Unger’s Archaeology and the New Testament. John Knox will produce C. F. D. Moule’s Worship in the New Testament, and the Herald Press, H. S. Bender’s The Body of Christ, and, what should prove an exceptionally interesting book, H. Berkhof’s Christ and the Powers. To this should be added D. Guthrie’s The Gospel and Acts (Tyndale), said to be an evangelical achievement which elicits the plaudits of liberals.
In the area of what I call CHURCH HISTORY AND ENVIRONS, spring and early summer will present to the lovers of history and historical theological writings The Growing Storm (Paternoster and Eerdmans) by G. S. M. Walker who traces the history of the Church from Augustine through the medieval papacy; Early and Medieval Christianity (Beacon Press) by R. H. Bainton; a Festschrift in honor of Bainton, Reformation Studies edited by F. H. Littell (Knox Press); The Gentle Puritan (Yale University Press) in which D. S. Morgan presents the life of Ezra Stiles as a key to the mind of latter-day Puritans. Also from Yale Press comes Revivalism and Separatism in New England; from the Nazarene Publishing House will come Called Unto Holiness, a history of the Nazarene Church and of some Wesleyan groups, by Timothy Smith. Cambridge University Press will publish St. Anselm and His Biographer by F. W. Southern and The Church in Anglo-Saxon England by C. J. Godfrey, while the Friendship Press will publish F. P. Jones’ The Church in Communist China. Sheed & Ward promise F. van der Meer’s Augustine the Bishop, a work hailed on the continent as a definitive study of the mature Augustine, which perhaps means it is more Roman Catholic than Protestant.
Under the category of PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION the following will soon be available: Nash’s Dooyeweerd and the Amsterdam Philosophy, a Christian critique of secular philosophical thought; On the Love of God (Harper), a philosophically oriented treatment by J. McIntyre; J. H. Vruwink’s treatment of Holy Communion in the context of Kierkegaard’s existential idea of the divine-human encounter: The Lively Tradition (Bobbs-Merrill); In Search of the Self (Muhlenberg), another application of Kierkegaardian thought, by L. L. Miller. Muhlenberg Press also promises the appearance of The Universe: Plan or Accident by R. E. D. Clark, and The World: Its Creation and Consummation by K. Heim.
Macmillan will issue the following three: Evidence of Satan in the Modern World by L. Christiani, Chad Walsh’s revised and enlarged Campus Gods on Trial, and a promising treatment by Hans Urs von Balthasar of Martin Buber and Christianity in which a competent Roman Catholic scholar looks at a competent and theologically significant Jew.
In They Asked for a Paper (Bles) C. S. Lewis looks with his usual perceptiveness at the matter of faith and morality; Eerdmans promises The King of the Earth by E. Sauer, and Baker, Another Look at Seventh-Day Adventism by N. B. Douty.
ETHICS AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS. Living in a time of social convulsions and universal threat, the Christian reading public should welcome Christ and Crisis by Charles Malik who always sees more clearly than most, and Communism and the Christian Faith by L. DeKoster. Both are from Eerdmans. Christians disturbed by the difficulty of living by a sacrificial ethic in a world dominated by power should welcome Common Sense About Christian Ethics (Macmillan), by E. Carpenter, and Nuclear Weapons and the Conflict of Conscience (Scribners), written by such men as R. L. Shinn, P. Ramsey, E. Fromm, and edited by J. C. Bennett. In the same area of ethical interest falls The Ethical Mysticism of Albert Schweitzer (Beacon Press) by H. Clark. The perennial problem of the conflict of Church and State is faced anew in W. G. Tillmann’s translation of P. Meinhold’s Caesar’s or God’s (Augsburg), and the question of racial discrimination is challenged in Some of My Best Friends (Farrar, Strauss and Cudahy) by R. B. Epstein and A. Forster.
On quite another level of conflict, trouble is met by Louis H. Evans in Your Marriage—Duel or Duet? (Revell).
The nature of modern troubles, and the peculiarly modern way in which their solution is sought is reflected in many of the titles that emerge in the area of PASTORAL THEOLOGY. E. P. Dutton promises Psychoanalysis and Social Change, edited by H. M. Ruitenbeek, which claims to show how and why existentialism aids psychotherapy; Augsburg promises Temperament and the Christian Faith by O. Hallesby; and Farrar, Strauss and Cudahy, Psychoanalysis and Religion by G. Zilboorg. Harper will publish Guilt and Grace by P. Tournier, and what should be of special interest is Knox’s production of Eduard Thumeysen’s A Theology of Pastoral Care. Abingdon will issue The Wisdom That Does Not Change by C. P. Robshaw and The Language of Faith by S. Laeuchli.
Every minister at times knows the need of being a lawyer; to meet this need Channel Press will issue the Minister’s Law Handbook by G. S. Joslin.
To meet the problems stemming from the blessing of longevity, R. M. Gray and D. O. Moberg have written The Church and the Older Person (Eerdmans).
SERMONS. There will be plenty for both layman and minister. Revell will issue The Parables He Told, a popular presentation of 40 parables, by D. E. Redding, and The Making of a Man of God by Alan Redpath; also Sermon Outlines on Favourite Bible Characters and Sermon Outlines on Women of the Bible, both by F. D. Whitesell. From Seabury will come Proclaiming Christ Today by W. Norman Pittenger; from Boardman, Biblical Preaching, by C. E. Faw; from Augustana, Old Testament Sermons by E. Munson; from Harper, The Audacity of Preaching (The Lyman Beecher Lectures of 1961), by G. E. Bartlett; from Eerdmans The Silence of God by Helmut Thielicke, and God Is Where You Are by Alan Walker; from Baker, Sermon Outlines on a Spiritual Pilgrimage (Israel en route to Egypt), by Jerome Dejong; Proclaiming the New Testament (Galatians and Ephesians by A. Blackwood, Jr., and Timothy and Titus by P. F. Barackman); and from Abingdon will come C. G. Chappell’s Living With Royalty. Baker will also publish My Sermon Notes on Special Days by W. P. Van Wyk, an excellent exegete; and Zondervan, C. H. Spurgeon’s eight-volume Treasury of the Bible.
LITURGY AND WORSHIP. Although interest in richer liturgical worship continues to grow, there are relatively few new contributions. Those who most need liturgical enrichment are perhaps least able to supply it. The Christian Education Press will offer Worship Services for Church Groups by F. Rest; Knox will present Pulpit and Table by H. Hageman, who points up the Dutch and Zwinglian contributions to worship patterns; Seabury will issue Fear, Love, and Worship, a Lenten book for 1962 by C. FitzSimons; from Oxford will come Mindful of the Love (instruction principally for laymen in eucharistic theology), by S. F. Bayne, Jr.; and Holt, Rinehart and Winston send forth Protestant Worship Music: Its History and Practice from the pen of C. L. Etherington.
COMMENTARIES, BIBLE DICTIONARIES AND STUDIES. Nelson will issue Peake’s Commentary on the Bible. This is a new commentary on the RSV text by 64 contributors from Protestant churches, and edited by M. Black. Macmillan will issue The Torch Bible Commentaries: Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, by J. H. Eaton; and Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, by D. Jones. Eerdmans and Tyndale will publish an all new one-volume New Bible Dictionary and Eerdmans will also publish a biblical study: The Beatitudes of Jesus, by W. Fitch. Zondervan will publish Olaf M. Norlie’s The Children’s Simplified New Testament and Harold J. Ockenga’s Women Who Made Bible History. Knox will make available in English for the first time Barth’s commentary on Philippians.
In the category of MISSIONS, McGraw-Hill will issue The Missionary Nature of the Church, by Johannes Blauw, who offers the public a biblical theology of mission, and Hudson Taylor and Maria, a story by J. C. Pollock of the first Protestant missionary to penetrate the interior of China. Muhlenberg will publish Hope in Action by J. Margull, Eerdmans, Enter into Life by W. Fitch, and Harper will send into the world Frontiers of the Christian World Mission (1938–1962), W. C. Harr, editor.
Inter-Varsity Press will publish Commission, Conflict, Commitment, a compendium of messages and panel discussions of the Urbana Missionary Convention held recently at the University of Illinois. The report relates the missionary thought of, among others, Billy Graham, Clyde Taylor, Subodh Sahu.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION. Though much is needed in this area, little is being provided. Sheed & Ward offer New Men for New Times, a rather dubious title carrying the more promising subtitle: A Christian Philosophy of Education; Eerdmans offers a popular treatment of church education, Teach or Perish by James DeForest Murch, and from Channel Press will come a history of Bible institutes and colleges in North America titled Education with Dimension from the pen of S. A. Witmer.
The above forecast is a selection from books scheduled to make their appearance between February and August of this year. It may be that some of the best were inadvertently bypassed and some of inferior quality selected. Even so it is legitimate to make some tentative observations on the basis of the titles, authors, and prepublication claims.
The time is now—sealing
in the moment infinitely small
the riddle of time itself,
the mystery of life at all.
The time is fateful now—
unique, irreversible sum
of what has been that is
and what will be that’s come.
The sparrow’s fall is now;
now is the Father’s care;
now is the mountain moved
by grain of faith and prayer.
Work is waiting now;
now love lays claim on me
for whom some tiny instant
will spell eternity.
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