Counseling With A Plus
A Theology of Pastoral Care, by Eduard Thurneysen (John Knox, 1962, 343 pp., $5.50), is reviewed by Carl Kromminga, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The appearance of Eduard Thurneysen’s Die Lehre von der Seelsorge in English translation is a welcome event. In our time the Protestant minister is increasingly finding the role of psychological counselor thrust upon him, or he is increasingly assuming this role in a frantic effort to insure his relevance in modern society. A Theology of Pastoral Care is a notable attempt to set forth clearly the unique aim of pastoral care and to delineate sharply its distinction from counseling in general.
Thurneysen reminds us that pastoral care is inseparably related to, but neither replaces nor competes with the Word and Sacraments. It accompanies them as a secondary, nonsacramental sign. Pastoral care is a “specific communication to the individual of the message proclaimed in general … in the sermon to the congregation” (p. 15). Pietism, by shifting the emphasis from the objective Word of God to subjective piety, rendered individual care suspect. But even those pastors and theologians who stressed the centrality of the Word preached and the Sacraments could not be brought to repudiate pastoral care of individuals entirely.
Thurneysen maintains that individual pastoral care must be seen in the perspective of church discipline, but church discipline understood in this way: “The church sees to it that the power proceeding from the Word and sacrament actually becomes effective in the members of the church. It cannot simply look on, when Word and sacrament exist without evidence of the life which should proceed from them” (p. 37). The church cannot effect repentance and sanctification. But the church “cross-questions” its members in the light of its proclamation because it honors the Word which it proclaims and is concerned to see it come to fruition in life. In pursuit of this goal the church engages in individual admonition.
True pastoral conversation is always characterized by a breach. In the development of the conversation it becomes apparent that the pastor is concerned with a message which transcends the human judgment and evaluation, the human problems and presuppositions which come to light in the process of discussion. A struggle emerges in which the pastor strives to make plain that all human evaluation and judgment come under the sentence of God’s gracious judgment in the Word. A pastoral conversation in which this breach does not occur may produce some kind of psychological counseling, but in terms of the pastoral purpose it is a failure.
The core of pastoral conversation is identical with the core of the church’s proclamation. Pastoral conversation seeks to communicate the message of the forgiveness of sins, a forgiveness grounded in the fact that all sin is completely cancelled in Jesus Christ. Psychology and psychotherapy can illuminate the condition of the counselee in the pastoral situation. But the goal of the pastoral conversation is totally different from psychological self-understanding and psychic healing. Psychology and psychotherapy can aid the pastoral conversation, but they can never do its work. And especially with respect to psychotherapy, the pastor must be aware of immanentist presuppositions which are inimical to pastoral care. The removal of psychic conflicts does not guarantee the forgiveness of sins. But the forgiveness of sins has great significance for the achievement of psychic healing.
The view of Scripture in this book is the “neoorthodox” view. Scripture is a record of and a witness to encounter with the Word which never exists except as an act. Yet this theoretical view of Scripture is significantly overcome at points where Thurneysen appeals to biblical propositions to establish his thesis.
God has had mercy on all men unconditionally in Christ. Thurneysen consistently refuses to discuss the possibility of the ultimate failure of the pastoral conversation. But do not such failures occur? And, when they occur, do they signify only the self-condemning refusal of man to appropriate his already real forgiveness? Does not this refusal point beyond itself to a sovereign withholding of the efficacy of Christ’s work by the electing God? Difficult as it may be to come to this conclusion, a refusal to do so raises serious questions concerning the ultimate power of the grace of God.
Thurneysen sees a recurrence of Roman Catholicism in Question 85 of the Heidelberg Catechism which teaches that God honors the judgment of the church in excommunication with an act of exclusion from the Kingdom of God. But the Catechism is only concerned to declare that God stands by his Word and that, when the church acts according to the Word, God himself will not put Word and act in question by some arbitrary circumvention of his own revealed will.
The English translation is remarkably smooth. But on page 249 “Augen” has apparently been read for “Glauben” and the result is confusing.
This book modestly presents a, not the, theology of pastoral care. Pastors and professors with a biblically responsible theology will find this work of great value. It can serve as a guide to the formation of a clear, distinct, and articulate theology of pastoral care, which is so greatly needed at a time when pastoral care is struggling to keep its identity.
The New Look
Twelve New Testament Studies, by John A. T. Robinson (SCM, 1962, 180 pp., 13s. 6d.), is reviewed by F. F. Bruce, Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis, University of Manchester, Manchester, England.
Dr. John Robinson, formerly Dean of Clare College, Cambridge, is now Bishop of Woolwich. He has a lively and brilliant mind, and one of his studies, “Elijah, John and Jesus,” is aptly subtitled by himself “An Essay in Detection.” But it is no mere jeu d’ esprit; it raises questions which demand some satisfactory solution, whether Dr. Robinson’s solution or someone else’s. The most important studies in this volume, however, deal with John’s Gospel. “The New Look on the Fourth Gospel” challenges five of the most generally agreed presuppositions of the last 50 years, and ventilates the suggestion that this Gospel may preserve “a real continuity, … in the life on an ongoing community, with the earliest days of Christianity” (p. 106). In “The Destination and Purpose of St. John’s Gospel” he argues that it was addressed to Greek-speaking Jews of the dispersion to win them to the faith. The Johannine Epistles, too, he believes to have been written to correct gnosticizing tendencies in that same environment. “The Baptism of John and the Qumran Community” shows, among other things, how the Fourth Evangelist’s portrayal of John the Baptist and his ministry takes on new significance against the background of the Qumran Manual of Discipline. Another essay argues that the “others” who had “labored” in Samaria, according to John 4:38 were not (as Professor Cullmann has said) the Hellenists of Acts 8, but John the Baptist and his followers—an argument rendered the more probable by Professor Albright’s recent studies in the place-names of John 3:23. In “The Parable of the Shepherd” the methods which Professor Jeremias has applied to the Synoptic parables are applied to John 10:1–5, and lead to conclusions about the historical value of this typically Johannine section which compare favorably with any of the Synoptic material.
F. F. BRUCE
Not For The Attic
The Acts of the Apostles (The Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, text based on the American Standard Version), by Charles W. Carter and Ralph Earle (Zondervan, 1959,451 pp., $6.95), is reviewed by E. P. Schulze, Pastor, Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, Peekskill, New York.
Some good books I have reviewed went promptly to the attic. This will stay in my study. Lucid, lively, stimulating, scholarly, it should captivate evangelical laymen, ministers and theologians alike.
Errors in Acts 7? Words quoted in Scripture are not always God’s (p. 96). “One is not required to defend the accuracy of Stephen’s statements” (p. 99). Yet, laudably and with considerable success, this commentary attempts just that.
Eschewing the Septuagint and Josephus, however, it is no “difficult problem” to harmonize the 400 Egyptian years with the 430 from Covenant to Exodus (Gal. 3:17), for the promise was renewed to Jacob (Gen. 46:3, 4). Is 45 (v. 14) a “round number”? Genesis 46:26 contains the clue. Samuel Davidson unriddled this in 1843. (See Haley, Alleged Discrepancies, p. 389.)
“Printed in Holland” may explain some typographical blunders. But such things are mere specks on brilliant pages packed with learning. E. P. SCHULZE
Through the Valley of the Kwai, by Ernest Gordon (Harper, 1962, 257 pp., $3.95), is reviewed by L. Nelson Bell, Executive Editor, CHRISTIANITY TODAY.
This is a rare book, rare for a number of reasons. Where, for instance, can one find a story combining the raw and harrowing experience of war along with a gradual change—through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit—from agnosticism to glorious faith in Jesus Christ?
Dr. Gordon, now Dean of the Chapel at Princeton University, entered the war as a captain in the 93rd Argyll Highlanders. Subsequent events culminated in a Japanese prison camp deep in the Thailand jungles, the prison of the famous “railroad builders of the Kwai.” Even if read only from the standpoint of adventure, danger and the very nadir of human misery and degradation the book is a classic.
Reading for Perspective
CHRISTIANITY TODAY’S REVIEW EDITORS CALL ATTENTION TO THESE NEW TITLES:
* The Minister’s Law Handbook, by G. Stanley Joslin (Channel Press, $4.95). Here is help for the pastor who is frequently requested to give legal advice on many matters, but is often unequipped to give it.
* Frontiers of the Christian World Mission, edited by Wilbur C. Harr (Harper, $5). An up-to-date report on development and changes in the missionary situation since World War II in key areas of Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.
* The Treasury of Religious Verse, compiled by Donald T. Kauffman (Revell, $4.95). An unusually fine collection of 600 religious poems from poets ranging from Charles Wesley to T. S. Eliot, Fanny Crosby to Francis Thompson and John Donne.
But here we have much more, for out of human misery and unbelievable stories of man’s inhumanity to man there emerged a group of men with the love of Christ in their hearts, a love which transformed them as persons and which went out to fellow prisoners with amazing results.
Here one will find raw paganism (in captives and captors), humor, selfishness and selflessness, heroism and new men in Christ, emerging the one from the other with a convincing reality which leaves one amazed at the depths to which men may fall and the heights to which they may be raised by the transforming Christ.
This is a book you must read, then pass on for others to read.
L. NELSON BELL
The Devotional Life
Anglican Devotion: Studies in the Spiritual Life of the Church of England between the Reformation and the Oxford Movement, by C. J. Stranks (SCM Press, 1961, 296 pp., 30s.), is reviewed by Donald Robinson, Vice-principal, Moore Theological College, Sydney.
CHRISTIANITY TODAY recently posed the question, “Can we recover the devotional life?” This book describes what “the devotional life” meant for many in the Church of England before the era of conventions and Bible schools. Stranks selects for study a number of books which, in some cases for centuries, helped to nourish the spiritual life of Anglicans.
Bishop Bayle’s The Practice of Piety was one of two books possessed by John Bunyan’s wife at the time of their marriage, though they were “as poor as poor might be, not having so much household stuff as a dish or a spoon betwixt us.” It was a manual of devotion “which exactly fulfilled all the requirements of those who accepted Calvin’s theology without his church order.” (Issued in 1612, 58th edition in 1734, last appeared in 1842.) In 1650 Jeremy Taylor wrote Holy Living “to sustain afflicted members of the Church of England” in days of confusion for church and state. It profoundly influenced John Wesley in the 18th century and John Keble in the 19th. (It is among the 100 Select Devotional Books, now in print, listed with the article referred to at the beginning of this review.) The restoration of the Prayer Book in 1662 produced a crop of devotional books based on an exposition of this book (Nicholl, Wheatley, Sparrow, Comber, Nelson’s Festivals and Fasts, etc.). The Whole Duty of Man (author unknown), of the same period, reached its 28th edition by 1790. Wesley and Charles Simeon were both stirred by it in their student days, though Evangelicals generally found it moralistic and arid, and Henry Venn wrote The Complete Duty of Man “to ground morality upon a sounder theological foundation.” William Law, the non-juror, wrote A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life in 1729, and William Wilberforce, the Evangelical, produced A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians etc. in 1797.
In the past century Evangelicalism and Tractarianism have each tended to produce a devotional literature of its own, but there is still much to be gained from a study of the older, common inheritance. Here, in the main, is a sound biblical piety, in which “no emotion, however exalted, can take the place of belief, prayer and practice” (p. 285).
Grace, by R. W. Gleason, S.J. (Sheed & Ward, 1962, 240 pp., $3.95), is reviewed by G. W. Bromiley, Professor of Church History, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.
This new book on grace by the chairman of the Theology Department at Fordham University is written primarily not as a major critical or constructive contribution to dogmatics, but for the instruction of theological students and the laity.
It has several admirable qualities. Stylistically, its combination of clarity with a solid content of material fits the author’s purpose admirably. In content, it includes an excellent, though brief, presentation of the biblical basis, a useful review of post-biblical development, and a valuable statement of the developed Roman Catholic position. The spirit of the author is good, especially in his attempt to be fair to the Lutheran position and to recognize what he would allow to be the many elements of truth in it.
Yet the weaknesses of the work are no less evident than the admirable qualities. Even in form it suffers from the lack of an index and bibliography—surely essential in a book of this type. Academically the most striking feature is the failure to follow up the biblical material and to exploit it in the presentation of a doctrine that could with truth claim to be apostolic and catholic. The historical survey betrays a similar weakness. Thus the work of Torrance—here an “English” scholar!—is used in exposition, but no account is taken of his acute criticism of post-apostolic doctrine in terms of the biblical norm.
This leads us to the ultimate dogmatic weakness; the Bible is not allowed to exercise its normative function, Aristotelian philosophy is canonized as well as Scripture, and the true doctrine of grace is sought in the Scholastic synthesis and its Tridentine codification. In this respect the work does not even represent what is best and most dynamic in modern Roman Catholic theology. Alert, informed, lucid and charitable though it is, it never faces up to the basic issue and, therefore, it has little to offer in the contemporary situation beyond teaching Roman Catholics what they are bound to believe, and giving Protestants a clearer picture of what this belief is.
Yet this is not perhaps quite the end of the story. For the biblical data are in fact present. The book contains such vital statements as “Christ is our grace,” and “the gift of God to men in Christ’s sacrifice of the cross … is the very heart of the meaning of the created gift of grace.” Perhaps after all the Bible is beginning to assert itself in a new way even in what finally turns out to be an exercise in standard Roman Catholic dogma.
G. W. BROMILEY
Aid For St. Augustine?
The Ministry and Mental Health, ed. by Hans Hofmann (Association, 1961, 256 pp., $5) is reviewed by Orville S. Walters, Director of Health Services and Lecturer in Psychiatry, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.
The broad, nondescriptive title of this symposium is necessary to comprehend the diverse and uneven assortment of papers that make it up. The volume begins with essays dealing with the impact of the new sciences of man upon theology, then tapers off through a series of chapters by several leaders of the pastoral training movement into a description of catalog offerings in the field at Union Seminary.
A republished article by Paul Tillich declares that the most important insight of psychotherapy for theology is an undercutting of contemporary Pelagianism, and a reaffirmation both of the hidden grip of sin and the unconditional power of God’s grace. In Tillich’s view, the psychology of the unconscious reinforces the Augustinian-Reformation theology and opposes the Roman-legalistic and the Protestant-moralistic views.
Talcott Parsons views personality as the product of social interaction that emerges from the erotic childhood relationships delineated by Freud. He sees spiritual malaise as growing out of the individual’s involvement in problems of meaning and value. The place of the psychiatrist, the clergyman and the church are examined in this light.
David McClelland, an experimental psychologist, discusses the religious overtones in psychoanalysis. He sees Freud’s system as the product of revolt against a legalistic Judaism which has been popular among American intellectuals as a revolt against Christian orthodoxy while retaining belief in a determinism and an innate depravity reminiscent of Calvinism. Psychoanalysis, he believes, had its roots in Jewish mysticism and has continued to function as a secular religious movement that fulfills religious functions not being met by the church.
In a notable treatment of “Psychology and a Ministry of Faith,” James Dittes of Yale Divinity School deprecates the current popularity of the pastoral counseling movement as a ministry of good works rather than a ministry of faith. The clergyman’s attempts to justify his vocation by efforts to probe, analyze, control and manipulate, communicate his own anxiety and deny the faith he represents. Divine resources for healing may flow more effectively through the minister’s basic confidence in these resources than through his self-conscious efforts.
The remaining chapters deal largely with the training of seminary students in pastoral care, the screening of students for seminary training and the problems growing out of work with emotionally disturbed persons.
ORVILLE S. WALTERS, M.D.
A Narrow Province
Jesus of Nazareth: The Hidden Years, by Robert Aron, tr. by Frances Frenaye (Morrow, 1962, 253 pp., $4); is reviewed by Ralph A. Gwinn, Associate Professor of Religion, Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee.
A distinguished French historian has given us a book, written from within a Jewish framework, which will give the Christian a finer appreciation of the backgrounds of his own faith. One of the tantalizing ideas with which the author works is the impact upon Jesus of the conflict between “a tradition, an invasion … that is, a land historically impregnated by God, and a group of men from another country who temporarily occupied it” (p. 39). The author declares that many interpretive faults with reference to Scripture spring from a lack of knowledge of the basic differences between Hebrew and western languages. His explanation of “an eye for an eye” and “vanity of vanities” illustrates his point. Even more than this, Aron insists that Hebrew syntax and the Hebrew view of man cannot be separated. The author shows that Jesus’ teaching was essentially Jewish, and then near the end of the book suggests two principal innovations which Jesus brought. The approach throughout is naturalistic. “Anything supernatural is outside our province” (p. 225).
This book is, in a real sense, an apologia for Judaism. It also gives the Christian a better understanding of the rock from which he is hewn, and some suggestive insights into the early years of his Lord.
RALPH A. GWINN
Book Versus Title
The Philosophy of Judaism, by Zwi Cahn (Macmillan, 1962, 524 pp., $7.50), is reviewed by Jacob Jocz, Professor of Systematic Theology, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada.
It is no small venture to write yet another book on Judaism. There is a large literature on the subject both of scholarly and popular works and it is not easy to make a genuine contribution. Unfortunately, the present work belongs to neither category. It is not a scholarly work for it lacks accuracy of fact and precision of language, and reveals anything but an unbiased approach. Nor is it a popular work, with its 500 odd pages, its misleading title, and profusion of names and dates.
The book is well printed, well produced and has a reputable publishing house behind it. The greater is the disappointment when the reader comes to the text:
(1) The author’s contradictions are numerous, specially on the subject of Jewish doctrine. We are told with great emphasis that Judaism has no “dogma.” The author asks whether a Jew need even believe in God. We are told that Judaism is devoid of “basic principles,” but he then proceeds quite happily to elucidate the basic principles underlying the views of Jewish religious writers. He does this by a curious distinction between “fundamentals” and “Articles of Faith.”
(2) The many inaccuracies make it impossible to take the book seriously: The Ten Tribes did not return because “they had not been too fond of their fatherland”; “the Jewish religion as such never feared assimilationist tendencies”; the apostles called the Pharisees hypocrites “but the apostles were not born until about 100 or 150 years after the founder of “Christianity,” so they knew nothing about the Pharisees. (That the Talmud calls some Pharisees hypocrites the author apparently does not know.) “Two Jewish scribes wrote down the Koran” at Mohammed’s dictation.
(3) Though the book is called The Philosophy of Judaism, we are never really told what that philosophy is. It seems that anything written by Jews constitutes “Jewish” philosophy even when this is done in obvious dependence upon non-Jewish thought. Spinoza is thus credited with inaugurating a new era of Jewish philosophy. Henri Bergson is claimed to be a “Jewish” philosopher and is placed side by side with Hermann Cohen and Franz Rosenzweig. In fact, the author tells us that he detects in all three of them “an undercurrent of Jewish nationalism.”
(4) The author’s greatest bias is against Hebrew Christians: they are all traitors, renegates and Jew-baiters. But surprisingly enough they are in good company. Spinoza, the most harmless and gentle of men, is described as a hater of Judaism and of Jews. Is it because he quoted “John the Baptist” to the effect that “we are in God and God is in us”? One wonders whether Dr. Zwi Cahn has ever read the New Testament.
Dr. Cahn goes out of his way to assure the reader that Bergson was buried in a Jewish cemetery. Is it possible that he never heard of the fact that the philosopher died a professing Christian and was given Christian burial although he was not baptized?
It is not usual for this reviewer to be so critical, but he is left with a sense of disappointment. The book’s appearance and grandiose title promise much more than is warranted by the content.
The Beatitudes of Jesus, by William Fitch (Eerdmans, 1961, 132 pp., $3). A good discussion of those spiritual qualities that mark the Lord’s portrait of the Christian man.
Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, by Edgar Jones (Macmillan, 1962, 349 pp., $4.25). Torch Bible Commentaries’ interpretation of the “canticles of scepticism” and the “pawky Proverbs.”
New Men for New Times, by Beatrice Avalos (Sheed & Ward, 1962, 182 pp., $3.75). Author contends that today’s teachers teach as though they lived in the nineteenth century, and that it is time they realized their students live in a time of fragmentation and isolation and should be taught accordingly.
Martin is Baptized, by Jean and David Head (Macmillan, 1962, 74 pp., $1.50). Parents, some for and some against, discuss the meaning of child baptism. Simple but informative dialogue.
Sign Posts on the Christian Way, by Patrick Hankey (Scribners, 1962, 152 pp., $2.95). Religiously, sensitive guide for him who travels the paths of devotion.
Basic Sources of the Judaeo-Christian Tradition, by Fred Berthold, Jr., Allan Carlsten, Klaus Penzel, and James F. Ross (Prentice-Hall, 1962, 322 pp., $10.60). Selections from the writings of men whose thought and actions created the basis of our Western religious heritage. The historical survey includes a date-line graph, brief introductory sketches and historical essays which provide the setting of each reading selection. Writers range from Moses to Augustine and Anselm, Warfield to Barth, from Popes to Fosdick.
God in My Unbelief, by J. W. Stevenson (Collins, 1962, 159 pp., $2.75). An absorbing self-told story of Scottish minister in an upland parish reflecting his religious and sometimes costly involvement in the life of his people. First American printing.
Massacre at Montségur, by Zoé Oldenbourg, tr. by Peter Green (Pantheon, 1961, 420 pp., $6.95). A distinguished historical novelist shows her marked ability as a straight historian in this tragic account of the twelfth-thirteenth-century Albigensians.
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