He’S There Before He Gets There
Upon the Earth, by D. T. Niles (McGraw-Hill, 1962, 277 pp., $4.95), is reviewed by Harold Lindsell, Vice-President, Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, California.
Niles has written a fascinating and important book. He evidences tremendous gifts, writes interestingly, and has amazing insights in many instances. This book should be read by all who are concerned with the missionary task of the Church. Niles represents that branch of the Church involved in the WCC, or what is called the ecumenical movement.
Niles argues that Jesus is there before the Gospel arrives. The Holy Spirit is at work accomplishing the reconciliation of the world. The kingdom of God has come, is here, and God’s design for all creation will be achieved. The Church is here until Christ comes and has for its business the proclamation of Christ. The believer is part of the Church, has a discipleship, and is called to obedience.
The Church itself has a selfhood, and has an identity which includes Romanism, Russian Orthodoxy, and Pentecostalism. This Church is bound to the younger churches, and the problems of this relationship are delineated. Niles pleads for new financial arrangements between the younger and older churches. He argues that the younger churches must also engage in missions, and that despite outward appearances of defeat, victory is at hand. He concludes by dealing with the encounter of the Church on the religious and the secular frontiers.
Niles’s book suffers from at least one glaring theological defect. This defect, part of a growing problem in missions, has to do with universalism. The author declares that in his judgment the Bible does not say whether all men will or will not be saved ultimately (p. 96). But then he ...1
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