The Future of Man, by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Harper & Row, 1964, 319 pp., $5), is reviewed by Paul K. Jewett, associate professor of systematic theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.

Few books contain really new ideas, and perhaps it would be too much to say this one does, for it is obsessed with the hundred-year-old idea of evolution. Yet no one has ever surveyed the implications of this idea for the future of man with the scope and daring vision of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Most books perish with their times, but these essays, twenty-one in all, are more relevant now than when they were written. Certainly Teilhard is no orthodox theologian; he is a mystic and a scientist. This combination makes for a lot of inchoate heresy, but there is never a dull moment and there are no barren passages.

One might ask why we have been so long in hearing about Teilhard. One obvious reason is that his ideas were suppressed by the Roman hierarchy of his day; also, he wrote in French (Protestant theologians are accustomed to look to German books for original thinking), and his French is formidable. A special word of appreciation is due, therefore, to the translator of this composite volume, Mr. Norman Denny. Even in English such terms as “noogenesis” and “noosphere.” “unanimisation,” “organicity of the universe,” “para-biological epiphenomenon,” “hominisation,” “compacity,” and the like hinder one’s progress in speed reading.

In a word, Teilhard’s thought is that once we have perceived ourselves and all our universe as moving, we can no more speak statistically of cosmology and biology and anthropology but must think in terms of cosmogenesis (the evolution of the cosmos), biogenesis (the proliferation of the tree of life), and anthropogenesis (the ultra-socializing of humanity turning in on itself because of the explosion of population and the sphericity of our planet). The science of sociology, then, is really an elaboration of biology, and Teilhard’s word for it is “anthropogenesis,” or more often “noogenesis.” But man cannot be an end in himself. Secular science has regarded this problem of the irreversible character of the evolutionary process with averted glance, assuming man has millions of years before the physical system runs out in the cold death. But this turns man into a living fossil, which is after all but a form of death, and cuts the nerve of the psychic mechanism of evolution. Teilhard’s suggestion is a paroxysm in the noosphere which he calls “Christogenesis,” the culmination of the whole evolutionary process. The word “paroxysm” is as near as he comes to the language of the catastrophic and apocalyptic with which the New Testament describes the Parousia of Christ. Ordinarily he thinks of millions of years for this event to be achieved. Indeed the radical difference between the vertical, punctiliar view of the Second Advent in the New Testament and the slow horizontal connotation of the word “evolution” is perhaps the most perplexing aspect of Teilhard’s thinking about the future of mankind. Apparently evolution will bring in the “fullness of time” when, in a way beyond imagining, mankind, become fully human in Christ, will transcend the present cosmic system that God may be all in all. The reader should especially consult chapter 18, “The Heart of the Problem.”

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With An Arched Back?

A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, by Gleason L. Archer, Jr. (Moody, 1964, 507 pp., $6.95), is reviewed by Charles F. Pfeiffer, associate professor of ancient literature, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

Alongside the Old Testament introductions of Edward Young and Merrill Unger, the conservative student will now place A Survey of Old Testament Introduction by Gleason L. Archer, Jr. Dr. Archer, like Drs. Young and Unger, is competent in both Semitic linguistics and Near Eastern archaeology—areas of study that are necessary for any serious work in Old Testament scholarship today.

Part I of Archer’s book, entitled “General Introduction,” is concerned with Old Testament manuscripts, early versions of the Old Testament, and the history of the canonization of its books. The authorship of the Pentateuch receives extended treatment, and Archer presents a detailed refutation of the viewpoints that are commonly linked with the name of the nineteenth-century scholar Julius Wellhausen. Evidence is presented for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch both from Scripture itself and from archaeological studies. Dr. Archer points out Egyptian words used in those portions of the Pentateuch dealing with Egypt, and shows that the author had a thorough knowledge of Egyptian geography. The authenticity of the Patriarchal narratives is deduced from comparisons with the Nuzi texts and other archaeological discoveries.

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Archer notes that archaeologists such as W. F. Albright maintain “the essential accuracy of the Pentateuch” and hold that its contents are much earlier than the period during which they were finally edited (p. 165). His failure to follow up this suggestion is, in the mind of the reviewer, a weakness in his treatment of the problem. In his zeal to demonstrate Mosaic authorship Archer spends much time refuting Wellhausen, but he does not come to grips with the real problems of Pentateuchal criticism. Conservative Old Testament scholars generally acknowledge both pre-Mosaic and post-Mosaic elements in the Pentateuch, along with its essentially Mosaic core. Archer does admit that the account of Moses’ death (Deut. 34) is “demonstrably post-Mosaic” (p. 244), but otherwise he leaves little room for the hand of a later editor.

The non-specialist may be confused when able and devout Bible students differ on matters that appear somewhat technical. It may seem best simply to say, “Moses wrote all of the Pentateuch,” and to assume that ancient concepts of authorship and of history have always been as they are today. This, however, is to close the eyes to genuine problems both of biblical interpretation and of human logic. If a later writer was justified in adding an account of Moses’ death, would it have been wrong for him to change the pre-Israelite name Laish to Dan, as we find it in Genesis 14:14? Edward Young suggests this possibility (Introduction, p. 61). If that is allowable, is there any reason why an editor could not have added, in a suitable context, “the Canaanite was then in the land” (cf. Gen. 12:6, 13:7)? A mechanical view may insist that Moses must have written everything traditionally ascribed to him, but then why omit the account of his death? Stories have been handed down which tell of the aged lawgiver seated at his table with tears streaming down his face as he receives by dictation from God the account of his impending death. If the conservative scholar does not need to accept such viewpoints, and the reviewer agrees with Archer that he does not, he may acknowledge without apology the presence of other post-Mosaica in the Pentateuch.

In the section on “Special Introduction” (Part II) Archer gives a scholarly discussion of each Old Testament book, and in each instance his conclusions accord with traditionalist attitudes. He favors the Solomonic authorship of Ecclesiastes, although many conservatives (including Young) feel that the text of the book demands a date later than the Solomonic period. Archer mentions favorably the view that the Book of Job was written by Moses.

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Dr. Archer has familiarized himself with the views of those with whom he disagrees, and he attempts to be fair in his discussion of debatable points. His book will be particularly appreciated by traditionalists who are seeking a scholarly defense for the views they hold. Many conservatives will feel that he has set up artificial terms for divine revelation, and that those terms do not accord with biblical fact. To say too much may be as harmful as to say too little in demonstrating the truth of Scripture and its relevance to human needs.


The Truth Is Vice Versa

The World Upside Down or Rightside Up, by Paul Bretscher (Concordia, 1965, 150 pp., $2.50), is reviewed by James Daane, assistant editor,CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

Although the Beatitudes are commonly memorized by children, few parts of the New Testament are more difficult to interpret. Each beatitude is a very simple statement. The difficulty in interpretation derives, as Bretscher shows, from the fact that even though the interpreter be a Christian, his perspective and outlook, his categories of thought and evaluation, are forged in an opposite set of beliefs and values. Who really believes that the truly blessed man is the one who is poor in spirit, or the meek, or the one who hungers and thirsts after righteousness? To understand a beatitude, one must see all things wholly differently than he ordinarily does. He must stand on his head, allow his values to be transvaluated, or, in Bretscher’s words, see the world as it really is: upside down.

To see life from the perspective of the Beatitudes, one must be able to use language in such a way that words carry a cargo of meaning opposite from the usual; for even our words and concepts are forged from the contrary perspective of the upside-down world.

Bretscher reaches for language to stab home the radical perspective of the Gospel. He finds it with extraordinary success, for his attempt to show that the world looks upside down to the Gospel and the Gospel looks upside down to the world is as readable and simple as the Beatitudes themselves. The reader does not feel that this is the usual kind of religious writing. The book is more like a mirror in which he constantly sees himself and, at the same time, the utterly radical character of the Christian faith.

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The great virtue of Bretscher’s book is that he not only opens up and analyzes the secrets of our hearts and thoughts but also refocuses human life and the profound Christian truths contained in the simple Beatitudes in terms of the basic religious categories of man’s works and God’s grace. The meek man, the man poor in spirit, the hungry man, is he who joyfully lives out of the grace of God.

Even apart from its considerable literary force, the book is remarkable. Unlike so many “religious” books, it is not just a psychoanalysis, a moralistic discourse, or a pious writing—it is all of these things within a theological-biblical perspective.

Bretscher shows what those things are that we call the world and the Gospel; they are not what they seem. He cuts deep into that mystery which is the Gospel and that which is everyday life. His book helps those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.


Liturgy In The Bible

Worship in the Early Church, by Ralph P. Martin (Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1964, 144 pp., 13s. 6d.), is reviewed by David F. Wright, lecturer in ecclesiastical history, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

New Testament scholars have of late devoted a great deal of attention to the liturgical features of the apostolic writings, and to the evidence they provide for a reconstruction of the worship of the earliest Christian communities. Dr. Martin, a lecturer in theology at the London Bible College, is spending 1964–65 as associate professor of biblical literature at Bethel College, St. Paul, Minnesota. In this introduction to the whole subject, which is as good as one could hope for in such short compass, he surveys the indispensable biblical foundation for a proper reconsideration of Christian worship in the present day.

Many a student of the Bible will be surprised at the amount of New Testament material that originated in the context of worship. How many hymns can you point to in the Epistles? Where would you turn to discover what Paul considered the basic elements of a normal service of worship? Certain aspects of current scholarly treatments of such issues (with which Dr. Martin is thoroughly familiar) make one thankful that the author has been aware of the danger of “pan-liturgism” (p. 109). On the other hand, evangelicals must beware lest they refuse to see those parts of the New Testament that have a more “churchly” setting than previous interpretation has recognized. The balance and scholarly undergirding of this work, with its concern to be above all severely biblical, give this reviewer confidence in recommending it.

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Whatever the title leads the reader to expect, the book is in fact occupied almost exclusively with the New Testament; later Christian writings are cited only as an aid to understanding scriptural texts. It may be pointed out that the Martyrdom of Polycarp surely ought to be dated about A.D. 155–56 rather than in the early years of the century (p. 64), and that Polycarp’s letter to the Philippians comes mainly from about 135, according to P. N. Harrison (p. 72). On the difficult question of “baptism for the dead” (1 Cor. 15:29), the exegesis of M. Raeder endorsed by J. Jeremias (Infant Baptism in the First Four Centuries, p. 36 n.) suggests a practice of submitting to baptism in order to be reunited with dead relatives or friends who were themselves baptized (p. 103). But these small points detract little from a very valuable book, one well grounded in the Old Testament background that is so essential for a right understanding of such central themes as the Last Supper.


A Variety Of Choices

Peloubet’s Select Notes 1965, by Wilbur M. Smith (W. A. Wilde, 1964, 499 pp., $2.95); Arnold’s Commentary 1965, edited by Lyle E. Williams (Light and Life, 1964, 330 pp., $2.50); Tarbell’s Teacher’s Guide 1965, edited by Frank S. Mead (Revell, 1964, 382 pp., $2.95); Higley Commentary 1965 edited by Knute Larson (Lambert Huffman, 1964, 528 pp., $2.95); The Douglass Sunday School Lessons 1965, edited by Earl L. Douglass (Macmillan, 1964, 475 pp., $3.25); Rozell’s Complete Lessons 1965, edited by Bill Austin (Zondervan, 1964, 319 pp., $2.95); Standard Lesson Commentary 1965, edited by John M. Carter (Standard, 1964, 448 pp., $2.95); The International Lesson Annual 1965, edited by Horace R. Weaver (Abingdon, 1964, 445 pp., $2.95); Illustrating the Lesson 1965, by Arthur H. Stainback (Revell, 1964, 122 pp., $1.50); The Gist of the Lesson 1965, edited by Donald T. Kauffman (Revell, 1964, 128 pp., $1.25); and Points for Emphasis 1965, by Clifton J. Allen (Broadman, 1964, 215 pp., $.95), are reviewed by Frank E. Gaebelein, co-editor, CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

In the volumes listed above in the order of their total years of publication, the Sunday school teacher has a wide variety of helps from which to choose. From the venerable Peloubet’s Notes, now in their ninety-first year of publication, to The International Lesson Annual, which is in its tenth year, each of these annuals follows its own distinctive paths of exposition of the International Sunday School Lessons and presentation of helps for teachers, lesson outlines, illustrative stories, blackboard illustrations, and visual aids.

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Peloubet’s Select Notes, oldest of the annuals, is in a class by itself for amount of expository material and wide-ranging quotations from the evangelical literature of the ages. There is little of the trivial in Peloubet’s. The bibliographies are solid, the illustrations generally illuminating. The amount of space given teaching devices is less than in most of the other annuals. Doctrinally Peloubet’s is one of the most dependable of the lot. It makes real demands upon the teacher, but those who use it well should be thoroughly prepared.

In Arnold’s Commentary, now in its seventy-first year, the emphasis is less upon the classic literature of exposition than in Peloubet’s and more upon teaching method. Expository material is simply and clearly presented. Illustrations are usually well chosen, and many relate to contemporary life. The doctrinal position is soundly evangelical.

Another annual with a long history is Tarbell’s Teacher’s Guide, now in its sixtieth year. Here the expository material is generally adequate, the suggestions for teachers good, and the illustrations particularly effective. A helpful feature is the background material for teachers. This is a good, workable aid written from a rather broad evangelical point of view.

The Higley Commentary, now in its thirty-second year, presents the greatest variety of material. Its verse-by-verse commentary is comprehensive. In addition each lesson contains about a dozen special features, such as “Teacher’s Target.” “Real-Life Illustration,” “Evangelistic Emphasis,” “Points that Pertain,” and “Superintendent’s Sermonette.” There are several pages of questions and answers for each lesson, including even a page to cut out and give to pupils. The doctrinal emphasis is consistently conservative. One wonders whether a commentary of this kind may not perhaps do more than its share of the teacher’s work.

The Douglass Sunday School Lessons, of which the present volume is the twenty-eighth, is notable for its adherence to conservative Reformed scholarship and its thoughtful explanation of lesson passages. The teacher is not confused by a plethora of various devices and methods, although there are suggested discussion topics together with practical hints to teachers. Lessons are clearly outlined and doctrinal points as adequately discussed as space permits.

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Among the newer commentaries, Rozell’s Complete Lessons, now represented by this eighteenth annual volume, is characterized by a step-by-step presentation of the lesson passage rather than by verse-by-verse exposition. Each lesson follows a clear outline; illustrations are not given separately but as they fit the body of the lesson. Suggestions to teachers are also embodied within the lessons. Thus the teacher has before him what amounts to a full transcript of each lesson. Doctrinally the presentations are evangelical.

The Standard Lesson Commentary presents an unusually large amount of material. Along with the verse-by-verse commentary, each lesson contains introductions for the teacher, practical applications, outlines, chalk talks, and other materials. This is a handsome volume, printed on a better quality of paper than the other annuals. As with most of the others, the theology is evangelical.

The International Lesson Annual is in its tenth year. It presents the lessons clearly and succinctly with a good emphasis upon social application and effective teaching method. Of the major commentaries, this one is the loosest theologically. The author of the textual comments on the lessons of the first quarter writes from a naturalistic point of view that makes Christ’s temptation symbolical rather than temptation through the person of Satan. Similarly, the key lessons on the Crucifixion and the Resurrection communicate little of the saving meaning of these central events. The exposition of the lessons for the third quarter has a much firmer theological structure. But it is regrettable that an annual with so many good points should reflect such an equivocal view of Scripture and should fail at crucial points to make the Gospel clear.

The three smaller lesson aids are of varying value. The book of illustrations by Stainback, while not without some merit, suffers from carelessness of statement (e.g., “intelligent” for “intelligible,” p. 74; “conscience” for “consciousness,” p. 56) and a certain mediocrity of material chosen. But both The Gist of the Lesson and Points for Emphasis are excellent condensed aids for the teacher. They are admirably to the point and stress the essential biblical truths.

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Book Briefs

Great Expository Sermons, by Faris D. Whitesell (Revell, 1964, 192 pp., $3.50). Classic sermons that demonstrate different approaches to expository preaching. With a brief biographical sketch of each preacher and short analyses of the sermons.

A History of Israel, by Leonard Johnston (Sheed & Ward, 1964, 181 pp., $3.95). For those who would like to see what a Roman Catholic scholar does with the Old Testament.

History of the Papacy in the Nineteenth Century, by J. B. Bury (Schocken, 1964, 217 pp., $5). The famous J. B. Bury’s account of the papacy during the years 1864 to 1878. F. C. Grant has added brief sketches of the prevailing climate prior to the first and prior to the second Vatican Council.

Protestant Churches and Reform Today, edited by William J. Wolf (Seabury, 1964, 156 pp., $3.95). In response to Hans Küng’s invitation, six young theologians consider the weaknesses within their various churches that hinder renewal and reunion. The book shows what Protestants think when they reflect on the ecumenical movement.

Living Above: Inspirational Devotions for Women’s Groups, by Betty Carlson (Zondervan, 1964, 120 pp., $2.50). Popular, well-written, and soundly evangelical devotionals.

Never Lose Heart, by Max Merritt Morrison (Doubleday, 1964, 143 pp., $3.95). Good, light, hearty reading.

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