Rome And Freedom

Freedom Today: Theological Meditations, by Hans Küng (Sheed and Ward, 1966, 176 pp., $3.95), is reviewed by James Daane, assistant editor,CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

One would have to do a lot of reading of both liberal and evangelical writings to find, in the present state of theology, as satisfying a book as this of Hans Küng. I dare say that Küng, a Roman Catholic professor of theology at the University of Tübingen, comes closer to clarifying the meaning of Christian freedom than most authors of either liberal or evangelical persuasion. He struggles with the concept of freedom as expressed in the biblical assertion that “for freedom did Christ set us free.”

Küng illustrates true Christian freedom in a delightful essay on Sir Thomas More. He shows that More, in his whole life—and death—demonstrated that a saint who is freed by Christ is, as a saint, free to live and work in the secular world. He then shows that the Church is the community of those who live in freedom, for it is for freedom that the Church has been set free by Christ. But if the Church is the community of the free, then its theology must also be a theology of freedom, and a theology of freedom can only arise from and be carried forward by theologians who are free to develop such a theology.

The chapter entitled “Freedom of Theology” is one of the finest in a very fine book. In it Küng suggests that the churches of the Reformation—Calvinist, Lutheran, and Free—which often assert that only they hold to ecclesia semper reformanda, do in fact often act as if the Reformation of the Church happened once and for all time. They also sometimes insist that the Roman Catholic Church does not change, but this, asserts Küng, is simply contrary to history and to contemporary fact. “Which theology is going in the long run to be representative of the Church?” Küng answers, “Not the one that claims to be specially modern. Nor the one that claims to be specially traditional. But the one that is backed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ itself … that theoiogia, in fact, which speaks of God only insofar as it hears his Word and responds to his Word, orientated to it and measured by it.”

In this chapter Küng says many interesting things. With one eye on some dead-weight conservatives in his own church, and the other on some Protestants who join them and say that the Roman Catholic Church does not change (at least, not for the better) and who take tactical refuge in the contention that any theological movement within the Catholic Church occurs only on the periphery—with his eyes on these two segments, Küng asserts that the current renewal and reform in his church is proof that both are wrong. In this chapter he also suggests that a better word than “infallible”—as it relates to the church and the pope—may be found, one that will express “at once the strictly binding character and the profoundly fragmentary character of the Church’s formulations of the Faith.… There is a vast work to be done here by Catholic and Protestant theology.”

Article continues below

Küng has studied Karl Barth. How much has he been influenced by Barth? Who can tell with any exactitude? In any event, in a significant chapter on “The Freedom of Religions,” in which he makes extended appeal to the Bible, Küng discusses Christian universalism. Here one is reminded both of Barth and, more significantly, of many often ignored elements of biblical teaching. Because of what God has done for the whole world in Christ, the freedom wrought by Christ on behalf of the whole world extends also to the non-Christian religions and their adherents. Küng denies that there is no salvation, and no grace of God, outside the Church. The whole question of the truth and validity of the world’s religions must be raised, he says, not from the perspective of the Church, but from the perspective of what God has done for the world of men—though they may not know it—in Christ.

Küng advocates no cheap universalism; but he recognizes a dimension of the freedom of the work and grace of God in Christ that is not bound by the historical limitations of the reality and ministrations of the Church. The Church, as the community of those set free by Christ for service to the world, does not constitute the boundaries of the freedom of God in Christ for the world. There is a kind of cheap universalism that both Küng and Protestant evangelicals necessarily disclaim; yet it will scarcely be overcome by a disclaimer that derives its force from a reduction of the objective work of God in Christ that makes its efficacy ultimately dependent, in Arminian fashion, on subjective individual response.

This book and its author demonstrate the new wind of freedom that is blowing through Roman Catholicism; the free spirit in which Küng writes keeps him from being either a belligerent or a sniveling apologist for his faith. The book and its author also demonstrate that the Church is a community of free men, called to a free pursuit of a theology of freedom—one in which Roman Catholics and Protestants have some common problems and tasks.

Article continues below

Neither superficial nor moralistic, this is theological writing that is devotional, and yet is theology indeed.


Notoriously Difficult

The Anglican Hymn-Book (Church Society, 1965, 8s. 6d. [words only]), is reviewed by J. M. R. Drummond, music master at Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, Sussex, England.

This book is described in the preface as the first “completely new hymn-book” for use in the Church of England to have appeared for some years. It is, therefore, a special attempt to produce a hymn-book entirely modern in both conception and design. This does not mean that traditional material is excluded—indeed, it forms the foundation of the book. It has, however, enabled the compilers to draw freely from varied sources, and several good hymns are included as a result, notably some attractive folksong melodies and carols and some lesser-known hymns by famous writers like John Newton and Isaac Watts. There are also several new hymns by present-day composers, as well as numerous arrangements of and descants to old ones. Despite some excellent contributions, I found these the least satisfactory aspect of the book, with the ghost of Victorian hymnody all too often lurking in the background.

Many of the new tunes achieve only an appearance of modernity by the inclusion of some ill-chosen discords and angularities in the part-writing, and several of the descants and arrangements resort to archaisms like the flattened seventh (see R. Sinton’s descant to hymn 160), which sounds a bit self-conscious when fitted to traditional tunes.

There is a wide selection of the more familiar hymns. The words of the 663

hymns are generally good, and care has been taken to avoid ecclesiastical fulsomeness: the last verse of “Alleluia, sing to Jesus” has been replaced by a repeat of the first verse, presumably for doctrinal reasons. Evangelical clichés have not been so rigorously excluded, however, and the less inspired efforts of such writers as Frances Ridley Havergal have occasionally crept in.

Some fine Victorian hymns have been included, but attempts to improve some of them harmonically are less welcome. The original version of Dykes’s “Dies Dominica” may appear unadventurous, but its modulations lose much of their directness in Sheldon’s more wordy version. It is also regrettable that we cannot have the authentic version of Gibbons’s wonderful Song 13, and something else instead of “Innsbruck New,” which is an affront to the dignity of “Innsbruck Old”! However, we are given several fine examples of chorale harmonizations by Bach, which should please discriminating choir masters! The only serious omission is in plainsong melodies (where is “Jesu, dulcis memoria”?).

Article continues below

The final section of the book contains a selection of choral amens and numerous indexes, including a list of Scripture references and a particularly valuable metrical index that gives the first line of each tune as well as its name. For those who want to know whether “Old Commons” would fit the same words as “Oswald’s Tree,” this will save a lot of time and trouble.

This book merits serious consideration by all those in search of a new hymn-book, and should amply meet the needs of most congregations. Over and above the traditional material, there is much that will provide new scope for adventurous choirs and not too conservative congregations. Occasionally, the magic word “modern” has subverted contemporary composers and arrangers

into rather self-conscious and fruitless intricacies of harmony and rhythm that will, I fear, render their work too complicated for congregational use. But writing music for church is a notoriously difficult task, and this book certainly contains some new successes in this field as well as a great deal that has already established its right to a place in the Anglican hymn-book.


It’S Been A Long, Long Time

Amazing Grace, by Robert Drake (Chilton Books, 1965, 156 pp., $3.95), is reviewed by Roderick Jellema, assistant professor of English, University of Maryland, College Park.

Anyone looking for a really good piece of fiction among the thousands of titles streaming from the presses gets to feel like a boy at a muddy rapids looking for a trout among rushing schools of spawning bullheads. It is too much for the eyes. If the thing he is looking for is surprisingly there, he is almost certain to miss it. Unlike the boy, however, the reader can come back, prompted by the reports of other readers, and still find what he sought.

1965 produced such a book: Robert Drake’s Amazing Grace. Those of us who missed it ought to go back. It is still available. And it is the best piece of fiction to come out of evangelical vision, not just in 1965, but in a long, long time.

Talking about “religious literature” is dangerous; it is like talking about “political literature” or “therapeutic literature.” That noun literature bristles with anger at the encroachment of any adjective that would modify it. To modify, after all, is to alter, to limit. A modified literature is less than literature as surely as the social gospel is less than the Gospel or a Salvationist church is less than the Church.

Article continues below

Drake’s book is not “religious literature” in that popular and limiting sense. Still, it is religiously oriented, religious in spirit and in its concerns. And it is literature. It is not contrived to be in the service of something else. It is written naturally and unself-consciously out of a sensibility that is essentially Christian. In our secular society, with religion pushed off into a separate compartment, such poise is rare.

As a young professor of English (Tennessee) and a committed Christian, Drake knows the problem of harmonizing the literary and the religious for a world which holds them apart. He is careful not to violate either for the sake of the other.

Amazing Grace does not capture its harmony with formula or calculation. The book’s most impressive device is its honest simplicity. With unabashed warmth and nostalgia, Drake recreates the scenes and thoughts of a boy growing up in a close Methodist county in western Tennessee. The structure is casual. The eighteen sections (tales and sketches—not quite short stories and not quite novel-chapters) can be read independently. But they do at the same time fuse into a cumulative and subtle unity that increases the simple force of the book.

Within this simple format, Drake focuses on the boy’s concern with the meanings of things from within his simple, evangelical outlook. Woodville, Tennessee, loses its fundamentalist oddity because Drake can transform it into something downright normal. Unity is achieved by the dramatic repetition, at different stages of the boy’s growth, of words from plain old Methodist hymns. It is achieved more subtly by the tones of the boy’s voice as he tries to live with the words. He sounds a little like Huck Finn and a little like Holden Caulfield because he is a boy-narrator in the same tradition. But his voice is his own. And his situation is unique: he is not in quest of a community or a father, but is sensitively alive to the fact that he has a community and a father—that he has, in fact, in some growing sense, two of each of them.

Everything in the book works by quiet tones, innocent viewpoint, understatement, deceptive simplicity. There are no moments of high-pitched despair or exultation, no outbursts of eloquence, no grand encounters. Drake’s tender sketches and muted tones create their own kind of power.

Article continues below

Amazing Grace is too good to talk about in the abstract. It is finally the boy who must promote the book. Here he is, for example, writing about the steel engravings that illustrate a fierce and loveless Bible story book:

Whoever made the pictures seemed to be real fond of showing angels coming down to straighten people out and make them mind, like the one that was leading Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden.… You could tell how he felt about it all by the way he looked.… He just looked like he was gwine where he gwine, as my nurse Louella used to say.

And as for the author of the same book,

Somehow I felt like she wouldn’t ever have suffered anybody to come unto her, unless it had been her duty, and then she would have looked just like that angel with Adam and Eve.

Such tones are an excellent vehicle for Drake’s theme: the spiritual growth of a boy through and beyond his quandary about “those hymns where you had to low-rate yourself and say you were a worm” to a ripened spiritual awareness of the grace of God, “always ready to reach out for you and bring you finally to Himself, not for any reason, but simply because it was His good pleasure.”

This is a rare little book: genuinely human, warm and simple, almost brilliant, unself-consciously Christian.


All In One

Exploring Evangelism, by Mendell Taylor (Beacon Hill, 1964, 620 pp., $5.95), is reviewed by Kenneth L. Chafin, professor of evangelism. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

Although this book is not a major work in evangelism, it has a number of commendable aspects. First, it is the product of a denomination—the Church of the Nazarene—that believes in evangelism and has created a denominational structure to aid and encourage the churches in the work of evangelism.

Secondly, the book bases its understanding of the nature of evangelism on the biblical revelation concerning the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ and the need for a response of faith.

Thirdly, it brings together an amazing amount of helpful factual material on the history of evangelism. True to his purpose of tracing evangelism through the centuries, the author begins at A.D. 100 and concludes with twentieth-century America. Parts one and six are an introduction to evangelism and theology and to the principles of evangelism. The center four parts are history. Mendell Taylor is a distinguished professor of church history in his denomination, and the historical sections, especially the one on the Reformation, are the best parts of his book. He attempts to arrange the historical periods around evangelistic methods (Finney is treated under “cooperative evangelism,” Moody under “team evangelism,” and Graham under “evangelistic association evangelism”) but understandably seems uncomfortable with this rather wooden method of labeling men and movements.

Article continues below

Fourthly, the author is an evangelical. In a day when some are embarrassed at any discussion of evangelism that does not have a sociological orientation, it is good to be reminded that the Gospel still speaks to the deepest needs of persons.

The book has a number of problems. First, the great amount of material collected from many sources often lacks unity. One gets the impression that the author failed either to evaluate the material or to relate it.

Secondly, Taylor’s preoccupation with finding an unbroken chain of persons or movements that have had the evangelical understanding of evangelism causes him to include some rather questionable movements and to omit others that have been significant in the history of the Church.

Thirdly, very little fresh material is presented. This is an excellent reference and resource book, but the person who has even a small library in this field will find the only advantage of this work to be that it is all in one volume.

Fourthly, the book shows little awareness of the contemporary crisis in evangelism. Taylor did not intend the book to be merely an academic history of evangelism. He gives his objective as: “May the Lord of the harvest make each reader a fruitful reaper in a world where the fields are ripe.” The book would have been strengthened immeasurably had he written with the awareness that the evangelical understanding of evangelism in our day has many obstacles to hurdle, both inside and outside the Church.

In spite of these shortcomings, however, anyone who buys this book will find himself going to it for information again and again.


Weighty Book

The Church’s Educational Ministry: A Curriculum Plan, by the Cooperative Curriculum Project, Ray L. Henthorne, chairman (Bethany, 1965, 880 pp., $18.75), is reviewed by Frank E. Gaebelein, co-editor,CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

This massive volume weighing 3½ pounds is a result of years of study on the part of the Cooperative Curriculum Project, an interdenominational effort in which the following groups participated: Advent Christian Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church, American Baptist Convention, Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, Church of God, Church of the Nazarene, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, The Evangelical United Brethren Church, Mennonite Church, The Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Presbyterian Church in the U. S., The Protestant Episcopal Church, Southern Baptist Convention, United Church of Canada, and the National Council of Churches. The administrative committee was headed by the Rev. Ray L. Henthorne of the Disciples of Christ and contained members from the participating groups. A total of 125 persons were engaged during the four years of the project.

Article continues below

This is clearly a resource book, not an outline of any particular course of study, and it should be so judged. It applies itself to principles and seeks unifying factors in planning programs of Christian education in church schools. What the committee has produced after long study is a tool that should help and interest many Christian educators.

The broad spread of theological conviction represented in the cooperating groups is necessarily reflected in the volume. In certain disputed areas of theology and scholarship, the book is neutral or silent. Some may find it at various points lacking in doctrinal explicitness. On the other hand, its avoidance of dogmatism allows room for the expression of theological distinctives by the particular groups that will use it as a help in developing their own programs of Christian education. Therefore, one should not seek in this volume strong denominational distinctives. It makes little use of technical theological and educational terminology and is thus well within the layman’s comprehension.

As a source for curriculum planners at various levels in the churches, the work represents a worthy effort to present principles of Christian education.

The book is well printed and attractively bound. The price, while very high, probably reflects the restricted circulation of a volume of this kind.


Toward Rationalism?

The Religion of Israel, by Henry Renckens, S. J. (Sheed and Ward, 1966, 370 pp., $6.95), is reviewed by J. Barton Payne, professor of Old Testament, Graduate School of Theology, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

The book jacket of The Religion of Israel praises it for “insights of the biblical theologian.” The author himself demurs, because he prefers to emphasize Israel’s institutions and practices (p. 50). But the blurb is the one to believe. In Protestant circles at least, these historical phenomena are normally included within Old Testament theology; and Renckens reiterates his significant belief that Israel’s religion possesses “authenticity” (pp. 49, 305) as “revealed” and “unique” (pp. 10, 24, 53, and so on) and that the Old Testament is “standard or canonical” and represents what God said in the past (pp. vi. 49, 241). Such a stance is what the Catholic scholars De Vaux and Dulles sought a year ago to preserve for Old Testament theology, in opposition to the merely historically descriptive definition of Krister Stendahl, at the 100th meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (see The Bible in Modern Scholarship, ed. by J. Philip Hyatt, pp. 210–16). The Jesuit Renckens’s Religion of Israel appears to say more about normative revelation than does the liberal Protestant’s biblical theology.

Article continues below

But while Renckens’s study is “aimed at believers” as “an appeal to our faith” (pp. 3, 11), it also demonstrates the negative side of Rome’s modern sacrifices to harmonize profession and practice. Let me explain. Catholicism previously professed two bases of authority, tradition and Scripture, but in practice it tended to disregard the latter. Now we see a change, as lay Bible reading is advocated and Roman professionals are making serious contributions to biblical scholarship; witness this author’s penetrating sections on monotheism and the character of God (pp. 33, 127), the centrality of the covenant (pp. 67–71, 183–86), and the development of “church” within Israel (pp. 39, 223–26, 309–312)—disregarding careless Arabic and Hebrew (pp. 80, 84, 86, 87, 220, 248).

Yet this harmonizing has been achieved through a downgrading of theoretical profession as well as an upgrading of practice. Thus while evangelicals have rejoiced in Rome’s retreat from certain traditions, whether Latin liturgy or Mariolatry, we are given pause by its similar withdrawal from former professions of biblical commitment. John McKenzie. first Catholic scholar to be elected president of the Society of Biblical Literature, has advertised his biblical criticism, opposing “theologians who have tried to tell … others how to do their work” and concluding simply that “intellectual liberty … is limited by the truth as the scholar perceives it” (Myths and Realities, p. 10); this with a nihil obstat! Little wonder that Renckens feels free to disparage “improbable things” in Scripture, such as its view of life after death (pp. 12, 90), and to espouse JE, D, and P as separate strata of religion, each of which has read its own understandings back into Moses (pp. 44–46, 68). One wonders, however, whether, if “scholarly perception” is made the ultimate criterion. Altizer and Van Buren could not rate a nihil obstat too.

Article continues below

Rome’s ecumenical Bible study thus arises from its increasing abandonment of both tradition and Scripture in favor of this third rationalistic alternative, cf. liberal Judaism and Protestantism. But Rome is tardier. Renckens, for example, still combines sections of JE, D, and P into one chapter entitled “Patriarchs.” Evangelicals can therefore maintain commitment to Genesis, believe that the whole is true, and reap positive insights from Renckens’s “revealed” Religion of Israel.


715 Or 728?

The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (New, Revised Edition), by Edwin R. Thiele (Eerdmans, 1965, 232 pp., $6), is reviewed by Gleason L. Archer, professor and chairman, Old Testament division, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois.

When this study of the chronology of the Divided Kingdom of Israel was first published in 1951 by this outstanding Seventh-Day Adventist scholar, it was almost immediately recognized to be the most adequate treatment of the subject yet produced. One proof of its wide acceptance is the frequency with which it is referred to by writers of varied persuasion, both liberal and conservative. Another is the fact that a second, revised edition has been published to meet the continuing demand of the public. The revision was so minor, incidentally, that the author himself makes no mention of it in his introduction. He says only, “No evidence has been forthcoming that has given me cause to change my views on any item of major importance.”

It is interesting to note that Dr. Thiele assumes a militantly defensive posture in this “Preface to the Second Edition.” Mentioning that both left-wing liberals and some right-wing conservatives have condemned portions of his work, he explains that they both represent “an a priori bias.” “The common factor in both these categories,” he says, is a prejudgment of the questions at issue. Rather than permitting truth to be determined by the results of objective investigation, precursory judgment is pronounced. Such, however, is not the attitude of true scholarship in its finest form, nor is it in accord with sound principles of religious faith and practice” (pp. xii, xiii). Perhaps this very severe judgment upon all and sundry critics of his work may indicate a hyper-defensiveness, stemming from the fact that his position is basically vulnerable. This reviewer, at any rate, must risk incurring the charge of bias, prejudgment, and lack of scholarship by venturing to raise some questions about some important details in what is otherwise a very fine and solid piece of work.

Article continues below

The most questionable portion of this book has to do with the chronology of King Hezekiah. Thiele holds to 715 as the date when his reign began, even though Second Kings 18:1, 2 affirms that his rule began in the third year of King Hoshea of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Thiele rightly dates Hoshea’s reign as beginning in 732/1, and this would point to 728 as the beginning of Hezekiah’s reign, a good thirteen years before 715. Again, Second Kings 18:9, 10 states that Shalmaneser of Assyria began his siege of Samaria in the fourth year of Hezekiah, and captured it in his sixth year. Since Samaria fell in 722 (as Thiele himself proves in chapter 7), this means that Hezekiah began in 728. But to this date Thiele objects that Second Kings 18:13 states that Sennacherib invaded Judah in the “fourteenth year” of Hezekiah’s reign; and since the Assyrian invasion is firmly datable in 701, this would point to 715 as the commencement of his rule. Unless we resort to the rather improbable explanation that the “fourteen” refers to the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s second reign (i.e., the extra fifteen years granted him on the occasion of his near-fatal illness—Second Kings 20:6), we are left with a clear contradiction between this verse and the other passages cited above, which unmistakably point to 728.

Thiele’s solution to this contradiction is to conclude that the Hebrew historian committed an error. “He was a man who was deeply concerned about truth but who did not understand all the truth” (p. 140). In other words, we have here a demonstrable error in the original autograph of Holy Scripture; but if this is so, we are compelled to surrender belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, and are left with all the grave consequences ensuing from a partially erroneous Bible. Fortunately there is a much simpler solution, which the author does not even mention or discuss. That is to say, in the original spelling of the numerals fourteen and twenty-four in Hebrew, a scribal error in copying a single letter (substituting a he for a mem) would cause “twenty-four” to become “fourteen.” If we accept this textual emendation, there is no difficulty in reconciling this statement with the rest of the data in Second Kings. If the twenty-fourth year (according to the emended reading just suggested) is reckoned from 725, the year of the death of his father Ahaz (with whom he was co-regent for three years—cf. Second Chronicles 27:1, 8), the result is 701 B.C., the date of Sennacherib’s invasion.

Article continues below

To support the 715 commencement of Hezekiah’s reign, Thiele has to assume other errors in connection with the reign of Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz. Thus, he rejects the statement of Second Kings 17:1 that Hoshea of Samaria began his rule in the twelfth year of Ahaz (p. 120), since this would involve a twelve-year co-regency with his father Jotham. But actually, if Hoshea’s reign began in 732, and this year was both the twelfth year of Ahaz (2 Kings 17:1) and the twentieth year of Jotham (2 Kings 15:30), the co-regency would amount to only seven or eight years, for Jotham ceased ruling in 736/5, and apparently lived on in retirement until 732. If he began as co-regent with his father, Uzziah, in 751 (as Thiele maintains), then Jotham’s sixteen years (2 Kings 17:1) of rule ran from 751 to 736/5, and Ahaz began as co-regent with Jotham in 743. Since Ahaz reigned for sixteen years, this means that he ended his active career in 728/7, although he lived on for three more years (cf. 2 Kings 18:1), until 725. By this interpretation all the data can be harmonized, and there is no need to assume that any of the statements made in Second Kings are erroneous, apart from the one point (2 Kings 18:13), that seems to require the textual emendation suggested above (and this is not chargeable, of course, to the original manuscript itself).

On the credit side, it should be pointed out that Thiele’s solution of the puzzling data about Pekah is very convincing and in harmony with all the facts recorded: that Pekah had set up a rival dynasty in Gilead back in 752 (for he reigned twenty years [2 Kings 15:27]) and spent his earlier years there (2 Kings 15:25) but did not succeed in overthrowing Menahem (752–742) or his successor Pekahiah, who ruled in Samaria, until 740/39. Hence it is accurate for Second Kings 15:27 to state that Pekah began his rule (i.e., as sole ruler of all Israel) in the fifty-second year of Uzziah, i.e. 739 B.C. It was only natural for Pekah to maintain that he had always been the only legitimate king of Israel, even from 752, once he had established himself as supreme over the whole realm. As for the date of the fall of Samaria, and the claim of King Sargon to have accomplished this feat in the first year of his reign, Thiele shows quite compellingly that the destruction of Samaria must have occurred in 722 B.C., and that Shalmaneser V deserved all the credit for this victory. It may well have been, however (although Dr. Thiele does not mention this possibility), that Sargon was the commanding general under Shalmaneser’s authority at the three-year siege of Samaria, and thus may have felt justified in claiming the glory for the achievement.

Article continues below

One final comment is in order concerning Thiele’s argument that Hezekiah’s Great Passover, to which worshipers came from such northern tribes as Asher, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Issachar (2 Chron. 30:11, 18), could scarcely have been held during the reign of Hoshea (say, in 725), who had sternly forbidden any such pilgrimage from his territories, especially when the returnees from Jerusalem are said to have destroyed the images and altars of the Northern Kingdom on their way home (2 Chron. 31:1). Thiele therefore prefers to date this event 715/4, after the fall of Samaria, when there was no longer any ruler over the Ten Tribes (p. 151). Yet he fails to mention the far greater difficulty of supposing that there were any significant number of North Israelite inhabitants left in the land after their extermination and exile by the Assyrian power in 722. It seems to this reviewer far more likely that the last-minute panic that must have gripped the hearts of the North Israelites as they saw the inexorable vise of Assyria closing in upon them may have rendered them especially open to Hezekiah’s invitation to worship at Jerusalem and to overthrow the idols and false sanctuaries in which they had vainly put their trust. Conditions in Hoshea’s dominions may have been so unsettled and confused that he was not able to maintain perfect control over all that his subjects cared to do along this line. More powerful evidence than this is necessary to demonstrate the fallibility of the scriptural record.


Book Briefs

The Magnificent Defeat, by Frederick Beuchner (Seabury, 1966, 144 pp., $3.50). Devotional essays, by a man who can both think and write, on Christian surrender, the triumph of love, and the mystery and miracle of grace.

Documents of Lutheran Unity in America, by Richard C. Wolf (Fortress, 1966, 672 pp., $2.50). Documents that show the pursuit of unity among Lutheran churches in America between 1730 and 1965.

The Philosophy of Religion, by Thomas McPherson (Van Nostrand, 1965, 207 pp., $5.95). Essays for the scholar only.

Article continues below

Protestantism in America: A Narrative History (Revised Edition), by Jerald C. Brauer (Westminster, 1965, 320 pp., $3.95).

Glauben unci Verstehen, Vierter Band, by Rudolf Bultmann (Mohr [Allemagne, Germany], 1965, 198 pp., DM 18). Essays in which Bultmann continues to prove his “decision philosophy,” which is that human existence is historical existence, the key of which is “decision.”

Shaw and Christianity, by Anthony S. Abbott (Seabury, 1965, 228 pp., $4.95). Excessive in its admiration for Shaw’s oldhat liberalism, this book unintentionally makes Bultmann a dull late Victorian. Shaw is a sharp one. Excellent grist for the apologists’s mill.

The Lure of the Horizon: Poems of Aspiration and Vision, by Marion Gerard Gosselink (W. A. Wilde. 1965, 119 pp., $4.50). Conventional verse about “aspiration and vision,” somewhat stiff and mannered but mildly pleasant.

Henry VIII and the Lutherans: A Study in Anglo-Lutheran Relations from 1521 to 1547, by Neelak Serawlook Tjernagel (Concordia, 1965, 236 pp., $6.95).

Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism (Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters Inc., 1965, 285 pp., $4.50). A series of essays dealing with the fact that alcoholism is the problem not only of the alcoholic but also of those who live with him.

Religion and Politics in Burma, by Donald Eugene Smith (Princeton University, 1965, 350 pp., $7.50).

Modern Varieties of Judaism, by Joseph L. Blau (Columbia University, 1966, 217 pp., $6). Historical essays on Judaism in the last two centuries.


Neo-Orthodoxy: An Evangelical Evaluation of Barthianism, by Charles Caldwell Ryrie (Moody, 1966, 64 pp., $.95). A flutterby treatment that quickly comes to the conclusion that “neo-orthodoxy is a theological hoax.” Recommended to all the theological despisers of Barth.

History of Church Music, by David P. Appleby (Moody, 1965, 192 pp., $1.95). Even more than the title suggests.

Two Confessions: The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Proposed Confession of 1967 Compared and Contrasted, by J. Marcellus Kik, Mariano Di Gangi, and J. Clyde Henry (Presbyterian and Reformed, 1966, 56 pp., $.50).

American Quakers Today, edited by Edwin B. Bronner (Friends World Committee, 1966, 111 pp., $1). A presentation of the uniting and divisive elements of the five groups of Friends.

A Hungry World, by Paul Simon (Concordia, 1966, 100 pp., $1). The author, an Illinois state senator, speaks as a Christian about the poor and hungry.

Article continues below

Formative Ideas in American Education: From the Colonial Period to the Present, by V. T. Thayer (Dodd, Mead, 1965, 394 pp., $3.95).

Wildfire: Church Growth in Korea, by Roy E. Shearer (Eerdmans, 1966, 242 pp., $2.95).

Kierkegaard’s Pilgrimage of Man: The Road of Self-Positing and Self-Abdication, by Harvey Albert Smit (Eerdmans, 1965, 193 pp., $3). An extensive analysis of Kierkegaard’s thought that is a worthy addition to the Kierkegaardian literature.

Not By Might: The Story of Whitworth College, 1890–1965, by Alfred O. Gray (Whitworth College, 1965, 279 pp., $3.50).

Contemporary Currents of French Theological Thought, by Georges Crespy (Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, 1965, 36 pp., free). An informative survey of recent French religious literature, and of some of its central concerns.

Crisis for Baptism, edited by Basil S. Moss (Morehouse-Barlow, also SCM Press, 1965, 189 pp., $3). Essays on baptism by men of diverse religious traditions.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.