In the world of hooks, man probes the riches and poverty of humanity as they come to expression in life

The need for Christians to study what they can only regard as the Book can never be in dispute. Yet some Christians believe that they need study only that one book, the Bible. The Bible is the Word of God, the revelation of Jesus Christ, they say, and what more need any Christian, even a minister, know than what God has already said? After all, are not all other books simply the words and wisdom of men? For practical reasons these persons concede that some knowledge of books may be necessary for actual living, as is a high school or college education, but such books and education are not regarded as spiritually essential.

People who take such a view of the Book and the books do not believe that a Christian can be a humanist. Humanism in the authentic Renaissance meaning—a genuine interest in all aspects of human life, such as science, art, literature, theater, sports, politics, music—is regarded as inherently unchristian, evidence of a substandard spirituality. In this view, there can be no Christian humanism. Those who say this forget the debt Luther and Calvin, to say nothing of Erasmus, owed to classical humanism. They who deny the legitimacy of an authentic Christian humanism feel that the beauty of the rose has nothing to do with the beauty of Christ. They may have fun, but they have an odd sense of guilt when they do, as if they were taking a spiritual holiday. They may read Plato and Shakespeare, or even T. S. Eliot and Hemingway, but they do so with the uneasy feeling that they should be reading Isaiah. Those who are ministers find it difficult to preach Thanksgiving Day sermons that differ from their usual Sunday ...

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