A LOOK AT THE LIST of subjects to be discussed at the Fourth Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Uppsala, Sweden, next July may cause the thoughtful believer to wonder about the future of confessional Christianity. The assembly will concern itself with “a shrinking world,” with “a secular age,” with matters of social and economic development, with international affairs—in short, with “a new style of living.”

These subjects are to be scrutinized in the light of the role and mission of the Church. What is surprisingly absent in the agenda is any clear proposal for the consideration of matters historically regarded as “theological”—the being and nature of God, the incarnation of our Lord and his saving mission in the days of his flesh, the doctrine of grace, and so on. Are these doctrinal questions no longer meaningful? Is the body that professes to speak for Christendom now seeking to evade them?

Much will no doubt depend upon the selection of the spokesmen who are to “speak to the Church.” If the doctrinal presentations are made by those who feel impelled to proclaim, for example, that God must die for the sake of man’s promotion, or that the “salvation” of Christian theology demands a comprehensive “dehellenizatiort of dogma, specifically that of the Christian doctrine of God,” then the results may be expected to be dismal.

The real point in question is the starting point in theology. If the prevailing mood proves to be that man cannot (some would say will not) find God “on the way down” (i.e., through His selfdisclosure) and can only hope to discover Him “on the way up,” then the fears of many will probably be realized.

Some persons now feel that historical theology is made up of “copybook answers” and thus is radically ...

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