New Look At New Theology

What’s New in Religion?, by Kenneth Hamilton (Eerdmans, 1968, 176 pp., $3.95), is reviewed by Warren C. Young, professor of Christian theology and philosophy, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Oak Brook, Ill.

The subtitle of this book is a good statement of the scope of the volume: “A Critical Study of New Theology, New Morality and Secular Christianity.” One might well call it an evangelical look at recent trends in theology.

Professor Hamilton begins with a discussion of the use and misuse of “new.” Technological advance makes possible improvements, changes, and refinements that keep up with our constant demand for something “new.” Yet it does not follow that new political and social movements, new theological systems, new ethical theories, are necessarily improvements. To illustrate his point, the author cites Heidegger’s pro-Nazi address in 1933. As we all know, the “new order” of Hitler proved to be something other than Utopia.

Today we are being offered a “new” theology. The old or traditional theology is dead, we are told, and we need a theology geared to late twentieth-century man and culture. As Hamilton puts it, what man seems to be seeking is a religion that will “give him meaning, direction, and purpose in his attempt to cope with his total environment, and to achieve satisfaction from the struggle.”

But what man is seeking today is not necessarily a Christian faith. For many, apparently, the Christian outlook and promise have failed. Why? What is it in the Christianity of our century that has caused modern man to lose faith in the ability of the Christian faith to meet the needs of the hour? What has caused him to turn his interest into other channels? Has the Christian faith proved ...

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