Flying Saucers In The Bible?
The Bible and Flying Saucers, by Barry H. Downing (Lippincott, 1968, 221 pp., $3.95), is reviewed by Albert L. Hedrich, assistant director of research and development, Page Communications Engineers, Washington, D. C.
The credibility of the Bible and the authenticity of flying saucers are both subjects of controversy today. The Bible has successfully withstood attack for centuries and continues to be accepted as the authority for Christianity. During the past several years, flying saucers have been the subject of several books and many articles, both pro and some con; today there is little unanimity of opinion on their origin or even their existence. Therefore it seems strange indeed to find a defense of the Scriptures based on the existence of flying saucers.
The Bible and Flying Saucers could be judged worthless but harmless were it not for the distortions it contains and the credentials of the author. He holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Edinburgh.
Downing’s purpose seems to be to show that introducing the idea of flying saucers or unidentified flying objects (UFOs) makes certain events described in the Bible more “realistic” or believable. Some of the events to which he links UFOs are:
1. the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night during the Exodus;
2. the parting of the Red Sea (here the UFO uses an “anti-gravity” beam);
3. the taking up of Elijah;
4. the bright cloud at the transfiguration of Christ;
5. the Spirit’s descending on Jesus at his baptism;
6. the ascension of Christ;
7. the bright light at the conversion of Paul.
One finds it hard to imagine how the author expected to accomplish his purpose, for he himself doubts the existence of flying saucers. He asks why no study like his has been made before and then answers: “One obvious reason is that the existence of flying saucers is highly suspect.” He estimates that the “degree of probability” which he “emotionally feels” about the existence of UFOs is 70 per cent.
Downing begins on a defensive note and maintains it throughout the book. He anticipates the reader’s reaction with his first words: “Before you become either extremely angry or even more extremely amused because someone is attempting to link together the Bible and flying saucers, consider the following.… “Then in the next paragraph he states: “I think, however, that it is no more ridiculous to talk about the relation between the Bible and flying saucers than it is to describe God’s funeral.” This is a rather weak justification for the subject, particularly when the author later goes to some pains to declare himself opposed to the “God is dead” concept. Indeed, I find it difficult to imagine a weaker argument for the reliability of the Scriptures. The effort expended in writing the book could certainly have been put to some better use.
Downing attempts to make the resurrection of Christ seem “realistic” by suggesting that men from some other world participated in it and that the associated earthquake was caused by a UFO’s “anti-G” beam. He seems to be saying that belief in this most vital event demands some physical explanation of it. We can agree with his disavowal of attempts to demythologize the Bible and to see its main value as literary; as the Apostle Paul asserts in the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians, our faith rests on the Resurrection, and if it is myth, we are to be greatly pitied. But the attempt to counter the charge that the resurrection is myth with an argument based on the existence of flying saucers—an existence he himself admits is “highly suspect”—is not only ill advised but also dangerous. To associate the vital event that lies at the heart of our faith with something as controversial and, to many, improbable as a UFO is to diminish, rather than enhance, its credibility.
Space does not permit a complete account of the scientific distortions contained in the book. In the preface Downing states that he “is not an authority on Einstein or on heaven.…” This does not deter him, however, from devoting a chapter to the question, “Where is heaven?” He admits that his discussion “reads very much like science fiction” and “is not necessarily true”; but it may, he says, “help to set our minds free from the somewhat depressing agnosticism we now find ourselves in when we even being to entertain the idea that we might live eternally—as part of God’s plan.” He then proceeds, with complete abandon, to do violence to both Einstein and heaven with over twenty pages of pure speculation.
I have spent a number of years in the pursuit of truth, both in the Bible and in the study of God’s creation (science), and have found no substantive contradictions. When force is applied to bring science and the Bible into apparent agreement in areas where there is no valid connection, distortion of one or both must result. This only reinforces barriers between the Bible and those people tending toward naturalism. Those of us who have been working to break down these barriers through a rational approach to the subject can only hope that this book has a very limited circulation.
Handing Down The Bible
A Literary History of the Bible, from the Middle Ages to the Present Day, by Geddes MacGregor (Abingdon Press, 1968, 400 pp., $7.95), is reviewed by Bruce M. Metzger, professor of New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary, and chairman, Committee on Translations, American Bible Society.
In his Literary History of the Bible Dr. Geddes MacGregor, distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, weaves an instructive and fascinating account of the transmission of the Scriptures in Western Europe from about A.D. 500 down to our day. Rather than presenting merely a chronicle of the personalities of translators, the author fills his account with interesting and wide-ranging information on cultural, political, and theological currents that influenced the interpretation and use of the Scriptures.
About one-fourth of the volume deals with the Bible as it was interpreted in the Middle Ages, when there was no printed English Bible. Here MacGregor relates in a lucid and lively manner information about Hebrew scholarship, the Thomist hermeneutic, and vernacular manuscript Bibles. Each of the half-dozen great English Bibles of the sixteenth century has a chapter devoted to it, and the seventeenth-century King James Version receives detailed treatment in five chapters. One of the five is an interesting account of the typographical curiosities in subsequent printings of the KJV. For example, in 1643 the Westminster Assembly of Divines complained, in a report to Parliament, about editions that contained some atrocious printers’ errors, at Genesis 36:24, for example, “found her rulers” displaced the correct reading “found the mules”; at Ruth 4:13, instead of “the Lord gave her conception” there appeared “the Lord gave her corruption”; and at Luke 21:28, “your redemption” was printed “your condemnation.” In the following century the university presses of both Oxford and Cambridge, seeking to eliminate the shocking accumulation of errors, regularized the spelling and punctuation in what came to be regarded as standard editions.
Among modern English versions MacGregor naturally devotes considerable attention to the Revised Standard Version (1952) and also the New English Bible, of which only the New Testament has thus far been published (1961). It is strange that he makes much of Nelson’s Catholic edition of the RSV, which was issued in 1965 as a common version for Protestants and Roman Catholics but has sixty-seven alterations from RSV text, but says nothing of the Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha (1966), which, without one alteration in the RSV text, received Cardinal Cushing’s imprimatur and approval for Catholic usage.
Amid an almost encyclopedic coverage of his subject, MacGregor enlivens his pages with many a salty and forthright comment. Thus, of John Reynolds, at whose suggestion the King James Version was undertaken, he writes:
Reformers’ Stand Still Valid
Principles of Biblical Interpretation in the Lutheran Confessions, by Ralph A. Bohlmann (Concordia, 1968, 144 pp., $4.95), is reviewed by J. A. O. Preus, president, Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois.
Ralph Bohlmann has done a great service for his own Lutheran church and for all confessionally minded theologians interested in the connection between the confessional statements of their churches and modern hermeneutical methods and problems. Bohlmann tests the hermeneutical principles that guided the authors of the Lutheran confession to see whether these principles of biblical interpretation are still valid; the same kind of testing can be done by other denominations with doctrinal statements coming out of the sixteenth century.
His conclusion is that the Reformers hermeneutical principles are still substantially correct, and that the confessions are therefore not merely historical oddities but valid doctrinal statements to which the Church of today can subscribe as confidently as did the Reformation church.
In Part I Bohlmann deals with the confessional view of Scripture, pointing out that in form the Scripture is the Word of God and that in function it is the norm and source of doctrine and life, with the purpose of pointing to Christ as Saviour. He continues by showing that the confessions assert the clarity and intelligibility of Scripture, and that the central message of Scripture is justification by faith in Christ, the Law, and the Gospel.
Then, in Part II, he actually gets down to the confessional principles of biblical interpretation. The Lutheran confessional writers assumed that we should deal with the Bible on the basis of grammar, derive the meaning of a passage by ordinary exegesis, and seek the intended sense of the author. Scripture interprets itself. At length and with great insight Bohlmann discusses the currently popular Law-Gospel dialectic as a touchstone of biblical interpretation; he concludes—quite correctly—that this single principle will not answer all questions or tell us how to understand all passages of Scripture.
This book is refreshing and helpful and will be of use far beyond the borders of Lutheranism.
A Glimpse Of Gladden
Washington Gladden: Prophet of the Social Gospel, by Jacob Henry Dorn (Ohio State University, 1967, 489 pp., $8), is reviewed by Lee M. Nash, associate professor of history, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff.
That Washington Gladden should have lain half a century in his grave before his first biography appeared is a measure of the historical neglect of American liberalism and the social gospel, movements he so prominently represented. Dorn’s book, based upon careful research in rich sources, is objective and readable and deserves space in every American church-history collection.
Most of Gladden’s fifty years of pastoral ministry were spent at the First Congregational Church in Columbus, Ohio, where in 1902 his influential flock included one-fourth of the Ohio State University faculty. He published more than forty books, most of them sermon collections, popularizations of current thought rather than original scholarship.
Profoundly influenced in early life by Horace Bushnell, Gladden saw the organizing focus of faith in a divine-human Christ, whose life and teachings provided a model for all and a standard by which the Bible, creeds, and social issues should be judged. He accepted theistic evolution and the moral-influence view of the Atonement and commended the higher criticism to laymen in Who Wrote the Bible? (1891). Yet his expressions that we are “being saved,” that truth is unified, that the Bible is not a book of science, and that “Protestant monasticism” is to be resisted, suggest talk by some neo-evangelicals in the 1960s. His piety was such that he could counsel seekers nightly at a Moody meeting in 1878, cooperate with J. Wilbur Chapman, and compose “O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee.” Lines commonly omitted from the hymnals hint that even a pious liberal excited controversy:
O Master, let me walk with Thee
Before the taunting Pharisee.…
Thus he might have described his bitter public quarrel with Billy Sunday during Sunday’s 1913 Columbus campaign, an incident that helped to begin the long era of modernist-vs.-fundamentalist warfare.
For decades Gladden devoted his Sunday-evening sermons to social questions. The creative gamut of his concerns from the 1860s included the promotion of recreation (in one article he playfully ridiculed President Blanchard of Wheaton for prohibiting croquet on campus), labor unions, help for the urban poor, honesty in city government (he served a model term on the Columbus city council), modest Negro civil rights (a rare stand among social gos-pelers), and opposition to church acceptance of “tainted money” from dishonest millionaires.
Dorn fails to credit the revivalist-reformers of the 1850s with contributing to Gladden’s early social concern, and identifies liberalism too closely with social Christianity before 1900. Not only were many evangelicals much interested in reform; many liberals espoused “gospel of wealth” social conservatism. But Gladden’s lifelong interest in social issues was always articulated in a liberal theological setting, providing important preparation for Rauschenbusch’s subtler, more socialistic rationales for the mature social-gospel movement after 1907.
Happily, today’s evangelicals are beginning to see again the social dimensions of the faith after over-reacting to the liberal takeover of the social gospel. Still, it is difficult enough in the average city to find a ministry with a sound evangelical message that also demonstrates an empathetic understanding of persons in material and social distress. This understanding Gladden had in eminent degree.
Reading For Perspective
CHRISTIANITY TODAY’S REVIEW EDITORS CALL ATTENTION TO THESE NEW TITLES:
• Jesus—God and Man, by Wolfhart Pannenberg (Westminster, $10). The English translation of a scholarly work in Christology that contends for the historical resurrection of Christ and sheds light on Jesus’ deity and humanity.
• The Biblical Doctrine of Heaven, by Wilbur M. Smith (Moody, $4.95). This significant work draws together scriptural teaching and scholarly judgments on many facets of a glorious but often neglected doctrine. Recommended.
• Dying We Live, edited by Helmut Gollwitzer, Kathe Kuhn, Reinhold Schneider (Seabury, $2.75). Touching and inspiring letters and other writings of faith and courage by Germans who valiantly resisted Hitler and suffered triumphant martyrdom during World War II.
A Harvard Dean’S Final Book
Religion in a Technical Age, by Samuel H. Miller (Harvard, 1968, 146 pp., $4.95), is reviewed by William Edmund Bouslough, professor of biblical studies, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California.
The late dean of the Harvard Divinity School here presents a selection of his addresses to a variety of audiences relating more or less to the need for American religion to “come of age,” that is, to come to grips with the technological culture in which it is immersed.
As an administrator in an institution that produces men for the American ministry, Dean Miller was particularly concerned with the ingredients that go into the product. Six of these twelve essays speak specifically about the preparation of the minister—the man and his schooling—and all of them speak about the minister’s message to modern man.
Miller defines religion as the sum total of the images, symbols, rites, and myths that give modern life meaning and purpose. He finds constant need for pushing “into the depth where man feels and feels deeply, where he is himself involved, where things mean something to him, and he either fights them or defends them.” He hungers to have the men who have been influenced by his school keep their vision open to “the acts of God in the secular circumstances of common history.”
I never heard Dr. Miller speak, but these messages suggest that he must have thrilled his audiences. Often his expressions are beautifully apt, his descriptions vivid and poetic. He alludes frequently to modern authors, Camus and Jaspers being two of his favorites.
His message is this: Our world is in a mess. There is more freedom and more fear; so much prosperity that it smothers us; “more power but the humble joys of the skillful hand go unfulfilled”; more free time but less true leisure; “more information but less wisdom; more speed but less direction”; more ambition but less satisfaction; and so on. The task of religion in this deficient world is to give us discernment, depth, and personal definition:
When Was The Spirit Given?
The Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles, by J. H. E. Hull (World, 1968, 202 pp., $6), is reviewed by Howard M. Ervin, professor of Old Testament and assistant dean, Graduate School of Theology, Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
At a time when the charismatic renewal is commanding attention in the so-called historic churches, this volume by the professor of New Testament in the Northern Congregational College, Manchester, England, comes as an important contribution to the charismatic dialogue. Presented originally as an M.A. thesis at the University of Manchester, it is characterized by meticulous documentation, mature reflection, and logical argumentation.
I heartily agree with some of the author’s points, such as the integrity of Luke as a historian and the dominant evangelistic theme of the Acts. However, I have a few complaints, mainly on matters of method.
Hull’s reliance upon source criticism leaves many of his conclusions suspended in the dialectical tension inherent in the hermeneutics of this criticism. More than once, he resolves his evaluation of exegetical options solely by a reliance on subjective a prioris. An example is his claim that “in the synoptic Gospels … only six sayings about the Spirit are attributed to Jesus before His death.… Only three of these sayings have the ring of authenticity …” (italics mine). And in discussing the “Paraclete sayings of Jesus inserted from an independent source into the Farewell Discourse because John felt the occasion propitious,” the author faults John’s integrity: “One cannot but feel that even John was mistaken in his sense of appropriateness” (italics mine).
More serious is a fundamental philosophical mind-set that comes from an over-reliance on source-critical methodology. The limitations of critical judgment in appraising the content of Scripture must be recognized. In my opinion, the human mind can sit only in negative judgment upon Holy Writ. It cannot sit in positive judgment. It can say what cannot logically be included in Holy Scripture; but it cannot say what must be included. This is a limitation that Hull does not accept when he writes: “Had Jesus referred to the coming of the Paraclete that night [i.e., of the Lord’s Supper] as John alleges, His words would have so burned themselves into the memory of those who were present and, through them, into the tradition of the Church, that they could not have been omitted from any of the Gospels” (italics mine).
An example of the unsatisfactory results achieved by Hull’s hermeneutical approach is his suggested reconciliation of John’s “insufflation” of the Spirit on Easter Sunday with Luke’s “effusion” of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Accepting C. H. Dodd’s view that “there was a moment in history when men received the Spirit as they had not received it before,” Hull concludes that “one must agree with John in ascribing that moment to Easter Sunday. One may still doubt, however, whether the disciples realized so early that they now possessed the Spirit. Historically, one may well believe, that realization came at Pentecost or thereabouts and it is this truth which is preserved for us by Luke.”
This is the author’s drastic reinterpretation of Luke’s description of the Pentecostal phenomena. He dismisses the empirical nature of these phenomena by remarking that “Luke’s greatest weakness was the importance he attached to objective reality. Nowhere is his interest in the outward and visible signs of the Spirit’s presence more clearly displayed than in his account of the baptism of Jesus … and his account of Pentecost.” But Luke is not alone in this preoccupation with objective reality. At the beginning of his first epistle, John states his intention to write of “that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life”; and Paul offers objective and empirical proofs of the resurrection of Christ in First Corinthians 15.
In characterizing “the importance he attached to objective reality” as “Luke’s greatest weakness,” Hull seems to have seriously prejudiced his own view of the integrity of Luke as a historian. Surely the factual reporting of “objective reality” is a primary responsibility, not a weakness, of the historian.
Despite the shortcomings of this book, I recommend it as an important contribution to the charismatic dialogue.
WHO TRUSTS IN GOD, by Albert C. Outler (Oxford, 1968, 160 pp., $3.95), is reviewed by Cornelius Van Til, professor of apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Do you think God is either dead or absent? If you do, says the author of this book, then you are perhaps less interested in the death of God than in the triumph of man—over God’s dead body, so to speak. Without a firm faith in God’s reality and sovereign grace, “you find that for you questions about Christology are finally meaningless.”
Then let us chat about your problem. I grant at once that the existence of God is not the real problem. The real “problem of God” is that of the “credibility” of his “active presence in this world.” And this is the question of providence. I would like to present to you “in ruminative fashion what I take to be the gist of traditional affirmations of God’s provident presence in creation and history.…”
Please do not fear that I will weary you with the claims of the “museum-guards of fossil-Christianity.” But though I am not a fundamentalist, “I still hold to the Anselmian formula (fides quaerens intellectium).” Have you ever “discovered any significant inquiry (quaestio) into matters that lie close to the human heart that does not begin with a faith-commitment”? Let us be open-minded and critical and then look at the evidence together.
You will agree, I trust, that man is “both a problem and a mystery to himself and to others.” Surely, too, you will allow me to say that man is free and in this sense supernatural. Man is a “mysterious reality that reaches out beyond the boundaries of time, space and the causal order.” But if you agree with me on this, then why should you not also agree when I add that “as spirit (self-hood) … man is in concourse with the Creator Spirit—and with his fellow human spirits.”
We must conclude, then, that “all finites … are set in a matrix that is encompassed by the Eternal Mystery.”
With this broad traditional view of God and his presence in the world we are safe from all molestation by fundamentalists. In our perspective, “nature … is not threatened ‘from beyond’ by episodic intervention or disorder.” “By the same token, however, nature is not fully autonomous and not at all explanatory.” You may think of nature “as a sort of ‘parenthesis,’ the full meaning of which is supplied ‘from beyond’ without negating the significance of what lies ‘inside.’ ”
This, in short, is Outler’s argument in this book of “musings on the meaning of providence.” What shall we say of it?
If the views of such men as Luther and Calvin may be said to have any connection with the traditional view of God’s presence in the world, then Outler’s does not. Our author might as well have left his God-is-dead protégé where he found him. Why take the trouble to convert a man committed to an overt expression of human autonomy to belief in a “god” who is but a more inward projection of the same human autonomy?
Such men as Hamilton, Van Buren, and Altizer ought not to feel challenged by Outler’s argument to forsake their position. They, and with them Outler, ought rather to be challenged with what is in fact the traditional position, the Reformation view of God’s presence in the world; for without this God it doesn’t even make sense to say that God does not exist. The “presence” of Outler’s god is identical with the “absence” of Altizer’s god; in both cases there is the attempt to repress the presence of the God of Paul and of Christ. The argument is doomed in advance.
Salt And Pepper
AFTER YOU’VE SAID I DO, by Dwight H. Small (Revell, 1968, 251 pp., $4.95), is reviewed by C. W. Brister, professor of pastoral ministry, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
Dwight Small’s discussion of communication between husbands and wives grows out of his twenty-five years of counseling and lecturing on marriage. He now is pastor of Peninsula Covenant Church in Redwood City, California.
The “heart of marriage is its communication system,” he says, and he addresses couples of all ages who want to discover new ways of reaching each other in marriage. The seventeen pithy chapters—with pop titles like “Are You Listening—Really?,” “Buttoned Lips and Boxed-in Lives,” and “Don’t Forget Feedback!”—deal with ways of improving communication and dealing with difficulties when they arise.
A sermonic quality characterizes the initial discussion. Small tells us that the “deepest satisfactions of … life are found in marriage or not at all,” and that a couple’s communication is a learned process. Their greatest security, he says, is the “development of dialogue in depth,” and their “only ultimate failure is not doing what appears necessary when a breakdown comes.” No one would argue with that.
To his credit, Small tries to maintain reader interest with appealing topics, though they tend to promise more than they deliver. He examines countless semantic problems, citing the writings of specialists rather than clinical evidence from counseling. A considerable part of the material, in fact, is adapted from semanticists like Jurgen Ruesch, ethicists like Helmut Thielicke, sociologists like Talcott Parsons, and behavioral scientists like Carl Rogers and Erich Fromm. One chapter contains twenty-five documented quotations; elsewhere, Small quotes extensively without giving data on sources.
Readers who bog down in his disorderly logic may give up before reaching the practical help to be found in the book’s closing chapters. Although his argument is coherent, it is not always cohesive or convincing. One’s reading is retarded by a mishmash of other people’s ideas. The gross product here is an uneven, salt-and-pepper mixture of semantic principles, biblical ideals, psychological trivia, and sermonic advice.
First Century Gnosticism, by G. Van Groningen (E. J. Brill, 1967, 209 pp., 24 guilders). An examination of Gnostic documents from the first and second centuries A.D. that reveals the spirit of scientism in existence then. Van Groningen claims that early Christian teachings basically opposed Gnostic thought and motifs and were not influenced by them (as Bultmann claims).
The Stranger in the Mirror, by James William Russell (Harper & Row, 1968, 215 pp., $4.95). A former minister writing under a pseudonym describes his psychological disturbance in which he dressed as a woman and committed grand theft and his later restoration to health and usefulness.
History of Dogma, by Bengt Hägglund, translated by Gene J. Lund (Concordia, 1968, 425 pp., $9.95). This English edition of a useful standard Swedish work on the development of Christian thought includes a brief section on the theology of nineteenth-century revivalism and a short but penetrating chapter on early twentieth-century theology and recent trends. The approach is more objective than that of Hamack, who sought to vindicate a presumably primitive Gospel from supposedly Hellenistic speculation, or of others who give to contemporary interpretations of Christianity a validity equal to or surpassing that of the scriptural revelation. Hägglund assumes that the substance of the Christian “rule of faith” was fixed from the outset by originally given truths of faith and by the content of Scripture, and that only its form is variantly expressed in many of the traditional verbal formulations. But he sketches the development of Christian thought as part of the realm of ideas without giving an obtrusive dogmatic critique.
My Flickering Torch, by E. Jane Mall (Concordia, 1968, 176 pp., $3.50). A Christian woman’s victorious story of her experience after her chaplain husband died and she was left with five adopted children.
Lutherans in Conceit, by Frederick K. Wentz (Augsburg, 1968, 221 pp., $5). Cooperative efforts by Lutherans, 1918–66.
The Conscience of the State in North America, by E. R. Norman (Cambridge, 1968, $6.50). In this comparative study of separation of church and state in Britain, the United States, and Canada, Norman contends that the three nations, contrary to popular belief, are similar in this relationship.
Just as I Am, by Eugenia Price (Lippincott, 1968, 184 pp., $3.95). Genie supplies her own spiritual interpretation for each line of the familiar Victorian hymn.
The Invitation of God, by Adolf Köberle, translated by Roy Barlag (Concordia, 1968. 238 pp., $5.95). Challenging sermons of biblical substance by a professor of theology at the University of Tübingen.
Nationalism and Christianity in the Philippines, by Richard L. Deats (Southern Methodist University, 1967, 207 pp., $5.95). Deats’ Study of the work of the Philippine United Church of Christ and Roman Catholic, independent, and Methodist churches points to the need for an indigenous church, which should prosper under a “healthy nationalism.”
The Spiritual Journey of Saint Paul, by Lucien Cerfaux, translated by John C. Guinness (Sheed and Ward, 1968, 236 pp., $5.50). A solid biblical work by a Catholic scholar that introduces one to the life, thought, and spirit of St. Paul; extracted from Cerfaux’s trilogy on Pauline theology.
Thinking Faith, by Fritz Buri (Fortress, 1968, 100 pp., $3.50). An existentialist theologian from Basel considers the way to a philosophical theology.
God Up There?, by David Cairns (West-minister, 1967, 111 pp., $2.95). A Scottish scholar assesses contemporary theologians’ views of God’s transcendence and favors Brunner’s thought that divine transcendence is disclosed both in historical revelation and in creation. Brief but astute.
Jesus and the Gospel Tradition, by C. K. Barrett (Fortress, 1968, 114 pp., $3.50). This post-Bultmannian professor claims Jesus was mistaken in many details (belief that his disciples would suffer with him, that the kingdom of God would come and world history would end immediately after his sufferings, that God had forsaken him) but was right in all that really mattered. The Son of God will be glad to know that Barrett doesn’t hold his mistakes against him!
Profession: Minister, by James D. Glasse (Abingdon, 1968, 174 pp., $3.75). An effort to solve the identity crisis of the parish clergy without an adequate exposition of the ministerial “calling.”
Sixty-one Worship Talks for Children, by Eldon Weisheit (Concordia, 1968, 134 pp., $3.50). A Lutheran pastor offers short and lively examples of how to communicate the Gospel to children.
The Holy Spirit in Five Worlds, by Wayne E. Oates (Association, 1968, 123 pp., $3.95). Explores the Holy Spirit’s role in the psychedelic, nonverbal, articulate, new-morality, and administrative realms.
Studies in the Four Gospels, by G. Campbell Morgan (Revell, 1968, 1,288 pp., $13.95). One-volume assemblage of work by the “Prince of Expositors” on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Corporate Worship in the Reformed Tradition, by James Hastings Nichols (Westminster, 1968, 190 pp., $5). A historical survey of the formation and characteristics of Reformed worship by a Princeton Seminary church-history professor.
Questions on the Christian Faith Answered from the Bible, by Derek Prime (Eerdmans, 1967, 128 pp., $1.45). Brings the teaching of the Bible to bear on basic questions of God and man. Ministers will find the topical Scripture references helpful in preparing sermons.
The Great Awakening in New England, by Edwin Scott Gaustad (Quadrangle, 1968, 173 pp., $2.25). Paperback edition of a superior account of the religious revival in the American colonies, 1740–42.
The Life of Christ Visualized, by Ray E. Baughman (Moody, 1968, 256 pp., $.95). A biblically sound, easy-to-use book for church groups studying the life of Christ.
Revelation, by Charles Caldwell Ryrie (Moody, 1968, 127 pp., $.95). A clear and concise futurist interpretation of the Bible’s last book that views the prophecies of chapters four through twenty-two as yet to be fulfilled.
Are You for Real?, by Larry Richards (Moody, 1968, 160 pp., $1.95). A lively book for teen-agers that stresses the need for Christian values.
Mandate for Mission, by Eugene L. Smith (Friendship, 1968, 157 pp., $1.75). The WCC’s executive secretary for the United States attempts to strike a balance between witness and service in church mission. He commends antipoverty and civil-rights efforts, criticizes “revival services.”
Social Ethics, edited by Gibson Winter (Harper & Row, 1968, 266 pp., $3.50). Readings from contemporary writers reflecting diverse approaches on issues in ethics and society.
The Theologian at Work, edited by A. Roy Eckhardt (Harper &Row, 1968, 253 pp., $3.50). An exposure to the variety of views held by recent thinkers in theology.
Contemporary Religious Thinkers, edited by John Macquarrie (Harper & Row, 1968, 285 pp., $3.50). Reprints of significant essays by scholars representing the great diversity of religious thought in the recent past.
The New Testament: An Introduction for the General Reader, by Oscar Cullmann (Westminster, 1968, 138 pp., $1.95). Dr. “Heilsgeschichte” introduces the general reader to the history of the New Testament text, its writings, the formation of the canon, and its theology. Worth buying and reading.
Best Church Plays, by Albert Johnson (Pilgrim Press, 1968, 180 pp., $3.95). A comprehensive bibliography of religious drama arranged by subject. Lists publisher, cast, set, theme, price. Valuable for church program directors.
Good News: A Christian Folk-Musical, compiled and arranged by Bob Oldenburg (Broadman, 1967, 95 pp., $2.95). A good try at working a gospel appeal into Moral Re-Armament’s successful “sing-out” format. Eighteen songs, mostly upbeat, in basic scoring for teen chorus, plus staging hints. Recording available for $3.98.
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- Editor's PickPCA’s 50th Anniversary Comes During a Season of GriefPresbyterians expect less fight and more fatigue as they gather following the Covenant shooting and the deaths of Harry Reeder and Tim Keller.