Concrete Foundation For Faith

Where Is History Going?, by John W. Montgomery (Zondervan, 1969, 250 pp., $5.95), is reviewed by H. Crosby Englizian, librarian, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, Portland, Oregon.

John W. Montgomery, a Lutheran who is chairman of the Division of Church History at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, examines here secular philosophies of history current in our day and finds they have four basic deficiencies: their goals have no necessitarian character; their criteria for what is historically significant are unrelated to absolute terms; their understanding of human nature is woefully deficient; and their gratuitous presupposition of ethical principles renders them suspect in the face of final truth.

Montgomery’s burden is to make a case for the necessity of an absolute historical perspective—provided solely by divine revelation—if one seeks to formulate a Christian philosophy of history and to avoid the errors he discusses in this book. For example, both Barth and Tillich have made a grievous mistake in divorcing history from theology; this dualism has led to a denial of the real history of, say, the incarnation and has made of the whole orthodox faith “a timeless, unsupportable religion of the order of Buddhism, Hinduism, and their theosophical counterparts.” Here the author quotes appreciatively Van Til: “We dare not follow Barth any more than we dare follow Bultmann.” (Why be surprised, indeed, that such a subjective, unverifiable neo-orthodox God should sooner or later be obliged to die at the hands of such as Van Buren, who as a student imbibed the thought of Barth!)

Montgomery sees evidences of a similar metahistory among evangelicals. Bernard ...

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