Toward A Balanced Christianity

Christian Manifesto, by Ernest T. Campbell (Harper & Row, 1970, 114 pp., $3.95), is reviewed by Cary N. Weisiger III, pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Menlo Park, California.

Ernest T. Campbell, senior minister of the Riverside Church in New York City, is a convinced evangelical with a burning social concern, and his book is a fresh attempt at a synthesis of the individual and social elements of the Gospel. He is gifted with keen insight, balance, courage, wit, and eloquence.

Two concerns govern his treatment: one is a look at Christians as they have tended to fall off one side or the other of the horse of a whole faith; the other is a statement on reparations as a justifiable ethic for white Christians in regard to black people.

Dr. Campbell pays tribute to the churches that produce candidates for the ministry because they confront young people with the claims of Jesus Christ. He believes in the necessity of an individual act of faith for salvation. At the same time he deplores the spiritual casualties, young people trained in the Bible but not for the world, who have to be counseled back to spiritual health. He pleads for a view of the Lordship of Christ that takes the whole world and all of history seriously. He finds Arend Th. van Leeuwen and Hendrikus Berkhof to be reliable guides and bases his ethic of the need to change the structures of society upon Berkhof’s exposition of Paul’s theology of “the powers.”

In my opinion, Campbell’s gift of facile thought and expression betrays him into easy generalizations about man’s now taking responsibility for history. Is this really a great new fact of our time? What about William Carey’s contributions ...

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