An Introduction to Contemporary Preaching, by J. Daniel Baumann (Baker, 1972, 302 pp., $6.95), and Preaching and Preachers, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Zondervan, 1971, 325 pp., $5.95), are reviewed by Richard Allen Bodey, chairman, Department of Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi.
A veteran preacher of international fame and a professor of homiletics provide a striking, profitable, and sometimes amusing contrast in their approaches to preaching. Dr. Lloyd-Jones, recently retired from his long pastorate at London’s celebrated Westminster Chapel, and Professor Baumann of Bethel Seminary are both committed evangelicals. Unlike the swarms of contemporary critics eager to perform last rites for the pulpit, both believe that preaching is, as Lloyd-Jones puts it, “the highest and greatest and the most glorious calling.” Both are dissatisfied with the quality of preaching today and seek its renewal. Both plead for preaching that combines emotion with intellectual appeal.
Baumann offers a neat overview of homiletics. Most of the way he whistles tunes often heard before. Alert to the times, however, he also ventures into the newer fields of communications and behavioral change. He sees preaching as no more or less important than the other elements of worship and favors a reduction in its frequency. He is open to such innovative techniques as dialogical sermons, drama, and mixed media.
Baumann’s book carries a heavy cargo of footnotes and quotations. In spots it is unnecessarily pedantic. It contains a few careless errors. Readers may find some material confusing, since the author at times introduces unfamiliar theories without adequate explanation. But on the whole the work is well done and would be suitable as a seminary text.
Displaying an impatient scorn for homiletical theories and niceties, Lloyd-Jones discusses many of the problems and questions that perennially plague the preacher. The chapters were originally lectures delivered at Westminster Seminary and their conversational flavor has been preserved. Apt illustrations, often drawn from the author’s experience, reinforce his counsels. A traditionalist who has no use for current fashions like dialogical sermons, Lloyd-Jones no less stoutly denounces the literary style of preaching that came into vogue a century ago. To him the sermon is supreme and should always be expository; forty-five minutes is barely enough time for its delivery. He objects to radio and television services, condemns liturgical embellishments as “unspiritual,” and would abolish choirs.
Very few preachers will fail to be annoyed by some of this preacher’s hang-ups and quirks. Those who have been imprisoned in homiletical straight jackets should find him liberating. All will certainly find his uncommon candor refreshing and engaging. How many preachers would admit, publicly and in print to boot, “I can say quite honestly that I would not cross the road to hear myself preaching”? We may not care to go all the way with this preacher, but we all can learn from him.
The Great Commandment
The Love Command in the New Testament, by Victor Paul Furnish (Abingdon, 1972, 240 pp., $6.95), is reviewed by David Wead, assistant professor of New Testament, Emmanuel School of Religion, Milligan College, Tennessee.
This work by Furnish follows his very exciting work Theology and Ethics in Paul. While it does not attain his previous heights, it is nonetheless a very good book, a solid contribution to ethics.
Furnish begins by examining “Jesus’ Commandments to Love”—to love God and one’s neighbors, and to love one’s enemies. Furnish does not limit himself to any one Greek for love or attempt to draw distinctions between the various words, and this enriches his work throughout.
The second chapter, on the settings in the Synoptic Gospels, is probably the weakest. The varying settings do influence the meaning of the Evangelists, but the attempt to decide what is the authentic teaching of Jesus is always tinged by subjectivism.
The next chapters take us systematically through the rest of the New Testament, examining the teaching of love. Furnish describes love in Paul as an eschatological force, “the power of the new age present and active in the working of the Spirit.” In John there is a continuum in which God’s love is received and then carried into the world as the believer is commanded to love.
The most important chapter of the book is the final chapter of conclusions. Furnish sets forth four considerations that draw together what he has said and make concrete application to the ethical life of the Christian today. In making love a command, Furnish says, Jesus showed it is not natural to humanity. Love is the command that stands above all ethical decisions. Divine love is the measure and meaning of love’s claim. God’s love is necessary to reveal to man how he ought to love.
Furnish emphasizes that only “the theological bases upon which the earliest church’s ethical teaching was founded and the way it went about interpreting and applying its gospel in daily life” are transferable to modern life. In this sense there can be no “love ethic” but only an ethical system that subjects all to the sovereignty and mercy of God.
I heartily commend this book to the Christian reader, not as a final answer to the ethical problem, but as a solid step toward understanding New Testament ethics.
Guide To Academia
Christ and the Modern Mind, edited by Robert W. Smith (Inter-Varsity, 1972, 312 pp., $3.50 pb), is reviewed by W. Ward Gasque, assistant professor of New Testament studies, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada.
The purpose of this book is to give guidance to the beginning college student who is a Christian. It introduces him to the major academic disciplines, gives him the basic information he needs to make an intelligent choice of a major, and seeks to introduce him to various Christian principles that will help him relate his studies to the Christian faith.
There are twenty-six chapters, grouped according to the traditional divisions of “the liberal arts”: the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. The authors are all college and university teachers—the majority in secular institutions—and all are thoroughly committed Christians.
As one would expect in a book with twenty-six authors, the chapters are uneven in quality. I felt some of the essays on the arts were especially weak (possibly because in this area evangelicals are Johnny-come-latelies), while nearly all those dealing with the social and physical sciences were particularly good. Occasionally I had the distinct impression that a contributor was a little uncertain about his call to scholarship as a Christian, and this leads at times to a rather defensive attitude toward the university.
A major deficiency is in bibliography. The articles would be more helpful to the beginner if each were accompanied by an annotated list of basic works, especially those seeking to relate the Christian faith to the particular subject. Occasionally a work is mentioned in a footnote, but the references are at best random.
Nevertheless, Christ and the Modern Mind serves a good purpose and should be put into the hands of Christian students. Pastors, youth directors, and all who work with young people would do well to arm themselves with a plentiful supply and give copies to the more thoughtful students to whom they minister. Widespread distribution of this handbook could only lead to a more fruitful witness to Christ on campus.
Biblical Basis Of Science
Religion and the Rise of Modern Science, by R. Hooykaas (Eerdmans, 1972, 162 pp., $2.65 pb), is reviewed by George Blount, professor of physics, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California.
Our culture has come to accept the myth that scientific activity and Christian philosophy are antagonistic. Sensational books—such as Bertrand Russell’s Religion and Science—that damn the church and extol science were fashionable reading only a few years ago, and we were left an unfortunate heritage. For although it is now more popular to condemn both science and Christianity, the two are still generally considered incompatible.
In this scholarly and well-documented historical analysis, Dr. Hooykaas rejects the thesis of incompatibility and shows that modern science owes its emergence in good measure to Christianity. It was Christianity that rescued Western thought from a scientifically impossible Greek metaphysics. That it did not do so more swiftly can be traced to its own infection with Greek philosophy. This is not to say that the Greeks made no positive contribution to modern science: they provided the necessary logical tools, and Judaeo-Christian philosophy provided a framework in which the tools could be effective.
Hooykaas begins by contrasting the Greek and biblical views of God and nature. Nature was deified in the Greek mind, and the explanation for physical change was thought to be metaphysical. Beneath the observable universe there was thought to be a truer reality that was accessible to reason rather than experimentation. Moreover, manual work, which might be needed in experimentation, was considered demeaning. The world was to be experienced by man, but it was not to be controlled for man. The biblical view, by contrast, sees one supreme God who by his own will created all of nature and now sustains it. The nature he created is real, and there is no substratum of reality except God himself. The world actually is as it is found to be. Man has the honor of working in the world to bring about directed changes for the good of man and the glory of God.
Hooykaas continues by sketching the development of Western man’s view of nature down to the thought of contemporary physicists. He then turns to another aspect of the history of science, the significance of reason and experimentation, and traces its development. The same method is repeated for art and also for technology. He concludes with a discussion of science and the Reformation. This repetitive format is effective in convincing the reader of an almost symbiotic relation between science and biblical faith, but it is cumbersome if one tries to use the book for reference. The value of the book for reference use is also diminished by the lack of an index.
Many readers will be surprised at the views Luther and Calvin developed toward science and toward Scripture. Their mature views were that the world was to be accepted as it was found to be, regardless of past notions, and that the Scriptures were to be taken as without error in terms of their intended purpose.
An important lesson to be learned, especially if the reader is influential in higher education, concerns the tragedy of borrowing pagan Greek philosophy. Hooykaas points out that the tendency to incorporate Greek thought into a Christian philosophy is still with us and that its results are not good. Theology is purged and science is released for further advance whenever it is recognized that God is supreme, nature is contingent, experience is real, manual work is good, and responsible dominion over nature is to be exercised.
Hooykaas is professor of the history of science in the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, and he approaches his subject in a scholarly manner. His style is clear, but his brevity may make the book difficult reading for many. It should be read, however; the story needs to be heard. This story is continued, with a bit of confirming overlap, in John Dillenberger’s Protestant Thought and Natural Science, which is also recommended reading.
The New Englishman’s Greek Concordance, introduction by Ralph Winter (William Carey Library, 1,053 pp., $9.95). The New Testament student who does not know Greek now can have at his disposal, so far as we know for the first time, a tool that gives him a convenient list of all the occurrences (together with the contexts) of any Greek word, regardless of how many different English words are used to translate it. What makes this volume “new” is the addition of the numbers used in Strong’s English concordance to each entry, so that the user can move from his Bible to Strong’s to this work in simple steps. (Both Strong’s and Young’s concordances have means of finding each occurrence of a Greek word, but they are complicated and time-consuming.)
Revolution in Rome, by David Wells (Inter-Varsity, 149 pp., $4.95). A good way to be introduced to the current turmoil in Catholicism; written by a well qualified Trinity seminary professor.
St. Francis of Assisi, Writings and Early Biographies, edited by Marion Habig (Franciscan Herald, $18.95), Brother Francis: An Anthology of Writings By and About St. Francis of Assisi, edited by Lawrence Cunningham (Harper & Row, 201 pp., $5.95), and Francis of Assisi, by John Holland Smith (Scribner, 210 pp., $8.95). Longer and shorter anthologies plus a major new biography demonstrates the continuing fascination with a thirteenth-century “Jesus freak.”
Deliver Us From Evil, by Don Basham (Chosen Books [Washington Depot, Conn. 06794], 223 pp., $4.95), and Escape from Witchcraft, by Roberta Blankenship (Zondervan, 114 pp., $.95 pb). A former pastor tells how he came to be engaged in a widespread exorcism ministry, and a former witch tells how she was delivered.
Don’t Blame the Game, by Bill Glass and Bill Pinson (Word, 168 pp., $4.95). A retired star football end and a seminary ethics professor team up to refute both some recent criticism of sports and some athletes who have advocated and practiced immorality off the field. Good especially for fans, young and old.
Affirmation of Our Faith, by Clifton J. Allen (Broadman, 128 pp., $1.50). A prominent Southern Baptist briefly reflects on prayer and the central doctrines of the evangelical faith.
Meet the Prophets!, by Eugene Skelton (Broadman, 160 pp., $4.95). A vibrant introduction to Samuel, Elijah, Amos, Ezekiel, Jonah, and seven other men of God before Christ.
Federal Income Tax Handbook for Clergy, by Kenneth Hungerford (Associated Publishers, 160 pp., $3 pb), and Clergy’s Federal Income Tax Guide, by Ernst and Ernst (Abingdon, 64 pp., $2.95 pb). Hungerford gives guidance for the entire tax form, including matters that affect ministers and non-ministers alike (such as medical expenses). Ernst and Ernst focus solely, hence in somewhat greater detail, on the items distinctive to ministers, namely, the parsonage allowance and the social security tax as if one were self-employed. Ernst and Ernst serves as a useful supplement to Hungerford for those with unusual problems in those areas. (Or it can supplement one of the tax guides prepared for the general public.)
Erasmus and the New Testament: The Mind of a Christian Humanist, by Albert Rabil, Jr. (Trinity University [715 Stadium Dr., San Antonio, Tex. 78284], 190 pp., $6). An important addition to the large body of literature on the great sixteenth-century scholar. Looks especially at his approach to Romans and compares it with that of the early Luther.
The Prayer Life, edited by Christian Duquoc and Claude Geffré (Herder and Herder, 126 pp., $5.95 and $2.95 pb). A dozen essays by Catholics on such subjects as Pentecostalism in their ranks, the Jesus movement, prerequisites for prayer, and prayer and psychoanalysis. (Volume 79 of the “Concilium” series.)
The Jesus Revolution, by Michael McFadden (Harper & Row, 212 pp., $1.25 pb). A dispassionate, thorough, sympathetic treatment. A good one-volume study to supplement the many other more segmented discussions.
Power and Innocence, by Rollo May (Norton, 283 pp., $7.95). This attempt at a major philosophical statement by a psychotherapist highly regarded in religious circles suffers from the too frequent intrusion of highly selective case studies into what is intended as a systematic construction. Despite this, and despite May’s indifference to the possibility of objective religious truth, the book offers a wealth of stimulating insights on the conflict between power and principle when religion and politics intersect.
Origins of Papal Infallibility, 1150–1350, by Brian Tierney (Brill [Leiden, Netherlands], 298 pp., n.p.). Prepared before the outburst caused by Küng’s rejection of infallibility, this book is neither an apologetic nor a critique. It is a carefully documented study of diverse viewpoints and must be considered in serious discussion of the contemporary controversy.
Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsey (Zondervan, 255 pp., $4.95 and $2.25 pb). Reports of encounters with occultism, summary of what the Bible says about the fallen angels, a presentation of the Gospel along with follow-up guidelines, and a too brief survey of modern intellectual history. The style avoids sensational extremes, but should attract those who are curious about occult phenomena and need to know what God’s Word says about them.
The Sermon on the Mount, by James Montgomery Boice (Zondervan, 328 pp., $5.95). A series of expositions on this well-known passage (Matthew 5:3–7:29) that sets forth a biblical, Christ-centered ethical basis for Christian living. Inspiring, non-technical reading, excellent for Bible-study groups.
V. Raymond Edman: In the Presence of the King, by Earle E. Cairns (Moody, 255 pp., $4.95). The warm, inspiring biography of the missionary who became fourth president of Wheaton College.
Astrology and the Bible, edited by William Petersen (Victor [Wheaton, Ill. 60187], 32 pp., $.39 pb). Two editors of Eternity, a Gordon-Conwell Seminary professor, and a Britisher join to give a brief, biblically based warning about a resurging false religion.
Religion and Public School Curriculum, edited by Richard Smith (Religious Education Association [545 W. 111 St., New York, N.Y. 10025], 110 pp., $3.50 pb). Addresses at a conference at the end of 1971 together with additional papers. Both general principles and specific examples are discussed.
Targum and Testament, by Martin McNamara (Eerdmans, 227 pp., $3.45 pb). A Targum, roughly, is to the ancient Hebrew Bible what the Living Bible is to the KJV. It is a paraphrase of the formal Hebrew Scriptures into the common Aramaic spoken by the people. This interesting book explains Targums—their history, purpose, and use to us now. Relates some of the clarifications of various biblical subjects found in these ancient texts.
Siegfried’s Curse: The German Journey From Nietzsche to Hesse, by Wayne Andrews (Atheneum, 370 pp., $10.95). A fascinatingly written story of the spiritual pilgrimage of a select group of German intellectuals, from Nietzsche to Hermann Hesse, whose influence on the “spirit of our age” is as massive as it is baleful. Does not deal with German theology, unfortunately.
Turning the World Upside Down, by W. T. Stunt and others (Upperton Press [2 Upperton Gardens, Eastbourne, Sussex, England], 663 pp., £3 [about $7.50]). Soon after their beginnings in the British Isles in the 1820s, the “Open” branch of the so-called Plymouth Brethren emerged as one of the most missionary-minded of all Christian groups. Brethren congregations are found in almost every country of the world. Though relatively small in the United States, they are often among the larger non-Pentecostal evangelical bodies elsewhere. Bible school, seminary, and missions libraries need to add this detailed, country-by-country survey to their holdings.
New Man … New World, by Leighton Ford (Word, 119 pp., $3.95). Fourteen sermons preached on the “Hour of Decision” broadcast (on which Ford alternates as speaker with Billy Graham).
Early Christian Creeds, by J. N. D. Kelly (McKay, 446 pp., $17.50). This third edition is a major revision of a well established standard work. Essential for theological libraries.
Paul’s First Letter to Corinth, by John Ruef (Penguin, 198 pp., $2.45 pb). In the style of the long-in-print “Pelican Gospel Commentaries,” volumes on the rest of the New Testament are now being issued in a Pelican series. This is the second one to appear. Aimed at the non-specialist who wants to be aware of main currents of critical scholarship.
The Catholic Priest in the United States: Psychological Investigations, by Eugene Kennedy and Victor Heckler, and Sociological Investigations, by the National Opinion Research Center (United States Catholic Conference, 271 and 458 pp., $7.95 and $8.95). Detailed statistical studies, valuable primarily to the specialist with an interest in the changing nature of the Roman priesthood; the Psychological Investigations are easier to digest. An earlier companion volume of five essays of Historical Investigations, edited by John Ellis, was published by St. John’s University (488 pp., $6.95).
The Faith of the People of God, by John Macquarrie (Scribner, 191 pp., $6.95). A British interpreter of Bultmann, Heidegger, et al. formulates a basic theology around the theme “The People of God.” Tends towards traditional Christianity of a vaguely Catholic flavor. Macquarrie avoids, however, the deeper question of the objective content and meaning of fundamental Christian doctrines and documents, and he blurs distinctions between biblical and non-biblical theologies.
In The Journals
Universitas, sponsored by the Christian College Consortium (Gordon, Messiah, Taylor, Wheaton, and six others), has made its appearance as a monthly tabloid for Christians interested in higher education. “Thought” articles, news, and responses make up each issue. ($2/year; 1400 Touhy Avenue, Des Plaines, Ill. 60018).
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