From several dozen possible titles I have made difficult but necessary value choices on the basis of practicality, thoroughness, and incisiveness. Some helpful books have had to pass unmentioned.
SURVEYS Only two titles merit attention in this broad category. Despite their theology, both demand the ear of evangelical church leaders. Iris Cully’s latest work is entitled Change, Conflict, and Self-Determination (Westminster) and is an extension of efforts begun in an earlier book, The Dynamics of Christian Education. A descriptive subtitle might read, “How to carry out a person-centered ministry in an era of future shock.” Pilgrim has released A Colloquy On Christian Education, edited by John Westerhoff III, which is somewhat less cohesive and lucid than the Cully book.
YOUTH The most significant entry in this column is Larry Richards’s Youth Ministry (Zondervan). Some readers will swallow hard at the twenty plus references to his own books, but Richards builds a strong case for a renewal motif to fit the rapidly changing youth culture of the seventies. Pastors will appreciate Stuart Briscoe’s efforts to bring both sides together in Where Was the Church When the Youth Exploded? (Zondervan), the title of which is much more threatening than the content.
Church ministry to retarded children received a boost from two titles in 1972: Successful Ministry to the Retarded by Towns and Groff (Moody), a practical and well-documented treatment true to its title, and, the new releases in the John Knox “Exploring Life” series.
ADULTS Looking at adult education we find Jerold Apps reviewing learning processes in How to Improve Adult Education in Your Church (Augsburg). Two books grapple with the problems of advancing age: Dorothy Fritz in Growing Old Is a Family Affair (John Knox) and Alfons Deeker in Growing Old and How to Cope With It (Paulist).
TEACHING/LEARNING PROCESS During 1972 Regal completed its eight-volume set of Ways to Help Them Learn and Ways to Plan and Organize Your Sunday School for each of four age groups. Every Sunday school should own and circulate the set.
Two books familiar to all Christian educators have been reissued by Moody with revisions and new titles. Roy Zuck’s Spirit Power in Your Teaching is now more digestible for lay readers, and Gene Getz’s Audio Visual Media in Christian Education has been updated. These volumes are the best available in the areas they cover.
CONGREGATIONS The concern for renewal has brought forth dozens of “biographies” of evangelical congregations in recent years. Generally these congregations are evidence that “institutional” churches can be very lively. The books are full of suggestions on how other congregations too can be renewed. Representatives of this kind of book are Brethren, Hang Loose by Robert Girard (Zondervan), on Our Heritage Wesleyan Church, Scottsdale, Arizona; Body Life by Ray Stedman (Regal) on Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto, California; Renew My Church by David Haney (Zondervan), on Heritage Baptist Church, Annapolis, Maryland; Full Circle by David Mains (Word), on Circle (Evangelical Free) Church, Chicago; The Reproducers by Chuck Smith (Regal), on Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, California; and The Kennedy Explosion by E. Russell Chandler (David C. Cook), on Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Two other titles merit attention. Marlin Jeschke fills a gap with his treatment of church discipline entitled Discipling the Brother (Herald), and Wayne Rood writes On Nurturing Christians (Abingdon), an appeal for vital church education. The only 1972 volume on preaching worth mentioning is Dan Baumann’s An Introduction to Contemporary Preaching (Baker).
SCHOOLS Two books give us insight into facets of Christian education where very little has been written. Bruce Lockerbie defends Christian secondary education in The Way They Should Go (Oxford), and three Wheaton College professors, Mayers, Richards, and Webber, collaborate on Reshaping Christian Higher Education (Zondervan). Liberal-arts colleges rather than Bible colleges and seminaries are in view.
George M. Marsden is associate professor of history at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has the Ph.D. (Yale University) and has written “The Evangelical Mind and the New School Presbyterian Experience.”
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more