The Joy And Task Of Parenting

I Want To Enjoy My Children, by Henry Brandt and Phil Landrum (Zondervan, 1975, 184 pp., $2.95 pb), You Can Have a Family Where Everybody Wins, by Earl Gaulke (Concordia, 1975, 93 pp., $1.95 pb), What Is a Family?, by Edith Schaeffer (Revell, 1975, 255 pp., $6.95), Confident Children and How They Grow, by Richard Strauss (Tyndale, 1975, 155 pp., $5.95), and Raising Children by Linda Raney Wright (Tyndale, 1975, 158 pp. $2.95 pb), are reviewed by Norman Stolpe, editorial director, Family Concern, Omaha, Nebraska.

Today, with so many articles on rearing children, so many ‘experts’ to advise parents, and so much talk among themselves, young mothers are almost developing an insecurity in regard to their own motherly instincts.” This observation by Ruth Peale, quoted in Raising Children, points out the confusion generated for many parents by the recent outpouring of child rearing literature. Of the five books considered here, no two are completely compatible. No wonder parents are confused.

Though the title I Want to Enjoy My Children sounds fresh and positive, and though much of the content is true and good, Brandt and Landrum offer little that is new. Raising Children is the collected results of interviews with the wives of twelve prominent Christian men. It communicates more warm feelings about motherhood than information about how to be an effective parent. While much of Richard Strauss’s Confident Children and How They Grow is a restatement of standard, conservative Christian perspectives on parenting, he does have some good insights into parental authority.

Edith Schaeffer’s What Is a Family? and Earl Gaulke’s You Can Have a Family Where Everybody Wins both challenge conventional thinking about parenting and convey a more positive tone than the other three books. Gaulke views parent-child conflicts positively. He suggests that they be seen as opportunities for growth in the relationship as parent and child cooperate so both can win, rather than as power struggles in which one must lose. Schaeffer’s impressionistic descriptions of family life portray a sense of fun, humor, excitement, adventure, and beauty.

The central issue in books on parenting, particularly those by Christian authors, is parental authority. It is a watershed that divides sharply, exposing the writers’ presuppositions. New Testament servant authority (Matt. 20:25–28) is the standard for evaluating on this issue.

Gaulke’s book is most susceptible to criticism at this point. As the subtitle, “Christian Perspectives on Parent Effectiveness Training,” reveals, Gaulke’s book is a commentary on the popular, humanistic work of Thomas Gordon and can be fully understood only after one reads Gordon’s book or takes the “PET” course. Gaulke’s attachment to the “PET” approach seems to cause him to lose sight of the authority God has delegated to parents. However, that authority is implied in what he writes about admonition and confrontation.

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Despite this critical oversight, Gaulke constructs a stimulating and biblical model for Christian parent-child relationships based on the Reformation doctrine of Law and Gospel. While the proper use of the Law as a schoolmaster could have been developed further, he rightly appeals to parents not to abuse the Law and encourages them to operate from a gospel perspective. He helpfully observes that “the Law is to be preached to impenitent sinners (including the ‘flesh’ of Christians); the Gospel to those who are troubled and alarmed because of their sins,” a needed emphasis.

Those who argue strongly for parental authority present a more complex problem of evaluation. Though avoiding the difficulties of permissiveness, they tend to miss the servant role of the parent. A parent seeking support for self-serving, autocratic authority can find it (by careful misreading) in I Want To Enjoy My Children and in the comments of some of the women in Raising Children, though in both the support is unintentional.

Schaeffer adds a refreshing note by reminding parents that they are not perfect and challenging them to admit their weaknesses to their children. She goes on to tell about an ivy plant often repotted after being thrown by her husband, Francis, in “flairs of temper.” Over the years that plant became a symbol of the growing human relationship and God’s forgiveness in their family.

In addition to reminding parents that they too have a sinful nature and encouraging them to be honest about their faults, Strauss draws a sharp distinction between punishment and correction. He asserts that children who are spanked to “pay for” misbehavior are not “spanked in a biblical manner.” Commenting on many parents’ understanding of corporal discipline, he writes, “After they have spanked their children they consider the score to be even. But that is not God’s way. He is not interested in an even score but in a holy life.” Strauss is critical of parents who allow children to use spanking to “salve their conscience.” This unconventional understanding of discipline and authority rests on the Gospel; “the whole debt was paid at Calvary and we have been forgiven.”

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All five of these books reflect some of the growing emphasis on teaching in the home. While I Want To Enjoy My Children focuses on how parents can control their children, it implies that parents have an important teaching influence. Several of the mothers in Raising Children report their role in teaching.

Gaulke’s chapters on values and growing together show how significant teaching takes place when parents and children have open, communicating relationships. Strauss is even stronger on the teaching responsibilities of parents, criticizing those who “have evidently decided to let the Sunday school and church handle the job of making the Scriptures a vital part of their children’s lives.” He devotes two full chapters to specific strategies for parental teaching.

What Is a Family? is a rich resource for parents who take responsibility for their children’s total education. Schaeffer uses the image of a “perpetual relay of truth” to represent the family’s role in Christian education. “The primary place for the flag of truth to be handed on is in the family,” she asserts. Later she uses the concept of an “educational control” to explain how parents are also responsible for the secular education of their children.

While in two chapters she deals specifically with the educational aspects of family living, the entire book is permeated with the awareness that learning is inherent in family living. It contains a wealth of illustrations and suggestions for parents to use in weaving Christian truth and learning into family life.

Beyond reading and discussing books, like these, parents need to agree to be of help to each other in developing new behavior patterns. They would do well to join forces with a few other parents who are similarly motivated. Churches can help parents do this.

Faith Healers

All Things Are Possible: The Healing and Charismatic Revivals in Modern America, by David Edwin Harrell, Jr. (Indiana University, 1976, 304 pp., $10.95), is reviewed by Erling Jorstad, professor of history and American studies, St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota.

This is a major contribution to one of the most complex and controversial subjects in American religious history. Professor Harrell (of the University of Alabama, Birmingham) presents a carefully researched, scholarly study of the many independent ministries of healing that grew up throughout the country, especially in the South, between 1945 and the early 1970s. It is his thesis that the older classical Pentecostal healing ministries were overshadowed by the work of such leaders as William Branham, Oral Roberts, Gordon Lindsay, Jack Coe, T. L. Osborn, A. A. Allen, and Don Stewart during that period. Now their domination has come to an end, and the ministry of healing has been absorbed primarily by the neo-Pentecostalists who remain within the mainline denominations. I find Harrell’s thesis original and persuasive. And it is heartening that a major university press published a book on a subject usually left to popularizers.

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The title, however, is slightly misleading. One should not expect, and Harrell states this clearly, to find here a history of the mainline neo-Pentecostalist movement, that movement led by persons such as Dennis Bennett, Larry Christenson, Rodman Williams, and Bob Mumford. Rather, the focus throughout is on the healing ministries of the major figures of the fifties and sixties. The history of mainline renewal remains to be written.

The author brings many strengths to this work. He defines his terms carefully; he has done exhaustive research in primary sources; he has relied on the evaluation of the best scholars in the field such as Kilian McDonnell and Martin Marty.

Although he says he does “not share the religious presuppositions of the charismatic revivalists,” he discusses each one in straightforward, balanced terms. He avoids taking any cheap shots at the excesses, the frauds, and the nonsense of some of the persons involved. In fact, his caution leaves one feeling that something of the poignancy and deepfelt emotions of a healing service are sacrificed or at least vastly played down.

Harrell has chosen to evaluate each ministry in theological terms and by choice avoids bringing the research tools of behavioral science to bear on his analysis. He writes in a direct, clear manner giving us an abundance of factual information. His introductions to each chapter are especially helpful.

My major difficulty is with the structure of the book. Perhaps there was no other way to organize the material than as Harrell does, in chapters that list, in catalog fashion, the ministries of the leaders. Accuracy and clarity are achieved, but a smoothly flowing narrative is sacrificed. Chapter two, on “Origins” will satisfy neither the specialists, who know that material, nor the new reader, who does not have at hand the information the author assumes. Chapter nine, the finale, is admittedly a tentative probe into mainline neo-Pentecostalism. The author succeeds in showing that the healing ministry of the sixties disintegrated by the early seventies, but chapter nine could be more firmly organized. For instance, he uses some sources dated 1974, but not two highly important studies of mainline renewal that appeared in that year, Filled With New Wine by James W. Jones and The Fire Flares Anew by John Stevens Kerr.

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The book has sixteen pages of photographs, carefully selected and useful. So too are the excellent bibliography, the footnotes, and the index.

Given the limitation that it centers on the healing revival far more than mainline charismatic revival, this book becomes the standard work for all who are probing this phenomenon.

Is Divorce Forgivable?

The Right to Remarry, by Dwight Small (Revell, 1975, 190 pp., $5.95), is reviewed by C. E. Cerling, Jr., Ph.D. candidate, Aquinas Institute of Theology, Dubuque, Iowa.

Evangelical discussion about divorce is stalemated. The basic written views are established. Published articles rehash what has been said before. The Right to Remarry by Dwight Small attempts to break that pattern. Small’s authorship of three earlier, highly regarded books places him in a good position to say something new that merits attention.

At the present time two works, both out-of-print, represent most evangelical thinking about divorce. The better known is John Murray’s Divorce. It is probably the most thorough exegetical study of divorce in existence. Murray’s position is plain: divorce is permissible only for adultery. Both parties are free to remarry. Divorce may be tolerated in another situation: if a marriage begins as the marriage of two non-Christians and one of them later becomes a Christian, the stage is set for the special exemption provided by Paul. If the non-Christian partner, for religious reasons, wants to end the marriage, the Christian is not to fight this action. They are both free to remarry.

The other book is by Fisher-Hunter, The Divorce Problem. He maintains that divorce is never right. The passages in Matthew apparently permitting divorce refer to immorality during the Jewish betrothal period but only discovered after the marriage. Divorce is tolerated by Paul, but remarriage is forbidden.

Both of these works are almost exclusively exegetical studies. Murray is exceedingly thorough. Fisher-Hunter is more verbose than thorough, but his work expresses the views of a great many Christians. The exegetical nature of these works is also their most serious limitation. By concentrating their attention on the divorce passages, these authors fail to consider the wider application of the Gospel to the problem of divorce: Can divorce be forgiven and a new marriage formed? Strictly exegetical studies on divorce will always fail because they cannot answer this question. This, however, is the primary question Small addresses.

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Those in the mental-health professions are caught in a curious bind by the present stance of the evangelical world. Evangelical writers present an exegetical statement of a particular position on divorce in one part of their work. Then, writing as if they had said nothing about the biblical teaching on divorce, they blithely state something like, “But there are times when divorce is the only solution to a bad situation.” The deficiency in their logic destroys their credibility with those whom they wish to persuade.

It is probable that in 1975, for the first time, more than one million divorces were recorded in the United States. Evangelicals stand by wringing their hands at the growing problem of divorce. Nevertheless, little theological justification is being provided for a ministry to the divorced.

Dwight Small steps into this fray as one well qualified to speak. The book just before this one, Christian: Celebrate Your Sexuality, established him as one of the leading evangelicals writing on marital ethics. But many will find his approach to divorce disconcerting. Others will be delighted. The Right to Remarry combats a popular view of divorce and remarriage. Divorce is wrong. Remarriage following divorce is even worse. Small speaks about the right to remarry for those who have experienced marriage failure. There is no such right—there is only a God-given privilege under grace of having an opportunity to start again even though sin has occured. Following repentance for the sin of divorce and the sins leading to divorce, God provides the opportunity under grace to try again—as he does with all who fail by sinning.

Much of this book is given over to a discussion of the need for what is termed an “interim ethic.” Small distinguishes three time periods established by God. There is the time of Israel and there is the time of the Kingdom. However, instead of being entirely separate, these two overlap, providing the third period, the interim during which the Church functions. During this interim period the laws of the Kingdom do not fully apply. They still express God’s absolute rule for life, but failure to observe them will not bring punishment. Rather, under grace, God provides forgiveness for those who will repent and seek forgiveness. Included in this group are those whose marriages have failed.

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Five primary theses provide the structure of the book. Permanence is God’s ideal for all marriages. Nothing written in the book is meant to detract from that ideal. But not everyone will meet the ideal. Some people, Christians among them, will fail. For them God provides forgiveness. Divorce in such a case is justifiable as the lesser of two evils. Confronted with the fact of a dead marriage, the couple must determine whether the sin is greater to remain married or to seek a divorce.

Finally, Small introduces two corollary themes. Since God provides two exceptions to his absolute command for the permanence of marriage, may it not be that there are more exceptions? And, while the Pauline exception has a specific narrow application, might it not also have a wider application to any case where one partner is irrevocably committed to leaving the marriage?

Small is to be commended for his strong emphasis on God’s will for marriage: a lifelong relationship. Although he provides a much broader basis for divorce than most authors have done, he remains firmly committed to God’s ideal.

Similarly, he must be commanded for his emphasis on forgiveness. The divorced need to know that God will forgive their failure and provide them with another chance. This is a clear recognition of the sexual and associational needs in most people. These are needs God created, and we cannot deny their existence. This attitude provides an open door for the Church to minister to the divorced.

While Small’s broadening of the grounds for divorce as the lesser of two evils will strike a positive chord among the mental-health professionals, it will not set well with many people. Is a Christian ever confronted with a choice between two evil acts where he cannot do the will of God and still avoid sin? Can divorce ever be recommended as the biblical solution to marriage problems? With this I have difficulty.

Apart from the emphasis on permanence and forgiveness, a further value of this book lies in its appearance as the opening salvo in a new (I hope) discussion of divorce among evangelicals. We are obviously not ministering to this needy group. (Recent studies of human stress show that divorce is second only to the death of a spouse in causing stress.) Our theology appears to have boxed us into a position where we cannot minister to those whose marriages have failed. When this occurs it suggests the need to reevaluate. Small has begun the process. May others follow.

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Ours Is Not A Secular Age

The New Demons, by Jacques Ellul (Seabury, 1975, 228 pp., $9.95), is reviewed by David Gill, doctoral student, University of Southern California, Los A ngeles.

In his latest book to be translated into English, Jacques Ellul takes vigorous exception to the conclusion that our age is secular. It has not, he says, come of age. The “old demon” has been exorcised from Western civilization, but it has been followed by “seven demons worse than itself,” to draw on Jesus’ story that Ellul’s title calls to mind.

For a thousand years or more, “Christendom” held sway in European civilization. Certainly we are now living in a “post-Christian” era. Christian thought-forms and presuppositions are no longer the taken-for-granted frame of reference. But it is a serious mistake, Ellul argues, to conclude that since Christianity and Christendom are dethroned, modern man is secular and irreligious.

Ellul’s three basic categories are the sacred, myth, and religion. He suggests that a broad historical research into the forms and functions of phenomena that for people in the past have qualified as sacred, myth, and religion will generate the necessary definitions in each category. Then we can examine our own culture to see what, if anything, has those same forms and functions for us.

The sacred is Ellul’s basic category, and myth and religion are subordinate expressions of what a society considers sacred. Ellul’s definition of the sacred is in agreement with that of most anthropologists and sociologists of religion. It is a “qualification attributed to completely tangible reality”—to that which threatens or protects, to that which puts us in tune with our universe. Of special interest is Ellul’s argument that the sacred is always given in a two-pole form: a “sacred of respect” is pared with a “sacred of transgression.”

Ellul then identifies the sacred today as the two pairs (respect/transgression) of technique/sex and nation-state/revolution. Technique and the nation-state (sacreds of respect) are supreme, ultimate, good, providential, fearful; i.e., they have the same forms and functions of previous sacreds. Sex (in a most interesting argument) is the “sacred of transgression” paired with technique. It has become modern man’s means of rebelling and declaring his freedom over against the constricting grip of technique. And in a similar fashion, revolution serves as the sacred transgression of the almighty nation-state. Many readers of The New Demons will find Ellul’s fuller treatment in The Technological Society, The Political Illusion, and The Autopsy of Revolution of interest in regard to three of those areas.

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Myth, an expression of the sacred, is “a fictive statement in connection with a given portion of the world.” Myths help us map out the sacred and function as “motivating global images”—explaining, orienting, attributing meaning, and inciting to action. Ellul identifies the two basic myths of our time as the myth of history and the myth of science. History has been transmuted into a value and meaning. Everything finds its true place and meaning only in its relationship to history. Science has been elevated as the locus of all salvation.

On these two foundational myths a secondary level of myths is built, applying and making explicit the “basic line.” On this level are the myths of class struggle, happiness, youth, and progress. Finally there is a third level, the most superficial elements, exemplified in such areas as advertising and sloganeering.

Religions are another expression of the sacred. Ellul notes the tremendous proliferation of gurus, mystics, cults, and astrologers taking place in the very heart of our urban technological centers. What is interesting is the fact that these phenomena are almost always quite technical in their forms and functions (meditation techniques, astrology charts, and so on). They agree entirely with the sacred of technique.

Of greatest significance, though, is political religion. Ellul looks first at the extreme forms, such as Maoism, Stalinism, Hitlerism, and points out their exact correspondence to “traditional” religions. They have their sacred texts, prophets, saints, martyrs, clergy, rites of initiation and commitment, eschatological perspective, theology and dogmatics, and even hymns and worship in some cases. The “liberal, democratic” countries are less obvious examples, but the phenomenon of political religion is very much alive and growing even there. Politics is the center of value, the arena of all “meaningful action,” the means to salvation and fulfillment. Even art becomes “serious,” in the estimation of our culture, normally by its inclusion of political themes.

Political religion can only increase given the ever-greater needs for power and resources by a monolithic, totalitarian, technical nation-state, and the instinctual human need for direction and commitment. Lauding the new secular era and “man-come-of-age” does nothing to alter the factual reality: political religion fulfills precisely the same forms and functions as traditional religions did in past ages.

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Ellul advocates two responses by Christians in this situation. First, we must undertake a desacralization and demythologization of the real idols, myths, and illusions of our day (such as technique, the nation-state, youth and progress). We must reveal them for what they really are. Second, we must preach the Word of God, just as it is, without the pseudo-demythologizing that has obscured and emasculated the message for so long. It would be cruel to supply only the negative critique without giving the only adequate answer to man’s needs: faith in Jesus Christ.

Ellul’s vocation as a twentieth-century prophet, smashing the idols and proclaiming the liberating Gospel in all its nakedness and offensiveness to fallen man, leaves him open to criticism at a few points in this work as well as his previous books. Let me give two examples. First, he specifies a thoroughly phenomenological and empirical method for defining the sacred, myth, and religion, and criticizes the heralds of the secular age for failing on this point. Yet he also fails to give any of the hard data or even references to such data on which he bases his own definitions.

Second, Ellul’s evaluations of certain persons (e.g., Harvey Cox and Billy Graham) and of movements (e.g., the “Jesus Revolution”) tend to be too harsh and oversimplified. They deserve criticism, but they also deserve a more balanced and fair appraisal. Ellul’s disagreement with Bonhoeffer is, on the other hand, delivered in a sensitive and helpful fashion.

It would also be interesting to hear what Ellul would say if pressed on the relation between the “raw” occultic and demonic manifestations of our times and the more abstract ideological and institutional “demons” he treats in this book. But these are the criticisms of a learner and a disciple. I remain convinced that this is an excellent and convincing work. The New Demons (and, indeed, all of Ellul’s work, which now includes sixteen volumes in English translation) is a genuine and faithful Christian critique of our times and a signpost pointing the way out of the morass. The weaknesses to which I have called attention are remedied in part by Ellul’s other, complementary works, but in the final analysis are simply an occupational hazard experienced by all “prophets.” The New Demons is accurate enough to open our eyes and powerful enough (I think) to energize us into meaningful activity for the Kingdom of God.

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The Black Church In Transition

Black Religion and American Evangelicalism, by Milton Sernett (Scarecrow, 1975, 320 pp., $12.50), Black Pastors and Leaders: Memphis, 1819–1972, by David Tucker (Memphis State University, 1975, 158 pp., $8.95), and Community in a Black Pentecostal Church: An Anthropological Study, by Melvin Williams (University of Pittsburgh, 1974, 202 pp., $9.95), are reviewed by James S. Tinney, Ph.D. candidate in political science, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Most recent books about black religion have concentrated on its biographical, theological and sociological dimensions, rather than on wide, historical developments. In fact, since the early part of this century when Frazier, DuBois and Mays wrote, Washington’s Black Religion has stood almost alone as recent general history, not limited to a single denominational viewpoint. The three books here reviewed help fill this gap by providing a continuous account of the transition of black religion from pre-Civil-War days (Sernett), to the post-war urban South (Tucker), and then to the urban North (Williams).

Sernett provides the shortest and most controversial book of the three. Roughly one-half of the volume is devoted to bibliography and appendices. (Appendix two provides valuable biographical sketches, concisely and alphabetically arranged.) Subtitled, “White Protestants, Plantation Missions, and the Flowering of Negro Christianity, 1787–1865,” its text is divided into white and black halves. The first half tells how whites saw, treated, served, and used blacks. The second part chronicles the rise of black religious organization.

In an introduction, Martin E. Marty lauds the book for portraying pre-Civil-War black religion as something far removed from purported “liberating radical ideology.” The author, in turn, attempts to reconstruct this history from a conservative, white viewpoint. This stance renders this book almost useless to the serious student or scholar. Almost every pathological and debilitating explanation of black religion—now carefully shunned by modern historians, black and white—is resurrected with approval by Sernett.

He refuses to acknowledge any contiguous expressions of African religion; exonerates white “missionaries” who capitulated to the “obedient slave” model in preaching; denies that black religion constituted a valid church during that era; views the slaves as moral indigents; and criticizes the black clergy for “educational backwardness” that “cannot be attributed to a lack of opportunity.”

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Sernett gives little credibility to black interpretations of church history, ridiculing even official accounts by black Methodist organizations. At one point, he takes it upon himself to label as false certain parts of Richard Allen’s memoirs. (Allen founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church.) He categorically denies that the black church was an expression of either nationalism or separatism, although other historians have clearly traced these elements within black religion.

Tucker, on the other hand, provides a reasonable and generally undisputable account. While reaching back to the early 1800’s in introductory material, he concentrates on post-Civil-War developments in “the first book to attempt to document the growth of black religion in an urban center.” That the book concerns only one city, Memphis, does not detract from its importance, since Memphis is headquarters to two major black denominations: the Church of God in Christ, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Tucker fully explores the histories of these bodies and this adds dramatically to the book’s wider importance.

Further, Tucker places the work of a half dozen prominent ministers within larger settings. He chooses men who were nationally influential within their own communions: Benjamin Imes, representing the famous American Missionary Association and the AME Church; T.O. Fuller, Baptist minister and journalist; Sutton Griggs, who was instrumental in the NAACP’s founding; Benjamin Hooks, Baptist member of the Federal Communications Commission; and James M. Lawson, Jr., activist in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the sanitation workers’ strike that led to the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. Black pentecostals and Catholics are also mentioned. In addition, conflicts of the black churches with black fraternal orders, changing political climates, and innovative black theologies serve the expansive scope of this volume, making it easily the most readable of the three books being reviewed.

The periscope of history adds crucial insights to Tucker’s record. He recalls the times when whites burned down every black church in the city and killed forty blacks, and uncovers the competence of black ministers. “None of the churches for Negroes which were kept under white leadership were ever able to prosper; the successful ministries were those established and run by blacks,” he says.

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Differences in style, as well as origin, of the four denominations comprising black Methodists are mentioned. He believes the CME Church experienced slower growth than that of the AME because of stronger ties to “the cause of black liberation,” but states the CME survived because they developed churches in small towns, which AME did not. By 1931, the Church of God in Christ outstripped both of these groups, however, he says, because of its discipline, its work ethic, and attention to the poorer blacks. Further, the COGIC presiding bishop, J.O. Patterson, left other black ministers far behind in his early identification with political protest and the SCLC. (The sanitation workers were given use of the COGIC international temple as strike headquarters.)

While Williams’s book is called “an anthropological study,” it has historical significance as well. The only black author among these three, Williams shows the transition of black religion from the southern to the northern urban centers. He focuses on both congregational and denominational organization within a pentecostal group in Pittsburgh. Although he uses pseudonyms, it is obvious that his “Church of Holy Christ” is really COGIC; and names of bishops such as “Jenkins,” “Simpson,” and “Jackson,” actually represent C.H. Mason, the COGIC founder, and O.T. Jones and G.E. Vaughn who were state bishops.

What Williams says about this Pittsburgh church, however, may apply with equal force to other small black churches in the urban North, both pentecostal and otherwise. Refusing to accept models of social and cultural deprivation and disorganization, he demonstrates other prevalent factors such as political interaction, symbolic themes, common values but tolerance for persons who deviated from those values, common southern roots, and the important roles of women. Blacks in these churches “are no more desperate or frustrated” than anyone else, he believes. Given these positive features, one wonders how he can entertain the possibility that churches such as this “may disappear within the next ten years.” Possibly neither this prediction, nor the dynamics he describes, are necessarily valid also for churches larger than 100 members.

Psychologies And Religions

Transpersonal Psychologies, edited by Charles Tart (Harper & Row, 1975, 502 pp., $16.50), is reviewed by Lewis Rambo, assistant professor of psychology, Trinity College, Deerfield, Illinois.

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For several decades pastoral counselors and theologians have been turning to psychology in order to expand their understanding of human functioning and therapeutic technique. Transpersonal Psychologies is one of the first books in which the psychologist is seeking information from the religious perspective. One of the reasons for this openness to religion is that psychologists are currently asking fundamental questions about the basic assumptions, methods, and scope of their science. Moreover, there is a growing awareness that the traditional psychological view of human nature is too mechanistic to account for the complexity and range of experience.

Transpersonal Psychologies contains eleven essays, three of them by the editor. Tart, an experimental psychologist at the University of California at Davis, gives a survey of the new science of altered states of consciousness (meditation, dreams, drug intoxication, mysticism, and the like). This new field dramatically demonstrates the poverty of contemporary psychology in even beginning to understand these “transpersonal” experiences. Tart’s chapter, “Some Assumptions of Orthodox, Western Psychology,” is a comprehensive listing and analysis of more than seventy assumptions held by most psychologists. The assumptions are powerful because they are often implicit and thereby render the psychologist “blind” to certain experiences or causes him to dismiss them as merely subjective.

Tart commissioned eight experts in different religious traditions to present the basic position of these traditions in the language of the psychologist in order to enrich the psychologist’s understanding and begin a genuine dialogue between the two fields. The chapters concern Zen Buddhism, Yoga, Arica Training, Sufism, Gurdjieff, magic, and Christian mysticism. Generally, the articles are competent, if not always stimulating.

Evangelical Christians will find William McNamara’s “Psychology and the Christian Mystical Tradition” a good introduction to a generally neglected area among conservative Christians in the United States. McNamara’s essay will also alert the reader to the similarities and the important differences between Christian mysticism and the mysticism of other world religions.

Transpersonal Psychologies is important because it is one of the first attempts of psychologists to seek new information about human psychology from religious traditions. It is to be hoped that the interaction of psychology and religion will continue to be a reciprocal relation instead of as in the past, a borrowing—sometimes at random—by religious people from contemporary psychology. Whatever its limitations, this book is a significant step in the right direction.

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A Valuable Guide To Evangelism

Evangelical Witness, by Ralph Quere (Augsburg, 1975, 160 pp., $3.75 pb), is reviewed by Dale Sanders, pastor, Evangelical Covenant Church, Essex, Iowa.

A professor of history and theology at Wartburg Seminary, Ralph Quere begins his theology of evangelism with the assertion that “Law and gospel, rightly understood, become the key to effective evangelism” (p. 12). His book is a felicitous contribution to the literature of evangelism; it is a book of evangelical substance. From a distinctly Lutheran vantage, the author leads the reader through the message, medium, mission, and method of evangelism along this schema: Victor, Victim, Vicar (he acknowledges his debt to J.S. Whale).

As a Lutheran, he forthrightly but gently states reservations about Catholicism’s “theology of glory” (p. 87) as well as several areas of standard American evangelicalism. His reservations include James Kennedy’s Evangelism Explosion (p. 131), and Billy Graham, whom he obviously loves (p. 93).

Theologically Quere is satisfying. Non-sacramental and quasi-sacramental evangelicals can profitably rework his understanding of infant baptism, or even his whole interpretation of baptism’s significance. It wouldn’t hurt for Arminians and Calvinists to wrestle awhile with an orthodox Lutheran. It is salutary to read his affirmation of hell’s reality; it is even more salutary to be reminded of our amazing Saviour, whom Quere likes to call Beautiful Saviour.

Among the many strong points is an understandable comparison of world religions, and their inroads on the West; an illuminating survey of Christian salvation history; and an excellent discussion of practical evangelism.

There is a unique appendix in which he divides the Victor, Victim, Vicar motifs into their biblical parallels, and the biblically evangelical pastor will discover eight pages of gold to be mined for preaching. Best of all, Quere encourages each reader to be free to develop an authentic, truly personal evangelistic style. The publishers have provided a study guide to facilitate group discussion. Evangelical Witness is highly recommended.

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