Bondage And Release For The Church

Justification by Success: The Invisible Captivity of the Church, by J. Stanley Glen (John Knox, 128 pp., $6.95), is reviewed by L. John Van Til, associate professor of history, Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania.

Thoughtful Christians, whatever their vocation, will be troubled by this book because it raises some very important questions about the nature of modern society and the Christian’s place in it. The author’s thesis is that the rapidity of social change in modern society has created a new and invisible religion whose central tenet is the exercise and adoration of power.

“The Invisible Religion” traces the origins and development of the new religion, thereafter characterizing its principal features. The religion of power, says Glen, has risen in the modern world as a parallel to the development of industrialism. Indeed, it has emerged as a result of industrialism. Power, the ability to control the lives and destinies of other people, has become an integral part of the industrial process. What began as a relatively simple matter two centuries ago as men increasingly used the contract to order their economic relationships has become very complex in our time. This complexity has been compounded by the fact that the essence of contemporary industrial contracts is characterized by the language of science, technology, and technique. This has been a crucial development because only a handful of experts in these matters can understand what transactions are being executed. The handful of experts, who understand and thus can manage the transactions, are in a position to exercise power in a way that is unprecedented. Others in society, Glen argues, must depend upon this class of experts. ...

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