What Has Faith To Do With Psychology?

The Human Puzzle: Psychological Research and Christian Belief by David G. Myers (Harper & Row, 278 pp., $5.95 pb), is reviewed by Lewis Rambo, assistant professor of religion and psychology, San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, California.

Among evangelicals, psychology is enjoying a remarkable popularity. Manifestations of this interest are to be seen in the large number of psychological books found in Christian bookstores, the growth of the Christian Association for Psychological studies (CAPS), the establishment of doctoral programs in psychology in association with Georgia State University and with Fuller and Talbot seminaries as well as countless masters programs, and the well-received Journal of Psychology and Theology. Now comes this book as the first in a series to be published by Harper & Row in association with CAPS under the editorship of Craig W. Ellison of Simpson College.

The book is an excellent beginning for the series. This joint venture is a sign of the anticipated large market for such books and a symbol of the growing respectability and sophistication of the emerging religion and psychology movement among evangelicals.

The Human Puzzle follows two other recent and valuable books—Malcolm Jeeves’s Psychology and Christianity (InterVarsity) and Gary Collins’s The Rebuilding of Psychology (Tyndale House). Jeeves contends that psychology and theology are, each in its own way, valuable and viable modes of knowledge. They are distinct perspectives that do not contradict one another but are complementary explanations of the same phenomenon. Collins, by contrast, advocates the renovation of the science of psychology by the implementation of the assumptions, values, and perspectives of a conservative interpretation of the Bible. Myers, who teaches at Hope College, does not, like Jeeves, urge a complete separation of the fields, nor does he follow Collins in the transformation of psychology by evangelical theology. Myers believes that the fields are separate in the sense that they are different in terms of methods, assumptions, and goals. Nevertheless, there are many points at which the fields merge, sometimes agreeing and sometimes disagreeing. Myers is much more willing to live with the complexities of the relationship between psychology and theology and, furthermore, he is interested in seeing the interaction as a genuine dialogue.

The Human Puzzle focuses on four major issues: the relationship of the mind and body, the interaction of action and attitudes, the nature of superstition and prayer, and the problem of freedom and determinism. In order to foster dialogue, the book is structured with two chapters on each theme with one of the chapters reporting on psychological research relevant to the topic and another chapter examining theological reflection on the same subject. Thus, there is an interplay of the perspectives with the hope of highlighting the parallels, but not ignoring the conflicts between psychology and theology.

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Before exploring these themes, Myers briefly discusses the nature of science as a human enterprise permeated with values and not as the perfect, objective view of reality as it is sometimes idealized to be. Rather, science is a fallible, but important, means by which to understand, predict, and control nature. Hence, though not perfect, science is an illuminating perspective on reality. The “demythologizing” of science is important to Christians because of the assertions of many contemporary philosophers and scientists that science is the only avenue to valid knowledge. Myers works on the assumption that all truth is God’s truth and that science is a systematic and fruitful way to learn about God’s creation.

The relationship of the mind and body is the first set of issues examined by Myers. He surveys some fascinating research that shows the intimate connection between the human capacities for consciousness, imagination, and rationality and their neurological, physiological, and chemical bases in the body. Myers delineates the biblical view of humans as a unity of mind, body, and spirit. Indeed, he argues that among biblical writers mind, body, and spirit are generally synonomous terms. Hence, any split of mind and body is the result of the infusion of Greek philosophy and not Hebrew and Christian understanding. Myers sees in this modern psychological research a confirmation of the original biblical point of view.

Attitudes and action are the second focus of concern. Myers tells about some research which demonstrates that attitudes are often generated as a result of action, rather than the normally expected view that attitudes generate action. According to Myers there is a complex interplay between attitudes and actions, with each implicating, informing, and infusing one another. Thus, one of the implications to be drawn is that religious education should combine cognitive understanding with religious rituals in order to confirm the believer in ways of living as well as ways of believing.

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The third set of themes examines superstition and prayer. Prayer, for some Christians, is like a superstition says Myers. Research shows that people often see a cause and effect relationship between events that are merely coincidently related. This tendency encourages Christians to use prayer as a fulfillment of personal desires. Christians need to be aware of this proclivity and avoid it by a better understanding of prayer. That purpose, according to Myers, is to foster humility, submission, and worship of God, not the gratification of petty wishes. Some may disagree with Myers, but surely most Christians are sensitive to the current distortions of prayer being advocated today.

The fourth issue discussed by Myers is the complex area of freedom and determinism. He draws upon the field of philosophy, theology, and science to articulate a position that combines belief in the absolute sovereignty of God simultaneously with belief in human moral responsibility. Myers admits that this combination is paradoxical in that, on the surface, there is a contradiction of terms. Nevertheless, he refuses to simplify the problems and acknowledges the complexity of the topic. He sees the paradox as resolved in a faith that trusts God for the ultimate solution. Pointing to the current discussion on the nature of light as both particles and waves, as a paradox with which scientists are willing to live, Myers avers that the freedom/determinism issue among Christians is likewise such a mystery. Resolution is achieved in humble submission to God in Christ, not through intellectual processes alone.

The Human Puzzle is a very well done book. Myers’s orientation as a researcher in the field of social psychology is evident in the extremely interesting illustrations he gives throughout the book. Myers admits to the complexity of the issues involved and is willing to live with many loose ends. He shows an openness to interdisciplinary perspectives and a desire to find an integration of the biblical witness and the modern scholarly disciplines. The book is also an excellent example of thorough documentation, clarity of exposition, humility in the expression of opinions and convictions, and flexibility in the interpretation of the proper relationship of psychology and theology. Myers advocates a delicate and sophisticated interplay of the two disciplines while at the same time affirming a strong commitment to the supremacy of the biblical revelation, but with an awareness of the possible distortions of our interpretation of the Bible. Psychology, when properly used, can not only help elucidate our misinterpretations but also expand our understanding of human nature and foster a way of life more in accordance with the biblical mandate.

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Guides to Children’s Literature

With so many children’s books pouring off the presses, how can we separate the wheat from the chaff? And how can we encourage children to read the wheat?
Christian parents can find a lot of help in two books, both full of imaginative and practical ideas to whet young appetites. Both books also make numerous suggestions for correlating good literature with biblical teachings. Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt (Zondervan, 182 pp., $3.95 pb) was first released in 1969, but a revised edition was published last year. Nearly a third of the book is a classified and annotated listing of books that Mrs. Hunt thinks will still be superior reading ten years from now.
How to Grow a Young Reader by John and Kay Lindskoog (David C. Cook, 166 pp., $2.95 pb) was published last year. (Mrs. Lindskoog is well known for her books on C. S. Lewis.) Their book is even more bibliographical than Hunt’s, with fuller annotations for many of the titles. Hunt’s listings are grouped by age, while the Lindskoogs group by genre. Both books deserve wide circulation among parents and in churches, schools, and public libraries.
A third new book is for school and public libraries: Information Sources in Children’s Literature: A Practical Reference Guide for Children’s Librarians, Elementary School Teachers, and Students of Children’s Literature by Mary Meacham (Greenwood, 256 pp., $18.95). Experienced children’s librarians will already know most of the material, although even they may pick up a few new tips. But for the person just getting started in the field or assigned to set up a library for a school, this book should prove to be of great value.


Three Guides To Prayer

Come, Pray With Me by Carolyn Rhea (Zondervan, 129 pp., $2.95 pb), Learning to Pray, by Carolyn and Bill Self (Word, 159 pp., $5.95), and Hush! Hush! It’s Time to Pray, But How? by Jill Briscoe (Zondervan, 160 pp., $3.95 pb) are reviewed by Cecil Murphey, pastor, Riverdale Presbyterian Church, Riverdale, Georgia.

Rhea treats an aspect of prayer that is often slighted, praying orally and praying with others. The author intends to teach people to verbalize prayer in the presence of others. The style is anecdotal, reminiscent of Rosalind Rinker, whom she frequently quotes. Believing that corporate prayer is one of the church’s serious weaknesses, Rhea has prepared an eight-session course. It is designed to lead a group step by step into praying with and for each other. The book is not merely about prayer in a formal, mid-week service, but it is for families, church school classes, or any situation where people want to pray together.

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The Selfs offer a practical approach to conducting a twelve-session prayer workshop. The Lord’s Prayer forms the basis of the sessions with a daily devotional idea built around each of the six petitions. If you’re looking for a tool you can use to get people praying, this might be the book for you!

Briscoe also presents a workbook approach to prayer. Like the book by the Selfs it can be adapted for individual use. Briscoe lays out practical steps toward a more effective prayer life, interspersing personal reflections on how prayer became more meaningful for her.

All three of these books point in the same direction. All are well done and practical, but I give Rhea the edge.

What Is The Goal?

Toward Continuous Mission, by W. Douglas Smith (William Carey, 188 pp., $4.95 pb), is reviewed by Mike Shepherd, teacher, Institute Linguistico, Riberalta, Bolivia.

If you do not know what you are aiming at, you will probably hit it, goes the old saying. Unfortunately, too many Christian missions do not know, in specific terms, what they are aiming at. Two things are lacking: accurate information about the people to be reached with the gospel and clearly defined goals for reaching them.

This is the message of the author in this book based on his doctoral dissertation done at the Fuller School of World Mission. As in most writings from that school, the emphasis is on church growth planning. Smith’s analysis is focused on the work of Andes Evangelical Mission in Bolivia, but his workbook approach is readily transferable to other missions and places. He wants to teach us how to develop strategies for world evangelism, using all of the scientific tools at our disposal.

There are three steps in the strategy-producing process: “a critical reflection on contemporary trends” includes a charting of population growth and church growth; “theologizing of biblical priorities” is a presentation of the concept of “continuous mission; “strategizing for ethnic participation in continuous mission” targets specific groups in Bolivia.

Throughout the text the author points out the fact that God is active in missions and that we are to follow his lead. “A biblical strategy,” says Smith, “follows God’s initiative as he ripens each group for harvest.” Present trends in church growth—amply displayed in many graphs and charts—are taken to indicate God’s ripening activity. Because of the rapid church growth among the Aymara people of Bolivia, Smith considers them ripe for harvest, if Christians will only seize the opportunity for further growth.

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The thrust, if not the exact approach, should be useful for many. Of course those with special interest in Bolivia will want a copy because it contains such a wealth of current information. It is a step-by-step breakdown of the evangelistic task in that country by a veteran American missionary. But those interested in other countries will find ideas for the kinds of questions to ask.

Of course, some could question the whole purpose of the book. Given the rise of nationalism in the Third World, how much planning can “gringos” do for churches in those countries? Better to suggest strategies to the nationals and encourage them in the work, rather than attempt to impose a plan. But surely this is what Smith is trying in Bolivia: suggestions. We can pray for success for nationals and missionaries—success in hitting the goals at which they aim.

I Was In Prison And You Visited Me

The Man Who Keeps Going to Jail, by John R. Erwin (David C. Cook, 171 pp., $6.95) is reviewed by J. de Vries, Jr., Protestant Chaplain, Centre Federal de Formation, St. Vincent de Paul, Quebec.

I am convinced you will never make a satisfactory adjustment in life. You’ll probably spend your time in jail,” said the Indiana judge upon sentencing John R. Erwin to prison.

This book presents a dramatic and convincing illustration that no one is beyond rehabilitation. After spending years in foster homes, orphanages, and jail, John R. Erwin’s life took a U-turn upon his own conversion to Christ. This book describes the growth and maturation of a Cook County (Chicago) Jail chaplain.

With no home life and a totally negative self-evaluation so common to prisoners, what good could Erwin be to the world—much less to the cause of Christ? His aching loneliness was transformed by a realization of his worth and a new life. While attending Bible school he was introduced to a Cook County Jail ministry. Increasing identification and involvement with the “prison fraternity” led to his engagement as chaplain.

Would Erwin’s ministry be to “preach” to inmates, or should the immediate needs of the illiterate Cook County Jail residents be met first? The dilemma was resolved through Erwin’s realization that man first must also have bread in order to be able to receive the “Word of Life.” Erwin did what others thought impossible: he taught illiterate prisoners to read. His procedure, called Programmed Activities for Correctional Education (PACE), eventually drew national attention. His sharp insight into the thinking of the prisoner equipped him to relate more effectively as chaplain and “bringer of hope” in darkness. The PACE program has resulted in changed lives for many new members of Christ’s family. The total ministry to the needs of men in their fallen condition was the key to Erwin’s success. It is an illustration of costly grace in contrast with cheap grace.

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The loneliness of prison leads many to experiment with religion. Erwin knows that with the right style or gimmicks, religious conversion can be manipulated among prisoners. He does not preach this “false Christianity,” rooted in illusionary feelings. His own conversion led him to a life of ofttimes exasperating service for the Lord among prisoners. After Christ transformed Erwin’s own life, he kept going to jail so that others could also find true and permanent freedom.

He Has Staying Power

The Literary Legacy of C. S. Lewis, by Chad Walsh (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 269 pp., $10.95, $4.95 pb) is reviewed by Cheryl Forbes, editor at large, CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

Chad Walsh’s Apostle to the Skeptics was published in 1949 as the first book on C. S. Lewis. It proved to be the pioneering study of an oft-travelled trail. Since the Narnia Chronicles had not yet been printed at the time of Walsh’s first study, it is fitting that in this later evaluation of Lewis a whole chapter is devoted to Narnia. Walsh concentrates on the three in which Aslan plays the greatest part: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle.

The shape of Walsh’s first book came from his analysis of Lewis as primarily a religious writer—atheist turned Christian, who appealed intellectually to Christian and non-Christian alike. Here the literary qualities of Lewis are the focus of the book.

Walsh applies literary critical principles to the work of Lewis—his poetry, allegory, fantasy, and novel. Until recently, most people have merely surveyed and praised Lewis, looking for themes and images that make him a Christian writer. The question behind each of these chapters is, “What makes a good poem? Or science fiction story? Or novel?” Walsh analyzes Perelandra, Dymer, and The Pilgrim’s Regress from that perspective. And he does what few critics have dared to do. He points out Lewis’s failures, particularly with the poetry and allegories.

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Lewis wanted to write epic poetry, but he was out of step, out of fashion with his time. T. S. Eliot, whose poetry Lewis disliked, shaped the genre for the early twentieth century. Lewis could not fit himself into that form. But, although his poetry was not great, his early collections received some good reviews and contain, at times, fine language.

Walsh begins with the poetry, and his chapter on it, “The Shape of His Sensibility,” is a first-rate example of Walsh’s critical skill. His love and knowledge of poetry shows in every felicitous sentence. (Walsh is not only a good critic, but also a fine poet himself.) Unlike many critics who twist the poetry out of shape and thus confuse a reader, Walsh helps you understand why one line or image is good, another is not. He doesn’t spoil the whole; he helps it with a little salt here, more pepper there. Literature could use more critics like him.

The most poignant chapter is “The Road Taken Too Late.” All readers of Lewis who have struggled with Till We Have Faces will appreciate Walsh’s study of it. Lewis loved the book, and was disappointed with its critical reception. It has always been a favorite of mine, and a disappointment that Lewis began to write thick stories late in life. (I think of the Narnia tales, as wonderful as they are, as thin, clear—a broth rather than a bisque.)

If only he had lived longer. That is the tone of the chapter. Just as Lewis made a lasting contribution to the genre of children’s literature, he, if he had lived to write more such novels, could have made a major contribution to that literary form. The book is rich, savory. Even several readings will not yield all it has to offer. Walsh sums up the force of the book: “It is the least typical of Lewis’s narratives and represents the surging breakthrough of an inwardness that Lewis had striven for years to suppress. Readers trained on Lewis’s more typical works are still wrestling with this book which only slowly but with overwhelming power reveals the secrets at the heart of the gods.” For that chapter alone, this book is worth buying.

Walsh wisely avoids making precise predictions about how long Lewis’s popularity will last (see the excerpt, “A Backward and Forward Look,” page 20, in this issue). Walsh has learned from having made such a prediction in an essay published shortly after Lewis died in 1963. Walsh was wrong, for Lewis did not suffer a decline in popularity then, nor has he since. The sales of his books, particularly his children’s stories, increase each year. He is a staple in all kinds of bookstores. He has even made prime-time television. “His work,” as Walsh writes, “seems to have staying power.” That is as fine a tribute as any author could want.

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Critical Issues Of The Day

Theology and Mission edited by David J. Hesselgrave (Baker, 338 pp., $7.95 pb) is reviewed by Stanley N. Gundry, professor of theology, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois.

In March of 1976 the School of World Mission and Evangelism of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School sponsored a consultation on theology and mission. This book contains the papers and responses prepared for that occasion. In them academicians and executives interact on issues confronting the church in its worldwide mission.

Kenneth S. Kantzer and Paul D. Feinberg address aspects of charismatic theology and neo-Pentecostalism. Their discussion is judicious, balanced, and biblical. But neither essay can be expected to break the impasse over baptism in the Spirit or tongues speaking. Further, neither essay gives adequate attention to the variety of beliefs and practices contained in the spectrum covering the names Pentecostal, neo-Pentecostal, and charismatic. More attention needs to be given to the biblical nature of tongues and to the tendencies to exalt experience to the point that it supersedes Scripture or to make experience alone the basis of ecumenicity.

Norman R. Ericson and James O. Buswell III deal with the contextualization of theology. Ericson finds precedent for contextualization in the New Testament and on that basis discusses criteria for it. Buswell approaches this subject as an anthropologist. His treatment is most informative, but it raises more questions than it answers. Contextualization is both necessary and inevitable, but the issues raised are some of the most critical facing theologians and missiologists. How can the essence of Christianity be related without being relativized?

David F. Wells and Harold O. J. Brown come to grips with contemporary evangelism and Roman Catholicism. The recent changes and tensions with Catholicism are well known, but accurate descriptions of the true situation in that church are impossible. The new freedom Catholics enjoy, radical theologies, Roman Catholic charismatics and “evangelicals,” challenges to both ecclesiastical and scriptural authority, changes in the liturgy, the continuing existence of traditional Roman Catholicism—all of these conditions and more make the old dicta about dialogue with and evangelization of Catholics passé. The possibilities, tensions, and dangers of dialogue, cooperation, and evangelization are ably handled by Wells and Brown.

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Walter L. Liefeld and Arthur P. Johnston consider the theology of the church growth movement. Both men express qualified appreciation of the movement, but they justifiably appeal for a deepening of the movement’s theological bases and for the subordination of the findings of the behavioral and social sciences to the evaluations of Scripture.

David J. Hesselgrave and Norman L. Geisler consider the possibilities of dialogue with non-Christian religions. Such possibility and desirability depend entirely on the meaning and goal of dialogue. The evangelical cannot compromise Christian tenets; but if dialogue is a method of pre-evangelism and proclamation, aiming to understand and to be understood by those with other worldviews, it is not only legitimate, it is biblical and necessary.

In the last major section Carl F. H. Henry and J. Herbert Kane address mission strategy and changing political situations. Henry focuses on major theological perspectives that relate to the Christian mission to the world. Kane concentrates on missionary dilemmas in the political complexities of today’s world.

The Trinity Consultation on Mission and Theology is a move in the right direction. Too long we academicians have “done our thing” in a way not sufficiently related to the issues our students will be facing in Christian mission. I suspect that unbeknown to many of us theologians and Bible scholars, the critical issues on the leading edge of theology and hermeneutics are being addressed in our absence by missiologists and the practitioners of mission. This collection of papers is a happy attempt to wed the two concerns.

However, I found it strange that only academicians presented the twelve major papers. Of these, I would judge that only four were really well acquainted with missiological issues by virtue of their professional orientation. Mission executives were relegated to the role of respondents. I know myself, and I think I know my colleagues in theology and Bible. We need to sit as students before we stand as teachers. We need to listen in on the missiological discussion before we begin to pronounce. I am not suggesting that the theologians made unduly dogmatic pronouncements. But I am suggesting that at this stage it might be more appropriate for the theologians to be the respondents to major papers read by missiologists and missionary leaders.

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Trinity Consultation No. 1 deserves to be followed by Nos. 2, 3, and so on. These papers have their strengths and weaknesses. But they are a good introduction to those issues confronting the church in its worldwide mission.

Letting Paul Be Paul

Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free by F. F. Bruce (Eerdmans, 491 pp., $13.95) is reviewed by Paul Fowler, assistant professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi.

F. F. Bruce, who has long served as a professor of biblical studies at the University of Manchester, is one of the best-known evangelical biblical scholars. His mastery of the Jewish and Greco-Roman background of the New Testament and his excellent commentaries on Acts and many of the Pauline letters are widely recognized. Out of a lifetime of study, he has contributed yet another excellent volume for our learning. He seeks to embrace all of Paul’s life and thought in a single volume, combining history, exegesis, and theology.

The author’s clear purpose is to provide a framework for understanding Paul’s life and thought by situating the apostle in his historical context. The majority of the book reads like a historical narrative, both interesting and informative, impressing upon the reader the significance of history for interpreting Paul.

The title, Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free (American), or Paul, Apostle of the Free Spirit (British), directs us to what Bruce considers to be the major thrust of Paul’s mission and gospel. On the one hand, Bruce cautions: “I have not attempted to expound Paul’s teaching systematically but rather to treat its main themes in their historical context, as Paul himself had occasion to develop them in his letters.” On the other hand, it is evident throughout the book that the motivation and understanding of Paul’s mission and gospel are to be found in his appreciation of the new-found freedom in Christ.

“It is best to let Paul be Paul. And when we do that, we shall recognize in him the supreme libertarian, the great herald of Christian freedom.”

However, Bruce is careful not to allow room for antinomianism, nor to disparage the continuity between Old Testament Law and New Testament fulfillment. He simply views the essence of Paul’s life and thought as based upon the apostle’s joyful experience of freedom from Jewish legalism: “With his own exhilarating experience of spiritual freedom, he could not be content to see his converts going along happily as those for whom ‘rules are more comfortable to live with than principles.’ He longed to see them entering more fully into the liberty with which Christ had set them free instead of living like those Pharisees whom the Talmud assigns to the ‘tell-me-my-duty-and-I-will-do-it’ category.”

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Four themes or lessons from Paul, Bruce concludes, still need to be emphasized today. True religion is not a matter of rules and regulations. In Christ men and women have come of age as the new humanity, and are responsible to live righteously as God’s children. People matter more than things, more than principles, more than causes. Unfair discrimination … is an offense against God and humanity alike.

Of course, with a book of this significance and size, one does not expect to be in agreement with everything. For instance, Bruce identifies Galatians 2 with the famine visit of Acts 11:27ff. Consequently, his chronological framework during this period of Paul’s life will not agree with those who connect Galatians 2 with the Jerusalem council visit of Acts 15. However, such disagreements do not affect the total presentation and effect of the book. Furthermore, such disagreements compel one to reexamine one’s own views in deference to Bruce’s meticulous scholarship and obvious command of all aspects of Pauline studies. One might wish that the pastoral Epistles had been used more extensively as a resource for the end of Paul’s life. Due to the controversial nature of the pastoral Epistles, Bruce apparently chose to limit their use.

Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free will serve admirably as a text for courses in Acts or Paul. It will provide a framework for understanding Paul’s life and thought, both for the student and for the informed Christian reader. It can be used effectively as a resource volume for teaching the Pauline Epistles and even for personal devotions. And it can serve to refresh and refine the views of scholars. In a day when Paul is declaimed as a misogynist and cold theologian, this book stands as a welcome corrective. F. F. Bruce has admirably accomplished his intention: “to share with others something of the rich reward which I myself have reaped from the study of Paul.”

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How Christians Should Live

Discovering a Christian Life-Style, by D. George Vanderlip (Judson, 144 pp., $4.95 pb), Growing Toward Wholeness, by John A. Huffman, Jr. (Word, 96 pp., $4.95), The Ultimate Lifestyle, by Tim Timmons (Vision, 212 pp., $3.98 pb), The Happen Stance, by K. Neill Foster (Nelson, 166 pp., $2.95 pb), and The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges (NavPress, 158 pp., $2.25 pb) are reviewed by David Douglass, editorial consultant, Carol Stream, Illinois.

These five books, representative of a larger number of recent books on the same theme, reflect a fairly wide spectrum of theology, ethics, and readability. The books by Foster and Bridges are outstanding contributions in the area of Christian discipleship. Both are clearly written, straightforward, persuasive, and are in-depth studies.

Foster’s work deserves a more appropriate title. The author presents fourteen “weapons” the Christian can use to help him live more on the offensive in serving Christ; but he does not offer easy formulas or superficial success. Though Foster believes that all the gifts of the Spirit are valid for our day, he warns that they are given to be used as channels of service, not as evidences of spirituality, and that they are all subject to unspiritual misuse. One is impressed by the rare, but biblical, combinations of modesty and boldness, candidness and good taste, profundity and clarity that characterize the entire volume. It is valuable and refreshing reading.

Bridge’s book, in my judgment, is the most thoroughly biblical and balanced volume of the five. Its very title reflects the clear, continuous teaching of Scripture that God’s first and by far most important requirement of his children is holiness. The author stresses God’s nature and character as the primary motivators for our own holiness, and the Holy Spirit as the only sufficient power by which we may achieve it. Yet he avoids the common prescription (and presumption) of “Let God do it all.” “God has made provision for our holiness and he has also given us a responsibility for it” (p. 81).

Foster delves far deeper than the legalism-license issue and grapples with such important but generally unpopular concerns as “putting sin to death,” discipline, obedience, and the power of temptation. The overall thrust of the book is positive and encouraging. Likewise, Bridge’s reasoning and tone are appealing and compelling. The Pursuit of Holiness, just as The Happen Stance, has the ring of deep conviction and personal experience. It is well organized, clearly developed, carefully argued, and remarkably comprehensive for so short a treatment. In every way it is profitable reading.

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Growing Toward Wholeness is a rather unoriginal but generally helpful collection of practical, spiritual, and moral advice. The book reads easily and is well illustrated. Though the author reflects a high view of Scripture, he stays pretty much in the shallows of its truth. An inordinate reliance on goal orientation principles and on other writers seriously weakens the book. In places it becomes little more than a catalog of illustrated truisms and formulas. It is worth reading—but not rereading.

The Ultimate Lifestyle is a potpourri of essays on apologetics, doctrine, and discipleship, loosely held together by alliterative and somewhat artificial outlines and headings. The author’s “three-fold challenge” is to the unbelieving naturalist, the non-Christian supernaturalist, and the Christian supernaturalist—an ambitious challenge! The various tangents onto which the writer ventures evidence a similar lack of focus. The essentially sound and helpful content is weakened still further by his penchant for the catchy, the cute, and the flippant. And though Timmons cannot be faulted in his basic theology, nevertheless, as the book title suggests, he is given to superlatives. His evangelical gusto becomes tiresome.

The least biblical volume is Vanderlip’s. It focuses almost exclusively on ethics, giving the greatest attention to social ethics. Of the three general approaches to ethics the author mentions (code morality, principle morality, and situation ethics), he unapologetically favors the last. Though “mature Christian decisions will involve a concern for all three, … we are called upon to make our ethical decisions in the light of the best knowledge available to us” (p. 27). “Because of the ever-changing circumstances of life, ethical decisions can never be determined with finality prior to the challenge of the moment” (p. 25). The guidelines the author “discovers” in the New Testament are, consequently, either authoritative or suggestive—as suits his purpose, or a given situation. The person looking for solid scriptural teaching need not bother with this book.

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