The Therapist’S World-View
Psychiatry and Religious Experience, by Louis Linn and Leo W. Schwartz. (Random House, 1958, 307 pages, $4.95), is reviewed by Orville S. Walters, M.D., Psychiatrist, Urbana, Illinois.
This is a manual for the religious counselor written by a psychiatrist and a rabbi. Although the psychiatric approach is implicit throughout the book, much attention is devoted to non-psychiatric problems and illness. The last fourth of the book is devoted to the aging and to the chaplaincy.
The psychiatric orientation is orthodox Freudian. Psychoanalytic theory provides the framework for the guiding principles, methods and interpretations presented. Acknowledging that their thesis would have been a paradox to Freud, the authors undertake to support the view that psychoanalysis can result in an upsurge of religious feeling where none existed before and that Freud’s own technique can augment and stabilize religion. They accuse Jung and Rank of surrendering observation for speculation, and Erich Fromm of parting company with the empirical findings of medical psychology in abandoning biological instinctual drives. In turning to the Oedipus complex as a key to the manifold problems of human behavior, the authors are no more scientific and no less sectarian than those they criticize.
The clergyman is early admonished against the “wrongheaded” tendency to consider himself as a therapist. “The methods and language of psychiatry or social work are outside his province and when he resorts to them he betrays his calling” (p. 81). Warnings against trespassing upon a domain that is not his are reiterated. Knowledge of psychiatry will be helpful to the religious counselor, but he operates within a moral and spiritual framework in which the permissive attitude has no place (p. 89). The conception of the religious leader as a psychotherapist is wrong in theory and likely to be harmful in practice. He would need the special training of a psychiatrist to cope with such problems as countertransference (pp. 88–89).
The psychiatrist, for his part, “adopts an attitude of neutrality, in order to help the patient see the extent to which his understanding of the world is distorted.” The therapist is not indifferent to values, but does not impose them upon the patient (p. 11).
This assertion of neutrality on the part of the analyst is unrealistic. While he may try not to “impose” his viewpoint upon his patient, the therapist’s value system is inherent in the relationship and influences his patient during a highly susceptible period. It is true that the minister’s neutrality may be circumscribed in advance by the patient’s notion of what religion and the church stand for. In the actual counseling relationship, the patient’s notion of the minister’s attitude will be altered in accordance with what he is and does.
The patient’s concept of the psychoanalyst is likewise formed in advance by what he thinks phycho-analysis stands for. Like the person seeking religious counseling, he approaches psychoanalysis with certain presuppositions and expectations. These may be incorrect, based upon fiction, the movies, heresay or wishful thinking, but they prevent the analyst from starting at zero, in the same way that the minister’s vocation does. After analysis begins, this initial concept of the therapist will also be modified by what he is and does. The therapist’s Weltanschauung inevitably becomes apparent to the patient. Therapy does not proceed in a vacuum of values but in an atmosphere determined as much by what the therapist is as by what he says. In the end, it is not the technic used but the personality of the therapist that determines the outcome.
Moreover, in spite of his training, the analyst can and not infrequently does become implicated in harmful countertransference relationships. To acknowledge that the minister is an indispensable member of the treatment team (p. 21) and then deny that he is a therapist (p. 81) is artificial and inconsistent.
The only portion of the book to which the title strictly applies is the chapter, “Religious Conversion and Mysticism.” Mysticism is apparently beyond the comprehension as well as the experience of the authors. Drawing selectively upon written quotations from mystics, they identify religious feelings with those of the infant who eats, sleeps and sinks into its mother’s bosom—the psychoanalytic “oral triad.” So all the qualities of the mystical experience … we may say have as their model mother and child in the feeding situation” (p. 202). Indeed, since mystical experience is psychological regression “at its extremest,” it resembles in some way the symptoms of schizophrenia. As examples, the accounts of Paul Schreber and Anton Boisen are cited (p. 206). The mystical state involves a retreat from reality and may be induced by mescaline (p. 196).
The authors’ treatment of conversion is consistent with their view of religion as “first and foremost the repository of a moral code” (p. 5). Religious conversion is regarded as the product of non-religious mental conflicts, often associated with impending mental illness (p. 195). One case history tells of a Jewish student who was converted to Christianity. We are not surprised to read that she was persuaded to drop out of college for therapy and that psychoanalysis found a childhood parental attachment responsible for her conversion (p. 76).
If one can sort out psychiatric wisdom from psychoanalytic dogma, there is much of value in the book. Its readability is enhanced by numerous illustrative cases, many of which are drawn from a context of Judaism.
ORVILLE S. WALTERS
Christ in Our Place, by Paul Van Buren (Wm. B. Eerdmans Co., Grand Rapids, 1958, 152 pp., $3.00) is reviewed by G. Aiken Taylor, Ph.D., author of a study, John Calvin the Teacher.
Here is a careful study of the doctrine of the Incarnation in the theology of John Calvin. Done as a doctoral dissertation, the work centers on the substitutionary character of Christ’s work. The idea of substitution or of representation is taken to be the determining center of Calvin’s Christology, supplying the key for our understanding of Christ’s present relation to his Church, as well as of the Atonement.
The author is an Anglican writing under Karl Barth. He has not addressed himself to thoughts of Revelation, but to aspects of Incarnation: the nature of the Incarnate Christ, the relation of His humanity to sinful human nature; the problem of the suffering, death and resurrection of God; the problem of reconciliation and the doctrine of Christ’s Body. The author sees in Calvin an Atonement in which Christ’s human nature alone participated. He finds a “serious problem” in the Reformer’s assertions that, on the one hand, God in His naked majesty was in Christ; and, on the other, that the Glory and Deity of God were hidden behind Christ’s human nature. He believes that the humiliation of Christ was the humiliation of God Himself; that the glory of God is a glory so great that it can afford to make itself small.
This is an excellent work. My personal feeling, however, is that too much is made of Calvin’s view that in Christ God did not “manifest Himself as He really is;” that the divine nature remained somehow “in repose” and “not fully active,” in Christ’s work. After all, Calvin’s literal 16th Century mind probably was thinking of Moses’ experience before God on Sinai when the full divine majesty was too much for any mortal. Van Buren wants to preserve the divine character of the Atonement. But has anyone ever managed to say how God could die on a Cross?
G. AIKEN TAYLOR, Ph.D.
The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls, by John Marco Allegro (Doubleday, 1958, 192 pp., $5), is reviewed by Edward J. Young, Professor of Old Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary.
This is a new kind of book on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it is the kind that has been badly needed. It is not primarily a textbook or work of description, but a collection of pictures accompanied by running comment. The reviewer believes it will serve admirably to give the reader a rather complete picture of the Dead Sea Region, and of the remarkable scrolls which have occupied so much of the attention of lovers of Scripture. Those who know next to nothing about the discovery of the scrolls will find here a fascinating introduction.
The pictures which comprise the greater part of the book are superb, and one who studies them carefully will find himself in possession of useful information. Best of all, he will have some idea of the rugged terrain near the north western end of the Dead Sea, and so will understand better the labor that has been involved in obtaining these priceless manuscripts.
With respect to the introductory text, one’s impression is somewhat different. On the whole the author provides a useful brief introduction, but it contains some unfortunate statements. We are told, for instance, that these scrolls are “—an indispensable link between the Old Testament and the New” (p. 51). And we are given to understand that they throw important light upon the origins of Christianity.
This reviewer would question whether it is really true that the “Qumran Messianic Banquet” provided the framework for the ceremony of the “Upper Room” (p. 51). Was the Lord of Glory so impoverished that he had to follow the pattern of a dissident sect (whether they were the Essenes or not, I do not know) in order to institute the Last Supper? It is about time that writers on the scrolls restrain themselves from extravagant statements concerning the origin of Christianity. Certainly these scrolls do cast light on certain phases of Judaism of that time, but Christianity, although it has historical roots, is a divine revelation. And its historical roots lie not in the Qumran group, but in the Old Testament.
EDWARD J. YOUNG
Notable Sermons From Protestant Pulpits, by Charles L. Wallis (Abingdon, 1958, 203 pp., $2.95), is reviewed by Frank A. Lawrence, Minister of the Graystone United Presbyterian Church, Indiana, Pennsylvania.
This volume purports to show the vitality of the Protestant pulpit today by giving a picture of the depth, range, and variety of modern preaching. For the most part the 24 contributors to this book of sermons reveal that the modern worshiper gets at least variety.
There are some solid examples of the kind of preaching which can be defined as the official declaration of the Word of God by man to man for eternal life. These are sermons by John L. Casteel, Paul S. Rees (the only one who makes a serious effort at expository preaching), Clifford Ansgar Nelson, David H. C. Read, Albert Edward Day, Ralph A. Herring, and Samuel M. Shoemaker. But there are also some notorious, rather than notable sermons. One, “The Parable of the Ten Virgins,” alleges that the point of the story is (1) we cannot borrow the Bible, (2) we cannot borrow a prayer book, (3) we cannot borrow a church, (4) we cannot borrow character. Another sermon, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning,” concludes that our Lord’s attachment to little Palestine and his people led him so deeply into local loyalties that eventually he arrived at universal loyalties and a loyalty to the kingdom of God.
All of the sermons are brief, well written, and easy to follow. They are grouped in six classes: “Christian Growth and Nurture,” “The Church and Churchmanship,” “Evangelism and World Outreach,” “Brotherhood,” “Advent and Christmas,” and “Lent and Easter.” The section on “Evangelism and World Outreach” is the strongest; the sections on Christmas and Easter are the weakest. It is in these latter sections that the neo-orthodox school is dominant. That which is relevant to the church in 1958 is made the judge over the Scriptures. Some spiritual value or abiding moral is extracted from biblical narrative, but the historicity of the Resurrection or the Virgin Birth is assigned to an “it really doesn’t matter much” spot.
Since the purpose of the volume is to give a cross section of what the outstanding American preachers are saying, it has been successful, provided one agrees with the author’s definition of “outstanding.”
FRANK A. LAWRENCE
A Study Bible
The Amplified New Testament (Zondervan, 1958, $3.95), is reviewed by Ray Summers, Professor of New Testament, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The task of the translator is to express in one language what has been written in another. The task of the interpreter is to explain that which has been written, whatever the language may be. Interpretation has been defined as the effort of one mind to follow the thought processes of another mind through the medium of language. All of this makes evident an axiom of biblical study: a translation is an interpretation.
Anyone who knows the Greek New Testament will recognize the truth of this axiom when he reads any translation of the New Testament. Indeed, this is the exact reason for translations, that the New Testament may become more easily understood particularly for those who cannot make their own translation of the Greek.
The editorial committee for The Amplified New Testament made interpretation a major aim in translation. The high degree of success attained is apparent upon casual reading of the translation; it becomes more apparent the more one reads. By a system of punctuation, italics, references, synonyms, and even whole sentences of explanation the text of the New Testament is opened for the reader. The four-fold aim for the version is: to be true to the Greek, to be correct grammatically, to be understandable to the masses, and to give to the Lord Jesus Christ his proper place in the Word.
The version is not intended as a replacement for the King James Version or any other version. It is a study Bible with a wealth of stimulating suggestions. One will use it best if he will read it in parallel with the New Testament he is accustomed to reading—Greek or English. By this version the man who does not know Greek is able to come remarkably close to the very literal meaning of the Greek text.
Any translator will have his favorite ways of translating certain passages: hence, he will object to some “amplifications” in this version. There will be fewer such objections than in many other modern translations or paraphrases. For a more positive approach observe how very meaningful Ephesians 2:8 becomes in contrast to the King James version. This is only one of an almost limitless number of such passages.
King James Version
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
Amplified New Testament
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through (your) faith. And this (salvation) is not of yourselves—of your own doing, it came not through your own striving—but it is the gift of God.
Progress Towards Atheism
The Soviet System of Government, by John N. Hazard (University of Chicago Press, 1957, 248 pp.), is reviewed by Bernard Ramm, Professor of Religion at Baylor University Graduate School.
This is a straightforward book containing a factual report on all aspects of the Russian government from data that has been carefully assessed and evaluated. It is an excellent book for any person who wants relevant facts about the Russian government at his finger tips and in reliable form.
The philosophies of Marx and Lenin had no room for religious faith. The existence of God was not capable of laboratory proof (p. 122), and any thought of an action of God in history was destructive to Marxist philosophy of history. This was the theoretical source of Russian opposition to religion. The practical opposition was based upon the alignment of the Eastern Orthodox church with the old corrupt regime.
Lenin did not dare to excite millions of Eastern Orthodox members against the new order, so he had to deal with the church very carefully. He began by making sure that every man in the inner administrative circle was a hard atheist. Then in the bill of rights, which on the surface granted freedom of religion underneath greatly favored atheism, he made it a crime to preach anything contrary to socialism.
Next he separated Church and State in a radical manner from the perspective of European religious life. All the matters of vital statistics were taken away from the church and given over to state offices. Next all property was taken away from the church, including the sacramental vessels; then these were allocated back to the church with right of ownership retained by the state. The right to vote was taken away from the priests.
The next drastic step he took was to end all efforts of the church in matters of religious education. No person under 18 could be instructed in religion in a state or private school; no taxes could be collected by the church for the benefit of the church; no ecclesiastical courts were permitted; and no religious emblems could be put in public buildings. The general result upon the Russian people has been carefully studied at Harvard University; and while it is true that there has been no mass movement towards atheism, the movement to a religious nominalism has been most marked. Atheism has grown the best in the younger generation and among the white-collar and educated strata of society.
Events of World War II caused a great relaxation in laws over religious matters, because there was a fear that the great number of persecuted Christians would go over to the enemy. The shrewdness of Stalin was almost unbelievable. To pacify the people who insisted upon retaining religious faith, the League of Militant Godless was disbanded, education for the priesthood was permitted to be resumed, church synods could be called, and church publications could be printed. All of this, of course, was still under the shadow of the law that forbids anything to be said against socialism.
The softened attitude toward the use of terror and blood purges has been brought about by demand for “security” on the part of the new intellectual and business aristocracy. The most disheartening matter recorded in the entire book is that while Russian intellectuals may not approve of Russian socialism, they believe that socialism is the only rational form of economics and government. Western capitalism, in their minds, is a dead-end street.
The Davidic King
Daniel’s Vision of the Son of Man, by E. J. Young (Tyndale Press, London, 1958, 28 pp., 1s. 6d.) is reviewed by the Rev. L. E. H. Stephens-Hodge of the London College of Divinity, Northwood, Middlesex.
This thesis, by the Professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, is a lecture delivered under the auspices of the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical Research at Cambridge, England, in June, 1958. Dr. Young deals lucidly with what he describes as “one of the most majestically conceived scenes in the entire Old Testament,” namely, the Son of Man vision in Daniel 7:13 f.
After establishing the unity of this chapter and its coherence with chapter 2 and the rest of the book of Daniel, he examines the view that the “Son of Man” is a synonym for the “saints of the Most High” who, in verses 18, 22, and 27 are said to take the kingdom which in verse 14 is given to the Son of Man. This he regards as untenable for several reasons. Nowhere in the narrative is such an identification made, he believes, in spite of the fact that the four beasts earlier in the chapter are definitely associated with human personages (v. 17). Coming with clouds is always predicated of Deity and associated with the exercise of divine Judgment. Moreover, the Kingdom entrusted to the Son of Man is said to be everlasting and indestructible, and this passes beyond the sphere of the merely historical. It is linked to the thought of the Davidic King, and there is therefore no need to assume, with Bentzen, that this chapter has as its background the ancient enthronement festival such as we find in Babylonia. Again, the word used for “serve” in verse 14 denotes not political service but “service of a higher kind” such as is rendered to God alone.
Professor Young argues his case convincingly, and his paper makes it plain that far from the New Testament use of the title “Son of Man” for Christ, resulting from an individuation of an originally corporate conception (C. H. Dodd), we have here a definite prophecy of our Lord in his coming glory.
L. E. H. STEPHENS-HODGB
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