The Scottish Reformation In Retrospect

A Church History of Scotland, by J. H. S. Burleigh (Oxford, 1960, 456 pp., $5.88); The Story of the Scottish Reformation, by A. M. Renwick (Eerdmans, 1960, 176 pp., $1.25); and The Scottish Reformation 1560, by Gordon Donaldson (Cambridge, 1960, 242 pp., $4.20), are reviewed by W. Stanford Reid, Professor of History, McGill University, Montreal.

The year 1560 was in a very special sense the year of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, for in August the Scottish Estates rejected the ecclesiastical superiority of the pope, forbade the celebration of the Mass, and established a church with a Reformed Confession. Because of the significance of these events, during 1960 English-speaking Reformed Churches throughout the world have, in various ways, commemorated the Scottish Reformation. As one might expect, numerous books and articles dealing with the topic have appeared on the market both to enlighten and at times confuse the reading public.

As one surveys the crop of publications dealing with the Scottish Reformation, one cannot but feel uncertainty owing to the wide divergence of point of view and interpretation. Indeed, even the Roman Catholics have assumed a role in the act with, as one might expect, a hardly sympathetic approach to the movement, and in particular to John Knox (cf. The Innes Review, Glasgow, 1959, vol. 10). On the other hand, Protestants of various stripes have produced a good many works with varying emphases. One might mention for instance the work of Dr. Geddes MacGregor formerly of Scotland but now of Bryn Mawr, titled The Thundering Scot (Philadelphia, 1959), in which the author spends much of his time discussing Knox’s political views, but never once mentions the doctrine of justification by faith. Three works which have appeared in 1960, however, present in a sense a conspectus of all the others. They are the books of Professor J. H. S. Burleigh, New College, of Professor A. M. Renwick, the Free Church College, and of Dr. Gordon Donaldson, the Department of Scottish History, all of Edinburgh.

Taking the last-mentioned work first, one quickly finds out that while Dr. Donaldson (The Scottish Reformation 1560, Cambridge 1960) possesses a broad knowledge of his subject, he wishes above everything else to prove that the Scottish Episcopal Church is the true heir of Knox and his colleagues. In a sense this makes his work one of the most interesting to appear during the memorial year. Taking the evidence, or at least some of it, which has already received one interpretation from Presbyterian historians, he endeavors to show that the Scottish Reformers felt that episcopacy alone provided a proper form of church government. Such an order had guided the church during the preceding five hundred years, if not longer, and the Reformers naturally assumed its validity and propriety. Yet with all Dr. Donaldson’s scholarship and ingenuity, the reviewer feels that he failed to prove his case. There is another side to the question which one must consider.

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This other side Professor Renwick provides in his short, popular The Story of the Scottish Reformation, originally published by the Inter-Varsity Fellowship and appearing on this continent with the imprint of Eerdmans. As a member of the Free Church of Scotland, Professor Renwick whole-heartedly favors the Reformation and holds that Scottish Presbyterianism rather than Scottish Episcopalianism is in the true succession to the Reformers. At times one feels that the author has by no means sought the objectivity desirable in historians, but one also feels that his sympathy with and understanding of Knox’s faith and strivings enable him to understand the Scottish Reformer’s outlook better than does Dr. Donaldson. One wishes on occasion that Professor Renwick had shown himself a little more critical and that he had identified the sources of some of his quotations. But on the whole this is a useful little book (p. 174).

In many ways more impressive is Professor J. H. S. Burleigh’s A Church History of Scotland (Oxford, 1960) which attempts to give a much wider picture than the other two works. Nevertheless, the Reformation occupies a large amount of space. Professor Burleigh takes up a middle position between that of Donaldson and that of Renwick, for in a sense he at times resembles the eighteenth century “moderates” in his somewhat detached attitude to the whole event. For instance he draws a distinction in the Scots Confession of 1560 between that which is Calvinistic and that which is truly “Catholic” (p. 155). No doubt he is endeavoring to relate this along with some of his other conclusions and inferences, to the present discussions going on between the churches of England and Scotland. On the whole, one finds his dealing with the Reformation uninspiring. Indeed, one almost feels it necessary to ask why the Reformation took place at all. Would not Erasmus’ plans for reform have sufficed? Professor Burleigh has a book here that is well-written, factual, and objective in a way, but he fails at times to come to grips with the problems.

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To look back, to commemorate such events as the Scottish Reformation is good for the church as it points to the rock whence it has been hewn. Each of these works, therefore, have performed a useful service. They have all missed some points, particularly that of the influence of the social situation on the Reformation, but then no historian is divinely inspired. More interpretation and reinterpretations is assuredly needed, but these works should help to stimulate if only negatively, not only the readers of today but also future historians of the Scottish Reformation.


A Scientist’S Viewpoint

Modern Science in the Christian Life, by John W. Klotz (Concordia, 1961, 125 pp., $1.75), is reviewed by Arthur F. Holmes, Associate Professor of Bible and Philosophy, Wheaton College (Illinois).

A Lutheran scientist on the faculty of Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Indiana, appeals to Christians for respect and support for today’s scientific enterprise. Science, he ably contends, is itself amoral; it may be used either for good or for evil. The Christian is responsible to God and society for seeing that it is used for good; he of all people would appreciate God’s blessings bestowed both directly in nature and indirectly through science’s wise use of nature’s resources.

Professor Klotz touches on the problems involved, whether apologetic questions such as evolution, miracles, and evil or moral issues such as overpopulation and euthanasia. As one would expect of a scientist, he is more acute, precise, and satisfying when expounding science’s contributions than when discussing theological or sociological problems. The reader will find refreshing the recurrent thesis that “The church ought never to be afraid of learning.… There can be no difference ultimately between truth as it is revealed in nature and truth as it is revealed in Scripture.… For the Christian to disparage, vilify, and minimize the contributions of scientific research is to admit that his faith may not ultimately be truth after all. If he is convinced that he has the truth, he will want to promote scientific research …” (Chap. 7).

The book will serve neither to solve nor to raise problems, but rather to stimulate the Christian social conscience to constructive thought and action.


The Russian Church

Christ in Russia: The History, Tradition, and Life of the Russian Church, by Helen Iswolsky (Bruce Publishing Co., 1960, 213 pp., $3.95), is reviewed by Georges Florovsky, Professor of Eastern Church History, Harvard Divinity School.

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The author disclaims any personal scholarly ambition. Instead she claims internal “familiarity” with her subject. Her thesis is that the Church has survived in Russia and kept, or regained, her hold on the people. The aim of her work is “to explain how all this happened and why Christ protected the Russian people.…” Indeed, it is a strange aim, for who knows the ways of the Lord and his “whys”? Does he not protect his faithful, and even the whole of mankind? In point of fact, Miss Iswolsky gives no answer to her pretentious question. Her book is badly organized. Part I of the book, The Russian Church in History, is grossly disproportionate. About a hundred pages is given to the ancient period, up to Peter the Great, in which much of the writing is quite irrelevant for the main purpose, and there is a clumsy and sketchy chapter on “the New Era,” that is, the two formative centuries of modern Russia up to the Revolution.

The author shows no “familiarity” with that particular subject and apparently had no guide to follow, or rather she followed an incompetent guide. It is enough to quote one instance. “The Protestant Bible Society of England established headquarters in Petersburg and was permitted by the Holy Synod to distribute cheap editions of the King James Bible in Russian translation” (p. 118). This is a sheer phantasy. The Russian Bible was first published only in the early seventies of the last century, almost fifty years after the Bible Society had been suppressed in the twenties, and translation was made under the direct authority of the Holy Synod itself, by professors of theological faculties, from the original languages. Translations of the Four Gospels and the Psalter, made in the twenties, were made from Hebrew and Greek. Now, this is not just a minor lapsus calami on the part of the author. It betrays a lack of knowledge about the true story of the Russian Bible, one of the greatest achievements of the Church in the last century, and one of the strongest proofs of her vitality. The author says nothing about Russian theology; the name of great Philaret of Moscow is not mentioned at all in the book. Furthermore, nothing is said about Russian missions, and the names of such great missionaries of wide vision as Innokenty of Alaska, Nicholas of Japan, or Father Macarius Gloukharev are missing entirely.

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Part II of the book is no better. The author speaks of “Great Devotions of the Russian People” but nothing about the teaching of the Church. It is a nicely printed volume and written in lively journalistic style. It may arouse curiosity, and even sympathy, but the work will not increase knowledge nor help the understanding. The bibliography appended to the book is incomplete. The great work of the late Father Ivan Kologrivoff, Essai sur la Saintete en Russie (1953), is not indicated. Yet, this book by the Jesuit writer shows more “familiarity” with the subject than do the scattered remarks of Miss Iswolsky.


Men Are Not God

Radical Monotheism and Western Culture, by H. Richard Niebuhr (Harper, 1960, 144 pp., $2.75), is reviewed by Edward John Carnell, Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion, Fuller Theological Seminary.

When human beings think too highly of themselves, they tend to make gods out of their arts and sciences, their ideologies, and their social, political, and religious institutions. Niebuhr is making a prophetic attack on this tendency. His thesis is (a) that life itself forces man to have faith in some order of goodness and (b) that the only faith which can preserve man from idolatry, and thus from the possibility of self-destruction, is the faith which acknowledges that all being is good because it is being-in-God. This faith is called “radical monotheism.” Niebuhr feels that idolatry is the only consistent alternative to radical monotheism. Idolatry supports its pretenses by absolutizing some form of relative being. The outcome of this selectivity can be disastrous, as witnessed by the demonic racism of National Socialism in World War II.

Orthodoxy may be disappointed by Niebuhr’s cultivated disparagement of propositional revelation, but it ought to feel nothing but sincere gratitude for his profound attempt to remind human beings that they are men and not God. Since modern idolaters can back up their claims with atomic bombs, we face the sober prospect of seeing civilization offered up on the altars of human pride. Niebuhr has taken a courageous stand in this global ideological struggle. He deserves a wide hearing.


A Manual For Ministers

Premarital Counseling, by J. K. Morris (Prentice-Hall, 1960, 240 pp., $5.25), is reviewed by Hugh David Burcham, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Oakland, California.

This is a volume that will prove valuable to clergymen, and particularly to any clergyman who tends to take his responsibility in marriage counseling casually or to justify no counseling program at all on the grounds that he is “too busy.”

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The author makes a strong case for the importance of the role of the average parish minister, at the time of a marriage, in the establishing of strong Christian homes. At least eight separate premarital interviews are proposed as essential in each counseling series. The early chapters of the book are occupied with the suggested approach and content of these interviews. Particular areas of difficulties in adjustment between parties to a marriage are accorded special treatment in later chapters. The last 40 pages of the volume constitute appendices which set forth the position of several major Communions on the meaning of Christian marriage and the relationship of a minister-counselor to couples seeking to be united under conditions approved by these churches.

The author is an Episcopal clergyman, and this orientation is evident on virtually every page. Some ministers coming from churches considerably different from the Episcopal church in polity and in principle with respect to ecclesiastical canons governing marriage may find this fact a limiting one in the usefulness of the book. No one can argue easily that the author flounders in his convictions or is not definite in the procedures his church makes possible to him in following a strong and consistent premarital counseling routine.

As a non-Episcopal parish minister, the reviewer has been stimulated and instructed by this book. It is already on his shelf convenient to his desk where it may be referred to in preparation for a premarital interview. Because it is so practical and bears the marks of long experience, its value to him will probably increase with repeated use.


Introducing Big Themes

A Christian View of Being and Knowing, by James Oliver Buswell, II (Zondervan, 1960, 214 pp., $3.50), is reviewed by H. D. McDonald, Visiting Professor of Theology and Philosophy of Religion, Northern Baptist Seminary.

Here we have an introduction to philosophy in a Christian key. The question is asked at the beginning: What is philosophy? Definitions are then given for the most general terms, and a chapter on “The Categories” follows. Against this background the problems of ontology and epistemology are discussed. Buswell shows how materialism and idealism fail to give an adequate account of ultimate reality. He then argues convincingly for dualistic realism. There is a chapter on the relation between ontology and epistemology. After a summary of a priori theories of knowledge come the concluding pages under the title “Constructive Suggestions.”

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The strength and weakness of this volume arises directly from its avowed purpose. It is stated to be “An Introduction to Philosophy,” and it well fulfills this intention. The student should find himself well equipped after a careful study of what is written here to continue his philosophical reading. He will also be encouraged with the knowledge that a thorough understanding of philosophy is not necessarily inconsistent with an equally hearty belief in the great Christian doctrines. Dr. Buswell introduces his readers to the big themes which throughout the ages have challenged thinkers, and he has indicated the lines along which a Christian view of Being and Knowing can be maintained.

But it must be remembered that a book of this size is an Introduction only, which, we assume, is the reason why some subjects of far-reaching importance are either left out altogether or merely lightly touched upon. The question with which the work begins, What is philosophy? could have been amplified and illustrated for the sake of the student if he is to be adequately oriented. The chapter on materialism is excellent but there are in it sweeping generalizations and insufficient proofs. There is more to be said than Dr. Buswell allows, for example, for a dialectic movement in history. There are, besides, statements which one finds hard to reconcile. For example, on one page it is argued that the soul is known only through its effects while later it is declared that the data of my consciousness correlate to indicate that results are obtained by the purposive activity of which I am “intuitively conscious.”

It is hard to understand Dr. Buswell’s declaration of belief in the validity of the arguments for the existence of God and, at the same time, his criticism of those who hold that “the Anselmic deductive ontological argument is the only argument for the existence of God which has any validity.” It is a serious question whether, in the end, all the theistic proofs are not ultimately based on the ontological. The reviewer, at any rate, is convinced that they are. There are other points which deserve comment.

These observations, however, must not be taken as in any way detracting from the usefulness of this book for the student. It is a valuable volume. The question which bothers some of us is, Have we too many “Introductions?” The answer would seem to be “Yes.” Many of them cover so closely the same ground that they need not have been written. This book has a merit of its own and should remain.

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Luther and the Lutheran Church, by Altman K. Swihart (Philosophical Library, 1960, 703 pp., $7.50), is reviewed by Ross F. Hidy, Pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco.

The highlights are here: the sweep of Luther’s life, teachings, and the Church which came into being from Reformation times to the present day. Obviously many vital details are omitted, but a surprising number of them are packed into this single volume. Key personalities of national churches are pictured and their influence noted. The transplanting of European Lutheran seedlings of linguistic groups into American soil is described. The present trend toward mergers is outlined.

Some readers will find certain sections too sketchy; historical specialists will protest at omissions. Certain historic gatherings like the Minneapolis Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation receive very little space. But the author of this type of volume must do what has been done here.

Finally, in one volume the reader can discover not only basic material on the Lutheran family of the Christian Church, beginnings, and later developments, but even church polity and liturgy, modern trends, and the ecumenical movement. Valuable interpretation is given to explain the isolation of some Lutheran groups, the cooperative spirit in others and a better understanding about future trends. Even if some Lutherans might not find much new material here, at least they now find all these matters in one volume.


Sociology In Religion

Popular Religion, by Louis Schneider and Sanford M. Dornbusch (University of Chicago, 1958, 174 pp., $4.50), is reviewed by James D. Robertson, Professor of Preaching, Asbury Theological Seminary.

The fact that books of salvation and inspiration are playing an increasingly significant part in American culture arouses curiosity as to their quality. Authors, seeking an answer to this question, now present their findings—the result of the first systematic study of American inspirational literature. Forty-six best sellers, selected according to specific criteria, were examined intensively (paragraph analysis for the majority) and used as a basis for this study of sociology in religion. The list of writers, showing considerable spread, includes Hannah W. Smith, Harry Emerson Fosdick, E. Stanley Jones, Emmet Fox, Henry C. Link, Elton Trueblood, Norman Vincent Peale, Georgia Harkness, and Thomas Merton.

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The analysts find that this literature is unquestionably geared to the world and its affairs, and that its changes of emphases reflect changes in American cultural outlook rather than in religious thinking. The primary design of these religious best sellers seems to be that of instructing society in the pragmatic values of religion. They evidence, it is reported, a pronounced antidogmatic strain with one exception—the dogma of God as a beneficent force is powerfully present throughout. God frequently appears as peculiarly immanent; rarely as “Wholly Other.” With their heavy stress on the use of God it is not surprising that these books are found to reflect in large measure a kind of “spiritual technology,” an instrumental attitude toward religion involving an emphasis on techniques. Other findings tend to be consistent with these general trends. For instance, man is almost always seen as inherently good; the conception of God as judge receives little attention; Protestant writers show small eschatological concern; and teleological views of nature are weak and subdued.

That the content-analysis technique involved the researchers in some difficulty is evident when at times they feel the need of singling out for special treatment Fosdick, Jones, Trueblood, and the Roman Catholic writers. The study will contribute to a better understanding of the contemporary American culture pattern. The preacher who reads this volume will find it hard to refrain from alluding to it in his next sermon.


Baptist Preaching

Southwestern Sermons, compiled and edited by H. C. Brown, Jr. (Broadman, 1960, 212 pp., $3.75), is reviewed by Andrew W. Blackwood, Professor Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary.

In celebrating the fiftieth year of the largest Protestant theological seminary in America, Professor Brown has issued 32 messages from his colleagues at Fort Worth. He has done his work unusually well. In substance and form the sermons show loyalty to Scripture and doctrine, zeal for evangelism and nurture, and ability to preach “popularly” to people like those who heard the Master gladly.

The book combines biblical truth with current materials, and shows variety and balance with reliance on divine power and human persuasiveness. These men preach the Gospel to meet current needs and in thought-forms of today. Such seminary ideals go far to explain the past progress of the Southern Baptist Church.

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In his Memoirs, former President Sampey of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Louisville wrote that up to date (1945) “with the possible exception of four men, all the members of the faculty have been primarily preachers.… Dr. Broadus went so far as to say that no one was qualified to be professor in a theological seminary unless he preferred to preach.” This is the Southern Baptist spirit!


Catholic Candor

The Papal Princes, by Glenn D. Kittler (Funk & Wagnalls, 1960, 358 pp., $4.95), is reviewed by Walter M. Montaño, President, Western Hemisphere Evangelical Union and LEAL (Evangelical Literature for Latin America).

The anticlerical denunciations of the French Revolution era, and the vitriolic writings against the scandalous abuses perpetrated by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church in the Middle Ages, all seem to be exceedingly mild and opaque compared with the disclosures that this book contains.

The most interesting aspect of Glenn Kittler’s book is that in 1960, his critical commentary is still appropriate and applicable. It is not written by a hostile anti-Catholic writer, but amazingly by a loyal son of the Roman Catholic church, and it bears the official endorsement of that church as well as the Imprimatur of Cardinal Spellman.

It takes us to the age when maneuvers and schemes among cardinals and popes were the order of the day, when the preferential position in which the illegitimate sons of some of the popes were placed only contributed to the decadence of the Roman Catholic system. Far from convincing the reader that the popes were elected by the Holy Spirit, the author describes the political craftiness and simoniacal practices which bred even the excesses of crime and murder by cardinals and popes.

“Example: Cibo, as Pope Innocent VIII, gave the red hat to the thirteen-year-old son of Lorenzo de Medici.… He invited his two illegitimate children to move into the Vatican.… The moral state of the cardinalate was now at its nadir.… They were a fast crowd, devoted more to parties, luxury, supporting humanists and selling papal bulls than to their ecclesiastic duties. The Pope’s bastard son was in the midst of it all.… Much of this was responsible for the moral decay that swamped the country.… Alexander VI had six illegitimate children, two born after he became pope. He was very fond of his children and heaped honors on them.… Caesar Borgia, the Pope’s third son, was made a cardinal and appointed to command the papal armies.… What Caesar could not acquire by combat he acquired by treachery. A vile, conniving, unscrupulous man, he became the epitome of crookedness for all time” (pp. 205, 206, 209, 210).

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In a burst of intellectual honesty, the author declares that this state of things demanded a change, a reformation, and, “Martin Luther was to be a thorny problem for many years. And yet he was the best thing that could have happened to the Catholic church, in terms of the internal changes he indirectly effected” (p. 218).

Unlike most Roman Catholic writers, the author of this book presents an impartial picture of Luther’s personality.

“He was an intelligent, clever, well-read young man, and extremely capable. Although he was of peasant stock, his family could afford to educate him.… He attended excellent schools and won good grades” (pp. 214–215).

With the exception of a few statements that cannot be documented, such as the writer’s effort to establish a papacy derived from Peter, the book is not only instructive but enlightening and faithful to historical facts.

At a time when we hear clamoring from neo-Protestant circles to reach avenues of communication with the Roman Catholic church, with the ultimate aim of reunion with Rome, this book should be illuminating to Protestants and Roman Catholics alike.


Calvin And Barth

Calvin’s Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, by T. L. Parker (Eerdmans, 1959, 128 pp., $3), is reviewed by Professor Knudsen, Instructor in Philosophy, Westminster Theological Seminary.

The controversy of the early 1930’s between Barth and Brunner is not dead, at least in the mind of T. H. L. Parker. In the above interpretation of Calvin’s doctrine of the knowledge of God, Parker discovers that the Reformer is congenial to Barth’s position on natural theology. In an appendix he criticizes the Calvin interpretation of Edward A. Dowey (The Knowledge of God in Calvin’s Theology, Columbia University Press, 1952), for allowing, in line with Brunner, too great a place to nature.

Like Dowey, Parker organizes his discussion around the duplex cognitio domini, dealing first with the knowledge of God as Creator and then with the knowledge of God as Redeemer. He desires, however, to see a more intimate connection between them. From nature it is impossible to gain a knowledge of God. The light of nature is sufficient only to render man without excuse. God is known only by way of his own supernatural self-revelation.

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Parker has many excellent things to say about revelation. He sees that the problem of the knowledge of God is that of revelation (p. 70). There are solid discussions of faith in the context of revelation. Unlike Dowey, he commends the formal principle of the Reformation, the sole authority of Scripture (p. 44). He allows for the verbal character of revelation (cf. p. 45), and he stresses sound teaching (p. 45) and doctrine (p. 47). Though he speaks of the hiddenness of God in his revelation, by which he means that all revelation is analogical and sacramental, he does not deny that God can speak directly to man (p. 81).

We also agree with Parker’s stress on the self-authentication of the Scriptures and the continual witness of the Holy Spirit. To insist on these points is itself good. A sound view will not hold that the Scriptures, once having been inspired by the Holy Spirit, are now understood apart from his continual testimony to them. Furthermore, the Word of God, as the final court of appeal, is self-authenticating (autopistos).

But just at these points we discover that Parker has not decided clearly between the position of Calvin and that of some of Calvin’s contemporary interpreters. Parker quotes profusely from Calvin, and his comments on the Reformer are often very apt; but at times his interpretation reflects a spirit more like that of Barth than that of Calvin himself.

According to Barth, revelation and the content of revelation are self-authenticating, carrying their evidence in themselves. But for Barth faith hears the Word of God in the merely human words of the Bible, which though merely human and subject to error, are nevertheless the vehicle for God’s revelation.

Parker himself appears to take a higher view of inspiration than Barth. He quotes Calvin with approval when the Reformer says of Scripture that “… it obtains the same credit and authority with believers when they are satisfied of its Divine origin, as if they heard the very words pronounced by God himself” (p. 97). Parker further quotes Calvin when he says that God’s true messenger must be received with as much reverence as God Himself. “The teaching, then, which is put forward in the name of God, ought to be as authoritative … as if God Himself had revealed His majesty before our eyes” (p. 97).

It is surprising that Parker then takes a position concerning the witness of the Spirit that undermines Calvin’s views. Calvin is said to teach that the Spirit has such a relation to the Word that the Scriptures become the Word of God through his activity (cf., pp. 48, 48–49, 92, 93, 107, 114). In a way that is currently fashionable, Parker says that all revelation is redemptive (p. 70) and he speaks of preaching as a possible medium of divine revelation (p. 98). Do we not discern the influence of Barth when Parker says that it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the words of men become the Word of God (p. 98)?

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We believe that it is the outstanding fault of a book with many fine qualities, that there is an oscillation between the exposition of Calvin and a dependence upon Barth. In the reviewer’s eyes this clash of Calvin and Barth is all too apparent.

Calvin relates how the Israelites were chided by Moses, when they had not listened to his teaching, for having been rebellious against the mouth of God. It is clear from Parker’s own exposition of Calvin’s statements that Calvin equates the words of Moses with the Word of God. This was the case because Moses did not speak the “words of men,” or a figment of the human imagination, but the oracles of God. Thus Calvin writes, “So we see how God wishes His Word to be received in such humility when He sends men to declare what He commands them, as if He were in the midst of us” (p. 97). It is therefore strange when Parker, in an effort to expound Calvin’s position, says, “… the words of the preacher must not be taken to be synonymous with the Word of God. The distinction between God and man must not be blurred” (p. 97). But this is to read a typically Barthian problematic into Calvin. Indeed Calvin was interested in not blurring the distinction between man and God. But Calvin’s problem here is not that of distinguishing between God and man; it is of distinguishing the divine words uttered by men, that is, the words which are the oracles of God, from the “human” words uttered by man, that is, the words which are the product of human imagination. It is therefore misleading to represent Calvin as holding that words spoken by man, from whatever source, become the Word of God only through the sovereign activity of the Holy Spirit. Calvin only says that the oracles of God spoken by man should be received as if God were speaking them himself. It is certainly misleading when Parker reorients Calvin’s problem and talks as if Calvin meant that what man says is the Word of God, only if the Spirit sovereignly chooses to use these human and fallible words as his instrument, transforming them into revelation.

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In discussing the relationship of Calvin to the new Reformation theology of Barth and Brunner, Dowey shows clearer vision. Even more than Parker he would see in the new Reformation theology a rediscovery of the true Calvin. But Dowey clearly recognizes that if Barth and Brunner are to be regarded as having brought to light the true genius of Calvin’s theology, this true genius must be distinguished from another line of thinking in Calvin himself which provided a foundation for Calvinistic orthodoxy and its view of verbal inspiration. Thus Dowey forcibly chooses for the new Reformation theology and against the formal principle of the Reformation and verbal inspiration (cf. Dowey, op. cit., pp. 161, 163). It is only by way of inconsistency that Parker desires to see in Barth a worthy interpreter of Calvin’s thought (cf. p. 43, note), while he nevertheless quotes freely and with approval the very orthodox views of Calvin himself.

Another general criticism of Parker’s book is also in place. The book is a theological one, and not an especially popular one at that, which quotes from the Greek, Latin, and Old French without translation. Because of its brevity, however, one misses in it the elaborate support of the author’s position which one would expect. If the book had been longer, the author might have considered certain problems more extensively.


Fact Of Revelation

The Old Testament View of Revelation, by James G. S. S. Thomson (Eerdmans, 1960, 107 pp., $2.50), is reviewed by G. Douglas Young, Dean and Professor of Old Testament Literature and Interpretation, Trinity Theological Seminary.

This is a clear, simple, readable discussion of the fact of Revelation and the media through which it was given, together with a treatise on “The Word of the Lord” and “The God of Revelation.” It is good to be able now and again to pick up a brief concise positive statement on these topics. Little of a polemic nature is included in this volume. It is not apologetic but declarative. “And all of man’s unaided efforts to arrive at a knowledge of the invisible God end in failure. If God does not reveal himself to man he remains unknown to man.” The two chapters which discuss some of the attributes of God might be considered devotional literature at its best. All chapters are well enforced with references to Scripture.


Biblical Inspiration

Explore the Book, by J. Sidlow Baxter (Zondervan, 1960, 6 volumes, 1600 pp., $19.60), is reviewed by Wilbur M. Smith, Professor of English Bible, Fuller Theological Seminary.

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When one who believes in the full inspiration of the Scriptures, after engaging for some 30 years in effective Bible teaching and biblical preaching on both sides of the Atlantic, gives us a work of some 1600 pages, setting forth the basic theme of each of the books of the Bible, we may expect something of value, and that is certainly what we have in this six-volume work by the well-known Dr. J. Sidlow Baxter, for many years minister of Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh. The work varies in value; for the Old Testament his treatment of Zechariah is the best, at least of the prophetic books, and his discussion of the principal subjects of Ephesians is the best of his New Testament studies. In addition he has given us an excellent chapter, for example, on the different aspects of the humanity of Christ as set forth in the Gospel of Luke, and a very satisfactory treatment of the Apostolic Benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14. The gifted writer frankly faces the problems of the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, and in the eight pages he devotes to this he has brought forth some excellent truths.

There are, however, some shortcomings in this work. Now and then the headings are incorrect. The larger part of Ezekiel 25–39 is of course devoted to the restoration of Israel, and therefore is not accurately titled “Future Destinies of the Nations.” Few would agree that the subject of I Corinthians is “The Gospel and Its Ministry,” for, as everyone knows, this Epistle has reference to the church and some of its problems. The author devotes six pages in an attempt to prove what cannot be proved, that the “days” of the first chapter of Genesis are 24-hour periods, and in his treatment of the Epistle to the Hebrews, of a little over 20 pages, one regrets that six of these pages are given over to a defense of Pauline authorship, when the identity of the author of the Epistle, really unknown, makes little difference in its interpretation.

There are some amazing disproportions here. Why should as much space be given to the five chapters of the Book of Jonah as to the total amount of space assigned to the 20 chapters of Amos, Obadiah, Micah, and Nahum? More space is given to discussing the unity of Isaiah than to the exposition of the entire book! One may expect very little help in understanding the profound subjects of the Book of Daniel, when out of 28 pages of text, 21 of them are devoted to matters of authorship and historicity! More space is given to the interpretation of the little Epistle to Philemon than to the 15 chapters of Revelation 6–20. There is a great deal of repetition in the discussion of the Epistle to the Romans. Why should three pages be given to Gideon in the discussion of Judges, and none to Samson? What amazed the reviewer most was that while Dr. Baxter has eight good pages on the parables of Matthew 13, he has absolutely nothing on the great Olivet Discourse, to which the synoptics devote 170 verses.

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In spite of these criticisms, these books will be found helpful for Bible students, especially those who are just beginning a more serious study of the Scriptures for their own personal edification. Many of the outlines are most suggestive.


Book Briefs

Devotion, by Virginia Ely (Revell, 1960, 128 pp., $2.50). Twenty-five interpretations of the Christian way of life for use in personal and group worship.

Heinrich Schutz, His Life and Work, by Hans Joachim Moser (Concordia, 1959, 756 pp., $15). Definitive biography of a noted German Christian composer (1585–1672).

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