Little if any of the literature produced in this field in 1964 is destined for immortality. All the more reason, then, to begin our survey with some of the reprints either of established classics or of books with more than ephemeral importance. The great Luther translation is making good progress, and volumes recently added include the lectures on Galatians and Genesis, and the Liturgy and Hymns (Augustana-Muhlenberg). This is a venture of the first rank. A new British house, the Sutton Courtenay Press, has initiated an equally important series, the “Library of Reformation Classics.” The first volume is devoted to the works of the Bible translator, William Tyndale. The only defect of this new edition is that it leaves out the distinctive and (from an Anglican standpoint) prophetic eucharistic teaching. A reprint of the charter of Pietism, Spener’s Pia Desideria (Fortress), has one unusual feature, namely, that it is, though almost unbelievably, the first English translation.

Of a different character is the minor classic, Church and State in the United States, by A. P. Stokes and L. Pfeffer, whose three volumes have now been published in abridged and revised form in a single volume (Harper and Row). In a similar connection one might also mention the one-volume Concise Dictionary of American Biography (Scribners), which should prove a handy reference work.

Modern works that have called for new editions include D. M. Baillie’s Faith in God and Its Christian Consummation (Faber and Faber), J. Pelikan’s The Riddle of Roman Catholicism (Abingdon), and Niebuhr’s The Nature and Destiny of Man (Scribners, two vols.). Baillie’s work is now almost a period piece, and Pelikan’s has only a topical reference (though it is still topical), but Niebuhr’s work—perhaps his best—may have more lasting value. Incidentally, the reissue of P. T. Forsyth’s Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind (Eerdmans) is a praiseworthy attempt to reintroduce a figure whose true stature has perhaps not been appreciated, especially in the States.

Turning to new works, we find that history and biography again have the most solid fare to offer. (Is this a sign that our age talks too much, and knows too little, about “creativity”?) Two new series attract attention. The first is Oxford’s “Library of Protestant Thought,” off to a good start with A. C. Outler’s Wesley and E. R. Fairweather’s The Oxford Movement. The second is the “Pelican History of the Church,” sponsored in the States by Eerdmans. Volume IV gives us a solid study of The Church in the Age of Reason by G. R. Cragg and Volume V, a provocative account of The Church in an Age of Revolution by A. R. Vidler. Another ongoing series that should be noted is “Yale Publications in Religion” by Yale University Press. Recent additions (6–9) range from a comparison of Thomas Aquinas and John Gerhard, through Luther’s View of Church History, to Thomas Stapleton and the Counter-Reformation and The Quakers in Puritan England.

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Reformation and Puritan studies rightly occupy a considerable place in recent historical writing. We have a new history of The English Reformation written by A. G. Dickens (Schocken Books), and W. Haller has given us an illuminating study of the influence of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs on British and American life in The Elect Nation (Harper and Row). From Open Court comes a fresh study of John Colet by L. Miles in John Colet and the Platonic Tradition. The inter-relations of Anglicans and Puritans are re-examined by J. F. H. New (Stanford University Press). If we fail to live up to our Reformation and Puritan heritage, it should not be for lack of knowledge, or at least information.

More modern studies cover a vast and varied field. T. S. Miyakawa discusses the wider range of Protestant influence in Protestants and Pioneers (University of Chicago), in which he issues a warning against overemphasizing pioneering individualism. K. K. Bailey analyzes a distinctive movement in Southern White Protestantism in the 20th Century (Harper and Row). F. F. O’Dea gives a fresh account of The Mormons (University of Chicago). J. C. Pollock continues his valuable activity as an evangelical historian with The Keswick Story (Hodder and Stoughton). N. Zernov introduces us to the strange world of Russian Orthodoxy in The Russian Religious Renaissance of the 20th Century (Harper and Row).

We might also mention two more comprehensive works. The first is a translation of F. Gontard’s The Chair of Peter (Holt, Rinehart and Winston), a full survey of the papacy from its shadowy beginnings to its final overprecision. The second is the Horizon History of Christianity (Harper and Row), a vivid presentation in narrative and illustration of the Church’s progress through its most formative epochs (text by R. H. Bainton).

In biography the year has been interesting and varied. Among Reformation biographies we may add to G. Ritter’s Luther (Harper and Row) a welcome biography of Zwingli translated from the French of J. Rilliet (Zwingli, Westminster). Moving to the eighteenth century, F. Baker’s William Grimshaw (Epworth) introduces the unusual but highly effective predecessor of the Brontë family in Haworth Parsonage. H. Daniel-Rops has told the story of one of the most outstanding medieval fathers in his Bernard of Clairvaux (Hawthorn).

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Most of the biographies, however, deal with more recent characters. R. Lejeune’s Christoph Blumhardt and His Message (Plough) should be read with interest, and H. Perrin’s Priest and Worker (Holt, Rinehart and Winston) plunges us into the controversial worker-priest experiment of French Roman Catholicism. Two notable leaders are presented in J. Fletcher’s William Temple (Seabury), a theological study, and In the Service of the Lord (Holt, Rinehart and Winston), the autobiography of Otto Dibelius. Another autobiography bears an unconventional title that well characterizes the unconventional minister of St. Giles’, Edinburgh: Laughter in Heaven (Revell), by H. C. Whitley. One hardly dares speculate whether the laughter includes that of Dr. Whitley’s illustrious predecessor, John Knox. We are in debt to C. S. Kilby for his able study of C. S. Lewis in The Christian World of C. S. Lewis (Eerdmans). From overseas missions comes an admirable and challenging account of Lillian Dickson in Angel at Her Shoulder, by K. L. Wilson (Harper and Row).

Poverty In Dogmatics

Dogmatics offers only a meager selection. Now that Barth has suspended production on the Dogmatics, publishers have been picking up his untranslated odds and ends. In addition to the Heidelberg Catechism for Today (John Knox), we have lectures in God Here and Now (Harper and Row) which form a less painful though less rewarding introduction to Barth’s theology than the Dogmatics. In this area one might mention a continuation of C. Van Til’s anti-Barthian polemic in the pamphlet Karl Barth and Evangelicalism (Presbyterian and Reformed).

The aftermath of J. H. T. Robinson’s Honest to God may be seen in The Honest to God Debate (SCM). One wonders whether Honest to God is intrinsically worth the fuss. It presumably enjoys the vogue it does only because it has fallen on an age that is dogmatically immature and superficial. Some of our predecessors who never went to college but understood their Bible and Hodge would probably have made short work of it! But a vacuum has to be filled.

The vacuum is hardly filled by the more constructive works of the year. H. Berkhof has made a fresh attempt to wrestle with The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (John Knox). M. H. Micks has given us a new Introduction to Theology (Seabury). Carl F. H. Henry has assembled a fine evangelical team to comment on Christian Faith and Modern Theology (Channel). The theme of glorification has kindled evangelical interest. Bernard Ramm writes in his usual competent and stimulating manner in Them He Glorified (Eerdmans), and D. Moody approaches the same subject from a different angle in The Hope of Glory (Eerdmans).

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Some Borderline Books

On the borderline between philosophy and theology there are few studies of consequence. H. Gollwitzer, who almost followed Barth in Basel, writes on The Existence of God (SCM). A. Plantinga has edited an interesting set of essays on Faith and Philosophy (Eerdmans) dealing with historical, philosophical, and ethical themes. A tardy translation is that of K. Löwith’s fine book, From Hegel to Nietzsche (Holt, Rinehart and Winston), which supplies much valuable background for those who venture into this perilous half-world.

Perhaps current preoccupation with ecumenical themes explains in part the dogmatic poverty. The spate of ecumenical works is such that we are forced to let most of them swirl by and hope that we catch some of the most representatively significant. On the Roman Catholic side we can hardly go wrong if we consult the supreme authority, Cardinal Montini, whose utterances are now readily available in, for example, The Mind of Paul VI (Geoffrey Chapman) and The Church (Helicon). Also to be considered are the debates of Vatican II, and here the selection of Council Speeches edited by H. Küng and others (Paulist Press) is of particular value. On the Protestant side, another work of some authority is the report from Montreal in The Fourth World Conference of Faith and Order by P. C. Rodger, who was nominated to succeed Visser t’ Hooft, and L. Vischer (Association). Whether the conference did justice to the work of the commission is debatable.

Of other works, four may be singled out. The first is The Problem of Catholicism by Vittorio Subilia (SCM), a Waldensian professor in Rome who knows his subject as few Protestants could claim to do and who is less facilely optimistic than many. The second is J. Pelikan’s Obedient Rebels (SCM), which renews the old thesis that the Reformers were seeking to be true Catholics, in the hope that this will open up ecumenical discussion in a more fruitful way. The third is Toward the Recovery of Unity, a highly relevant selection of letters by F. D. Maurice edited by F. J. Porter and W. Wolf (Seabury). The last is a critical evangelical analysis, Unity in the Dark, by D. Gillies (Banner of Truth Trust). The continuation of the Vatican Council ensures a steady filling of the ecumenical shelves again in 1965, quite apart from the ordinary output associated with the World Council of Churches.

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Ethics is dominated for the most part by the new morality. The brashest presentation seems to be No New Morality, by D. Rhymes (Bobbs-Merrill), which favors the antiquated thesis that Paul was the corrupter of the original new morality of Jesus. Presumably the Lord and the Holy Spirit mistook the role of Paul when they chose him as apostle and writer, unless it be that the new morality knows little apostleship or inspiration but its own. Helmut Thielicke in his Ethics of Sex (Harper and Row) apparently makes common cause with the thesis in many respects; but in spite of a certain ambivalence, his ethical work rests on more solid theological foundations developed in the important earlier volumes of his Theological Ethics, soon to be published by Fortress Press. Though tactical reasons might justify it, the premature appearance of the later volume is in many ways unfortunate.

Not a great deal has been done to provide a sound theological reply to the new morality. A. Lunn and G. Lean, in The New Morality (Blandord), provide a criticism from the Roman Catholic viewpoint. E. Thurneysen in his Sermon on the Mount (John Knox) gives an answer in terms of the Barthian inter-relating of Law and Gospel. R. S. Wallace has a complementary study of the Ten Commandments in his Free Before God (Eerdmans), an exploration of true freedom that preserves the distinction between law and legalism. Incidentally, one wonders why American Lutherans do not do more to relate the doctrine of Law and Gospel to this question. Surely they have not lost it.

In conclusion, brief reference may be made to contributions in the pastoral field. Some Great Sermons on the Resurrection have been assembled by Wilbur M. Smith (W. A. Wilde). Another sermon collection is to be found in The Christian Year: Sermons of the Fathers, Volume I (Nelson). G. W. Webber of the Harlem mission writes a challenging account of his work in Congregation in Mission (Abingdon). Critics should remember that he is at least there. A book for organists, choirs, pastors, and congregations too is E. Routley’s Twentieth Century Church Music (Oxford). The Church of England has its new Paul, the twentieth-century reorganizer; hence the unenthusiastic The Paul Report Considered (ed. by G. E. Duffield). Finally, it might do us good to read J. Isaac’s The Teaching of Contempt: Christian Roots of Anti-Semitism (Holt, Rinehart and Winston). No doubt the thesis is onesided and the case overstated. But we easily forget that we are wild branches grafted into the olive tree, and view ourselves as the whole tree with a right to treat the true branches with contempt. To see the truth again—a biblical truth—should teach us appropriate humility and sweeten all our ministry and mission.

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T. Leo Brannon is pastor of the First Methodist Church of Samson, Alabama. He received the B.S. degree from Troy State College and the B.D. from Emory University.

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