Another avalanche of literature has descended. May it be that this age will be buried under too much print, or is most of it unread? Certainly, no man can read it all, and this means that a selection must be made of what seems to be (temporarily at least) interesting and significant. Not all the works mentioned below would, of course, go on the choice list of recommended reading. And selection, like method, tends to be arbitrary.

A good place to start is with additions to established series. New Luther volumes (Fortress and Concordia) include the Liturgy and Hymns and Lectures on Genesis. The “Oxford Library of Protestant Thought” has made great strides with volumes on Melanchthon, God and Incarnation in Mid-Nineteenth Century German Theology, Horace Bushnell, and Reformed Theology (all Oxford). (Incidentally, why did the last volume have to have a title so like the great Heppe’s title, and then claim to be breaking new ground?) Notable additions have also been made to the “Pelican Church History” with Stephen Neill’s History of Christian Missions (Eerdmans) and O. Chadwick’s The Reformation, and to the “Advance of Christianity Series,” also published by Eerdmans, G. W. H. Parker has contributed The Morning Star. A series of dogmatic studies that evangelicals should not miss is that of G. C. Berkouwer, the latest addition being The Work of Christ (Eerdmans). Roman Catholicism also has its new series in Concilium: Theology in an Age of Renewal (Paulist Press); the first seven titles list such well-known “progressive” names as Congar, Rahner, Küng, and Baum.

In reprints, the important “Courtenay Library of Reformation Classics” has now published its first two volumes, Tyndale and Cranmer, in an American edition (Fortress). Eerdmans has taken the initiative of republishing the works of the prophetic P. T. Forsyth, who is more contemporary today than in his own time; among the new titles is The Cruciality of the Cross. (By the way, J. H. Rodgers has a new study of The Theology of P. T. Forsyth (Alec R. Allenson and Independent). Also available again are Brunner’s The Mediator (Westminster, paper) and O. Heick’s History of Christian Thought, Volume I (Fortress). From an earlier age comes the readable though solid classic, Thomas Watson’s Body of Divinity (Banner of Truth Trust).

In dogmatics, the year brought some interesting developments. Two voices are heard from Edinburgh, that of T. F. Torrance in the essays Theology in Reconstruction (SCM) and that of J. McIntyre, The Shape of Christology (SCM). A final demolition of that flimsy structure, Honest to God, is ruthlessly accomplished by E. L. Mascall in The Secularisation of Christianity (Darton, Longman and Todd); but was it worth this much effort? Creeds have claimed attention from two writers. J. N. D. Kelly, already an expert in the field, discusses The Athanasian Creed (Harper and Row), while G. W. Forell writes on Understanding the Nicene Creed (Fortress). Both works are very timely in an age of creed-breaking and creed-making. Kierkegaard still commands discussion, and note should be taken both of the thoughtful study by E. J. Carnell, The Burden of Sören Kierkegaard (Eerdmans), and of the final journals, The Last Years (Harper and Row). Roman Catholics continue to make forceful contributions. One might mention especially Luther and Aquinas on Salvation, by S. Pfürtner (Sheed and Ward), Christ in Christian Tradition, by A. Grillmeier (Sheed and Ward), and especially Word and Redemption, Essays in Theology, Volume II, by H. U. von Balthasar (Herder and Herder). The interrelation of faith and reason finds interesting historical treatment in R. A. Norris, God and World in Early Christian Theology (Seabury), and provocative (and typical) Unitarian handling in L. A. Garrard, Athens or Jerusalem? (Allen and Unwin). Also to the fore is the theme of faith and history, which has deep dogmatic implications though it is usually oriented to biblical theology. D. H. Fuller argues persuasively for the historical credibility of the New Testament record in Easter Faith and History (Eerdmans), while Oscar Cullmann in his Heil als Geschichte (soon to be available in English) insists that revelation consists of interpretation as well as deeds, and sharply criticizes Bultmann. Talking of Bultmann is a reminder that someone was bound to undertake a rescue operation for Schleiermacher, and this has been duly done by R. R. Niebuhr, Schleiermacher on Christ and Religion (Scribners), to the expected applause of the subjectivist world (including, one suspects, not a few naïve evangelicals).

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Before leaving this field we might note some interesting collections of essays. From the prolific H. Thielicke come The Trouble with the Church and Between Heaven and Earth, both by Harper and Row. Thielicke always stimulates, but will he wear well, and has he really anything to offer on the doctrine of Scripture? The Danish theologian R. Prenter has a group of writings under the heading Word and Spirit (Augsburg), a fine title that immediately prompts us to ask: What word and what spirit? Some odds and ends of Bonhoeffer have been assembled as Rusty Swords (Harper and Row). Bonhoeffer was a man of fine mind and courage, but is there not a danger in attaching significance to everything he penned?

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Theological crutches are increasingly available. The most ambitious aid is A Handbook of Christian Theologians, edited by M. Marty (World). Also dealing with persons is Creative Minds in Contemporary Theology, edited by P. E. Hughes (Eerdmans). For those who find the modern jargon and concepts hard, B. Rannn has prepared A Minister’s Handbook of Contemporary Theology (Eerdmans). Like the other works, this is eminently useful, though one may hope it does not create the need for a layman’s handbook! Finally, one can learn all about saints now in the Penguin Dictionary of Saints.

Space does not permit mention of the many substantial volumes in church history. Many of these, of course, are of value chiefly to students and specialists. Of more general interest, perhaps, is The Early Christian Church, by J. G. Davies (Holt, Rinehart and Winston). So, too, is R. H. Bainton’s History of Christianity (Nelson). Missouri Synod Lutherans will appreciate the story of their development in Moving Frontiers, by C. S. Meyer (Concordia), and, since American church and state are intermingled for all the separation, all American Christians should take note of the Oxford History of the American People, by S. E. Morison (Oxford). Whether or not perusal of this volume will lead to the conclusions of C. G. Singer in his Theological Interpretation of American History (Craig) is another matter.

The year has been rich in biography. Luther is again a victim, though handled with new sympathy in the Roman Catholic reassessment by R. M. Todd, Martin Luther (Newman). Lesser-known reforming figures, both important in their own lands, are treated by C. Bergendorff in Olavus Petri (Fortress) and F. G. Heymann in George of Bohemia, King of Heretics (Princeton University). Pope John still attracts attention through his autobiographical Journey of a Soul (McGraw-Hill), and Teilhard de Chardin is on a rising wave that has brought many new studies, among them one by H. de Terra (Harper and Row) and one by C. Cuenot (Helicon). The Wesleys have much the same fascination as Luther, and Charles, lifelong Anglican, is ironically, if not inaccurately, presented by F. C. Gill as Charles Wesley, the First Methodist (Abingdon). John, who is handled in the Nelson series by V. H. H. Green, finds an odd bedfellow in John William Colenso (by H. D. Hinchcliff, Nelson), whose Pentateuchal mathematics and subsequent Natal schism did at least help to give us “the church’s one foundation.” Wesley’s contemporary, Whitefield, is enabled to speak again through his interesting Journal (Banner of Truth Trust). From other centuries we have a civil servant bishop, Thomas Thirlby (by T. F. Shirly, SPCK), who at least survived under four Tudors; a modern martyr, There was a Man … Paul Carlson (by C. P. Anderson, Revell); and the great Pascal, whose authority is perhaps anachronistically invoked for a modern cause in Pascal’s Recovery of Man’s Wholeness (by A. N. Wells, John Knox). Missionary biography has produced a reprint of the autobiographical John G. Paton (Banner of Truth Trust) and a crop of Hudson Taylor studies (James Hudson Taylor, by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, China Inland Mission and Moody; The Fire Burns On, by F. Houghton, China Inland Mission; and A Passion for the Impossible, by L. T. Lyall, Moody).

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Max Warren has an authoritative account of British missions in The Missionary Movement from Britain in Modern History (SCM). On the sociological side, an acute and disturbing study comes from R. I. Rotberg in Christian Missionaries and the Creation of Northern Rhodesia (Princeton University), though the missionary contribution to Zambia (and Kenneth Kaunda) should also be remembered. Perhaps one of the healthiest signs in the missionary sphere is the revived interest in the theology of missions. This is expressed in the essays Church Growth and Christian Mission, edited by D. A. McGavran (Harper and Row); in the German contribution by G. F. Vicedom, The Mission of God (Concordia); and in the historical discussion in S. H. Rooy’s The Theology of Missions in the Puritan Tradition (Eerdmans).

The same note is sounded in preaching and worship. Regarding preaching, the most important work is that of H. Ott, Theology (Dogmatik) and Preaching (Westminster), which is right in principle if not always in detail. Less convincing is Speaking of God, by W. Hordern (Macmillan), who gives interesting answers to the wrong questions. J. T. Cleland deserves notice with his Preaching To Be Understood (Abingdon), though possibly the importance of good plain English is not sufficiently weighed in this business of understanding and “communication.” As for worship, Presbyterians in particular will be interested by D. Macleod’s Presbyterian Worship (John Knox) and Lutherans by F. Kalb’s The Theology of Worship in 17th Century Lutheranism (Concordia). Also to be noted is J. J. von Allmen’s Worship, Its Theology and Practice (Oxford). Those planning to build must not fail to consult Christ and Architecture, by D. J. Bruggink and C. H. Droppers (Eerdmans), which will give both architectural advice and a theological sense of what they are doing.

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In conclusion, we must note a few works on human conduct. The essays edited by I. Ramsey, Contemporary Ethics and Contemporary Philosophy (SCM), will probably produce more gloom than light. H. Gollwitzer, of Berlin, has challenging things to say in The Demands of Freedom (Harper and Row). What is a just war? Help on this urgent modern question may be gleaned from J. Tooke’s The Just War in Aquinas and Grotius (SPCK). P. Tournier helps psychology hold its own with Secrets (John Knox) and The Adventure of Living (Harper and Row). But perhaps the new fad is going to be religious sociology, as in D. Moberg’s Inasmuch (Eerdmans) and O. R. Whitley’s Religious Behaviour (Prentice-Hall). Possibly many readers will not be attracted by this. If not, sociology has a more tempting alternative in its scientific study of Ministers’ Wives, by W. Douglas (Harper and Row); the interest will probably be more personal than scientific.

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