Catholic Theology Today

Theological Investigations, Volume IV: More Recent Writings, by Karl Rahner, S. J., translated by Kevin Smyth (Helicon, 1967, 421 pp., $8.50), is reviewed by Donald Bloesch, professor of theology, Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa.

This volume introduces the reader to some controversial themes in contemporary theology as viewed by one of the avant-garde theologians of the Roman Catholic Church. Karl Rahner is regarded in many circles as the greatest philosophical theologian produced by the Catholic Church in this century.

Rahner, unlike some of the older scholastic theologians, views revelation as event as well as truth, with the emphasis on event. He acknowledges that God reveals himself through words and concepts, but he maintains that the revelatory meaning of these words is not disclosed until the Spirit of God acts upon the minds of the hearers. Like Karl Barth, he locates revelation in the conjunction of the historical word of Scripture and the present action of the living Christ. At the same time he speaks much more of “revealed dogma” than of a divine message or Gospel. When he affirms that this dogma can be “handed on” by the Church from one generation to the next, he seems to return to a static theory of revelation. Evangelical theology maintains that the Church is the servant of dogma, that it can witness to the truth of revelation but that such truth can never be its possession.

Rahner shows himself basically sympathetic with Küng’s treatment of justification, and yet he also has some criticisms. In line with traditional Catholic theology, he holds that justification in its subjective mode and sanctification are the same. He views the justifying and saving act in terms of man’s inner renewal and purification rather than as a forensic declaration of pardon that must be received by faith alone. In contrast to Küng, Rahner avers that we are justified by love as well as by faith, though he differentiates love from the good works that follow it. He reminds us of the truth that the goal of justification is man’s sanctification. But as evangelicals we must continue to affirm that the believer is fully justified even though he is only partially sanctified, and that sanctification is the consequence and evidence of the divine act of justification.

Rahner follows the thought of much contemporary existentialist philosophy in maintaining that God cannot be objectified, that he transcends the subject-object cleavage. For Rahner, the knowledge of God is shrouded in mystery; the “substance” of God is completely beyond the rational powers of man. “The supreme knowledge which man has of God is to know that he does not know God.” Rahner’s affinities with the tradition of Christian mysticism are especially evident here. The evangelical theologian must ask, however: Does not God objectify himself so that we can have real, objective knowledge of him? We also maintain that in Jesus Christ God reveals himself fully, even his very essence, which is reconciling love. The Christian by faith does not know simply the effects of God upon the world; he knows the very being of God. Rahner’s theology verges towards monism (though it does not actually become monism), particularly when he asserts that the grace of God and Christ are in everything. Here he is close to Tillich, who sees God as the ground of all being.

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Reading For Perspective


A Varied Harvest, by Frank E. Gaebelein (Eerdmans; cloth, $4.95; paper, $2.45). Out of his life as headmaster, editor, and writer, Gaebelein offers choice essays on Christianity, education, public affairs, and mountain climbing.

The Ecumenical Mirage, by C. Stanley Lowell (Baker, $4.95). This timely and provocative analysis claims the ecumenical movement is not an authentic manifestation of the Holy Spirit but a symptom of the sickness of our time.

The Christian Life New Testament with the Psalms, notes by Porter Barrington (Royal Publishers, $4.95; $1.75). A functional King James Version with outlines and notes on great doctrines that will stabilize young Christians and assist all believers in their spiritual growth.

Like most other Catholic theologians both past and present, Rahner believes that the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist should be central in Christian devotion. It is well to note that he views the sacramental sign as being not the material elements but rather the participation of the people in the Eucharistic meal. He points to the basic area of difference from evangelical theology when he contends that transubstantiation means the miraculous transformation of the elements. Yet he insists that what is changed is not the “being” of the bread but rather its “substance,” its signification.

The note in Rahner’s theology that is particularly disturbing to evangelicals is his doctrine of universal prevenient grace, which practically amounts to a universal salvation. According to Rahner, the saving grace of God is operative everywhere in the world, and the main difference between Christians and non-Christians is that Christians are cognizant of this grace. “Even when he does not ‘know’ it and does not believe it … man always lives consciously in the presence of the triune God of eternal life.” The universal saving work of God is concretized in the historical Christ, but it is not limited to this event. Rahner contends that it is not just that the world can be saved if it wills; the world is already saved through the reconciling grace of God revealed and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He speaks of an anonymous Christianity, a way of life characterized by self-giving love even though conscious faith in Jesus Christ is absent. In his view, whenever man accept their own humanity they have accepted the Son of Man.

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Rahner believes that the natural man has the potentiality for obedience, a capacity to respond to and recognize God’s grace. The grace of God fulfills man’s natural possibilities and thereby builds upon rather than negates man’s nature. The evangelical will ask whether grace does not in fact bring to man a new nature. Did not Paul say that the man in Christ is “a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17)? Does not grace entail man’s crucifixion and resurrection rather than his self-fulfillment or self-realization? Rahner also maintains that we can by the light of our reason arrive at a true but not complete understanding of the nature of man, although the answer to man’s quest lies in revelation.

What is lacking in Rahner’s theology is that biblical dualism which envisages man as being in opposition to God and enslaved to the demonic powers of darkness. The fall of man is not given serious enough attention in this theology, for the fall certainly means that man’s reason is darkened and that his will is irrevocably bound to forces beyond his control. Rahner recalls us to the truth that the world has been reclaimed by Christ, but he does not do justice to the biblical witness that the world is presently in the grip of the demonic adversary of God (1 John 5:19).

On the other hand, evangelicals will rejoice that here is a modern theologian who accepts the deity of Christ, salvation by divine grace, the full inspiration of Scripture, and revelation as both the saving action of God and divine truth. We can learn from Rahner that Christianity also has a mystical dimension, that faith involves not only personal confidence but also mystical participation in Christ. This book is recommended for all evangelical Christians who seek a deeper understanding and appreciation of contemporary Roman Catholic theology.

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Updating Old Theories

Creation Versus Chaos, by Bernhard W. Anderson (Association, 1967, 192 pp., $4.95), is reviewed by R. K. Harrison, professor of Old Testament, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, Canada.

At first glance I thought this book would be a careful examination of the Genesis creation narratives in the light of modern scientific discoveries. Further examination showed, however, that it actually pursues the twin themes of creation and chaos through the Old Testament, in the process formulating a theology of historical conflict.

Anderson admits that his inspiration came from Hermann Gunkel’s Schöpfung und Chaos in Urzeit und Endzeit(“Creation and Chaos in Beginningtime and End-time”), written in 1895, whose observations he attempts to update. Into this rather artificial mold he has poured a good deal of old-fashioned biblical liberalism. JEDP, second and third Isaiah, and an annual New Year enthronement festival in Israel are all accepted without criticism. Although he is vaguely aware that “myth” is an unsuitable term for the early Genesis material, he manages to use a disarming definition from another liberal scholar in favor of retaining the word. He has a low view of the inspiration of Scripture and gives the impression that the Israelites experienced God in history more than in revelation.

In his zeal the author overstates his case by apparently regarding almost all occurrences of the word “sea” in the Old Testament as direct or overt references to the primordial water-chaos of Babylonian mythology. Like some other liberals, he is not above amending the Hebrew text when he thinks it will strengthen his case. He clearly has no understanding of the way in which the early Genesis material (“myth,” in his terms) is amenable to a scientific interpretation. And he is apparently unaware that the relation between the Babylonian creation stories and their Genesis counterparts is once again an entirely open question. In his view that Israel used the Babylonian chaos myth rather than divine revelation to probe the meaning of history, he shows himself insufficiently aware that the very few Old Testament allusions to pagan mythology are themselves thoroughly demythologized.

Even more serious, perhaps, is Anderson’s misunderstanding of the first word of the Hebrew Genesis, which he says points to an absolute temporal beginning. Again, had he recognized that “good and evil” often are used merely as antonyms, he would have had less difficulty in asserting the sovereignty of God. But he fails to notice that evil is less a part of a dualistic entity than a parasitic one.

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Anderson’s arguments are not always clear, and I found that the most penetrating insights of the book were the contributions of Will Herberg, to whom the work was dedicated.

Turnpike In The Sky

The Symbolism of Evil, by Paul Ricoeur (Harper & Row, 1967, 357 pp., $8.50), is reviewed by Cornelius Van Til, professor of apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This is the second in the author’s series of three volumes entitled “Finitude and Guilt.” In the first and second volumes we have a keen, modern, phenomenological analysis of what Scripture speaks of as sin and pollution. In the third Ricoeur proposes to set this analysis in relation to general philosophical reflection.

We are then to have an empirically founded and critically responsible totality view of what was traditionally spoken of as creation, fall, and redemption.

Ricoeur is deeply conscious of the difficulty he faces. He knows that “it is always in the midst of contingency that rational sequences must be detected.” Therefore “the hiatus between pure reflection on ‘fallibility’ and the confession of ‘sins’ is patent. Pure reflection makes no appeal to any myth or symbol; in this sense it is a direct exercise of rationality. But comprehension of evil is a sealed book for it; the reflection is pure, but it leaves everyday reality outside insofar as every-man’s everyday reality is ‘enslavement to the passions.’ ”

Here then is Ricoeur’s problem. Philosophy is pure reflection. It “must comprehend everything, even religion.” On the other hand, symbols deal with pure facts. The symbol “does not conceal any hidden teaching that only needs to be unmasked for the images in which it is clothed to become useless.”

We cannot understand a thing unless we understand everything to which it is contingent. Obviously we cannot understand everything. Can we then understand anything? Yet we must insist that “the symbol gives rise to thought.” This sentence, says Ricoeur, “enchants me.” Well it may. It can, on his view, never do more. He can only assert that symbol “gives occasion to thought”; his methodology, as he virtually admits, excludes such a possibility. His principle of reflection is like a turnpike in the sky. His symbols are like grains of sand in an infinitely extended desert.

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The enterprise of “a creative interpenetration of meaning,” Ricoeur claims, “would be a hopeless one if symbols were radically alien to philosophical discourse.” But he himself has asserted that an absolute alienation exists between fact and reflection on fact.

All he can do is repeat to himself, “I wager that I shall have a better understanding of man and of the bond between the being of man and the being of all beings if I follow the indication of symbolic thought.”

Thus Ricoeur says he is “betting on the significance of the symbolic world.” Seeking for “rational sequences … in the midst of contingency,” he sees traditional Christian believers as those who “would seek nothing, not being motivated by concern about any question.” Nobody knows, but you are wrong and I am right. Thus indirectly does Ricoeur exhibit the truth that if man does not accept the Christian answer, he can find no coherence whatsoever in the facts of his experience.

A Fresh Point Of View

Basic Modern Philosophy of Religion, by Frederick Ferré (Scribner’s, 1967, 465 pp., $7.50), is reviewed by Herman J. Ridder, president, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan.

Frederick Ferré, chairman of the Department of Philosophy at Dickinson College and the son of Nels F. S. Ferré, has written a lively, challenging book that, though understandable to the beginner in the field, will nonetheless engage the interest of the veteran also.

“Basic” in the title means “available,” says Ferré—the book can be understood by the thoughtful reader without technical prerequisites. It is “modern” in that he goes no further back than Descartes. And it is a “philosophy of religion” in that it is an attempt at “helping to rejoin the island of philosophy of religion to the general philosophic continent from which, I fear, it has sometimes been cut off by the rip tides of party spirit or by the gentle marshes of suffocating naïveté.” Therefore, his primary aim is to provide a fresh point of view on issues of central importance to a critical and comprehensive understanding of religion, which Ferré defines as “one’s way of valuing comprehensively and intensively.”

The author’s method is very satisfying. He skillfully combines illustrative material with various instructional approaches (in one chapter a theologian and a skeptic, assisted by a friend who “starts the apples of philosophical discord rolling,” demonstrate through dialogue what Ferré calls “scientific stalemate”). The result is an interesting and useful educational tool that Ferré tested in two classrooms before committing it to type.

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Tracing the history of philosophy in the modern era, Ferré notes that in the seventeenth century the issues of religious belief were defined theistically and theoretically. Descartes and Paley illustrate the optimistic belief that purely speculative means could be used to establish religiously significant truths. This is “the rising action” in the drama. David Hume brings in the element of conflict with his radical questioning of the assumption that religious believing is a speculative enterprise. Under the influence of Immanuel Kant, the question marks become “full stops,” and practical reason is suggested as a means more suitable to the nature of religious belief. After this climax comes the “falling action” of the nineteenth century, when the discussion centers on whether or not there is such a thing as practical reason. Here Kierkegaard and Nietzsche agree in completely rejecting an academic, detached discussion of religious matters that deal with life-and-death issues.

Ferré reminds us that we of the twentieth century are the inheritors of this philosophical history. For that reason he seeks to define religion in terms of its “practical” role while at the same time avoiding the mistake of completely sealing off practical matters from questions of truth. He hopes that the linguistic key provided by the philosophy of language in which forms of speech are reunited with forms of life can be of considerable help in reworking the traditional conflicts in the religious drama so that there can be some hope of progress.

In the meantime, we shall have to live in a time “between models.” Traditional imagery employed by the Scriptures and theology can serve at best to provide partial meanings as “broken myths.” Does this mean that the person who chooses to live so must live a life “parched and shallow, without the heights of worship, the depths of prayer, the breadth of fellowship”? Ferré doesn’t think so. But the alternatives he gives are, in my opinion, hardly adequate. “Standing in a picket line” may be a noble act, but it is not nearly as much an “exalting act of worship as kneeling in a cathedral.” The author suggests “Thy will be done” as the model petitionary prayer. In this era between the models, the prayer becomes, “May the values that I acknowledge as really sacred, beyond the petty and inconstant willfulness of my momentary desires, find genuine fulfillment”!

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But don’t let that deter you from reading a very worthwhile book. After all, long ago (in chapter 1) he warned us that a philosophy of religion is not to be understood as an apologetic for the faith. If you’ve been spending a lot of time on issues that don’t really matter or with parishioners or others who lack the interest or ability to wrestle with basic problems confronting the faith today, I suggest you take on Ferré!

As Cardinal Bea Sees It

The Way to Unity after the Council, by Augustin Cardinal Bea (Herder and Herder, 1967, 256 pp., $4.95) is reviewed by Ernest Gordon, dean, University Chapel, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey.

A question I have often heard concerned Christians ask is: “Did the Second Vatican Council succeed in loosening the strong controls imposed on the Roman church by the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council?” The question is important, for the attitudes existing between Roman Catholics and Protestants have been determined, in large part, by these councils.

This book helps to answer the question. In an irenic manner Augustin Cardinal Bea explains the significance of the deliberations and conclusions of Vatican II. The main concern behind John XXIII’s convening of the council was clearly ecumenical. This concern was expressed plainly in the Decree on Ecumenism: “The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council.” Cardinal Bea, president of the Secretariat for Christian Unity, is obviously in a good position to speak for his communion to those outside it. As he sees it, the two directing principles of the ecumenical approach are: love of truth and charity of judgment. Along with these principles goes the recognition that authentically ecumenical action must begin in the church’s own renewal.

The concern of Vatican II extended to the non-Christian world. The doctrine of creation formed the mode of approach. Although all men participate in the Fall, they are still left with their innate dignity as God’s creatures. The sons of the church have, therefore, the duty of recognizing and promoting the spiritual values they encounter in other religions. This is a far cry from the philosophy of the Inquisition, which was created as a branch of the Counter-Reformation.

The council’s declaration on the attitude of the church toward non-Christian religions was hailed as “a milestone in the relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people.” Here again it represented a more open and charitable view. The declaration pointed out that the people of the New Covenant have a spiritual bond with the descendants of Abraham: “All who believe in Christ—Abraham’s sons according to faith—are included in the same patriarch’s call.” Having established mutual bonds, the declaration recommended that profitable areas of understanding be worked out and that biblical and theological studies be the guide in a brotherly dialogue. The burden of guilt for our Lord’s death was recognized as one too heavy for the Jews to bear; they “should not be presented as repudiated or cursed by God.”

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The hope of Christian unity that inspired John XXIII was reinforced by the council’s evaluation of the common ties that bind all Christians:

1. Baptism: “All who have been justified by faith in baptism are members of Christ’s Body, and have a right to be called Christian.”

2. The centrality of Christ: “We rejoice to see that our separated brethren look to Christ as the source and center of Church unity.”

3. The inspiration of Scripture: “Sacred scripture provides for the work of dialogue as an instrument of the highest value in the mighty hand of God.”

4. The fellowship of the sacraments, although we separated brethren lack the sacrament of orders.

5. The moral teaching of the Gospel.

6. Solidarity in sin.

The cooperation we may look forward to, however, is mostly in the field of social action—all of us are one “in acknowledging the dignity of the human person in the social implications of the Gospel, in working for peace, and alleviating the calamities of our time, such as hunger and disasters, illiteracy, poverty, the inequitable distribution of wealth, etc.” Cardinal Bea points out that although religious problems are not specifically mentioned here, nevertheless cooperation in the social field is “a way of furthering the Creator’s will.”

Most readers will agree that Vatican II opened the way for further study, action, and dialogue, but that “the complex realities of the Church herself” remain. How much of a synthesis may be achieved between the Roman communion and those outside, according to the principles of truth and love, has yet to be worked out. If “truth” includes the sacrament of orders and the apostolic college, how far may the separated brethren go in recognizing it without weakening their faith in Him who is the way, and the truth, and the life?

If the council restored mutual love, as the Pope has said it did, then surely the “separated brethren” may gratefully accept and respond to this fact. In any case, none who owe allegiance to Jesus Christ as Lord can remain indifferent to the world’s hatred of God and its need of the one Saviour.

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Myths, Late Dates, And Assumptions

Theology of the Old Testament, Volume II, by Walter Eichrodt (Westminster, 1967, 573 pp., $7.50), is reviewed by R. Laird Harris, dean and professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.

Eichrodt’s Theologie des Alten Testaments was originally published in the thirties. This second volume from the fifth German edition (1964) is an important addition to Old Testament study. Eichrodt’s massive and original work is perhaps the most basic of the several Old Testament theologies that have lately come to us from Europe.

His different approach is refreshing. On the basis of recent discovery he criticizes the older Wellhausen view: “Once again, therefore, the beautifully constructed developmental theory comes to pieces in one’s hands.” He includes much exegetical material that is also often the product of a novel point of view.

Eichrodt arranges his material topically. But he passes up the usual topics of systematic theology in favor of topics derived, he feels, directly from the material: God and the People (Vol. I), God and the World, God and Man (Vol. II). One may doubt, however, whether the treatment is purely objective. At least, Eichrodt reaches the familiar neo-orthodox conclusions in all his study. God is the hidden One, the totally other. Meaning in life is attained by a God-Man encounter. The suffering of righteous people offers as much atonement as is necessary. Creation and the Fall and eschatology also are myths—spiritually real, but not historically true.

Although he rejects Wellhausen’s development of Israel’s religion, his whole work is built on acceptance of the late date of the documents. He traces many lines of doctrine from their origin in the monarchy (the prophets and the J document) to the exilic period (Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel), the post-exilic period (P document and most of the Psalms), then late Judaism (other Psalms, trito Isaiah, Daniel, and non-canonical literature). Even much current critical study would question some of his very late datings—as, for instance, that of the Psalms.

This highly technical work has its value, but its conclusions are largely determined by its initial assumptions.

Luther Vs. Heresy

We Condemn: How Luther and Sixteenth Century Lutheranism Condemned False Doctrine, by Hans-Werner Gensichen, translated by Herbert J. A. Bouman (Concordia, 1967, 213 pp., $7.50), is reviewed by C. Gregg Singer, chairman, Department of History, Catawba College, Salisbury, North Carolina.

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This is a scholarly treatment of a technical but very important aspect of the Lutheran Reformation. The problem of the Damnamus, the Condemnation, was a serious one for Luther and his successors in Germany as they worked for the reformation of the German church, and the history of this controversy offers the key to understanding the doctrinal controversies that at times threatened to engulf Lutheranism after 1550.

Dr. Gensichen declares that his purpose is to foster understanding among the churches through investigation of a highly controversial historical question. But he also says that in this strictly historical study he has no intention of prejudging the dogmatic questions. On the whole, he manages to maintain a high degree of impartiality until the final pages of the work. Then his neo-orthodox leanings begin to be evident in his rather subtle attempt to associate Luther with a Barthian view of revelation, and in his suggestion that the Barmen Declaration of 1934 points to the possible answer to the vexing question of the proper use of the Condemnation. Yet high scholarship marks every page of this work.

The author begins with the assumption that the rejection of false doctrines is one of the major points at which the Reformation maintained some continuity with the pre-Reformation Church. But he also seeks to locate the Lutheran use of the Condemnation in the practices of the primitive Church rather than in the legal formalism of the Church of the Middle Ages. He insists that the fight against false doctrines in the Middle Ages was closely associated with the increasing objectifying of doctrine and institutionalizing of the Church. Thus the use of the Condemnation departed from the New Testament ideal of maintaining the purity of the life of the Church; it came to be a punitive measure in the hands of the clerical hierarchy. Although in general I agree with this thesis, I think that this section is perhaps the least satisfactory part of the book. I also question the assumption that the use of the Condemnation came to its own under Gregory IX. But these are minor criticisms.

The basic chapter is the one that deals with Luther’s own position. Here the author asserts that Luther sought to return to the practice of the early Church in his view of the Condemnation and sought to use it to protect the doctrine of the Cross and justification by faith alone. Gensichen seems to think that Luther’s own position here was the best and that the rise of a legalistic view of the excommunication in Lutheran thought after 1530 is regrettable because it became a source of discord. I cannot accept this view, in that the author seems to minimize the doctrinal controversies that arose and to overlook the loyalty of the Flacians to what they felt was the truly orthodox Lutheran position.

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The great value of this work is that it reminds us that the churches of the Reformation did have a great zeal for a biblical orthodoxy and were willing to take a stand for the truth, even if it meant administering ecclesiastical discipline to those who departed from it. That is the real message of this book for our day.

A Man Used By God

Another Hand on Mine, by William J. Petersen (McGraw-Hill, 1967, 228 pp., $5.50), is reviewed by Delbert A. Kuehl, executive assistant director, The Evangelical Alliance Mission, Wheaton, Illinois.

“If you help me to get my medical education and help me to become a doctor, I will give you everything.… Yes, Lord, everything.” This was the critical hour that set the compass for the life of the young Carl Becker, a life to be marked by amazing accomplishments as a missionary doctor. Petersen so vividly portrays the life of Dr. Becker—his burdens and doubts, his deep love, his humble spirit, his practical faith, his able leadership—that one feels he is living the experiences of this amazing missionary along with him.

In the midst of a prosperous and expanding medical practice in Pennsylvania, the inner call of God persisted until, despite their doubts and hesitations, the Beckers turned toward the Congo to begin pioneer medical work in the great Ituri forest. There were no facilities, no medical assistants, and, strange as it may seem, scarcely any patients. Gripped by superstition, the Africans still turned to the witch doctor. With a living allowance of $60 per month and meager funds with which to start the simplest medical work, faith to Dr. Becker was not an option but a necessity. From this small beginning rose a medical work that was to touch tens of thousands of sufferers and attract worldwide attention.

The sad plight of the great number of lepers pressed hard upon Dr. Becker. He was not satisfied with the medicines available, and he began experimenting with other ways to attack this dreaded disease. The leprosy work grew to be the largest in Africa and second largest in the world. Its success drew prominent doctors from all over the world to Oicha hospital in the Ituri forest.

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Dr. Becker had great compassion for the Africans’ physical suffering but was stirred even more by their spiritual need. With deep devotion and keen insight—with another hand on his—he led large numbers to Christ.

In a day when the “Missionary, go home” theme is often presented, it is refreshing indeed to read how in the midst of the pressures and tragedies of the Congo the Africans pleaded with the Beckers and their fellow workers not to leave them. Those closely involved in worldwide missions realize that this is the general picture and “Missionary, go home” the exception.

William Petersen has done a remarkable job in unfolding to us the accomplishments of the amazing Carl Becker and the Africa Inland Mission, a man and a mission greatly used by God.

Book Briefs

Christianity in the Non-Western World, edited by Charles W. Forman (Prentice-Hall, 1967, 146 pp., $4.95). Readings about Christianity’s confrontation with various non-Westem cultures that remind us that the Christian message is not a Western phenomenon but God’s truth for the whole world.

Prophets of Salvation, by Eugene H. Maly (Herder and Herder, 1967, 191 pp., $4.50). A Catholic biblical scholar describes the major Old Testament prophets and their involvement in the events of their day. He includes a helpful discussion of the Hebrew concept of dabar, the word.

Strasbourg and the Reform, by Miriam Usher Chrisman (Yale, 1967, 351 pp., $8.75). Students of church history will welcome this interesting analysis of the Reformation’s effect on a single city, Strasbourg, 1520–1548.

They Stood Boldly, by William P. Barker (Revell, 1967, 188 pp., $3.95). The thrilling story of the early Church recorded in the Book of Acts is told with fresh insights and dramatic verve by a Presbyterian minister.

From Primitives to Zen, compiled and edited by Mircea Eliade (Harper & Row, 1967, 645 pp., $8). An anthology of documents from major religious traditions (other than Judaism and Christianity) that sheds light on their beliefs, conceptions, rituals, and institutions; compiled by the University of Chicago Divinity School’s expert on history of religions.

Please Pray for the Cabbages, by Helen W. Kooiman (Revell, 1967, 123 pp., $2.95). Pint-sized parables for grown-ups from the mouths of babes, delightfully told by a Christian homemaker.

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Spiritual Leadership, by J. Oswald Sanders (Moody, 1967, 160 pp., $2.95). A lively, practical discussion of characteristics and practices vital to Christian leadership. Even if you do not consider yourself leadership material, read it.

The Modern Tongues Movement, by Robert G. Gromacki (Presbyterian and Reformed, 1967, 165 pp., $4.50). A well-written survey of tongues-speaking, past and present, and an analysis of references to it in Mark, Acts, and First Corinthians. Gromacki argues that the modern movement’s use of unknown tongues without any language basis is contrary to the scriptural standard and cannot be of God. Quoting Paul in First Corinthians 13:8, “Tongues shall cease,” he concludes, “They have.” A book bound to promote controversy in many circles.

Living in Kingdom Come, by Vance Havner (Revell, 1967, 128 pp., $2.95). More than a Scripture-saturated devotional book by a traveling evangelist, this is a message to Christians to shake their apathy and live as subjects of a heavenly kingdom.

The Making of the Christian West, by Georges Duby (World, 1967, 214 pp., $21.50). An exquisite volume that tells the story of sacred art, A.D. 980–1140. The influence of the feudal system and monastic Christianity is seen in the 111 high-quality pictures included with the readable text.

114 Ways to the Mission Field, by Mel Larson (Free Church Publications, 1967, 256 pp., $3.95). Heart-warming and encouraging stories of the conversations, the call, and the commitment that led 114 people into missionary service.

The Wit and Wisdom of Billy Graham, edited and compiled by Bill Adler (Random House, 1967, 165 pp., $3.95). The stirring message and vibrant personality of Graham shine through in this collection of excerpts from his sermons.

The Epistles of St. John, by B. F. Westcott (Eerdmans, 1966, 245 pp., $6.50). A classic commentary first published in 1883 is now reprinted, with the addition of a survey by F. F. Bruce of Johannine studies since then. This commentary is not for those who have no Greek. Even the Latin quotations in the author’s notes are left to the imagination of the modern reader!


A Religion Against Itself, by Robert W. Jenson (John Knox, 1967, 127 pp., $1.95). The author’s earlier critique of Karl Barth raised hopes for this book that are unfulfilled. What he offers here are scattered thoughts on an assortment of topics that cluster around “religionless Christianity” but lead nowhere.

Take My Life, by Michael Griffiths (Inter-Varsity, 1967, 189 pp., $1.25). A plea for dynamic Christian living characterized not by the modern virtues of toleration and moderation but by an all-out response to God. A practical and uplifting book.

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The Significance of South India, by Michael Hollis (John Knox, 1966, 82 pp., $1.95). The South India scheme for church unity is a phrase to conjure with today, especially since it is advocated as a pilot venture for the British Anglicans and Methodists to embrace. The author’s enthusiasm for the scheme raises hope that this may be the solution in other areas where church union is under negotiation.

The Early Christian Church, by J. G. Davies (Doubleday, 1967, 414 pp., $1.75). A handy sourcebook of scholarly data on the first five centuries of Christianity. Well organized, clearly written. First published in hardcover in 1965.

The Ministry of the Church in the World, by John A. Bailey (Oxford, 1967, 125 pp., $1.55). A low-key introduction to what the Bible’s message is all about; even “ministry” is explained. The author’s earlier missionary work explains the elementary nature of this book, which raises almost as many questions as it answers.

Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church, by W. H. C. Frend (Doubleday, 1967, 577 pp., $1.95). This significant historical work considers the Judaistic tradition of martyrdom inherited by Christians and discusses the controversies and sufferings involving Christians from New Testament times to the fourth century.

Counseling and Theology, by William E. Hulme (Fortress, 1967, 250 pp., $1.95). Hulme considers the needs of counselees, the theological foundations of counseling, and the Christian basis for personal acceptance, growth, and assurance. Includes chapters on the use of Scripture and the Lord’s Supper in counseling. New paperback edition.

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