In this survey of recent books in church history, dogmatics, and related fields, twenty works of particular interest or importance are listed first. These are not, of course, the best evangelical books, nor are they necessarily the books that will have the most lasting influence. Not all of them will be equally important for all readers. They were selected according to several criteria, and with an attempt to span the various interrelated areas, though with a special focus this year on the Lutheran Reformation.

1. Luther, Works: Volume 5, Lectures on Genesis (Concordia), and Volume 54, Table Talk (Fortress). Among books published during the year of the 450th Anniversary of the Reformation, it is fitting that these two volumes of the Luther translation should have pride of place. They present us with two different aspects of Luther, the exegete and the conversationalist; in the two roles he is equally engaging and powerful.

2. Luther, Selected Writings, four volumes (Fortress). For those who cannot hope to purchase the full set of Luther in English, here is a useful gathering of some of the more important writings. One does not have to follow Luther blindly to realize that the seeds of future reformation and renewal still lie in his writings.

3. Augsburg Historical Atlas of the Middle Ages and the Reformation (Augsburg). Maps of Europe changed almost as dramatically in the Middle Ages as world maps do today. Here is an invaluable tool for students and others who wish to relate the great movements of church history to their geographical and political settings.

4. C. Bergendoff, The Church of the Lutheran Reformation (Concordia). This concise and readable account of the Lutheran church should correct the idea that the Reformation is simply a movement from Luther via Calvin to Puritanism and the free churches. In view of the numerical strength of both American and worldwide Lutheranism, and its actual and potential influence in the Church today, this book should not be dismissed as irrelevant.

5. B. A. Garrish (ed.), Reformers in Profile (Fortress). To keep the picture in balance, this little collection is a very useful introduction to the many men who contributed to the Reformation. For those who are looking for a readable and authoritative account of the Reformers in handy form, this is as good a work as may be found today.

6. New Catholic Encyclopedia, fifteen volumes (McGraw-Hill). Indissolubly linked with the Reformation is the medieval and modern Roman Catholic Church with its own dogma, practice, and outlook. Here is an up-to-date reference book on Roman Catholicism that readers are not likely to buy—even if they can afford it—but that they will often be glad to consult. It need hardly be said that cool discernment is required in the use of this type of work.

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7. K. Rahner, Theological Investigations, IV (Helicon). Karl Rahner is perhaps the outstanding “reforming” theologian of the Roman Catholic Church today. For an understanding of the theological basis of the new movement, its concerns, qualities, weaknesses, and dangers, one can hardly do better than follow him through these volumes. This latest in the series, like the others, is not for the “average” reader (whoever that is). Nevertheless, it calls for serious theological investigation, in view of Rahner’s influence on Roman Catholicism and hence on the Christian world at large.

8. G. C. Berkouwer, The Sacraments (Eerdmans). The evangelical world also has a theologian of stature in Professor Berkouwer of Amsterdam, who has earned respect from Karl Barth on the one side and Roman Catholic writers on the other. This book is the latest addition to his series of dogmatic studies, which might well prove to be the finest orthodox work of the century. As the title shows, he stands in the Reformed tradition; but this should not hinder those not in this tradition from profiting from the series as a whole, or indeed from this volume on the sacraments.

9. K. Barth, Kirchliche Dogmatik, IV, 4 (Fragment) (Evangelischer Verlag). For various reasons Barth had discontinued his Dogmatics, but better health has enabled him to prepare and publish the section from IV, 4 dealing with baptism. This will form an interesting counterpart to Berkouwer, for Barth here makes a final statement on baptism in which he regards his well-known earlier essay as too Reformed. In this work one almost seems to hear Menno Simons himself speaking in the phraseology and with the accents of Karl Barth. More conservative Baptists will have to decide whether to welcome an ally or to fear guilt by association. The English translation (T. and T. Clark) should be ready shortly.

10. H. Hoeksema, Reformed Dogmatics (Reformed Free Publishing). We should not leave the narrower sphere of dogmatics without a reference to this very substantial attempt at a comprehensive theological statement. At a time when flighty faddism threatens to destroy true theology, it is good to have some more solid works. Persevering and judicious reading of this work will probably contribute more to genuine theological education than skimming through the latest pseudo-doctrinal “thrillers.”

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11. O. Cullmann, Salvation in History (SCM and Harper & Row). Although this is a biblical study, its scope and implications give it a more general significance. In it Cullmann has provided a definitive statement of his view of the interrelation of salvation and history. Whether or not the thesis commends itself, the work takes us to the heart of modern discussion and indeed of the Christian message itself. The positive insights to be derived from Cullmann outweigh the possible overemphases of the presentation or the minor liberties taken in handling the text.

12. W. Pannenberg, Theology as History (Harper & Row). Mention of Cullmann is a reminder of the influential trend away from the more specialized concept of salvation history. An able proponent of this movement is Pannenberg, whose German treatise on the theme has now been published in English. This book too has implications that make it more than a biblical study. It poses afresh the question of biblical historicity and the relation of Bible history to world history. Like Cullmann’s, this is a demanding but rewarding book.

13. J. B. Phillips, Ring of Truth (Macmillan). More of the stuff of which best-sellers are made is this new book by the noted biblical paraphraser J. B. Phillips. In it Phillips gathers from his intensive acquaintance with Scripture a series of considerations that argue forcefully for its authenticity. There is nothing defensive or petty about this comparatively short work. Phillips has learned authenticity from the Bible itself; he uses ringing tones to proclaim its ring of truth. Readers of all kinds will gain refreshment and insight from the work, and will want to pass it on to others.

14. J. B. Rogers, Scripture in the Westminster Confession (Eerdmans). The question of Scripture is approached from a different angle in this interesting and important survey. Arising out of the confessional wrestlings of the Presbyterians, it considers whether the venerable text of Westminster is accurately represented in the theology of Hodge and Warfield. Is a more neo-orthodox reading of Westminster nearer the mark? Is the Confession of 1967 a true continuation of this tradition? Two basic problems arise: First, the historical problem of a correct understanding; secondly, the dogmatic problem whether Westminster, correctly understood, is right or wrong. Rogers is an able if not entirely impartial. guide to a discussion that is of more than antiquarian interest.

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15. C. F. H. Henry and W. S. Mooneyham (eds.), One Race, One Gospel, One Task (World Wide). The Berlin Congress on Evangelism might well turn out to be one of the more significant events of the decade, not only for evangelicalism but for the larger Christian and non-Christian world. It is good, therefore, to have a permanent record of addresses given under the congress theme to present to a wider audience, and thereby to continue and extend the influence of the congress. Although the essays are naturally of unequal value, or of value for different purposes, they contain much that merits the attention of the Christian public.

16. Max Warren, Social History and Christian Mission (SCM). Of many missionary studies, this one seems to deserve special notice because of the way it tackles the interrelation of secular and missionary history, with all that this means for worldwide mission today. Warren’s predominantly British point of view, though an obstacle in some ways, is a gain in others. The perspective is a little different, and Britain was deeply involved in the secular life of many of the areas during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The social background of missionaries themselves is considered also, as is the contribution of missions to the emergence of the new nations. Underlying the discussion is the perennial problem of the Church—how to be in the world and yet not of it, how to be transformed (and transforming) rather than conformed or merely nonconformed.

17. P. Ramsey, Who Speaks for the Church? (Abingdon). The relation of Church to world is also in a sense the theme of this work, though Ramsey speaks specifically about the ecumenical movement and its varied pronouncements. Critically, but not unconstructively, he argues that ecumenical leaders take too much on themselves when they issue pious judgments on matters in which their knowledge is limited, their responsibility (of execution) minimal, and their authority dubious. Those who have had similar misgivings—and they must be legion—will welcome this thoughtful but trenchant statement, though it should not be read merely for the critical material or as a prop for the oversimple equation of another set of political and social judgments with the Gospel.

18. R. G. Turnbull (ed.), Baker’s Dictionary of Practical Theology (Baker). In the field of pastoral theology, the publication of a new Baker’s dictionary is a notable event. This ably prepared work covers the main areas of pastoral life. It provides compendious and authoritative guidance for ministers, seminarians, and church members who want to learn more about what their ministers do and how they can help them. For varied reasons, many parishes might consider buying their pastor a copy.

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19. D. H. C. Read, The Pattern of Christ (Scribners). Good sermons do not always make the best books. Dr. Read, however, has a fine touch with the pen as well as the tongue, and this new book contains much that is both well said and worth saying. Particularly striking is the way in which the sermons’ orientation to the center of the Gospel gives them an obvious relevance to contemporary life and needs—there is no need to “make” the Gospel relevant.

20. C. S. Lewis, Christian Reflections (Eerdmans). This posthumous collection of papers (some incomplete) will not disappoint those who have been so much helped by Lewis before. The freshness, artistry, and cogency are all present; topics range from literature and ethics to church music and petitionary prayer. This volume is worth getting for two essays alone, that on “The Poison of Subjectivism” and that on “Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism.” The latter was printed as an article in CHRISTIANITY TODAY (June 9, 1967), and many readers might like to have it, or to pass it on to others, in this more permanent form.

What of other works? In the Lutheran world there is the biography by H. Lilje, Luther and the Reformation (Fortress), and the study of confessional anathema in We Condemn by H. W. Gensichen (Concordia). M. U. Chrisman’s Strasbourg and the Reform (Yale) should also be noted. From a different angle, J. W. Montgomery has two brief volumes of essays entitled Crisis in Lutheran Theology (Baker).

Many useful works have come out in church history, J. Foster’s Men of Vision (SCM) is small but good. O. K. and M. M. Armstrong write on The Indomitable Baptists (Doubleday). C. M. Hopkins discusses The Rise of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism (Yale). B. Shelley gives an account of Evangelicalism in America (Eerdmans). P. A. Lapide has a not unsympathetic analysis of Three Popes and the Jews (Hawthorne). R. B. Spain presents the Southern Baptists At Ease in Zion (1865–1900) (Vanderbilt University). Mention might also be made of H. P. van Dusen’s biography of Dag Hammarskjöld (Harper & Row) and K. S. Latourette’s autobiography, Beyond the Ranges (Eerdmans).

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In historical theology, G. E. Spiegler has The Eternal Covenant (Harper & Row)—who would guess that this is on Schleiermacher? No less mystifying is G. W. Glick’s The Reality of Christianity (Harper & Row), i.e., its Wesen according to Harnack. P. Tillich’s Perspectives on 19th and 20th Century Protestant Theology (SCM) offers a good perspective on Tillich.

In theology there is much sound work alongside the flimsy or bizarre stuff. A Reader in Contemporary Theology by J. Bowden and J. Richmond (SCM) is informative. Note should also be taken of D. E. Jenkins’s The Glory of Man and J. Moltmann’s The Theology of Hope (both SCM). The Roman Catholic series Concilium has now reached Volume 23, edited by K. Rahner, and Volume 24, edited by H. Küng (Paulist Press); the themes here are atheism and the sacraments. J. A. T. Robinson still pursues his Explorations into God (SCM), though it might be better to consult the map first.

Ethics is still a dominant theme. J. Macquarrie has an interesting Dictionary of Christian Ethics (SCM). J. A. Pike espouses the new view in You and the New Morality—74 Cases (Harper & Row), but P. Ramsey is more balanced in Deeds and Rules in Christian Ethics (Scribners). There is good historical material in E. L. Long’s Survey of Christian Ethics (Oxford).

The miscellaneous works are varied and fascinating. Both Tillich and Barth have sermons, The Eternal Now (SCM) and Call for God (SCM); there is a moral somewhere in the differences in title, presentation, and congregation. A Roman Catholic cry of protest comes from J. Kavanaugh, A Modern Priest Looks at His Outdated Church (Trident). C. S. Lewis writes with his usual force and elegance in Letters to an American Lady (Eerdmans). D. E. Trueblood issues a stirring call in The Incendiary Fellowship (Harper & Row). Essays on diaconate make up the volume Service in Christ, edited by J. L. McCord and T. H. L. Parker (Eerdmans). Finally, there is a magnificent collection of extracts from great Christian writings in Valiant for Truth, edited by H. W. Coray (Lippincott). Here is a timely reminder that we have a goodly heritage to enjoy, preserve, and extend.

Milton D. Hunnex is professor and head of the department of philosophy at Willamette University, Salem, Oregon. He received the B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Redlands and the Ph.D. in the Inter-collegiate Program in Graduate Studies, Claremont, California. He is author of “Philosophies and Philosophers.”

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