Books examining the nature of the Church were sparse in number and even more sparing in content. Evangelical books tend to describe what the Church does rather than explain what the Church is. In Models of the Church (Doubleday), Avery Dulles, a prolific Roman Catholic theologian, challenges our thinking from a progressive Scripture/tradition stance that characterizes his communion. Another provocative study from the Roman Catholic side is Edward Schillebeeckx’s The Mission of the Church (Seabury). Schillebeeckx is the theological pen of the restively outspoken Dutch hierarchy. A bit breezy on the cover with a gale inside is Arthur Tennies’s A Church For Sinners, Seekers, and Sundry Non-Saints (Abingdon). The Church Christ Approves (Broadman) is steered by James Draper between “The Tragedy of Liberalism” and “The Fallacy of Fundamentalism” with the blessing of W. A. Criswell’s foreword. Fuller Seminary president David Hubbard asks Church—Who Needs It? (Regal) J. Sidlow Baxter is simply sage, and he says it all here (as he has elsewhere) in Rethinking Our Priorities: The Church: Its Pastor and People (Zondervan). He maddeningly ends every fourth or fifth word with an “ly,” but he does it splendidly.
The well-known author and teacher Kenneth Gangel offers a complementary volume to his earlier Leadership in Church Education with Competent to Lead: A Guide to Management in Christian Organizations (Moody). The scope is broader than just pastoral leadership in congregations. The book is clear and concise, and gives many suggestions for further study.
The church-in-the-world is the coming concern of the seventies and not only of the hitherto monopolistic liberals. Evangelicals can learn from the second blockbuster by Robert Hudnut, Arousing the Sleeping Giant (Harper & Row). He insists that the ideology of do is more important than the theology of faith, and he calls it a “new fundamentalism.” Lay Action (Friendship) is Cameron Hall’s program for lay people as the church’s “third force” in social and political activism in the mainline bodies.
RENEWAL Books on renewal of inner-city churches include: What’s Ahead For Old First Church? (Harper & Row) by two United Methodist experts, Ezra Jones and Robert Wilson, who examine situations sociologically. From there we move, evangelically, to Main Street and the Mind of God (Judson); author William Keucher is an able, clear writer. Two more books, both approved by Elton Trueblood, are Breakthrough Into Renewal (Broadman) by David Haney and From Tradition to Mission by Wallace Fisher (Abingdon). Patterns for Parish Development edited by Celia Hahn (Seabury) is an Episcopal-oriented collection of papers on the dynamics of congregational change.
Among the best examples of the “body life” renewal movement are the outstanding Spiritual Gifts and the Church (InterVarsity) by Bridges and Phypers and the excellent Sharpening the Focus of the Church (Moody) by Dallas Seminary’s Gene Getz. Getz is thoroughly biblical and practical—and applicable. Similar is When All Else Fails … Read the Directions (Word), by which Bob Smith means read the Bible’s program for God’s work today. Also good is Rebirth of the Congregatian by R. E. Bieber (Christian Literature Crusade). The small-group movement continues to spread rapidly, and among the guidebooks are Your Guide to Group Experience by Samuel Southard (Abingdon), Experiential Bible Study by John Drakeford (Broadman), Me, You, and God by George Edmonson (Word), and Growth Through Groups by Clemmons and Hester (Broadman).
Books on the charismatic movement continue to deluge the Christian reader. Offering a churchly rather than individual slant is The Charismatic Church by William Olson (Bethany Fellowship), a balanced proponent. More objective is Erling Jorstad’s Bold in the Spirit (Augsburg). Jorstad, like Olson a Lutheran, is an interpreter of the charismatic movement rather than a propagandist.
WORSHIP AND SACRAMENTS The corporately worshiping church didn’t receive a great deal of encouragement in 1974, but among the better helps are: Creative Ways to Worship by James Christensen (Revell), Minister’s Worship Handbook by James Robertson (Baker), and Worship: Good News in Action edited by Manders Egge (Augsburg). Ways to Spark Your Church Program (Abingdon) might unplug some: its author is Frank Kostyu, senior editor of A.D. The worship environment is the subject of Architecture for Worship by E. A. Sovik (Augsburg). The Rhythm of God offers a philosophy of worship by Geddes MacGregor (Seabury).
On the subject of the sacraments the worshiping church received Eating and Drinking With Jesus by Arthur Cochrane (Westminster), a challenging ethical and biblical study of the Lord’s Supper; the author carefully uses words like myth and fantasy while retaining the historical fact of creation and consummation. Very little comes to our Protestant attention from the Eastern Orthodox, but this is slightly remedied in The New Man (Agora), a dialogue between Orthodox and Reformed theologians centering on the sacraments. The editors are John Meyendorff and Joseph McLelland.
MUSIC The singing of Scripture is returning to churches, and all 150 psalms are set to more or less traditional tunes in The Book of Psalms For Singing published by the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. Most of the psalms and many New Testament passages have been set to extraordinarily beautiful, simple tunes in Psalm Praise (Falcon). The tunes single out the words and the words fit the tunes. The collection is suitable for public worship. Two imaginative additions to the hymnody of America are Hymns For the Living Church (Hope) and the much smaller Living Praise Hymnal (Zondervan). Stately is the word for The Church Hymnary (Oxford), published for the Presbyterian bodies of the British Isles. Many Protestant hymns have found their way into The Catholic Hymnal (Our Sunday Visitor). About fifty Opinions on Church Music from Erasmus and Luther to the present have been collected by Elwyn Wienandt (Baylor University).
THE PASTOR The well-known counselor Jay Adams launched what is to be a series entitled Shepherding God’s Flock (Presbyterian and Reformed). Volume one focuses on the pastor’s personal life and his ministry of visitation. A long-recognized need for help on using one’s time wisely is being met by seminars across the land, and now come the books. Olan Hendrix’s comes to us by way of India, then the Philippines, and now North America: Management and the Christian Worker (Christian Literature Crusade). High quality is the worthy goal Joseph McCabe has in mind in How to Find Time For Better Preaching and Better Pastoring (Westminster).
The pastor needs advice on beating inflation, and Manfred Hoick, Jr., provides it in Making It on a Pastor’s Pay (Abingdon). Revised and updated from the 1968 edition is John Banker’s Personal Finances For Ministers (Westminster). Laymen need a lot of myth-exploding about the perquisites of the ministry, and Time to Negotiate (Friendship) does just that.
An invaluable aid for pastors in the active ministry with suggestions for both personal and group planning is Competent Ministry: A Guide to Effective Continuing Education (Abingdon) by Mark Rouch. Add to this Person and Profession: Career Development in the Ministry (Abingdon) by Charles Stewart, who is a pastor’s pastor through the crises of the ministerial career.
We need a lot of helps in the area of the pastor and his own family, and humor makes it all easier to bear as we guffaw through the Underground Manual For Ministers’ Wives (Abingdon) by Ruth Truman.
Leonard Griffiths, former pastor of London’s City Temple, brings out of a wealth of experience We Have This Ministry (Word). Behold My Servant (Liturgical) by Gaétan Bourbonnais is subtitled “A Study in Reading the Bible Thematically.” It is written from a conservative but biblically enlightened Roman Catholic viewpoint. Ideal for the beginning pastor is Pointers For Pastors (Crescendo) by Charles Koller. Once past the beginner stage he may become what Gerald Gillaspie identifies as The Restless Pastor (Moody), and every pastor should have this volume. A guide for the bereft flock is provided by fourteen case studies in The Minister Is Leaving (Seabury).
PREACHING The bright spots in the homiletic art include the 1973 Lyman Beecher lectures at Yale, given by the distinguished New York Presbyterian David H. C. Read and printed in Sent From God (Abingdon); here are distilled the art and passion of preaching for our visual rather than auditory age. Allow for Clement Walsh’s misunderstanding of evangelicalism and you have a fine approach for preaching in today’s milieu in Preaching in a New Key (Pilgrim). James Massey likes to say “Jesus was a hermeneut” in his helpful The Responsible Pulpit (Warner). Donald Demaray’s excellent volume An Introduction to Homiletics (Baker) is short, handy and rich. Baker is to be thanked for its continuing paperback reprints of past masters, including Andrew Blackwood’s Preaching From the Bible and G. Campbell Morgan’s Preaching. The year almost ended before a real winner arrived: Baker reprinted Dargan’s classic History of Preaching in two volumes and added a much-needed and appreciated third, covering 1900–1950, by Ralph Turn-bull. Two important books related to preaching are James Daane’s The Freedom of God (Eerdmans), subtitled “A Study of Election and Pulpit”—all that’s missing is a sample sermon to demonstrate his position—and Jesus’s Audience (Seabury) by J. D. M. Berrett, a splendidly provocative volume.
Space limitations require us to survey last year’s books on pastoral counseling, and on ministry to children and youth, in future installments of our monthly Minister’s Workshop feature, probably March 28 and April 25.
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