Full Text for CTM Book Review 14-12 (Text)

Qtnurnr~tu mqrnlngiral flnntlJly Continuing LEHRE UND WEHRE M GJlZlN F UER EV.-LUTH. HOMILETIK THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLy-T HEOLOGICAL MONTHLY Vol. XIV December, 1943 CONTENTS The Reunion of ChristendoDl. i h Enr older OUJlilcs 011 thE Old Standard G ,pel I ;sons Theological OhslPfver Book \ ill v No . 12 P.\ge 817 852 865 882 Em Prcd1ger mU8!l nieh' ..nt- 'n wei- den, also c 3l. !l' die SchJe cntc:- weI!! • wi si~ l"Jl e Christen ~ lien zein, ondL."'l ; ch w.neben den Woel- fen wehnm. _ die Schafe nleht angre1fen und IIh falscher Lehrc ver- fu",hren und lrrtum e1r.luellr;m, E 1st kdn Ding, das die Leute mehr be' II Airche behaell denn die gut !'r· - Apolog{l' Art. ' Zluther U the trumpet give III Wlcertaln lund, vho shall prep .. " jilin!.: l! to L:II. !..U tle? -1 Cor. 11.'8 Published {or the E". Luth. Synod of Missouri, Ohio. nn Other States CON( ORDIA PUBlJSHlNG HOUSE, St. Lo PU~ r.q u 882 Book Review Book Review All books reviewed in this periodical may be procured from or through Con- cordia Publishing House, 3558 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis 18, Mo. Lutheran Confessional Theology. A Presentation of the Doctrines of the Augsburg Confession and the Formula of Concord. By C. H. Little, D. D., S. T. D., Professor in the Evangelical Lutheran Semi- nary of Canada [U. L. C.], Waterloo, Ontario. Concordia Publishing House. 185 pages, 5x71J2. Price, $1.25. It would be a good thing if people were somewhat better acquainted with the confessions of the Lutheran Church. Some years ago Professor W. W. Rockwell of Union Theological Seminary asked the Lutherans to invite the other Protestant churches to study the Augsburg Confession with them. He said: "Why should not you Lutherans now take the initiative? ... Why cannot Protestantism agree on its oldest creed, the Augsburg Confession?" Such an invitation "will set the world talking about the Lutheran claims. . . . If Lutherans are to win over the rest of American Protestants to their point of view, they must do so not by denying Lutheran principles, but by their vigorous application." The full understanding of the Lutheran confessions would also bring the Lutheran Synods of America and the world together. If all Lutheran bodies were imbued with the two basic principles of Lutheranism- sola Scriptum and sola gratia-Lutheran union would be very near. And Dr. Little's exposition of the Augsburg Confession and the Formula of Concord puts men under the influence of these principles. Every page makes it evident that the Lutheran confessions know nothing but Scrip- ture; the Christian Church may teach nothing that is contrary to Scripture and is sure of its teaching because it is taken from Scripture. Our book also brings home to us that the Lutheran confessions know nothing but the sola gratia; man can do nothing towards effecting his salvation, and his salvation is due solely to unmerited grace. We read, for instance, on page 98: "The freedom of the natural will is . . . a freedom of choice between various kinds of evil." And on page 100: "This condemnation includes, of course, also synergism, which teaches that a person can assist in his conversion, in other words, that a person can convert himself with the assistance of the Holy Spirit." Page 145: "'The Holy Scriptures ascribe conversion, faith in Christ, regeneration, renewal, and all that belongs to their efficacious beginning and com- pletion, not to the human powers of the natural free will, neither entirely, nor half, nor in any, even the least or most inconsiderable, part, but in solidum, that is, entirely, solely, to the divine working and the Holy Ghost.''' And page 175 f.: "Why is one individual hardened, blinded, and given over to a reprobate mind, while another who is in the same guilt is . converted? These and similar questions we cannot harmonize, . . . we are not commanded to harmonize them. (Rom. 9: 20. Cf. also Rom. 1l: 33-36.) . .. If any man is saved, he is saved only because of God's predestination and election. If any man is lost, he is Book Review 883 lost solely and alone by his obstinate resistance of God's grace:'- The individual Lutheran, too, pastor and layman, will find the study of our book immensely profitable. We want to be sure of our teaching; we want to be sure that God's Word teaches these things; we want to be sure that the doctrine of saving grace is the Scripture doctrine. Then take up this book in which, as ill. the confessions themselves, "each doctrinal statement is fortified by Scripture passages that prove the doctrine to be the very teaching of. Scripture itself" (Preface). A supplementary section sets forth the doctrines of the Antichrist and of the inspiration of the Scriptures as taught in the Lutheran con- fessions. We i'eaci: "'This teaching shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Antichrist. . . . Scripture with its entire voice exclaims that these errOl'S are a "teaching of demons" and of Antichrist.''' - The closing paragraph of the treatise reads: "From the above citation it is evident that. our confessions teach the plenary, or verbal, inspiration of the Scriptures and Lltterly discountenance the Arminian view that the Scriptures are inspired only in those things that are essential to salva- tion - a doctrine that would throw everything into confusion and would necessitate an infallible pope or other authority to determine just what Scriptures are to be received as inspired. It is quite certain that our confessions furnish no ground for holding that the Scriptures are inspired only in spots, and that they teach emphatically that the Scriptures do not merely contain, but actually are the Word of God, the living Word that abideth forever." TH. ENGELDER Spurgeon's Sermons on the Second Coming. By David Otis Fuller, D. D. Published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids. 147 pages, 7%X5%. Price, $1.25. Spurgeon is an evangelical preacher. This may be seen from such passages in his sermons as these: "First, it will be wonderful that there should be so many brought to faith in Him: men with no God and men with many gods, men steeped in ignorance and men puffed up with carnal wisdom, great men and poor men, all brought to believe in the one Redeemer and praise Him for His great salvation. Will He not be glorified in their common faith? It will magnify Him that these will all be saved by faith, and not by their own merits. Not one among them will boast that he was saved by his own good works, but all of them will rejoice to have been saved by that blessedly simple way of 'Believe and live,' saved by sovereign grace through the atoning blood, looked to by the tearful eye of simple faith. • • . They believed and were saved, but faith taketh no credit to itself; it is a self-denying grace and putteth the crown upon the head of Christ, and therefore is it written that He will be glorified in His saints, and He will also be admired in all them that believe." (pp. 140, 141.) Spurgeon insists on the Christian life. He says, "In these times of worldliness, impurity, self- indulgence, and error it becomes the Christian to gather up his skirts and keep his feet and his garments clean from the pollution which lies all around him." (P. 39.) Spurgeon, however, is a preacher of the Reformed type. He also is a millennialist, though he seems not to be fanatic in preaching this doctrine; for he says: "I do not understand 884 Book Review the visions of Daniel or Ezekiel; I find I have enough to do to teach the simple Word such as I find in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the Epistles of Paul. . . . I will not divide the house tonight by discussing whether the advent will be premillennial or postmillennial, or anything of that; it is enough for me that He will come, and 'in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man will come.' Tonight He may appear, while here we stand; just when we think that he will not come, the thief shall break open the house. We ought, therefore, to be always watching." (Pp. 102, 103.) The sermons presented in this volume have been condensed and edited by David Otis Fuller, who is a great admirer of Spurgeon, so much so that he says, "There's no question about it; what William Shakespeare is to English prose, Charles Haddon Spurgeon is to the Christian pulpit. His superb and well-nigh faultless diction, coupled with his burning love for Christ, make for him a niche in the Gospel ministry higher than all others since the days of the Apostle Paul." (Preface.) This is exaggerated praise. However, because Spurgeon was an evangelical preacher, though his sermons show no great doc- trinal depth, and because he speaks in straightforward, simple language, his sermons can profitably be read by preachers. J . H. C. FRITZ The Intention of Jesus. By Joh.'1 Wick Bowman, Memorial Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis, Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, Pa. The Westminster Press, Philadelphia. 263 pages, 6X8%. Price, $2.50. In an enthusiastic foreword Prof. W. M. Horton of Oberlin College calls this book "revolutionary." There is nothing revolutionary in it from the point of view of the Bible Christian; but unbelieving scholar- ship will indeed be startled to find a first-rate savant, working with its own tools, arrive at conclusions which are the very opposite of its own positions. The book desires to be strictly scientific; it takes nothing for granted. Conjectures of higher critics on the origin of our four Gospels are approved; the two-source hypothesis, holding that Mark and a collection of sayings of Jesus, the Logia (often referred to by the symbol Q), formed the main basis for our present Matthew and Luke (in addition to which - so the proponents of the theory usually hold - Matthew had a special source and Luke a special source) is accepted. The Scriptures are treated as human documents, in which one may expect to find errors. Placing himself thus entirely on a naturalistic platform, the author defends the conservative position that Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah-King of Psalm 2 and the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. He combats the view of Wrede and others that Jesus never stated, either to friend or foe, that He was the Messiah, but that the Church gradually arrived at this exalted idea about His person and work and, assuming that He had spoken of Himself in these terms, put the respective claim into His mouth. Wrede thought the Gospel account of the order of Jesus, addressed to His disciples, not to tell anybody that He was the Messiah, was only one half of the truth, that the full truth was that He never even laid claim to that dignity. The refutation of this blasphemous view is the chief Book Review 885 burden of the book, running more or less through the whole discussion. The intention of Jesus, so it is argued, was indeed to be the promised Ruler and the great Sufferer. If that resolve did not exist in Him before His Baptism, it certainly arose in Him when that sacred act was performed. Elucidating his positions, the author introduces his readers to modern New Testament literature and acquaints them with the most prominent productions and views. Among the recent writers who are quoted or referred to somewhat extensively are Lietzmann, Bultmann, F. C. Grant, Easton, Manson, J. Weiss, Montefiori (a Jewish writer), and G. F. Moore. In a formidable way the author opposes Harnack's view that the significance of the teachings of Jesus is exclusively or chiefly ethical and Shailer Mathew's advocacy of the social gospel. How little the positions of these scholars comport with what Jesus says about Himself is demonstrated. Valuable are the remarks which set forth that Jesus was not the nationalistic Messiah many people desired Him to be. The arguments showing that Jesus intended to form a fellowship of wbi,.h He as Mediator was the center likewise deserve special mention. The investigation of the term "Son of Man" (chap. 4) should be noted. The author's closing sentence (p. 225) that our unique Lord produced the Christian faith not, as some higher critics claim, the Christian faith our Lord, must, of course, receive the hearty endorsement of all who love the divine Gospe1. A worth-while feature of the book is the inclusion of a summary, covering one page, for each chapter, the summary preceding the chapter itself. The book is carefully docu~ mented. There are various details of interpretation where we cannot agree with the author. In addition to the strictures recorded above, our chief complaint is that several times, for instance, when he speaks of the Virgin Birth (p. 184), his trumpet gives a very uncertain sound. W.ARNDT A Survey