Full Text for CTM Book Review 10-9 (Text)

(truurnr~ta: UJ4tulugtrul jluu:tQly Continuing LEHRE UNO \VEHRE MAGAZIN FUER EV.-LuTH. H OMILETlK THEOLOGICAL Q UARTERLY-THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY Vol. X September, 1939 No.9 CONTENTS Page The Reformed Doctrine of the Lord's Supper. Th. Engelder ______ M1 The False Arguments for the l\lodern Theory of Open Questions Walther-Guebert ____ ______ .. __ 656 Die Gottesidee in heidnischen Religionen. P. E. Kretzmann ________ 666 Was Gamaliel's Counsel to the Sanhedrill Based on Sound Reasoning? w. c. Bw:hop _ __ ____ ___ _________________________________________ 676 Predigtpniwuerie Cuer die Evangelien der Thomasius- Perikopenreihe . __________________________________________ . _____________ 684 l\lisce1Ianea _ ______ . ____ " _ . .. __ _____________________ .. ___ .. __ .... __ .... ___ ._ .. _ 692 Theological Observer. - Kirchlich-Zeitgeschichtliches ____________ 698 Book Review.-Literatur .. _ .. _ .... .. ____________________________________ . 711 an Predller muu nlcht alle1n ",ei- lin, IIlIo daII et' dle Schafe unter- .... elae. WIe lie re-o..hte ChrL-ten sollen IeJD, IOJldem 8ucb daDeben den Woel- fell ",."!'eft, due lie die Schafe nlcht Ullfel1'm un4 mIt fal8eher Lehre ver- tuebl'en und IrrtUJD elntuehren. !Nther. EI 1st ke1n DIq. du die loMdI mehr bel der Kln:be bebMlt dmD die eute Predlg1. - ApoIogIe, At1. J4, If the trumpet atv. an uneertafn sound who Iball prepare bImMJf to the battle? - 1 eM.14," Puhllshed for the Ev. Loth. Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other States CONCORDIA PUBLISHING BOUSE, St. J .(nm, Mo. Book Review - SJitetutUt 711 B( - ~eview - £iteratur All books reviewed in this periodical may be procured from or through Con- cordia Publishing House, 3558 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, Mo. Creative Controversies in Christianity. By George W. Richards, LL. D., D. Th. Fleming H. Revell Company, New York. 223 pages, 5%X8. Price, $1.50. D.D., 1938. The book is an elaboration of the James Sprunt Lectures delivered at Union Theological Seminary in 1938 by Dr. Richards, president and professor of church history at the theological seminary of the Evan- gelical and Reformed Church at Lancaster, Pa. The thesis of the book is: "The way to clarity usually is through opposition, controversy, strife." (P.10.) The author's premise is that the union between God and man is disrupted and that controversies between God and man, between Christian and pagan (or Judaistic) ideals, were inevitable. The author discusses seven "controversies" which "created" or clarified the great issues of life, such as the questions: Whence, what, why, are we? What think ye of Christ? What about the righteousness of the new heavens and the new earth? The controversies on these points have arisen out or the qualitative difference between God and man but shall be settled when man sees the qualitative kin- ship between God and man as manifested in the reconciliation wrought by Christ. "The struggle of the human in God toward man and the striving of the divine in man toward God" will end "by virgin birth, a term ... which contains the essence of the mystery of the redemptive power and love of God." (P.15.) The first "creative controversy" discussed by Dr. Richards is the opposition of the Romanticist Socrates and the ethical monotheist Amos over against the ideals, morals, and beliefs of Hellenism and Hebraism, respectively. But this clarifying controversy was only preparatory to the great clash, when God in Jesus entered into His creative controversy with the world, when love incarnate was brought into direct opposition to hatred incarnate, when the Gospel of love and righteousness clashed with the Jewish concept of the Law. "The love of God in Jesus brought Him into controversy with the world and enabled Him to win the victory over the world." (P.54.) In this section of the book Dr. Richards offers many striking and arresting statements, for example: "The two rocks on which Jesus and the Jews, Christianity and Judaism, divided were the Law and the Cross, a division that could be healed only when men accepted love as exhibited on the cross as the fulfilment of the whole Law!" (P.58.) But who is Jesus? The author's answer is so ambiguous that it is negative. "Vlhat the prophets saw, the cults offered, the philosophers thought, the people groped after and wished for - all these things were in the Nazarene in a way and with a content never dreamt of. . .. Therefore one cannot by science find Him, by logic prove Him, but by obedience of faith can enter into fellowship with Him and through Him with the Father and with one another." (P.50.) In short, you must by your own experience learn that Jesus is "the love of God in 712 Book Review - \litctatut Christ," the love "which binds man to man, nation to nation, into a fellowship of mutual cooperation, sympathy, friendliness, good will." (pp. 52, 64.) The great controversy which Christ brought will continue as Christian love tries to conquer the selfishness and hatred of the world. What Dr. Richards describes as the essence of Christianity is, of course, only its fruit. But we have seldom read anything on the character and the implications of Christian love which has been written more beauti- fully or in such trenchant and epigrammatic language. The third creative controversy was ushered in when Paul brought Christianity into conflict with Hellenism and Judaism. This chapter traces in a very interesting way the many controversies of Paul with Greek philosophers and Judaizing teachers. Paul broke down the wall of partition between Jew and Gentile - the author does not mention the vicarious atonement - when he "showed that Christianity is the end of the Law, of philosophy, and of cults, because it is love - the kind of love which does not deny philosophy or mysteries but fulfils them." (Pp. 93, 94.) The fourth section deals with the controversies in the early Church concerning the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, and the fifth, entitled "Quest for a Christian Metaphysic," with the Monarchian and Christological controversies. The position of Dr. Richards theologically is probably best expressed Ln the following: "It is not enough that Jesus said what He said and did what He did; but what He said and did will have authority for us when it is the expression of the infinite and eternal God. We need 111.0re than the facts of faith; we need the assurance that the facts of faith are the revelation of the Absolute of the Universe. We need a Christian metaphysic. The men in each age who have best understood the Gospel have always been the first to interpret it in terms of the thought of their time!" (P.153.) The following statement of the Second World Conference on Faith and Order, 1937, has our author's full approval: "We acknowledge that all who accept Jesus Christ as Son of God and their Lord and Savior and realize their dependence on God's mercy revealed in Him have in that fact a supernatural bond of oneness which subsists in spite of divergences in defining the divine mystery of our Lord." (P. 154.) The sixth chapter discusses the conflicts of the Middle Ages. At the beginning of this age we find the view that uniformity in religion, theology, philosophy, the rule of life, and politics is the ideal. The end of the Middle Ages was ushered in by the conflict which resulted in elevating the individual and advocating diversity. The final section of the book deals with such irreconcilable contra- dictions as those of Erasmus and Luther; Hegel and Kierkegaard; Schleiermacher and Barth. The author believes that Barth has a definite message for am' age but at the same time is certain, "that only an act of omnipotent grace can turn the American philosopher and theologian from the method of Schleiermacher, Ritschl, and Troeltsch to the way of Kierkegaard and Barth." (P.217.) The author has covered a vast field in the history of dogma in a novel and highly interesting manner. The text itself and the biographical notes are a clear indication of the author's wide and deep reading in Book Review - 53iteratut 713 the field of Christian thought. While we differ with the author regarding his major premise and his Reformed theological background, the book offers stimulating, enriching, challenging reading, because it is a store- house of information and is exceptionally well written. F. E. MAYER Modern Humanism and Christian Theism. By Elias Andrews. Zonder- van Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Mich. 232 pages, 5%X7%. Price, $1.50. Professor Andrews is lecturer in philosophy at Pine Hill Divinity Hall in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has written a criticism of humanism which states the main tenets of this popular philosphy and offers an appraisal from both the philosophical and the theological standpoint. Modern HU1nanism and Christian Theism is a volume well worth more than a mere cursor