Volume 3 - Issue 2
A new theological journal—with a differenceBy R. T. France
As we go to press, we welcome the publication of the first issue of the Evangelical Review of Theology,1 edited by one of our own associate editors, Bruce Nicholls. As Executive Secretary of the World Evangelical Fellowship Theological Commission, Bruce is in touch with theological thinking and developments all over the world, and so is in an ideal position to draw together an anthology of significant evangelical writing. So ERT is not another forum for the publication of new articles (and so not a rival for Themelios!), but ‘a digest of articles and book reviews selected from publications worldwide for an international readership, interpreting the Christian Faith for contemporary living.’
That last phrase sets the tone. The material in this first issue (October 1977) is concerned not with the perennial issues of the classical theological syllabus, but with evaluating trends in today’s world, political, ethical, ecclesiastical and educational as well as theological, covering from a Christian perspective Islamic and Marxist thought as well as Christian.
The list of periodicals represented is evidence of the impressive growth in evangelical theological publication in recent years. In particular, a good proportion of the contributions come from the Third World, and this orientation no doubt accounts for the rather untraditional look of its subject matter. ERT is itself edited and produced in India.
That ERT is possible at all is a cause for thanksgiving for all who are concerned to see the biblical faith articulated and applied to the varied questions and conflicts of the modern world. This thanksgiving increases when we see the type of material it contains. This is, on the whole, not the theology of the fundamentalist ghetto, still less the triumphalistic pronouncements of a cocksure theological power-group. It is a theology firmly anchored in biblical revelation, but open to the realities of a pluralistic world, ready to listen and to sympathize even where it cannot agree, more eager to win a hearing than to score points, self-critically trying to discover what it means to obey God, with our minds and with our actions, in his fast-changing world.
Readers of Themelios would therefore have much to gain from a regular subscription to ERT. If you do not have access to a wide range of theological periodicals (and what library takes all the periodicals represented in this first issue, I wonder?), here is a painless way to keep up with what is best in them—and it is painless: the general level of readability is high, even though the treatment is not slight. Of course the selection of articles reflects the personal interests of the editor and his assistants—of what journal is that not true? But, particularly for those whose daily reading is largely confined to the traditional syllabus, this is likely to prove a breath of fresh air.
If that sounds like a commercial—it is! Themelios has no illusions of omni-competence, and its editor is only too acutely aware how much lack of space restricts our own coverage; so we look forward to a long and mutually advantageous coexistence with ERT, and we urge our readers to get the best of both worlds!
Incidentally, the editor of ERT invites recommendations of articles and book reviews for inclusion in future issues, and even offers a year’s free subscription to those whose recommendations are accepted. Send clear copies to Bruce J. Nicholls, E-453 Greater Kailash II, New Delhi—110048, India.
1 Published in April and October, at $4 or £2.25 per year, and available from either Box 670, Colorado Springs, Co. 80901, USA, or WEF, Les Emrais, Castel, Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK.
The first issue (October 1977) contains the following articles:
The use of the Bible in interpreting salvation today (Andrew Kirk)
Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg: a critical evaluation (Clark Pinnock)
Black Theology and African Theology (Byang Kato)
The gospel in a hostile environment (Saphir Athyal)
Prophecy and the gospel in the Middle East (Colin Chapman)
Discerning God’s hand in Islam today (Vivienne Stacey)
God and the nations (O. R. Johnston)
Which way to Utopia: with Marx or Jesus? (Chris Wigglesworth)
Present-day pastoral work in Latin America (Pablo Pérez)
Gospel and Spirit: a joint statement
Some thoughts on curriculum design for theological education (Patricia Harrison and George Patterson)
There are also four abstracts of other significant articles, ten book reviews (three from Themelios), and surveys of the recent contents of two theological journals (including Themelios!).
R. T. France