What are they Saying about Jesus?

Written by Gerald O’Collins Reviewed By Bruce A. Demarest

What are they Saying about Jesus? (New York: Paulist Press, 1977, 77 pp., $2.75 pb.) by Gerald O’Collins SJ sketches new directions in recent Protestant and Roman Catholic Christology. The classical models of Nicea and Chalcedon are overturned in favour of a Christology ‘from below’ where Jesus is regarded as the human agent of the divine working. The book closes with a rebuke of Malcolm Muggeridge’s Jesus.

A new addition to Baker’s reprints of theological classics is The Doctrine of God (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977, 407 pp., $5.95 pb.). This reprint of the 1951 English translation of a major section of the second volume of Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics covers the knowledge and attributes of God, the Trinity and the divine decrees.

A young American evangelical historian surveys the religious convictions of Colonial believers in Christians in the American Revolution (Washington DC: Christian University Press, 1977, 195 pp., $4.95 pb.) by Mark Noll. The study demonstrates that spiritual principles were deeply rooted in the political aspirations of the fledgling nation.

Continued interest in the origins of life is reflected in several new titles in the field. Fossils in Focus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977, 92 pp., $2.95 pb.) by J. Kerby Anderson and Harold G. Coffin argues that gaps in the paleological record point to specific creation and change within defined limits. British and American specialists pursue technical studies in astrophysics, biochemistry and geology to support the biblical view of creation in Symposium on Creation VI (Seattle: Pacific Meridan, 1977, 154 pp., $3.95 pb.) ed. by Donald W. Patten. Fallacies of Evolution (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977, 85 pp., $2.50 pb.) by Arlie J. Hoover points up in lively fashion several logical fallacies of the evolutionary hypothesis.

Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976, 192 pp., $6.95 pb.) by John B. Cobb and David R. Griffin surveys the basic concepts of process thought together with the application of process principles to God, man, Christ, the church and eschatology.

The origins of the Unification Church, the expansion of the sect around the world and its chief tenets are outlined in Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church (Nashville: Abingdon, 1977, 224 pp., $8.95) by Frederick Sontag. A useful book to get a handle on a rapidly growing cult.

From the pen of the President of Fuller Theological Seminary comes a new expositional commentary: Thessalonians (Waco: Word Books, 1977, 99 pp., $4.95) by David A. Hubbard. Helpful for the preparation of Bible studies and sermons.

Ten articles appeared initially in Christianity Today are brought together in Evangelicals in Search of Identity(Waco: Word Books, 1976, 96 pp., $3.95) by Carl F. H. Henry. This valuable collection assesses the problems and potential of the American evangelical movement.

From a Roman Catholic perspective The Case Against Dogma (New York: Paulist Press, 1976, 110 pp., $3.50 pb.) by Gerald O’Collins SJ considers the validity of dogmas in Christian theology. The author proposes a redefinition of the traditional Roman Catholic concept of dogma and argues that in the modern situation dogmas have outlived their usefulness.

Final Testimonies (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977, 67 pp., $3.95) by Karl Barth represents five brief selections prepared during the Basel theologian’s last months of life. Discussed are such themes as the meaning of Jesus Christ, liberal theology, ecumenism and theology and ministry.

We have in Introduction to Puritan Theology: A Reader (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1976, 282 pp., $8.95) ed. by Edward Hindson, a collection of writings covering the main themes of theology. Selections from such masters as Charnock, Ussher, Perkins, Owen, Bunyan, Baxter and Edwards afford insight into the theological distinctives of the Puritan school.

A study prompted by the modern conflict between theology and empirical and social sciences is All Truth is God’s Truth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977, 145 pp., $3.95 pb.) by Arthur F. Holmes. The Christian view of truth avoids the traps of Enlightenment rationalism and existentalist subjectivism. The author argues that regardless of its source, all truth is ultimately God’s truth. Christianity views all reality in relation to the God revealed in Jesus Christ. A valuable aid to the formulation of an integrated, biblical world view.

The Doctrine of the Trinity: God’s Being is in Becoming (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976, 110 pp., $6.50) by Eberhard Jüngel builds on Barth to develop an ontological theology of becoming. Becoming indicates the way in which God’s being exists in act, viz., the Word became flesh. A valuable resource for the contemporary debate about the reality of God.

Preserving the Person (Downers Grove: IVP, 1977, 175 pp., $4.95 pb.) by C. Stephen Evans interacts with reductionist views of personhood in psychology, sociology, philosophy and the empirical sciences. The book concludes with theological guidelines for forming an authentic estimate of the person. Provides a basis for Christian thinking in the human sciences.

The Twentieth Century Pulpit (Nashville: Abingdon, 1978, 301 pp., §8.95 pb.) ed. by James W. Cox is a collection of thirty-seven sermons prepared by a diverse roster of churchmen from Fosdick and Peale to von Rad, Barth, Pannenberg, on to Thielicke, Stott and Graham. Includes substantial biographical sketches of each preacher.

Continued lively interest in C. S. Lewis, particularly in America, is reflected in a work from the pen of a Yale theologian. C. S. Lewis: The Shape of His Faith and Thought (New York: Harper and Row, 1976, 116 pp., $3.95 pb.) by Paul L. Holmer assesses the spiritual and theological convictions of the English literary giant. Holmer concludes that ‘Lewis is not a liberal or a conservative theologically’. A useful orientation to the man and his thought.

Religious Origins of Modern Science (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977, 244 pp., $5.95 pb.) by Eugene Klaasen documents how belief in divine creation functioned as a catalyst in the emergence of modern natural science. The author analyses the theories of creation advanced by the church’s theologians, and the theological views of leading scientists of the period. A scholarly study on the interrelationship of science and theology.

In Lutheranism: The Theological Movement and its Confessional Writings (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976, 214 pp., §7.50) Eric Gritsch and Robert Jenson expound Lutheranism and its historic documents within an ecumenical framework. The central tenet of justification by faith illumines all other doctrinal and practical concerns. Incorporates many insights from contemporary theological reflection.

Herschel Hobbs, a prominent preacher in the Southern Baptist Convention, presents in paperback the four-volume series, An Exposition of the Four Gospels (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1977, $19.95 for the set). The commentary is fresh, eminently readable and especially valuable for the preparation of sermons and other addresses.

Bruce A. Demarest

Denver Seminary, Denver, Colorado