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Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio Fall 1987 


Once again we are delighted to offer you a variety of materials in this 
year's ATS Journal, from a variety of professors and perspectives. The 
articles range from studies in Church History to practical essays on 
Church ministry, to a detailed study of the Inklings, to an introduction 
to biblical studies and the historical critical method. As promised we 
have lengthened the Journal's review section and are delighted that various 
major reviews are included, among them two longer critiques by Dr. 
William Myers, and a guest review by the internationally known 
Evangelical NT scholar - R.T. France. Finally, the Journal closes with 
a short piece of poetry reflecting on the paradoxes of the Christian faith. 
Certainly there is something here for all sorts of interests c. id we hope 
you will find the material both educational and edifying. 

Thanksgiving 1987 

Dr. Ben Witherington III, editor 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 


Fall 1987 


The Idea of the Good, Duality, and Unity: 1 

A Study of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams 
Dr. James Andrew Clark 

Principles for Interpreting the Gospels and Acts 35 

Dr. Ben Witherington 

The Century of Evangelicalism 71 

Dr. David A. Rausch and Dr. C. Hermann Voss 

The Church 83 

Dr. D. Komfield 

Book Reviews 100 

Editorial Committee: 

Ben Witherington III, Editor 
David W Baker 
William H. Myers 

—Volume XIX No. 1 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 

THE IDEA Of The Good, duality And Unity: 

A Study Of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, 

And Charles Williams 


Dr. James Andrew Clark 

Auburn University 

Plato held that the Good is the supreme value of the cosmos and the 
legitimate object of the soul's eros; the pursuit of the Good, then, is 
the action by which a human life may be justified. "The Good is a univer- 
sal and a fixed norm which the individual finds, and to which he must 
submit."' During roughly the three decades between 1925 and 1955 there 
grew up at Oxford a remarkable group of scholars and writers whose 
works were preoccupied with the pursuit of the Good. Moreover, this 
group was distinguished in that it took its definition of the Good not 
from speculative philosophy, but from traditional, orthodox Chrisitani- 
ty. Three men stand out as the best representatives of the movement at 
Oxford: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. Lewis and 
Tolkien were Oxford dons; Williams's entire adult life was spent as an 
editor for Oxford University Press, first in London and, after war broke 
out, at Oxford where he also held a lectureship in English literature. 
He and Lewis were Anglicans; Tolkien was a Roman Catholic. The 
literary works of the three cover a wide spectrum of genres, from science 
fiction to verse plays, from children's stories to supernatural mystery 
novels. Yet it may be generally stated that running strong and apparent 
throughout their entire literary corpus is an idea of the Good based on 
the teachings of traditional Christianity. This emphasis is a major fac- 
tor distinguishing their work from much of the remainder of twentieth- 
century literature. 

In fiction, "the technique for conveying pure goodness is one of the 
rarest of attainment."^ Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams — the Oxford 
mythmakers^ — tried to convey the Good, both in its own quality and 
as the object of human striving, as a thing full of paradox, of duality 
within unity. It is a technique at which they succeeded admirably. This 
paper is an attempt to trace one particular set of dualities in the idea 
of the Good through their literary works. This duality may be express- 
ed thus: the Oxford mythmakers held that the Good, or its represen- 
tative, unites within itself the qualities of severity and largesses, great 
beauty and great dreadfulness. When men are confronted by the Good 


the same duality is present; that confrontation comes as an occasion 
both of great terror and of great joy. First, the Good will be discussed 
in its own quality through an examination of supernatural beings in the 
fiction of Lewis and Tolkien. The same duality, as it affects the lives 
of men who are confronted by the Good, will then be traced through 
works by each of the three writers. 

Each of the Oxford mythmakers was an impassioned apologist for the 
Good. Thus, characters of great goodness are often depicted in their 
works. In the fiction of Lewis and Tolkien these good characters may 
also be supernatural beings. Williams's understanding of the City, in his 
idiom, the geography of the beatitude for which goodness is the economy, 
is expressed in terms of human beings; he was no fantasist in the sense 
of populating other worlds with imaginary creatures. Thus his good 
characters are not supernatural but human. Setting Williams temporari- 
ly aside, through inspection of Lewis's and Tolkien's supernatural 
characters one may investigate their particular visions of the Good. These 
supernatural beings are especially illuminating to such an investigation, 
for they embody a goodness without taint or stricture of mere morality; 
morality, as such, belongs to fallen creatures. Unfallen natures reflect 
the Good more purely. 

Asian the Lion, perhaps C.S. Lewis's most memorable creation, 
dominates entirely the seven stories which compose 77i^ Chronicles of 
Namia. The son of the mysterious Emperor-Across-the-Sea, Asian created 
Narnia, the other worlds, and all their inhabitants. He is the ruler of 
all — either by his own hand or in the person of an appointed deputy 
— and he is the hope of all, the object of their worship and recipient 
of their prayers. He presides over Namia's coronations, marriages, births, 
battles, deaths, and reawakenings. It is he who unmakes Narnia in The 
Last Battle. His influence is clearly pervasive, even though there are 
rather lengthy periods in Narnian history (and in the pages of the stories) 
when he neither speaks nor appears on the scene.'* 

Throughout The Chronicles of Narnia, when Lewis wants to 
demonstrate the nature of Asian, he uses the terms of beauty and dread- 
fulness. When the Pevensie children first enter Narnia magically from 
England and meet the Lion, Lewis writes: 

People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing 
cannot be good and terrible at the same time. If the children had 
ever thought so, they were cured of it now. For when they tried 
to look at Asian's face they just caught a glimpse of the golden 
mane and the great, royal, solemn, overwhelming eyes; and they 
found they couldn't look at him and went all trembly.^ 
It is a commonplace to identify Asian with God and, thus, the dread 
he inspires with the dread of the spiritual and numinous. Such an associa- 
tion may be partially justified. In The Problem of Pain, Lewis distinguish- 
ed the fear inspired by, say, a tiger from that which a ghost might in- 
spire. One might fear the physical pain that the tiger's claws and teeth 

could inflict; one would fear the ghost, however, simply because it is 
a ghost and not because of any anticipated pain.^ Lewis demonstrates 
this distinction in The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader". Eustace Scrubb, 
an obnoxious English schoolboy who had joined the Narnian expedi- 
tion to the world's edge along with two of the Pevensie children, is turned 
into a dragon by sleeping on a dragon's hoard and thinking dragonish- 
greedy thoughts. Efforts to change him back into a boy fail until Asian 
intervenes. Eustace returns from his meeting with the Lion considerably 
chastened and describes the encounter to Edmund Pevensie: 
Well, anyway, I looked up and saw the very last thing I expected: 
a huge lion coming slowly toward me. . . So it came nearer and 
nearer. I was terribly afraid of it. \bu may think that, being a dragon, 
I could have knocked any lion out easily enough. But it wasn't that 
kind of fear. I wasn't afraid of it eating me, I was just afraid of 
it — if you can understand.^ 
The fear that Asian inspires in Eustace parallels the fear of the numinous 
that Lewis describes in The Problem of Pain. It should be noted, however, 
that Asian, as dreadful as he may be, is not unbodied and shadowy; 
if he does represent Deity, he is not immaterial but incarnate. Lucy Peven- 
sie notices his visible, tangible paws. '"Terrible paws,' thought Lucy, 
'if he didn't know how to velvet them!'"^ His roar is god-like, perhaps, 
but it issues from a lion's throat. "And when he opened his mouth to 
roar his face became so terrible that [the children] did not dare look 
at it. And they saw all the trees in front of him bend before the blast 
of his roaring as grass bends in the meadow before the wind."^ In The 
Horse and His Boy, there is an incident in which Bree the horse, 
philosophizing, tries to disembody Asian's beauty and dreadfulness and 
make of him no real lion. In his best platitudinous style he is giving 
instruction on the use of the metaphor of the lion to describe Asian's 
nature when the real Asian, the actual Lion, appears. Asian's words to 
Bree are revealing: "'Do not dare not to touch me. Touch me. Smell 
me. . . I am a true beast.'" '^ Whatever beauty and dreadfulness Asian 
possesses are of the common and standard mode; they differ only in 
degree from the beauty and dreadfulness of other creatures. The Lion's 
attributes, in Charles Williams's phrase, are arch-natural, not 

The beauty and dreadfulness which the Pevensie children see in The 
Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe remain Asian's leitmotifs throughout 
the other six books. Time and again his wild, musical voice, sweet breath, 
and "the living and strokeable gold"^' of his mane reveal the Lion's un- 
surpassed beauty: almost as often as his various growls and his claws 
signify his dreadfulness. These terms become his epithets. When the 
children see him on their second trip to Namia in Prince Caspian, "Asian 
. . . stood facing them, looking so majestic that they felt as glad as anyone 
can who feels afraid, and as afraid as anyone who feels glad."'^ Man's 
dual response to the Good will be discussed later, but the effect that 


Asian has on the children in this passage well indicates the beauty and 
dreadfulness inherent in the Good. There are dozens of similar examples 
in the tales. Again in Prince Caspian, Asian inspires the Telmarines, 
who are attempting to ravage Narnia, with a great fear. Their cheeks 
"... become the colour of cold gravy, their knees knocked together, 
and many fell on their faces."'^ Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace Scrubb meet 
Asian at the world's end in The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader". It is a 
scene of searing poignancy unsurpassed by anything else Lewis wrote. 
But it is the old formula that he uses to depict Asian. Asian had first 
appeared to the children as a Lamb of great whiteness. But as the Lamb 
spoke, ". . . his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed 
and he was Asian himself, towering above them and scattering light from 
his mane."^'* 

Asian's leitmotifs continue to appear in the later stories. Jill Pole, a 
girl who attended the same school as Eustace Scrubb, learns well the 
terrible severity of the Lion's nature early in The Silver Chair. After 
finding herself in a strange country with Eustace, she quarrels with him. 
During their quarrel Eustace falls over the edge of a precipitous cliff 
(through Jill's fault) and is saved only when Asian rushes up and blows 
him far away into Narnia. Later Jill becomes very thirsty, but the Lion 
guards the only stream. She hopes that Asian will become tame so that 
she may drink without apprehension. In effect, her desire is that Asian 
stop being Asian, a thing he cannot and will not do: 

"Will you promise not to — do anything to me, if I do come?" 

said Jill. 
"I make no promise," said the Lion. 
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come 

a step nearer. 
"Do you eat girls?" she said. 
"I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings 

and emperors, cities and realms," said the Lion. It didn't say this 

as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. 

It just said it. 
"I daren't come and drink," said Jill. 
"Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion.^^ 
She must finally come and drink without any easy promises to assuage 
her fears. Asian will remain true to his own nature, not to be ruled by 
the tremors of one impenitent little girl, for, like the One who is his 
model, "he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13). 

Again, in The Horse and His Boy, a child discovers Asian's nature. 
Shasta, a boy fleeing northward to Narnia from Calormen, becomes 
heavily befogged and lost on the way. As he wanders aimlessly in the 
fog, he gradually becomes aware that Something is walking invisible 
beside him. 

He could see the mane and ears and head of his horse quite easily 

now. A golden light fell on them from the left. He thought it was 


the sun. 

He turned and saw, pacing beside him, taller than the horse, a 
Lion. . . It was from the Lion that the light came. No-one ever 
saw anything more terrible or beautiful .^^ 
Or yet again, when Asian sings a Narnia that is "without form and void" 
into articulate existence in TTie Magician 's Nephew, to the English boy, 
Digory, his wordless song was "beyond comparison, the most beautiful 
noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it."'"' 
Later, when the Lion speaks, ". . . it was a lovely and terrible shock."'* 
Asian's dual goodness affects more than those who have conciously 
sought him. In The Last Battle, Emeth, a Calormene and a devout wor- 
shipper of the god Tash, passes into the Lion's territory where he meets 
Asian himself. Emeth says, "'his hair was like pure gold and the 
brightness of his eyes, like gold that is liquid in the furnace. He was 
more terrible than the Flaming Mountain of Lagour, and in beauty he 
surpassed all that is in the world, even as the rose in bloom surpasses 
the dust of the desert." •' 

In his novel Till We Have Faces, published immediately after the Narnia 
tales, Lewis develops the figure of Cupid, god of the Mountain, along 
lines suggestively parallel to Asian. Cupid is known by the people of 
Glome, the kingdom in which the story is laid, as the Shadowbrute, the 
son of the goddess Ungit. The people of Glome practice a horrible little 
religion, and their understanding of Cupid is twisted ("bent," Lewis would 
say) toward that horribleness. It was taught that Cupid required sacrifices 
of propitiation. Among the people there was some confusion about 
whether he devoured or ravished the sacrificial victim; the Priest of Ungit 
said he did both. But whether he was killer or ravisher, all the people 
were agreed that the god was the ugly, horrible Shadowbrute. In some 
respects, they were not far wrong; they knew of their god's dreadfulness, 
but they had not learned the doctrine of his beauty. Princess Psyche, 
who becomes the sacrificial victim and bride of Cupid, gives the reader 
the first intimation of that divine beauty. She is describing to her sister. 
Princess Orual, the sound of Cupid's voice. Instead of devouring her, 
he had bidden Psyche enter his mountain palace: 

You could see it was god's house at once. I don't mean a temple 
where a god is worshipped. A god's House, where he lives. I would 
not for any wealth have gone into it. But I had to, Orual. For there 
came a voice — sweet? oh, sweeter than any music, yet my hair 
rose at it too — and do you know, Orual, what it said? It said, 
"Enter your House. . . Psyche, the bride of the god!"^^ 
By threatening suicide and thrusting a dagger into her own arm to 
prove her willingness. Princess Orual cruelly compels Psyche to peep 
at Cupid with a lantern in direct disobedience to his command that he 
should not be seen. The lantern awakens him and he utters an aroused 
cry. Orual describes the sound of that cry: 

The great voice, which rose up from somewhere close to the light, 


went through my whole body in such a swift wave of terror that 

it blotted out even the pain in my arm. It was no ugly sound; even 

in its implacable sternness it was golden. My terror was the salute 

that mortal flesh gives to immortal things.^' 

Immediately Psyche is driven out to commence a weeping exile. When 

she is gone, Cupid appears momentarily to Orual in his divine brightness. 

That brightness was, as it were, "... a lightning that endured ."^^ In 

its midst, Orual sees the god's face: 

Through this light stood motionless, my glimpse of the face was 
as swift as a true flash of lightning. I could not bear it for longer. 
Not my eyes only, but my heart and blood and very brain were 
too weak for that. A monster — the Shadowbrute that I and all 
Glome had imagined — would have subdued me less than the beauty 
this face wore.^^ 

Up to this point it is evident that Cupid is a being of great beauty 
and severity, but is he good? Princess Orual thinks him only the more 
of a cheat for using his beauty to steal away Pscyhe's heart. About her 
Orual proclaims, "She is mine!" Orual would prefer anything, even the 
murderous Shadowbrute, to this heart-stealing god. But at the end of 
the novel Orual's complaint and doubt about Cupid's goodness are 
answered. Orual dreams that she is reading her complaint among the 
dead and realizes that the complaint — a dry, incessant, mindless grumble 
— is its own answer. When her complaint is answered, there remains 
for her to be judged by Cupid. Orual describes her reaction to his 

If Psyche had not held my hand I should have sunk down. . . The 
air was growing brighter and brighter around us; as if something 
had set it on fire. Each breath I drew let into me new terror, joy, 
overpowering sweetness. I was pierced through and through with 
the arrows of it. I was being unmade. I was no one. But that's little 
to say; rather, Psyche herself was, in a manner, no one. I loved 
her as I would once have thought it impossible to love, would have 
died nay death for her. And yet, it was not, not now, she that real- 
ly counted. Or if she counted (and oh, gloriously she did) it was 
for another's sake. And he was coming. The most dreadful, the 
most beautiful, the only dread and beauty there is, was coming. 
The pillars on the far side of the pool flushed with his approach. 
I cast down my eyes.^'* 

Thus, Cupid is shown to be good; he is the definition of good in the 
context of the novel, no heart-stealer, but the legitimate object of the 
heart's adoration and love. He is that for which hearts were made. As 
Asian the Lion bodily represents the Good in Narnia, so Cupid is that 
Good in the imagined world of Till We Have Faces. 

Asian and Cupid are the only major "divine" figures in the writings 
of Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams that appear as actors upon the scene. 
As such, they are, perhaps, the truest reflections of the concept of the 


Good. But there are other, lesser beings — angels, wizards, and men 
— in their works who may also be helpful in drawing a composite por- 
trait of that goodness. 

In the myth of Deep Heaven that C.S. Lewis writes of in Out of the 
Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength (the space trilogy), 
he introduces creatures of light called eldila who are, apparently, angels. 
In addition, a particular sort of eldil called the oyeresu (singular, oyar- 
sa) are the ruling or tutelary spirits of each of the planets. The myth 
tells that the universe and all its creatures were the creation of Maleldil 
the Young. The eldila (and everything else in the heavens save the 
creatures of bent and silent Thulcandra, Tellus) are the willing, obe- 
dient servants of Maleldil .^^ They are good as He is good, and though 
they lack the golden beauty which has been shown to be Lewis's favorite 
metaphor for the attractiveness of the Good, they are still impressive 
and frightening creatures. When Elwin Ransom, a Cambridge philologist 
and the protagonist of the space trilogy, meets the Oyarsa of Malacan- 
dra (Mars), Lewis writes: 

Oyarsa passed between his subjects and drew near and came to 
rest, not ten yards away from Ransom in the center of Meldilom. 
Ransom felt a tingling of his blood and a prickling of his fingers 
as if lightning were near him; and his heart and body seemed to 
him to be made of water. 

Oyarsa spoke — a more unhuman voice than Ransom had yet 
heard, sweet and seemingly remote; an unshaken voice.^^ 
There are obvious reverberations from this passage in the descrip- 
tions of Cupid in Till We Have Faces, written over fifteen years later 
(associations of lightning, the unshaken, dispassionate voice). When the 
narrator of Perelandra encounters the Oyarsa of Malacandra at Ransom's 
cottage, the description is even more reminiscent of the leitmotifs for 
goodness which have been seen so far. The narrator says that the sound 
of Oyarsa's voice ". . . sent through me from chest to groin like the 
thrill that goes through you when you think you have lost your hold while 
climbing a cliff."^'' Clearly, Lewis thought that the voice of the Good 
or its representative could be quite unnerving. 

In the course of the space trilogy. Ransom, though a man, also becomes 
a representative of more than mortal goodness. After his experiences 
on Malacandra and Perelandra in the first two books, he assumes 
something of the aura that heretofore in this examination has not been 
seen in a man. He begins to exhibit visibly the resultant quality of his 
redemption. When Ransom emerges from his "coffin," in which he had 
returned from Perelandra, the narrator says: 

I was silent for a moment, astonished at the form that had risen 
from that narrow house — almost a new Ransom, glowing with 
health and rounded with muscle and seemingly ten years younger. 
In the old days he had been beginning to show a few grey hairs; 
but now his beard which swept his chest was pure gold.^^ 


Ransom's more than mortal beauty is exhibited in That Hideous Strength, 
where it is matched by a wisdom and nobility equally surpassing nor- 
mal human capabilities. In the scene in which Jane Studdock, the heroine, 
first meets Ransom there are echoes of the Namia tales and Till We Have 
Faces. When she is conducted into his sitting room, ". , . instantly her 
world was unmade. . . all the light in the room seemed to run towards 
the gold hair and the gold beard of the wounded man li.e. , Ransom] ."^^ 
His voice, ". . . also seemed to be like sunlight and gold. Like gold 
not only as gold is beautiful but as it is heavy; like sunlight not only 
as it falls gently on English walls in autumn but as it beats down on 
the jungle or the desert to engender life or destroy it."'*^ That Hideous 
Strength was being published in 1945; surely in this passage the images 
of Princess Orual being unmade by her vision of Cupid and the par- 
ticularly golden beauty of the Lion in the later works are prefigured. 
That understanding of the beauty and awful severity of the Good re- 
mained a constant for Lewis. 

Upon turning from Lewis to Tolkien, one notes a different flavor and 
quality in the writings. Neither man looked kindly on allegorical inter- 
pretations of their works.^^ Yet Tolkien's romance, The Lord of The Rings 
is even less amenable to allegorical classification ('Asian is Christ') than 
Lewis's books. J.W. Montgomery has presented a schema in table form 
of the differences among the Oxford mythmakers. According to his 
classification, Charles Williams writes "numinous novels as apologetic 
for the reality of the supernatural, C.S. Lewis writes "allegorical myths 
as apologetic for the comprehensiveness of Christian truth," and J.R.R. 
Tolkien writes "deep myths as apologetic for the vastness of God's 
kingdom." There is an increase in "mythopoeic impact" as one moves 
from Williams through Lewis and Tolkien .^^ This classification may be 
somewhat facile, but it does indicate the difficulties one faces when tur- 
ning from one writer to the next. Though the three men shared friends, 
surroundings, and beliefs, there is a danger of forcing them all into one 
Procrustean bed. Applying this to the specific topic of the presence of 
supernatural beings of great goodness in The lx)rd of the Rings, one finds 
nothing like an Asian or a Cupid. Tolkien's accent is peculiarly his own. 
Such characters would, perhaps, be too big for his vocabulary. For though 
his tale is magnificent in breadth and detail, its focus is mainly upon 
the earth and its peoples, not often upon the Great Ones. That Good 
to which Lewis gives "a local habitation and a name," Tolkien chooses 
to suffuse over the entire scope of his creation. With this caution in mind, 
then, those supernatural creatures which Tolkien does present may be 
examined to see how they reflect his vision of the Good. 

In a key passage in The Lord of the Rings, the goodness of the Valar, 
guardians of Valinor, is at least affirmed propositionally: 

Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote 
his heart, as he looked up out of the foresaken land, and hope return- 
ed to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced 


him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: 

there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach .^"^ 
This high beauty and good reside in the sphere of the Valar, eternally 
above the Middle Earth that may be scarred and destroyed by evil or folly. 

The Valar are capable of rather great severity as well as romantic beau- 
ty. They banished the Noldor (among whom was Galadriel who plays 
such an important role in the events of the Third Age) for disobedience. 
The Valar permitted the destruction of the great kingdom of Numenor 
when it grew pride-bloated. They were, at the very least, the equipping 
power behind the efforts of the free peoples of Middle Earth to destroy 
the evil Sauron. Yet it is still true that only the vaguest outlines of the 
beauty and severity of these Blessed are shown. They are like silhouet- 
tes, sufficiently delineated to be recognizable, but lacking the full detail 
and familiarity of portraiture. 

Tolkien does paint, however, one glorious portrait of a super-natural 
being in The Lord of the Rings. It is full in detail, embodying much 
of Tolkien's understanding of the Good. That figure is Gandalf the wizard. 
In the Third Age he was sent to Middle Earth by the Valar to be, along 
with the other wizards, steward of its common good and to help lead 
its free peoples against the machinations of Sauron. 

Gandalf is an enormously broad personality; he contains the croche- 
ty old magician, entrepreneur in fireworks and smoke-rings, whom the 
hobbits of the Shire know, and also the ever-vigilant "gray pilgrim" who 
bears the burden of watchfulness; yet he is also the master of lore, a 
friend of tree and beast, "the only wizard who cares about trees."^^ Frodo 
grasps something of the breadth of the wizard's personality in the verses 
he composes after Gandalf falls in the caves of Moria.: 

A deadly sword, a healing hand, 

a back that bent beneath its load; 

a trumpet-voice, a burning brand, 

a weary pilgrim on the road. 

A lord of wisdom throned he sat, 
swift in anger, quick to laugh; 
an old man in a battered hat 
who leaned upon a thorny staff.^^ 

What is remarkable is that this wide variety of personas is believable 
while still presenting a unified character. Gandalf s breadth of personality 
is tolerable, perhaps, because he is not man (nor hobbit), but wizard, 
with wide bounds to his nature. These several roles may also be tolerable 
because the reader has as a firmly fixed constant the irascible, lovable 
personality of the old wizard. 

Gandalf is not physically beautiful like Asian, or even Ransom. His 
appeal is of a different sort. In the early part of the tale, he most often 
appears gray, stooped, and tattered. His wisdom, wit, and concern for 
the creatures of Middle Earth reveal his interior beauty; it is a beauty 

of the heart. This is a step closer to the goodness that mere mortals may 
attain in the works of the Oxford mythmakers, but a sharp demarcation 
should be drawn here. Though Gandalf has the form of a man and his 
goodness resembles mortal goodness, he is not a man, nor is his kind 
of goodness attainable for a man. For there bums within Gandalf a shining 
flame of pure whiteness which is emblematic of immortal goodness. 
At moments throughout the narrative that flame is partially unveiled. 
Before Gandalf s fall in Moria, it is most often shown in a flicker of 
the eye or in a sudden, seeming growth to a menacing proportion. After 
the wizard endures a sort of death and is sent back to Middle Earth by 
the Valar, this shining emblem of interior goodness is unveiled much 
more frequently. Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn, three members of the 
Fellowship of the Ring, meet an old, gray-cloaked figure in Fangom forest 
whom they think to be the traitorous wizard, Saruman; Gimli starts to 
set upon him with an axe. 

The Old man was too quick for him. He sprang to his feet and 

leaped to the top of a large rock. There he stood, grown suddenly 

tall, towering above them. His hood and his gray rags were flung 

away. His white garments shone. . . His hair was white as snow 

in the sunshine; and gleaming white was his robe; the eyes under 

his deep brows were bright, piercing as the rays of the sun; power 

was in his hand.^'' 

It is Gandalf. From here to the end of the book he frequently unveils 

this white flame which is his leitmotif, as golden beauty is Asian's. That 

whiteness becomes the incarnate metaphor for the hope of all Middle 

Earth against the literal and metaphorical Shadow of evil cast by Sauron. 

True to what has been seen of the Good so far in this examination, 

Tolkien's Gandalf is capable of showing great severity. This severity is 

shown even in the children's tale. The Hobbit. Though good, Gandalf 

is an instusion at Hobbiton; he upsets the established order, questions 


"Good morning!" said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shin- 
ing and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from 
under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the rim of 
his shady hat. 

"What do you mean?" he said. "Do you wish me a good morn- 
ing, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; 
or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be 
good on?" 3 8 

In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf s severity, portrayed humorously 
here, is shown in its more serious aspects. At the beginning of the tale 
Bilbo has planned to give up the One Ring to Frodo. After making 
elaborate preparations, however, he quails when the moment of relin- 
quishment arrives. Gandalf implores Bilbo to keep his promise and give 
It up. 


"Well, if you want my ring yourself, say so!" cried Bilbo. "But 
you won't get it. I won't give my precious away. I tell you." His 
hand strayed to the hilt of his small sword. 

Gandalf s eyes flashed. "It will be my turn to get angry soon," 
he said. "If you say that again, I shall. Then you will see Gandalf 
the Grey uncloaked." He took a step towards the hobbit, and he 
seemed to grow tall and menacing; his shadow filled the little 
This motif reaches it fullest development when Gandalf is shown as a 
great warrior, the White Rider, who again and again does battle with 
the Black Riders of Sauron, who confronts their Captain at the gates 
of Minas Tirith and sternly commands him to begone. Ransom ex- 
periences the terrible strength of righteous anger when he fights with 
the body of Weston on Perelandra. Gandalf displays the same implacable 
anger in his encounters with the Enemy. 

But this is not the last word on Gandalf s nature. For as the goodness 
of the Valar remains untouched by evil on Middle Earth, so in the wizard 
there is a joy equally beyond evil's reach. His face is lined with care 
and sorrow, but ". . . under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth 
enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth."'*^ In his Vi- 
sion, The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis sees in heaven a woman who is 
one of the Great Ones of redeemed humanity. Lewis is told by his guide, 
George Mac Donald, "Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly 
come to its fulls strength. But already there is joy enough in the little 
finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things 
of the universe into life.""*' This is the same joy that is Gandalf s on Middle 
Earth, made manifest in another imagined locale. It is, perhaps, the most 
salient characteristic of goodness. 

Thus duality of nature is a dominant theme in these supernatural im- 
ages of the Good: beauty is intertwined with dreadfulness, severity with 
largesse. These supernatural creatures are imaginative representations 
of the Good in itself. But a similar duality may be seen in the way the 
Oxford mythmakers conceived that the Good affects the lives of men. 
Repeatedly in their writings, individuals who encounter a goodness from 
beyond themselves respond with both terror and joy. This terror and 
joy which the encounter with the Good inspires in the human heart may 
be best understood, however, if first something more is said about the 
view of man held by the Oxford mythmakers. 

True to orthodox Christianity, their imaginative given, Lewis, Tolkien, 
and Williams held that man is fallen. But how specifically is he fallen? 
Here they added dimension to the mere credo of pride and disobedience. 
One of the many ways that man is fallen, their writings reveal, is that 
he shows a fatal tendency to build universes for himself. Out of pride, 
villainy, or foolishness (not simply innocent imagination), man wishes 
to be left to construct and to occupy a house of his own specifications; 
he wishes to reign over the facts, to decide what he does and what he 


does not want to exist rather than submit to what does exist. In choos- 
ing to disobey the Prohibition against tasting the fruit of the tree of 
knowledge and trying to become as gods, Adam and Eve were not merely 
refusing an arbitrary divine edict; they were substituting an illusory 
universe of their own for the real one that God had created. The idea 
is well expressed by Jeremiah: " 'For my people have committed two 
evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed 
out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water,' says 
the Lord" (Jeremiah 2:13). 

Some characters in the fiction of the Oxford mythmakers choose to 
"hew out cisterns for themselves" from motives of greed or villainy. 
Reginald Montague in Charles William's Many Dimensions is a good 
example. In that novel, one of the William's most accessible, the Stone 
of the Crown of Solomon is stolen away from its Moslem guardians. 
The Stone is, mystically, the First Matter of the Universe and displays 
many strange powers. For the Moslems in the novel it is an object of 
high religion. But when Reginald discovers that by wearing the Stone 
and wishing to be in a certain place one is immediately transported there, 
he thinks of nothing but forming a monopoly and exploiting the Stone 
as an advanced means of transportation. His lust makes him insensitive 
to any deep knowledge or being within the Stone. Thus he substitutes 
a cheap, vulgar universe for the incredibly rich one represented in the 
Stone. In Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet, Devine, one of the men who 
kidnaps Ransom, thinks nothing of the different races that they find on 
Malacandra, nor of the absolutely interesting being they meet there, Oyar- 
sa. Devine, like Reginald Montague, is totally dulled to the spiritual 
issues at hand. Great powers of Deep Heaven are about to act decisive- 
ly in human affairs, and he, instead of joining or fighting those powers, 
is playing with golden baubles. In a note of sharp irony, Devine appears 
in That Hideous Strength as Lord Feverstone; the name is his definition. 

This same greedy attempt to build a universe with themselves in the 
center may be seen in Gregory Persimmons and Simon Leclerc in 
Williams' War in Heaven and All Hallow's Eve. They are necromancers 
who try to subvert the patterns of the universe in order to gain spiritual 
dominance: Gregory Persimmons tries to use the Holy Grail to gain total 
control over a young boy, a usage contrary to the nature of the Grail; 
Simon Leclerc crowns his occult bid for power with the pronunciation 
of the spell of the reversed Tetragrammaton, a ritualistic un-saying of 
the name of God. Though these men seem more bizarre than the 
materialistic Montague or Feverstone, they too are trying to reign over 
the facts rather than submit to them. 

Finally, in TTie Lord of the Rings, two beings as diverse as the learned 
wizard, Saruman, and the miserable cave-dweller, Gollum, try to use 
the One Ring violently to grasp power for themselves. They want that 
Ring so that, by its power, they may have Middle Earth their way. Saruman 
betrays the other wizards and the free peoples of Middle Earth by 


repudiating his duty as a steward of the land to become an ally of Sauron. 
Gollum pursues the Ring wherever it goes, always hoping to clutch back 
"the precious" to himself. Saruman dreams of world domination, Gollum 
of petty revenge, but they both became the most pitiable and ridiculous 
characters in the tale. 

But it is not only the wicked or power-crazed characters in the fiction 
of the Oxford mythmakers who try to build their own universes. Some 
ethically responsible persons show the same tendency because of their 
selfishness and folly. Here the writers' thrusts come closest to home for 
the average reader. Not many would have the entire universe become 
their tool; more, perhaps, would have their wives, parents, or associates 
become so. In the views held by Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams, com- 
placency and petty selfishness come in for quite as much criticism as 

This selfishness on the part of "moral" people is shown in the children's 
stories of Tolkien and Lewis. The Shire, home of the hobbits, is a model 
of "domestic tranquility," and, as such, it is good. It is the fitting home 
of comfortable merriment and physical satisfaction. But perspective is 
all-important, if one piece of the universe is to find its proper place. 
The Shire exists in a wider world, taking the domestic comfort of the 
Shire for the only world they will recognize. They refuse and despise 
the "adventures" brought by Gandalf. Adventures may be dangerous in 
the wide world beyond their ken and the hobbits are not interested in 
danger. C.S. Lewis gives an excellent picture of this same stubborn self- 
interest in The Last Battle. Shift the Ape has been masquerading Puz- 
zle the Donkey, dressed in an ill-fitting lion's skin, as Asian. Asian himself 
has not been seen in Narnia for a long time. Because of this many Nar- 
nians are deceived by Shift's otherwise feeble masquerade. With the aid 
of the Calormenes, Narnia's traditional enemies. Shift exploits for his 
own gains the loyalty of Narnians to the Lion. Many creatures are cap- 
tured and enslaved "by Asian's orders," among them a crew of Dwarfs. 
One night King Tirian and the English children, Jill Pole and Eustace 
Scrubb, rescue the Dwarfs from the Calormenes. They think that the 
Dwarfs, having been rescued from false rulers and a false Asian, will 
gladly commit themselves to the old order of true Asian and true king. 
But one of the Dwarfs says: 

"I don't think we want any more kings — if you are Tirian, which 

you don't look like him — no more than we want any Asians. We're 

going to look after ourselves from now on and touch our caps to 

nobody. See?" 
"That's right," said other Dwarfs. "We're on our own now. No 

more Asian, no more kings, no more silly stories about other 

worlds. The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs."'*^ 
Their suspicion is, perhaps, justifiable for a little while. But by per- 
manently declaring a world in which "the Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs," 
they are substituting their own "broken cistern" of a world for the "liv- 


ing waters" of true order and hierarchy in the universe. At the end of 
the story many Narnians pass through the door of Puzzle's stable only 
to find themselves in Asian's country. To those who had affirmed the 
facts of the world of Narnia — Asian, king, love, food and drink — it 
is a paradise. But the Lion's country appears to be only a stable to the 
Dwarfs. Even the glorious feast that Asian gives seems only stable-fare. 
"They raised golden goblets of rich red wine to their lips and said, 'Ugh! 
Fancy drinking dirty water out of a trough that a donkey's been at! Never 
thought we'd come to this.""*^ As Albany says in King Lear, "Wisdom 
and goodness to the vile seem vile: Filths savour but themselves" (IV, 
ii, 38-39). The Dwarfs have reached the self-imposed limits of their 
world; they do not believe it may be wider. In rejecting the world of 
Asian they avoid not only his demands, but his rewards as well. 

Lewis treats this same theme in That Hideous Strength and Till We 
Have Faces. Both Jane Studdock and Princess Orual try to build universes 
for themselves. Jane searches hard for a world of her own specifica- 
tions. Those specifications are that she be respected, untouched, and, 
above all, undominated. She tries to hold ". . . that prim little grasp 
on her own destiny, that perpetual reservation, which she thought essential 
to her status as a grown-up, integrated, intelligent person."'*'* Orual's case 
is similar. She defines how she will have Psyche. The relationship that 
they had had when Psyche was young and needed Orual like a mother 
has become her absolute value. It is a certain kind of love, but a patroniz- 
ing kind that makes no room for Psyche ever to mature, for to please 
Orual she must always be dependent. Orual is as much pained by Psyche's 
developing maturity and independence before her sacrificial marriage 
to Cupid as she is by the marriage itself. That development controverts 
the way Orual wants the world to be. 

Damaris Tighe, the heroine of The Place of the Lion by Charles 
Williams, is very like Jane Studdock. The ultimate value of her world 
is attaining a Doctor of Philosophy degree for her studies in intellectual 
history. Damaris is ostensibly interested in Plato, in Abelard, and in 
her boy friend, Anthony Durrant. But in actuality Plato and Abelard 
are, for her, seldom more than entries to be collated on an index card. 
And though she likes Anthony, she puts off learning to love him until 
she has gotten her doctorate. The magazine for which Anthony works, 
had, at one point, published Damaris' article, "Platonic Tradition at the 
Court of Charlemagne," but her real topic is, as Anthony jokingly and 
accurately states, "Damaristic Tradition at the Court of Damaris." In 
a perversion of the Renaissance doctrine, she has made herself "the 
measure of all things." But she is not a microcosm of the greater world: 
to herself, she is the only cosmos there is. A lover may with some 
justification express such sentiments about the beloved, but when that 
love is self-love, as it is for Damaris, it is a heinous lie. 

In the works of the Oxford mythmakers, by far the fullest portrayal 
of man's attempt to "hew out cisterns" for himself comes in Charles 


Williams's Descent Into Hell. Lawrence Wentworth is a prominent 
military historian living on Battle Hill, the scene of the entire novel. 
Wentworth desires two things: to best England's other leading military 
historian, Aston Moffatt, and to have as his mistress Adela Hunt, a young, 
rather foolish girl of the Hill. Both desires are denied him. Moffatt — 
not Wentworth — receives a rare honorary Knighthood for History, and 
Adela, who had been seeing Wentworth in a vaguely flirtatious manner, 
is taken over by a handsome and thoroughly conceited man. Wentworth's 
response to this frustration of his desires is to imagine and will for himself 
a new "Adela", a phantasmal succuba which is completely submissive 
to him. Because she is a creature of his own will, his desired universe, 
she is completely gratifying. But because she is not one of the facts of 
the real universe, she is completely empty, a trick. This 'Adela" talks 
to Wentworth. "She was saying eagerly: 'Yes, yes, yes: better than Eve, 
dearer than Eve, closer than Eve. It's good for man to be alone. Come 
along, come along: farther in farther in: down under, down under.'"'^^ 
This is Wentworth's subjective experience of what Williams objectively 
describes: "He sank into oblivion; he died to things other than himself; 
he woke to himself.""*^ This turning inward into self is the descent into 
hell from which Williams derived his title for the novel; it is his defini- 
tion of hell. 

Myrtle Fox, a silly young woman in Descent Into Hell, inadvertently 
pronounces one of the major convictions of the Oxford mythmakers about 
the nature of the confrontation between man and the Good: the Good 
may seem terrible. In the first chapter there is a discussion among the 
residents of Battle Hill about how they will costume the Chorus in their 
production of the new pastoral by Peter Stanhope, a famous poet who 
also lives on the Hill. When Mrs. Parry, the producer, suggests that the 
Chorus be costumed as trees Miss Fox begins to rhapsodize on the com- 
forts of Nature: 

"Nature's so terribly good. Don't you think so, Mr. Stanhope?" 
... He turned his head and answered, "That Nature is terribly 

good? Yes, Miss Fox. Do you mean 'terribly'?" 
"Why certainly," Miss Fox said. "Terribly — dreadfully — very." 
"Yes," Stanhope said again. "Very. . . but when I say 'terribly' 

I think I mean 'full of terror'. A dreadful goodness." 
"I don't see how goodness can be dreadful," Miss Fox said, with 

a shade of resentment in her voice. "If things are good they're not 

terrifying, are they?'"*'' 

This dialogue specifies the doctrine of the terrible Good which 
reverberates throughout the work of the Oxford mythmakers. They con- 
tend that when men are confronted with pure goodness — and especial- 
ly those men who try to inhabit phantasmal, self-made universes — it 
comes to them as something terrible, that is, precisely, full of terror. 
Though this is neither the sole not the ultimate word these writers had 
to say about the Good, an evaluation of the concept of the terrible Good 


will lead deep into their thought. 

The encounter with the Good is terrible to men because it comes as 
an invasion of their self-made universes. No matter how beneficial or 
even pleasant the eventual consequences of that invasion may be, man 
perceives correctly that the old order is doomed. This motif is found 
literally or metaphorically in works by all three writers. 

As has been mentioned before, Tolkien's Gandalf invades the com- 
placency of the Shire in The Hobbit, questioning conventions, unsettl- 
ing the peace. He invades Bilbo's life in particular, bringing with him 
a boisterous crew of uninvited dwarfs to occupy Bilbo's house. They 
are representatives of that Good which eventually destroys Smaug the 
Dragon and recovers his vast hoard hidden under Lonely Mountain. But, 
like poltergeists, the intrusive dwarfs turn Bilbo's house topsy-turvy and, 
with it, his identity as a hobbit in the process. There is a similar inva- 
sion in Tolkien's allegorical "Leaf by Niggle." Niggle, like Bunyan's 
Christian, is a little man with a long journey to make. But, unlike Chris- 
tian, Niggle does not think very often about his journey. He is a painter, 
and what time he can get free of Mr. Parish, a neighbor with a bother- 
some leaky roof. Niggle spends painting his one great landscape. He 
rushes to finish his painting before he must leave on his journey; it is 
the world of his choosing. But one day, when the work is far from done, 
the Inspector of Houses appears at Niggle's door. He wants to requisi- 
tion Niggle's painting for canvas and wood to repair Parish's leaky roof. 
This is bad enough, but suddenly a second intruder appears: 

Very like the Inspector he was, almost his double: tall dressed 
all in black. "Come along!" he said. "I am the Driver." 

Niggle stumbled down from the ladder. . . "Driver?" he chat- 
tered. "Driver of what?" 

"You and your carriage," said the man. . . You start today on 
your journey, you know."'^* 

The ultimate outcome of the intrusive journey is joyous: Niggle is made 
purgatorically clean and is put literally into the landscape which before 
he had only been able to paint. But the initial intrusion of the Driver 
into his studio remains the bleakest, most terrible moment of Niggle's life. 
The motif of invasion by the Good is prominent in Lewis's fiction. 
How Princess Orual's and Jane Studdock's personal universes are in- 
vaded has already been shown. Cupid invades the relationship between 
Orual and Psyche. More important, Orual thinks that the god has in- 
vaded the place in Psyche's heart that was rightfully her own. In That 
Hideous Strength, Ransom is not the only invasion in Jane's life, for 
he is merely a representative of greater Powers, who are themselves the 
representatives of Maleldil. Late in the novel Ransom tells Jane something 
about herself and this invasion: 

"Your trouble has been what the old poets called Daungier. We 
call it Pride. You are offended by the masculine itself: the loud, 
irruptive, possessive thing — the gold lion, the bearded bull — 


which breaks through the hedges and scatters the little kingdom 

of your primness. . . What is above and beyond all things is so 

masculine that we are all feminine in relation to it.'"*' 

In Descent Into Hell, Pauline Anstruhter's world is literally invaded 

by an image of herself, a doppelganger, whom she sometimes sees and 

whom she is terrified to meet. Pauline, the heroine of the novel, fears 

that if there is ever a face-to-face confrontation, she must either go mad 

or die. But her inexorable double will not leave her alone. Only when 

Peter Stanhope compacts with Pauline literally to carry her terror in her 

place is she finally enabled to meet the doppelganger. This is William's 

doctrine of Substituted Love: all substitutions, he thought, participate 

in the Substitution of Calvary and thus bring some sort of salvation. 

But it is important to see that in salvation terror is not negated, still less 

it is comforted away; it is borne by another, and even this comes as a 

tremendous wrench to man's self-made world. 

All of The Place of the Lion by Williams is a giant metaphor for the 
concept of terrible invasion by the Good. In that difficult novel, the great 
Platonic Ideas — the Lion, the Snake, the Eagle, and others — actually 
gain entrance into England, that is, the Archetypes invade the ectypal 
world. These Energies begin to absorb back into themselves their ec- 
types. For instance, in the chapter "The Coming of the Butterflies," An- 
thony Durrant watches thousands of butterflies being absorbed back in- 
to their Archetype. These Archetypes threaten by this act to pull the 
phenomenological world to its primordial shreds. The Ideas are utterly 
terrible and utterly fascinating. Dora Wilmot, a woman who eventually 
comes under the influence of one of the Archetypes, expresses well man's 
reaction to the invasion. At a meeting of a group that had been discuss- 
ing thought-forms, Dora suddenly catches sight of the Archetypical Snake, 
massive and coiling. She exclaims, "It's too — o let's get away."'^° Her 
elliptical "It's too — " may be taken as a perfect epigrammatic expres- 
sion of human terror in the face of invasion from Beyond. It is too — 
too big, too powerful, too blindingly pure and brilliant, too utterly dif- 
ferent from men. This leads to a second reason why the Good is terri- 
ble to men. 

The Good terrifies men not only because it comes as an invasion of 
their accustomed universes, but also because they perceive that invader, 
though good, to be utterly alien to themselves. It does not come as the 
Good they had expected. In philosophical language, it is the Other. In 
an essay on Charles Williams, Mary McDermott Shideler wrote, 
"Many of us. . . have been visited by the irresistable sense of 
the Other, indescribable and heavy with ecstacy or dread, and by 
this invasion of our complacencies we have known, in astonish- 
ment, that we are confronting something or someone infinitely dif- 
ferent from ourselves."^' 

In Descent Into Hell, Pauline Anstruther senses this Otherness in Peter 
Stanhope's verse play. That play, she thinks, is the work of a man who, 


though he has not seen his own doppelganger, has contemplated the nature 
of a world in which such things can be and has infused that alien nature 
into his poetry. The speech that he had given to the part of the woodcut- 
ter's son particularly affected Pauline: 

If only the woodcutter's son had not learned the language of the 
leaves while they burned in the fire! There was no doubt about 
that speech: the very smell and noise of the fire was in it, and the 
conviction of the alien song that broke out within the red flames. 
So perhaps the phoenix cried while it burned .^^ 
Ransom has this same sense of Otherness about the eldila, Princess 
Orual about Cupid, Damaris Tighe about the Archetypes. This alien 
Good brings in with it a new framework, a new design for the universe, 
as it were, to limited human understanding, a non-Euclidian geometry 
of goodness. After Peter Stanhope has expounded the doctrine of Substitu- 
tion to Pauline, "a violent convulsion of the laws of the universe took 
place in her mind; if this [Substitution] was one of the laws, the universe 
might be better or worse, but it was certainly quite different from anything 
she had ever supposed it to be."^^ Kierkegaard defined dread as the ap- 
prehension of possibility; and this is the effect of the invasion by the 
alien Good: it throws all the doors wide open. 

Nor is this goodness particularly to men's liking, even to those who 
had supposed they were of the Good's party. In his play, TTie House of 
the Octopus, Charles Williams has a character called the Flame, Lingua 
Coeli, say that ". . . heaven's kind of salvation [is] not at all to the mind 
/ of any except the redeemed, and to theirs hardly."^"* Far from the 
soporific, undemanding peace that Myrtle Fox in Descent Into Hell im- 
agines that she finds in Nature, this peace ". . . not only passes our 
understanding; it far overpasses what we anticipate or welcome."^^ 
Whatever else the peace brought by the invading Good may be, it is not 
— not at first, anyway — "days joined each to each by natural piety." 
The reaction of the narrator of Perelandm to meeting the Oyarsa of 
Malacandra in the hallway of Ransom's cottage exemplifies this notion: 
I had no doubt at all that I was seeing an eldil, and little doubt 
that I was seeing the archon of Mars, the Oyarsa of Malacandra. 
. . all those doubts which I had felt before as to whether Ransom 
were a pioneer or a dupe, had for the moment vanished. My fear 
was now of another kind. I felt sure that the creatures were what 
we call "good", but I wasn't sure I liked "goodness" so much as 
I had supposed. This is a very terrible experience. . . Here at last 
was a bit of that world from beyond the world, which I had always 
supposed I had loved and desired, breaking through and appear- 
ing to my senses: and I didn't like it, I wanted it to go away. I wanted 
every possible distance, gulf, curtain, blanket, and barrier to be 
placed between it and me.^^ 

There is another component of the terrible Good besides invasion and 
Otherness: to use Tolkien's phrase, the Good is terrible to men because 


it brings upon them, in all its clarity, "the doom of choice." This Good 
drives men into unavoidable either/or positions; it eliminates all middle 
ground, destroys the neutral area between heaven and hell. Shideler wrote 
a dictum about Williams that also might be applied to Lewis and Tolkien: 
"Williams believed that we are free to accept or reject the Christian world 
view, but not to evade the choice, because evasion is equivalent to re- 
jection."^'' Each of the Oxford mythmakers believed, imaginatively as 
well as doctrinally, that there comes a time when the voice of the Good 
says to each man, "he who is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30). 
Choice is demanded. 

There is an incident in The Lord of the Rings when Eomer, captain 
of the calvary of the kingdom of Rohan, meets Aragorn, rightful heir 
to the throne of Gondor, near Rohan. Each man is suspicious of the other. 
Aragorn demands that Eomer tell whether he is friend or foe of Sauron, 
the Dark Lord. Eomer replies that Rohan is neutral, "serving no foreign 
lord, good or evil." In response, Aragorn awesomely unveils his kingly 
nature and purpose, demanding, "Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose 
swiftly!" Eomer, astonished, asks: 

"What doom do you bring out of the North?" 

"The doom of choice," said Aragorm. "You may say this to 
Theoden, son of Thengel IKing of Rohan]: open war lies before 
him, with Sauron or against him. None may live now as they have 
lived, and few shall keep what they call their own."^^ 
In desperate times, Tolkien is saying, there is little room for hesitation, 
and none for neutrality. 

In That Hideous Strength, Professor Dimble, one of Ransom's com- 
pany, remarks that the middle ground between the side of good and the 
side of evil is disappearing. The world seems to be polarizing — wheat 
and chaff, sheep and goats; 

Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the 

possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. 

The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, 

getting sharper and harder. Like in the poem about Heaven and 

Hell eating into merry Middle Earth from opposite sides.^^ 

Choice-making is the dominant theme of Lewis's TTie Great Divorce. 

In that story spirits from hell are brought on a "celestial omnibus" to 

heaven. They may choose whether they will remain there and give up 

their sin or keep it up and return to hell. Each soul is permitted either, 

and each soul is capable of both. If the spirits choose heaven, no matter 

how uncomfortable giving up their sin and facing a new reality may be, 

all their life, viewed in retrospect, will have been heavenly; if they choose 

hell, no matter how finely or pleasurably they have lived, it will all have 

been hellish. Choice, in Lewis, is retroactive. The terrible decision stands 

for all time. 

"The doom of choice" is also to be found in Charles Williams's work. 
Pauline Anstruther must choose between the world as Peter Stanhope 


presents it — a world of Substitution and Exchange — and the world 
as presented by her fear of the doppelganger. Objecting to the doctrine 
of Substitution, Pauline says, "Would I push my burden on to anybody 

"Not if you insist on making a universe for yourself," Stanhope 
answered. "If you want to disobey and refuse the laws that are com- 
mon to us all, if you want to live in pride and division and anger, 
you can. But if you will be a part of the best of us, and live and 
laugh and be ashamed with us, then you must be content to be 

In All Hallows ' Eve, Williams shows the consequences of choice by 
contrasting the responses of the two dead women, Lester Furnival and 
Evelyn Mercer, to the City in which they find themselves. Lester chooses 
the path of shame, forgiveness, and reconciliation. There is a young girl, 
Betty Wallingford, toward whom Lester had been cooly patronizing. 
When Betty is sent into the City of the dead by Simon Leclerc, the 
necromancer, Lester is able to follow her back into the world of the liv- 
ing and to confess to her that old pride and negligence. Later, she 
substitutes herself for Betty to bear Leclerc's magical conjurations. 
Evelyn, on the other hand, chooses hatred, fear, and despair. She bab- 
bles incessandy in order not to have to face the awful silence of the Ci- 
ty. She hates and despises Betty, wanting to destroy her. She even turns 
on Lester, her only friend. The City's terrible finality solemnizes choice: 
Lester becomes a vibrant, radiant woman's soul, Evelyn becomes worse 
than a grumbler; she becomes a grumble. Williams thought that man's 
ultimate choice is whether he will know all that is as good — or evil. 
In his play, The Death of Good Fortune, Mary, a character representing 
Wisdom, says: 

And you, great ones, you must always make your choice, or always, 

at least, know that the choice exists — all luck is good — or not; 

even when the ninth step is nine times as difficult as the first.^^ 

Similarly, Lewis says that ultimately all of life will be seen to have 

been either heaven or hell, and that the outcome rests upon the choice 

of each individual soul. This infinitely alien Good, once it has invaded 

a man's life, must either become his all in all, or else there will be for 

him no good at all. 

'The doom of choice" brings with itself one further terror: the Good 
is terrible to men not only because it demands a choice, but also because 
it demands that further reponse be made on the basis of that choice. 
To choose costs, and it may hurt as well. In The Last Battle mere choosing 
is not enough to satisfy Asian. The Lion calls those who would follow 
him not only to pass through the door of Puzzle's stable, but to come 
"further up and further in" into his country, always extending the mo- 
tion of their choosing. And in The Great Divorce the saints are always 
progressing toward the mountains where they will meet the Good which 
is their "fountain of living waters." 


Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is dominated by images of sacrifice and 
of the quest. Frodo Baggin's choice to align himself actively with Gan- 
dalf and the Company of the Good is barely a beginning. Frodo is com- 
pelled by duty and necessity, once the quest has been accepted, to see 
the task through to the end, to cast the Ring, his treasure and burden, 
into the Cracks of Doom. Though choosing the Good lays the task upon 
Frodo, that quest itself is a flight into the stronghold of evil — a descent 
into hell — on a road as narrow and tenuous as a spider's strand. It is 
a bleak and, seemingly, a bootless act. Frodo asks at the beginning to 
The Lord of the Rings, "For where am I to go? And by what shall I 
steer? What is to be my quest? Bilbo went to find a treasure, there and 
back again; but I go to lose one, and not return, as far as I can see."^"^ 
He is right; his quest is not a pursuit of a treasure, a beatific goodness 
— that comes later — but a desperate and costly struggle to foil an Enemy 
who seeks to take away the common goodness that makes life worth liv- 
ing now. As it was with Ransom, so Frodo is not unscathed when his 
quest is fulfilled. Wounded by the sword of a Black Rider, missing a 
finger by the treachery of Gollum, and, most of all, utterly wearied by 
the long-borne burden of the Ring, Frodo must leave Middle Earth to 
find healing in the land of the Valar. When Sam, Frodo's servant, learns 
that his master must go away he says: 

"I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and 

years, after all you have done." 
"So I thought too, once," Frodo said. "But I have been too deeply 

hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not 

for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some 

one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them."^^ 
This is the price of fulfilling the choice for Frodo, a terrible Good. 

A similar idea of choice extended and fulfilled in sacrifice appears 
in Williams's Many Dimensions. The appearance of the Stone of Solomon 
and the proliferation of fragments of it, hewed by greedy hands, brings 
England to a diplomatic, moral, and spiritual crisis. Though good in 
itself, the Stone incites avarice. To put a stop to these ill effects a great 
burden is laid upon Chloe Burnett, one person who responds to the Stone 
with submission rather than greed: she must sacrifice herself, give herself 
up to the Stone as a willing channel for its reunification and departure 
from this world. Chloe succeeds gloriously in the task. The types of 
the Stone return into the One, the One then passes through the resigned 
pathway of Chloe's soul and disappears into the realm from which it 
first came. But Chloe's success costs her her life. Ultimately, perhaps, 
that loss is not great, "not worth comparing with the glory that is to 
be revealed" (Romans 8:18), but it is real loss while it lasts. If, as Williams 
implies, there lies for her a greater beatitude ahead, it is equally true 
that the common beatitude which is on the hither side of death is ir- 
retrieveably gone. 

Though the concept of the Joy of the Good is the hub out from which 


radiate all the rest of their imaginative attitudes and thought, it would 
not be possible to trace the theme fully in a paper of this format. In- 
stead, each writer's major and most productive metaphor for the Joy 
of the Good will be outlined to show how they variously conceived of 
the "fountain of living waters" at the back of things. 

Tolkien's concept of the Joy of the Good is well expressed in his idea 
of the Consolation of the Happy Ending. The exposition of this idea 
comes in his important essay, "On Fairy-Stories," that, together with 
"Leaf by Niggle," comprised the volume called Tree and Leaf. In try- 
ing to define the best effect of fairy-stories, Tolkien posits that it is just 
the opposite effect of tragic drama. For this effect of fairy-stories he 
coins the term eucatastrophe , literally, "a sudden turn for the good." 
The consolation of fairy-stories, the happy ending: or more cor- 
rectly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous "turn" (for there 
is no true end to any fairy-tale): this joy, which is one of the things 
that fairy-stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially 
"escapist" nor "fugitive." In its fairy-tale — or otherworld — set- 
ting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on 
to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sor- 
row and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of 
deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) 
universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting 
glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief .^^ 
This analysis is suggestively similar to the doctrine of the terrible Good. 
But here Tolkien's emphasis is not on the overturning, but on the bliss, 
not on the adjective, but on the substantive. 

Tolkien gives examples of eucatastrophe in The Hobbit and The Lord 
of the Rings. After Smaug the Dragon is slain in The Hobbit, a great 
battle breaks out over his treasure between the free races — men, elves, 
dwarfs, and one hobbit — on the one side and the servants of Sauron 
— goblins, ores, and ferocious, wolf-like wargs — on the other. The 
battle goes very badly for the free races. They begin to be clutched by 
despair. "Tt will not be long now,' thought Bilbo, 'before the goblins 
win the Gate, and we are all slaughtered or driven down and captured. 
Really it is enough to make one weep, after all one has gone through.'"^^ 
But just when all seems lost. Bilbo catches sight of great squadrons of 
Eagles winging down from the North to aid the free races; salvation 
breaks through in an instant. The servants of Sauron, against all hope, 
are routed. The Eagles continue to be harbingers of eucatastrophe in 
The Lord of the Rings. They appear at the battle for Minas Tirith, the 
capital of Gondor, bringing hope to the free armies just when they are 
about to fall before the assault of Sauron's forces. After the Ring has 
fallen into the subterranean fires of Mount Doom it erupts and literally 
comes to pieces about the heads of Frodo and Sam. Their death seems 
inevitable. But just as they fall down to die, Gwaihir, Lord of the Eagles, 
swoops down and, again against all hope, bears the hobbits off to safe- 


ty. Frodo and Sam are saved .^^ 

Still deeper consolation follows in Tolkien's concept of the Happy En- 
ding. Reunited with Gandalf, Aragom, and the other friends of the quest 
after the fall of Mount Doom, Frodo and Sam hear the great poetry of 
the lay of "Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom": 
And all the host laughed and wept, in the midst of their merri- 
ment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and 
gold. . . until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflow- 
ed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out 
to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the 
very wine of blessedness. '''' 

Plato held that Good is ". . . the divine — that is, the perfect — bond 
. . which unites unlike and opposed parts of virtue (Politicus, 316a)."''' 
This is the precise effect of Tolkien's Happy Ending: it opens our vision 
— often without warning, like a thief in the night — out onto the great 
marriage and unity of contrarities in the Good. In Tolkien's understan- 
ding this comes as deep consolation for deep wounds. 

No single term quite defines Charles William's apprehension of the 
Joy of the Good. For him that Beatitude was one of communal and com- 
municated glory (Substitution, Exchange, Co-inherence) shared among 
individuals in some finely structured pattern of organization (the City, 
the Empire). Similar to St. Paul's description of the church as Christ's 
body, William's concept is organic: individuals are to express their own 
functions while participating vicariously or actually in the functions of 
all other members. For example, the ascetic, whose native motion is 
the denial of images of the Good, participates in the affirmation of im- 
ages characteristic of the romantic; and the romantic, in turn, shares 
in the ascetic's motion of denial. This interdependence is shown in "Bors 
to Elayne; on the King's Coins," a poem in William's Arthurian cycle: 

. . . this abides — 
that the everlasting house the soul discovers is always another's; 
we must lose our own ends; we must always live in the habitation 
of our lovers, my friends shelter for me, mine for him. 

for the wealth of the self is the health of the self exchanged. What 

saith Heracleitus? — and what is the City's breath? " — dying each 

other's life, living each other's death."''^ 
In "The Vision of the Empire," another poem in William's Arthurian 
cycle, Byzantium becomes a symbol for the structure of the Joy of the 
Good. All the Empire's provinces, in turn, are imaged as parts of a body: 

The organic body sang together; 

the Acts of identity adored their Lord; 

the song sprang and rang in Byzantium. 

O you shoulders, elbows, wrists, 

bless him, praise him, magnify him forever; 


you fittings of thumbs and fingers, 
bless ye the Lord; 

sockets and balls in knees and ankles, 
bless ye the Lord; 
hips, thighs, spine in its multiples, 
bless him, praise him, magnify him forever7^ 
This conveys William's understanding of the Joy of the Good in liturgical 
language. But the same Joy is a theme in works without that accent: 
Pauline Anstruther in Descent Into Hell finds it in the doctrine of 
Substituted Love; Lester Furnival in All Hallow's Eve finds it in the Ci- 
ty where she is permitted, though dead, to participate redemptively among 
the living; Chloe Burnett in Many Dimensions finds it in submission 
and sacrifice to the Way of the Stone. Williams's concept of the Joy of 
communicated Good among the organic body of mankind was constant. 
Joy is the key term in C.S. Lewis's creative vocabulary, as it was a 
key term in his own life; the artist and the man coalesced. In his 
autobiographical Surprised by Joy, Lewis describes what sort of ex- 
perience Joy, in his definition, is: 

It is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desireable 

than any other satisfaction ... it must be sharply distinguished 

both from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has 

indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; 

the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. Apart 

from that, and considered only in its quality, it might almost equally 

well be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief. But then 

it is a kind we want. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would 

ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures 

in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and pleasure often 


This is Joy in the aspect of seemingly unquenchable longing. It shares 

with Tolkien's description of the consolation of the Happy Ending a 

transcendence of normal categories of pleasure and pain. 

Psyche has intimations of the Joy in Till We Have Faces. During her 
last interview with Orual before she is sacrificed. Psyche confesses that 
she has always longed for death. Orual uses this to blame Psyche for 
not loving and not wanting to remain with her own sister. She thinks 
that by "longing for death," Psyche means a morbid longing for annihila- 
tion, a hiatus of all these tiresome relationships, but Psyche responds: 
No, no, no. . . You don't understand. Not that kind of longing. 
It was when I was happiest that I longed most. It was on happy 
days when we were up there on the hills. . . with the wind and 
the sunshine. . . where you couldn't see Glome Of the palace. Do 
you remember? The colour and the smell, and looking across at 
the Grey Mountain in the distance? And because it was so beautiful, 
it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be 
more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche, come! But 


I couldn't (not yet) come and I didn't know where I was to come 
to. It almost hurt me. I felt like a bird in a cage when the other 
birds are flying home.''^ 
As a child Psyche had imagined the wonderful palace that a great king 
would build for her on the Grey Mountain, Cupid's mountain. Now, 
however, she begins to intuit that there was more than mere childish 
fancy in those fantasies: 

The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach 
the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from 
... my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do 
you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for 
home? For indeed it feels not like going, but like going back. All 
my life the god of the Mountain has been wooing me. . .1 am 
going to my lover.^^ 

There is no reason, a priori, why Psyche's longing Joy should be fulfill- 
ed by Cupid. He might as easily be the cruel, horrible Shadowbrute 
as the radiant god of the Mountain. Joy might be a longing for a non- 
existent Good, a false step, a misleading clue. But, in fact, Psyche's in- 
timations and longings are justified in the novel. Cupid, Good Himself 
in the context of the story, is the true object and fulfillment of her Joy. 
Psyche finds her god, her lover, and her palace. 

The notion of the fulfillment of longing Joy is also apparent in The 
Last Battle. As the creatures in the story progress "further up and fur- 
ther in" into Asian's country, they begin to realize that they are in a coun- 
try exceedingly like Namia, except that this Namia somehow seems more 
real. They are befuddled, however, because they had seen Asian un- 
make Narnia. How could it still be? Digory, the first boy ever to reach 
Narnia, resolves their quandary. He says that the old Narnia, ". . . was 
not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a 
shadow or a copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and 
always will be here."^'' Reaching this real place, this home, is, for Lewis, 
the Joy of the Good in all its fulness. Jewel the Unicorn expresses this 
Joy with certainty; 

I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. 
This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never 
knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that 
it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further 
up, further in!''^ 

As is true of Tolkien's concept of the Happy Ending, Lewis's concept 
of Joy is a doctrine of consolation. Joy is a thirst; it was made to be 
quenched and, Lewis says, it shall be quenched. Additionally, it should 
be underscored that the real Namia — the locale of Joy — does not belong 
to a nameless land; it exists in Asian's country. The Good is, for Lewis, 
and for Tolkien and Williams, a Person, and goodness is that to which 
He has given His own name. 
Thus it has been shown that as in Plato's philosophy and in orthodox 


Christianity, so in the fiction of the Oxford mythmakers the idea of the 
Good plays an absolutely central role. Moreover, it may be seen that 
duality runs throughout the various artistic expressions which they gave 
to the idea of the Good. When Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams approach 
the Good in its own quality by portraying characters of great goodness, 
supernatural or otherwise, this duality is expressed as beauty united with 
dreadfulness, severity with largesse. When that Good impinges upon 
human life, the duality is seen in the terror and joy with which men 
respond to its touch. Finally, it may be seen that for the Oxford 
mythmakers the Good was not a two-pronged abstraction — not merely 
an ultimate Value — but something personal, alive, and active. This is 
where their thinking about the Good shows most clearly the influence 
of Christianity: Lewis and Tolkien frequently embodied this personal 
Good in a representative, a Gandalf or an Asian, while Williams tended 
to show that Good as a Life shared among the members of a redeemed 
company; but either approach is consonant with Christianity, since the 
Church has always taught that Christ is as equally present in the com- 
munity of believers as he was in the flesh. The concept of a personal 
Good, containing and uniting dualities within a single nature, links 
together the works of the Oxford mythmakers artistically and thematically. 
That concept would seem to be one of the most important things to 
recognize in their fiction. 



Primary sources; books by the Oxford mythmakers: 

Lewis, C.S. The Great Divorce. New York: Macmillan 

Publishing Company, Inc., 1946. 

The Horse and His Boy. 1954; rpt. New York: 
Collier Books, 1970. 

The Last Battle. 1956; rpt. New York: Collier 
Books, 1970. 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. 1950; rpt. 
New York: Collier Books, 1970. 

The Magician's Nephew, 1955; rpt. New York: The 
MacMillan Company, 1965. 

Perelandra. 1943; rpt. New York: The Macmillan 
Company, 1965. 

Prince Caspian. 1951; rpt. New York: Collier 
Books, 1970. 

The Problem of Pain. London: Geoffry Bles, 1940. 

The Silver Chair 1953; rpt. New York: Collier 
Books, 1970. 

Surprised by Joy. New York: Harcourt, Brace & 
World, Inc., 1955. 

That Hideous Strength: A Modem Fairy-tale for 
Grown-ups. 1945; rpt. New York: The Macmillan 
Company, 1965. 

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold. New York: 
Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1956. 

The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader". 1952; rpt. New 
York: Collier Books, 1970. 

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. 1937; rpt. New York: Ballantine 
Books, 1965. 


The Lord of the Rings. 3 vols. 1954-56; rpt. New 
York: Ballantine Books, 1965. 

The Tolkien Reader. New York: Ballantine Books, 

Williams, Charles All Hallow's Eve. 1948; New York: Avon Books, 

Collected Plays. London: Oxford University Press, 

Descent Into Hell. 1937; rpt. Grand Rapids, 
Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Com- 
pany, 1973. 

The Greater Trumps. 1932; rpt. New York: Avon 
Books, 1969. 

Many Dimensions. 1931; rpt. Grand Rapids, 
Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Com- 
pany, 1970. 

The Place of the Lion. 1931; rpt. Grand Rapids, 
Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Com- 
pany, 1972. 

Shadows of Ecstasy. 1933; rpt. Grand Rapids, 
Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Com- 
pany, 1970. 

Taliessin Through Logres: The Region of the Sum- 
mer Stars: Arthurian Torso. 1938, 1944, and 1948; 
rpt. in one volume Grand Rapids, Michigan: 
William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974. 

War in Heaven. 1930; rpt. Grand Rapids, 
Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Com- 
pany, 1972. 

Secondary sources; books by other writers: 

Demos, Raphael. The Philosophy of Plato. New Y)rk: Octagon Books, 1966. 
Foster, Robert. A Guide to Middle Earth. New \brk: Ballantine Books, 1974. 


Huttar, Charles A., ed. Imagination and the Spirit: Essays in Literature 
and the Christian Faith presented to Clyde S. Kilby. Grand Rapids, 
Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971. 

Lewis, W.H., ed. Letters of CS. Lewis. New York: Harcourt, Brace & 
World, Inc., 1966. 

Montgomery, John Warwick, et al. Myth, Allegory, and Gospel. Min- 
neapolis, Minnesota: Bethany Fellowship, Inc., 1974. 

Ridler, Anne, ed. The Image of the City: with an Introduction by Anne 
Ridler by Charles Williams. London: Oxford University Press, 1958. 

Shideler, Mary McDermott. Charles Williams. In the series Contemporary 
Writers in Christian Perspective. Edited by Roderick Jellema. Grand 
Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966. 


• Raphael Demos, The Philosophy of Plato (New "Vbrk: Octagon Books, 
Inc., 1966), p. 77. 

2 Anne Ridler, ed.. The Image of the City, by Charles Williams (Lon- 
don: Oxford University Press, 1958), p. xliv. 

3 Many names have been suggested for the collective body of writers 
in the Christian tradition during these years at Oxford — the Oxford 
group, the Oxford Christians, Christian Romantics. The literary discus- 
sion group to which Lewis and Tolkien belonged was called "The Inkl- 
ings". The name "Oxford mythmakers" was suggested by Marjorie Evelyn 
Wright in "The Vision of Cosmic Order in the Oxford Mythmakers," 
in the Festschrift, Imagination and the Spirit, ed. Charles Huttar (Grand 
Rapids, Michigan: Willaim B. Eerdman Publishing Company, 1971), pp. 
259-76. The name seems just, considering the mythic quality of many 
of their works and the strong interest each man had in the relationship 
of myth and Christian truth. 

■* See Lewis's chronology of Narnian history reprinted in Walter 
Hooper's "Past Watchful Dragons," in Imagination and the Spirit, pp. 

^ CS. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950; rpt. New 
York: Collier Books, 1970), p. 123. This and all subsequent references 
to books in The Chronicles ofNarnia will be to the pagination of the 
widely-distributed Collier paperback editions. 

^ CS. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1940), 
pp. 4-5. 


'' C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" (1952; rpt. New York: 
Collier Books, 1970), p. 88. 

^ Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, p. 125. 

^ Ibid. , p. 161. One is reminded in this contest (as Lewis himself must 
certainly have been reminded) of Amos 1:2 — "The LORD roars from 
Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds 
mourn, and the top of Carmel withers." 

IOCS. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy (1954; rpt. New York: Collier 
Books, 1970), pp. 192-93. 

'^ C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian (1951; rpt. New York: Collier Books, 
1970), p. 209. 

'^ Ibid., p. 148. 

'Ubid., p. 199. 

^'^ Lewis, The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader", p. 215. 

15 C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair (1953; rpt. New York: Collier Books, 
1970), p. 17. 

•^ Lewis, The Horse and His Boy, pp. 159-60. 

^'' C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew (1955; rpt. New York: Collier 
Books, 1970) p. 99. 

'^ Ibid., p. 117. 

»' C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle (1956; rpt. New York: Collier Books, 
1970), p. 164. 

^'^ C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces (New York: Harcourt, Brace and 
Company, 1956), p. 113. 

21 Ibid., p. 171. 

^^ Ibid., p. 172. 

23 Lewis, Till We Have Faces, pp. 172-73. 

^^ Ibid., p. 307. 


25 Maleldil's positional counterpart in The Chronicles of Narnia is 
Asian, but his role in the space trilogy is far less active than the Lion's 
in those stories. 

26 C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet (1938; rpt. New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1965), p. 119. This and all subsequent references 
to books within the space trilogy will be to the page numbers in the 
Macmillan paperback editions. 

2"^ C.S. Lewis, Perelandm (1943; rpt. New York: The Macmillan Com- 
pany, 1965), p. 18. 

28 Ibid. , p. 30. 

29 C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength (1945; New York: The Mac- 
millan Company, 1965), p. 142. 

30 Ibid. , p. 143. 

3' In the foreward to the Ballantine paperback edition of The Lord 
of the Rings, Tolkien wrote, "I cordially dislike allegory in all of its 
manifestations and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough 
to detect its presence" (p. xi). In a letter dated December 29, 1958, Lewis 
wrote, "If Asian represented the immaterial Deity in the same way in 
which Giant Despair represents Despair, he would be an allegorical 
figure. In reality, however, he is an invention giving an imaginary answer 
to the question, 'What might Christ become like if there really were 
a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again 
in that world as He actually has done in ours?' This is not allegory at 
all. So in Perelandra." W.H. Lewis, ed., Letters of C.S. Lewis (New 
York: Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., 1966), p. 283. However, Lewis 
wrote The Pilgrim's Regress and Tolkien wrote "Leaf by Niggle," both 

32 John Warwick Montgomery, et al. , Myth, Allegory, and Gospel Min- 
neapolis, Minnesota: Bethany Fellowship, Inc., 1974), p. 29. Montgomery 
also includes O.K. Chesterton in his schema as one who writes 
"theological novels as apologetic for the irresistability of orthodoxy." 

3^ Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, III, p. 244. 

35 Ibid., II, p. 86. 

^^ Ibid., I, p. 466. 


3'^ Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, II, pp. 124-25. Compare with the 
description of Christ in the Revelation of John: "In the midst of the lamp- 
stands [stood] one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with 
a golden girdle round his breast; his head and his hair were white as 
white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet 
were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was 
like the sound of many waters; in his right hand he held seven stars, 
from his mouth issued a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like 
the sun shining in full strength" (Revelation 1:13-16). 

38 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937; rpt. New York: Ballantine Books, 
1965), pp. 17-18. This and all subsequent references to The Hobbit will 
be to page numbers in the American paperback edition by Ballantine 

3^ Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, I, p. 60. 

*^ Ibid., Ill, p. 34, 

"^^ C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (New York: Macmillan Publishing 
Company, Inc., 1946), pp. 108-09. 

'^^ Lewis, The Last Battle, p. 73. 

^Ubid., p. 147. 

'^'^ Lewis, That Hideous Strength, p. 151. 

'^^ Charles Williams, Descent Into Hell (1937; rpt. in paperback from 
the 1949 edition by Pelligrini & Cudahy, Grand Rapids, Michigan: 
William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), p. 86. 

^^ Ibid., p. 87. 

^'' Ibid., p. 16. 

"^^ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Tolkien Reader (1963, rpt. from Tree and Leaf, 
New York: Ballantine Books, Inc., 1966), pp. 95-96. 


50 Charles Williams, The Place of the Lion (1931; rpt. from the 1950 
edition by Pelligrini & Cudahy, Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. 
Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), p. 33. 

5^ Mary McDermott Shideler, Charles Williams, in the series Con- 


temporary Writers in Christian Perspective, ed. Roderick Jellema (Grand 
Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966), 
p. 13. 

" Williams, Descent Into Hell, p. 94. 

" Ibid. , p. 104. 

5^* Charles Williams, Collected Plays (London: Oxford University 
Press, 1963), p. 250. 

^^ Shideler, Charles Williams, p. 33. 

^^ Lewis, Perelandra, p. 19. 

5^ Shideler, Charles Williams, p. 44. 

5^ Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, II, pp. 43-44. 

^^ Lewis, TTiat Hideous Strength, pp. 293-84. 

^0 Williams, Descent Into Hell, p. 99. 

6> Williams, Collected Plays, p. 194. 

64 Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, I, p. 100. 

65 Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, III, p. 382. 
6"^ Tolkien, The Tolkien Reader, p. 68. 

68 Tolkien, 77ie //0^/7/r, p. 270. 

69 In the epilogue to "On Fairy-Stories" Tolkien suggests that the 
eucatastrophe of "primary," that is, actual history lies in the story of 
the Incarnation, and that the eucatastrophe of that particular story comes 
at the Resurrection. "But this is supreme; and it is true. Art has been 
verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men — and of elves. Legend 
and History have met and fused" {The Tolkien Reader, p. 72). This 
declaration shows that, for Tolkien, the terror or joy of the Good was 
not only an artistic doctrine, but a primary truth. 

7° Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, III, p. 286. 

''^ Demos, The Philosophy of Plato, p. 54. 


^2 Charles Williams and C.S. Lewis, Taliessin Through Logres: The 
Region of the Summer Stars: Arthurian Torso (1938, 1944, and 1948 
respectively; rpt. in one volume Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. 
Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974), pp. 62, 63. 

-'^ Ibid., pp. 30-31. 

"^■^ C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 
Inc., 1955), pp. 17-18), 

^5 Lewis, Till We Have Face, p. 74. 

^'' Ibid., pp. 75-76. 

'''' Lewis, The Last Battle, p. 169. 

^^ Ibid., p. 171. 




by Dr. Ben Witherington, III 

A. Genre of the Gospels 4 

For many scholars who work with the Gospel material, it is axiomatic 
that the Gospels can no longer be seen as biographies of Jesus •. There 
are even those such as R. Bultmann, who consider the Gospels sui 
generis, their Gattung being determined by and developed out of the 
unique primitive Christian kerygma.^ Granting that the Gospels con- 
tain the unique Christian message and that their form is partially deter- 
mined by their content, it is not the case that the form of the Gospels 
is without analogy in certain types of biographical and historical writings 
of antiquity. While it is true that the Gospels are not biographies in 
the modern sense of the word (i.e., they do not reflect much interest 
in personal appearance, the sociological and psychological factors of 
character development, precise chronology), it does not follow that they 
were not intended or understood as biographies by the standards of an- 
tiquity. Some ancient biographies, such as Tacitus' Agricola, reflect 
an interest in chronology in its broad outlines, but a concern for precise 
chronology is not characteristic of either Hochliteratur or Kleinliteratur. ^ 
Thus, the Gospels cannot be distinguished from ancient biographies on 
this basis. '^ 

Further, depicting character development was not a sine qua non of 
ancient biography,^ and only Luke among the Evangelists shows any 
trace of such an interest (cf. 2.52). In Xenophon's Memorabilia, no 
interest is shown in character development; rather, Socrates is presented 
as a mature character throughout. A common method of character por- 
trayal in antiquity was the indirect method of allowing a person's ac- 
tions and words to indicate his character (cf. Plutarch, Life of Alex- 
ander, or Theophratus, Characters) which is also the main technique 
of the Evangelists. Though the Gospels make little attempt to set their 
main character against the background of his times, this was not always 
characteristic of ancient biographies.^ Further, description of a 
character's physical features was not a universal trait for it is not found 
in Roman literature until Sallust and only became conventional in 
Suetonis' day.'' Ancient biographical and historical writing was often 
didactic or apologetic or eulogistic, but never purely historical in 

Bultmann 's contention that ancient biographical writing lacks any link 
with myth or cult,' as well as the view that Mark's eschatological outlook 
would have precluded him from using the techniques and types of an- 
cient literature, have been refuted by C.H. Talbert.'° On the last point, 
the Qumran community, which was eschato logically oriented, produc- 
ed various sorts of documents. Early Christian (unlike Gnostic) 


eschatology was of a world transforming, not world negating, nature 
(cf. Rom 8. 18-25). If it is contended that while a Christian community 
might produce Qumran-like documents, they would not be interested 
in writing 'popular' biographies in a Hellenistic or Roman mold, it may 
be answered that Christianity's emphasis on missionary outreach might 
occasion just such documents.'' It is reasonable to expect the Evangelists 
to use accepted library methods. 

In regard to the use of myth in ancient biographies, Talbert shows 
that certain historical figures (among them Alexander, Augustus, 
Empedocles, ApoUonius) were written about employing both normal 
and historical information and the myth of the immortals. "In attaching 
itself to clearly historical personages this mythology affected the literary 
genres of history and biography. "'^ Talbert 's arguments that the Synoptic 
writers use this myth to show Jesus' significance are not nearly as con- 
vincing as his demonstration of mythical elements in ancient 
biographies.'^ It is undeniable that both the Gospels and various an- 
cient biographies attribute supernatural births, deeds, and ends to their 
characters. The myth of the descending-ascending redeemer figure was 
also used in antiquity of historical figures and it could be said that we 
see this pattern applied to Jesus in John.'"* Talbert argues that this pat- 
tern does not appear in Hellenistic biography because the ancients could 
not conceive of an immortal putting on mortality. In any event, his case 
that myth was used of historical persons both in biography and other 
ancient literature not likely influenced by Christian ideas, seems 
established. Finally, when one examines such didactic lives as Diogenes 
Laertius' Empedocles , or Pseudo-Callisthenes' Life of Alexander, or 
the communities of followers of a particular ruler or philosopher (such 
as the cult of Alexander at Alexandria), myth seems to be used to in- 
culcate or to further reverence or even worship of an historical person. '^ 

Because ancient biographers wished to present a vivid and true pic- 
ture of their character through a narration of his words and deeds, they 
were genuinely concerned to ascertain what their hero actually said and 
did.'^ This often involved consulting both oral and written reports, 
eyewitnesses, and the man himself if possible. Naturally, the amount 
of critical judgement applied to this material varied, but it was often 
applied satisfactorily enough for C.W. Votaw to affirm, "These Greek 
and Roman biographies of the ancient period from the fourth century 
B.C. to the third century A.D. achieve in varying manner and measure 
the biographical ideal."'"' Though neither the ancient biographers nor 
the Evangelists had an abstract or purely academic interest in the words 
and deeds of their subjects as historical phenomena, it does not follow 
from this that the Evangelists and at least some ancient writers were 
not deeply concerned about whether or not their hero actually said or 
did this or that. 

It appears likely that many of the first recipients of the Gospels would 
have seen them as lives of Jesus, albeit episodic ones, written accor- 


ding to the conventions of ancient biographical and historical literature.'^ 
Certainly there are differences in tone and content between the Gospels 
and ancient Lives. The ancient Lives do not have the pervasive 
theological content we find in the Gospels. Then too the kerygma has 
affected the Gospels' form to some extent, though not enough to war- 
rent the claim that the Gospels are sui generis. But in the main, as B.H. 
Streeter rightly says, the difference between the Gospels and ancient 
biographical and historical works, "... lies in the subject treated, not 
in the historical ideal of the several writers."'^ 

B. The Synoptic Problem 

The solution to the Synoptic Problem assumed in this essay is com- 
monly called the four source hypothesis. In view of the revival of the 
Griesbach hypothesis by W.R. Farmer and others, it is worthwhile to 
state briefly some reasons for accepting this view. Out of the total of 
661 verses in Mark, only 55 are not found in some form in the First 
Gospel. Luke has over half of Mark's material, but Mark's material 
makes up less than half of either the First or Third Gospel. Positing 
Matthean priority it is very difficult to explain why Mark would omit 
so much valuable material from the First Gospel (Infancy Narrative, 
Sermon on the Mount, nearly all the parables) ". . . in order to get 
room for purely verbal expansion of what was retained. "^^ The same 
argument applies supposing Mark's dependency on Luke. If one posits 
Marcan priority, Matthean omissions are explainable in terms of his 
theological purposes and/or attempts to avoid repetition. Luke's 'great 
omission' (Mk 6.45-8.26) is more enigmatic, but then Luke exercises 
more independence from Mark than the First Evangelist and the 'great 
omission' may be further evidence of this fact. 

Further evidence arises for Marcan priority when one notes how the 
First and Third Evangelists alter difficult Marcan constructions (Mk 
2.7 cf. parallels); omit or ameliorate potentially offensive texts (cf. Mk 
3.21 and parallels, Mk 10.18 and parallels); or change a more collo- 
quial and Semitic Marcan account into better Greek (e.g., Mk 2.4 
'Krabatos'; Matthew 'Kline'; Luke 'Klinidon').^' Further, in the triple 
tradition Matthew and Luke agree in order only insofar as they agree 
with Mark. Where one deviates from Mark's order, the other supports 
it, with the sole exception of Mk 3.31-35 which is found in a different 
context in each Gospel. 22 The reproduction of 51% of Mark's exact 
words in Matthew, and, 53% in Luke in their common material clearly 
points to interdependence and in combination with the factors mentioned 
above also favors Marcan priority. ^^ Thus, in matters of content, se- 
quence, and wording, the evidence all favors Marcan priority. 2** 

What of the Ur-Marcus hypothesis favored by Bultmann and others? 
It is urged that Luke's 'great omission' is only explainable on the assump- 
tion that his Mark did not have 6.45-8.26. Luke's greater freedom with 
Mark, in comparison with the First Evangelist, weakens this argument, 


as does the fact that some of Mk 6.45-8.26 is found in Matthew (thus 
requiring one to posit that Matthew's Mark and Luke's Mark were dif- 
ferent). The minor agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark can 
be explained mainly in terms of stylistic improvements (changing Mark's 
historical present to an imperfect or aorist; using a different conjunc- 
tion or preposition), or in terms of textual corruption (i.e., assimila- 
tion or scribal improvement - 'kurie' is likely original at Mk 1.40), 
and the few remaining examples do not warrant resorting to an Ur- 
Markus hypothesis. Far from some of these minor agreements arguing 
for an Ur-Markus, it may appear in some cases to be evidence of a 
less, not more, primitive text than our Mark.^^ In some cases it ap- 
pears that the Q material and Mark overlap, and the First and Third 
Evangelists have chosen to follow Q. In others, one must reckon with 
the influence of the oral traditions still in circulation when the First and 
Third Evangelists wrote. ^^ It must be remembered that the First and 
Third Evangelists were members of Christian communities and likely 
heard some of the Marcan narratives recited apart from their reading 
of Mark. M. Hengel urges us to bear in mind that the Synoptists are 
for the most part reducing and concentrating, rather than expanding, 
the considerable amount of source material available to them (cf. Lk 
1.1). 2^ Naturally, this view of supplementary oral or written sources 
cannot be invoked to account for every small addition or change - some 
are clearly theologically motivated. But such supplements or substitutes 
are assumed when it is argued that Q and Mark overlap, and there are 
other cases where sources parallel and sometimes more primitive than 
Mark appear to be in evidence (e.g., in Mt 19.1-9, cf. Mk 10. 1-12). ^^ 
The reason the First and Third Evangelists are so dependent on Mark 
is that they consider Mark their primary and most reliable, but not 
necessarily their only, source for all the Marcan material. 

The Q hypothesis has arisen to account for the 200-250 non-Marcan 
verses found in both Matthew and Luke. It is a more viable hypothesis 
than the view that Luke is directly dependent on Matthew because: 
1) the latter view fails to explain why Luke uses some of the Sermon 
on the Mount in his Sermon on the Plain and scatters fragments of the 
rest in various other chapters; 2) the latter view fails to explain why 
Luke never (apart from 3.7-9, 17) places the material he shares with the 
First Evangelist at the same place in the Marcan framework as does Mat- 
thew, and never takes over any of Matthew's distinctive additions. The 
view that the First Gospel is directly dependent on the Third is no longer 
advanced. Because there are too many cases where the verbal 
resemblances between the Matthean and Lukan versions of a common 
passage are too inexact to posit a single common written source (whether 
in Greek or Aramaic), and the order in the large blocks of Q material 
agrees in Matthew and Luke only when they are following Mark's out- 
line, it is best to speak of Q as a stratum of the Gospel material.^' It 
is not possible to say with exactness what was not included in the Q 


material besides the Birth, Passion, and Resurrection narratives. Yet these 
omissions are sufficient to indicate that it never consitituted a whole 
Gospel, though it must have included some narrative material along with 
numerous sayings (cf. Lk 4.2-13, 7.1-10, 7.18-23, 11.14-23, 11.29-32).3« 
There seem to be enough examples to justify the view that Matthew and 
Luke, in addition to their common Greek sources, had at least one 
Aramaic source in common.^' The strong linguistic differences between 
Mark and Q in the double tradition (cf. Mk 4.30-32, Lk 13.18 ff.) make 
the assumption of the literary dependence of Mark on Q or the con- 
verse unlikely.^2 The Q material appears to have been a multiplicity of 
sources, some written, perhaps some oral, that make up several short 
independent tracts or cycles of tradition focusing mainly on the sayings 
and teachings of Jesus." 

In addition to Mark and the Q material, the First and Third Evangelists 
had access to various other traditions, commonly called M and L, without 
implying that all uniquely Matthean or Lukan material necessarily came 
from one clearly defined written or oral souce. It is simply impossible 
to say how much material we call M or L was actually drawn from the 
Q material and simply omitted by the other Evangelist. With Streeter 
we may recognize a certain Jewish flavor to M in comparison to L,^"* 
but that either M or L were coherent documents or, as Streeter held, 
were the traditions of two specific Churches (Jerusalem for M and 
Caesarea for L) is now difficult to accept." Also, Streeter's view of the 
development of the tradition from isolated and definable segments (M,L, 
Mark, Q) to combined traditions (Proto-Luke), to Gospels as a linear 
or almost evolutionary process oversimplifies what was obviously a com- 
plex situation. It is more likely that since the earliest Churches appear 
to have been mostly independent of one another, in some locations the 
Gospel form arose at an early date, and in others Churches collected 
Jesus' logia for a long time, each developing and using its resources as 
the needs arose .^^ 

With the above mentioned qualifications we can accept the four source 
hypothesis, though it is not problem free. Part of the problem is that 
it is misleading to speak of a four source hypothesis when the Q, M, 
and L materials are likely groups of sources or documents.^'' 

C. The Relation of John to the Synoptics 

Since the time of Streeter when most scholars held that the Fourth 
Evangelist used Mark, probably Luke, and possibly Matthew, a new con- 
census has arisen in the wake of the works of P. Gardner-Smith, C.H. 
Dodd, and others, favoring the independence of John from the Synop- 
tics. Even C.K. Barrett, who rejects the new "critical orthodoxy" on 
this matter, does not assert that the Fourth Evangelist actually had any 
of the Synoptics before him when he wrote, only that he ". . . had read 
Mark and was influenced both positively and negatively by its contents. 
. . and that a few of John's statements may be most satisfactorily ex- 


plained if he was familiar with matters peculiar to Luke."^^ No reference 
is made here to Matthew, for it is generally conceded that the case for 
dependence on Matthew is weak. 

The fact that Luke and John share certain personal names not found 
in the first two Gospels (Lazarus, Mary and Martha, 'Judas, not Iscariot', 
Annas) is thought to point to the Fourth Gospel's dependence on the 
Third. Annas was a well-known Jewish figure, mentioned by Josephus. 
Certainly the Fourth Evangelist could have derived his name from so- 
meone other than Luke. The name Judas was a common Jewish name, 
and Luke identifies him as Judas of James, not 'Judas, not Iscariot'. 
Possibly both writers are independently relying on traditional list(s) of 
the Twelve. It is conceivable that the Fourth Evangelist borrowed the 
names of Mary and Martha from Luke but their pericopes are so dif- 
ferent that it is more likely that we have different traditions about the 
same sisters. Neither the narrative in John 11 nor 12 could reasonably 
be said to be dependent on Lk 10.38-42. In Luke there is an implied 
critique of Martha's concern with 'much serving', which is not the case 
in John 12. The focus in John 12 is on the anointing and the resulting 
reactions (cf. 11.1-2); in Luke it is on single-minded devotion and Mary 
having chosen the good portion. Finally, the Lazarus in Luke is a pauper 
in a parable; while John's Lazarus is found in a narrative which tells 
us he was wealthy enough to be buried in a tomb. Why would the Fourth 
Evangelist place Lazarus in such diametrically opposed circumstances 
if he was relying on Luke? 

Certain details are thought to link the two Gospels. It is sufficient to 
say here that the coincidences are best explained by cross-fertilization 
at the level of oral tradition rather than any sort of dependence of one 
Gospel on another^'. Both Luke and John link Judas' betrayal to his 
possession by Satan but Luke has Satan enter Judas before he first seeks 
out the High Priest (Lk 22.3), while John associates the possession with 
the Last Supper (Jn 13.2,27). The two traditions are not identical and 
both Gospels have a rather developed Satanology elsewhere (cf. Lk 10.19, 
11.15, 13.16, 22.31; Jn 8.44, 12.31, 16.11); thus, it is not unlikely that these 
two Evangelists would independently associate Satan and Judas.'*^ There 
is no clear evidence of dependence in the fact that Luke and John record 
the note of the High Priest's servant's ear being severed since this is 
the kind of graphic detail often remembered when a narrative is passed 
on over a period of time by word of mouth (e.g. , the remembrance that 
it was pistic nard in the anointing stories of John and Mark). The men- 
tion of two angels at the tomb by both Luke and John might point to 
dependence, but the traditions differ so much otherwise that it may be 
doubted. In John angels are possibly mentioned for a theological reason: 
they serve as a supernatural parenthesis emphasizing where Jesus' body 
was laid. In Luke they do not serve this purpose and he may mention 
two 'men' for quite a different reason: the requirement of two witnesses 
(Deut. 19.15). Finally, while it is true that Jn 12.38 resembles Lk 22.34 


more than Mk 14.30, it actually shows little affinity with either one."*' 
The evidence used to support the view that John used or had read Luke 
is weak and the similarities are better explained by a variety of other 

The case for John's dependence on Mark is more substantial and Barrett 
places particular emphasis on the argument from order.'*^ His list in- 
cludes: a) the work and witness of the Baptist (Mk. 1.4-8/Jn 1.19-36); 
b) departure to Galilee (Mk. 1.14f/Jn 4.3); c) feeding the muUitude (Mk 
6.34-44/Jn 6.1-13); d) walking on the lake (Mk 6.45-52/Jn 6.16-21); 3) 
Peter's confession (Mk 8.29/Jn 6.68f); f) departure to Jerusalem (Mk 
9.30f, 10.1, 32, 46/Jn 7.10-14); g) the Entry and the Anointing (Mk 11.1-19. 
14.3-9; transposed in John 12.12-15, 12.1-8); h) the Last Supper with 
predictions of betrayal and denial (Mk 14.53-16.8/Jn 18.12-20.29). 

There appears to be no possibility that pericopes f-g, h-j could be in 
any other order than their present one: Jesus must depart for Jerusalem 
before he enters it; the Last Supper must precedd the arrest; the arrest 
must precede the Passion and Resurrection. There is no room for rear- 
ranging the order of the Entry and the Anointing and significantly Mark 
and John differ at this point. Further, unlike the case in John, there is 
a considerable amount of material that separates Mark's Entry and Anoin- 
ting stories. 

The first half of the list is more problematic. Pericope a logically 
precedes b, c, d, and e, since John is the one who 'prepares the way' 
by appearing before Jesus and announcing His coming. This is true even 
in the Fourtn Gospel (cf. 1.15 and 1.27) though it is also true that John 
continues to play a part in the story after the inception of Jesus' ministry 
(cf. 3.22 ff. I. Pericope b must precede c for all four Evangelists locate 
the Feeding of the Multitude in Galilee and Jesus must depart for Galilee 
before the Feeding can be recorded. Similarly, Jesus must finish His 
Galilean ministry before He makes His final trip to Jerusalem. Pericope 
f must follow a-e. The parallels in the sequence c, d, e are more im- 
pressive but even here there is room for doubt. In John's framework e 
must precede f. Peter's confession in John occasions a reference to Jesus' 
betrayal (6.70-71) and His not going up until His time had come (7.1,6) 
both of which set the stage for Jesus' trip to Jerusalem. The order e-f 
can be explained in terms of the internal framework of the Fourth Gospel. 
Finally, the order c-d and d-e may be explained without the dependence 
theory. Dodd suggested that Mark had a general narrative framework 
that helped him order some of the pericopes about Jesus" Galilean 
ministry.'*^ Presumably this framework did not come down to him from 
the same source as the pericopes he somewhat awkwardly inserted into 
this framework. If so, then it becomes possible that the Fourth Evangelist 
had access to this narrative framework but not to Mark. If one is will- 
ing to accept Dodd's view that ". . . there is good reason to believe that 
in broad outlines the Marcan order does represent a genuine succession 
of events,"'*'* then it is even possible that while Mark had access to the 


framework, John, through another channel, had access to the actual se- 
quence of events. In any case, the agreements in order in Mark and John 
are probably not extensive enough to require the view that John knew 
Mark's order. 

The case for verbal dependence is also less than compelling. Of the 
twelve examples Barrett cites, '^^ the longest is no more than 3V2 lines 
in the Greek text - one average length sentence and one shorter (Mk 
14.7-8, cf. Jn 12.7-8). We have word for word agreement in none of the 
examples, not even in the shortest ones (Mk 6.50/Jn 6.20, cf. Mk 8.29/Jn 
6.69). Mk 6.50/Jn 6.20 can safely be set aside, for the phases "It is I" 
and "Fear not" are too ordinary to require literary dependence, and in 
Mk 8.29/Jn. 6.69 the titles ascribed are different. In Mk 11.9-10/Jn 12.13 
it appears that both Evangelists are relying on Ps 118.25 for the texts 
differ significantly where the use of Ps 118.25 ceases. Of the remaining 
nine examples, seven come from material clearly associated with the 
Passion narrative, which most scholars think circulated widely in a rather 
fixed and connected form earlier than most of the rest of the Gospel 
material. The title "King of the Jews" (Mk 15.26/Jn 19.19) is ascribed 
to Jesus in all four Gospels and the Evangelists could have used it here 
independently of one another. It was a well-known phrase especially 
among zealous Jews. Apparently Jn 11.2 indicates that the anointing story 
circulated early and possibly widely, and 1 Cor 11.23 likely indicates 
that the Last Supper traditions (Mk 14.18/Jn 13.21) did as well. 1 Cor 
11.23 indicates that a statement about the betrayal was included in such 
traditions. Thus, again these examples do not require us to posit literary 

The tradition about severing the slave's ear was apparently one that 
interested early Christians considerably, perhaps because it revealed Jesus' 
view of violence. In Mark it is not clear that a disciple had done the 
deed, unlike the case in Luke and John, who mention that the right ear 
was severed. Luke and John have various other graphic details not found 
in Mark or Matthew. There are no common rare words or awkward gram- 
matical constructions to indicate that John depends on Mark here; in 
fact, there are significant differences in the use of verbs. The similarities 
are not strong enough to demonstrate dependence of John on Mark here. 

The final three examples are part of important narratives in all three 
Gospels. In regard to the sentences about John the Baptist and the predic- 
tion of Peter's denial we have to deal with short, pithy, or interesting 
sayings that might well be remembered by different people, be passed 
on through independent channels and, because of their importance, have 
gained a wide circulation. Acts 18 and 19 indicate that the question of 
the relationship of the Baptist to Jesus was a live one for a considerable 
amount of time. As L. Morris notes, even in a short space of words, 
there are a number of noteworthy differences in Mark's and John's record 
of the saying about the Baptist.'^^ In the denial narrative and feeding of 
the 5000 narrative there are differences between the accounts which do 


not seem to have any deep significance or theological motivations. Why 
should John omit Mark's reference to the cock crowning twice? Why 
should we have 'duo opsaria' instead of Mark's 'duo icthuas' in the feeding 
narrative? Gardner-Smith points out that "John's account of the miracle 
differs in almost every possible way from that of Mark. . . The words 
used are different, the speakers are different; the only point of contact 
is in the single phrase 'diakosion denariov artoi' and even then it is in 
the accusative in Mark and nominative in John."'^'' These points about 
verbal dependence are, of course, of somewhat limited value since Bar- 
rett is not maintaining that John copied Mark; however, some weight 
must be given to them because they show that the verbal similarities 
come not so much in unusual words, graphic details, or peculiar turns 
of phrase but primarily in ordinary words and phrases. This is surely 
significant since it is reasonable to expect that the unique or striking 
words or phrases would be primarily what the Fourth Evangelist would 
remember and reproduce from Mark. We thus conclude that the case 
for dependence of the Fourth Gospel on any of the Synoptics is not com- 
pelling nor even necessarily the most plausible explanation of all the 
relevant data. 

D. Source Criticism 

Having partially dealt with the sources of the Synoptic Gospels, it 
remains here to discuss the Proto-Luke hypothesis and make some general 
remarks about source criticism. The Proto-Luke hypothesis as advocated 
by Streeter, Taylor, Caird, and others, is probably to be rejected for the 
following reasons: 1) when one deletes the Marcan material from Luke, 
one is left with an amorphous assortment of passages most of which 
deal with Jesus' journey to Jerusalem (556 verses out of 706). This is 
too lopsided an arrangement to warrant calling Proto-Luke a primitive 
Gospel.'*^ 2) The argument that Luke inserts four blocks of Marcan 
material (1.21-3.6, 4.1-9.40, 10.13-52, 11.1-14, 16) into his special source 
does not account for the fact that Luke omits Marcan sections (Mk 
3.20-22, 9.42-10.12) from the Marcan sequence he takes over at precise- 
ly the places where the small (Lk 6.17-8.3) and larger (9.51-18.14) non- 
Marcan blocks are included. Further, when Luke inserts 19.39-44, the 
parallel section in Mk 11.1-14 is omitted.'*' 3) Luke separates the third 
Marcan passion prediction from the first two because of his placement 
of the 'great interpolations'. 4) Luke's genealogy appears to be inserted 
between items that belong together (Mk 1.9-11, 12-13) .^^ 5) It appears 
the non-Marcan sections of Luke presuppose the present Gospel's con- 
text and order.^' 6) Probably, the main reason Luke edits or omits a con- 
siderable amount of Marcan material ". . . is that no one document is 
really the foundation of the Third Gospel. All the sources are quarries 
from which the Evangelist selects and adapts material to serve his own 

Several words of caution are necessary concerning some suppositions 


often made about sources. The tendency in NT criticism is to suggest 
that Luke more often than Matthew preserves the original wording (and 
order?) of the Q material. There is, however, no way of objectively check- 
ing this theory and on the basis of the way Luke handles Mark, it ap- 
pears he, just as much as the First Evangelist, makes his sources his 
own. Secondly, in regard to the matter of doublets one must reckon with 
four possibilities: 1) Jesus said and did similar things on various occa- 
sions, and the Evangelists may have chosen to present two similar tradi- 
tions that were not variants of one original tradition; 2) the Evangelists 
are presenting variants of one tradition but their own redactional activi- 
ty is the cause of the variation; 3) Variants of the same tradition are 
being presented and the variation arises through the use of different 
sources; 4) Similar traditions have interacted at the level of oral transmis- 
sion, or one story has been assimilated into the pattern of another similar 
story to give it a 'conventional form'. Thirdly, redaction critics have shown 
that all four Evangelists were skillful editors and presenters of their 
material and thus one cannot be certain when stylistic change is a result 
of an author's deliberate purpose or the use of a different souce (e.g., 
in Luke 1-2?). If the scholar is unable to detect a source at various points 
in the Gospel narrative it may indicate no more than that the Evangelist 
has successfully rewritten his source in his own language and style. It 
need not mean that the material is the Evangelist's own creation. The 
implications of both the extensive agreements between the Synoptics in 
substance and even at times in exact wording, and the significant dif- 
ferences in their common material, must be allowed to have their ftjll 
weight. That Matthew and Luke frequently did not make significant 
alterations in their Marcan source material, indicates that they agreed 
with it and probably ". . . that they were concerned to preserve the receiv- 
ed tradition and that they did not feel free to write the story of Jesus 
just as they pleased in accordance with their own theology."^^ xhe dif- 
ferences. The Evangelists were both transmitters and presenters of the 
Gospel material. 

E. Form Criticism 

The form critical method of studying the origins of the Gospel material 
has been of immense value in helping scholars to focus on the oral tradi- 
tions behind the Gospels and in demonstrating that many Gospel nar- 
ratives came down to the Evangelists as isolated units with a specific 
form. There are, however, certain difficulties with the method at least 
as applied by Bultmann and to a lesser degree Dibelius that must be 
pointed out. As is well-known Bultmann claimed that the early Church 
did not perceive (or at least did not make) a distinction between the pre- 
Easter sayings of Jesus and the post-Easter inspired utterances of 
(anonymous?) Christian prophets which, it is claimed, were accepted 
as the words of the ascended Jesus, and were sometimes accidentally, 
sometimes deliberately, retrojected into settings in Jesus' ministry.^"^ While 


Bultmann thinks that the tradition moved from general fluidity to general 
fixation, nonetheless, he posits about this sayings material that it was 
more freely handled in the middle (when a saying of a prophet was ac- 
cepted as a saying of the ascended Lord) or near the end of the fixation 
process (when the saying of a prophet or the ascended Lord became 
a saying of the historical Jesus). As the Book of Revelation indicates, 
there were utterances of the ascended Christ spoken through prophets 
in the early Church, but this does not prove either that such utterances 
were not distinguished from other utterances of Christian prophets, or 
that sayings of the exalted Lord became sayings of the historical Jesus. 
Indeed, the evidence from Revelation points in the opposite direction 
for there the sayings of the exalted Lord spoken through a Christian pro- 
phet (who is named) are identified precisely as that. If the Book of Revela- 
tion tells us anything, it indicates that such sayings were distinguished 
from the sayings of the historical Jesus.^^ 

Even more doubtful is Bultmann s appeal to Odes of Solomon 42.6 
for it is still widely held that the Odes are to be dated after the Gospel 
material .^^ When one examines the non-Gospel material relevant to our 
subject (because it is methodologically improper to use any of the Gospel 
material as evidence of Christian prophets' activity when that is what 
must be proved) we find that Paul distinguished between his own 
authoritative utterances and the Lord's (1 Cor 7.10, 12, 25, 40) and 1 
Corinthians 14 indicates that the utterances of Christian prophets were 
to be weighed and tested (v 29), not to be accepted as of unquestionable 
authority as the Lord's words were to be (7.10, 12). Even when such 
utterances were approved, it is still not clear from this material that they 
were accorded the same status as (or were thought to be indistinguishable 
from) the words of the earthly Jesus. As Dunn has shown, in both the 
NT and other early Christian literature (the Didache, et ai), there is 
evidence that Christians, like their Jewish forbears, had a healthy suspi- 
cion about prophetic oracles and subjected them to close scrutiny, in- 
quiring about their source. Note that Luke carefully mentions the pro- 
phet's name when he sites an oracle (Ac 11.27, 28, 13.1, 2, 21.10-11).^'' 
If the utterances of Christian prophets were valued as highly as sayings 
of the earthly Jesus, the rationale for retrojecting such utterances back 
into Jesus' ministry is lacking.^^ Further, how has it happened, if the 
early Chuch retrojected prophetic material into a ministry setting, that 
we have little or no material dealing with some of the major crises of 
the early Church over circumcision, baptism, and the relation of Jews 
to Gentiles (including table fellowship, and the basis of acceptance among 
Jesus' people)? Can we legitimately assume that all these matters were 
settled when the Gospels were written?^' While it is possible that the 
sayings of Christian prophets and/or exalted Lord were at the same point 
(accidentally?) attributed to the earthly Jesus, the evidence used to sup- 
port this view is not convincing and cannot be used to argue that the 
original Sitz im Leben of much of the Gospel sayings material is the 


post-Easter Christian community. 

The contention that the Gospel tradition developed in a manner 
analogous to the growth of folk literature has rightly been subjected to 
close scrutiny. While comparisons of this kind are natural and needful, 
there is always the danger that similarities in form or content will be 
thought to prove that the origin and/or development of the two sets of 
material are the same. This is an especially dangerous assumption when 
comparison is made strictly on a selective basis, as is the case in Dibelius' 
and Bultmann's studies. As E.P. Sanders has shown, there was no 
systematic attempt to see how various sorts of folk stories developed 
over a period of time, perhaps because of the difficulties of finding, 
dating, and relating various versions of a story. It appears that the form 
critics derived their laws of transmission by assuming that purity of form 
indicates relative antiquity and by examining how Matthew and Luke 
use Mark and Q, and later Christian literature uses the canonical Gospels. 
Sanders notes. ". . . the form critics did not show, outside of the Synop- 
tic Gospels, that there was a body of tradition which had at first existed 
in pure forms, but whose purity of form had been corrupted by the passage 
of time."^° In fact, Dibelius derives his laws of development by analyz- 
ing the needs and activities of the Christian communities and positing 
that a certain need required a certain form of material. Any differences 
from that form indicated development. In practice then Dibelius denied 
that comparisons with folk literature revealed how Christian material 
developed, since folk literature did not grow out of the same kind of 
community with the same needs.^' More consistently, Bultmann 
distinguishes between laws of formation and laws of transmission. The 
former he discovers by analyzing comparative literature, the latter almost 
exclusively by studying the Gospels and their inter- relationships. In the 
work of both Bultmann and Dibelius, ". . . the laws of transmission have 
not been established outside of the Christian material itself."^- 

The problem of selective use of examples arises again, even when 
Bultmann draws conclusions from his study of the Gospel's inter- 
relationships about how the Gospel material developed. For instance, 
Bultmann argues that details (names, places, etc.) tended to be added 
to the tradition as it developed. He does not explain why there are so 
many cases where Mark includes, and the parallels omit, such details. 
When he does suggest (infrequently) an explanation for such examples, 
it is usually by way of appeal to an Ur-Markus hypothesis that has its 
own special difficulties. In fact, while the evidence is mixed, Sanders 
shows that Mark usually is more detailed than the parallels. ^^ 

The appropriateness of appealing to the 'laws of formation' of folk 
literature to explain the formation of the Gospel material is questionable 
for several reasons: l)usually the material used as a basis of comparison 
developed over a much longer period of time than the Gospels' 40-70 
year gestation period; 2) the folk literature appealed to is seldom deal- 
ing with historical events to the same degree (if at all) that the Gospels 


are; 3) various factors Ceyewitncsses, reverence for the historical figure 
being written about) likely acted as a restraint on the embellishment of 
the Gospel material, unlike the case with much of folk literature; 4) even 
in the rabbinic literature that provides the closest parallels there :s nothing 
comparable to the Gospel's focus on, proclamation of, and belief in one 
man;^* 5) it is more probable that the first disciples of Jesus and the 
earliest post-Easter community would have passed on His words and 
deeds in a way that showed as much respect for the tradition as Jewish 
students showed their teachers' words and deeds in the first century, than 
that they would allow the tradition to undergo radical transformations 
in the way the analogy of folk literature suggests .^^ It is plausible what 
Jesus' first disciples would have used the techniques of transmission com- 
mon in their milieu — memorization, repetition, and even brief note- 
taking. There are certainly indications that Jesus used various mnemonic 
devices to help His listeners learn, which suggests that He sought to 
make his teaching not merely memorable but memorizable.^^ Yet. as 
H. Schurmann has pointed out, Jesus was more than a rabbi for it ap- 
pears He intended His words to be seen as a revelation of God's 
eschatological plans. If so. then "Heir wird von Anfang an der Inhalt 
wichtiger gewesen sein als die Konservierung der Form."^'' The disciples 
were concerned to conserve, pass on, and apply to new situations that 
Jesus said and meant, more than the exact form of words He used (i.e., 
the material is dependent on the Sitz im Leben for its specific formula- 
tion). This factor, along with the Evangelists' theological purposes, may 
account for many, if not most, of the divergences in wording in parallel 
Gospel tradifions. 

At this point a few words about determining the Sitz im Leben of a 
pericope by an analysis of its Gospel and pre-Gospel formfs) is in order. 
Often the form of a saying or pericope will give only a clue of its original 
Sitz im Leben, and in some cases the same form was used in different 
situations and for different purposes. The very variety of views about 
the original Sitz im Leben of most pericopes demonstrates that only in 
a minority of cases does form clearly indicated the Sitz im Leben. Form 
criticism has primarily been useful in the study of the pronouncement 
and miracle stories, but in the case of the rest of the Gospel material 
most of the form categories suggested (i.e., legends) tell us little if 
anything about a narrative's form, but rather deal with content and imp- 
ly a judgement on the material's historical value.^^ 

As Bultmann recognized, Dibelius' statement, "in the beginning was 
the sermon" was unduly restrictive as an attempt to encapsulate the situa- 
tion and impetus that gave rise to various Gospel forms. A variety of 
activities led to a variety of forms of tradition. As Schurman has shown, 
it is also unwarranted to restrict the potential Sitz im Leben of a Gospel 
pericope to the post-Easter community. The inner life of Jesus' com- 
munity, as well as its outer life of going forth to proclaim the Kingdom 
message, provided the sociological conditions in which Jesus' words and 


deeds could have begun to take on a fixed form prior to Easter.^^ It is 
necessary to distinguish between the situation or event that gave rise 
to a tradition and the conditions in which a tradition was 'actualized', 
i.e., collected and given (or passed on in) a fixed form by Jesus' 
disciples.^" In the case of a saying it is possible that Jesus Himself 
originated and formed 'the tradition', while in the case of a narrative 
(with the possible exception of some of the Passion events which Jesus 
may have foretold) Sitz im Leben Jesu means that the tradition arose 
out of the pre- Easter situation in which the disciples discussed and related 
Jesus' deeds, not that it came from Jesus' lips. Even if a narrative was 
not 'actualized' until after Easter, it does not follow that the early Church 
created the tradition out of non-historical material. To 'form' a tradition 
about certain events is not the same as inventing the circumstances 
narrated . 

At this point a brief statement of our own view of the origins of the 
Gospel tradition is in order — a view based not on analogies with folk 
literature but on some of the earliest NT documents (Paul's letters to 
Thessalonica and Corinth). At various places in his letters, Paul uses 
the technical language used when the transmission and reception of 
authoritative traditions was being referred to in rabbinic Judaism (cf. 
1 Cor 11.2, 23, 15.1, 3;1 Thess 2.13, 4.1; 2 Thess 3.6). Paul also speaks 
of Christian traditions as 'paradosis' (cf. 1 Cor 11.2; 2 Thess 2.15, 3.6). 
These facts do not allow us to assume that Christian material was pass- 
ed on in exactly the same manner as the Jewish material but it does 
establish one key point: ". . . early Christianity is conscious of the fact 
that it has a tradition of its own including many traditions which the 
Church teachers hand on to the congregations, which the congregtions 
receive and which they then are to guard and to live after. In Paul's times 
there existed a conscious, deliberate, and programmatic transmision in 
the early Church ."71 What sort of traditions were being passed on in 
Paul's day? I Cor 11.2 would seem to indicate that several kinds of tradi- 
tion were passed on. 1 Cor 11.23 ff. indicates that this included some 
narrative and sayings material involving the Last Supper (which would 
give support to the view that the Passion narrative was fixed relatively 
early). 1 Cor 15.1, 3-4 indicates that these traditions included some credal 
statements and lists of witnesses to Jesus' appearances. 1 Cor 7.10-11 
indicates that important sayings of Jesus were also being passed on in 
a relatively fixed form from an early date. 1 Thess 2.13, 4.1, 2 Thess 
2.15, 3.6, and Gal 1.9 indicate that certain ethical exhortations were also 
involved (not teachings of Jesus but exhortations to follow Jesus' exam- 
ple, Paul's example, or the Church's ethical teaching). What this shows 
is that not merely the sayings of Jesus but all sorts of other traditions 
— some ethical, some credal, some narrative — were being passed on 
by Paul and others to the early Church. 

Another crucial point is that first century Palestine was a mixed 
language milieu. As long as it was assumed that translation of the Gospel 


material into Greek was something not undertaken for a considerable 
period of time after its proclamation in Aramaic, it was possible to assume 
that considerable changes and corruption took place in the material before 
it was ever rendered into Greek. This view and a related one (i.e., that 
we can readily distinguish between a Palestinian and Hellenistic milieu), 
have both been severely criticized by M. Hengel and others .^^ J.N. 
Sevenster and R.H. Gundry have shown that Greek was widely known 
and used in both Judea and Galilee in the first century. Galilee in par- 
ticular was a frontier area with a great deal of contact with Greek-speaking 
people and Hellenistic culture, and had been for centuries. The ar- 
chaeological evidence indicates Greek was used by both literate and il- 
literate Jews (both scribes and fisherman) because Greek had become 
the official language of commerce and communication, and was even 
used in Jewish graveyards and synagogues. ^^ We find evidence of both 
good and clumsy Greek in various diverse settings indicating that: "No 
matter how very superficial and sketchy that knowledge was, many from 
all layers of society understood it and were able to speak and write it."'''* 
While this does not lead us to the conclusion that Jesus mainly spoke 
Greek to His disciples and audiences, it does mean that it is quite plausible 
that Jesus spoke Greek on some occasions (e.g., perhaps when He was 
in the Decapolis or when He spoke with the Syro-phonecian woman). 
One must also reckon with the possibility that Jesus' disciples were 
translating even before Jesus' death some of His sayings for the benefit 
of all sorts of people who lived in Palestine and whose language of public 
communication was Greek. It is still probable, however, that Jesus mainly 
spoke in Aramaic, thus retranslation back into Aramaic may show a say- 
ing's original form. What can no longer be claimed with assurance is 
that either the time factor or the langauge factor is necessarily as signifi- 
cant a barrier between the NT critic and the earliest stages of the tradi- 
tion as was once thought. If translation took place while a significant 
number of (Greek-speaking?) eye-witnesses were still alive who may 
have even begun the translation process or at least lessened the margin 
for error by being sources or guarantors and correctors of the tradition, 
then the Greek translation of Jesus' sayings found in the Gospels may 
be in the main a faithful rendering of the original. But what of the Aramaic 

The work of such scholars as Jeremias, M. Black, and M. Wilcox 
on the Aramaic background to the traditions embedded in the Gospel 
material and Acts has argued forcefully for the view that there was a 
substantial and fixed Aramaic tradifion lying behind much of the say- 
ings and teachings of Jesus, and that Luke had before him traditions of 
the words and deeds of many major figures in early Christianity when 
he wrote Acts. Consider Black's conclusions after pursuing the matter 
for many years: 

For the sayings and teaching of Jesus, however, there is little doubt 
that the bulk of Semitisms are translation phenomena, and have 


arisen in the process of translating and paraphrasing the verba ip- 
sissima of Jesus. . . I have seen no reason to change the conclu- 
sions which I reached in my Aramaic Approach to the Gospels 
and Acts that an Aramaic tradition (oral or written) lies behind 
the sayings of Jesus (in the Fourth Gospel as well as the Synop- 
tics). (75) 

When one combines the above considerations with the results of Schur- 
mann's work on the pre-Easter Sitz im Leben of much of the Gospel 
material, and Dunn's argument about the use of criteria to test and sift 
early Christian prophecy, a general picture emerges of a tradition that 
was relatively fixed at an early date, especially in the case of Jesus' say- 
ings. Even in the case of the narrative tradition two factors may have 
led to a rather conservative handling of the material: 1) the use of and 
interest in Jesus' deeds in early Christian preaching as shown by Dodd 
and Stanton; and 2) the concern on Luke's part and manifested by some 
Hellenistic Christians to convey historical information accurately.^^ While 
it IS probably true that Riesenfield and Gerhardsson have gone too far 
in stressing the fixing process (and the fixed result) in early Christian 
transmission, W.D. Davies is right to stress that the Jewish milieu of 
the earliest tradition and a respect in the community for Jesus and His 
words and deeds probably exercised a considerable conserving influence 
on the tradition. 

F. Redaction Criticism 

N. Perrin defines the work of redaction criticism as follows: "It is 
concerned with studying the theological motivation of an author as this 
is revealed in the collection, arrangement, editing and modification of 
traditional material, and in the composition of new material or the creation 
of new forms within the traditions of early Christianity." ''^ This defini- 
tion while it is correct in what it asserts, does not say enough, for it 
wrongly implies that the redaction critic's task is simply to study the 
Evangelists' theologies. Not every placement, modification, or use of 
material evidenced in the Gospels bears witness to an Evangelist's 
theological purpose; sometimes the placement or modification is a matter 
of necessity or pragmatism. It is possible to over-theologize small 
modifications or additions to the traditions, as for instance in the case 
of H. Conzelmann's study of Lukan geographical detail s.^^ Redaction 
critics also fall prey to equating 'redaction' with 'unhistorical theologizing' 
but, as S.S. Smalley points out, ''^ it is possible to use a tradition with 
little modification or with modification that merely brings out something 
inherent in the source. It is possible to draw out the theological implica- 
tions of an historical event by a certain amount of editing, shaping, and 
placing of a piece of tradition without significandy distorting the facts. 
It is also possible to deduce something about an Evangelist's views by 
noting what he preserves of the material he takes over. That the First 
and Third Evangelists preserve so much of their Marcan source without 


major alterations should tell us that they were not simply interested in 
theologizing about Jesus but also wished to pass on historical tradition 
about Him. Indeed, it requires considerable attention to redactional sum- 
maries, certain details, and arrangement to get any clear hints about how 
the Evangelist's views differ from his source. This should warn us against 
assuming that the Gospels mainly reflect the history of early Christian 
experience rather than Jesus' history or that ". . . the evangelists and 
the tradition they represent are indifferent as to whether this experience 
is ultimately related to anything said or done in Galilee or Judea before 
the crucifixion."^'' Perrin claims that the experience of the living Christ 
made Christians indifferent about what actually happened during Jesus' 
ministry and further that people in antiquity did not have the historical 
judgement or at least the concern to distinguish between history and 
various myths, legends, or later embellishments of a tradition however 
erroneous. ^' An examiniation of ancient historiography does not bear 
out the latter claim, as A.W. Moseley has shown. ^^ The former conten- 
tion has also been seriously challenged by C.F.D. Moule among others. 
Moule notes how Luke demonstrates his concern for accuracy about the 
past as well as recognition of Christ's present work and presence by not 
having Jesus' contemporaries speak of Him during His ministry with 
lofty titles (with one or two minor exceptions) ,^^ in contrast to what we 
find in Luke's redactional comment. s (cf. 7.13) and in the post- 
Resurrection preaching in Acts. In Luke-Acts we have both sequence 
and development (Jesus is endowed with the Spirit in the Gospel, but 
does not bestow it until Ac 2.23), thus making it unlikely that he had 
no concern about whether present Christian experience related to anything 
said or done in Jesus' earthly ministry. 

Redaction criticism has rightly rehabilitated a view of the Evangelists 
as theologians and skillful writers but this should not cause us to overlook 
that they had a concern for history since it was Jesus of Nazareth who 
was confessed as Lord. For them history and theology belonged together, 
for they believed that in Jesus the Divine had broken into human history 
— a history which thus became salvation — history. While it is pro- 
bably going too far to see the Evangelists as creators of the Gospel tradi- 
tion to any significant degree, they are certainly shapers and interpreters 
of the tradition whose different viewpoints on the Christ-event the redac- 
tion critic can discern and study by a careful reading between the lines. 

G. History and the Gospels and Acts — General Considerations 

1. History and the Historical Critical Method 

The historical - critical method, with all its limitations and capabilities, 
is used by the vast majority of N.T. scholars — including Evangelicals. 
It must be stressed that this method is incapable of producing absolute- 
ly certain results. The most one can reasonably expect is that it may 
demonstrate that there is a good probability that something did or did 
not happen. When the method is unable to accomplish even this, it does 


not necessarily mean that the events under scrutiny are of doubtful 
historicity. The evidence may be too scant or complex to come to a pro- 
per conclusion. Sometimes the methodology and its limitations may be 
the source of the difficulty. Methodology is not an indifferent net — 
it catches what it is designed to catch .^■^ In such cases the historicity 
of the event(s) under scrutiny simply cannot be established by the method 
however real they may have been. Thus, the Jesus established by this 
method will necessarily be a figure with a less full portrait than the Jesus 
proclaimed in the Gospels. 

Further, this method cannot and should not be used to pass judge- 
ment on the theological interpretations NT authors place on events, unless 
it can be shown that the event being interpreted did not likely happen. 
For instance, while the historian is capable of establishing beyond 
reasonable doubt that Jesus died on the cross, he is not capable of prov- 
ing or refuting that Jesus' death was for the forgiveness of sins. It is 
also not the historian's task to pre-judge what can or cannot happen in 
history; rather, he is called to analyze the evidence for or against the 
historicity of the event and judge accordingly even if that event appears 
to be produced by supernatural causes. Moule rightly remarks; "Re- 
cent theological writing has tended to dismiss the importance of history 
in favor of the transcendental call to decision; or alternatively to dismiss 
the transcendent in favor of such history as can be confined within the 
categories of purely human comprehension. But I cannot see how a 
serious student of Christian origins can concur with either."^^ What the 
historian ought to do is seek out an adequate cause to explain the historical 
event he is studying. If the historian is convinced that only a supernatural 
event like the Resurrection can adequately explain the formation of the 
Church after Jesus' ignominious death, then he may go beyond saying 
that the disciples believed Jesus rose, to an affirmation that something 
beyond the realm of natural causes must have happened to Jesus and 
His body after He did. He cannot, however, go on to say God raised 
Him from the dead for that is a theological interpretation of the event. 
He can only posit some unknown and possibly supernatural cause to 
explain the phenomenon .^^ 

2. History and Ancient Historiography 

Earlier in this essay it was pointed out that some of the main con- 
cerns of modern historians were not the urgencies of writers dealing 
with historical material in antiquity. The crucial questions are, however. 
Could ancient historians distinguish between the clearly legendary and 
the factual? Were they able or concerned to sift their sources critically? 
R.RC. Hanson has rightly pointed out that anyone who has read Lu- 
cian's essay on writing history must admit that some ancient historians 
knew what was entailed in good critical writing, however far short their 
efforts may have fallen from the ideal .^"^ In fact, one can find writers 
both before and after NT times who had real concern for accuracy and 


the seeking out and sifting of sources whether one examines the works 
of Thucydides, Herodotus, Polybius, Lucian of Samosata, or Tacitus,^^ 
Even Josephus, despite his biases, was concerned for accuracy and im- 
partiahty, for he criticizes other historians for showing no concern about 
such matters.^' Thucydides is often quoted to show that even he felt at 
liberty to create speeches for his subjects but what he in fact says is: 
"It has been difficult to recall with strict accuracy the words actually 
spoken. . . Therefore the speeches are given in the language in which, 
as it seemed to me, the several speakers would express, on the subjects 
under consideration, the sentiments most befitting the occasion, though 
at the same time I have adhered as closely as possible to the general 
sense of what was actually said."^^ Thus, Thucydidean speeches may 
in some sense be 'typical' of the man or a general summary, but they 
are not the unrestrained inventions of the historian. What the evidence 
tends to show is that there were good and bad historians in antiquity 
as in modern times, and the good ones were both able and concerned 
to sift their sources with care. There was not in antiquity as much con- 
cern for details and chronological exactitude as in modern times, but 
this is a difference of degree not kind. The portrait of ancient historians 
as men who did not distinguish between legend and fact, between good 
and bad sources, between reliable and unreliable witnesses is in many 
cases a misrepresentation. It is thus possible that the Evangelists even 
though their motives for writing were theological or apologetical could 
have followed in the footsteps of Thucydides in historical matters. Whether 
they in fact did so is only to be discovered by an examination of the 
contents of the Gospels and Acts. 

3. History and Myth 

The problem of Myth in the NT is complex and cannot be reduced 
to the set of problems involved in assessing the NT miracles.^' In our 
discussion of the Gospels' genre we noted that the Evangelists may have 
used a mythical pattern to order their presentation of the Gospel events 
in order to imply certain things about Jesus, e.g., that he was a Divine 
figure. But, as Dunn argues, "By applying the same sort of (mythical) 
language to a historical individual the NT writers in effect demythologize 
it."^2 Myth in this case is a narrative or narrative pattern, involving super- 
natural beings or events, which has religious significance for a group 
of people. This definition does not pre-judge the question whether or 
not we are dealing with historical or purely fictional phenomena — that 
must be decided on a case by case basis. 

Bultmann, however, appears to define myth as a pre-scientific con- 
ceptual form or mode of expression which modern science has rendered 
meaningless, thus the need to demythologize the NT. On one level, this 
definition of myth is acceptable. The attempt to express divine 
transcendence in terms of spatial distance is one which modern persons 
can accept only as a metaphorical way of speaking. God and heaven 
are not located just outside the earth's atmosphere.^^ Observational 


language about the sun rising and setting should be seen as a descrip- 
tion by pre-Copernican writers of things as they appeared to be. Again, 
the Book of Revelation and other apocalyptic sections of the NT are 
full of mythical elements which are used in a fashion that indicates they 
are intended as symbols. Demythologizing in such cases is both helpful 
and needful. The difficulty arises when Bultmann and others attempt 
to classify various miraculous occurrences as nothing more than the pro- 
duct of pre-scientific thinking. While it is true that sometimes first cen- 
tury man explained natural diseases and other phenomena wrongly in 
terms of supernatural causes, one should probably not dismiss all the 
explanations of various infirmities and their miraculous cures as simp- 
ly a product of pre-scientific thinking. There are various miracles (such 
as raising the dead) that are not adequately explained in the terms of 
purely natural causes. To demythologize this sort of event requires one 
to dismiss the miraculous content of the story as well as the supernatural 
explanation of the source of the problem. Only if one argues that miracle 
(or myth) and history are mutually exclusive will one accept this sort 
of demythologizing in every case. The problem in part is that when one 
defines a miracle as a transgression of the laws of nature it sets God 
as a cause over against nature in a dualistic way and thus an 'act of God' 
is seen as a violation of the natural order which God established. This 
is unsatisfactory. Perhaps it is better to speak of that which goes beyond 
natural causes rather than that which goes against them. 

In the NT there appear to be attempts (cf. 1 Tim 1.4, 4.7, 2 Tim 4.4, 
Titus 1.14, 2 Pet 1.16) to distinguish between 'myths' (in the sense of 
untrue supernatural stories) and salvation history (supernatural events 
that occured in space and time). At times the NT writers will use mythical 
terms and symbols (e.g., in Colossians where it appears the author as 
part of his apologetic tactics uses the terms of his opponents infusing 
them with Christian content in order to refute the attempt to turn the 
Gospel into a Gnostic type of myth) ?^ But the concept of divine interven- 
tion in history is a matter of supernatural content which is different from 
the use of mythical forms to explain that content, and it is this super- 
natural intervention in history that is at the very heart of the Gospel. 
Both the contingent facts of history and the supernatural are involved 
in the core of the kerygma.^^ This is why historical study is so crucial 
for the Christian faith and why also the historian, if he is to give Chris- 
tianity a fair hearing on its own terms, must not exclude a priori the 
possibility of miracles or the presence of a genuine supernatural event 
or person in the midst of human history. 

4. History and the Criteria for Authenticity 

The criteria for authenticity as promulgated by Perrin, R.H. Fuller, 
and others have caused more than a little controversy among NT scholars. 
On the one hand there are those who agree with Jeremias' dictum, "In 
the synoptic tradition it is the inauthenticity, not the authenticity, of the 


sayings of Jesus that must be demonstrated."'^ Others reject this judge- 
ment claiming that ". . . a Gospel does not portray the history of the 
ministry of Jesus from A.D. 27-30 but the history of Christian experience 
in any and every age. It is in other words, a strange mixture of history, 
legend, and myth."'"' 

I do not quarrel with the use of these principles, but rather with how 
they are sometimes used. It may be questioned, for instance, whether 
or not the criterion of dissimilarity should be used as the main, much 
less the sole, basis of one's approach to the Gospel material. When one 
has isolated the 'unique Jesus' it is not at all certain that one has discovered 
the characteristic Jesus, much less the true Jesus in any real sense of 
the word. This criterion serves to magnify one portion of the Gospel 
portrait at the expense of other elements and this magnification often 
leads to distortion rather than clarification. To use it as virtually a sole 
arbiter of authenticity also involves making the questionable assump- 
tion that we have an extensive enough knowledge about early first cen- 
tury Judaism, and the early Christian community, to be able to say that 
this or thay saying of Jesus did not come from either of these sources. 
It is true that other criteria have been brought in to help clarify the mat- 
ter and alleviate the problem. But too often the problem is simply 
magnified further because by accepting that which 'cohered' with the 
unique material we simply have a somewhat larger version of the uni- 
que Jesus. This is why Dunn has advocated that the criterion of 
dissimilarity be set aside as the primary critical tool in favor of a tradi- 
tion criticism approach that accepts that there were various points at 
which Jesus was in agreement with either His Jewish background or 
His Christian followers or both.'^ The real value of the criterion of 
dissimilarity is that it allows the scholar to say that it is possible to know 
something from the Gospel tradition about Jesus' actual words and deeds, 
and thus it is appropriate to raise the question of the historical worth 
of the rest of the material that has not passed this most stringent test.'' 
When used alongside the criteria of multiple attestation (which is more 
helpful in showing certain characteristic elements in Jesus' thoughts than 
the authenticity of a particular saying), of multiple forms, of Aramaic 
linguistic or Palestinian environmental phenomena, it is a helpful tool.*°" 
Obviously the criterion of coherence must only be applied at the end 
of the process so that there will be as much material as possible with 
which to assess the consistency and coherence of any remaining pieces 
of tradition with the material already accepted on the basis of the other 

The real unanswered question is. What is the character of the Gospels? 
Few would question the sincerity of the Evangelists and we have already 
seen in this study reasons to question the assumption that men in anti- 
quity were incapable of or uninterested in separating fact from fiction, 
historical material from legend, or bad reporting from good reporting.^"' 
If the Evangelists were in the main unconcerned about the historical Jesus 


and what He actually said and did, how has it happened that we have 
so many sayings of Jesus that were likely difficult for the Evangelists' 
audiences to accept or understand (cf. Mk 9.1, 10.18, 13.32)? Surely a 
writer mainly concerned to meet the needs of early Christians through 
proclaiming or theologizing Jesus would not have created so many dif- 
ficulties for himself by including such material and failing to add any 
sayings about circumcision, baptism, and the charismatic gifts within 
the narratives about the earthy ministry of Jesus.'^^ Why did the First 
and Third Evangelists both follow Mark as closely as they did if it was 
not part of their purpose to convey some reliable traditions about Jesus' 
words and deeds? The obstacles to the view that the Gospel writers were 
not or not very interested in conveying historical material are such that 
if another view could be advanced that better answers these difficulties 
it would probably be preferable even if it was not a problem-free view. 
That view would seem to entail a recognition that the Evangelists had 
as one of their main concerns, though by no means their only concern, 
conveying historical information about Jesus and what He said and did. 
If this is accepted, then it will be worthwhile here to outline in brief 
the approach to history found in the Synoptics, John, and Acts. 

5. History and Synoptics 

To a large extent, one's assessment of the historical value of the material 
in the Synoptics will be determined by one's view of the intentions of 
the Evangelists. Those who view the Synoptics as merely kerygmatic 
in nature will argue that the authors did not intend for the most part 
to give us historical information and what fragments we do find are there 
as a by-product. This view, however, errs in mistaking the part for the 
whole. To be sure, any book which starts, "The beginning of the gospel 
of Jesus Christ, the son of God. . ." is self-evidently not trying to pre- 
sent a bare bones report about an historical figure named Jesus. But 
if our discussion of the genre of the Gospels has taught us anything about 
how the Synoptics would have appeared and have been judged by first 
century readers, it seems that apologetic or theological, or philosophical 
purposes would not have precluded an author from being viewed as at- 
tempting to present a character sketch about an historical person using 
historical information. Classics scholar A.N. Sherwin-White argues, 
"Taking the Synoptic writers quite generally as primitive historians, there 
is a remarkable parallel between their technique and that of Herodotus, 
the Father of History, in their anecdotal conception of a narrative." '^^ 
Proclomation and information are not incompatible and it appears that 
in the Gospels the latter is used in the service of the former. This is 
why Moule argues of the Synoptics: ". . .even in the context of Chris- 
tian worship or of the instruction and edification of Christians, they repre- 
sent little more than the element of historical formulation — the explana- 
tion of 'how it all started'." '^'^ Moule conjectures there was a need for 
rehearsing for Christians an Acts of Jesus' in similar fashion to the Acts 


of the Apostles. This would explain why Luke definitely sees his se- 
cond volume as part two of one work, the difference between the two 
volumes being content, not in kind. But if we allow that the author of 
Luke -Acts has as part of his purpose conveying historical information, 
how is it that it appears Matthew and Mark are making the same sort 
of use of some of the same traditions, unless they too were interested 
in conveying some historical information? Certainly there would have 
been opportunities and situations where it would have been helpful and 
necessary to convey such material. Manson argues: 

To rebut Jewish and pagan criticisms and to establish Christian 
claims it was necessary to describe the ministry. It was not suffi- 
cient to do this in general terms, merely asserting that Jesus taught 
as one having authority, or that he went about doing good; it was 
imperative to produce specimens of those oracles which had drawn 
men and women to him and fastened their hopes upon him. To 
convince or convert the outsider detailed evidence in support of 
Christian claims was urgently required. (105) 
Putting these points together along with the earlier reconstruction of how 
the Gospel traditions began to be collected and developed (in groups 
of sayings, miracle stories, testimonia, a Passion narrative, list of 
witnesses to appearances, and credal statements), we see that the Synop- 
tists had the material, the necessary situation and, if the Gospels" genre 
and the Synoptists' technique are any clue, the intention to convey 
historical information. How well they fulfilled their intention can only 
be decided after examining the texts themselves. 

6. History and the Gospel of John 

The problem of the relationship of the Fourth Gospel to history is 
an acute one precisely because John is so different from the Synoptics. 
The problem becomes less complicated if, as we argued earlier, the 
Fourth Evangelist did not know the Synoptics. It helps if we recognize 
that like the Synoptists: 

. . . John is not attempting to set forth an objective unbiased ac- 
count of certain historical events. He is a convinced believer and 
he wants his readers to see the saving significance of what he nar- 
rates. He is not recording facts for facts' sake. We completely miss 
his purpose if we assess his work on narrowly historical lines. There 
is no question then as to whether John is giving us interpretation. 
. . The question is whether his interpretation is a good one and 
soundly based, or whether he allows his presuppositions to dominate 
the facts in the interests of buttressing up a dogmatic position. (106) 
But the fact remains that though the Fourth Evangelist shares a Chris- 
tian perspective and motivation with the Synoptists, his Gospel has turned 
out very differently from the Synoptics. 

The explanation for these differences is not found in the suggestion 
that John is a 'theological Gospel' while the Synoptics are historical, 


since redaction critics have demonstrated how thoroughly theological 
are the Synoptics, and Dodd (and others) have shown that a considerable 
amount of historical material can be derived from John. This is why, 
despite disclaimers about John's interest in precise chronology or 'scien- 
tific' history, Barrett still affirms: "Yet at every point history underlies 
what John wrote."'"'' But does John only have a substratum of history 
overlaid by a thick veneer of interpretation? John wrote that we might 
believe something about Jesus and he presents an interpretive character 
sketch by indicating some of Jesus' words and deeds. It appears that he 
is attempting to refute various docetic and proto-Gnostic arguments about 
Jesus' nature and life, and he seems to make his case both on the level 
of facts and on the level of their interpretation. While he is primarily 
concerned to bring out the important meaning of this or that saying or 
event in Jesus' life, he does not neglect to narrate the factual foundation 
of that meaning lest he himself be accused of docetism or a sort of 
mysticism for which historical contingencies are of little or no importance. 
If we allow then that conveying some historical information is part 
of the Fourth Evangelist's purpose, the question of why John is so unlike 
the Synoptics becomes even more critical. As a tentative hypotheses to 
explain these differences I would make two suggestions: 1) the Fourth 
Evangelist's purposes and intentions differ in certain significant ways 
from the Synoptists' and 2) because of his purposes, the Fourth Evangelist 
in the main drew on certain discourse traditions that the Synoptists either 
did not know or did not feel suited their purposes. In regard to the first 
suggestion, John seems to be writing to Christians (cf. 11.2), but has 
at least one eye on the non-believer. He intends to give Christians 
discourse material which they can use to foster belief in non- Chris- 
tians. In the Fourth Gospel we find a veritable parade of non-Christians 
(the Baptist, Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, various groups of Jews, 
the 'Greeks' in Jn 12.20), who come to speak to Jesus, and the Evangelist 
goes out of his way to demonstrate that Jesus has the answers and is 
the 'way' for all these varied sorts of people.'"^ Possibly, as Moule sug- 
gests, John's evangelistic intentions are indicated at Jn 20.31, "which 
may be translated 'so that you may here and now begin to believe'",'*'^ 
but one should not build too m.uch on this conjecture in view of the tex- 
tual difficulties. Further, the stress on witness and testimony, and especial- 
ly eye-witness testimony (19.35), fits into an attempt to equip the believer 
with material to use to convince the non-believer. This would also ex- 
plain the stress on Jesus' right to various titles, His oneness with the 
Father, and His powers to perform stupendous miracles. The main point 
of including discussions about being born again, about the source of 
living water, about the nature of true worship, about Jesus' testimony 
being greater than John's, about Jesus as the bread of life, the true vine, 
the way, the truth, and the life, seems to be to give believers material 
to lead those in the position of Nicodemus, or the Samaritans, or the 
Greeks, to Jesus. It could be concluded from this that there is litde 


historical kernel and a great deal of theological expansion in these 
discourses, but another suggestion, made by Riesenfeld, is perhaps a 
better explanation. He argues that the original Sitz im Leben in which 
these discourses first took a definite shape as tradition was ". . .in the 
discussions and 'meditations' of Jesus in the circle of his disciples such 
as certainly took place side by side with the instruction of the disciples 
proper, with its more rigid forms.""" John has taken this authentic 
material over, making it his own, expressing things in his own words 
and style, expanding and shaping the material somewhat to suit his 

As we have implied, the Synoptics were written primarily to confirm 
and inform an already existing faith (or a faith already on the way to 
being fully formed if any of the Synoptists were addressing proselytes). 
They used the shorter, more formed and fixed, and more easily 
remembered (or memorized) sorts of traditions because they were bet- 
ter suited to the purpose of confirmation in the faith than conversion 
to it. The tantalizing short answers to various questions we find in the 
Synoptics are sufficient to remind believers of a taith already known, 
but insufficient to be used in a reasoned apologetic directed toward the 
unbeliever. The Johannine material is more suited to such purposes. It 
is more of a propoganda or missionary document than the Synoptics." • 
This in part appears to mean that the Fourth Evangelist exercised more 
freedom in arranging his material (e.g., the Book of Signs), and adap- 
ting and expanding his material than did the Synoptists who were 
somewhat constrained by the formal and concise nature of their sources. 
He likely departed more from the actual course of events than did the 
Synoptists. Undoubtedly, the arguments presented above are insufficient 
to account for all the various differences between the Synoptics and John, 
some of which may be put down to differences in personal interests and 
preferences. Some of the fundamental differences seem to be a result 
of the fact that John had significantly different purposes and used 
significantly different source material from the Synoptics. All the 
Evangelists, however, use historical information as a means to their 
theological ends. One cannot completely separate Histohe from 
Geschichte in any of the Gospels."^ But one can distinguish at various 
points between probably authentic material and probably redactional 

7. History and the Acts of the Apostles 

Many scholars, both Biblical and classical (e.g., F.F. Bruce, W.M. 
Ramsay, Hengel, Sherwin-White), in spite of the various problems Acts 
raises, have argued repeatedly that "For Acts the confirmation of historici- 
ty is overwhelming. Yet Acts is, in simple terms and judged externally, 
no less a propaganda narrative than the Gospels. . ."113 What this means 
is that one must take into account the tendentious nature of the narrative 
resulting from the theological perspective and purposes of the author 


when one considers the historical value of the material in Acts, but it 
does not mean that Acts is nothing more than a Tendenzschrift , or that 
Luke's theological purposes caused him to desert or significantly distort 
history replacing it with free invention. As J. Munck argues: 'As Luke 
had at his disposal an abundance of material both about Jesus and about 
apostolic times, the conception of Luke as an edifying author maintain- 
ed by Haenchen, must be dropped. . . When Luke's work is compared 
with Aristeas, the difference between an account of events and an edi- 
fying story can be clearly seen."'*'^ 

Further it appears that the 'we' sections reflect the eyewitness testimony 
of the author,not a literary convention. When Luke uses sources he casts 
them into the third person (e.g., Paul's journey to Macedonia and Greece 
after departing from Philippi, which the author must have heard about 
second hand), and it is reasonable to expect him to continue to do so 
even if he was taking over a diary or travel narrative from one of Paul's 
companions. The use of 'we' is simply not a stylistic feature of Luke's 
work in general, and it is hard to see why, if the 'we' is a literary con- 
vention, he would limit its use to the trips from Troas to Philippi, Philipi 
to Jerusalem, and Caesara to Rome.'^^ If, as Hengel suggests. Acts was 
written for a real individual, Theophilus, then ". . . the only way in 
which readers — and first of all Theophilus. . . could have understood 
the 'we' passages [is if] . . . the remarks in the first person plural refer 
to the author himself.""^ The most natural and satisfying explanation 
of all the data is that the 'we' passages indicate Luke's personal and 
eyewitness testimony to various events. If this is accepted, then one must 
also reckon with the fact that Luke had access to first hand testimony 
about many important matters that took place at the beginning of the 
Christian community and before from Paul, Philip, and various others 
in Jerusalem, Caesarea, Rome and elsewhere. In his Gospel, Luke was 
heavily dependent on Mark and probably the Q material, and it is im- 
plausible to expect him to have treated his sources for volume two in 
a radically different fashion if he had comparable sources.''^ We have 
two clues to Luke's intentions in the material itself: 1) his preface, Lk 
1.1-4, which probably indicates that Luke is consciously casting himself 
in the mold of Hellenistic histiographers; and 2) Luke's Septugintal style 
seems to indicate his desire to follow in the footsteps not only of good 
Hellenistic historiographers but more importantly Jewish-Hellenistic 
historiographers (such as the author of II Maccabees) and before them 
the OT writers of history (both the original authors, and translators of 
the LXX). That he shares with these writers a religious view of history 
and a concern for religious history accounts for a good deal of his ap- 
proach and of his differences from ancient secular historians."^ 

How then are we to evaluate this sort of kerygmatic history writing 
in terms of its historical value? Hengel cautions: "New Testament scholars 
were therefore ill advised when they allowed themselves to be persuad- 
ed that history and kerygma were exclusive alternatives. The consequence 


was the suggestion that the earliest Christian authors as a rule did not 
mean to narrate history proper but simply to preach. . . In reality, the 
writers in the New Testament make their proclamation by narrating the 
action of God within a quite specific period of history, at a particular 
place, and through real men, as a historical report.""^ If this assess- 
ment is correct, the Acts cannot be reduced to the level of theology 
'historicized' for the sake of conveying spiritual truth in the form of a 
historical narrative, nor as if the theology were added to and did not 
arise out of the history. Theological or kerygamtic history would be a 
better term to use. With his theological purposes acting as the controll- 
ing factor, Luke uses information for the sake of proclamation. Since 
this particular kind of theology involved historical persons and events 
and not simply timeless ideas or ideals, then the theological purpose 
can only be served by conveying a certain amount of information. To 
be sure, like other ancient historical works we have in Acts highly selective 
reporting, episodic in nature, that focuses on crucial events or persons, 
and is not particularly concerned with character development or precise 
chronology. As Lk 1.4 indicates, Luke was interested in informing his 
reader about "the truth concerning these things", not in satisfying his 
pious curiosity, or entertaining him, or simply edifying him. He intends 
to set the record straight and write an authoritative account from and 
for a posture of faith. He attempts ". . . to proclaim these events as a 
saving message in narrative form and to narrate them in the form of a 
proclomation."'^" Only a view that gives full weight to both the historical 
information and theological proclamation will do justice to the material 
found in Acts or in the Gospels, and to the Evangelists' intentions as 
they select, shape, and present their material. 



' Cf. the typical remark in Kummel, Introduction, 78-9. 

2 R. Bultmann, The History of the Synoptic Tradition (trans. J. Marsh; 
Oxford, 1963): ". . . the Gospels lack any interest of a scientific historical 
kind." (p. 372) They ". . . belong to the history of dogma and worship.' 
(p. 374). 

^ Cf. G.N. Stanton, Jesus of Nazareth in New Testament Preaching 
(SNTS Monograph 27; Cambridge, 1974) 116-35; C.W. Votaw, The Gospels 
and Contemporary Biographies in the Graeco-Roman World (FBBS No. 
27; Philadelphia, 1970 repr.); A.W. Moseley, "Historical Reporting in 
the Ancient World", NTS 12 (1965-66) 8-26. 

'^ Stanton, Jesus of Nazareth, 121 

-'' Kummel, Introduction, 37. 

^ Stanton, Jesus of Nazareth, 123, notes, "Even when a writer such 
as Suetonius writes a series of lives of the Roman emperors, he does 
not weave closely his historical material into his account of the life and 
character of the emperors concerned. Suetonius does not attempt to set 
the emperors against the background of their own times; the fact that 
historical and biographical material is found side by side arises from 
the general interest in everything concerned with the Caesars." 

^ Cf. Stanton, Jesus of Nazareth, 124. 

^ Cf. Votaw, Gospels, 17. 

' Bultmann, History, 312. 

'^ Cf. C.H. Talbert, What is a Gospel? The Genre of the Canonical 
Gospels (London, 1978). On the effect of the eschatological outlook on 
the production of the Gospel, cf. M. Dibelius, From Tradition to Gospel 
(trans, B.L. Woolf; 2nd ed.; London, 1934) 9. 

"Talbert, What is a Gospel? 115-31. 

'^Talbert, 31, cf. pp. 25-89. 

'^ In particular it is hard to find this 'myth' in Mark, though he may 
apply the 'theios aner' concept to Jesus. 

''* Cf. the discussion in Talbert, What is a Gospel? 53-89. 


'-"^ Cf. Talbert, 91-113. The point here is not to suggest that the Gospels 
are romances like the work of Pseudo-Callisthenes, but that they both 
have cultic functions. 

'6 Talbert, 103. 

'"^ Votaw, Gospels, 6-7. 

'^ B.H. Streeter, 77?^ Four Gospels. A Study of Origins (London, 1930) 
365; cf. C.K. Barrett, Jesus and the Gospel Tradition (London, 1967) 
4-6, and n. 10. 

'^ Streeter, Four Gospels, 158; cf. N.B. Stonehouse, Origins of the 
Synoptic Gospels, Some Basic Questions (London, 1963) 58-71; Kum- 
mel. Introduction, 52-80. 

2' Kummel. 60. 

22 Cf. Stonehouse, Origins, 63^; G.M. Styler, 'The Priority of Mark", 
in C.F.D. Moule, The Birth of the New Testament (London, 1966) 223-32. 

23Cf. D. Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downer's Grove, 1970) 
122, 133-5. 

2"* For a detailed statistical analysis of all these factors, cf. A.M. 
Honore, "A Statistical Study of the Synoptic Problem," NovT 10 (1968) 

25 Cf. Streeter, Four Gospels, 180-81; F.C. Burkitt, The Gospel History 
and Its Transmission (Edinburgh, 1906) 40-58. 

2^ Kummel, Introduction, 63, cites Mt 26.68- Lk 22.64 as an exam- 
ple; cf. Streeter, Four Gospels, 160-81; J.A.T. Robinson, Redating the 
New Testament (London, 1976) 94. 

2"^ Hengel, Acts, 11. That Mark's account is frequently longer than 
the Synoptic parallels points in this direction. 

2^ Cf. Streeter, Four Gospels, 259. The 'apostle' of Marcan priority 
cites this very text as pointing to another and sometimes more primitive 
source used by the First Evangelist instead of Mark. 

29 Cf. C.K. Barrett, "Q: A Re-examination", FT 54 (1942-43) 320-3; 
D.H. Hill, 772^ Gospel of Matthew (Greenwood, 1972) 25; E.E. Ellis, 
The Gospel of Luke (Greenwood, 1974 rvsd.) 22-4. 


^° Thus, it is closer to Pirke Aboth than the Gospel of Thomas in its 
Gattung. Cf. Stanton, Jesus of Nazareth, 128-9; W.D. Davies, "Reflex- 
ions on Tradition: The Aboth Revisited", in Christian History and In- 
terpretation: Studies Presented to John Knox (ed. W.R. Farmer, et al. ; 
Cambridge, 1967) 127-59. The Q material comports in its form with what 
we would expect to arise out of a Jewish milieu in contrast to the Gospel 

3' Cf. the list in Barrett, "Q", 322. 

^2 Kummel, Introduction, 70. 

^^ G. Bornkamm, Jesus of Nazareth (trans. I and F. McLuskey with 
J.M. Robinson; New York, 1960) 217: ". . . Q is still relatively close 
to the oral tradition and remained exposed to its continuing influence." 
Cf. Ellis, Luke, 23-4; Dibelius, From Tradition, 234-5. 

^'^ Streeter, Four Gospels, 254-61. 

3s Cf. J. Drane, Jesus and the Four Gospels (Tring, 1979) 148-9. 

36 Cf. Drane, 149-50. 

3^ On the proto-Luke hypothesis, doublets, means of distinquishing 
sources, cf. pp. 57-9 of my doctoral thesis. 

3^ C.K. Barrett, The Gospel According to St. John (London, 1955} 
34; cf The Gospel According to St. John (1978) 45. 

39 Cf. pp. 278-81 of my thesis. 

40 Cf. L. Morris, Studies in the Fourth Gospel (Grand Rapids, 1969) 

^' Ibid 

^2 Barrett, John (1978) 42-54. 

"^3 Cf. C.H. Dodd, "The Framework of the Gospel Narratives", in 
A^^H' Testament Studies (Manchester, 1953) 1-11. 

^^ Dodd, 11. 

'*-'' Barrett, John (1978) 44-5. These are probably the best examples 
that can be cited. 


46 Cf. Morris, Studies, 24-5. 

'*'' Cf. P. Gardner-Smith, Saint John and the Synoptics (Cambridge, 
1938) 29-30; D.M. Smith, "John and the Synoptics: Some Dimensions 
of the Problem", NTS 26 (1980) 425-44. 

"^^ Contrast, Guthrie, NT Introduction, 180-1; to Streeter, Four Gospels, 
201-17; V. Taylor, The Formation of the Gospel Tradition (London, 1933) 

'^^ Kummel, Introduction, 132-3. 
50 Kummel, 134-5. 
•^' Cf. Ellis, Luke, 26. 

52 Ellis, 27. 

53 D. Wenham. "Source Criticism", in New Testament Interpretation 
- Essays in Principles and Methods (ed. I.H. Marshall; Exeter, 1977) 
139-49, here 146. 

-'"'^Bultmann, History, 122-8. We are focusing on the work of Bultmann 
and Dibelius because their work has been the most influential. 

55 Cf. J.D.G. Dunn, "Prophetic T - Sayings and the Jesus Tradition: 
The Importance of Testing Prophetic Utterances within Early Christiani- 
ty", NTS 24 (1977-78) 175-98; W. Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in I 
Corinthians (Ph.D. Thesis; Cambridge, 1978) 229-35; D.H. Hill, New 
Testament Prophecy (London, 1979) 160-85. 

56 Cf. Hill, NT Prophecy, 11 ff. 

5^ Dunn, "Prophetic T - Sayings", 179. 

5^ Grudem, Gift of Prophecy, 230, points out that there is no evidence 
outside the Gospels of inspired prophetic speech being transformed in- 
to a historical narrative whether we examine the other NT documents 
or extant Jewish writings. 

5^ Cf. C.F.D. Moule, 77?^ Phenomenon of the New Testament (Lon- 
don, 1967) 43-81; T.W. Manson, Studies in the Gospels and Epistles 
(Philadelphia, 1962) 7, points out: "The Pauline letters abound in ut- 
terances which could easily be transferred to Jesus and presented to the 
world as oracles of the Lord. How many are? None. It seems a little 
odd that if the story of Jesus was the creation of the Christian community 
no use should have been made of the. . . Pauline material." 


^° E.P. Sanders, The Tendencies of the Synoptic Tradition (SNTS 
Monograph 9; Cambridge, 1969) 22-6. 

^' Cf. Dibelius. From Tradition, 288-9; Sanders, Tendencies, 14-15. 

^^ Sanders, 19, who adds (21-2): "To my knowledge this has never 
been done." 

62 Sanders, 151-83. 

6^ Cf. R.E. Brown, "After Bultmann, What? An Introduction to the 
Post-Bultmannians", CBQ 26 (1964) 1-30; P. Beniot, "Reflexions sur 
la Formgeschichteliche Methode'", RB 53 (1946) 481-512; G.E. Ladd, 
77?^ New Testament and Criticism (Grand Rapids, 1967) 141-69; E.E. 
Ellis, "New Directions in Form Criticism", in Jesu Christus in Historic 
und Theologie, Neutestamentliche Festschrift fur Hans Conzelmann zum 
60. Geburtstag (ed. G. Strecker; Tubingen, 1975) 299-315. 

^■'^The Gerhardsson theory has various difficulties not the least of which 
is that it is unsatisfactory to study the technique of transmission in isolation 
from a study of the actual changes the tradition underwent, but its at- 
tempt to see the earliest Christian community and its traditions in light 
of its Jewish background is of real value. Cf. H. Riesenfeld, The Gospel 
Tradition and Its Beginnings. A Study in the Limits of Formgeschichte' 
(London, 1957). B. Gerhardson, Memory and Manuscript - Oral Tradi- 
tion and Written Transmission in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Chris- 
tianity (Uppsala, 1961); and B. Gerhardsson, Tradition and Transmis- 
sion in Early Christianity (Lund, 1964); and for a particularly valuable 
critique, cf. W.D. Davies, 77?^ Setting of the Sermon on the Mount (Cam- 
bridge, 1976) 464-80; and his "Reflexions on Tradition", 158, n.l 

^^Cf. for instance, CF. Burney, The Poetry of Our Lord - An Examina- 
tion of the Formal Elements of Hebrew Poetry in the Discourses of Jesus 
Christ (Oxford, 1925). 

6^ H. Schurmann, "Die Vorosterlichen Anfange der Logientradition 
- Versuch eines Formgeschichdichen Zugangs zum Leben Jesu", in Tradi- 
tions - geschichtliche Untersuchungen zu den Synoptischen Evangelien 
(Dusseldorf, 1968) 39-65, here 65. 

6^ So Taylor, Formation, 32; cf. Guthrie, NT Introduction, 188-219. 
Even in the miracle stories, it is hard to see how certain elements (such 
as a statement of the illness, the fact and nature of the cure, the proof 
or results of the healing) could be omitted and have a miracle story. If 
miracles did take place through Jesus, then one must be open to the 


possibility that the course of events necessitated that certain elements 
be included in the narrative. 

^^ Cf. Schurmann, "Die Vorosterlichen \ 39-65. 

^^ The term 'actualized' is Gerhardsson's in Memory and Manuscript, 

''' B. Gerhardsson, 77?^ Origins of the Gospel Tradition (Philadelphia, 
1979) 28. 

^2 The most thorough treatment is Hengel's two volume work. Judaism 
and Hellenism (Philadelphia, 1974). 

"^3 Cf. J.N. Sevenster, Do You Know Greek? How Much Greek Could 
the First Jewish Christians Have Known? (Leiden, 1968) 176-91; R.H. 
Gundry, The Use of the Old Testament in St. Matthews Gospel - with 
Special Reference to the Messianic Hope (Leiden, 1967) 178-204. 

'''^ Sevenster, Do You Know Greek? 185-6. 

''-''Black, "Second Thoughts IX. The Semitic Element in the New Testa- 
ment", ET17 (1965) 20-23, here 21. 

76 Cf. pp. 69-70, 73-74, 77-80 of my thesis. 

7'' N. Perrin, "What is Redaction Criticism? (Philadelphia, 1969) 1; 
S.S. Smalley, "Redaction Criticism", in NT Interpretation, 181. 

''^ Cf. H. Conzelmann, The Theology of St. Luke (trans. G. Buswell; 
New York, 1957) 18-94. Even if some of the geographical details are 
not straightforward attempts to place a certain event in its proper loca- 
tion, it does not follow that the details of this sort are all theologically 
motivated. Some are likely part of the story teller's efforts to make the 
narrative more concrete and realistic and need not reflect even un- 
consciously the Evangelist's theological purposes. 

7^ Smalley, "Redaction Criticism", 187-92. 

^° Perrin, What is Redaction Criticism? 74-5. 

8' Perrin, 72 

«2 Cf. endnote 88 below. 


^^ Cf. Moule, Phenomenon, 57-61. Notice that even in John there are 
narrative references to Jesus as Lord (4.1, 6.23, 11.2), but none by the 
dramatis personae until after the Resurrection (cf. 20.13, 18). 

^'^ Cf. R.W. Funk, "Beyond Criticism in Quest of Literacy: The Parable 
of the Leaven", Int 25 (1971) 149-70, here 151. 

^^ Moule, Phenomenon, 80. 

^^ Cf. G.N. Stanton, "Presuppositions in New Testament Criticism", 
in NT Interpretation, 60-71; LH. Marshall, f Believe in the Historical 
Jesus (Grand Rapids, 1977). 

^^ Cf. R.P.C. Hanson, "The Enterprise of Emancipating Christian 
Belief from History", in Vindications: Essays on the the Historical Basis 
of Christianity (ed. A.T. Hanson; Ijondon, 1966) 29-73, here 35-6. 

^^ Cf. A.W. Moseley, "Historical Reporting in the Ancient World", 
NTS 12 (1965-66) 10-26. 

^^ Josephus, Antiquities, 20.8.3 (LCL IX; trans. L.H. Feldman; Lon- 
don, 1965) 472-3; Josephus, Against Apion 1.9 (LCL I; trans. H. St. 
J. Thackeray; London, 1962) 180-1. 

90 Thucydides 1.22.1-2 (LCL I) 38-9. Obviously he could only adhere 
to the degree that he or his informants could remember what was ac- 
tually said. 

9' Cf. J.D.G. Dunn, "Demythologizing - The Problem of Myth in the 
New Testament", in NT Interpretation, 285-307. 

92 Dunn, 294 

93 Cf. F.F. Bruce, "Myth and History", in History, Criticism and Faith 
(ed. C. Brown; Downer's Grove, 1976) 94-5. 

9"* Ibid.; cf. C.F.D. Moule, The Epistle to the Colossians and to 
Philemon (Cambridge, 1968) 30 ff., and 164 ff, on 'pleroma' (1.19 etc.), 
'gnosis' (2.3), and other possible examples. 

95 Cf. Hanson, "Enterprise", '^^: "Christian belief cannot avoid the 
contingent facts of history, and should not struggle to do so." 

9^ J. Jeremias, New Testament Theology, the Proclamation of Jesus 
Christ (trans. J. Bowden; New York, 1971) 37. 


'"^ Perrin, What is Redaction Criticism? 75. 

98 Cf. Dunn, "Prophetic T - Sayings", 198. 

99 Cf. R.H. Stein, "The 'Criteria' for Authenticity", in Gospel Perspec- 
tives - Studies of History and Tradition in the Four Gospels I (ed. R.T. 
France and D. Wenham^ 1980) 225-63; R.T. France, "The Authenticity 
of the Sayings of Jesus", in History, Criticism, and Faith, 101-41; this 
author is in basic agreement with Hengel's methodological guidelines 
in Acts, 129-36. 

'°^ Some of these criteria are more useful than others and some of 
the remarks made earlier in this chapter reduce the historical significance 
of finding signs of Aramaic in a pericope. 

'^' As F.F. Bruce. "History and the Gospel", in Jesus of Nazareth 
Saviour and Lord (ed. Carl F. H. Henry; Grand Rapids, 1966) 98, points 
out, there were many situations besides those in Jewish and Roman courts 
in which eyewitness testimony was highly valued. 

'°2 C.F.D. Moule, "The Intention of the Evangelists", in A^^vv Testa- 
ment Essays in Memory ofT.W. Manson (ed. A.J.B. Higgins; Manchester, 
1959) 165-79, here 171, asks why Mark only alludes twice to Jesus' death 
as redemptive (10.45, 14.24) and seldom mentions the Holy Spirit in any 
characteristically Christian sense if he intended his Gospel to be main- 
ly a tool for worship or a vehicle for later Christian theology. It is hard 
to believe such topics were not important in Mark's environment. 

'°^ A.N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New 
Testament (Oxford, 1963) 193. 

'f*^ Moule, "Intention", 167. 

'°5 Manson, Studies, 28. 

'06 Morris, Studies, 70. 

'07 Barrett, John (1978) 142. 

'0^ Cf. W.H. Brownlee, "Whence the Gospel According to John?" 
in John and Qumran (ed. J.H. Charleworth; London, 1972) 166-94, here 
174. That there is no specific mention of the Church in John may also 
favor our interpretation. Cf. D. Guthrie, New Testament Theology 
(Downer's Grove, 1981) 720 ff. 


•°9 Moule, "Intention", 168. 

"° Riesenfeld, "Gospel Tradition", 63. 

'"So Dodd, The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge, 
1953) 9; cf. Bruce, "History and the Gospel", 89-107. 

"2 Cf. H. Weiss, "History and a Gospel", NovT 10 (1968) 81-94. 

"^ Sherwin-White, Roman Society, 189. 

""* J. Munck, The Acts of the Apostles (Anchor Bible; Garden City, 
1967) xii. 

"^ Munck, xlii-xliii. 

"^ Hengel, Acts. 66. 

"^ Hengel, 61. 

"^ Hengel, 51-2, Luke appears to treat Jesus' sayings as he does Scrip- 
ture (cf. Ac 2035 and Hengel, 62). 

"^ Hengel, 43; cf. p. 34 where we have the term "kerygmatic 

•20 Hengel, 34. 


The Century of Evangelicalism 

by David A. Rausch and Carl Hermann Voss 

"What! Have you found me already? Another Methodist preacher!" 
exclaimed the shocked settler who had just pitched his tent on the ground 
of his future western home in 1814. "I left Virginia to get out of reach 
of them, went to a new settlement in Georgie,. . . but they got my wife 
and daughter into the church. . . I was sure I would have some peace 
of the preachers, and here is one before my wagon is unloaded!" 

The Methodist missionary. Richmond Nolley, looked the bewildered 
man straight in the eye and counseled: "My friend, if you go to heaven, 
you'll find Methodist preachers there; and if to hell, I am afraid you 
will find some there; and you see how it is in this world; so you had 
better make terms with us, and be at peace." 

Modern Evangelism 

The nineteenth century was the great age of the modern Evangelical 
movement. Protestantism was permeated with the revivalistic spirit, and 
its compulsion to spread the message of the gospel to every corner of 
the earth was fervent and aggressive. Its goals went beyond revamping 
society. Indeed, optimistic nineteenth -century initiatives were to remake 
the world. 

The term "evangelical" (pertaining to the gospel or good news) had 
been used to describe Lutherans in their assertion of Protestant prin- 
ciples during the Reformation era and soon had been commonly applied 
to all German Protestants, Lutheran and Reformed. By 1800, the word 
connoted a broader, ecumenical spirit that influenced the Protestant move- 
ment in Britain and America. Evangelical enthusiasm to "spread the 
gospel" and "win precious souls to Christ" soon recaptured portions 
of the German churches as well, and spread through France, Holland, 
and other parts of Europe. 

Editorial Note: This is chapter 6 in its entirety of Protestantism — Its 
Modern Meaning, published in November, 1987 by Fortress Press in 
Philadelphia. This chapter, "The Century of Evangelicalism," is preceded 
by the chapters, "What Is Protestantism?", "The Precursors of the Refor- 
mation," "The Reformation," "Puritanism and Pietism," and "The Age 
of Enlightenment." It is followed by the extensive chapters of "Protes- 
tant Liberalism" and "Fundamentalism." The last three chapters of the 
book are "Religion in the Black Community," "New Religious 
Movements," and "Protestantism — Its Modern Meaning." 


In the United States, the mainline Protestant churches considered 
themselves "evangelicals" and called themselves "evangelicals." A cen- 
tury ago. Episcopalians, Methodists, Prebysterians, and Baptists were 
all within the framework of evangelicalism. Their eschatology (their view 
of the future) was largely /?05rtnillienial. In other words, they believed 
that the Protestant Christian church would bring in "the millennium," 
a thousand-year period of peace and prosperity, and that through the 
auspices of Protestantism the world would be "Christianized." They 
believed the world would become progressively better, and then Jesus 
Christ would return to earth. Postmillennial Evangelicalism was social- 
ly acceptable, and it dominated the culture of the nineteenth century. 

English Revival and Reform 

As England moved into its industrial revolution in the 1700s, 
Evangelicalism was a small minority movement within the Church of 
England. Although some lower church clergymen supported the work 
of Wesley and Whitefield, revivalism met with considerable resistance 
from the higher church clergy. Through the leadership of Evangelicals 
such as Charles Simeon (1759-1836), vicar of Holy Trinity Church, and 
Isaac Milner (1750-1820), a professor of science, Cambridge University 
became the training center for Evangelical clergy. Revivalism also spread 
in Scotland and Wales. 

Gradually the British middle class were drawn to the movement, as 
well as some gentry and aristocrats. William Wilberforce (1759-1833), 
Tory Member of Parliament, became an influential Evangelical layman 
of the upper middle class; and by the nineteenth century. Evangelicalism 
was the most vital religious force in England. The first Evangelical to 
become a bishop in the Church of England was appointed in 1815, and 
such distinguished Evangelical Anglicans as Lord Shaftesbury (1801-85) 
and William E. Gladstone (1809-98) were leading political personalities. 

English Evangelicals achieved their most notable successes in philan- 
thropic endeavors and social reform. Wilberforce, for example, joined 
other Evangelicals in fighting for the abolition of the slave trade, and 
in 1807 Parliament issued the Abolition Bill. Wilberforce joyfully wrote 
in his journal (March 22, 1807): "How wonderfully the providence of 
God has been manifested in the Abolition Bill!. . . Oh, what thanks 
do I owe the Giver of all good, for bringing me in His gracious pro- 
vidence to this great cause, which at length, after almost nineteen years' 
labour, is successful!" Subsequent laws and treaties led most other 
Western nations to abolish slavery. In some instances, the British Navy 
was used to enforce newly enacted abolition legislation. 

A member of the Clapham sect, a group of politically active 
Evangelicals centered in the London suburb of Clapham, Wilberforce 
was also influential in the formation of the Church Missionary Society 
for Africa and the East in 1799 and the British and Foreign Bible S3cie- 
ty in 1804. His book, Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System 


of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in This Country 
Contrasted with Real Christianity {\191), sold extremely well for four 
decades of the 1800s. 

The Clapham group, like many English Evangelicals, worked through 
voluntary societies as well as through governmental action. They form- 
ed Bible societies, missionary societies, and Sunday schools. Among 
the working classes, they promoted schools for the poor, distributed Bibles 
and religious tracts. Inspired by Wilberforce and the Clapham group, 
Hannah More (1745-1833) was a prolific author of Evangelical religious 
writings and during this period attained celebrity status. The "Old Bishop 
in Petticoats," she found that her series of Cheap Repository Tracts (c. 
1788) achieved a wide readership; and the tract became a notable feature 
of British Evangelicalism. 

The Second Great Awakening 

In America, in the early 1800s, a westward migration was taking place 
that in retrospect was phenomenal. The churches of the United States 
were increasingly concerned about the unevangelized and unchurched 
population flowing beyond the mountains and past the Mississippi River. 
Missouri became a state in 1821, and a rush to the Pacific Ocean was 

With an evangelical fervor. Protestantism was awakened from a post- 
Revolutionary War lethargy to minister actively to these masses. Look- 
ing longingly at the spontaneous Great Awakening of 1740, revivalists 
sought to produce another spiritual awakening through preaching and 
missions. Baptists and Methodists quickened religious interest in the new 
territories, and even the more staid New England Congregationalists ex- 
perienced scattered revivals in the 1790s. By 1800, revivals and great 
religious enthusiasm were occurring from western New York to 

Quite unpredictably, Yale University experienced in 1802 a religious 
revival which spread to other college campuses. Timothy Dwight 
(1752-1817), a respected Congregational minister, author, and educator, 
became president of Yale in 1795. Grandson of Jonathan Edwards and 
a champion of conservative Calvinism in New England, Dwight became 
a supporter of revivalism among the educated elite. Preaching a series 
of chapel sermons in 1802 to promote godliness among the student body, 
he was amazed at the explosive response. As a result, one-third of the 
student body professed conversion and dedicated their lives to serve God 
unreservedly. Dwight was convinced that revivals could stem infidelity, 
and his support of Evangelicalism brought many other New England 
leaders into the revivalist camp. Students from the Yale revival, such 
as Lyman Beecher (1775-1863) and Nathaniel W. Taylor (1786-1858), car- 
ried on the Evangelical tradition and spread its influence. 

In the western territories, revivalists were more emotional, pressing 
for quick decisions among a transitory population. Techniques of 


revivalism took shape that affect Protestantism to this day. In 1801, the 
famed Cane Ridge revival broke out in Kentucky. Assemblies of the 
faithful or "camp meetings" had been organized in this area by the fiery 
Presbyterian minister, James McGready (17587-1817). Joined by Baptist 
and Methodist ministers who preached for days, audiences were con- 
vinced, "reduced to tears," and "slain in the Spirit" from the revivalist 

At Cane Ridge, "preaching stands" were erected at different areas 
of the grounds, and even those who came to carouse and gamble were 
converted by the preachers. "Falling, jumping and jerking" sometimes 
took place with an enthusiasm that greatly disturbed conservative 
Presbyterians. In 1805, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian church 
indicated that this "confusion" was not to be tolerated, and an Old Light 
(antirevivalist measures) versus New Light (upholding revivalism 
measures) schism developed. Methodists and Baptists, in contrast, in- 
corporated the camp meeting into their Prostestant tradition; and within 
a few years hundreds of camp meetings were taking place throughout 
the country. Permanent conference centers, camp grounds, and sum- 
mer resorts, such as Chautauqua in New York State, also were developed. 

Controversial as they were, the revivalists' "new measures" were to 
shape Protestantism in America and affect the Evangelical movement 
throughout the world. Opponents had to come to grips with the en- 
thusiasm and conversions that resulted from these spectacles. Methodism, 
which was not afraid of such "boisterous behaviors" and was on the 
forefront of frontier missions, became the largest denomination in the 
United States in the nineteenth century. 

In addition, Protestant Charles G. Finney (1792-1875), a newly con- 
verted lawyer from Adams, New York, extended the revivalist measures 
of this western Second Great Awakening to the northern urban areas. 
Using the tactics of a trial lawyer, he sought to convict his audiences 
of their sinful ways and to convince them to come forward to an "anx- 
ious bench" to pray for or testify to their conversion. Finney also en- 
couraged women to speak and to pray in the churches, and in the 
Evangelical revivalist movement women occupied an important place. 

The Benevolent Empire 

A resurgence of revivals from 1857-59 underscored the fact that the 
power and prestige of Evangelical Protestantism dominated the culture 
and institutions of nineteenth-century America. Revivalism even created 
a political ethos for Protestantism that affected the way the British and 
American populace voted for many years. It stimulated the abolition 
movement in the United States as well as in Britain. 

Characterized by an ecumenical spirit. Protestantism gave birth to a 
multitude of voluntary societies and missionary enterprises, some of 
which continue to this day. Often drawing membership from an in- 
terdenominational base and carrying out their activities with litde church 


or state control, Protestant cooperative agencies throughout the world 
sought to reform society and perhaps eventually purify the world. The 
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (1810) sent 
thousands of missionaries to distant parts of the world. In Germany, the 
Inner Mission organized by J.H. Wichern (1808-81), a Hamburg pastor, 
was concerned with the plight of destitute children. Wichern believed 
that such works of love would unite all classes in Christian community, 
an effort that blossomed into a number of philanthropic enterprises. 

In addition to the British societies and movements discussed earlier, 
America promoted other associations. The American Bible Society was 
organized in 1816 and by 1820 had distributed nearly 100,000 Bibles. 
The American Tract Society (1823?) followed in the footsteps of British 
efforts, and soon had distributed one million tracts, children's books, 
and devotional literature. The American Education Society (1826) ex- 
panded from funding scholarships for poor theological students to a move- 
ment for male and female education throughout the United States. English 
endeavors to promote Sunday schools in the latter eighteenth century 
(note the English Sunday School Union of 1803) influenced similar ef- 
forts in Philadelphia and then in New England. In 1824, the American 
Sunday School Union was formed, providing a national organization to 
establish Sunday schools for the children of the nation. Later, the Inter- 
national Sunday School Association (first conference 1875; formally in- 
corporated 1907) would give a boost of enthusiasm to the enterprise 
through the incorporation of lay leadership. It is important to note that 
these societies were intricately connected to Evangelical Protestantism, 
and through interlocking directorates sought to move in a harmonious 
and concerted fashion of interdenominational cooperation and influence. 

In addition to the American abolition movement that will be discuss- 
ed later, American Protestant societies sought to influence every citizen 
toward moral good. The American Society for the Promotion of 
Temperance (1826) and the American Temperance Union (1836) under 
a growing female leadership became a springboard for women's rights, 
as well as, for a time, successful in passing prohibition laws in various 
states and the adoption of the Prohibition Amendment a century later. 

For example, Frances E.C. Willard (1839-98), president of Evanston 
College for Ladies (later absorbed by Northwestern University), became 
president of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1891. 
She helped organize the Prohibition Party in 1882, and was extremely 
active in the Association for the Advancement of Woman (founded 1873). 
As arguments over the woman's role in Protestant churches became more 
animated in the late nineteenth century, Frances Willard reminded the 
American public in 1888 that "there are in the United States five hun- 
dred women who have already entered the pulpit as Evangelists, and 
at least a score (exclusive of the 350 Quaker preachers) who are pastors, 
of whom several have been regularly ordained." She pointed out that 
the Methodist, Baptist, Free Baptist, Congregational, Universalists, 


Unitarian, and Society of Friends churches had ordained women, and 
"in face of so much prejudice," shared letters from some of those women 
describing their successful ministries. 

Dubbed by historians a worldwide "Benevolent Empire," thousands 
of Protestant societies worked with the handicapped, sought reform in 
medical and mental health facilities, and fought for individual freedoms. 
As the challenge of immigration and poverty increased, Protestant philan- 
thropic enterprises expanded to solve these problems. Protestantism in- 
corporated social, economic, political, intellectual, and religious reform 
as part of its basic lifeblood — as part of its mission. Its mission transcend- 
ed revivalistic Protestantism to include Jews, Catholics, Unitarians, An- 
tirevivalists, secularists, and others in its errand of mercy. And, while 
its optimism was Utopian and its methods were sometimes paternalistic 
and elitist, its impulses and purposes are an integral part of the modern 
meaning of Protestantism. 


The ecumenical spirit of early Evangelical Protestantism eventually 
waned and even the word "denomination," originally an inclusive term, 
took on new connotations. John Wesley's proclamation, "From real Chris- 
tians, of whatever denomination, I earnestly desire not to be distinguished 
at all," became less of a standard; sectarianism increased. 

In America, Princeton's Samuel Miller (1769-1850) had declared that 
"it would never occur to us to place the peculiarities of our (denomina- 
tional) creed among the fundamentals of our common Christianity," and 
Albert Barnes (1798-1870) insisted in 1840 that "the Church of Christ" 
was not exclusively under Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, 
or Congregational "form," but all were "to all intents and purposes, 
to be recognized as parts of the one holy catholic church." 

Nevertheless, Princeton Seminary's Charles Hodge (1797-1878), pro- 
fessor of theology for fifty years, wrote in Biblical Repertory and 
Theological Review as early as 1836 words that foreshadowed a shift 
in the interpretation of Protestant denominationalism. He declared that 
"no such thing exists on the face of the earth as Christianity in the 
abstract. . . Every man you see is either an Episcopalian or a Methodist, 
a Presbyterian or an Independent, an Arminian or a Calvinist. No one 
is a Christian in general." 

Such divisions within Protestantism engendered far greater prejudice 
toward those outside the Protestant fold. In the United States, nativist 
impulse (fear of the stranger) permeated the Century of Evangelicalism, 
tarnishing the image of inclusive cooperation and benevolent empire. 
A key paradox in the history of immigration to the United States is that 
while newcomers were welcomed as cheap labor, they were scorned and 
abused for being "different." 

The rapid and obviously belated movement of the United States into 
the Industrial Revolution and its expansion of territory definitely man- 


dated new settlers and cheap labor. Without immigrants, most felt that 
Evangelical Protestant America could not grow and prosper; and by the 
latter decades of the nineteenth century, Americans actively recruited 
European, Asian, and Latin American peoples. This immigration would 
not only change the British dominated stock of the colonial period, but 
would also change the religious complexion of Protestant America. In 
1882, nearly 800,000 immigrants came to America's shores. While this 
was the peak year for immigration in the nineteenth century (1907 with 
nearly 1.3 million was the peak year in the twentieth), the United States 
received a total of 27 million immigrants between 1880 and 1930. 

An important source of conflict between native-born and immigrants 
in the nineteenth century was religion. In earlier decades, Americans 
objected to the infusion of Irish Catholics. "Protestant America" wor- 
ried that the Pope in Rome would rule if the Irish population increased, 
and "Irish Need Not Apply" signs were posted by employers. Anti- 
Catholic tracts abounded, and nativist attitudes at times flared into mob 
violence. In 1834, an angry mob burned an Ursuline convent on the out- 
skirts of Boston. Even respected Americans, such as Samuel KB. Morse 
(1791-1872), the inventor of the telegraph, spread wild rumors of a Jesuit 
plot to take over the United States. In like manner, the Evangelical 
Alliance formed in London and in 1846 to "confess the unity of the 
Church of Christ," and to foster worldwide "brotherly love" through 
Evangelical principles, received great impetus from the anti-Catholic, 
nativist sentiment of its American leaders. By the 1850s, the Order of 
United Americans or the nativist Know-Nothing party, primarily bound 
together by the anti-Catholic sentiment of its Protestant constituency, 
had scored some political victories. 

Many immigrants who had expected a land of opportunity and pro- 
gress were unprepared for the often hostile reception accorded them. 
They clung together for protection and survival. None of the immigrant 
groups escaped denigration and persecution. Germans were accosted 
for drinking beer, Jews had to face vicious anti-Semitism, and Greeks 
were physically attacked. Poles were called "stupid animals," and Italian 
immigrants were said to be "criminal by nature." Chinese on the West 
Coast, the "Yellow Peril," incurred the abuse and violence of natives 
and immigrants alike. Blacks must also be considered under the rubic 
of the "immigrant experience," although they were forced to immigrate. 
By the Civil War, there were 4.4 million black slaves in the United States. 

As in colonial America, however, the new immigrants persisted in 
spite of the difficulties. From ethnic neighborhoods that included ex- 
tended family, church, schools, and newspapers, immigrant children and 
grandchildren moved into the mainstream of American life, enriching 
the quality of culture and religious experience. The mosaic of American 
Protestantism would profit from the diversity of immigrant Protestant 
groups and from the challenge presented by other religious, cultural and 
ethnic traditions. 


In the first place, immigrants generally infused an Old World spirit 
into the New World's Protestantism. Among Protestants, Lutheranism 
benefited the most from the growing immigrant tide, and by the end of 
the first decade of the twentieth century, Lutherans were the third largest 
Protestant group. Methodists and Baptists being the first two. The Reform- 
ed churches (Dutch, German, and Hungarian) were bolstered as well, 
and even small conclaves of Mennonites felt the influence of Protestant 

In regards to the challenge, Protestant America was increasingly becom- 
ing a pluralistic religious unit. The Jewish community expanded from 
a quarter of a million adherents in 1880 to three-quarters of a million 
in 1900. Eastern Orthodox Christians would number 200,000 by 1915, 
and even Buddhism would establish a foothold on American soil. Roman 
Catholicism gained the largest number of new immigrants and by the 
turn of the century accounted for over 15 percent of the population of 
the United States. Protestantism would have to respond to both the in- 
tellectual and social challenges of such changes. A maturity and broaden- 
ing would occur in the innovative, though often painful, process. 


In the nineteenth century. Protestantism in northern Europe exhibited 
new currents of thought and creative theological systemization that have 
had an important impact on modern philosophy, history, and literature. 
The center of Lutheranism was Germany, which had the largest body 
of Protestants on the Continent, and as a center of intellectual inquiry, 
German Protestantism held a position of leadership in the field of theology 
and religious philosophy. Dominated by the universities, German in- 
tellectual life promoted academic freedom and religious speculation. 
Although criticized for its lack of a sense of crisis and taunted as an 
"empire of the air" (Britain, it was said, had the sea and France had 
the land), the richness and variety of German religious thought fascinated 
contemporary thinkers — a tribute to a Protestant enterprise where one 
viewpoint never dominated. In the land of the Reformation, a theological 
revolution took place in the nineteenth century. 

Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher 

Schleiermacher (1768-1834) has been called the Father of Liberal Pro- 
testant Theology. Born in Breslau, the son of a Reformed army chaplain 
and educated in the Pietist tradition by the Moravians, he continued his 
education at the University of Halle in 1787, encountering the philosophy 
of Kant, but struggling with the cold rationalism of his age. An excellent 
speaker, he was appointed Reformed preacher at the Charite in Berlin, 
where he was affected by the Romantic movement. He believed that this 
movement was a humanizing influence that saved him from the doubt 
in which rationalism had chained him. His Speeches on Religion to the 
Cultured Among Its Despisers (1799) defined religion as "sense and taste 


for the infinite." For Schleiermacher, religion was not a form of 
knowledge or a system of morality, but was grounded in feeling rather 
than a reason. He sought to show his friends in the Romantic move- 
ment that religion must occupy an important place in human life. 

He became dean of the faculty of theology at the University of Berlin, 
and in his subsequent and more mature work, The Christian Faith 
(1821-22), Schleiermacher elaborated upon his definition describing 
religion as a "feeling of absolute dependence," a fundamental expres- 
sion of human need. He proclaimed that all other activities of humankind, 
including science, art, and moral philosophy, were incomplete without 
religion. For him, the purest expression of religion was to be found in 
Christian theism, "God-consciousness," the provision of redemption 
through Jesus Christ. Pointing out that Jesus' disciples were drawn into 
Jesus' God-consciousness prior to their belief in the resurrection, he 
contended that an individual's experience of conversion comes through 
participation in the corporate life of the church. 

All Christian doctrines that could not be directly related to the feel- 
ing of absolute dependence were expendable from Schleiermacher's view- 
point — they did not belong in the theological enterprise at all. He thus 
contributed to a critical approach in that no external authority, that is, 
Bible, church, or creed, could take precendence over the God con- 
sciousness of the believer. Karl Barth (1886-1968) would criticize Schleier- 
macher for reinterpreting historic doctrines of the church and compromis- 
ing the Christian faith; but American liberal Protestants of the latter nine- 
teenth century were strongly influenced by his precepts. 

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 

Hegel (1770-1831) was a colleague of Schleiermacher whose work over- 
shadowed Schleiermacher's during their lifetimes. Born in Stuttgart, he 
studied philosophy and theology at Tubingen. In 1818 he was appointed 
to the chair of philosophy at the University of Berlin, where, as an elo- 
quent lecturer, he soon gained many disciples. 

Hegel insisted that reality be seen as a whole and declared that the 
process of reason was reality itself. His method of exposing in- 
completeness or contradictions of thought was to pose a "thesis" and 
question it by means of an opposite, "antithesis," in order to achieve 
"synthesis." Viewing Christianity as the synthesis of human religious 
development, Hegel underscored the importance of history as an ex- 
pression of the Absolute, God. All reality was the expression of the divine 
mind, the dynamic thought of the Spirit of God. Even the political sphere 
was but a moment in the Spirit's mind. 

To Hegel, the state was humanity's highest social achievement, a univer- 
sal expression of family love. It was the highest revelation to the "world 
spirit." Hegel paved the way for both the Second Reich of Bismarck and 
the Third Reich of Hitler as well as the historical dialectic of Karl Marx 
by declaring that the state "has the supreme right against the individual, 


whose supreme duty it is to be a member of the State." While he predicted 
that Germany's great hour lay in the future and her mission would 
"regenerate the world," he viewed this historical fruition as a release 
from narrow dogmatism or partial systems. The state would become the 
"Kingdom of God," where an ordered moral life would abound. 

Hegel's followers were criticized for trying to fit all areas of reality 
into his system, and many of them certainly believed that every pro- 
blem could be solved through the system. For example, Ferdinand Chris- 
tian Baur (1792-1860) introduced the Hegelian system to the study of 
early church history and the origins of Christian doctrine. He theorized 
that Peter represented the ancient theological system of Judaism (thesis), 
which Paul opposed in his "purer" gospel theology (antithesis), from 
which the postapostolic theology of Christianity emerged (synthesis). 

Baur's student David Friedrich Strauss (1808-74) shook the theological 
world to its foundations in his two-volume Life of Jesus (1835). Strauss 
questioned the historical accuracy of the Gospel accounts of the life of 
Jesus, arguing in Hegelian fashion that religion presented the truth, but 
only in an incomplete and inadequate form. Criticized even by Baur for 
his weakness in historical literary analysis of the Biblical documents, 
Strauss progressed in Biblical criticism until he eventually accepted a 
Darwinian view of faith. His final work, The Old and the New Faith 
(1872), rejected belief in a personal God, insisting that too little is known 
about the historical Jesus to determine religious feeling. 

Although Hegel's followers would split sharply into left and right fac- 
tions, and his system would suffer critical rebuke, Hegel brought critics 
and admirers alike back to the importance of history and the historical 
process. With regard to the study of theology and philosophy, even of 
the Bible itself, historical perspective would become central to proper 

Sj0(l*en A. Kierkegaard 

Kierkegaard (1813-55) was a Danish Lutheran theologian who ques- 
tioned Hegel's system and who for a time sought refuge in Berlin. For 
Kierkegaard, the basis of Christianity was not its reasonableness or its 
system, but rather was rooted in faith. Through faith, man could know 
God directly. Faith to Kierkegaard, however, meant decision and com- 
mitment; risk and denial of oneself. He criticized Christendom for the 
"crime" of "playing at Christianity," insisting that Christian existence 
was a constant struggle to become, of acting on the truth. 

In the midst of a theological trend to humanize God, Kierkegaard 
underscored the transcendence of God. He took little interest in the 
historical criticism of his day, but quoted uncritically from the Biblical 
sources themselves. Kierkegaard believed that in Jesus Christ, God has 
acted, and God gives faith as a gift because God truly transcends human 
history. Salvation and grace occur in "the moment," the encounter of 
God and individual. 


Kierkegaard's emphasis on the subjectivity of truth (in contrast to 
Hegel's objective theory of knowledge) and his belief that true Chris- 
tianity centers on a person's very existence, not merely on the intellect, 
have been interpreted by some as the origin of twentieth-century existen- 
tialist thought. Certainly, existence as a constant struggle, the struggle 
to become, is found in Kierkegaard, as well as themes of subjectivity, 
dread, despair, and hope. Existentialism would travel a path different 
from Kierkegaard's with respect to these themes; yet their continuing 
attraction for intellectuals definitely shows philosophical theology's debt 
to him. 

Nevertheless, it is perhaps his critique of the human condition and 
of the theological enterprise that has undeniable implications for the 
modem meaning of Protestantism. In his criticism of the church of his 
day, Kierkegaard reminded his readers that individuals and their God 
must not be lost in theological extrapolations and systematic haggling. 
Furthermore, the institution and organization of the church must always 
be open to question, and the mirror of social responsibility and "costly 
faith" in the midst of a comfortable society is to be held high by Pro- 
testantism itself. 

Toward Liberalism and Fundamentalism 

The nineteenth century presented many challenges to Protestantism 
— challenges that actively guided the movement into the twentieth cen- 
tury. Industrialization, immigration, and urbanization presented social 
and economic dilemmas that demanded response, yet seemingly defied 
solution. A number of new religious movements first appeared in this 
century and would demand their fair share of respect from the Protes- 
tant churches. Biblical criticism and Darwin's theory of evolution would 
require a creative theological response, and Protestant missions in the 
Third World would soon force a global perspective beyond Western men- 
tality. Twentieth-century fascist and communist movements would test 
the constructs of nineteenth-century Protestantism . One must be con- 
stantly reminded, however, not to build a false polarity between these 
movements. Extreme religious viewpoints do exist, both right and left, 
but there are in actuality a spectrum of parties within Liberal and Con- 
servative Protestantism as well as denominational groupings. Groups 
such as "evangelical christocentric liberals" and "moderate confessional 
conservatives" defy strict categorical structures. 


Suggested Reading 

Carwardine, Richard. Transatlantic Revivalism: Popular Evangelicalism 
in Britain and America, 1790-1865. Westport, Conn.; Greenwood Press, 

Cross, Whitney R. The Burned-over District: The Social and Intellec- 
tual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 
1800-1850. New York: Harper and Row, 1965. 

Dieter, Melvin E. The Holiness Revival of the Nineteenth Century. 
Metuchen, N.J. and London: Scarecrow Press, 1980. 

Hardesty, Nancy A. Women Called to Witness: Evangelical Feminism 
in the Nineteenth Century. New York and London: Oxford Univ. 
Press, 1979. 

Jay, Elisabeth. The Religion of the Heart: Anglican Evangelism and the 
Nineteenth Century. New York and London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1979. 

McLoughlin, William G. The American Evangelicals ^ 1800-1900: An 
Anthology. New York: Harper and Row, 1968. 

, Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago 

Press, 1978. 

Ruether, Rosemary R. and Rosemary S. Keller, eds. Women and Religion 
in America: Volume I, The Nineteenth Century. New York: Harper & 
Row, 1981. 

Smith, Timothy L. Revivalism and Social Reform: American Protest- 
antism on the Eve of the Civil War Baltimore: John Hopkins Univ. 
Press, 1980. 

Welch, Claude. Protestant Thought in the Nineteenth Century, 1799-1870. 
Vol. 1., New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, 1972. 



by Dr. David Kornfield 

I. Self Assessment Worksheet Regarding Belief And Practice About 
The Church 

Three keys in understanding the church follow below. 
As you respond to each one, circle the following number 
that you feel best reflects your grasp of that point. 

1. I hardly know how to do this. 

2. I understand this a little. 

3. I somewhat understand this. 

4. I understand this well. . , . 

5. I understand this very well. 

6. I understand this very well and could teach it to others. 

A. I know what the church is. I can define it in 25 words 
or less. (Try it, see how you do!) 

Scale: 12 3 4 5 6 

B. I know why the local church is important. I can iden- 
tify at least three reasons which convince me of why 
God has instituted the local church, rather than having 
His people just meet in small groups for Bible study 
or prayer whenever they can. (List below as many 
reasons as you can.) 



Scale: 12 3 4 5 6 

C. I know what the main functions of the church are. 
I can list the three principal priorities of a church (listed 



Scale: 12 3 4 5 6 

After going over the above items, take some time to look up Scriptures 
that you think could help you develop your understanding further. Possible 
Scriptures include: Matt. 18:20; Acts 2:38-46; I Cor. 12-14; Eph. 4:1-17; 
John 17; I Peter 2:9, 10. 

Finally, before meeting for discussion, read the following article on the 
church. Note that anything that especially blesses or challenges you, 
as well as jotting down any questions you may have. Feel free to discuss 
these points with others before the discussion meeting. 



II. Theological Reflections 

With the emphasis on body life and spiritual gifts these days the 
bookstores are flooded with books on the church. And, compared to 
other nations, the United States is flooded with churches. So it would 
seem that the church ought to be rather self-explanatory. However, dif- 
ferent books say different things and churches represent different con- 
cepts of what the church should be. Christians are under the obligation 
to develop at least a basic theology of the church, especially since most 
of us are part of one. 

Developing theology is something that every Christian should know 
how to do. Every Christian ought to be able to take any subject from 
sex to sacraments, death to drinking, and develop from the Bible what 
it is that he believes about that subject. This is what I want to do here 
about the church, for every Christian is a part of the church and cannot 
afford to drift unthinkingly with any current into which he might hap- 
pen to fall. 

If you would like to work through some basic passages relating to the 
church and develop some of your own theology before reading on, you 
might include Acts 2:37-47; 4:32-37; Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and I Cor- 
inthians 12-14. These passages focus on the way the church functions 
and the purpose of the church. It would be very helpful at this point 
if you would write down a definition of the church. In this way you will 
not just be receiving information like a cup being filled, but rather will 
have some basis from which to compare and contrast the definition and 
theology to be developed below. Once you have done that, continue on. 

We will begin with a definition of the church and then look at that 
definition more carefully and explore some of the theology behind it: 
"The church is Christ's holy, indwelt people redeemed to be worship- 
pers in submitted community penetrating the world." 

The Church is Christ's 

First and foremost, the church is Christ's. Does that seem overly ob- 
vious? How obvious is it in the church(es) with which you are familiar? 
If you are not sure, you might ask some of the following questions: 

* Who is the most prominent in the church? Christ? (Acts 4:13, 
I Cor. 14:23-25) 

* Why do people come to church? To meet with Christ? (Mt. 18:20) 

* How are church decisions made? With Christ? (Heb. 13:17) 

* What is done at church? Is Christ exalted in it? (Eph. 5:19,20; 
Col. 3:16, 17) 

* Where does the church meet? Is there more emphasis on com- 
ing to a certain place or on coming to (and with) a certain Person? 
(John 4:20-24) 


Jesus told Peter that he had found a rock upon which He would build 
His church and the gates of Hell would not overpower it. What was that 
rock, that foundation? It was Peter's confession, "Thou art the Christ, 
the Son of the living God." (Mt. 16:15-20). It seems this should be each 
Christian's daily confession, and as it is made corporately we have the 
promise of Christ that the Church will grow irresistably. Jesus Christ 
is the cornerstone of the church (Eph. 2:20; 1 Peter 2:4-10), but our 
lives, particularly our corporate lives as the church, are not always clearly 
built on this cornerstone, the confession that Christ is the Son of the 
living God and the recognition that He is the Head of the Church. . 
. not us! 

Every glimpse of heaven given in the Scriptures shows Christ in the 
spotlight being exalted. To the degree that churches are colonies in the 
Kingdom of God, Christ should be first and foremost in our gatherings. 
In fact it is only because of Christ that the Church even exists. This 
is obvious in the definition of the Church given above. Because we are 
Christ's and only because we are Christ's can we ever think of ourselves 
as holy. Were it not for Christ's miraculous work, to consider ourselves 
as indwelt by God would be literally insane. We can only be truly human, 
fully the people God intended us to be, because of Christ's work past 
and present. That we are redeemed can be credited to no other than our 
Saviour. To be worshippers in spirit and in truth can only be experienc- 
ed by those who are Christ's. The world's understanding of living in 
community is of necessity shallow without Him who provides an eter- 
nal and infallible foundation. Truly Christ as our Head has achieved 
the impossible, calling us to penetrate this world as His holy, indwelt 
people redeemed to be worshippers in community. How can the church 
be anything other than an expression of the fact that "Christ is before 
all things and in Him all things hold together; He is also head of the 
body, the church;. . . so that He Himself might come to have first place 
in everything." (Col. 1:17, 18). 

The Church is Holy 

The Church is Christ's holy ones. Christ's holy ones are those who 
are His saints. The word "saints" is literally "holy ones" and in certain 
languages like Spanish the term for holy, "santo," is the same word as 
"saint." The term was common in the Old Testament for speaking of 
the people of God, particularly in the Psalms and Daniel. Paul uses the 
term constantly in addressing or referring to the people of God, specifical- 
ly the churches to whom he was writing. 

"Saint" or "holy one" means one who is "set apart to." Specifically 
in the Christian context, this means to be set apart from a self-centered 
life to the Kingship of Jesus the Christ. The church should be different; 
it should offer an alternative lifestyle and an alternative set of values 
from that of the world. The Church's purpose is to become the perfect, 


blameless, radiant bride of Christ. Christians are specially called ones 
whose lives both individually and corporately will shine in healthy, love- 
and-life-filled contrast to non-Christians as they fall more and more in 
love with Christ. We are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy na- 
tion, a people for God's own possession" (1 Peter 2:9). 

The Church is Indwelt 

The Church is Christ's holy, indwelt ones. God with us, Immanuel, 
was prophesied in the Old Testament (Is. 7:14), became a part of history 
in the person of Jesus Christ (Mt. 1:23), and continues in the present 
in the Body of Jesus Christ. The recent emphasis on Body Life is a 
necessary emphasis on what we can and should be doing — because 
of who we are. We are the Body of Christ because we are indwelt by 
Him. Christ has not just visited planet earth. He has come and gone 
and returned to us again in the Person of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-19; 
16:7, 13-16). 

In the Old Testament, Jehovah repeatedly promised His people 
something very unusual: He whom the heavens cannot contain would 
dwell among them (Ex. 29: 45, 46; Lev. 26:12; Ezek. 37:27, 38). When 
Solomon dedicated the temple to the Lord, "the glory of the Lord filled 
the house of the Lord" and the temple became a meeting place between 
the people and Jehovah God (1 Kings 8:11, 27-30). So in Jesus' time people 
came from far and wide to the temple in Jerusalem to worship Yahweh. 
They could not actually come into His presence in the Holy of Holies, 
but they could gather around the place where He was. However, the 
Church as God's people has a different promise from Yahweh, an even 
more amazing commitment made by the Creator to His creatures. He 
says, "I will dwell in them," no longer among His people, but in them 
(2 Cor. 6:16;; John 14:23). 

Now instead of the temple or sanctuary in Jerusalem, the living Church 
has become the dwelling place of God: "Don't you know that you are 
a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16; 
2 Cor. 6:16). We tend to apply such verses to ourselves as individuals, 
but Paul is writing to Christians as a body, the Body of Christ. It seems 
that while we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit individually, there is a special 
sense of God's presence when we are gathered together (Mt. 18:18, 20; 
Eph. 2:19-22). In fact, Eph. 4: 12-16 suggests that there is no such thing 
as growing into the fullness of Jesus Christ as "lone ranger" Christians. 
The whole thrust of growing into maturity in Jesus Christ is corporate. 

Jesus is saying "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone 
hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and 
he with me" (Rev. 3:20 NIV). This verse is written not to non-Chrisitans 
but to Christians, and not just to individual Christians, but to a church. 
Is it possible that this applies to the churches of America? 

You say, "I am rich; I have acquired wealth, and do not need a 


thing." But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, 

blind and naked. . . Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. 

. ." (Rev. 3:17, 20 NIV). 

"But," you ask yourself, "what does all this have to do with being 
indwelt?" The relationship between this Revelation passage and being 
indwelt is that Christ is outside the church, knocking on the door, when 
He ought to be inside the church, "as supreme head to the Church. For 
the Church is His body, and in that body lives fully the One who fills 
the whole wide universe" (Eph. 1:22, 23; Phillips). Just as the individual 
indwelt Christian can grieve or quench the Holy Spirit, so too the gathered 
people of God can hurt Him — can shut Him out. The Holy Spirit longs 
to be at home in His Church. 

The Church Is People 

The Church is Christ's holy, md^^Xi people. In all the glory and power 
of being Christ's, being holy, being indwelt, we must remember that 
the Church is made up of human beings. To be human means to strug- 
gle with faults, with weaknesses, with sins, and with the fear of being 
vulnerable. God's people are a people who confess their faults and needs, 
not just to God but to each other and thereby bear each other's burdens, 
intercede for one another, and are the means of healing for each other 
through Christ (Gal. 6:1, 2; 1 Cor. 12: 20-27; James 5:16). 

There is another facet to the Church being human: We humans are 
the ones the angels and demons are watching to verify whether God's 
Kingdom really is all it claims it to be. Paul clarifies this in speaking 
of the great secret hidden through the ages of God's plan of salvation. 
And God's reason for this plan? 

To show to all the rulers in heaven how perfectly wise he is when 
all of his family — Jews and Gentiles alike — are seen to be join- 
ed together in his church, in just the way he had always planned 
it through Jesus Christ our Lord (Eph. 3:10, 11; Living Bible). 
When Christ comes in His glory, every creature above, on, and below 
the earth will have to confess His Lordship and how great His wisdom 
truly is (Phil. 2: 9-11). The Church, however, has the great privilege 
of showing everyone, including all the angelic powers, in advance, that 
God does "have it together" in this confused and spoiled world. We 
humans, weak and limited as we are, are transformed into a testimony 
of Christ's love at work. Those listed in the Bible's hall of fame are cheer- 
ing the church on toward the goal of sharing in Christ's holiness (Heb. 
11; 12:1, 10). 

The Church Is Redeemed 

The Church is Christ's holy, indwelt people redeemed. In creative ten- 
sion with grandeur of proving God's wisdom to all the rulers of heaven 
is the humbling knowledge that we as the Church were once — 


under God's curse, doomed forever for our sins. We went along 
with the crowd and were just like all the others, full of sin, obey- 
ing Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air, who is at work 
right now in the hearts of those who are against the Lord. All of 
us used to be just as they are, our lives expressing the evil within 
us, doing every wicked thing that our passions or our evil thoughts 
might lead us into. We started out bad, being bom with evil natures, 
and were under God's anger just like everyone else (Eph. 2:1-4; 
Living Bible). 

The next two words stir my blood. They are the words which mark 
every change in us — as individuals, as a local church, and as the Church 
Universal throughout history. BUT GOD. . .! 
We were doomed forever, BUT GOD stepped in. 
We were full of sin, BUT GOD stepped in. 
We were obeying Satan, BUT GOD stepped in. 
We were doing every wicked thing we could thing of, BUT GOD 
stepped in. 

To redeem, Webster says, is to repurchase or to ransom. God's peo- 
ple were once owned by Satan, BUT GOD has ransomed us with a terrible 
price. We are no longer our own, but Christ's who ransomed us (1 Cor. 
6:19, 20). Accepting Christ's payment must be accompanied by a com- 
prehension of the depth from which He has saved us, the depth to which 
He went to save us, and the heights to which He has raised us (Eph. 
2:1-6). We, the redeemed, are the dead called to life; there should be 
nobody so much ALIVE as the gathered people of God. Humble because 
the work is God's, yet confident for that very reason, it is our privilege 
to show the dead around us that life and the way to do it. 

The Church Is Worshippers 

The Church is Christ's holy, indwelt people redeemed to be worshipp- 
ers. We are to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, in the words of the 
Westminster Catechism. Jesus' life and His prayer in John 17 are good 
examples of three priorities for the church which appear in many parts 
of Scripture: 1) His relationship with His Father — worship, 2) His rela- 
tionship with others committed to God — fellowship, and 3) His rela- 
tionship with those not yet committed to God — witness. 

We worship Him who is our Head, in whom and through whom all 
things consist and have their being (Col. 1:17, 19). J.L Packer has put 
it well in his book Knowing God: 

What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we 
set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the 'eternal life' that 
Jesus gives? Knowledge of God. "This is life eternal, that they might 
know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast 
sent' (John 17:3). What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, 
delight, and contentment than anything else? Knowledge of God. 


'Thus said the Lord, let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, 
neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man 
glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he 
understandeth and knoweth me' (Jer. 9:23f). What, of all the states 
God ever sees man in, gives Him most pleasure? Knowledge of 
Himself. 'I desire. . . the knowledge of God more than burnt of- 
ferings, says God' (Hos. 6:6) (1973:29). 

Watchman Nee insists in his book Sit, Walk, Stand that the Christian 
life has an order of priority and until we have sat in the presence of 
God, we cannot walk in the Christian life or stand in spiritual warfare 
(Eph. 2:6; 4:1; 6:10-12). A.W. Tozer says that: 

We're here to be worshippers first and workers only second. We 
take a convert and immediately make a worker out of him. God 
never meant it to be so. God meant that a convert should learn 
to be a worshipper, and after that he can learn to be a worker. Jesus 
said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel." Peter wanted 
to go at once, but Christ said, "Don't go yet. Wait until you are 
endued with power." Power for service? Yes, but that's only half 
of it; maybe that's only one-tenth of it. The other nine-tenths are 
that the Holy Ghost may restore to us again the spirit of worship. 
Out of enraptured, admiring, adoring, worshipping souls, then, God 
does His work. The work done by a worshipper will have eternity 
in it." (Wbrship: The Missing Jewel of the Evangelical Church, 1961: 

It is worth noting that "to be worshippers" speaks not of something 
we do so much as something we are. The Church of Jesus Christ is not 
people who occasionally worship, say, at 11:00 on Sunday mornings, 
but rather people who are worshippers. Everything they say and do 
therefore, is an act of worship; it is done for God, with God, and in 
exaltation of Him. Brother Lawrence in Practicing the Presence of God 
puts it quite well in saying "that we should establish ourselves in a sense 
of God's presence by continually conversing with Him" (1959:12). In 
worshiping we begin to know God, and the more we learn of Him the 
more are compelled to be worshippers. 

The Church Is Submitted 

The decision to form the Church did not arise during a discussion 
among friends, nor was it ratified by a majority vote. Instead, it was 
the supreme Lord who announced: "I will build my Church" (Mat. 
16:18). Why should the apostles, instead of being free to return to their 
own personal affairs, need to dedicate themselves to the task of making 
disciples from all nations? It's because they were under the command 
of the only Person who could state: "All authority has been given to 
me in heaven and in earth" (Mat. 28:18). Going baptizing, teaching so 
as to plant living churches among all the people groups, they would always 
have with them not the memory of Christ, but rather the powerfial 


presence of the Lord Himself: "Lo, I am with you always, even to the 
end of the age" (Mat. 28:20). 

But the Mediator of this personal presence would be the Spirit. Dur- 
ing the 40 days preceding the ascension, the Lord Jesus "had by the 
Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen" (Acts 
1:2). After Pentecost, this Lord with the right to command, having pro- 
mised never to abandon His Church, continued to direct this Body per- 
sonally, through the Vicar whom He had sent — not a well-meaning 
super-cleric, elected by a college of clerics, but the Holy Spirit. And 
Christ, through the Spirit, from the beginning was heard and obeyed 
by the Church (see Acts 5:3; 8:29; 9:17; 10:19, 20; 13:1-3; 16:6-10). 

Such an attitude of submission to the Spirit sent by Christ is a way 
of bending the knee before the lordship of Christ (Rom. 14:9) and thus 
glorifying God (Phil. 2:10, 11). 

Because we are the human people of Christ, He gives us, not only 
the Spirit, but also human leaders (Eph. 4:10-12; Acts 20:28). By respec- 
ting, appreciating and loving the leaders raised up by the Spirit of the 
supreme Lord (1 Thess. 5:12-13), the Church demonstrates that she is 
holy — separated from the spirit of independence and anarchy that in- 
spires the lost world. It is because she is indwelt by the Spirit that she 
can submit herself in a healthy, productive way to the leaders establish- 
ed by the Head of the Church (Eph. 5:18, 21; Heb. 13: 16-17). Submit- 
ted, the Church reflects the glory of Him who in all things should have 
the preeminence (Col. 1:18). 

The Church Is Community 

The Church is Christ's holy, indwelt people redeemed to be worshipp- 
ers in community. That theme, the second priority noted above, has flowed 
throughout this paper, even as it flows through the New Testament. The 
three sections of Scripture that speak of our diversity through the varie- 
ty of spiritual gifts that we have been given all emphasize strongly our 
unity in that diversity (Romans 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 12:4-7, 11-13, 20-27; Eph. 
4:1-6). Christ's high priestly prayer that we may all be one, just as His 
Father and He are one, is repeated four times, more often than any other 
petition Christ makes (John 17:11, 21-23). 

Community (having all things in "common-unity") was one of the 
distinctives of the New Testament Church (Acts 2:44, 45; 4:32-37). John 
writes that because we have communion with God, we have commu- 
nion with each other (1 John 1:3, 6, 7); in fact, the one who does not 
love his brother is not of God (1 John 2:9; 3:10). That is to say, it is 
impossible for us to be true worshippers of God, to be one with Him, 
and not have communion with each other. 

It is possible to feel that there is communion with others during brief 
encounters as on Sunday mornings. It is not possible, however, to have 
community with only brief encounters on Sunday mornings. Webster 
defines communion as "an act or instance of sharing," whereas com- 


munity is a "unified body of individuals" characterized by: a) joint owner- 
ship or participation; b) common character; c) social activity; and, d) 
a social state or condition." The emphases on Body Life, small groups 
and spiritual gifts all flow out of the need for community. Community 
seems to require commitment to a small group of believers in order for 
people to share their lives in depth. In Jerusalem, where thousands were 
added to church at one time, there was considerable small group activi- 
ty in the homes, centered on eating together and partaking of the Lord's 
Supper (Acts 2:46). As the Church spread, community apparently was 
fostered through house-churches such as those in Rome (Rom. 16:5), 
Corinth (Rom. 16:23; 1 Cor. 16:19), the home of Nympha in either Col- 
ossae or Laodicea (Col. 4:16), and one in the home of Philemon in Col- 
ossae (Phil. 1:2). 

The importance of community in the sense of responsible care for 
all aspects of believers' lives is reflected in the many "one another" in- 
junctions in the Bible. Caring for one another in the church will touch 
each individual's time, money, energy and possessions. Howard Snyder's 
The Problem With Wineskins and his The Community of the King 
challenge the church in this area. 

The Church Penetrates The World 

The Church is Christ's holy, indwelt people redeemed to be worshipers 
in community penetrates the world. Jesus' prayer for unity among the 
believers was explicitly "that the world may know (and believe) that Thou 
didst send Me" (John 17:21, 23). The Church is to be highly visible 
and highly involved in the lives of those outside the Kingdom. Jesus 
challenges His followers to be salt and light: to be the world's flavoring 
to make it palatable, and to direct the praise of men to God (Mat. 5:13-16). 

The believers of Jerusalem were known for ". . . praising God, and 
enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number 
daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47; NIV). Their unity in 
worship and community was highly visible to the unsaved and resulted 
in many being added to the church. It is this example of unity that Christ 
said would convince the world of who He is (John 17) and, indeed (as 
mentioned earlier), convince all the rulers in heaven (Eph. 3:9, 10). While 
there are certain times, such as in the intimacy of the Lord's Supper, 
when the church needs some family-like privacy, we also need to ac- 
tively seek ways in which to demonstrate our love, both individually 
and corporately, among those who do not yet know Christ. 

Effective "in the world" community requires that Christians committed 
to each other live close enough to each other to interact regularly bet- 
ween households, both with those which are part of the committed com- 
munity and with those which are not yet part of it. Only in this way 
will unbelievers be able to see believer's love and unity on a daily basis, 
as happened in Jerusalem. And when the believers not only meet each 


other's needs, but also reach out to meet unbelievers' needs in a natural 
way because they are neighbors, Christ is made visible through His Body. 
A church in this setting will be a dynamic, healthy body — if the priorities 
are straight: worshippers first, in community second, and in the world 
third. The three are inseparable in daily living, but the priorities will 
shape the distinctives for which the church will be known, the format 
and type of meetings, and whether the work will be God's or man's. 

The definition which has been developed of the church has entirely 
inseperable parts: "The Church is Christ's holy, indwelt people redeemed 
to be worshippers in community penetrating the world." It quickly 
becomes obvious that we cannot really be or do any part of the defini- 
tion unless every one of the other parts is also true. For instance, we 
cannot be worshippers unless we are Christ's, unless we are holy, unless 
we are indwelt, unless we are fully human, unless we are redeemed, 
unless we are worshipping with others, and unless we are reaching out 
to the world as a result of who our God is. 

In New Testament times, to be committed to Christ implied being com- 
mitted to His people in a local church. Some will surely ask, "Why 
can't we be part of the Church Universal without being committed to 
a local church?" It seems that just as Jesus Christ is the incarnation of 
the Godhead, the local church is the incarnation of the Church Univer- 
sal. The Godhead and the Church Universal are both invisible spiritual 
entities which are a great mystery and in some sense incomprehensible 
to us. Because Jesus lived as a man among us, we can understand that 
God really is all He says He is, and know that His promises to us are 
really true. The witnesses of Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension 
persuade us that we too will be raised with Him to eternal life. 

Because Jesus suffered and died for us, we know that God's love is 
real. Similarly, the local church is the incarnate revelation of the Church 
Universal, proving its nature and reality in the everyday lives of those 
Christ came to save. If Jesus Christ is not who He says He is, then we 
must give up our belief concerning the Godhead (1 Cor. 15:12-32). 
Similarly, if the local church is not becoming what it should be, then 
any biblical claims concerning the church in general are open to doubt. 
Here we must recognize that Jesus Christ was infallible and so accurately 
represents the Godhead, whereas we are very fallible and do not yet 
wholly represent what the Church will be. God has given the church 
time on this earth, however, to grow into the maturity He desires of His 
Son's glorious Bride. The Scriptural guidelines for development of Chris- 
tian maturity are written to and about specific bodies of believers, not 
just to individual Christians nor to an abstract, invisible Church. It is 
in our life together that we prove God's grace. 

The basic passages on the church mentioned at the beginning include 
the following: Acts 2:37-47; 4:32-37; Rom. 12*, Eph. 4; and 1 Cor. 12-14. 
Below is the definition of the church which has been developed in this 
paper, with the texts that speak to each part of the definition. Perhaps 


this will be of some help for those who wish to study it further. 
The Church Is: 

CHRIST'S Acts 2:38, 47; 4:33, Rom. 12:1,5,11; 1 Cor. 

12:3-6; 18; Eph. 4:1, 7-11, 15-16, 30 
HOLY Acts 2:38; Rom. 12:1,9,21; 1 Cor. 12:3, Eph. 

INDWELT Acts 2:38; 4:33; 1 Cor. 12:3-11.13; Eph. 

PEOPLE Acts 2:39; Rom 12:3; Eph. 4:8. 

REDEEMED Acts 2:38; Eph. 4:22-24, 30 

WORSHIPPERS Acts 2:42, 43, 47, 11; Rom. 12:1, 11; Eph. 

4:13, 15. 
SUBMITTED Acts 4:35-37; Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 Cor. 12:28; 

14:29; 16:15, 16; Eph. 4:11, 12; 1 Tim. 3:4,5; 

5:17, 22; Heb. 13: 7, 17; 1 Pet. 5:1-8 
COMMUNITY Acts 2:42-44-46; 4:32-37; Rom. 12:4-10, 13, 

15, 16; 1 Cor. 12-14; Eph. 4:11-16. 
THE WORLD Acts 2:47; Rom 12:2, 14, 17, 18; 1 Cor. 

14:22-25; Eph. 4:17f. 
The above definition of the church calls Christians to radical 
discipleship — together. Being the church as defined here requires tak- 
ing specific steps to see what changes we need to make together, and 
the first of those steps may be coming to Christ in confession that we 
have failed to be who He has called us to be. Only through thoughtful 
meditation and prayer can a definition be taken from paper and worked 
into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Christ's Church will not grow by 
might, nor by strength, but by God's Spirit and His leading in ways we 
never imagined. It may take many different forms, but everywhere it 
will have a deep impact on those who are a part of it and those who 
are around it. For the church is not just a religious club, it is: 

. . . that God might be exalted 
... the people of God perfected 

. . . and the dead called to life! 

III. Small Group Discussion Questions 

What Is The Church? 

We have been studying three questions this last week: 
1. What is the church? 


2. Why is the church important? 

3. What are the top priorities of the church? 

After reflecting on the following hymn regarding the church, we'll look 
a little further at each of these three questions. 

There is today a great gathering of people, a cloud of witnesses, 
A mighty army advancing through the ages of time and across the pages 
of history. They might have been brought together from every tongue 
and race and nation, And bound together by the strong cords of divine 
love. They are the redeemed, the cleansed, empowered pilgrims of God. 
Jesus calls them "My Church" and my friends, beloved of God, brothers 
and sisters, joint heirs with Jesus, children of the Kingdom, the family 
of God, the salt of the earth, the light of the world, sons of God, daughters 
of the Kingdom, chosen people, witnesses, believers, more than con- 
querers. . . 


The power of death shall not subdue it! 

The forces of evil shall not overpower them! 

The doors of hell shall not shove in on it! 

The power of Satan's world shall never overthrow it! 

The gates of hell shall not hold out against it! 

The might of Hades shall not triumph over it! 

(" I Will Build My Church" by the Regeneration) 

1. Think back over your recent study of the church and write down one 
of the ideas that most blessed or impressed you. 

2. Break into groups of four to share those key insights about the church 
that have blessed you recently. 

3. The paper you read defined the church as "Christ's holy, indwelt people 
redeemed to be worshipers in submitted community penetrating the 
world." Note any comments or questions you have about this definition. 

4. Let's share together these comments or questions to enrich our 
understanding of what the church is. 


Why Is The Local Church Important? 

1. In your preparation for this session, you listed reasons why the local 
church is important. Go on to list here why you believe God has in- 
stituted the local church, rather than having His people just meet in small 
groups for Bible study or prayer whenever they can. When you can, 
include Scripture references that support your perspective. Feel free to 
use your Bible. 

2. Together let's share the reasons we've written down. Below add any 
reasons that you had not already listed above. 

Reasons Why God Has Ordained The Local Church Rather Than 
Leaving Christians To Simply Fellowship As Best They Can 

1. The local church is the incarnate revelation of the church univer- 
sal, much as Jesus Christ is the incarnate revelation of the Godhead. 
Both Christians and nonChristians know the reality of the mystery of 
the Church by the way it is lived out at the local level. If it is lived out 
poorly, they will inevitably question whether what Scriptures say about 
Christ and His church is anything more than idealism, impractical for 
the nitty-gritty world in which we all live. 

2. The local church is the incarnate revelation of Christ himself. 

Scriptures do not say that the church is like Christ's body, but that it 
is Christ's body. This mystery is great (Eph. 1:22, 23; 4:12-16; 5:29,30; 
Col. 1:18,24; 2:19; I Cor. 12:27; Cf Acts 9:5). God has chosen to reveal 
his character and his person through the church. While he reveals himself 
through us as individuals, the fullness of his attributes is shown in a 
special way through our corporate life together. For instance: 

* His holiness: Eph. 1:4; 5:27 

* His grace: Eph. 1:5, 6; 4:7; 5:29 

* His sovereignty: Eph. 1:18-23; (and our submission: Eph. 5:21ff) 

* His wisdom: Eph. 3:10 

* His power: Eph. 3:20, 21 

* His unity (Three yet One): Eph. 4:4-6; 11-16; John 17:21-23 

* His love: Eph. 3:16-19; 4:15,16; 5:1,2; John 13:34, 35 

* His truthfulness: Eph. 4:15, 24, 25 

* His mercy and forgiveness: Eph. 4:31 

* His faithfulness: II Tim. 2:11-13; Heb. 10:23-26 (He is a covenan- 
ting God and we are the people of His New Covenant.) 

God's attributes tend to be most fully evident in our corporate life 
because they are manifest in the context of personal relationships. 

3. God desires of us not just individual maturity, but corporate 
maturity. We can not become all God intends us to be alone (Eph. 4:11-16; 


I Cor. 12:14-27). God's purpose from the beginning of history has been 
to fashion for Himself a Bride. Billheimer in a book called Destined 
for the Throne (1975) explains more fully that history is only the hand- 
maiden of the church, and the nations of the world are but tools of God 
to bring His Church to maturity (Acts 17:26, 27). We are ever tempted 
toward individualism, selfishness, "doing our own thing," and having 
the last word. Part of Christ's solution for warding off his temptation 
in our daily lives is our being involved in the submitted community known 
as his church. 

4. God has established the institutions of the family and the church 
to be our foundation for living, bringing order and wholeness. All 

spiritual authority has been established by God to bring those in the 
church's care into maturity (Eph. 5:20-6:4; 4:11-16). Godly authority 
provides order, protection, guidance and community whether it be in 
the church or in the family. Instead of our lives being fragmented into 
many parts, God intends for the family and church to provide a founda- 
tion or a center to which all the other parts of our life relate. 

5. Being a member of Christ's church is a part of our identity — 
true at all times and in all places — and not to be confused with 
one of our many roles. A role is situation specific, while our identity 
is what we are regardless of the circumstances of situations in which 
we find ourselves. Our identity as sons and daughters of God and 
members of Christ's Church in the world should underlie and permeate 
any role we play. We must repent of a "going to church" mentality that 
comes from thinking of participation in the church as just one more role. 
The low view of the church entertained almost universally among Chris- 
tians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A 
whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one 
basic error in our religious thinking. 

Jim Wallis has put it well: "The greatest influence on a person's life 
will be that institution or set of institutions on which the person feels 
most dependent for power and support. As long as most Christians are 
more dependent upon the powers and principalities of the world for their 
survival and security than they are upon the Christian community, the 
church cannot do anything other than conform to the world. . . The com- 
munity of the local church must become the most important and central 
corporate reality of our lives, the daily environment out of which our 
lives are lived, the fellowship of people that sustains and supports us. 
The church must represent a body of people who have committed their 
lives to one another in Christ, a communion of faith and trust. . . and 
a corporate sign of the transforming power of the gospel of the kingdom 
in this world" ("Seeds of the Kingdom", Sojourners, January 1977). 


The Top Priorities Of The Church 

1. Let's list as a group the top priorities of the local church. 




2. Our top priorities in the Kingdom are 
relationships, not programs. The diagram 
below indicates that the Lordship of Christ 
is the heart and center of the church. The 
priorities of the church flow from living 
under his Lordship. Our first priority 
(worship) is to be in a life-producing rela- 
tionship with God. Our second priority 
(community) is to be in a life-producing 
relationship with God's people. Our third 
priority (outreach) is to be in a life- 
producing relationship with the world. 

These three priorities overlap and interrelate since none of them can 
truly be healthy without the other two. 

Let's take a couple minutes to discuss what would happen to our first 
two priorities if our outreach was nonexistent or ignored. What would 
be some of the consequences to our relationship with God (worship) 
and to our relationships with God's people? 

3. Now let's take a couple minutes to discuss what would happen to our 
worship and our outreach if our practice of community was nonexistent 
or ignored. 

4. Finally, let's discuss what would happen to our community and outreach 

if our worship was nonexistent or ignored. 

5. Redo the self-assessment sheet at the beginning of this article. In com- 
paring the new results with those previously recorded you should find 
that your understanding of the church has developed. 


Celebrating Our Call To Be Christ's Church 

1. The church is often not what she should be, including our own local 
church. Earlier we stressed the importance of the local church; perhaps 
a better way of putting it is that a given church's importance is in pro- 
portion to how much she reveals the character of God. If we reveal lit- 
tle of God's character as a church, we are unimportant and should pro- 
bably dissolve as a church. If we reveal much of God's character, then 
He is glorified and vindicated in allowing His reputation to be iden- 
tified with the church (Eph. 3:10). 

This calls us, therefore, to humble dedication individually and cor- 
porately to be all God has called us to be. This humble dedication is 
expressed in the following song (to the tune of "Rise up, O Men of God"). 
Since the song begins with a call to kneel, let's kneel as we begin sing- 
ing (or reading) the song. The last verse calls for us to rise, so let's stand 
at that point and remain standing for a time of conversational prayer 
as the Lord leads. 

Kneel down, servants of God, bow humbly 'fore the throne. 
Forget not that the work is God's or we will fail alone. (Zech. 4:6) 

Rise up, O holy God! Your presence purges sin. 

Cleansed we to You our voices raise in this our hymn of praise. 

(Ps. 68:1-4) 

Rise up, servants of God, the Lord seeks through the land 
The gaps are many to be filled; will He find those who'll stand? 
(Ezek. 22:30) 

Rise up, servants of God, the Head for you doth call. 

Hold back not one little thing; give nothing or give all. (Luke 


We rise, Your servants. Lord, responding to Your search. 
Our lives together woven are committed to Your church. (Eph. 

(Conversational prayers) 



David Bivin and Roy Blizzard, Jr. 
Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus 
Austin: Center for Judaic-Cliristian Studies, 1984 
172 pages 

What Language Did Jesus Speak? 

This little book turns out to be an enigma and a "diamond in the rough" 
at the same time. It is an enigma because it delivers something different 
than one might expect from reading the title. It is a "diamond in the 
rough" because it is a brief but good introduction to certain resurrected 
— better, resuscitated — theses that many had thought (wished?) were 
laid to rest. A student handed me this book in a survey course in which 
one of my objectives was to heighten the student's awareness of certain 
difficulties in the sayings of Jesus by requiring one of the "difficult" 
or "hard" sayings of Jesus books on the market (e.g., Stein, Neil, Bruce). 
So then, I was curious as to how I had missed this one that I assumed 
attempted to do the same thing. Upon reading it, I discovered why. It 
does not attempt to do the same thing, but something entirely different 
and that is why its title is so misleading. 

It seems to me that the real point of departure for this book is the 
longstanding debate over what Jesus' primary tongue was — Hebrew 
or Aramaic? Better yet, what was the dominant lingua franca during 
Jesus' time in Palestine? This nexus can be observed in the opening 
chapter of the book when the authors say: "Why are the words of Jesus 
that we find in the Synoptic Gospels so difficult to understand? The 
answer is that the original gospel that formed the basis for the Synoptic 
Gospels was first communicated, not in Greek but in the Hebrew 
language. . . The more Hebraic the saying or teaching of Jesus, the more 
difficult it is for us to understand." They conclude that the Bible as 
originally composed is 90% Hebrew when one makes adjustments for 
the O.T. quotations and Semitism in the N.T. 

The authors lay much blame at the door of liberal scholarship for the 
assumption of either a Greek or Aramaic origin for the Synoptics. They 
lament the fact that evangelicals have followed liberals down the primrose 
path of Marcan priority and Aramaic as Jesus' spoken language, while 
placing greater weight on the importance of the Papias tradition. They 
take up again the well-rehearsed debate over the appropriate translation 
of Hebrais and Hebraisti — i.e. "Hebrew" or "Aramaic" as well as the 
oft debated words in the Gospels that are either Aramaic (e.g., Talitha 
cumi, Ephphata, Rabboni, Abba, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabakthani) or Hebrew 
(e.g., levonah, mammon, Wai, Rabbi, Beelzebub, corban, raca, 
Boanerges, Amen). Not only do the authors reject as Aramaic certain 
words, but they argue that even the presence of unquestionable Aramaic 


words (e.g., Abba, Ephphata) does not prove the existence of an Aramaic 
original. They attribute some of the words to Hebrew borrowing which 
is evident in other rabbinic literature as well. However, I might add that 
with the exception of Talitha cumi and Eloi, Eloi, lama Sabakthani, there 
is often disagreement as to whether one can prove conclusively that these 
words are Aramaic or Hebrew. 

After having dismissed the Aramaic and Greek theories, we come to 
the heart of the author's arguments for an original Hebrew gospel lying 
behind the Synoptic Gospels. They point to a variety of extra-biblical 
evidence (e.g., Dead Sea Scrolls, Ante-Nicean Church Fathers, coins 
and inscriptions, rabbinic literature, Josephus). The basic argument is 
that the Aramaic theory is a late one since Josephus and the Early Church 
Fathers give no evidence of meaning 'Aramaic" when they use the word 
"Hebrew." Also, Hebrew, not Aramaic is dominant, in the Dead Sea 
Scrolls, Rabbinic literature, and coins and inscriptions during this period. 
Even the Synoptic Gospels give indications of a "Hebraic undertext." 
Jesus' words are full of Hebrew idioms that make perfect sense when 
translated back into Hebrew but often no sense at all in our English 
translations. The authors say "only when we begin to put the Greek of 
the Gospels back into Hebrew will it be possible to fully understand 
the words of Jesus (p. 91)." 

In the final two chapters, the authors put forth their hypothesis for 
the transmission of the original Life of Jesus written in Hebrew as well 
as some theological errors resulting from failure to translate Hebraical- 
ly. The author's theory is that within five years of Jesus' resurrection: 
(1) A biography was written in Hebrew about 30-35 chapters in length 
(i.e.. The Life of Jesus). (2) It was translated into Greek which was about 
50-60 chapters in length. (3) It became fragmented into stories and these 
fragments were rearranged topically. (4) A fluent Greek author used the 
topical arrangement and attempted to put the fragments together in order 
to create a gospel with some chronological order. (5) Luke used the two 
Greek texts (#3 and #4 above) as sources in writing his gospel. Mark 
followed Luke's work and Matthew used Mark's work. The synoptic 
Gospels show that they did not have access to the Hebrew original {Life 
of Jesus) or the first Greek translation of that Hebrew original. The 
authors close the book with an appendix that includes discussions of 
a dozen passages that are difficult to understand in English, or Greek 
in some instances, but make perfect sense when interpreted in a Hebrew 

There are a number of concerns — too many to discuss here — that 
I have with the authors' book as well as a number of fronts on which 
I think they will have to do battle. I list only a few: 

1) A methodological problem: The authors are attempting to do 
battle on three major fronts (the Synoptic problem; the lingua franca 
of Jesus and first century Palestine; and the appropriate strategy 
for unravelling the difficult sayings of Jesus) in a book barely large 


enough to do justice to the complexities of one of these issues. 

2) The Synoptic Problem: In fact these authors are proposing a 
LAican priority hypothesis as the solution to the Synoptic problem. 
One would have to go back to the Aztecs to find support for such 
a thesis, (Okay, Evanston in the 18th century!). In relying upon 
the Papias tradition regarding Matthew, the authors fail to see what 
kind of bog that puts them in because Papias also talks about Mark. 
In this regard they seem not to be aware of or at least acknowledge 
the concerns about interpretation of the Papias tradition raised by 
other scholars. The authors' hypothesis rests heavily on this 
reconstruction and they must tread deep waters to gain any support. 

3) The lingua franca of Jesus: Proving this theory is not as easy 
as the authors want the reader to believe. In times past, this was 
one issue that had two parts (the lingua franca of the first century 
Palestine — i.e., Judea; and the lingua franca of Jesus) but is now 
two distinct issues. Although the lingua franca of first century 
Palestine is still a rather complex matter (e.g. , the influence of the 
three languages — Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew — upon one another 
in terms of borrowing and collateral development — i.e., linear 
or non-linear), it would appear that the evidence from the Dead 
Sea Scrolls, Mishnaic Hebrew, and the Bar Kosiba correspondence 
tip the scales in favor of the premise that Hebrew was a live ver- 
nacular in first century Palestine. However, should one accept the 
above conclusion, it merely demonstrates that Jesus might have 
spoken Hebrew not that he did. And if one grants that it is highly 
probable based on the evidence that he did speak some Hebrew, 
it can still be argued that he spoke more Aramaic — i.e., it was 
his lingua franca — because it was more dominant in first century 
Palestine than Hebrew. It should be self-evident then that a decisive 
victory for the former (i.e., lingua franca of first century Palestine) 
is not decisive for the latter (i.e., lingua franca of Jesus). In this 
regard, the authors fail to deal with the influence that Jesus' 
childhood rearing and frequent travels in Galilee, an area where 
Aramaic was the vernacular, would have on his lingua franca. 
4. Translation of Hebraisti: While rejecting that Hebraisti should 
be translated "Aramaic" instead of "Hebrew" the authors fail to 
deal with the Bar Kokhba — better, Bar Kosiba — correspondence 
(A.D. 132-135) found at Murabba^at and the Nahal Never, especial- 
ly the letters to Jonathan and Masabala which are written in 
Aramaic. Furthermore, they do not deal adequately with the thesis 
that for Greek speaking people, it was sufflcient to say Hebraisti 
in order to distinguish the language as non-Greek (i.e., "the 
language of the Jewish people"). This is not merely a matter of 
liberal scholarship. 

5) Reconstruction Theory: The difficulty for the authors at this junc- 
ture is that we did in fact receive the Gospels in Greek. It will 


be most difficult to demonstrate that in order to understand the 
Greek we must first translate it back into Hebrew because there 
may have been a hypothetical original from which it was translated. 
In fact, the Gospels stand on their own just as we have received 
them and are highly significant in the received form. Furthermore, 
if reconstruction will prove what language lies behind the Greek 
Gospels and thus better explains the text wouldn't it be necessary 
to translate it into both Hebrew and Aramaic for a fair comparison? 

6) Inspiration: I am not sure the authors, who appear to have con- 
servative, evangelical preferences, are aware of the bind that their 
reconstruction theory puts them in regarding a doctrine of Scrip- 
ture. What is inspired, the Greek autographs as most conservative 
evangelical scholars choose to argue, or the Hebrew original Life 
of Jesus? 

7) Scholarly dialogue: While the authors cite an array of scholars 
that add support to their position, they do not interact with a similar 
array of scholars who have looked at the same evidence but have 
come to the opposite or more cautious conclusions. The literature 
is replete with such scholars. 

From this critique one might get the impression that I do not like the 
book. That is not true. If nothing else, we should thank the authors for 
keeping alive some issues and reminding us that all matters regarding 
the N.T. are not examples of a fait accompli. In addition, there are some 
useful insights and nuances in the way some of the difficult sayings of 
Jesus are handled. Clearly the emphasis on the importance of the Semitic 
material, whether Aramaic or Hebrew, in the N.T. is noteworthy. I 
especially feel an affinity for the way the authors emphasize the value 
of the Synoptics since I come from a tradition with a long history of 
such an emphasis. Hopefully, these authors will give us more in the future 
that is a bit more focused and documented. 

Dr. William Myers 

D.A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, editors 
Hermeneutics, Authority and Canon 
Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986 
468 pages 

Checkmate, Stalemate or Advance — Ment? 

Under the rubric of heremeneutical inquiry, with the exception of 
women's role in the believing community (e.g., church, home, etc.), 
it is doubtful that any issue rivals that of biblical authority. This can 
be observed not only in the formidable array of publications in numerous 
languages, but in the time expended on the subject in the academy and 
across the airwaves. This author is presently involved in a continuing 


consultation of this nature with other scholars. It engenders and fosters 
friendships and alliances as well as ill-will, recriminations and polariza- 
tion. The exchange is often filled with invective as well as praise, while 
the style can be both irenic and inimical. 

Into this fracas comes a significant work from a variety of evangelical 
scholars. The editors, D.A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, have pulled 
together a collection of essays that, although given the title Hermeneutics, 
Authority and Canon, are basically held together by similar positions 
on the authority of Scripture. In fact, this is a second work, a compa- 
nion volume to an initial work (Scripture and Truth) that can be ap- 
propriately viewed in a similar manner. 

D.A. Carson, one of the editors, sets the stage for the discussions to 
follow with an essay assessing the "Recent Developments in the Doc- 
trine of Scripture." In his usual trenchant style, he argues cogently against: 
an array of revisionist historiographies (e.g., any recasting of the Princeto- 
nians view of infallibility, the faith and practice restriction); inappropriate 
restrictions and misunderstandings of terms and constructs (e.g. iner- 
rancy, proposition, accommodation, inspiration); inappropriate 
methodological conclusions (e.g., that phenomena of Scripture must be 
set in antithesis to truth claims). Although Carson is obviously in favor 
of using critical techniques and being sensitive to literary genre, he ad- 
vises being cautious in the use of same. One can be just as uncritical 
rejecting harmonization as an appropriate technique in many instances. 
Perhaps the strongest part of Carson's essay is where he demonstrates 
the epistemological confusion that exists in scholarly circles over meaning 
and truth. Until such time as any discussion addresses the question of 
truth, one will merely spin wheels over discussion about meaning. 

Many of the essays can be seen as a kind of further, more detailed 
elaboration of Carson's rather programmatic essay. Vanhoozer's "The 
Semantics of Biblical Literature: Truth and Scripture's Diverse Literary 
Forms" might be seen in this light. He wants to inquire as to the rela- 
tionship of the Scripture's diverse literary forms and its truth concept 
as well as to make a distinction between "propositional" in its ordinary 
sense and its philosophical sense. Vanhoozer seeks to advance the discus- 
sion by drawing upon "speech act theory" that can be seen in the works 
of scholars like J.L. Austin, John Serle, P.T. Geach and Paul Ricoeur. 
In this regard, the Bible is to be seen as "divine discourse act" which 
Vanhoozer feels gets one beyond some of the traditional concerns with 
mere propositional revelation. While he wishes to preserve propositional 
revelation in the sense of Carl F.H. Henry (i.e., verbal, cognitive com- 
munication with authority resting in the text), he feels that viewing it 
as divine discourse act puts the imaginative, powerful aspect back into 
the presentation in a way that propositional revelation cannot do alone. 

Moises Silva's essay, "The Place of Historical Reconstruction in New 
Testament Criticism" and John D. Woodbridge's article, "Some 
Misconceptions of the Impact of Enlightenment on the Doctrine of Scrip- 


ture" are very well worked out illustrations which highlight revisionist 
historiography that Carson mentions in his opening essay. Silva's essay 
is perhaps the most balanced in the entire book. He demonstrates how 
conservatives and liberals alike have either jumped too quickly to in- 
complete data (e.g., Jesus's birth and death; evaluation of the reign of 
Herod Agrippa I). It is good to finally see well-balanced treatments of 
the Pharisees in the New Testament by conservative evangelical scholars 
(something, by the way, that Jewish scholars have been demanding for 
years). He illustrates what we can learn even when biblical information 
is incomplete (e.g., Herod Agrippa I) if we are cautious and open to 
extra-biblical data. Furthermore, we can learn also from those who put 
forth rather disturbing hypotheses (e.g., Baur). Woodbridge argues against 
a host of well-known scholars (e.g., Ramm, Marsden, Vawter, Rogers 
and McKim) over the assessment of the Enlightenment's impact on the 
doctrine of scripture and whether the conservative's view is novel. He 
contends that none of the views suggesting biblical errancy began either 
in the 16th, 17th or 18th centuries are supported by the evidence. He 
lists an impressive number of works and scholars, including Augustine, 
to demonstrate that conservative scholars during the decades of the 
Enlightenment merely emphasized what the church had long held. He 
further challenges the ability of scholars to agree on the definition of 
the term "Enlightenment." The vitality of the Christian faith was just 
as evident as reason in the 18th century as can be seen by the fact that 
Wesley and Whitefield lived their lives just as vigorously as Voltaire 
and Rousseau. One can see in the earlier, Roman Catholic as well as 
Protestant scholars before this period that a belief in the conservative 
doctrine of scripture had always been the position. He completely re- 
jects Ramm's assertion that evangelicals need to embrace the German 
Neologians and come to grips with the Enlightenment in order to avoid 
being obscuranists. Such an approach is to his mind a call away from 
the sound doctrine regarding the authority of Scripture. 

Two additional articles that build on Carson's foundation are Craig 
L. Blomberg's "The Legitimacy and Limits of Harmonization" and David 
G. Dunbar's. "The Biblical Canon." Blomberg's article is highly signifi- 
cant because he demonstrates with ample support how harmonization 
is a legitimate technique no different than textual criticism or any other 
critical approach for solving difficult passages. One cannot reject har- 
monization as out-of-hand because it has been used illegitimately. In 
fact, so has every other technique. And, to dismiss harmonization as 
a technique would be most uncritical indeed. 

Again Dunbar builds on Carson's concern about the inclusion or ex- 
clusion of canonical documents. Dunbar reviews the history of the for- 
mation of the O.T. and N.T. canon. He addresses the reputed role that 
controversy (e.g.. Gnosticism, Marcionism, Montanism) as well as key 
figures (e.g., Marcion, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus) played in the forma- 
tion of the canon. He further assesses the approaches to canon history 


of four contemporary scholars (e.g., Barr, Childs, Appel, Ridderbos). 
Dunbar presses for a distinction between canon, Scripture and apostolic 
authority as a way out of an all-or-nothing bind. Apostolicity is not 
necessarily to be equated with authorship because it is content and 
chronology that are key. While Scripture has been around from the very 
moment a book was planned, canon emerged later. Yet, in principle, 
the canon is closed on the basis of the salvation-historical context of 
the N.T. canon. Any new text could not re-open the canon because "the 
canon. . . is limited to those documents that the church experienced 
as foundational to its own existence." 

Unfortunately, space does not afford me the privilege to address the 
useful article by Douglas J. Moo, "The Problem of Sensus Plenior", 
in which he reviews the history of the problem and emerges with three 
possibilities of viewing the concept, all inherent in the Holy Writ; John 
M. Frame's, "The Spirit and the Scriptures", on the initial role and con- 
tinuing roles of the Holy Spirit in the inspiration process; nor Geoffrey 
W. Bromiley's, "The Authority of Scripture in Karl Earth", in which 
the merits of Earth's approach turn out to be the antithesis of the pro- 
blem it creates. For all intents and purposes one could draw the conclu- 
sion from Eromiley's assessment that Earth was a curious admixture 
of the ultimate systematic theologian when it comes to theological debate 
over biblical authority, and a devout fidiest as a practical theologian. 
This book, like its companion, is a valuable addition to the ongoing 
debate over biblical authority. It is good to see works from evangelical 
scholars that are as painstakingly researched and documented, and as 
cogent as the essays that appear in this collection. Too frequently 
evangelical scholars' works been summarily dismissed as basically "meta- 
faith" works. The thorough and persuasive essays, for example, by Car- 
son, Woodbridge, Elomberg, Vanhoozer, Silva must be met at that level 
— ad hoc, ad hominem, ad absurdum rebuttals will not do. 

All will not agree with all aspects of their arguments or conclusions. 
For example, questions might be raised about the following: 
1) The implications of Carson's relationship of method, truth and 
faith especially as it works itself out in the debate over contextuahza- 
tion (e.g., pp. 41-42. A similar concern exists with Packer's essay 
in the first book). 

2) The implications of Dunbar's approach to canon in inter- 
believing community dialogue over the form and function of the 
variety of canons. It seems to me that Dunbar misses an ample 
opportunity here for advancing the discussion when he relegates 
James A. Sanders' canonical criticism approach to a footnote. Surely 
there is a much greater difference between Childs' and Sanders' 
approach than can be captured in a footnote (pp. 424-25). 
3) Whether Vanhoozer's new title — "the divine discourse act" 
— eliminates the flaws inherent in the propositional revelation con- 
cept or not is an open question. Eut, surely Vanhoozer is in the 


boat of which he puts Geisler (p. 74), Preus (p. 74) and the shapers 
of the Chicago statement (p. 68) when he starts with the obvious 
presuppositional construct that "what Scripture says God says (p. 
93)." Isn't that, in fact, where the debate rages? Even if, for ex- 
ample, he was building on Grudem's essay in the first book there 
is still the problem of Achtemaier's approach (The Inspiration of 
Scripture) which wrestles with the same questions but with vastly 
different conclusions. 

It is sufficient to say that the vested interests, the point of departure 
and the theological launching pad for these scholars are clear. Wood- 
bridge speaks not only for historians when he says "the theological 
presuppositions of historians (including the present writer) sometimes 
get in the way of their honest effort to write scrupulously fair history" 
(P. 241), and I would add, as well as hold to a biblical authority that 
is wide enough to include all christians, narrow enough to avoid 
epistemological absurdity, wise enough to know the differences and hum- 
ble enough to acknowledge when you didn't. 

Obviously some will see this book as "checkmate" while others will 
see it as "stalemate" — i.e., another addition to the log jam that helps 
to cut off the flow of spirit. It would be nice if there is something in 
this book that helps break through the log jam so that the water might 

Dr. William Myers 

B.W. Anderson, Out of the Depths — The Psalms Speak for Us Today 
(Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983), $11.95 

L.C. Allen, Psalms 101-150, Word Biblical Commentary Series, Vol. 27, 
rev. and expanded (Waco: Word Books, 1983), $22.95 

PC. Craigie, Pslams 1-50, Word Biblical Commentary Series, Vol. 19, 
(Waco: Word Books, 1983), $22.95 

Few books in the canon receive as much attention as the Psalms. 
Perhaps this is because, as Athanasius reportedly said, the Psalms speak 
for us, not to us, in the language of the heart. Precisely because the 
Psalms are so general they are also universal. It is thus with real satisfac- 
tion that this reviewer is able to commend three studies on the Psalms 
that illuminate the content and context of these poems, prayers, and 

Bernhard Anderson's Out of the Depths remains the best general in- 
troduction to the psalms, especially if one is interested in studying the 
different types or genre of material in the Psalms. This readable study 
guide was first published in 1970 by the United Methodist Church. In 
its more recent incarnation it has been expanded by 50 pages to include 


new content, updated footnotes, new illustrations and appendices. 

From Anderson the reader learns that the Psalter is more like an an- 
cient hymnal than a prayerbook or collection of poetry, although clear- 
ly there are some prayers and much poetry. Anderson does not lose the 
reader in the vagaries of various compilation theories but makes clear 
that the psalms were composed, collected, and edited from the time of 
the early monarchy (1000 B.C.) to the post- Exilic period (possibly as 
late as 300 B.C.). He states that many if not most of the psalms in their 
present form are liturgical masterpieces to be sung, chanted, or recited 
in worship. In general, they are not private prayers or poems, as the 
various musical directions make clear. 

Anderson's greatest contribution, however, is in distinguishing the 
various types of psalms - individual and community laments; hymns; 
songs of trust, of Zion, of pilgrimage; wisdom, to rah, and royal psalms. 
He also helps us to understand the psalms in their original historical 
context and he shows how Israel used non-Israelite religious material, 
demythologizing it in order to praise Yahweh. If this book has a defect 
it is the same one we will find in Allen and Craigie's works, namely, 
the question of how the Christian may use the psalms, or how the psalms 
may be interpreted in a larger canonical context is not adequately 

The commentaries of Allen and Craigie come to us in what may be 
called the post-Dahoodian era. M. Dahood's ground breaking work in 
comparing the language and concepts of the Psalms to Ugaric has been 
fully processed. Allen and especially Craigie reflect a more critical stance 
toward Dahood's work than was the case or was possible in the 70's. 
Craigie is helpful because of his expertise in Ug ic and the scholar will 
find his volume a useful counterpoint to Dahood's first volume in the 
Anchor Bible Psalms. It is tragic that Craigie, who was recently killed 
in a car accident, will no longer be able to help us in these complex 

Both commentaries reflect a full grasp of the issues and literature that 
must be covered to deal with the psalms. Their technical notes on the 
Hebrew text of each Psalm will prove helpful to the scholar and lay per- 
son alike. Allen's notes are generally more exhaustive than Craigie's; 
both handle the material well. 

For the general reader, the portion of Craigie's commentary that will 
be most helpful is the section entitled "Comment and Explanation." Un- 
fortunately, Allen's commentary has no "Comment" section and so ex- 
egesis, theology, and implications are all lumped into one category. This 
can make for too brief an explanation of the text for the modern reader. 
In particular. Christian readers will find little help on such issues as: 
1) whether or not the royal Psalms may be treated Christologically; 2) 
how the pslams are used in the NT; 3) whether or not Christians can 
follow, in the light of historical critical exegesis, the Christological use 
of the Psalms in the NT. (Craigie, in his Introduction, does address this 


but on a Psalm by Psalm basis major questions are left unanswered); 
4) how the Psalms may be used in modern worship (prayed, or sung, 
or recited, or all three). 

In the end, the strength of both commentaries is in three areas: 1) 
translation and dealing with textual variants; 2) assessment of possible 
Ugaritic parallels or interpretive clues; 3) exegesis of the material in 
its original historical context. All of this is necessary but, as Brevard 
Childs has indicated, it is not sufficient for a modern audience wanting 
to know how it may use the Psalms. This is especially a problem for 
the Christian audience that intends to use this material in worship and 
is likely to use it in light of the NT and in particular with a Christocen- 
tric focus. It may be hoped that someone will now write a guide for 
the Christian use of the Psalms based on the work of Allen, Craigie, 
and Anderson. Then, hopefully, the journey from text to NT use to cur- 
rent application will be more ftilly made. Then the Psalms will become 
more accessible for the Church, to those with general historical interest, 
to those of the Jewish faith. 

These are three worthwhile books which should advance both scholarly 
and lay understanding of the Psalms. For this reason, they should be 
included in the Ubrary of any Biblical scholar or educated layperson. 

Dr. Ben Witherington 

James D.G. Dunn, The Evidence for Jesus (Philadelphia: Westminster 
1986), xiv 113 pp, $8.95 pb. 

This is a response to a notorious British television series of 1984, Jesus 
— the Evidence, which many Christians found extremely disturbing 
because it seemed to show that New Testament scholarship has effec- 
tively destroyed what we thought we knew about Jesus and Christian 
origins, and has put in its place a Jesus who could hardly serve as the 
basis of Christian faith. 

The series is already largely forgotten, but Dunn's book retains its 
value. It aims firstly to show where the programs gave a false impres- 
sion of the balance of scholarly views (and they were very lopsided, 
to put it mildly!), and secondly to educate the Christian layperson in 
understanding the positive contribution New Testament scholarship has 
to offer. Dunn makes it clear that traditional Christian ideas about Jesus, 
particularly about the nature of the evidence which the gospels offer 
us about him, are often based on misunderstandings which it is the task 
of historical scholarship to dispel. In this it is a friend, not an enemy. 
When it has done its work, in the hands of responsible experts, our grasp 
of the real Jesus will be the firmer, and will in no way threaten a living 
Christian faith. 

He isolates four central areas of discussion: the historical character 
of the Synoptic Gospels; Jesus as Son of God (with special reference 


to the Gospel of John); the Resurrection in New Testament behef; and 
the diversity and unity of first-century Christianity. Each is discussed 
in largely non-technical terms, but with full reference to current scholar- 
ship. It is all very familiar to anyone who has taken even a first degree 
in biblical studies, but to the ordinary church-goer some of it may be 
quite surprising. 

Chapter 1 aims to alert the reader to what the Synoptic Gospels are 
actually like. This is graphically done by printing several representative 
sections of a gospel synopsis, and commenting on the nature of the rela- 
tionship. Such a visual presentation is worth volumes of solid print. It 
is just the sort of exercise I get my undergraduates to do when they first 
get into gospel studies, and it is amazing how many Christians have been 
totally unaware of the character of the gospels they have read for so long. 
It can be an unsettling experience, but with Dunn's sensitive guidance, 
the reader will come to see that there is no cause for fear, and will be 
able to use the gospels more responsibly. 

The introduction to John in chapter 2 is potentially more disturbing, 
as the reader is left in no doubt as to the extent of the difference in 
character from the other gospels, and the questions this raises about the 
use of John as a historical source for what Jesus actually said and did. 
Here Dunn is closer to the central ground in critical scholarship than 
to the new confidence suggested by John Robinson's important Priority 
of John. In his estimate John emerges as an important painting rather 
than a 'straight' portrait of Jesus. 

The chapter on the resurrection is more reassuring to a conservative 
reader — indeed an outstandingly helpful, and quite thorough, treat- 
ment of a crucial topic in today's debate. The final chapter sets out in 
brief the position Dunn worked out in his Unity and Diversity in the 
New Testament. 

The lay reader, for whom the book is designed, may well feel at first 
that he has lost the innocence of traditional conservative instincts. But 
some of that needed to be questioned, and Dunn is no wrecker, dismantl- 
ing the cherished beliefs of the faithful for the sheer fun of it. He wants 
his reader to achieve a more realistic and therefore ultimately more solid 
grasp of the nature of the evidence for Jesus. The subject is too impor- 
tant for illusions to be left unchallenged, whether of the right or the left. 
You may not agree with all Dunn's views (especially on John?), but can 
any church afford to leave his questions unasked? 
Dr. R.T. France 
London Bible College 

F.F. Bruce, Jesus: Lord & Savior. 
InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, 228 pp. 

The question "Who is Jesus?" was asked by many people during 
the few years of His public ministry early in the first century AD. That 


Since this is true, F.F. Bruce considers the implications of referring 
to Jesus as the Son of God, the Son of Man, the incarnate Word, Saviour, 
the Coming One, and Lord. The author's conclusion is that a proper 
understanding of Jesus will lead us to find in Him our eternal contem- 
porary, as available to us as He was to the people of His day two thou- 
sand years ago. 

Even though this is a book on Christology, it is by no means an ex- 
haustive study of the subject. Rather, the design of the book seems to 
be one of getting the reader to understand the uniqueness of the historical 
Jesus. While getting acquainted through some helpful details of Jesus' 
life and ministry, one begins to comprehend that this was no ordinary 
man. Only then is Bruce ready to talk about Jesus in Christian experience. 
This is not a book for the serious student of Christology who is look- 
ing for a carefully reasoned statement answering the question "Who 
is Jesus?" It should not be compared to Oscar Cullman's The Christology 
of the New Testament or Bernard Ramm's An Evangelical Christology. 
It is designed for a different audience. It is the kind of book which would 
be helpful to the college sophomore or young business executive who 
is seeking to become better acquainted with the Jesus he was recently 
introduced to who has provided him with forgiveness and given him 
a new purpose in life. 

Well might we ask "Why another book on Christology?" F.F. Bruce's 
reason for writing the book is clearly stated in the following paragraph 
taken from page 20: 

If the Christian claim is well founded, that God revealed himself 
pre-eminently in the life and death of Jesus, then it is of the highest 
importance to know as completely and accurately as possible what 
kind of life and death it was in which God thus revealed himself. 
Christians of all people should be the last to play down the necessity 
of examining all the evidence that is available for the life and death 
of the historical Jesus. Happily, such evidence is readily accessi- 
ble, inviting intelligent evaluation; and there is no reason for 
pessimism about the outcome of such evaluation. 
Jesus: Lord & Savior is a succinctly stated declaration that when a 
woman or man becomes acquainted with Jesus of Nazareth they come 
face to face with not only the Jesus of history but also the Christ of 
faith. The book is an important addition to the Jesus Library Series 
published by InterVarsity Press. 

Dr. Gordon G. Zimmerman 

Myron Rush. 

Burnout: Practical help for lives out of balance. 

(Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1987) 


Is there life after burnout? Yes, but the road to recovery is a long one 
and must be accompanied by a trusted confidant. Rush, a self-confessed 
workaholic who experienced burnout has written a very helpful text as 
he identifies the causes and symptoms of burnout as well as recovery 
procedures and tips on avoiding it altogether. 

This text is critical reading for over-achieving, perfectionists, who are 
working harder and longer but are being less productive. Relatives of 
these personalities should also devour the text. 

Dr. M.E. Drushal 

Terry A. Armstrong, Douglas L. Busby, Cyril F. Carr, ed. 
A Reader's Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament 
Grand Rapids: Zondervan 

Vol. I-II (in one): Genesis - II Kings, 1982, 230 pp., $16.95 
Vol. Ill: Isaiah - Malachi, 1986, 220 pp., $14.95 

John R. Kohlenberger III, ed. 

The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament 

Grand Rapids: Zondervan 

4 volume set, 1979-1985, $95.80 set, $24.95 volume 

Zondervan is to be commended for its realization of a need for quali- 
ty reference material, and for seeking to meet it. Any tool which assists 
the student and pastor in their biblical exegesis, especially of the original 
languages, is to be welcomed. This is the goal of these two sets, with 
each making its own distinct contribution. 

Kohlenberger starts the first volume with instructions on the series' 
use, it being for those who have at least some Hebrew competency. It 
aids in determining the Hebrew words corresponding to the English 
translation, and also shows the Hebrew syntax, but it does not, nor is 
it intended to be a tool for word studies. It is also not a translation, but 
an intermediate step and a tool for translation. Kohlenberger introduces 
the Hebrew alphabet and vowels, and briefly discusses the Hebrew and 
English texts and introduces the translation technique for his inter-linear 
text, which is based on the NIV, but allows the editor's own contriub- 
tion. He provides a brief bibliography often items on tra).slation, Hebrew 
grammar and lexicons. The introductory section closes with the regular 
NIV preface. Other volumes briefly look at e.g. Hebrew vs. Greek 
canonical order (Greek is followed in this series) and the Aramaic of 
Ezra, Daniel and Jeremiah. 

The body of the text itself consists of a continuous NIV text along 
the outside margin accompanying the Masoretic Leningradensis B19a 
text of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Below the Hebrew is the 
English translation of each Hebrew word except the direct object in- 


dicator. The form is right to left, following Hebrew word order, but the 
English translations of each word are given in ordinary English order, 
joined by hyphens. For example, v^na'b^rah (I Sam. 14:1) is translated 
"and-let-us-go-over" showing the copula, cohortative and semantic con- 
tent of the root. 

This series will be of use for those who find that one course in Hebrew 
is not enough for exegesis. They can locate the corresponding Hebrew 
word and then proceed with their exegetical study of it. Those who have 
gone beyond the elementary stage, however, will probably not find the 
series sufficiently useful to merit purchase. This is not due to any fault 
in the work, but due to their increased competency having made it 

The Armstrong-Busby-Carr series has a wider range of applications. 
It is intended to facilitate rapid Hebrew reading in that it lists verse-by- 
verse in English canonical order those words occuring fifty or fewer 
times in the Old Testament. Those occuring over fifty times should be 
memorized and are listed in an appendix. Adjectives and nouns occur 
in their absolute form and words occur as the 3ms perfect of the stem 
in the text, unless that particular form does not occur in the Old Testa- 
ment, when it is presented as an unpointed root. Following the Hebrew 
is an indicator of word frequencies in parentheses. For verbs, this in- 
cludes frequency of the stem in the book being read, the occurences 
of the stem in the Old Testament, and the occurences in the book and 
Old Testament as a whole. A final number indicates the page in F. Brown, 
S.R. Driver and C. A. Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old 
Testament on which the word is discussed. There is also a definition 
of the Hebrew word taken from BDB. 

The above description should indicate that the series is intended for 
those who have had at least intermediate Hebrew, since a fair amount 
of competence is necessary in order to determine the listed forms. It 
shows the importance of vocabulary building, even to the extent that suf- 
ficient work in this area would make the work unnecessary. The series 
will find a useful place in the library of the student and pastor's library 
who is in the middle stages of their mastery of Hebrew. 

Dr. David W. Baker 

Nahum M. Sarna 

Exploring Exodus: The Heritage of Biblical Israel 

Schocken, 1986 

$17.95 hard/$8.95 paper 

Sama, Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University 
is a pleasure to read not only for his great insight into the biblical text 
and its cultural, social and religious environment but also for his lucidi- 


ty, which is too often lacking in scholarly writing. He tackles the critical 
problems and issues in Exodus with a thoroughness which has become 
familiar through his earlier work on Understanding Genesis. The book 
is accessable to the student and pastor and will provide great assistance 
in preparation for class or pulpit. Coming from a Jewish perspective, 
he reminds us that the Old Testament has a message in its own right 
as well as its own integrity, which he clearly and interestingly expounds. 

Dr. David W. Baker 

Robert E. Coleman 

Evangelism on the Cutting Edge 

Old Tappan: Power Books, Fleming Revell, 1986 

156 pages. $5.95 (pb) 

Barry Wood 

Questions Non Christians Ask Today 

Old Tappan: Power Books, Fleming Revell, 1986 

192 pages. $5.95 (pb) 

If one is collecting books on evangelism here are two more. My ques- 
tion in looking at them is, "Is there enough new in them to say that 
we need them?" Let us look at the content of each and see if they are 
worth their low paper back price. 

Coleman is well known for a number of good books including The 
Master Plan of Evangelism. Notice that he only edits this book. It has 
authors as diverse as Kenneth Kantzer (an Ashland College graduate!) 
who is well known to many of us, David Hesslegrave, Timothy Warner, 
and William Taylor (field missionaries turned seminary professors), 
and popular psychologist Gary Collins. Trinity Divinity School has tried 
a number of ways to pull together their faculty writings in such a 

This is not Coleman's USA evangelism, this is a missions book. It 
deals with world wide witnessing. Yet, much of what is said of contex- 
tualization and demon confrontation, etc. is not just the stuff of the mis- 
sionary. These things are here in Cleveland, San Francisco, and in 
Ashland and Conshohocken. The book deals with what is hindering the 
work of reaching the world and attempts to renew the urgency for ser- 
vice and proclamation. I will put the page numbers in brackets after 
my comments should you want to confirm — or question them. The 
names of the contributors are impressive (6) but the adjectives used for 
them are somewhat over done (8,9). 

Kantzer presents a summary of the liberal views that all religions lead 
to God, points out liberal trends, and helps to sharpen the evangelical 
missionary's awareness of the world mission context. He concludes with 


a restatement of the old question, "Are the heathen really lost?" 

Johnson has an eleven-page essay on church unity and mission but 
actually reverts to fighting old battles on the Battle for the Bible issues 
(from his earlier book!) and fails to point out the thousands of evangelical 
churches, pastors, missionaries and lay-workers committed to the lost's 

Detzler follows with an overdrawn case for the Bible as the basis for 
revival. It is as if the formula is: believe the Bible and ask for more 
prayer, commitment, and the providence of God. His chapter ending 
does broaden the concept and adds relationship, repentance, and 

The missionary writers rise to their subjects and Taylor, Hesselgrave, 
and Warner, give us good chapters. Hesselgrave, as usual (see his other 
books), is a capable craftsman and handles contextualization well. People 
fear that contextualization is, or brings, a distortion of the Gospel. He 
says, "Biblical contextualization preserves a pure Gospel while com- 
municating it in a cuhurally meaningful way" (82). In more good 
writing, Warner presents the demonic. While his cases are overseas 
examples, this is an area where pastors could profit. A small town youth 
social worker asked me questions about a delinquent school girl that 
baffled him. She was obviously involved, with her parents, in the oc- 
cult. Warner would have helped him. 

It is exciting to see psychologist Gary Collins (our ATS speaker at 
last year's ministry conference) take on Schuller (106)! Perry gives a 
good course in homiletics in nine pages! Preachers and evangelists will 
love the good material here. One could wonder how the two chapters 
fit in — they do somewhat, and that is the problem of trying, on the 
one hand, to have all the faculty contribute, and attempting, on the other, 
to have them write in their fields on the subject! Coleman does a good 
job on life-style evangelism and Kaiser, an Old Testament scholar, does 
well in bringing the challenge to theological schools and to the readers 
to function on the cutting edge of world evangelism. 

In his book, Barry Wood does stay with what the title suggests, and 
goes beyond the questions to the answers. With our neighbors being 
so multi-cultural and of diverse religions the book has a place of value. 
Wood covers not just the cults but the intellectuals and their arguments, 
the scientific view (1 Iff), questions of the Bible's truthfialness, and even 
psychology, before getting on to the various non-Christian faiths. He 
presents each religion by setting out its tenants and then gives methods 
of presenting the Gospel. Beyond Moon, Muslims, and Jews, he handles 
pain, predestination, gurus, and homosexuals. "The book is designed 
to help the Christian witness share his faith with others" (7). It would 
make a good study book for an evangelism class. 

This is not a heavy book. The author's style varies from, "that you 
must make up your mind and decide if you want God's banana split 
for your life — or do you want to settle for Satan's spinach?" (175) 


to, "All religion is fundamentally man's philosophy about God and the 
universe" (143). I always like to see a good index and Wood has in- 
cluded one. 

To answer my opening question, "Are they worth adding to the row 
of books on evangelism?" — if you put the first one alongside a world 
evangelism book that is where it belongs, but there are better books 
if you need a basic look at world concerns. You do need the answers 
that Wood gives if you do not have anything on sharing the Gospel with 
those of other faiths. 

Dr. Fred Holland 



It is not reasonable - 
What He has done 
To send to the cross 
His only born Son. 

It makes no sense 

If he loved his child 

That he consigned him to die 

For the wicked and wild. 

It was completely unfair 
The carpenter was nailed 
He did not deserve it 
It was us who failed. 

God must be crazy 
Or so some may say, 
To make such a plan 
And execute it that way. 

Yet the cruelty of God 
Was his kindness to me 
And by his foolishness 
He set us free. 

There is love in death 
More than in life 
There is wisdom in wrath 
That ends human strife. 

God's ways are not human 
Our eyes cannot see 
The logic of love, 
Nailed to a tree. 



^ e 


SRACE theolocicai seminary 





Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio Winter 1989 


From Augustine to Theory Z, from ancient Near Eastern comparisons 
with Moses to influences on Wesley, from books for scholars to one 
for kids, this issue should contain at least some material of interest to 

We welcome not only the customary contributions from faculty, both 
regular and adjunct, but also from present and former students in the 
form of review articles. You should expect student contributions to 
become even more apparent in the future. 

We trust that you will find material of use for yourself and your ministry 
in the following pages, and that our efforts might serve for the furtherance 
of the Kingdom. » 

This issue of the Ashland TheologicalJoumal is dedicated to Dr. Charles 
Munson, Professor of Practical Theology at Ashland Seminary. Charles 
joined the faculty of the seminary in 1953. He received his A.B. from 
Ashland College in 1947, his B.D. from Ashland Theological Seminary 
in 1952, his Th.M. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1954 and 
his Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 1971. 

Charles has served the Seminary faithfully for 36 years as a professor 
and in the office of the Dean from 1980-85. This year brings a well 
deserved retirement. It is with our deepest love and appreciation that 
we dedicate this issue to Charles Robert Munson. 

David W. Baker 
December, 1988 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 




The Spirit of Evangelism 1 

Dr. Luke L. Keefer, Jr. 

The Mosaic Covenant Against its Environment 9 

Dr. David W. Baker 

Augustine: A Pilgrimage of Grace 19 

Rev. Duane W. H. Arnold and Dr. George Fry 

Elementary My Dear Watson: The Effect of Richard Watson 
on American Methodism 29 

Dr. Ben Witherington III 

Implementing Theory Z in the Church: Managing People 
As Jesus Did 47 

Dr. Mary Ellen Drushal 

Review Articles 
E. B. Borowitz, Contemporary Christologies: 

A Jewish Response by Allan Bevere 63 

L. R. Buzzard and S. Brandon, Jr., Church Discipline 
and the Courts by M. David Burton 67 

Book Reviews 69 

Books Received 90 

Editorial Committee: • . 

David W. Baker, Editor 
William H. Myers 
Bradley E. Weidenhamer 
Ben Witherington III 

-Volume XX 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 

The Spirit Of evangelism^ 

by Dr. Luke L. Keefer* 

There is an essential relationship between the ministry of the Holy 
Spirit and the church's ministry of evangelism. The annals of church 
history have abundantly demonstrated that a loss of attention to either 
of those subjects has resulted in an attendant eclipse of the other. The 
two have become, as it were, one flesh. If the church ever tolerates 
their divorce, it will find itself to be fighting against God, for he has 
fashioned their union. 

While our focus today cannot hope to take in the comprehensive scope 
of this subject, we can hopefully see something of the urgency of the 
Spirit's work in the area or evangelism. Evangelism is a specialized 
form of communication. If we reduce communication to its three sim- 
ple elements of speaker, message, and hearer, we can see how the Spirit 
of God functions in each part of the communication process to bring 
about salvation. 

In bringing this subject into its biblical focus, I will be using the book 
of Acts as a constant context for the message. It will furnish the primary 
examples for our consideration. Within that general framework, I want 
also to use one of the resurrection accounts from John's Gospel 

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being 
shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood 
among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said 
this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were 
glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with 
you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had 
said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy 
Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain 
the sins of any, they are retained." 

Here, in this passage which most Protestants have avoided because 
of the use the Roman Catholic Church has made of it, is a paradise 
of nourishment that will reward our attendance upon it. 

I. In the first place, it is obvious that the Holy Spirit is essential to 
evangelism because he molds the speakers of the gospel. Evangelism 
is a people enterprise. It begins with the men and women whom God 
chooses to be his witnesses. 

When it says of Jesus that he breathed upon the disciples, we take 
our clue for this symbolic act from the second chapter of Genesis. For 
just as God fashioned man out of dust of the ground and then made 

*Dr. Keefer is Associate Professor of Church History and Theology at ATS. 

him a living being by breathing his life upon his face (Gen. 2:7), so 
here Jesus was fashioning a new order of humanity out of the ashes 
of Adamic chaos. For three years he shaped the men and women who 
would be the backbone of the Church on the day of Pentecost. Finally, 
with hands that bore the visible prints of his recent passion, he put the 
finishing touches to his creation and brought it to life by the creative 
breath of the Holy Spirit. His witnesses would be a vast company of 
new Adams and Eves created to be spokepersons for God. 

Many have puzzled over the difference of this serene setting of the 
Spirit's bestowal and the rather dramatic one in the book of Acts. Were 
they two separate events or two vastly different descriptions of the same 
thing? While one's perspective on this question is not of decisive prac- 
tical consequence, I hold them to be both different in occasion and in 
effect, though they are vitally joined one to another by the Spirit who 
brings both to pass. One is the inward equipping of the disciple, and 
the other is the outward equipping of the believer. But the inevitable 
result of both is evangelism. 

No phrase could convey in more graphic terms the need of the disciples 
for this interior Pentecost than the verse which says they were behind 
closed doors. Whatever good they may have been to each other in their 
fellowship of fear, it is clear no evangelism can take the place in their 
isolation from the world. Here they are at the close of resurrection Sun- 
day. They are party to the most fantastic good news since the fall of 
mankind into sin. Christ is alive; salvation is accomplished! But the 
broadcast transmitters sit silent in an upper room in Jerusalem. 

Why was this so? The concluding chapters of the four gospels point 
to some of the reasons. In the very passages where Jesus disclosed to 
the disciples his full messianic identity and spoke plainly about his ap- 
proaching death, the disciples reveal what were their inmost motiva- 
tions as well. They were dreaming of a restored kingdom of Israel in 
which only the Jews would reap the benefits. They were unfit for witness 
because of their pride of race. ^ And so as they passed through Samaria 
and Jesus was mistreated, they wanted to call down fire from heaven 
upon the Samaritans (Lk. 9:51-56). 

They were unfit witnesses because of their pride of place. Jesus talk- 
ed of servanthood and death, and they argued about who was the greatest 
and about who would be second in command to Jesus in the kingdom 
(Mk. 9:33-37; 10:32-45). Being heralds of the cross was far too lowly 
a job for those who wanted to crowd in upon the Messiah's throne and 
crown. They sought the splendor of the kingdom not its slave work. 

They were unfit for witness because of their violent spirit. When it 
finally dawned upon them that Jesus would be taken to his death, Peter 
drew his sword to defend his Lord. And immediately one would-be ar- 
rester had only half the hearing capacity that he had before (Jn. 18: 10), 
thanks to Peter's violent behavior. And one might press the illustration 

to say that it has ever been so in church history. Whenever Christians 
have reached for swords in the name of Christ, they have lost their abiHty 
to witness to their enemies. To this very hour North American Chris- 
tians are not very effective witnesses to Germans, to Japanese, to Viet- 
namese, to Latin Americans, and to American Indians. Violence and 
evangelism do not mix. 

Jesus represented in his person the ability to treat people without par- 
tiality, the cherished role of servanthood to all, and the peaceful valu- 
ing of every human life. His witnesses could not speak forth his message 
with integrity while exhibiting in their lives the very opposite 
characteristics. They needed the inner working of his gende Spirit to 
fashion them into the image of their Master. And so he breathed on 
them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." 

Did it work? Take the assessment of the very people who sought to 
find fault with their character. They were amazed at these simple 
Galileans, but they sensed rightly "that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 
4:13). The mold marks of Christ's character were upon them. His label 
of ownership was visible in their life. 

Their renewed nature was manifest in their speech and conduct. Racial 
prejudice is overcome. Peter and John go to the Samaritans and lay 
hands on their heads, praying that they be filled with the same Spirit 
that filled them (Acts 8). They call down upon the Samaritans the fire 
of the Spirit, whereas formerly they wanted to call down the fires of 
destruction upon them. Peter enters the house of a Gentile and says, 
"I perceive God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who 
fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him" (Acts 10:34, 35). 

Pride of place is overcome as well. Barnabas cares so much for the 
advancement of the church, that he recruits Paul for the work even though 
that means that Barnabas will slip to second place in importance (Acts 
11). Two deacons, Stephen and Philip, can become effective evangelists 
without the twelve apostles moving to silence them for exercising the 
preacher's office without a license (Acts 6-8). Before Acts has run its 
course, a young man like Timothy is exercising pastoral authority, and 
Philip's daughters are functioning as prophetesses in Palestine (Acts 
21 :9) without anyone fearing that God's order in the church is threatened. 
Rather, as Peter proclainied on the day of Pentecost, Joel's prophecy 
was fulfilled in that male and female, old and young, highborn and 
lowborn were receiving the Spirit and bearing witness for Christ (Acts 

Gone too was the impulse to serve God by wielding the sword. One 
can hardly imagine a more detested symbol of Roman oppression than 
a Roman soldier. Twice Palestine was brought to disaster when zealous 
Jewish patriots attacked the Roman forces in hopes of throwing off the 
yoke of foreign rule. But Peter, after some special preparations by God's 
Spirit, went to the house of a Roman centurion in Caesarea and shared 

the good news of Jesus with him, witnessed his household's reception 
of the Spirit, and baptized them into the Kingdom of the Lamb (Acts 10). 

Yes, this gentle Pentecost of John 20 had brought into being a new 
kind of disciple, one different at heart than in the scenes of the gospel 
stories. How necessary this was before they should be clothed with the 
power of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Lk. 24:49)! The very ex- 
pression of the Spirit falling upon them, of clothing them with himself, 
reminds us of the stories of the book of Judges. There we see people 
doing exploits of violence against Israel's enemies, though their per- 
sonal lives at times were morally deficient. Had the strong winds of 
the Spirit in Acts 2 clothed the disciples with sheer power, the narratives 
of Acts might read like the book of Judges. No, such dynamic power 
cannot be trusted to unfit persons, for it would only increase their capacity 
for harm. That's why Peter tells Simon the sorcerer that his heart is 
not fit for God's gift of the Spirit (Acts 8:21). 

But the inward Pentecost of John 20 was the necessary preparation 
for the outward Pentecost of Acts 2. Renewed in the image of Christ, 
the disciples were ready to be clothed in this power. The immediate 
result was that they left the Upper Room, and took to the streets of 
Jerusalem. The church was born in the Upper Room, but its first infant 
cries were uttered on the streets to the amazed people who crowded 
the festival city. The fear that had locked them up is replaced by a 
boldness that carries them out to the world. The Easter message was 
out of the closet and into the crossroads of the earth. It would spread 
in rapid fashion from Jerusalem to Samaria and Antioch, across Asia 
Minor and Greece, and finally reach the seat of world power in Rome. 
It feared not civil nor religious authorities, for the secret of its power 
was the conviction that "we must obey God rather than men" (Acts 

Can any of us read this story without being struck by the awful irony 
of the situation? The very settings in which we rehearse this story to 
each other, and at times get carried away by it, are so like those of 
the disciples in John 20. We are behind doors locked by our own con- 
trivance. Our prayer meetings do not spill over into the streets of our 
chief metropolitan areas — due in part to the fact that we no longer 
venture into such areas. For the most part, our religious gatherings are 
fellowships of fear. Do not our own hearts tell us that evangelism is 
not likely to happen among us in any appreciable measure unless we, 
the potential witnesses, are prepared for the task by the Spirit of 
evangelism? Breathe on us anew, O Resurrected Christ, that we might 
be equipped by the Holy Spirit within and without to communicate your 

II. Secondly, the Holy Spirit is essential to evangelism because he is 
the one who fashions our message. The content, the communication, 
and the effects of our message are all shaped by the Spirit of God. 

Paul reminded Timothy that the Scriptures were God-breathed and 
thus were the only true instruction for salvation (II Tim. 3:15-17). The 
gospels tell us that Jesus' primary ministry to the disciples after his resur- 
rection was to teach them to see how the Old Testament pointed to him 
and his redemptive mission. When it comes to the book of Acts, one 
is struck by the powerful, skillful use of the Scripture in the disciples' 
public preaching and private witness. Aided by the Spirit, as Jesus pro- 
mised they would be in John chapters 14-16, they blended the testimony 
of the written Word with their eye and ear witness accounts from the 
ministry of Jesus. Many were unconvinced by their message to be sure, 
but it is absolutely astounding what power their witness had when found- 
ed on the Word. 

History has confirmed the issue over and over in the likes of John 
Chrysostom, John Wycliff, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Billy Graham, 
and a great cloud of other witnesses. It is the Word of God that con- 
verts sinners. God has breathed life into the pages of Scripture. It is 
when we open the Word to the hearers that they feel this vital breath 
of the Spirit infuse their own beings with God's life. 

At the heart of this scriptural message was the word of redemption. 
In the gospels, the disciples repeatedly missed Jesus' words about the 
cross. On the heels of his great confession that Jesus was the Christ, 
Peter actually started to rebuke Jesus for talking about death on a cross 
(Mk. 8:27-38). But now the cross has become central to their proclama- 
tion. The Christ who stood among them and said, "Peace," did so with 
nailprints in his hands and a scar on his side. They came to understand 
that the only basis for remission of sins which they were to proclaim 
was the cross of Christ. Their preaching in Acts is obsessed with the 
cross. It is in virtually every message by direct reference or clear allu- 
sion. In the words of E. Stanley Jones, the disciples were not dispensers 
of good views but of good news. Christ crucified is every person's 
charter of salvaton. And the Holy Spirit is never more actively engag- 
ed in witness than when our witness enters the street of the Via Dolorosa. 

Yet, while the redemptive message holds center stage in every gospel 
witness in Acts, there is nothing routine or stereotyped about it. The 
message is put differendy .when Peter preaches to the crowd at Pentecost 
(Acts 2) than when Philip talks privately to the eunuch in the desert 
south of Jerusalem (Acts 8:26-39). Paul does not say the same things 
in the Jewish synagogue as he does on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-34). The 
central theme of redemprion is wonderfully personalized in every case. 
Only the Spirit of omniscence could ever prompt one to shape the gospel 
story in such a way as to address the particular questions of the individual 
conscience. Frequently in our witnessing it is some incidental remark 
or kind act that is providentially ordered by God to go straight to a per- 
son's heart. Here we are clearly beyond natural explanations for why 
things happen as they do, but what is to us unfamiliar territory is home 
turf for the Holy Spirit, indispensable as he is to the message we share. 

One final observation before we leave this area of the Spirit's role 
in evangelism. It is a natural corollary to the personalizing of the gospel 
to each person that we have just observed. I am struck by the power 
of application in the preaching of Jesus and the early Christians. This 
is, I believe, a lost art in much of modern Christianity. In order not 
to offend anyone, we so often talk in studied generalities. We might 
as well be talking about a recent show we observed on television. Both 
parties are free to offer comments upon it, but neither one feels he has 
to do anything with the other's views. It was different when the Spirit 
was present with power. People felt that the conversation ended with 
an urgent question mark. Some kind of response was expected. They 
could not change the subject nor immediately plunge into some other 
activity. They had been put into a jury box and forced to listen to a 
witness. The judge was awaiting their verdict. What would it be? For 
our witness to have that quality to it, the Holy Spirit will need to energize 
it in an uncommon fashion. 

ni. The Holy Spirit is essential to evangelism because he alone prepares 
the hearers to receive the message. Think, for a moment, of the area 
of mass communication. Thousands of messages are on the electronic 
media at any moment of the day. But unless some set is tuned into the 
proper frequency, the message will not be received. How dependent 
we are likewise on the Spirit of God to get people tuned in to the message 
we have to share. 

Jesus said, "No one can come to me, unless the Father, who sent 
me draws him" (Jn. 6:44). Acts is a living demonstration of this fact. 
In Acts 2 God put on a spectacle of sight and sound that got the atten- 
tion of a multitude. It appears that the crowd's ability to hear each in 
his own language was as much a miracle of hearing as of speaking. 
No matter about the details, the people's hearts certainly were ready, 
for before the day was over 3,000 sealed their faith in baptism. 

Some of the individual stories of preparation in Acts are absolutely 
spine tingling. Take the Ethiopian in Acts 8. How else can you explain 
the timing that brought Philip from Samaria to the Gaza Desert at the 
precise moment the eunuch was puzzling over Isaiah 53. Move on to 
Acts 10 where a sincere Roman soldier at prayer was told to send for 
a man he never knew, temporarily residing in a town somewhat distant 
from his own. How God timed a preparatory dream for Peter to coin- 
cide with the arrival of Cornelius' messengers is simply thrilling. By 
the time Peter got to Caesaria, Cornelius had his whole house ready 
for his visit. What preparation on the part of God's Spirit! No wonder 
their reception of Peter's message and the Spirit that attended it seem- 
ed so effortless. 

Stories abound nearer our own time, many of them out of missionary 
history. Baptist missionaries in Burma were surprised by their instant 
success in a rural village that had no previous contact with Christian- 

ity. Then they discovered that a lady in the village had a dream in which 
two white-skinned men arrived in her village carrying a black book under 
their arm. What's more, they were dressed in the black suits fashionable 
in the United States at the time. God told her in the dream that these 
people would tell them the words of life. She told the villagers about 
her dream, but it all seemed rather fantastic to those who had never 
seen Westerners in their entire experience. Imagine their surprise when 
two missionaries arrived in the exact image of the women's dream. 

I have no doubt that should we turn this into a testimony service we 
could go on for hours with stories out of your own lives where you 
shared a word of witness and found God had been preparing the person 
ahead of time for the seed you would drop upon well prepared soil . 

Not only does the Spirit precede your word; he also attends it. In 
John 15:26, 27, Jesus said that the disciples would bear witness to him 
as also would the Holy Spirit whom he would send. Here was the an- 
cient Jewish principle that every word would be established in the mouth 
of two witnesses (Dt. 17:6). It is not sufficient for a person to be con- 
victed before God on the basis of our testimony alone. It takes the con- 
firming witness of the Spirit to bring about a sentence of conviction. 
This was why the apostolic witness got results. Peter put the matter 
clearly in Acts 5:32: "And we are witnesses to these things, and so 
also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." 
For them Christian witness was a duet and not a solo. 

The Spirit remains with the hearers after we are gone, skillfully hit- 
ting the playback button to the witness we recorded on their memory. 
For some time after the Apostle Paul participated in the martydom of 
Stephen, he continued his way of Jewish devotion, intensifying his 
persecution of Christians in the attempt to silence what he could not 
refute. But somehow Stephen's charge that he, like others, was resisting 
God kept disturbing his conscience. When the light of the Damascus 
road arrested him, God asked him why he was persecuting the Lord 
Jesus. The charge of Stephen had struck fast like an arrow and now 
was brought to a climax, by the work of the Spirit of God. 

Our witness can bring people to the presence of Jesus, but His Spirit 
must convert the soul. There is a close connection between the message 
of remission of sin that we proclaim and God's actual forgiveness bestow- 
ed upon receptive hearts. One of the sensitivities of the Spirit is to help 
us do our part well and then not intrude upon the work that God alone 
can do. If we are not careful here we will get decisions but people will 
not really be drawn into the Kingdom of God. But we can walk in con- 
fidence that God will execute his job without fail. As the third runner 
of a relay passes the baton on the last runner, there is a great sense 
of relief. His lap is run and the race is in the hands of the swiftest run- 
ner on the team. So too, when we have completed our act of witness, 
we rejoice that the matter of conversion is now in the hands of God. 

It is time for us to come to a conclusion on this subject. It should 
be clear to us from Scripture and from Christian experience that the 
Holy Spirit is the essential ingredient in evangelism. He molds the 
witnesses for their task. He energizes their message. He prepares the 
heart of the hearers to receive the remission of sins we proclaim. 

How then can we be equipped by the Spirit for our task of witness? 
I am struck by the role of prayer in the passages under consideration. 
In Luke 11:13, the passage where Jesus teaches on prayer, it says that 
God gives the Spirit to those who ask Him. This is the only explicit 
activity we know the 120 engaged in as they awaited the "promise of 
the Father'' (Acts 1:15). When the Apostles were persecuted and felt 
they needed strength for witness, they prayed until strengthened to meet 
the challenge by the boldness of the Spirit (Acts 4:23-31). It was to 
a church in prayer at Antioch (Acts 13) that the missionary direction 
came to send Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles. 

I know of no other way to be open to the Spirit of evangelism in our 
midst. A prayerless church will not be an evangelistic church, and a 
prayerless Christian will not be strong in witness. We must go to our 
knees before we can stand to our feet. In the words of E. Stanley Jones, 
"We cannot go further until we go deeper." Prayer got the Easter news 
from behind closed doors to the streets of Jerusalem. "Pray, therefore, 
the Lord of the harvest that He would send his people forth into the 
harvest" (Mt. 9:38). 

'This message was originally preached in 1986 at the Allegheny Regional 
Conference of the Brethren In Christ Church during the biennium in which 
the denominational theme was "Energized to Evangelize." 

^This message is heavily indebted throughout to the insights of E. Stanley 
Jones as found in his Tlie Christ of Every Road: A Study in Pentecost (New 
York: Abingdon Press, 1930). 

The Mosaic Covenant 
Against its Environment^ 

by Dr. David W. Baker* 

We are all aware from our own personal experience the truth of the 
words of John Donne found in his Devotions when he observed that 
"No man is an island, entire of itself." As no man can be completely 
alone, unaffected by others, so no nation is completely isolated. All 
are children of their environment, affected by the beliefs, morality and 
literature of their neighbours. Israel of the Bible is no different. Even 
in the matter of the special covenant relationship with God which 
separated her as a nation from among her neighbours, even here, in 
a situation which made her unique in her world, there was considerable 
influence from her contemporaries on the form and content of this 

We will start this paper by looking at several of the similarities bet- 
ween the Israelite covenant documents and those of the peoples to her 
north, south, and east. This is an area of study which has become in- 
creasingly recognized and publicized in the last fifty years, and conse- 
quently many will be aware of it (see McCarthy 1978). Therefore, these 
similarities will not take all of our time. We will also attempt to ex- 
plore at least one aspect of Israel's convenant which is different from 
those of the same period, an aspect which makes Israel truly unique. 

Fifty five years ago, Victor Korosec published a seminal and far- 
reaching study of the Hittite treaties or covenants from the second millen- 
nium BCE (Korosec 1931). These were legal agreements reached be- 
tween the Hittite rulers and other leaders of that period. Subsequent 
study has found that these were probably influenced by earlier Mesopota- 
mian and Syrian prototypes, so that the common designation 'Hittite' 
as describing their ultimate origin is a misnomer, though I will use it 
here (McCarthy 1978:29-36). 

Korosec found the treaties to fall into two categories. Parity treaties 
were effected between two parties on equal-footing relationship bet- 
ween two relative equals such as Hatti and Mitanni or Kizuwatna, or 
between two such powers as Hatti and the Egyptians under Ramses II. 
These treaties shared common elements, including the self-laudatory 
titles of each party, the history of the relationships between the two 
parties, an affirmation of brotherhood, a list of terms, which were the 
real reason for the treaty in the first place, and a list of divine witnesses, 
consisting of the chief deities of each side who would be responsible 

*Dr. Baker is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at ATS. 

for bringing about the blessings or curses called down upon the party 
who kept or abrogated the covenant. 

During the time of Moses, while the Israelites were wandering in 
the wilderness, they were not a great nation with a ruler who was on 
a par with anyone. Therefore, this type of treaty between equals is not 
of direct relevance to us here today. 

The second type of treaty which Korosec recognized is relevant to 
our discussion. These treaties are called suzerainty or vassal treaties 
and are of a different order from the parity treaties. They bind an in- 
ferior party by oath to the terms set down by the superior, the Great 
King. The inferior is made a subordinate, a vassal, to his superior or 
suzerain, the Hittite king. 

Several aspects of this type of treaty are worth noting. The mutual 
support established between the two parties is primarily to the benefit 
of the 'Great King.' He himself is usually not bound by oath to any 
terms, except in the matter of succesion to the vassal's throne, which 
he might declare to be honored or guaranteed by the great king. In an 
Egyptian copy of treaty, we find, "Behold, the son of Hattusilis, the 
lord of Hatti land, shall be made king of the Hatti land in the place 
of Hattusilis, his father, after the many years of his father. If the 
noblemen of Hatti land commit sin against him — lo! ...the king of 
Egypt shall send foot soldiers and charioteers to take revenge upon them 
for the sake of the Hatti land. And after they have reestablished order 
in the country of the king of the Hatti land, they shall return to the country 
of Egypt" (Pritchard 1969:203). 

The vast bulk of responsiblity fell upon the vassal. Since he had no 
legal claim upon his superior, being only a vassal, his only course was 
to trust in the suzerain's goodwill, or lack of it. 

Vassal treaties, much like parity treaties, share common elements, 
although these are by no means rigid in structure. Individual treaties 
could omit or rearrange the constituent parts. These elements include: 
1) the titulary or preamble in which the suzerain is identified, 2) a history 
detailing the previous relations between the two parties, 3) the stipula- 
tions or obligations imposed upon and accepted by the vassal, 4) the 
document clause requiring the deposit of the written treaty in a temple 
and its periodic public reading, 5) the god list of divine witnesses who 
sanction the treaty, and 6) the blessing and curse formulae invoked upon 
those who keep or break the treaty (Korosec 1931:11-14). 

The relevance of these treaties for biblical studies was first noted by 
George Mendenhall, presendy of the University of Michigan, in a now 
famous article (Mendenhall 1954). His insights were originally applied 
mainly to passages describing the establishment of the covenant at Sinai 
(Exod. 19-24) and to others describing the covenant's renewal (e.g. 
Josh. 24). Later, the book of Deuteronomy was studied in this light, 
first in particlular parts (e.g. McCarthy 1978:157-187) and subsequently 


as a whole (e.g. Kitchen 1966:96-99; Kline 1975: 1 13-153; cf. McCar- 
thy 1978:188-205), We shall here study one of several proposed 
understandings of the Mosaic covenant as renewed in Transjordan im- 
mediately prior to Israel's entrance into the land, the book of 

The first portion of a Hittite vassal treaty is the titulary which starts, 
"These are the words of the Sun Mursilis, the great king, the king of 
the Hatti land, the valiant, the favourite of the storm God" (Pritchard 
1969:203). The speaker is identified by name and the vassal is put into 
his due place of humility by the grandeur and awesomeness of the royal 
epithets, which can be even more extended (McCarthy 1978:52-53). 
These serve the same effect as the beautiful but graphic reliefs carved 
on the walls of the ante-room in Assyrian and Babylonian palaces. An 
envoy to the king, after passing before a number of these scenes depic- 
ting the invincibility of the Assyrian king in battle, would thus be cow- 
ed into a state of mind suitable for one having an audience with such 
a great personnage. 

Consider Deut. 1:1 which reads, "These are the words." The form 
is the same as the start of the Hittite treaty, but since Deuteronomy is 
a treaty renewal rather than the original document, the words are those 
of Moses (v. 5) speaking on behalf of the sovereign king, the God of 
Israel. Note the words of King himself in 5:6, "I am the Lord your 
God." There is no need for awe-inspiring epithets here since God's 
ineffable name of power is sufficient in itself to remind the people of 
the grandeur and might of the One with whom they have to do. 

The second element is the historical prologue: "Aziras was your 
grandfather, Duppi-teshub. He rebelled against my father, but submit- 
ted again to my father... 300 (shekels of) refined and first-class gold, 
the tribute which my father imposed on your father, he brought year 
by year; he never refused it... When your father died, in accordance 
with your father's word, I did not drop you... I, the Sun, put you in 
the place of your father (giving you the throne)" (Pritchard 
1969:203-204). Therefore, he says, based on the relationships in the 
past between our two houses, you have sufficient reason to enter into 
this treaty with me. Similar details of the past dealings of God with 
Israel are given in the renewal document in Deut. 1 : 6-3: 29, recounting 
the wanderings in Sinai and God's providence there. Also they are found 
in the words of the Great King, in 5:6. For God, it was sufficient to 
remind his people that it was he "who brought you out of the land of 
Egypt, out of the house of slavery." This was enough of a historical 
basis upon which to erect a covenant. 

Then follow the stipulations or obligations, often found in two sec- 
tions: basic and detailed. A basic stipulation in the Hittite treaties was, 
"Do not turn your eyes to anyone else! Your fathers presented tribute 
to Egypt; you shall not do that!" (Pritchard 1969:204). Israel too was 


strictly commanded, "You shall have no other Gods except me!" (Deut. 
5:7). The fundamental character of this stipulation is marked by its loca- 
tion as the head of all others in the list. These general and comprehen- 
sive terms of the covenant are found in Deut. 5-11, while Deut. 12-26 
adds more specific requirements regarding the whole gamut of life, from 
the protection of boundary stones to harvesting. These correspond to 
the Hittite's concern with, for example, extradition, dealings with 
foreigners, and the like. 

The fourth element, the document clause, is much rarer in contem- 
porary treaties, and is more often lacking than not. In two cases it calls 
for the deposit of the document in a sacred place, and in two others, 
for its public reading (McCarthy 1978:63). In Deut. 27:2-3, Moses com- 
mands the people to write the law on pillars before the altar, and in 
31:9-10 we are told that "Moses committed the Law to writing and 
gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the Lord's 
covenant, and to all the elders of Israel. And Moses gave then this com- 
mand: 'At the end of every seven years, at the time fixed for the year 
of remission, at the feast of Tabernacles, . . .you must proclaim this Law 
in the hearing of all Israel'." The signatories are to receive periodic 
reminders of the obligations they have committed themselves to. 

The following list of divine witnesses was an important part of the 
Hittite treaty. Each party called upon their national deities as those con- 
trolling their destinies. For example, the Hittite king called upon "The 
Sun God of Heaven... Sin, Lord of the Oath,...Ellil, Ninlil, the moun- 
tains, the rivers, the springs... the wind and the clouds — let these be 
witnesses to this treaty and this oath" (Pritchard 1969:205). This same 
need for witnesses was felt in Israel since it was part of the accepted 
covenant form. The problem was that God could not call upon other 
gods as witnesses, since not only was he alone God, but he was also 
one of the parties of the covenant. He does, however, call witnesses: 
Deut. 30: 19-"I call on heaven and earth to witness to you today' ' ; Deut. 
31 : 19-"Now write down this song which you must use; teach it to the 
sons of Israel, put it into their mouths, that it may be a witness on my 
behalf against the sons of Israel . ' ' And, after the song of Moses recited 
in chapter 32, Moses reminds the people to "take this word to heart; 
I call them to witness against you today. You must order your children 
to keep and observe all the words of this law." Even the written law 
itself, deposited in the Ark of the Covenant, is to serve as a silent witness 
in 31:26 

The Hittite deities were to effect the sanctions or benefits recorded 
in the last portion of the treaty, the blessings and the curses. An exam- 
ple of a blessing: "If... you... fulfill this treaty and oath, may the gods 
protect you. . .together with your wives, your children and your children's 
children, and together with your country. May . . .the. . .country. . .thrive 
and expand" (Pritchard 1969:206). This has some similarity to the early 


verses in Deut. 28 which read, "you will be blessed in the town and 
blessed in the country. Blessed will be the fruit of your body, the pro- 
duce of your soil, and the issue of your livestock" (vv.3-4a). 

So too the curses are parallel, and all too graphic. Esarhaddon calls 
on those who break his treaty: ' 'Just as lead does not resist fire, so may 
you not resist your enemies but take your sons and daughters by the 
hand and flee... May Shamash plow up your cities and districts with 
an iron plow" (Pritchard 1969:539). Israel is warned in Deut. 28:36: 
"Yahweh will send you and the king you set over you to a nation that 
neither your nor your fathers have known, and there you will serve other 
gods of wood and of stone. ' ' In verses 63-64 of the same chapter: ' 'And 
as the Lord took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so 
the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you; 
and you shall be plucked off the land which you are entering to take 
possession of it. And the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from 
one end of the earth to the other; and there you will serve other gods, 
of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known." 

Interestingly enough, the Hittite blessings and curses are often in much 
the same proportion as those found in Deut. 27-28. The drafters of the 
treaties were perceptive students of human nature, realizing that bless- 
ings for compliance were not as necessary as curses for disobedience. 
Therefore, the latter occured in greater abundance, and are equally ex- 
plicit and undesirable in Deuteronomy as elsewhere. The structure of 
covenant in both Asia Minor and Israel shows that it is not the carrot 
on a stick which is most effective in producing the desired response, 
but the use of the stick itself. 

I hope to have shown from this brief overview that the literature of 
Israel is one with its time and place. It reflects real parallels with con- 
temporary forms which have great implications for the dating and uni- 
ty of the documents, whether Deuteronomy, Exodus 19-24 or other 
passages. This, however, is not the greatness of the Mosaic covenant, 
which is not a Hittite covenant but an Israelite covenant between Israel 
and her God. Its form is Hittite or follows Hittite models, but that doesn't 
make it a Hittite treaty. Even though all nights are the same, one night 
is special, because on it the Sabbath is welcomed. Another is even more 
set apart, for on it is asked, "Why is this night different from any other 

Shemaryahu Talmon of the Hebrew University has presented this pro- 
blem in a characteristically lucid article on the comparative method 
(Talmon 1978). While care must be taken to understand Israel, or any 
other culture, in its environment and interrelatedness to its neighbours, 
he points approvingly to the example set by several leading 
Assyriologists. "Coming from scholars whose expertise is the study 
of ancient Near Eastern cultures — archaeologically, historically, 
sociologically, linguistically and phenomenologically — the insistance 


on the particularity of Hebrew culture and its dissimilarity from 
neighboring cultures should serve students of the Old Testament as a 
guideline in their comparative studies" (Talmon 1978:328, emphasis 
mine). The question which would still need to be asked, according to 
Talmon, is, "How is this covenant different from any other covenant?" 
This question is the one which will now be addressed. 

An international treaty was a matter of some import. It was established 
with the expectations that it would be honoured. This was the express 
reason for the divine witnesses, and for the curses which they would 
bring down upon the miscreant. In historical actuality, the deities were 
aided to some extent by the king himself, and more particularly by his 
army . They would step in and make sure that the treaty would not be 
broken again, often by doing away with the offenders. Israel and Judah 
learned this first-hand after repeated violations of their agreements with 
the other parties involved. The Assyrians and Babylonians took the final 
step of sanction in 722 and 586 BCE when they destroyed Samaria and 
Jerusalem respectively. In the ancient world, if the covenant was broken, 
so was the guilty party — and that was that. This was harsh, but it was 
the customary and accepted way of life, and death. This direct response 
was not customarily the first step to redress a grievance. It was non- 
profitable to kill the goose as long as it still might produce more golden 
eggs, so preliminary steps were taken first. Warnings were given, 
sometimes with a vigorous display of military power, for example Sen- 
nacherib's campaign against Heaekiah in 701. Finally, after numerous 
reminders of the sovereign's awareness of continued and flagrant breach 
of covenant, the final steps are taken. This was done reluctantly. Just 
as a bank is in the business of increasing its capital through mortgage 
interest and not in being a real estate agency handling properties of clients 
who have defaulted, so a king would rather increase his stores by tribute 
rather than deplete them through waging war. 

Gordon Wenham has argued for one further section of the covenant 
in the Bible which is particular to it, namely a recapitulation of the main 
covenant demand, which is found in Deut. 29-30 (Wenham 1970). He 
argues that these two chapters do not need to be understood as later 
editorial additions, as some have proposed. They are rather an integral 
part of the covenant document itself. They are also integral to the Israelite 
understanding of God and of their continued existence as a people. In 
them, especially in chapter 30, is what I would consider to be the uni- 
queness of the Mosaic covenant. 

God, like the other great kings, is not slack in bringing punishment 
upon covenant breakers, but he goes one step further, as is seen in Deut. 

"And when all of these words come true for your, the blessing and the 
curse I have set before you, if you meditate on them in your heart 
wherever among the nations the Lord your God drives you, if you return 
to the Lord your God, if you obey his voice with all your heart and soul 


in everything I enjoin on you today, you and your children, then the 
Lord your God will bring back your captives, he will have pity on you 
and gather you once again out of all the peoples where the Lord your 
God has scattered you. Had you wandered to the ends of the heavens, 
the Lord your God would gather your even from there, would come there 
to reclaim you and bring you back to the land your fathers possessed, 
so that you in your own turn might make it your own, prospering there 
and increasing even more than your fathers." 

God is a God of law and justice, so the curses have to be carried 
out. The people are driven out of the land to live, and die among the 
nations, just as the curse in Deut. 28:63-64 said would happen. But, 
unlike the harsh, or perhaps simply just, kings of the Hittites, Israel's 
God is also a king of grace and mercy, or better, of hesed. In the very 
covenant document itself he included a clause providing restoration of 
broken relationship. 

As just mentioned, Assyrian kings usually withheld final action for 
a period in order to try to restore the desired relationship. This could 
not be expected, however, and was certainly not built into the fabric 
of the covenant document itself, as it is in Israel's document. 

This chapter thirty of Deuteronomy is extremely important not only 
in understanding Israel's covenant with her God, but also in understand- 
ing God himself. It is a linch-pin in the whole of biblical theology and 
the background of Israel's covenantal view of history. Israel, like the 
vassals of the Hittites, had the opportunity to live in peace with the great 
king and receive whatever benefits might arise through their relation- 
ship, while at the same time fulfilling her obligations to her suzerain. 
When the Hittite vassals disobeyed, however, wrath would fall. Wrath 
was also experienced by Israel, but this chapter in Deuteronomy allows 
the unique opportunity of having a second chance, or, as in the con- 
tinued history of the biblical Israel, a third, fourth or fifth chance. 

Deuteronomy 30 in no way abrogates the curses of the preceding 
chapters; deportation and decimation could and did take place. Restora- 
tion could also take place if the proper spirit of the covenant was entered 
into again, if the commandments, the stipulations of the covenant, which 
were known to Israel, and to which they had agreed, if these command- 
ments were obeyed again. 

I mentioned that this" view of history is the backbone of the Bible. 
This can be clearly seen in the Judges, for example. Israel, in doing 
what was right in her own eyes, repeatedly worshipped foreign gods. 
By doing this she was breaking the first and fundamental covenant 
stipulation of Deut. 5:7 and Exod. 20:3: "You shall have no other gods." 
The covenant was thereby broken and the curses were brought about 
by God, who allowed oppression by a foreign power. This was not the 
end, however, for when the people returned to God and to their cove- 
nant obligations, they were forgiven and restored, with their enemies 
dispersed (Judges 2: 10-19). This is the flow of biblical history and also 


the call of the prophets. They proclaimed judgment and destruction for 
the willful violation of the covenant. This infidelity was something which 
irrevocably and undeniably happened, but still the message of doom 
was tempered with the exhortation for repentance and the possibility 
of restoration — "Come back! Obey God! Choose life!" 

This offer of forgiveness and restoration being an integral part of the 
Israelite covenant document has implications in other areas of Old Testa- 
ment study. Critics have suggested that there needs to be a temporal 
distinction in the prophets between passages relating to judgement and 
those offering hope. The former one is considered to be pre-exile, a 
necessary counter to the syncretism and false worship and practice of 
this period which ultimately led to the exile, as God's just response to 
the repeated ignoring of his laws. The hope passages would then only 
be addressed to a people in exile, who would need to be reminded of 
God's love and care for his people. On the basis of this hypothetical 
reconstruction of temporal development of those concepts, objective, 
canonical texts are divided and viewed as containing secondary addi- 
tions. Examples are too numerous to list exhaustively, but two well- 
known examples are Amos 9:11-15 and Isa. 40 ff. 

This argument, which has enough difficulties on other grounds, is 
further weakened in light of the established position of Deuteronomy 
30 within the covenant document which, even by critical dating, is pre- 
exile. Grace is integral to God's message to his people on both sides 
of the exile. In light of this, and in reference to both aspects of blessing 
and curse in the covenant, it is not surprising that both aspects appear 
even in pre-exile prophets. 

This aspect of forgiveness as an integral part of God's covenant with 
his people has obvious application to the New Testament as well, and 
serves to join the two Testaments into one Bible. It could have been 
this aspect of the covenant, among others, which Jesus had in mind 
when he said that the cup was a new covenant in his blood, the blood 
which cleanses and effects forgiveness. The forgiveness of the new cove- 
nant extends beyond the sons of Abraham, the signatories of the Sinai 
agreement, to include all who appropriate the healing blood to 
themselves. Going beyond the immediate meaning of Moses' words in 
Deut. 24:14-15, "I am making this covenant, with its oaths, not only 
with you who are standing with us today in the presence of Yahweh 
our God but also with those who are not here today." 

This concept of God as just but also merciful and forgiving, being 
spelled out in Israel's covenant with her Great King, is a uniting feature 
of the Bible. It is also what separates it, makes it unique in its world. 
The Hittite or Assyrian vassals would receive benefits from their superior 
at the latter' s discretion. Since he was human, however, these were 
not necessarily to be relied upon, and often were not forthcoming. Israel, 
on the other hand, had a relationship which was founded on something 


else. Justice was there, but it was tempered and mediated by something 
that was not subject to vagaries of mood or whim. Their covenant was 
based upon, and continually realised in, a fundamental and unchang- 
ing aspect of the God with whom they were allied. Theirs was a cove- 
nant of hope, because theirs was a God of hesed, a God of kinship and 
covenant love. 



Kitchen, K. A. 1966. Ancient Orient and Old Testament. Chicago: 

Kline, M. G. 1975. The Structure of Biblical Authority, revised edi- 
tion. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 

Korosec, V. 1931. Hethitische Staatsvertrage. Leipzig: Theodor 

McCarthy, D. J. 1978. Treaty and Covenant , 2nd edition. Rome: Pon- 
tifical Biblical Institute. 

Mendenhall, G. E. 1954. "Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition", 
Biblical Archaeologist 17:50-76, republished in Law and Cove- 
nant in Israel and the Ancient Near East. Pittsburgh: Biblical Col- 
loquium. 1955. 

Pritchard, J. B. 1969. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old 
Testament, 3rd edition. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 

Talmon, S. 1978. "The "Comparative Method" in Biblical Interpreta- 
tion — Principles and Problems", Vetus Testamentum Supple- 
ment 29:320-356. 

Wenham, G. J. 1970. The Structure and Date of Deuteronomy. PhD 
thesis. London: University of London. 



by Duane W. H. Arnold and C. George Fry* 

In 1987, amidst our Easter celebrations, some of us paused to 
remember an event which took place 1600 years ago. It was an event 
which changed the course of western thought and influenced the shape 
of Christian theology to the present day. On Easter Eve, April 24, 387, 
in the dusk of a Milanese church in the north of Italy, candles flickered 
and cast a pallid glow as a man, already in his thirties, accompanied 
by his illegitimate son, stepped into the waters of the baptistry. Three 
times the young man would pass beneath the waters, then, dressed in 
a robe of white linen he would take his place in the congregation and 
with all the faithful proclaim, "Christ is Risen!", "He is Risen Indeed!". 
A prodigal had returned home. A restless intellect had found its call- 
ing. A discontented and troubled man had found peace. 

His name was Augustine. Adolf van Harnack would call him the 
greatest man ' 'between Paul the Apostle and Luther the Reformer which 
the Christian Church has possessed". • Benjamin B. Warfield wrote that 
"he took up and then transfigured the Christian faith for those who would 
follow ".2 Frederick Copleston wrote that, "Augustine stands out as... 
the greatest of the Fathers both from a literary and from a theological 
standpoint".^ Augustine may be described, with equal fervor, as both 
the architect of the Christian Middle Ages, or as the first truly modem 
man. Indeed, there is something universal about the thought of this man. 
William James would write of Augustine's reflections that they con- 
stituted an expression of "psychological genius... which has never been 
surpassed"."* His theological works would be read by countless millions 
through the centuries. His devoted disciples would include Anselm and 
Aquinas, Luther and Calvin, Pascal and Newman, Tillich and Barth. 
For them, and for the Church through the ages, Augustine was the Doctor 
of Grace. 

The life of Aurelius Augustinus began on November 13, 354 and came 
to a close on August 28, 430. For seventy-five years his was a "pilgrim's 
progress". In the course of his journey he would encounter detours and 
delays, failures and setbacks, but before his eyes loomed his destina- 
tion. Although initially unknown, and for many years unarticulated, 
the City of God was to be the focus of his life. Before the city, however, 
Augustine would experience the desert and the garden. 

*Duane W. H. Arnold, an adjunct faculty member at ATS, is the Episcopal 
Chaplain to Wayne State University, Detroit. C. George Fry is Protestant 
Chaplain, St. Francis College, Fort Wayne. 


The Desert 

Augustine was born, literally, on the edge of the Sahara where the 
Numidian plateau was separated from the vast sandy basin by the Aures 
mountains. His home was the prosperous Roman town of Tagaste, near 
present-day Souk-Ahras, Algeria. Although his twenty -three year old 
mother, Monica, was a believer, and had dedicated Augustine to Christ 
at his birth, his father Patricius, was a pagan, employed in the Roman 
administration of the towm. Augustine was educated locally and in Car- 
thage in the liberal arts and in rhetoric. His parents hoped, as did those 
of Luther and Calvin, that he would enter the lucrative profession of 
law. Monica would later be described in the Confessions as "a woman 
of fervent piety, amiableness, and good works''.^ Patricius, however, 
appears to have been an ill-tempered man and distant from his eldest 
son. Although Monica would occupy a favored place in Augustine's 
writings, little mention is made of his father. In their household the 
witness of Christ would shine forth from the words and actions of a 
wife and mother. Patricius would come to confess Christ, and was bap- 
tized before his death in 370. Augustine, however, chose a different 
course. Leaving his youth behind, he made his way to Carthage, and, 
in the words of his Confessions , "so I became a barren desert unto 

To Carthage then I came 

Burning burning burning burning... 

T.S. Eliot 

The Waste Land 

For Augustine there was a personal desert to be traversed. For fif- 
teen years, he kept a concubine. To this union a son was bom, unwelcom- 
ed at the time, but given the name of Adeodatus, "the gift of God". 
Although this was an accepted practice in the late Roman Empire and 
Augustine appeared respectable to all outward appearances, he felt 
himself to be possessed by sensuality. Augustine would later recall, "I 
was rolling in the slime of sin, often attempting to rise, and still sink- 
ing deeper". "^ Lust — in the sense of the pursuit of pleasure apart from 
sacrificial love — became his lifestyle. Yet, Augustine was pursued by 
his own "hound of heaven", as he later wrote, "the displeasure of God 
was all the time imbittering my soul". Nevertheless, he continued in 
his way of life and "even invented false stories of (his) sinful exploits, 
that (he) might win the commendation of evil companions".* Despite 
all attempts at mastering his own nature, he could not find rest for his 
troubled heart. 

It was at this time, during which Augustine lived both in Carthage 
and Tagaste, the young man found there was also an intellectual 
wilderness to be mastered. In 373, having read a now lost work of 
Cicero, the Hortensius, Augustine was consumed by a desire to possess 


the truth. Eventually, seeking an opportunity to further his career, and, 
perhaps, to escape his mother's prayers, Augustine left North Africa 
for Italy. Monica came to Carthage and sought to prevent his depar- 
ture, or failing that, to accompany him to Rome. Through an act of 
deception Augustine sailed without her, leaving her "distracted with 
grief '.9 

In Rome Augustine was to experience intellectual and professional 
disappointments. Dangerously ill upon his arrival in the Eternal City, 
he soon turned his attention to the various intellectual options at hand. 
He had become an adherent of Manichaeism while in North Africa. 
Before leaving Carthage, however, he had become disenchanted with 
this sect of Persian origin, and had begun to doubt the credibility of 
its dualistic system of thought. Although he would lodge with a leading 
Manichee in Rome, Augustine had already started to study the philosophy 
of the New Academy, a group which held that Truth can never really 
be known and that a person must be content to be a constant seeker 
rather than a finder. Augustine, however, wondered why one should 
seek if nothing could be found, for to deny either the possibility of ab- 
solute knowledge, or the knowledge of ultimates, seemed to him an 
inherent absurdity. Adding to his intellectual difficulties, Augustine was 
dissatisfied with his career as a teacher. He had despaired of his rowdy 
and ill-disciplined Carthaginian students, and found those in Rome to 
be little better. More than this, the Roman students were particularly 
careless about paying their fees! When, therefore, he was presented 
with the opportunity of becoming a teacher of rhetoric in Milan, he 
leapt at the prospect of advancement. 

And I came to Milan... to Ambrose the bishop. 
Confessions V, xiii, 23 

Augustine arrived in Milan in the autumn of 384. He considered his 
youth to be at an end. No certainties of either thought or action remained 
for the young teacher. Ambition, however, still guided his course. As 
he would later write, "I panted after honors, gain, marriage".'^ Here 
Augustine encountered Neo-Platonism, a system of Alexandrian origin, 
which denied the existence of matter and affirmed the primacy of the 
mind. For Augustine the study of this popular system of thought based 
upon the writings of Plotinus would answer many questions and lead 
him to an appreciation of introspection. It would also lead him back 
to a study of the Scriptures by way of comparison. This system would 
not, however, resolve his struggle with evil — either in the cosmos or 
his own character. He soon began to question his manner of life and 
his motives once again. "Why, then, do I not give myself wholly to 
God?" he asked himself. "Do not be in a hurry," he answered, for 
"you have influential friends and may yet attain wealth and honor in 


the world' ' . • ^ For almost a generation Augustine had lived in the desert 
of his own soul, "seeking happiness, yet flying from it".'^ It was at 
this juncture that the teacher of rhetoric, at the urging of his mother 
who had followed her son to Milan, began to turn his attention to the 
sermons of Ambrose. The barren waste began to recede as a cooling 
fountain appeared on the horizon. 

The Garden 

Every great desert has at least an occasional oasis. For Augustine, 
Milan had two — the Church and its bishop, Ambrose. 

Milan had a great and thriving church with a reputation that extend- 
ed throughout the Christian world. Its bishop was Ambrose — orator, 
scholar, poet, and pastor. It seems that Augustine's initial approach to 
the church had to do with his desire to take a wealthy and highly placed 
Christian wife. As a teacher of rhetoric, however, his approach to Am- 
brose had much to do with professional curiosity. Augustine was at- 
tracted to Ambrose by his art, not his attitudes, by his style, not his 
substance. A man of rare ability and great intellectual powers, Am- 
brose held the attention of Augustine. "The man of God", Augustine 
would later recall, "received me as a father; and I conceived an affec- 
tion for him, not as a teacher of truth, which I had no idea of discover- 
ing in the Church, but as a man who was kind to me".'^ Augustine 
noted that, "I studiously attended his preaching, only with a curious 
desire as to whether or not fame had done justice to his eloquence".''* 
It soon became clear, however, that the preaching of Ambrose was mak- 
ing an impact on Augustine. "Gradually," Augustine would later write, 
"I was brought to attend to the doctrine of the bishop".'^ The young 
teacher of rhetoric soon realized that, "I had deferred from day to day 
devoting myself to God under the pretense that I was uncertain as to 
where the truth lay".'^ 

Augustine remained "restlessly active". A philosopher of the first 
rank, his capitulation to Christ would not come easily or without inter- 
nal turmoil. "How is it", Augustine asked, "that so many humble per- 
sons find peace so readily in religion, while I, with my philosophy and 
anxious reasonings, remain year after year in darkness and doubt?" '^ 
Augustine had, by the reading of the Scriptures and the preaching of 
Ambrose, become convinced of the truth of Christianity as a philosophy, 
and of Christ as a teacher. Yet Christianity as God's way of salvation 
seemed beyond his ability to accept or comprehend. In spiritual and 
psychological anguish he retired with some friends to a small villa with 
a garden. 

In the late summer of 386 Augustine's struggle within his soul reached 
its climax. During a discussion with a visitor concerning the renounc- 
ing of wealth and ambition for the cause of Christ, Augustine could 
listen no more. He ran from the house and sought refuge in the garden. 


but, as he would recall, "there was no place where I could escape from 
myself..."'* Finally, in tears he cried out, "O Lord! How long shall 
I go on saying 'Tomorrow, tomorrow'? Why not now? Why not make 
an end of my ugly sins at this moment?"'^ At that second he heard 
a voice, as of a child, repeating the refrain, "Tolle lege", "Take it 
and read, take it and read".^° Augustine rushed into the house, opened 
a book containing the letters of Paul, and "in silence" read the first 
words his eyes fell upon: "Not in revelling and drunkeness, not in lust 
and wantonness, not in quarrels and rivalries. Rather, arm yourselves 
with the Lord Jesus Christ, and spend no more thought on the lust of 
the flesh." (Romans 13:13,14). Augustine would reflect upon his con- 
version in later years saying, "in an instant. . .it was as though the light 
of confidence flooded into my heart and all the darkness of doubt was 
dispelled".^' The passage came to his mind as a direct message from 

His conversion liberated Augustine from those forces which had driven 
him into the desert of sensuality, skepticism and ambition. Renounc- 
ing self, he received the Saviour. As Augustine said, "I bowed my 
shoulders to your light burden, Christ Jesus, my Helper and my 
Redeemer. "22 Augustine, who did little in haste, ran from the house 
to tell his mother Monica that her prayers, at long last, had been 

Augustine finished his summer term of teaching and then resigned 
his post. He enrolled himself with those who were preparing for bap- 
tism the following Easter. In the intervening months he retreated to a 
friend's home some miles from Milan in order to be alone, to study, 
to pray, to discuss his new found faith with friends, and to write. Dur- 
ing his few short months in Cassiciacum, Augustine would produce 
Against the Academics, On the Happy Life, On Order and the Solilo- 
quies. Returning to Milan, Augustine, and his illegitimate son Adeodatus, 
received baptism at the hands of Ambrose at Easter, 387. At the urg- 
ing of his mother, plans were make to return to Africa. Augustine en- 
visioned for himself a quiet monastic life given over to Christian studies 
with his mother and son nearby. In Rome, however, awaiting a ship 
to Africa Monica fell ill. Augustine would recall his mother saying to 
him, "Son, I have no desire to cling to this life... I lived longer only 
that I might see you a Christian before I died. God has granted my 
desire". 23 Within a week Monica had died. Two years later, in North 
Africa, his son would follow her in death. Augustine's time in the garden 
was at an end; a city, "whose builder and maker was God", had now 
come into view. 

The City 

Charles G. Finney used to say that, "we are saved to serve ".2'» That 
is a Pauline concept, for we are born into the Body of Christ and in 


that Body each of us has a part to play. Augustine's mission was to 
be a bridge, for as Benjamin B. Warfield noted, "he stood on the water- 
shed of two worlds. The old world was passing away, the new world 
was entering upon its heritage ".^^ Yet Warfield observed that Augustine 
was more than a passionless historical link, he was also an interpreter, 
for "it fell to him to mediate the transference of the culture of the one 
to the other". 26 Augustine, the Doctor of Grace, became the living way 
by which Western Christianity passed from antiquity into the Middle 
Ages. For that reason Kenneth Scott Lattourette wrote that, "he moulded 
the whole of the Middle Ages" and "without St. Augustine's massive 
intellect Western theology would never have taken the shape in which 
it is familiar to us".^'^ In fact, as Daniel D. Williams has pointed out, 
if "Western philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato, we can say 
with equal justice that theology in Western Christianity has been a series 
of footnotes to Augustine". ^^ For Augustine, however, his theology 
was only an expression of his life in the City of God, and that city, 
of which the Church was the living incarnation, was built upon the foun- 
dation of God's grace revealed in Christ. 

Give what You command, 

and command what you will. 
Confessions X, xxix, 40 

Augustine returned to Tagaste, in North Africa, late in 388. He had 
no intertion of being anything beyond a dedicated Christian within a 
loosely-knit lay brotherhood, a servus Dei. Not wishing to become a 
bishop, he studiously avoided visiting friends in communities where 
there was a vacancy, so as not to be "conscripted" by the faithful for 
the post. In 388, however, he visited the small community of Hippo. 
The community possessed a bishop, but few priests. A sermon was 
preached concerning the need for clergy in the community. As Augustine 
would recall thirty-five years after the event in a sermon, "I was grabbed. 
I was made a priest... and from there, I became your bishop". ^^ 
Augustine remained with the "lesser clergy" for eight years before his 
elevation to the episcopate in 396. He would serve the church in Hippo 
until his death in 430. 

A ceaseless laborer in the City of God, Augustine's work during his 
years in Hippo was two-fold, as a teacher and as a pastor. 

A religious genius of the highest order, it was inevitable that Augustine 
would bring his intellectual energies to bear upon Christian doctrine. 
Augustine would admit that he labored in theology "with all the fibres 
of my soul".^° Augustine expressed his faith not with his heart alone, 
for the heart does not think — nor with his mind alone, for he never 
grasps truth in the abstract, as if it were dead. Rather, to his task as 
a theologian he brought emotional tenacity, immense intellectual power, 


purpose of will, deep spirituality, and heroic sanctity. Augustine's orien- 
tation in his theological reflections was thoroughly evangelical, for he 
regarded caritas, "charity", or "love", as the "animating force" of 
life, grace as its end result, and faith as the means by which the Chris- 
tian was to journey. For Augustine, intellectual comprehension was the 
result of active faith. From the Latin translation of Isaiah, Augustine 
took a text which would illuminate his theology, "Unless you believe, 
you shall not understand" (Isaiah 7:9). 

A prolific author, the works penned by Augustine during his time 
in Hippo have stood the test of time. His work ranged from psychological 
autobiography, as the Confessions, to extended historical/philosophical 
essays, as The City of God, to theological treatises, as The Trinity. He 
defended the faith of the Church in tracts against the Pelagians, the 
Manichees, and the Donatists, and gave attention to the teaching of the 
faithful in catechetical manuals as. Christian Instruction and Concern- 
ing the Teacher. Augustine's work. On Grace and Free Will, would 
be formative for Luther, as On the Predestination of the Saints would 
be for Calvin. Augustine's correspondence, as with Jerome, his 
philosophical dialogues, and his enormous number of sermons, came 
to fill volumes. Near the end of his life he would spend a good deal 
of his time organizing and editing a massive library which consisted 
entirely of his own literary labors. His final book. Retractions, was penn- 
ed to provide a critical "self-review" of his earlier efforts. 

Although a "giant among men" in terms of intellect, Augustine's 
heart was that of a pastor. That is how he was perceived even by those 
of his own generation. "Zealous" and "energetic" was how his stu- 
dent, the Bishop of Calama, described him.^' Even though Augustine 
was not physically strong, with illness and overwork ever present 
realities, as a pastor he did the work of many. Augustine often referred 
to his station as "an office of labor and not of honor". ^^ To his daily 
duties was added the additional weight of his reputation. As Joseph B. 
Bemardin has pointed out, "he was the spiritual father not only of North 
Africa; his parish, like John Wesley's, was the world of his day".^^ 

We know a good deal about the daily life of Augustine as a pastor 
due to the observations of a contemporary biographer, Possidius. As 
the bishop of Hippo, Augustine was the spiritual director of his flock, 
an administrator of church property, a judge within his own ecclesiastical 
court, as well as presiding over the normal services of the Christian 
community, often preaching on a daily basis. Beyond this, Possidius 
tells us that Augustine "adhered to the rule set forth by the aposde (James 
1:27) and visited orphans and widows in their affliction ".^'^ In fact, 
the care of the poor, the persecuted, and the prisoners, was considered 
by Augustine to be a particular ministry for which he was responsible. 
In all his work as a pastor, however, Augustine never forgot those whom 
he served, and served with. As Peter Brown says, he "always thought 


of himself as living among a new 'people' — iht populus Dei, the 'people 
of God'... it was his first duty to look after his own, to maintain the 
identity and the morale of... the congregation. "^^ Augustine's success 
as a pastor was the result of his setting "holy priorities". 

You have created us for yourself, 

and our hearts are restless until they 

find rest in you. 

Confessions I, i, 1 

Augustine's restless heart was set alight at his conversion by the fire 
of God's grace. It was a flame that could not be extinguished by either 
time or events. Rome fell to the Goths in 410, causing Augustine to 
write The City of God. The holocaust then turned to the west and the 
south. Even as Augustine died on August 28, 430, the Vandals were 
besieging Hippo. A year later the town was taken and burned, with two 
exceptions — Augustine's church and his library. Two centuries later 
Hippo would come under the sway of Islam. Even as the West entered 
a "dark age" and as the light of Christianity in North Africa was quen- 
ched, the glow of Augustine's faith and learning would steadily grow 
brighter — for the flame issued forth from a life which had been touch- 
ed by God's grace. After a millenium and a half, our hearts are still 
warmed, our minds are still enlightened by this remarkable man who 
journeyed from the desert, through the garden, into the city, lighting 
the path as he went for those who would follow 

An edited portion of this article appeared in Christianity Today Vol. 31, No. 
18, December 11, 1987, under the title "The Significance of Augustine". 



'Quoted by Benjamin B. Warfield. Calvin and Augustine. Philadelphia: 
Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1974. p. 306 

Hbid. p. 320 

^Frederick Copleston. A History of Philosophy Vol. 2, Medieval Philosophy 
Part I, Augustine to Bonaventure. New York: Image Books, 1962. p. 55 

'^William James. The Varieties of Religious Experience. A Study in Human 
Nature. London: Longmans, Green and Company, 1902. pp. 168, 169 

^Confessiones VI, ii, 2. The Latin text and standard numbering used throughout 
may be found in Confessiones opera et studio Monachorum S. Benedicti 
S. Mauri (Opera Omnia I, Paris, 1679), reprinted by J. P. Migne, Patrologia 
Latina Vol. 32, cols. 659-866. Paris, 1845. 

^Conf II, X, 18 

^Conf VI, xvi, 26 

^Conf. II, iii, 7 

^Conf V, viii, 15 

'"Con/ VI, vi, 9 

'^Conf VI, xi, 19 

'^Conf VI, xi, 20 

'^Conf V, xiii, 23 


'^Conf V, xiv, 24 

'^Conf VIII, V, 11 

'^Conf VIII, viii, 19 

'^Conf VIII, xii, 28 


^"^Conf VIII, xii, 29 


^^Conf IX, i, 1 

^'Conf IX, X, 26 

^'^cf Charles G. Finney. Revival Lectures. New York: Fleming H. Re veil Co., 
1968. p. 458 

^^Warfield, Calvin and Augustine, p. 310 


"Kenneth Scott Latourette. A History of Christianity. New York: Harper and 
Row, 1953. p. 176 


2*Daniel D. Williams. "The Significance of St. Augustine Today", A Com- 
panion to the Study of St. Augustine, (ed. by Roy W. Battenhouse) Grand 
Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1979. p. 4 

^^Sermones 355, 2. cf. Migne, PL Vol. 38 

^^Epistulam 137, 3. cf. Magne, PL Vol. 33 

^'Possidius. Vita Sancti Aurelli Augustine Hipponensis Episcopi, 1. cf. Migne, 
PL Vol. 32, cols. 33-66 

^We civitate Dei XIX, 19. c/ £/?. 48, 1 

33 Joseph B. Bernardin, "St. Augustine as Pastor", /I Companion to the Study 
of St. Augustine, p. 60 

3'*Possidius. Vita Augustini 27 

35Peter Brown. Augustine of Hippo. Los Angeles: University of California 
Press, 1969. p. 250 


'Elementary My Dear Watson': 

The effect Of Richard Watson 

On American Methodism 

by Dr. Ben Witherington* 

It is true to say that just as the source of American Methodism was 
in various regards its English counterpart, so too in the early decades 
of the American Methodist Church the source of its foundational theology 
may be traced back to the Mother Country . The influence of John Wesley 
was considerable well into the 19th century, and when his views were 
expounded and systematized by his fellow countryman, Richard Wat- 
son, in the 1820s this influence was magnified several times. The works 
of early native American Methodist theologians, such as Asa Shinn, 
" . . .had nowhere near the influence among Methodists as did the peren- 
nial favorite, Richard Watson's Theological Institutes...",' and thus 
it behooves us to examine closely how Watson interpreted and presented 
both the life and works of Wesley before we explore the reaction to 
Watson's efforts among American Methodists. 

I. Watson's Wesley — Refutations and Commendations 

In this section of our discussion it will be necessary to focus on two 
of Watson's works: his early reply to Robert Southey's popular life of 
Wesley entitled. Observations on Southey's 'Life of Wesley': Being a 
Defence of the Character, Labours, and Opinions of Mr. Wesley, Against 
the Misrepresentations of that Publication;^ and his own positive presen- 
tation that appeared about ten years later entitled, The Life of the Rev. 
John Wesley, A.M.^ 

It is quite clear that Watson's Observations was intended to be a strong 
antidote to the work of Southey which gained considerable popularity 
in the early 19th century, not least because it was written by England's 
poet laureate. Watson was quite upset over some of the misrepresenta- 
tions and misinterpretations in Southey's work, and he sets forth to rebut 
them with vigor. Watson is exercised to point out that Southey's life 
is defective mainly because he is out of his element, being no theologian, 
and secondly because Southey vacillates between interpreting Wesley 
in light of the popular phiolsophy of the day (in terms of 'natural' causes) 
and in light of Christian considerations. The following quote is somewhat 
representative of Watson's complaints: 

*Dr. Witherington is Associate Professor of Biblical and Wesleyan Studies 
at ATS. 


Devotional ardour is resolved into constitutional temperament; religious 
joys and depressions into buoyancy of the spirits, and the influence of 
disease; Mr. Wesley's selection of the means of usefulness into the blind 
impulse of surrounding circumstances; his active zeal into ambition; the 
great effects of his preaching into his eloquence and opportune occurence 
of a new contagious disease; his enterprise into a consciousness of his 
own powers; and his want of clerical regularity into his natural unsub- 
missiveness of mind/ 

In short, Southey errs because he fails to allow for supernatural causes 
and the workings of divine Providence in Wesley's life and work. Watson 
attempts to correct this error and at the same time strives to show that 
Wesley was not guilty of various sorts of 'false enthusiasm'. Thus, Wat- 
son's Observations has a good deal of the flavor and substance of 
Wesley's Earnest and Farther Appeals in it, and like Wesley he shows 
a great deal of skill in logical argumentation. Watson, in this work, 
contends for a full-blooded and heartfelt sort of Christianity, just as 
Wesley did before him, but it appears that he is slightly more reticent 
than Wesley to accept as genuine various stories about miracles and 
supernatural manifestations (or side effects) that accompanied the con- 
version of various people who heard Wesley preach. ^ This is not to 
say that he denies the reality of these phenomena, but it is clear that 
he strives to emphasize the more sober side of Methodism and to 
downplay the experiential.^ 

When Southey presses on to charge Wesley with "enthusiasm" not 
only in the effects of his preaching but also in some of his doctrines 
(particularly those of assurance and Christian perfection) Watson takes 
a somewhat surprising approach to answer this charge. While his 
arguments for finding a precedent for Wesley's view of assurance and 
the witness of the Spirit in various other Protestant (and Anglican) divines 
raise no eyebrows, it is quite unexpected to hear him say about Wesley's 
view of Christian perfection as well as the unique aspects of the 
Calvinistic system advocated by Whitefield, "Neither the one nor the 
other was successful in the conversion of men by the peculiarities in 
which they differed, but by preaching those great principles of the Gospel 
of Christ in which they cordially agreed. ""^ This view may explain why 
it is that Watson, without in any way denying Christian perfection, spends 
only seven pages out of more than 1200 in his Institutes explaining the 
doctrine of entire sanctification . At least in emphasis, Watson is far 
from Wesley at this juncture, who repeatedly affirmed that Methodists 
and Methodism existed to promulgate this doctrine of perfection. 

Finally, we may note that Watson's way of handling Southey 's charges 
that Wesley intended, or did not try forcefully to prevent, schism with 
the Church of England, reveals a certain distance between Watson and 
Wesley on these matters. Watson notes the various measures that Wesley 
took to avoid schism. Like Wesley, he argues that the forms of Church 
government are a matter of prudential regulation, not divine prescrip- 


tion.^ In regard to the Lord's Supper, Watson says that Methodists have 
not willingly departed from Wesley's precepts but in some cases it was 
a choice of either providing it for them in the societies or they would 
not get it, for some would not in good conscience take it in an Anglican 
Church, and the Methodist Societies did not want to force them to take 
Communion in a dissenting Church.' It is evident that Watson is not 
uneasy about being separated from the Anglican Church, nor does he 
think it propitious for Methodists to try and reunite at the present. There 
is none of Wesley's agonizing over the split in Watson's works. In fact, 
he complains that the conference should have made provisions to pro- 
vide those societies who wished to become self-sufficient churches with 
an enlarged order of Sunday worship, and a plan of catechising. He 
clearly advocates a complete worship service with full liturgy for the 
societies. '° These observations likely struck a responsive chord among 
American Methodists who were already independent and busy 
establishing a new and vibrant denomination. As a summary observa- 
tion, E. J. Brailsford, and early biographer of Watson, is probably right 
in saying that Watson overreacted to Southey's work and it is notable 
that Watson, while at some points being extremely critical of Southey , 
is forced to admit at others that Southey is generally fair to Wesley." 
When we turn to Watson's Wesley we gain further insights into both 
the closeness at various points, and the distance between Watson and 
Wesley. Watson's Wesley is more in the nature of an encomium than 
a critical biography, but it is not the case that Watson is wholly un- 
critical of his hero in the faith, as we shall see. This work is not unlike 
other biographies of that day in that Watson quotes other authors on 
his subject extensively (chiefly Southey and Whitehead), as well as long 
segments from Wesley's Journals. In the midst of his historical nar- 
rative he is not adverse to stop and expound certain theological prin- 
ciples of Wesley that he feh needed defense or explanation. 

Watson does not reflect the affinity for certain mild forms of Chris- 
tian mysticism that Wesley reflects. Watson is quite critical of Bishop 
Taylor and Mr. Law, calling them "the most erring guides to that 'peace 
of God' " and saying, "Both are too defective in their views of faith 
and of its object the atonement of Christ to be able to direct a penitent 
and troubled spirit into the way of salvation . . . " ' ^ While Wesley would 
agree that these men confounded justification and sanctification, he still 
believed them good guides to 'holy living and holy dicing' after one 
was converted. Watson attributes Wesley's preoccupation with saving 
himself prior to Aldersgate to the influence of Taylor for, Watson avers, 
it led Wesley to have "...more confidence in a certain class of means, 
to secure his religious safety, than in the grace of God." '^ It is typical 
of Watson's biography that he mainly criticizes Wesley only at the points 
where Wesley himself later came to criticize or reject his own thinking 
and actions. The most he will say against Wesley's decision not to return 


to Epworth and help his family is that some of his arguments for stay- 
ing in Oxford were not very weighty.''* 

Watson is somewhat more bold in his critique of the conduct of both 
Wesley s in relation to the parishioners in Georgia, for he states, "...they 
were not faultless, although their intentions were entirely upright. They 
had high notions of clerical authority; and their pastoral faithfulness 
was probably rigid and repulsive; for in spite of the excellence of their 
own natural temper, an austere cast had been given to their piety. They 
stood firmly on little things as well as great; and held the reins of ec- 
clesiastical discipline with a tightness unsuitable to infant colonists..."'^ 
In regard to the Sophy Hopkey matter, Watson points out that Wesley 
was at times guileless and imprudent having an "unsuspecting heart" 
that had not the "skill or the inclination" to be a severe judge of others 
or to discern their artifices.'^ Interestingly, John Emory, in an append- 
ed note, protests against the way this incident in Wesley's life is pro- 
trayed in various American publications (i.e., Hale's History of the 
United States) and believes that Watson's Wesley will in its excellence 
and cheapness have wide circulation, thus countering such misrepresen- 
tations.'"' This note indicates to us that in the first half of the 19th cen- 
tury in America Wesley was scarcely held in universal esteem, especially 
among the well-educated. 

Watson follows Wesley in his concern about Luther's Galatians and 
the antinomian effects it might lead to. In fact, he attributes the ever 
increasing antinomian tendencies in the Fetter Lane Society to that very 
source, and their quietism he says came from "Madame Guion, and 
other French mystic writers."'^ Watson, in ihcLife, continues (10 years 
after his Observations appeared) to argue against Southey's view about 
Wesley the enthusiast who produced extravagant effects in his listeners, 
and there is no noticeable change in his attitude towards supernatural 
phenomena. He still allows some of them to be genuine and affirms 
once more, "We do not attach primary importance to secondary cir- 
cumstances; but they are not to be wholly disregarded."'^ So too, with 
God's providential intervention in answer to prayer, Watson allows that 
there are some cases that Wesley claims in his Journal that may 
reasonably appear doubtful, though these examples are the exception, 
not the rule. 2° 

There is perhaps a somewhat stronger apology made by Watson in 
the Life for the eventual split between Methodists and the Church of 
England than is found in his Observations. For example, he calls Mr. 
Wesley's insistence on the Societies not interfering with Anglican Church 
services by meeting at the same time, and his exhorting them to com- 
municate in the Anglican Church a reflection of Wesley's Anglican "pre- 
judices". 2' He argues that perhaps Mr. Wesley had "overhastily and 
peremptorily committed himself" ^^ to the arrangement whereby the 
Societies were still dependent upon the Anglican Church for sacraments 


and regular Church services, a view which no doubt would be warmly 
supported by American Methodists. He also argues in the Life that "the 
idea of uniting the modern Methodists to the Church is a very visionary 
one". 2^ Watson insists throughout that all that Wesley did, he did because 
the circumstances demanded it, and because on occasion the cir- 
cumstances required actions in extremis. Watson cites as an example 
his ordination of various preachers, but stresses that Wesley in his views 
about ecclesiastical polity had a precedent in Lord King, and even as 
early as 1745 he was "very free in his opinions" on such matters. ^"^ 
He makes pointed remarks about Wesley's love for his Christian brethren 
in the Church of England and elsewhere, but points out that his Catholic 
spirit did not lead him to relinquish his fundamental beliefs or prac- 
tices, ^^ or for that matter to disregard " the heavenly vision" when 
it led him to act in irregular fashion in certain cases. Watson strives 
very hard to prove that even in the Minutes of 1745 and 1747 Wesley 
had already laid the ground work and was actually intentionally ordaining 
preachers, but it is perhaps better to say that he was gradually feeling 
his way in that direction at this point. The ordination of Coke was 
prepared for in these Minutes and actions, but Watson probably over 
reaches the evidence at this point to try and show that what Wesley 
did with Coke (and later others) was not impulsive but long thought 
out and not without precedent in his own work. 

In the long section on Wesley's theological views in the middle of 
the biography Watson goes to some length to vindicate Wesley's views 
on assurance. Christian perfection, and other points by quoting Wesley 
and adding certain annotations. It is curious but nonetheless true that 
Watson spends more time on the distinctives of Wesley's system here 
than in his own Institutes. ^^ This may perhaps be explained in part by 
the fact that the biography is directed to the general public while the 
Institutes was apparently intended for young Methodist preachers and 
students of divinity who presumably would already know the Wesleyan 
distinctives. 2'' Watson also gives sufficient extracts to make clear 
Wesley's interest in regulating almost every aspect of his preacher's 
life including his eating habits. He allows that Wesley sometimes got 
things out of proportion in such matters but, "If little things were by 
him sometimes made great; this praise, however, he had without abate- 
ment, that he never made great things little. "^^ One way that Watson 
impresses upon his reader the stature of John Wesley is by contrasting 
him with 'lesser' men — including even Charles Wesley. It is notable 
that Watson is wholly on John's side in the matter of Grace Murray 
and also when Charles made efforts to bind the preachers to a strict 
allegiance to the Church of England. ^^ Further, he also presents various 
of John Wesley's 'thorns in the flesh', including his own wife, in a 
decidedly negative light. He does not try to see both sides of the case; 
he simply defends Wesley. ^^ 


So, too, in the Calvinist controversy, he strives to portray Wesley 
as serching for unity with White field, and he quotes the statements 
Wesley made that came close to Calvin's views. He does not mention 
or quote "Predestination Calmly Considered". ^^ He does, however, 
quote the famous (or infamous) Minutes of 1744 with only the remark 
"that there were passages calculated to awaken suspicion, and that they 
gave the appearance of inconsistency to Mr. Wesley's opinions. "^^ He 
is obviously reluctant to ever say that Wesley was simply wrong in some 
of his theological statements. About Wesley's intention to fund a col- 
lege or seminary for the connection at large, Watson is strongly ap- 
proving and regrets that in this design Wesley did not succeed, for often 
children of Methodists ended up in schools, "Where their religious prin- 
ciples have been neglected or perverted... "^^ 

It is interesting that when Watson turns to make a few remarks on 
Methodism in America, Emory has to step in at various points to cor- 
rect or qualify Watson's remarks. ^"^ When he speaks on Methodism in 
his own day, he continues to argue from John Wesley's point of view 
claiming that even yet the Methodist Societies had not separated on such 
principles or with such feelings of hostility as Charles Wesley feared. ^^ 
Watson, however, seems to depart somewhat from his mentor on the 
matter of itinerancy by suggesting that more liberty should be allowed 
instead of insisting that all ministers move every three years. This ten- 
tative suggestion is strongly repudiated by Emory in his note which 
speaks of the glories and glorious effects of itinerancy . ^^ Our author 
also seems to make light of Wesley's anger about Coke and Asbury 
calling themselves bishops. Indeed, he says, "The only objection he 
could have to the name was, that from a long association, it was likely 
to convey a meaning beyond his own intention. But this was a matter 
of mere prudential feeling, confined to himself; so that neither were 
Mr. Coke and Mr. Asbury to be blamed for using that appelation in 
Mr. Wesley's sense... "^^ Further, he is willing to allow that Wesley 
was often too anxious to appear perfectly consistent, when some of the 
things he sanctioned and did were in fact inconsistent with Church of 
England practice and tradition. ^^ Wesley was a man wise enough to 
realize that circumstances sometimes require changes in any organiza- 
tion, and Watson, true to his Master's method of operation, justifies 
the changes that had then been and would be made after Wesley's death 
in Methodist Societies on these same grounds. ^^ We have seen that Wat- 
son was quick to rebut or qualify any serious charges made against 
Wesley, while allowing some lesser faults. As a final example of this 
tendency we may note how Watson handles the charge of Southey and 
others that Wesley yearned for power. He says, 

As to the love of power, it may be granted that like many minds who 
seem born to direct, he desired to acquire influence; and when he ob- 
tained it, he employed his one talent so as to make it gain more talents. 


If he had loved power for its own sake, or to minister to selfish pur- 
poses, or to injure others, this would have been a great blemish; but 
he sacrificed no principle of his own, and no interest or right of others, 
for its gratification. ■*" 

Such is the portrait Watson paints of Wesley for his readers, a por- 
trait intended for the most part to depict Wesley in the most favorable 
light that conscience and honesty would allow. The work is not without 
certain small criticisms made by Watson of Wesley, but on the whole 
it is a full-blooded defense of the great man in response to earlier less 
favorable biographies (Moore, Whitehead, and Southey). Undoubted- 
ly, this work helped to reassure Methodists of the day and made them 
proud of their founder, and also aided the efforts to show the general 
public that Wesley was a respectable and admirable religious leader. 

II. Watson's Institutes — "the Arminian Antidote" 

Watson's Institutes is surely one of the major works of Methodist 
theology in any age. Watson was highly skilled in argumentation and 
systematization on theological subjects, and in this work he finds the 
perfect vehicle for his talents. As we shall see, this work so adequately 
filled a need and was so full of brilliant discussion that it became the 
standard theological work for Methodist preachers almost as soon as 
it was published. It may even be suspected that in various regards it 
eclipsed Wesley's Sermons and Notes as a source for preaching and 

The work is self-consciously cast in the mold of the systemadc 
theologies of Watson's day and earlier and is divided into four very 
uneven (quantity-wise) parts. Of the more than 1200 pages in the In- 
stitutes, 236 are spent in the Evidences of Chrisdanity, 815 on the Doc- 
trines of Christianity, 104 on the Morals of Christianity, and 100 on 
the Institutions of Christianity. It is when Watson discusses the ordo 
salutis that he is most comfortable and in his element, and it is here 
ultimately in Part II of his Institutes that he makes his greatest contribu- 
tion. It appears that in the main Watson wrote the Institutes as an apologia 
in order to defend the Methodist faith against deism, Calvinism, An- 
tinomianism, and the popular naturalistic and 'Socinian' philosophies 
of his day. This would explain why it is that so much time is spent by 
Watson arguing against these views in the first two parts of his work, 
and at the same time why so little time is spent discussing such Wesleyan 
essentials as prevenient grace and Christian perfection. Apparently, the 
work was written to provide Methodists with ammunition to combat 
their detractors, and Watson assumed that the basic Wesleyan distinc- 
tives were too well known by Methodist preachers to need much ex- 
position. E. D. Dunlap is probably correct in saying that this lack of 
sufficient discussion of the positive distincfives of Wesleyan theology 
by Watson led in later generations to a loosening hold on true Wesleyan 


views."** Be that as it may, Watson made some considerable contribu- 
tions in this work. 

The first portion of the Institutes was the part destined to raise the 
most objections among American Methodists for several reasons. 
Primarily, the difficulty lay in the fact that Watson, like Wesley before 
him, did not accept the concept of "the necessary truths of reason" 
or the doctrine of "innate ideas''.'*^ In this he was influenced by Locke's 
empiricism, believing that all knowledge came to one from outside of 
himself and that reason was a discursive, not intuitive, faculty. Reason 
was strictly subordinate to faith in the study of religious matters. Wat- 
son thus placed no stock in a priori arguments for the truthfulness or 
reasonableness of revelation and religion. He had no faith in a priori 
arguments for God's existence. Once God was accepted on faith, 
however, reason could serve to confirm and provide evidence to sup- 
port such a conviction. Watson thus proceeds to provide various a 
posteriori proofs for the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures.'*^ 

A second sticking point also arose because of Watson's denial that 
human reason left to itself could "feel after God and find him". He 
thus denied the value of so-called natural theology. His point was that 
human reason was often and too easily mistaken and the evidence of 
God's existence in nature, too diffuse and general to lead to any sort 
of sufficient knowledge of God, much less belief in the God of the Bi- 
ble. If one was to know God, God must reveal Himself directly to him 
— He could not be found by exploring either the epistemic principles 
of the mind or the vastness of nature. '^'^ Watson was also quick to point 
out that after all, the Fall and the original sin tainted all one's thinking. 
None of this sat well with various American Methodist thinkers who 
were growing in their praise of a belief in one's innate abilities, our 
rational faculties, our independence and freedom in this world. We shall 
have occasion to discuss this further later in this study. 

The second portion of the Institutes is a tour de force. It is perhaps 
true that Watson here does not do full justice to the confirmation of 
spiritual truth in evangelical experience,'*^ but apart from this the se- 
cond section of the Institutes would likely have been wholeheartedly 
endorsed by Wesley. 

On original sin, Watson follows essentially in Wesley's footsteps. 
He argues that a human being is trichotomous: body, soul, and spirit 
(the former two being innate in one's creation, the latter a special gift 
of God) . That Adam sinned and that all humanity has felt the effects 
or consequences of his sin is central to his argument. It is true that Watson 
denied that "we sinned in Adam" or that "Adam as man sinned for 
us and thus we sinned the original sin". He appears to object to these 
views because of his strong notion of individual accountability before 
God. He would not allow that any sin which we did not actually (in- 
dividually) commit would be imputed to us by God.'*^ He seems also 


to have been influenced at certain points by Calvin's views of Adam 
as humanity's federal head, to a greater degree than Wesley was/"^ Like 
Wesley, Watson talks of a deprivation (of God's presence) which led 
to a deprivation (of man's nature),"*^ and Watson does not in the least 
doubt that a human being is non posse, non peccare after the Fall, if 
left to his own devices. When the Spirit of God withdrew from Adam, 
once he sinned, he became totally depraved, i.e., corrupt in every facet 
of his being (physically, mentally, morally, spiritually). Also, like 
Wesley, Watson believed that one of the universal benefits of the atone- 
ment of Christ is the extension to everyone of "pre- venting" grace which 
works to re-establish one in the position where he can choose between 
good and evil. Watson, like Wesley, was using the Bible as the essen- 
tial source book of his theology, but it is interesting that at this point 
both men have few Scriptures (apart from talking about the "light that 
enlightens every man...") to support the notion of prevenient grace. 
In one sense, Watson and Wesley are more consistent at this point than 
Calvin in assigning whatever good one may do after the Fall to God's 
grace (not to vestigial good tendencies left in the Imago Dei after the 
Fall). The 'pessimism of nature' and the 'optimism of grace' is to be 
found in both men's writings. But Watson, by failing to spell out this 
doctrine of prevenient grace more clearly, opened the door for Whedon, 
Miley, and others especially in America to assign fallen humanity's free 
agency simply to his own human capacities. 

When we turn to the exposition of Watson on the Atonement and its 
benefits, we find very little if anything substantial to differentiate Wat- 
son's treatment of the subject from Wesley's. Both men stressed per- 
sonal substitutionary atonement, and both men agreed that Christ's death 
was sufficient for all and efficient for all who believed. Dunlap claims 
that Watson focuses more specifically on Christ's death as obedience 
and of salvific value, but he provides little evidence to substantiate this 
claim. '^' Both Watson and Wesley had reservations about the use of the 
term 'imputed righteousness', and were constantly striving to make clear 
that it was the imputation of faith for righteousness, the acceptance of 
the former in place of the latter that allows one to be pardoned, ft is 
clear that both men wish to avoid the idea of God accepting Christ's 
righteousness in place of ours so that righteousness is no longer required 
of God's people. 5° The strong emphasis on moral obedience in both 
men's works precluded their allowing any suggestion that one did not 
need to work out his own salvation (and sanctification) with fear and 
trembling. Both men maintain this stress in part because their 
hermeneutical approach to the Old Testament demanded it, i.e., it is 
still incumbent on the Christian to obey all of the Old Testament law 
unless it has been abolished or fulfilled in the New Testament. If 
anything, Watson is even more insistent on obedience to God's law than 
Wesley. This is perhaps because Watson is determined to take on 


Calvinism in both its theology and implictions for religious practice. 
His arguments and exegesis are often brilliant, but sometimes, especially 
where he strives to make every text fit an Arminian view of the extent 
or nature of the Atonement, he resorts to theological gymnastics. -''• There 
is, in Watson's systematizing of the Arminian view, a tendency also 
to tidy up loose ends, sometimes unnecessarily, with the end result that 
something of the excitement and interest in Wesley's teaching about 
spontaneous sanctification and justification is lost. Watson, however, 
was known to have had a 'heart-warming' experience of assurance (to 
have claimed the witness of the Spirit in his life) himself, and it is un- 
fortunate that he did not spend more time exploring the experiential 
as well as the cognitive aspects of the Methodist faith. ^^ 

Watson spent litde time expounding our moral duties, or the nature 
of the Christian sacraments. The 3rd and 4th portions of his Institutes 
are quite brief and appear almost tacked on at the end after the author 
had finished writing about what really interested him.^^ By simply 
rehearsing our duties in his ethical section in part 4, Watson separates 
practice from theology, even if not intentionally, and there is little to 
distinguish his exposition from the standard moralizing of his day about 
duties to God, country, and countrymen and family. ^"^ Then, too, Wat- 
son does not seem to hold the sacraments in as high a regard as did 
Wesley. There is only a hint of the idea of the "real presence" in his 
explanation of the Lord's Supper, ^^ and he avers that communicating 
once a month is sufficient, while Wesley took the sacrament several 
times a week.^^ Finally, it appears that Watson did not view the Lord's 
Supper as a converting, as well as confirming, sacrament as Wesley 
did, or at least not to the same extent as Wesley.^'' Nevertheless, in 
Watson's Institutes, we find an exposition essentially faithful to the 
preaching and teaching of Wesley. ^^ 

None of the criticisms mentioned above, however, were the main 
criticisms leveled at Watson's Institutes by American Methodists. Thus, 
we must now examine the impact of Watson's work in American 
Methodist circles. 

in. Watson's Work in the New World — Reception and Rejection 

When, in 1816, American Methodists began to show their concern 
about the education of their preachers and established a Course of 
Studies, Richard Watson was still six years away from publishing any 
of his magnum opus. But it was not long (perhaps only 14 years) before 
Watson's Institutes was the theological textbook for the first year of 
the course of studies. Thus it was recognized quite early as an able, 
even definitive, exposition of Methodist doctrines. As Leland Scott says, 
"Richard Watson, directly or indirectly, was the determinative 
theological force in the mind of the Methodists. It was Watson's 
systematic treatment of the theological motifs of Wesley and Flet- 


cher. . .which proved to be the standard theological source in American 
Methodism for at least three decades following the early 1840s."^' In 
fact, it was the standard treatment for 50 years or more.^° In 1877, Daniel 
Curry, a leading theologian of his day, ascribes the theological unity 
of Methodism principally to Watson's Institutes. ^^ Even until the turn 
of the 20th century, Methodist theologians were writing their own works 
with one eye constantly on Watson's work. Ralston, Wakefield, Lee, 
Binney, and Raymond all issued their own American 'translations', 
modifications of Watson's original study. ^^ We know, furthermore, that 
in 1850 John McClintock's 90 page analysis was printed in the Institutes 
as a key and introduction to the work. This greatly increased the 
usefulness and influence of this huge tome.^^ jvjot until the last decade 
of the 19th century when we come to John Miley's Systematics do we 
discern the disappearance of Watson as the determinative theological 
influence on the content and structure of Methodist theology.^'* 

This does not mean that were not various criticisms leveled at Wat- 
son's Institutes prior to Miley. But the development of a truly indigenous 
Methodist theology for Americans did not really take place before Miley. 
The earliest serious criticisms of Watson's work came in the Methodist 
Quarterly Review in 1838-1839 by W. M. Bangs, the son of the famous 
Nathan Bangs. Bangs, who appears to have taken Watson's side on the 
question of the place of reason and the possibilities of natural theology, 
criticizes Watson for not being consistent enough in his appeal to the 
unique primacy of the testimony of revelation with respect to man's 
knowledge of God. In short, Watson spent too much time on evidences 
in the first part of his Institutes to suit Bangs, even though his aim of 
refuting the Deists on this matter was noble. ^^ Quite the opposite crit- 
ique is, however, the usual response to Watson's work. 

Abel Stevens, in history of Methodism, says of the Institutes, "It is 
deficient in its treatment of the abundant arguments for and against 
revelation which have been drawn from the late progress of the natural 
sciences... "^^ Watson's main critics, however, were the influential editor 
of the Methodist Quarterly Review, Daniel Whedon, and one of its more 
vocal contributors during the 1860s, B. F. Cocker. Both men reflected 
the tendency in American Methodism of that day towards an increas- 
ing stress on the capabilities of human reason, on individual respon- 
sibility, and consequently on human freedom of the will. Whedon is 
particularly distressed with Watson's Lockian epistemology, as is 
Cocker. Cocker believes Watson cast doubts on our faculties and thus 
unsettles all the foundations of truth — for if our means of knowing 
are of uncertain consistency then what we know must likewise be uncer- 
tain.^^ Further, if we owe our knowledge of God to revelation alone 
we cannot prove by an independent means, such as human reason, that 
the Bible is God's revelation. Finally, Cocker thinks that if one rejects 
the concept of innate ideas, it is impossible to account for the existence 


of belief in God and in moral behavior that even a non-Christian per- 
son has intuitively in every age and culture. ^^ Cocker's writings were 
serious enough that they elicited a full response by John Levington in 
1863 who defends Watson at every point. ^^ While at some points Lev- 
ington does get carried away, he is probably right that both Whedon 
and Cocker overreacted to Watson's epistemology. Watson certainly 
did reject the concept of innate ideas as did Wesley and thus he certain- 
ly argued for reason as a discursive, not intuitive, faculty, but he did 
not deny that there was evidence in humanity of God's existence. What 
he did deny was that such evidence in nature (cf. Romans 1) was suffi- 
cient to lead one to an adequate, much less saving, knowledge of God. 
Both Cocker and Whedon reflected the increasing tendency in American 
thinking towards an "optimism of nature" that eventually replaced the 
true Wesley an emphasis on an "optimism of grace". Indeed, Scott says 
that Whedon, in his reviews from 1856-1881 in the Quarterly and in 
his other writings, was a major force in diverting the 19th century 
American mind from an unqualified acceptance and appeal to Watson, 
and this is likely an accurate analysis. ^° By the time Miley wrote his 
Systematics it was acceptable to differ with Watson in fundamental ways 
because Whedon, Cocker, and others had prepare the Methodist reader 
for a change in approach. 

It is perhaps significant that the critiques of Watson were leveled almost 
exclusively against the first section of his Institutes — the Evidences 
of Christianity. The battle of presuppositions about the relation of reason 
and faith, free will and grace, had to be settled before one could ven- 
ture openly to disagree with Watson on the doctrines of faith. What 
the conflict in fact tends to show is that American Methodist thinking 
in general, in the heady atmosphere of independence and expansion, 
and ultimately under the influence of Kant and others, was more and 
more moving in the direction of a Pelagian view of human nature. Con- 
sequently, an increasingly shallow view of human sin and the necess- 
ity of Christ's substitutionary atonement arose. Unfortunately, the drive 
for a more indigenous Methodist theology in this country in the 19th 
century led, at least in some circles, to a gradual departure from a 
Wesleyan and Biblical position. That which replaced Watson in 
Methodist thinking was not a new systematic and biblically grounded 
reflection on Wesley's doctrines, but adoption by Methodist theologians 
of the popular or 'folk' philosophy of the day that placed humanity at 
center stage and relegated God to the role of our helper. Methodism 
in the United States was moving from the 'folk' theology of Wesley, 
systematized by Watson, to the indigenous 'folk' philosophy of the New 
World tempered by a stong tendency toward moralism and emo- 
tionalism. ''^ 

Yet it would be unfair to suggest that this was all that was happening 
in the 19th century American Methodist theological development. What 


we are able to trace is primarily what happened among educated 
Methodists who wrote. Probably Watson's (and Wesley's) influence 
continued to be strong well into the 20th century among some scholars 
and among many Methodist lay people. A small, but perhaps telltale, 
indication of the ongoing impact of both Watson's theological works 
and his Life of Wesley can be seen in a copy of Watson's Wesley that 
this author owns. It once belonged to one Sally Houghton (d. 1834) 
of Leominster, Mass., and was passed down in her family. On the in- 
side of its front cover we find pasted family wedding notices, while 
on the inside back cover we find pasted Sally Houghton's obituary. In 
short, the work was treated as many people have treated their family 
Bible. Doubdess, there were many who cherished and followed their 
Wesleyan heritage regardless of the work of the theologians of the day, 
as this family apparently had done. In any event, it may be safely con- 
cluded that even in the New World Richard Watson's influence endured 
throughout the century, though with decreasing force. The Wesley that 
many, if not most, American Methodists knew in the 19th century was 
the Wesley Watson presented and interpreted. 



'F. A. Norwood, The Story of American Methodism (Nashville, 1974), 226. 

^Richard Watson, Observations on Southey's 'Life of Wesley' (2nd ed.; Lon- 
don, 1821). The second edition is the only one available to this author. The 
work was apparently written in 1820 or even in part before that date while 
Watson was still in his 30s. 

^Richard Watson, The Life of John Wesley, A.M. (New York, 1831). John 
Emory, the publisher, also prepared notes and translations for this edition 
which perhaps says something about the sort of clientele to which it was 

^Observations, 4-5. 

^For instance, at one point {Observations, 40) he says that miracles are of rare 
occurence. Later on in the work (94) he argues that the dramatic side ef- 
fects were not nearly so usual as Southey thought, but that because they 
were out of the ordinary Wesley noted them in his Journal. Watson notes 
that some of them were in fact "truly extravagant" (95), yet he notes that 
Wesley was not uncritical about such matters. 

^Cf. Observations, 100-22. He even appeals to the precedent in the NT and 
in Church history to validate the authenticity of at least some of these 

'^Observations, 185. 

^Observations, 141, n. 3. 

^Observations, 142-3. 

^^Observations, 144-50. 

"E. J. Brail sford, Richard Watson, Theologian and Missionary Advocate (Lon- 
don, n.d.) 108; cf. Observations, 162. 

'^The Life, 18. 

'^Life, 28, cf. 34. 

'^Life, 28; contrast S. Ayling, John Wesley (Nashville, 1979) 56-8. 

'^Life, 35-6. 

'"•Life, 39-40, 44-5. 

^''Life, 44 note. 

^^Life, 81 ; contrast Wesley's own more balanced remark on "Madame Guion" 
in Life, 207. 

'^Life, 87-8. 

20L//e, 127. 

^'Life, 92. 

^^Life, 94. 


23L//e, 307. 

'^^Life, 134-5. Emory notes that circumstances of emergency necessitated the 
ordination of Coke and Asbury for the U.S., thus making it clear to the 
American audience that Wesley even at this point did not wish to be 

25L(/e, 115. ' ^ 

2«*Cf. Life, 146-172 to Theological Institutes, vol. n (New York, 1850) 450-7. 

27Cf. Brailsford, Watson, 100. 

^mfe, 177. 

^^Life, 183-7 

^^Life, 187 ff. Mrs Vazeille was, "...wholly swallowed up in the passion of 
jealousy." Contrast Ayling, John Wesley, 215-31. 

^'Life, 210-13. 

^^Life, 213-20. 

^^Life, 191-2. To this point Emory adds an annotated 'amen', noting how ap- 
plicable such remarks are to the American situation of Methodists. 

^^Life, 201-3; corrections come on the numbers of Baptists in relation to 
Methodists, and on the state of Methodist education in the U.S. 

^^Life, 232. 

^^Life, 241-2 and note. 

"L//e, 247. 

38L(/e, 252. 

^^Life, 322. 

^mfe, 318. 

'^'E. D. Dunlap, Methodist Theology in Great Britain in the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury (New Haven, 1956) 151-2. 

^^Institutes I, 274-5. 

'*^Contra R. E. Chiles, Theological Transition in American Methodism 
1790-1935 (Nashville, 1965) 48-9, who wrongly contends that "Watson's 
extended and varied efforts to establish the divine authority of Scripture 
clearly hint that his ultimate allegiance was to evidence external to Scrip- 
ture itself." Nothing could be further from the truth. For Watson, revela- 
tion was essentially self-authenticating, though external evidence could be 
corroborative. It is also hard to see any justice in Chiles' critique (87-9) 
that Watson is furthest from Wesley in his discussion of revelation and 
reason. Cf. Dunlap, Methodist Theology, 165 ff. Part I of the Institutes 
resonates with echoes from Wesley's Earnest Appeal. 

^^Institutes I, 15-44. 

'*^As Chiles, Theological Transition, 97 avers. 


'^^Cf. Watson, Institutes II, 46-53. Chiles, Theological Transition, 124-9; 
Dunlap, Methodist Theology, 1 12-4, 140 ff. Watson does, however, allow 
the imputation or sin in the sense that Watts took it, i.e., the imputation 
of the effects of that sin. Cf. Vol. II, 53-5. 

'*''C{. Institutes II, 48 ff. At several places in the Institutes we see the effects 
of Calvin's federahstic notions on Watson. Cf. also Watson on baptism (In- 
stitutes II, 614 ff.). 

'^^Cf. Institutes II, 55, to Wesley, The Works of John Wesley A.M. (ed. T. 
Jackson; 3rd ed.; London, 1829) VI. 244. 

'^''Dunlap, Methodist Theology, 212-3. 

5"Cf. Institutes 11, 215^3; John Wesley, Sermons on Several Occasions (Lon- 
don, n.d.) 62 ff. Watson, in perfect parallelism to his argument that we 
feel the effects or consequences of Adam's sin, argues that we receive the 
benefits or consequences of Christ's righteousness. 

5'Cf. Institutes II, 314 ff. on Exodus 33.19, Malachi 1.2, 3 et al. 

^^Cf. Dunlap, Methodist Theology, 125-6 and n. 1. Watson does, however, 
stress the Wesleyan point that while faith is sola it is not solitaria. Cf. In- 
stitutes II, 246-50. 

^^It may however, be the case that this was not Watson's fault, as his health 
was failing as he was finishing the Institutes. 

54Cf. Institutes II, 665-671. 

55Cf. Dunlap, Methodist Theology, 217-8. 

^^Institutes II, 670. 

^'^ Institutes II, 669-70. 

^^Cf. Chiles, Theological Transition, 46-7; Dunlap, Methodist Theology, 217. 

^'Leland Scott, Methodist Theology in America in the Nineteenth Century (un- 
pub. Yale Univ Diss., 1954) 143. 

^°Cf. C. A. Rogers, "The Theological Heritage of the Early Methodist 
Preachers", Duke Divinity Review 34 (3, 1969) 205. G. O. McCulloch, 
"The Changing Theological Emphases" in The History of American 
Methodism II (ed. E. Bucke; Nashville, 1964) 593). 

^•Cf. Dunlap, Methodist Theology, 144. 

^^Cf. Chiles, Theological Transition, 54-5; Scott, Methodist Theology, 140. 

^3 Scott, Methodist Theology, 144. 

^''Scott, Methodist Theology, 470. 

^'Scott, Methodist Theology, 145-6. 

^^A. Stevens, The History of the Religious Movement of the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury, called Methodism, considered in its Different Denominational Forms 
and its Relations to British and American Protestantism (New York, 1861) 
III, 474. 


^'Cf. B. F. Cocker, "Metaphysics of Watson's Institutes", Methodist Quarterly 
Review 44 (1862) 181-207; Cocker, "The Moral Philosophy of the 'In- 
stitutes of Theology' by Rev. Richard Watson", Methodist Quarterly Review 
46 (1864) 5-28, 181-94. 

^*Cf. Cocker, "The Moral Philosophy", 5-28 to Scott, Methodist Theology, 

^'John Levington, Watson's Theological Institutes Defended (Detroit, 1863) 
cf. pp. 11 ff. etc. 

™Scott, Methodist Theology, 142-3, 148-9. 

'•Cf. Scott, Methodist Theology, 498; Chiles, Theological Transition, 200-06; 
F. A. Norwood, The Story of American Methodism (Nashville, 1974), 226-9. 


Primary Sources: 

Watson, Richard. The Life of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M. First American Of- 
ficial Edition with Translation and Notes by John Emory. New York: Emory 
and Waugh. 1831. 

. Observations on Southey's "Life of Wesley", Being a Defence of the 

Character, Labours, and Opinions of Mr. Wesley Against the Misrepresen- 
tations of that Publication. 2nd ed. London: T. Cordeux. 1821. 

. Theological Institutes: Or a View of the Evidences , Doctrines, Morals, 

and Institutions of Christianity. With Index and Analysis by J. McClintock. 
29th ed. New York: Nelson & Phillips. 1850 [2 volumes]. 

Secondary Sources: 

Brailsford, E. J. Richard Watson — Theologian and Missionary Advocate. Lon- 
don: Charles H. Kelly, no date. 

B. F. Cocker, "The Metaphysics of Watson's Institutes". The Methodist 
Quarterly Review 44 ( 1 862) 181 -207 . 

. "The Moral Philosophy of the 'Institutes of Theology', by Rev. Richard 

Watson". The Methodist Quarterly Review 16 (1864) 5-28, 181-94. 

Chiles, Robert E. Theological Transition in American Methodism 1 790-1935. 
Nashville: Abingdon Press. 1965. 

Dunlap, E. D. Methodist Theology in Great Britain in the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury; with Special Reference to the Theology of Adam Clarke, Richard Wat- 
son, and William Burt Pope. New Haven: Yale University dissertation. 1956 

Levington, J. Watson's Theological Institutes Defended. Detroit: T. K. Adams. 

McCullouch, G. O. "The Theology and Practices of Methodism 1876-1919: 
The Changing Theological Emphases" in The History of American 
Methodism. Vol. II. ed. E. S. Bucke, et al. Nashville: Abingdon Press. 
1964. pp. 593-4. 


Norwood, F. A. The Story of American Methodism. Nashville: Abingdon Press. 


Rogers, C. A. "The Theological Heritage of the Early Methodist Preachers" 
Duke Divinity School Review 34:3 (1969) 196-208. 

Scott, L. H. "The Concern for Systematic Theology, 1840-70". in History 
of American Methodism. Vol. II. Ed. E. S. Bucke, et al. Nashville: Ab- 
ingdon Press. 1964. 380-3. 

. Methodist Theology in America in the Nineteenth Century. New Haven: 

Yale University dissertation. 1954 unpub. 



by Dr. Mary Ellen Drushal* 


When will the church move into the 21st century in managing its 
human resources? The recent literature in church management and 
leadership is replete with volumes of platitudes and idealistic principles 
enthusiastically endorsed by their authors. While businesses have become 
more humane and caring in managing the people who manufacture their 
products (Peters & Austin, 1985), the church has maintained the same 
authoritarian approach to task and people issues it has used for centuries. 

Authors of Christian leadership materials frequently cite passages in 
Exodus and Nehemiah when justifying their approach to management. 
These Old Testament examples are excellent illustrations of leaders learn- 
ing to delegate responsibilities to others to achieve a common goal, but 
they lack attention to the long-term issues that allow the leader and the 
organization to survive and thrive through its people. 

The New Testament account of how Jesus effectively trained and em- 
powered his disciples for leadership should be the model for long-term 
management employed by the church. The disciples were well instructed 
for the task to which they had been called. The fact that the church 
exists today is evidence of the success of Jesus' training. Jesus, through 
his leadership, implanted in the disciples' minds an eternal perspective 
on management of people for a purpose. Can current church leaders 
do less? 

There seems to be a prevalent view among pastors/leaders in small 
churches (attendance of 250 or less) that they can administer and manage 
the work of the church alone. Why do they do this? Why do they think 
they could or even should do it alone? Jesus, our supreme example in 
all aspects, is the only person in history who commanded all resources 
and information and could have managed the task alone. Yet he chose 
to establish his Kingdom by utilizing and training twelve people to func- 
tion in his absence. Dare leaders/pastors in the church do less? 

Leaders in the church must make a management choice which will 
affect how paid and volunteer staff are trained. McGregor (1960) states 
that how one manages people is based on the leader's view of human 
nature and motivation. Since scripture amply outlines the sinfulness of 

*Dr. Drushal is Associate Professor of Christian Education and Church Ad- 
ministration at ATS. This article follows up Dr. Drushal' s previous article 
"Motivational Components of Theory Z Management", ATJ IS (1987), 8-27. 


humanity and the carnal nature possessed by all, the assumption is that 
people need to be controlled by a leader more capable and knowledgeable 
than they and should be driven through reward and punishment to ac- 
complish any task. Is that the way Jesus motivated and trained the 
disciples he managed? 

Management Theories Revisited 

"We've always done it that way before" has become the death knell 
of the church, and this attitude, even when unspoken, is pervasive in 
its management and leadership of staff. Greenleaf (1977) cites two events 
in church history which underscore this truth: 

When Martin Luther made his break with the Catholic Church in the 
sixteenth century he postulated the priesthood of all believers as his goal. 
It did not come off because he did not devise a role for the pastor that 
would permit it. A century later in England, George Fox met this 
challenge by founding the Quakers, who dispensed with the pastor 
altogether. A small but influential sect survived his effort but it fell short 
of his aims because he did not leave it with a way of leading a pastorless 
flock so that it could grow and adapt, (p. 81) 

We must return to the biblical truth of egalitarianism in the priesthood 
of all believers outlined in scripture and implemented in church organiza- 
tion by Luther. Further, in developing leadership in the congregation, 
leaders need to examine the management model designed and practic- 
ed by Jesus Christ and the implications this presents for ministry. 

Current management literature outlines three approaches to organiza- 
tional behavior. Drushal (1987) summarizes the attributes of these three 
managerial theories, compares their function, and suggests that Theory 
Z is the most biblically sound. Theory X (McGregor, 1960) supports 
principles of control and extrinsic manipulation of people to accomplish 
organizational objectives. Theory Y (McGregor, 1960) integrates the 
needs of the individual and the goals of the organization to produce a 
model of cooperation for management. Theory Z (Ouchi, 1981) em- 
phasizes a participation approach to management with a wholistic orien- 
tation that incorporates the involvement of workers in all facets of the 
organization. Theory Z is most like the model Jesus devised to instruct 
his disciples in the formation of early church leadership. 

Surely as the church approaches the 21st century it is not only timely 
but urgent that this organism ordained by God to do his will finally 
adopt a biblical management model rather than adapt a motivational 
concept or a leadership style from the business community. The cor- 
porate climate initiated the concept of first among equals (Greenleaf, 
1977) with the benefits to the organization of quantitative growth and 
qualitative refinement of personhood. Church leaders must make a con- 
scious decision to manage people in traditional ways or to function as 
Jesus intended? 


Leaders as Servants 

A pastor/leader has multiple roles in any congregation. These roles 
require superhuman capabilities to fulfill all tasks and relationships suc- 
cessfully. Oswald and Kroeger (1988) have compiled a list of these 
responsibilities which outlines the awesome task of leading a local 
church. The following is their list of functions which compose the basis 
for mythical pastoral effectiveness: 

leading in worship 

preparing and delivering sermons 

visiting the sick, the bereaved and dying 

accepting outside speaking engagements 

administering the church office 

conflict resolution/building harmony with the parish 

visiting and recruiting new members 

counseling persons with personal difficulties 

representing the parish in ecumenical affairs 

engaging in continuing professional and spiritual development 

assisting victims of social neglect, injustice and prejudice 

youth ministry 

baptizing, marrying and conducting funerals 

leading fund-raising drives 

participating in denomindonal acdvities 

fostering fellowship within the parish 

leading in parish goal setting and helping in its implementation 

recruiting and training parish leaders 

visiting people in their homes 

promoting enthusiasm for parish acdvities (p. 28) 

A single individual would have to be able to walk on water if all these 
things were accomplished with equal aplomb and skill. But Jesus did 
not condone the lone ranger or single chieftan model in accomplishing 
pastoral responsibilities. Instead, he included his disciples in almost 
everything he did and trained them to follow his example in preaching, 
teaching and healing (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 10:5-8). He sent them out 
to minister to the world in pairs (Mark 6:7) — a cooperative manage- 
ment model. He underscored their need for each other in accomplishing 
ministry goals. 

The Lord also appointed 70 others to leadership positions (Luke 
10:1-2) and sent them out two by two as his advance party. This con- 
notes his trust in these people and his confidence in their abilities and 
training to do as he had modelled and instructed. Belief in the abilities 
of people, interactive communication regarding the corporate task, trust 
in their interdependence, and respect for their capabilities are all par- 
ticipative management attributes (Theory Z) which Jesus used in 
establishing the church and furthering the Kingdom. Jesus was a transfor- 
mational leader who allowed and encouraged the disciples to question 
everything around them (Matthew 13:36; 20:17). House and Singh 


(1987) describe transformational leaders as having three behavioral 
dimensions: charismatic leadership, individualized consideration, and 
intellectual stimulation. Effective leaders create a synergy between 
themselves and others that produces trust, empathy and motivation 
toward higher levels of accomplishment through participation. 

The disciples and leaders in training were first to be servants. Luke 
1:2 refers to them as being eyewitnesses and servants of what Jesus 
did in his earthly ministry. They were servants long before they became 
leaders in Christendom. Scripture reminds us that servants do not exalt 
themselves (Matthew 20:25-27; 23:11-12; Luke 14:11). Pastors/leaders 
are not to be modern chief executive officers who sit at the apex of 
a hierarchical organizational chart and bark orders or instruction to 
underlings. Rather, they are to love and serve others from among them, 
both within and outside of the congregation (Luke 6:27-45). They are 
to be participants, one with the other, to accomplish the work of ser- 
vice (Ephesians 4:11-12). Jesus desired that his apostles be servant- 
leaders among the people, equipped and trained, with the authority to 
fulfill the tasks of preaching, teaching, and healing that he intended them 
to do. "Christ did not seek to build a little thing. The chief way you 
and I are disloyal to him is when we make small what he intended to 
be large" (Trueblood, 1983, p. 27). Leaders ought not belittle Jesus' 
model but emulate it. 

To accomplish his eternal goals, Jesus granted the disciples the authori- 
ty, not the power, to heal diseases and cast out demons (Matthew 10: 1) 
and to preach and teach as he had done (John 17:15-19). Management 
literature makes a distinction between the definitions of power and 
authority. Legitimate authority is defined as "the right of decision and 
command that a person has over others. It is santioned, or approved, 
by those in the organization" (Tosi, Rizzo, & Carroll, 1986, p. 5 13). 
This definition assumes there is a psychological contract between the 
subject of influence and the right of another to exert influence. Power, 
on the other hand, "is a force which can be used to extract compliance" 
(Tosi, et al, 1986, p. 514). Power, when used, ignores the psychological 
contract that exists between people. 

Authority is granted to leaders through support from the follower- 
ship and is exercised by virtue of the position in leadership. Converse- 
ly, power is assumed by the individual/leader to determine both long 
and short-term goals for the organization as well as those people who 
labor there (Katz & Kahn 1978). Milton (1980) reminds us that Christ 
exercised power or force only once, when he cleansed the temple of 
profane merchants. That being the case, what makes mere human leaders 
wield the audacity of power to control people through direction, dimen- 
sion and discourse? 

The biblical view of authority is similar to that of the secular difmi- 
tion. "Pastoral authority is not primarily a coercive authority, such as 


that of a judge or a policeman, but rather an authority based on conve- 
nant fidelity, caring, mutuality, and the expectation of empathic 
understanding" (Oden, 1983, p. 53). Authority, therefore, based upon 
a leader's servant spirit which manifests the compassion of Christ, yields 
special qualities and capabilities that cause the followership to be com- 
mitted to the leader and the shared vision for ministry that emerges. 
Authority exercised properly assists individual growth, but invoking 
the power to control others hinders growth (Ortiz 1981). 

Receiving authority to do the will of the Father, the disciples were 
to be autonomous but dependent. This may appear a contradiction in 
terms, but it is aligned with other paradoxes of scripture (e. g., losing 
one's life and finding it). In John 20:21-22, Jesus assured the disciples 
of his trust by sending them out, but reminded them they were in need 
of what he provided, particularly peace and the empowering of the Holy 

Mac Donald (1984) lists five elements for achieving peace in the midst 
of ministry: motivation, use of time, wisdom and knowledge, spiritual 
strength, and restoration. Although he deals with them in the order they 
are listed, Jesus, our supreme model in leadership, would likely 
underscore one's spiritual strength as of the highest priority in manag- 
ing the work of other disciples. How many Christian leaders go about 
their work and ministry with very little time devoted to maintaining 
their spiritual vitality? If leaders felt their personal spirituality were 
critical to effective ministry, surely good trees would bear good fruit 
and followers would reflect the spiritual maturity of their leaders. The 
success of one's ministry is measured, not by quantitative, statistical 
analysis of attendance data, but rather on the quality of the persons and 
leaders produced in ministry. Greenleaf (1977) says that the best test 
for the quality of modelled servant-leadership is "the care taken by the 
servant — first to make sure that other people's highest priority needs 
are being served... Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while 
being served , become healthier, wiser, free, more autonomous, more 
likely themselves to become servants?" (p. 13) Leaders who are ser- 
vants first must hold the growth of others in high esteem and view this 
as the ultimate goal and accomplishment in ministry. 

The concept of servant leadership is a biblical one but can certainly 
be abused if the leader doesn't fully understand for whom he or she 
is the servant. Smith (1986) says 

The Christian leader is primarily a servant of God, not a servant of the 
sheep. Many shepherds act as if they're servants of the sheep — a faulty 
concept. You are a servant of God, given to absolute obedience to what 
he says. (p. 24) 

A leader who acknowledges and kowtows to every whim of the 
sheep/followers is not a leader at all but a non-thinking puppet. Leaders 
are not to be manipulated by followers pulling their strings. Rather, 


they are to care deeply about the sheep and their growth. 

One of the characteristics of Theory Z management is its long-term 
view of workers. What are church leaders' goals for individual growth 
among the laity? How do leaders' view themselves and their respon- 
sibility for assisting lay workers in identifying their spiritual gifts and 
then becoming equipped to serve the body of Christ? How a leader 
responds to these questions can measure the degree to which that local 
church will become a center of productivity without apology for ministry. 
Watson (1982) states 

The more we live as members of the body of Christ, the more we shall 
experience the gifts of the Spirit to edify that body. The manifestation 
of the Spirit is given only 'for the common good.' As we live together 
in love, the Spirit will give his gifts as an expression of his love within 
his body, the church, (p. 39) 

The love evident in the body of Christ must surely associate with trust 
and respect among the membership if they are to work together for God's 

Leaders are supposed to lead the laity in these matters, and they must 
be willing to influence the beliefs of others (Schaller, 1986). An 
outgrowth of leadership in a Theory Z cultural climate is that innova- 
tion abounds because everyone communicates laterally and horizontal- 
ly in the organizational structure. Ideas are born through interaction, 
and the vision for the organization proceeds to develop and be defined 
as people explore idefis and concepts together while they are minister- 
ing alongside each ottier. We need to encourage each other in the pur- 
suit of excellence in serving the Lord Christ and his church. 

The Cost of Excellence 

Philippians 1 :9-l 1 reminds believers that love should abound in the 
body, and because of that we must approve of excellent things together 
if we expect to achieve ministry that glorifies God. How do organiza- 
tions achieve excellence? Peters and Waterman (1982) have written the 
most significant work to date on excellence within organizations. They 
examined 62 corporations from a cross-section of well-managed, suc- 
cessful and innovative companies. The list of corporations was deter- 
mined by recommendations from consultants, the press, academics, and 
the business community. They found eight attributes of excellent, in- 
novative organizations. Scripture supports the relevance of each attribute 
as it is applied to the church. 



1. A bias for action 
(supreme experimenters) 

2. Close to the customer 
(learns from the people 
they serve) 

3. Autonomy and entre- 
preneurship (fosters 
leaders and encourages 

4. Productivity through 
people (treats rank and 
file as source of quality 
& productivity) 

5. Hands-on, value driven 
(more emphasis on 
achievements of people 
than technology) 

6. Stick to their knitting 
(do only the business 
they know) 

7. Simple form, lean staff 
(elegantly simple 

8. Simultaneous loose-tight 
properties (both central- 
ized and decentralized 


1. Matthew 11:2-5; Mark 1:35-39 
(Jesus wanted action that pro- 
duces results) 

2. John 10:1-5; 21:15-17 
(shepherding is done not from a 
distance, but up close) 

3. Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 

(trust God and persons to do 
their work) 

4. Mark 6:35-43; Luke 5:5-7 
(there is productivity in working 

5. Luke 10:17-20; 13:10-16 
(only persons are of ultimate 

6. Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 9:59-62 
(start where they are and stay 
with what can be done well) 

7. Matthew 23:8-12; Luke 9:1-6; 

(in light of one ultimate loyalty 
Jesus called for simplicity) 

8. Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 

(Jesus is central but he com- 
manded decentralization) 

Peters and Austin (1985) believe that excellence occurs when we think 
big but start small. "Excellence happens when high purpose and in- 
tense pragmatism meet" (p. 414). Jesus' vision for the Kingdom was 
in world terms (Matthew 4:13-16; 28: 18-20) yet he began with a ministry 
limited to Israel (Matthew 10:5-6; 15:21-24). Leaders in the church 
need to excite the followership toward achieving a joint and grand vi- 
sion for each local church at every crossroad in the country. This reflects 
the way each congregation impacts society and the global context in 
which we live while beginning with local involvement in programming 
"in Jerusalem" (Acts 1:8). 

"As Christians our hope for the future is unity" (Engstrom and Lar- 
son, 1988, p. 199). Unity can best be achieved when leaders value each 
other, those with whom they work, and involve as many as possible 
in the process. 


Modelling. The pursuit of excellence in the church requires that 
leaders model before the followership the attitudes and attributes of a 
servant's heart. Richards and Hoeldtke (1980) remind leaders that the 
New Testament sees the servant-leader as one who models and actual- 
ly does the work of ministry rather than adopting a secular leadership 
style which tells people how to function. A leader who is a servant first 
exudes a unique integrity and acquires a followership that supports the 

Matthew 20:25-28 records the words of our Lord in describing how 
leaders should be with their people. Jesus is the example we are to follow. 
We are to serve rather than be served. We are to accomplish this by 
"not lording it over" those in our charge. We are to lead from "among" 
them. In other words, we are not to tell people what to do. Rather, 
we are to show them while they are around us in ministry rather than 
dictating from the "chiefs" office. The exercise of this kind of authority 
breeds commitment among the followers instead of behavioral confor- 
mity (Richards and Hoeldtke, 1980). "Pastors are not lords over God's 
heritage, but mere servants of Christ, the great Head of the Church, 
bound to regard His will as their law, and His life as their model" (Bruce, 
1894/1971, p. 524). 

Leaders are models who encourage others to become all they can be. 
Together, leaders and followers emulate the team Jesus established. 

Team Building. Jesus was the master-architect for an apprentice group 
of leaders. The twelve disciples were called to a task they did not fully 
understand. Initially they were under-shepherds called to follow. "Christ 
demands of His disciples that they follow Him with integrity of heart, 
without distraction, without murmuring, envy, or calculations of con- 
sequences" (Bruce, 1894/1971, p. 529). Together, through intimate, 
daily association with Jesus, they became a team of fellow-laborers in 
the work of the Kingdom. 

The disciples' team did not flourish without conflict. There was an 
ever-present antithesis of goal among them, between those who wanted 
to meet the needs of people and those who desired to fulfill the task 
(Matthew 14:15-20; 15:32-27). Every team contains these two com- 
ponents: the desire and ability to accomplish a task and the sensitivity 
of maintaining and developing relationships in the process. There is 
constant tension between the facets of task and people functions within 
the team structure which leads the organization. This is illustrated in 
Blake and Mouton's (1964) leadership grid in Figure 1: 




1 1 1 


1 1 1 1 


Purpose 15 incidental 

Purpose IS from 

_ to lack ot conllic' and 

■ good fellowship " 

and human requirements 









Purpose comes first, 
but morole cant be 




ignored Push enough 
to get the work but 


give enough too to ge 


morale necessary 









— Purpose IS unobtainable 

— People are a commodity — 

Decouse people are 

iLisl as machines A 


lazy and inditterenl 

leader's responsibility 

Sound and mature relo- 

IS primarily to plan. 

- tionships are difficult to 

— direct, and control the "■ 

acnieve because conflict 




IS inevitable 

1 1 1 1 

1 1 1 


Figure 1. The leadership grid. 


Leaders who desire to build a team of co-workers must be cognizant 
of the dynamic functioning of the two views represented on the x and 
y axes. Hall and Williams (1986) view the 9/9 leadership style outlined 
in Figure 1 above as the integration of people and task. They call this 
"collaborative leadership," saying that it is "the understanding that 
people, interrelated with other people, are the organization and that it 
is only through these people that the organization can achieve its pur- 
pose" (p. 12). This is consistent both with scripture and Theory Z 
management. Leaders in the church cannot ignore the needs of people 
when planning innovative programs. The planning and conducting of 
these programs should not occur without ample consideration of peo- 
ple and their needs. Leaders ought not dictate what should be planned 
for the church, but rather model Christ, like a 9/9 leader, in integrating 
and determining the needs of the body. 

People must be related to one another in the context of the body if 
ministry is to occur. Leaders need to appreciate the gifts of others, the 
abilities of others, respecting their strengths and weaknesses. This hap- 
pens supremely when people are related to each other through a team 
ministry approach in leadership. Leaders can facilitate this process when 
they understand that people occupy all quadrants on the leadership grid 
(see Figure 1) and each leadership style has positive and negative aspects. 
By utilizing other servants as Jesus did, no single leader requires all 
the leadership gifts necessary to establish and build a significant ministry. 
Co-laborers in the Kingdom become interdependent upon one another, 
working together to glorify God in all that is accomplished. 

From the leader's perspective, team building requires contemplation 
of what motivates persons and why they have attached themselves to 
the organization. What is the exchange for services that staff expect 


to receive? Belasic and Schmidt (1986) tell us that only "five percent 
of any group of people in the church is operating with purely Christian 
motivation" (p. 17). One may argue with that figure, but if it is true 
the church must reexamine how it views motivation of volunteers. Hamp- 
ton, Summer, and Webber (1973) believe that persons who volunteer 
bring something to the program just as they expect the organization to 
give something. This exchange that exists must cause the pastor/leader 
to consider, first, what motivates each person on the team and, second, 
what the organization gives back to individual team members. 

Participation which results when leaders allow and encourage the in- 
volvement of followers is a key concept in motivation and building 
ministry teams that function optimally. The social, behavioral and 
managerial scientific literature contains ample citations of multiple 
benefits to the organization which functions participatively. A listing 
of the benefits includes: 

energized teams of people (Kanter, 1983;Pryor, 1987; Block, 1987) 

involvement in decision making (Stodgill, 1974) 

higher worker motivation and satisfaction (Fox, 1957; Burke, 1965) 

commitment to decisions made (Blake & Mouton, 1961, 1968) 

interactive communication (Bavelas, 1962; Stodgill, 1974) 

enhanced productivity (Parsons, 1960) 

increasing value of the individual (Sproul, 1980) 

developing trust which allows consensus (Clark, 1979; DeMente, 

achieving consensus through conflict, which creates alternative solu- 
tions (Hoffman, Harburg, and Maier, 1962) 
shared leadership and authority (Tannenbaum & Schmidt, 1972). 
If these are in fact the benefits of participative management (Theory 
Z), why would the church not want to utilize such a potent source for 
influencing its staff? There are likely two reasons for this: first, church 
leaders believe that the laity is not ready for the responsibilty that ac- 
companies team work and, second, the people have long believed they 
are dependent on their leaders to survive and thrive within the church 
organization. This creates a mutual dependency that is unhealthy and 
may be the core reason why churches decline and stagnate. Block (1987) 
believes that 

Organizations and managers are not solely to blame for the patriarchal 
contract because it takes two parties to make a contract. The patriarchal 
contract feeds the wish of each of us to be dependent, to be taken care 
of, and to submit to a higher authority. To not have to be responsible 
for our lives or our actions. It's a willing union between those of us with 
authority who hold onto it tightly and those who work for us who want 
somehow to avoid the responsibility of creating an organization 
themselves, (p. 32) 
This co-dependent relationship existing between a congregation and its 
leaders must be abandoned in favor of a more participative process if 


people within the organization are to develop their full potential and 
become productive disciples of Christ. Schaef (1986) views a co- 
dependent relationship as an addictive disease that renders consenting 
parties useless, not contributing to society in any healthy way. 

It is imperative that the church of the 2 1st century be healthy and 
contribute to society in significant ways. If a co-dependent relationship 
exists between a congregation and its leaders, both become dysfunc- 
tional and unable to express the full range of emotions and feelings which 
exist within the human being. The church, composed of people, leaders 
and followers alike, must learn to value each other, respect each other, 
and trust each other to accomplish the work of ministry together. This 
is the basis for an interdependent relationship such as that which ex- 
isted between Jesus and the disciples. 

If the church is to grow and become a vibrant influence in society, 
leaders must "excel at being what [they] are, rather than try to be what 
[they] are not" (Bolton & Bolton, 1984, p. 5). "Self-knowledge is the 
starting point of leadership effectiveness" (Bolton & Bolton, 1984, p. 
5), and with that intact leaders can train, equip and encourage people 
in utilizing their personal spiritual gifts. The function of leaders is to 
equip the saints, not entertain them (Ortiz, 1981). 

Equipping the Saints 

Tillapaugh (1982) vividly describes what happens in the church when 
the laity is unleashed to function in ministry. The people become very 
creative in designing ministry opportunities. Drucker (1988) states "there 
is no laity, only ministers." This again is evidence of the egalitarian 
view of co-laborers in the vineyard. But for this type of ministry to 
happen in every local congregation, the leadership must revise its view 
of motivation and human nature to facilitate the biblical functioning of 
people within the church. Ministers, lay and ordained alike, connote 
a mutuality which seldom exists in the church, but which is the model 
Jesus portrayed. The logical consequence of such relationships among 
leaders and followers is the empowering of all servants to use their 
spiritual gifts. 

The church talks about spiritual gifts and utilizing those gifts within 
the body of Christ, but in reality does very little more than offer lip- 
service to the principles. There is a sense that if a person is gifted to 
function in a certain area, training or equipping that person for ministry 
is unnecessary. For example, if a person has the spiritual gift of teaching 
should that individual attend teacher training workshops? Yes! A thou- 
sand times yes! To possess a gift identifies the propensities available, 
but each gift needs development. Encouraging an individual to develop 
and use a spiritual gift allows both the leader and the follower to serve 
the church in a more effective way. 


Personal Satisfaction in Serving 

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe 
it" (Luke 1 1:28b). Faith in the one who gives the gifts and then obe- 
dience in using and developing those gifts elicits joy and ultimate peace 
in serving the Lord Christ and his church. Inherent in leaders assisting 
others in developing and using their spiritual gifts resides the deep and 
abiding joy of serving and the personal satisfaction of watching a col- 
league in ministry grow. 

This is consistent with a parable that Jesus shared in Luke 6:39-45. 
The leader who desires the followers to live fruitful and productive lives 
must model that example and then train them toward that end. Jesus 
said, "A pupil is not above his teacher, but everyone, after he has been 
fully trained, will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40). What a beautiful 
(and frightening) tribute to ministry, to know that our followers will 
be like us! This knowledge requires self-scrutiny to determine personal 
values and interpersonal skill in dealing with others. 

A Personal Inventory 

If leaders desire to lead and manage people as Jesus did they must 
be willing to examine their personal actions and reactions in given situa- 
tions. Pastors/leaders who respond honesdy to the questions below may 
find their answers will determine how ready they are to implement Jesus' 
approach to influencing people. 

A. Respect for Yourself. Do you "know thyself as a leader? What 
are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you apologize for what you don't 
do well or do you search for someone who is strong where you are 
weak? Do you become defensive when someone identifies a weakness 
in you? How do you respond when someone in your congregation is 
successful? Are you threatened? Do you spend time alone doing 
something you enjoy? Are you a workahokic — working harder, en- 
joying it less and not accomplishing what you once did? Do you feel 
you are always in competition with other pastors in your area/denomina- 
tion? When you have nothing else to do, what occupies your time? 

B. Respect for Others. To what extent do you share decision mak- 
ing in your congregation? Do you desire the people in your congrega- 
tion to grow in spiritual maturity? Do you openly degrade their abilities 
when you are in conversation with others about your congregation? Do 
you chide them for not being more than they are? Do you chastise them 
for not attending various services of the church? What vision do you 
have for their personal growth and development? 

C. Desire to Work for Excellence. Are you willing to do whatever 
is required to achieve the goals of your congregation? Are your followers 
excited about the plans for the futute? Have they shared in designing 
those plans? What needs to happen for your congregation to move for- 


ward? Have you sought the Lord in prayer for his desires for your 

D. Your Reaction to Success. When you achieve a goal, what is 
your immediate response? Does being successful scare you? Are you 
jealous when others are recognized for accomplishment? What happens 
to your ego when you are applauded verbally in front of others? 


Jesus commanded all his past, present, and future disciples to "love 
one another" (John 15:17). The measure of how we love each other 
is evidenced by our approach to management/leadership. Leaders who 
believe people should be controlled (Theory X) can easily become dic- 
tatorial and order people to do things. If leaders view people as willing 
to contribute to the greater good of society and desire to share the respon- 
sibility for achieving those goals (Theory Y), then cooperation between 
leaders and followers is likely to occur. Jesus, however, throughout 
his earthly ministry, accomplished his leadership objectives through 
maintaining the authority for what was to happen while sharing the pro- 
cess with His disciples. He provided a teaching/learning climate for 
the disciples which was egalitarian in its approach to servant-leadership 
and fostered the interdependent growth of co-workers through encourag- 
ing their questions and understanding of the corporate vision. 

Participative management (Theory Z) inaugurated centuries ago by 
Christ, still proves today that when leaders apply the biblical principles 
of management outlined in the gospels, quantitative growth occurs. In 
addition, servants within the organization achieve a quality of personhood 
that rivals self- actualization. 

The church was not ordained to stagnate and decline. The church was 
established to grow, to encourage its constituency, and to spread the 
gospel to every living creature. How we lead and manage people and 
their work in the church is a critical matter and largely depends on per- 
sonal worth, the leaders' value and respect for the individual, and desire 
and joy in watching others become all they can be in the Kingdom. 



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REVIEW Articles 

Eugene B. Borowitz 

Contemporary Christologies: A Jewish Response 

New York: Paulist Press 
203 pp., 1980, $8.95 

Eugene Borowitz' book Contemporary Christologies: A Jewish 
Response is an admirable though somewhat confused attempt to discuss 
some contemporary views of Christ from a Jewish perspective. His 
reason for engaging these christologies is the centrality of the doctrine 
of Christ for Jewish/Christian dialogue. Borowitz' discussion is an at- 
tempt to understand these christologies in relation to his own faith. 

The basic question that Borowitz ultimately wants to consider is the 
one dealt with in chapter eight of his book: Does christology lead to 
anti-Semitism? This is the key issue in any Jewish/Christian dialogue. 
Thus, what is needed in this review is not so much a critique of Borowitz' 
critique of the theologians he discusses, but rather through his treat- 
ment an attempt must be made to flesh out what Borowitz believes about 
christology and its implications for Jewish/Christian dialogue. Therefore, 
it will not be necessary to discuss all of the Christian thinkers he deals 
with, but only with those who help to accomplish the task that has been 
undertaken in this review. 

It seems clear that Borowitz is impressed most of all with the 
christologies of Rosemary Ruether and H. Richard Niebuhr. While he 
does question Ruether' s desire to make Jesus a paradigm of man (p. 
51, 62-63), he applauds the fact that she makes anti-Semitism a 
methodological principle of her christology (p. 182). For Ruether anti- 
Semitism is "the left hand of christology" (p. 176). Ruether wants to 
rethink the traditional interpretation of christology which means for her 
the rejection of the deity of Jesus. 

Borowitz' discussion of H. Richard Niebuhr centers around his widely 
read book Christ and Culture. According to Borowitz, Niebuhr' s book 
presents no problems for Jewish/Christian discussion (p. 155). In fact 
Borowitz is so impressed with Christ and Culture that he attempts his 
own parallel Jewish typology which he calls "Torah and Culture." 

Borowitz is correct to notice that Niebuhr does not use much tradi- 
tional language with regard to Christ when defining his own position, 
nor does his Christ play more than a symbolic role (pp. 168-169). This 
is perhaps crucial in understanding why Borowitz thinks that liberal 
Christian theology is the most harmonious to Jewish thinkers (p. 82), 
and why he believes traditional Christians should engage in dialogue 


with traditional Jews, and liberal Christians with liberal Jews. For it 
is only then, says Borowitz that "genuine religious discussions emerge 
and confront each other" (p. 41). 

Borowitz seems to be the least happy with the christologies of G. 
C. Berkouwer and Karl Barth, whom he refers to as "absolutists" (which 
is a term that labels these men as being narrow-minded in some respect) 
because they believed Jesus Christ to be "the criterion of all truth and 
value" (p. 33). Borowitz feels that such a conviction means that there 
can be no valuable Jewish/Christian dialogue because Jews could say 
nothing meaningful about the Christ to Christians with such convic- 
tions (p. 34). The result of this kind of dialogue would be a one-sided 
discussion in which the Jew would be expected to remain open while 
the Christian remained closed to anything that the Jew might say about 
Jesus (p. 34). 

In reference to anti-Semitism Borowitz believes that consciously Barth 
denies anti-Semitism as godless and states that the Jews as God's chosen 
people are specially close to God in such a way that no Christian can 
ever be (p. 177). He, however, accuses Barth of theoretical anti-Semitism 
because he believed that "Israel denied its election and calling" and 
moved toward an empty future (p. 178). The Jews rejected Jesus and 
Barth judges this negatively (p. 178). 

Borowitz likes Berkouwer somewhat better than Barth. According 
to Borowitz anti-Semitism is almost completely absent in Berkouwer 
because he applies "a universalizing hermeneutic" to the places in the 
New Testament that refer to the Jews as ones who oppose Christ and/or 
the Church (p. 179). While dealing with the vast differences between 
Judaism and Christianity Berkouwer is careful to leave behind the anti- 
Semitic exegesis that is associated with the New Testament (p. 179). 
Borowitz does not, however, hesitate to criticize Berkouwer' s understan- 
ding of Israel's calling as "unfair and prejudiced" (p. 179). 

Borowitz also discusses the christologies of Wolfhart Pannenberg, 
Karl Rahner, and Jurgen Moltmann. 

In contrast to Barth and Berkouwer, Borowitz believes Pannenberg 
is one he can dialogue with because Pannenberg wants to assert the resur- 
rection of Jesus as "a historical event in the common, academic sense 
of the term" (p. 35). Borowitz, of course, denies the resurrection of 
Jesus and argues against it, yet he appreciates Pannenberg because of 
his desire to be historical (p. 37) as opposed to Barth (Borowitz is not 
fair to Barth on this issue). He does, however, mention that Pannenberg's 
early work on christology had a close association with anti-Semitism 
because of certain statements he made about Judaism. Pannenberg, 
however, "awakened to his sinfulness" and corrected himself (p. 180). 

Borowitz pays the work of Karl Rahner a great tribute when he 
observes that Rahner's christology "is the enemy of anti-Semitism" 
(p. 183). Rahner believes that Israel should continue on as a presence 


in history and it would be a tragedy if the Jewish people were totally 
secularized. He also asserts that Jewish/Christian dialogue is essential 
if the church is to be true to its mission. Borowitz applauds all of this. 
He does, however, challenge Rahner on the perfection of Jesus which 
is visible in his perfect obedience to God's will (pp. 78-80). Borowitz 
feels that Jews have other examples of obedience to the will of God 
equal to, if not surpassing, Jesus (p. 80). It is also difficult for Borowitz 
to comprehend Jesus as perfect since Jews reserve perfection for God 
alone (p. 78). 

The thought of Moltmann is influenced gready by Jewish thinkers. 
It is for this reason, according to Borowitz, that Moltmann is opposed 
to any type of anti-Semitism. For Moltmann Christianity and Judaism 
are bound in solidarity together (p. 183). What Borowitz has problems 
with is Moltmann 's insistence that the crucified God stand at the center 
of christology (p. 83). It is the crucified Christ that lies at the heart 
of the Jewish/Christian disagreement (p. 90). 

Now it is true that anti-Semitism has unfortunately infected the church 
in every century of its existence. This is a blemish that exists on the 
face of the church and must be removed. Those Christians who have 
anti-Semitic tendencies have failed to adequately comprehend the nature 
of the person and work of Jesus Christ. At the same time, however, 
Borowitz' definition and answer to the problem is absolutely unaccept- 
able, because his definition of anti-Semitism is problematic. It has 
become fashionable in some scholarly circles, both Jewish and Chris- 
tian, to refer to any Christian critique of Judaism as anti-Semitic. Any 
exclusive truth claims made for Christianity that leaves Judaism out is 
considered anti-Semitic. Thus many scholars such as Ruether even assert 
that the New Testament documents in and of themselves are anti-Semitic. 

This, however, is not the case. It must be remembered that most if 
not all of the New Testament writers were Jewish. The fact that they 
had come to believe in Jesus did not make them any less Jewish. It should 
come as no surprise that the New Testament writers use the Jewish Scrip- 
tures (the Old Testament) to argue for the truth of their claims. For 
them, acceptance of Jesus was a very Jewish thing to do. The disagree- 
ment taking place in the New Testament between those Jews who be- 
lieved in Jesus and those Jews who didn't is not one about anti-Semitism, 
but rather it is an argument over truth claims. 

Similarly, Barth's claim that in rejecting Jesus Israel denied its elec- 
tion and calling is not an anti-Semitic statement (whether one agrees 
with Barth or not is at the moment irrelevant to the issue). What is anti- 
Semitic is when one takes such a statement and then twists it to justify 
pograms and synagogue burnings. What is anti-Semitic is when one 
takes the truth claims of the New Testament and warps them into justi- 
fying such godless events as the Nazi Holocaust stating that is was God's 
judgement upon the Jews for rejecting Jesus. The problem is not with 


the claims made Dy the New Testament, but how they are then inter- 
preted. It is a problem of hermeneutics. Ruether believes that the deity 
of Jesus is inherently an anti-Semitic notion. One has to wonder if 
Ruether is asking the right question. If she isn't, her solution will not 
fix the problem. 

Finally it must be asked, What does Borowitz want? He certainly wants 
Jewish/Christian dialogue (in my opinion a necessity), but does he carry 
too much baggage to the table? He thinks that Christians and Jews must 
address each other's theology if there is to be better understanding be- 
tween the two groups, and he is right. He also says he doesn't want 
anyone from either side to give up their convictions, yet he seems to 
feel that certain common convictions are necessary if Jews and Chris- 
tians are to have effective dialogue (p. 88). Thus he is doubtful about 
the possibility of meaningful dialogue with a man like Karl Barth who 
insists that Christ is the standard of all things. So it appears that unless 
Barth gives this belief over he cannot participate in the dialogue that 
is so necessary. Thus Borowitz has not been completely honest when 
he states that he doesn't want Christians to give up any of their convic- 
tions. He wants them to give up one: Christ as the stumbling block. 
Perhaps this is why Borowitz likes the work of Ruether and Niebuhr 
for they have already abandoned such a claim. In fact, it must be said 
that there is nothing decisively Christian about the christologies of 
Ruether or Niebuhr and this is what appeals to Borowitz. What does 
Borowitz hope to accomplish by dialoguing with Ruether and Niebuhr 
anyway? Their christologies can hardly be said to be representive of 
the majority of the world's Christians. 

Yet for Christians who accept the traditional christological claims, 
such convictions cannot be given up without "losing the entire game." 
If the traditional claims about Christ are suspect, the whole faith becomes 
suspect. These convictions must not be given up. This does not mean 
that Jewish/Christian dialogue is impossible. Many evangelical Chris- 
tians have and are engaging in meaningful dialogue with Jews and have 
not given up traditional claims about Jesus. 

Borowitz would agree that disagreement should not cut off dialogue, 
but it seems that he presupposes that both sides should hold certain 
epistemological convictions in common if Jews and Christians are to 
have valuable discussion. Some of these epistemological presupposi- 
tions, however, would rob Christianity of its foundation. This is why 
Borowitz seems so willing to dialogue with Pannenberg who wants to 
argue for the resurrection of Jesus in the academic sense of the word 
"historical." Borowitz doesn't think that Pannenberg can make his case. 
Borowitz wants to manipulate the discussion before it starts. By ex- 
cluding those form the dialogue that really want to participate (such 
as Barth) one wonders if Borowitz is asking too much. 

— Allan R. Bevere 
Allan Bevere, a graduate of ATS. is a ThM student in ethics at Duke Univer- 
sity in North Carolina. 


Lynn R. Buzzard and Thomas S. Brandon, Jr. 
Church Discipline and the Courts 

Wheaton: Tyndale House 
160 pp., 1987, $6.95 

What legal rights does a pastor enjoy within the scope of his ministry 
and church administration? Can a pastor and church board censure and 
expel members whose behavior is "willfully unbiblical" and find legal 
protection from civil litigation? The answers to such questions might 
be astounding to pastors and laymen alike because recent court deci- 
sions have established new precedents regarding the "free exercise of 
religion" vis-a-vis certain civil liberties of church members such as rights 
of privacy. In their book, Lynn R. Buzzard and Thomas S. Brandon, 
Jr., seek to educate clergy and laity about the salient issues involved 
with church discipline in an age of increasd litigation against churches. 
Both men are attorneys and serve as directors in the Christian Legal 
Society. They offer this volume as a resource by which churches can 
stay out of court battles. 

Church discipline is defined here as "those acts of the church that 
specifically hold persons accountable and that are exercises of the 
spiritual authority of the church." It is rooted in the individual's respon- 
sibilities to be disciplined in the Christian faith along biblical guidelines. 
The authors state the present situation succintly: 

Discipline for discipleship will be predominantly preventive, educative, 

enabling. But there are times when it will be corrective. A community 

that takes its character seriously and disciplines will insist on repentance, 

it will refuse to let people dodge their callings (as Christians), and in 

some instances it may ultimately require dismissal from the community 

of faith, (p. 65) 

Buzzard and Brandon observe that church discipline has sometimes been 

thoroughly unbiblical with tragic consequences, and they do well to 

distinguish the concept of "penal discipline", which condemns and cuts 

off the weak, from that of "pastoral discipline" which dictates patient 

encouragement of the weak. They cite a 1981 civil suit, Guinn v. The 

Collinsville Church of Christ, as the first in a recent series of civil lawsuits 

intended to redefine both the spiritual purposes and the legal parameters 

of legitimate "pastoral discipline" according to certain thoroughly 

secular guidelines. 

The jury held that the Collinsville church leadership had treated Miss 
Guinn, a church member, in an "outrageous" manner by insisting firmly 
that she refrain from an affair with the then town mayor. She had refused 
this reproof and the church board members followed through with the 
process mandated in Matthew 18:15-17. The authors should be com- 
mended for their instructive commentary about the Guinn case and its 
recent legal progeny. They argue that the "universal church has so 
seldom practiced biblical discipline that when a local congregation does 


so, it is perceived as so strange and bizarre that a jury can call it 
outrageous." (p. 22) Narcissistic individualism seems to be so rampant 
in American society that its attendant rejection of moral absolutes and 
over-burgeoning cultural bias against "judgment" have been adopted 
by many Christians. Such values represent an inverted moral order in 
comparison to that prescribed throughout Scripture and espoused 
historically by the orthodox Christian church. Thus, proponents of 
secularism clash with pastors and lay leaders in secular courts. One 
should expect this litigious onslaught to continue in the near future. 

Brandon and Buzzard offer an instructive and detailed legal analysis 
of the constitutional principles regarding church autonomy and judicial 
deference to religious affairs which have protected the church in America 
against unwarranted intrusions by government at all levels. At certain 
points, this analysis can seem somewhat tortuous to those who are 
uninitiated in or intimidated by legal matters. Legal citations and statutory 
references are in abundant supply. Yet, the definitions of the intentional 
torts involved and other relevant legal concepts are concise and substan- 
tiated in a precise, scholarly manner. This tome surely warrants careful 
perusal because the issue-areas involved are very complex indeed. The 
reader should expect to be shocked by the serious implications and social 
reverberations which so-called test-cases such as Guinn v. The Col- 
linsville Church of Christ have caused. The authors demonstrate pro- 
lific sensitivity to the fact that this subject requires the reader to in- 
tegrate proper historiography, basic knowledge of constitutional and 
tort law and correct interpretation of biblical guidelines for church 
discipline. This is not an easy task. The reader should, therefore, ap- 
proach this book with a personal commitment to think critically and 
to be educated. 

Brandon and Buzzard offer their most direct counsel in the last chapter 
of Church DiscipUne and the Courts. They urge in general that the 
members of local churches think more self-critically and examine careful- 
ly the procedures and rationales they utilize in any discipline of any 
allegedly errant members. Legal protection of the church per se against 
external interference must be balanced with greater commitment by 
Christians to act at the local level in exceedingly redemptive and respon- 
sible ways under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Finally, the authors give 
specific answers to the seminal questions they raise. These are in the 
form of guidelines for church leaders in order to avoid both protracted 
disciplinary conflicts and also court itself. These constitute an apt con- 
clusion to the whole volume. But one must read the whole in order to 
gain the frame of reference necessary for effective implementation of 
these answers. The clarion call for reading Church DiscipUne and the 
Courts is clearly this: "Acquire wisdom; And in all your acquiring, 
get understanding" (Proverbs 4:7 NASB). Inquiring Christians should 

heed that call of Christ. „ jr.. 

— David Burton 

David Burton is currently an MDiv student at ATS. 



Richard E. Whitaker, compiler 

The Eerdmans Analytical Concordance to the Revised Standard 

Version of the Bible 

Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans 
1548 pp., 1988, $49.95 

This is an important book. For generations students of the Bible have 
been using Young and Strong for their word-study concordance work. 
While these are still valuable tools, the fact that most readers of Scrip- 
ture don't use the King James version upon which they are based has 
led to extra work and aggravation. Now we have available a concor- 
dance based on the Revised Standard Version (RSV), probably the ver- 
sion of choice for most of today's readers, which will rival if not sur- 
pass Young and Strong in usefulness. 

Each entry in the work, arranged in alphabetical order, starts with 
the heading word in dictionary form, that is as the infinitive for verbs 
and the singular noun form. This is then followed by a numbered list 
of all of the foreign words in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin (the 
latter since the RSV apocryphal books are also included) which are 
translated in the RSV by the heading word or a form of it. Then follows 
a listing of all occurrences of the heading word, plus a few words of 
context, in whichever grammatical form they are found in canonical 
order, except for the apocrypha, which is placed after the New Testa- 
ment entries. Each of these is followed by a number corresponding to 
the numbered foreign word translated in the relevant passage. At times 
heading phrases are used if one original word is translated by a phrase 
in the RSV, or if several original words were used which do not cor- 
respond exactly to words in the English translation. 

Following the main section of the work there are separate listings 
of proper names and numbers, as well as indices of Hebrew, Aramaic, 
Greek and Latin words with a list of English equivalents used for each 
in the RSV. 

The type of the volume, though small, is legible, and the large for- 
mat of the book allows three vertical columns of material on each page, 
so wasted space is at a minimum and the layout is clear and visually 
attractive. The production of the volume was a mammoth undertaking 
even with the use of the latest computer technology (which should in- 
sure a high degree of accuracy), so the price, while high, is not exorbi- 
tant, though it is unfortunately higher than some editions of Young and 
Strong. The volume should appear in all church libraries and will sure- 


ly find its place in the study of many pastors and students when they 
experience its great usefulness. Our sincere thanks go to all involved 
in the production of this monumental work, and especially to the 
publishers who underwrote the project. 

— Dr. David Baker 

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. 

Toward Rediscovering the Old Testament 

Grand Rapids: Zondervan 
219 pp., 1987, $17.95 

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Academic Dean and Professor of Old Testa- 
ment and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 
is well-known in conservative circles for his books on various aspects 
of the interpretation and application of the Old Testament. The present 
volume brings to four those directing readers 'toward' various aspects 
of the discipline, including Old Testament theology, exegesis and ethics. 

Kaiser holds that the key problem facing the church today is how 
to understand and use the Old Testament. He spends his first chapter 
justifying this position, pointing out several options which have previous- 
ly been suggested for its use. 

In the book's body, Kaiser deals with three main areas, the relation- 
ship between the Old Testament and: (1) scholarship, in which he 
discussed canon and criticism, (2) theology, investigating 'promise' as 
theology's center, as well as the Messiah and salvation, and (3) ethics, 
that is Scripture's practical application in everyday life and preaching. 
He concludes with four brief challenges of the Old Testament to socie- 
ty, scholarship, the church and missions. The author uses a moderate 
number of footnotes, though the book is characteristically not endeavor- 
ing to provide new scholarly advances, but practical help for the church. 
He provides a fifteen page bibliography organized after the chapter 
headings, as well as indices of Scripture, authors and subjects. 

This book deserves not only to be in seminary libraries but also in 
pastors' studies and on students' desks since it concerns a question vital 
to their very preaching, teaching and study: Can we use the Old Testa- 
ment for anything more than just a source for stories and illustrations? 
Students in college and seminary Bible courses will find this book sug- 
gestive in matters discussed all too rarely in introductory Bible courses. 

— Dr. David W. Baker 


Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. 

Quest for Renewal: Personal Revival in the Old Testament 

Chicago: Moody 
163 pp., 1986, $6.95 

Walter Kaiser, dean, vice-president and professor of Old Testament 
and Semitic languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, is a pro- 
lific author whose popular level books are widely known and used among 
Evangelicals. This volume will prove no exception, since it addresses 
an issue of pressing need both for the church and for society today — 

Noting a serious lack among volumes on revival on the subject of 
revivals in the Bible , Kaiser leads the reader through a useful study 
of revival in the Old Testament during the lives often individuals. These 
range in time from Jacob to Nehemiah. Though brief, each chapter ex- 
plains the relevant biblical texts and concisely alludes to possible ap- 
plications to our contexts today. Not a serious academic study, the 
volume will provide useful insights for preaching and seems well suited 
for a Bible study class. 

— Dr. David W. Baker 

Lawrence O. Richards 

The Teacher's Commentary 

Wheaton: Victor 

1200 pp., 1987, $27.95 

This is a very helpful teaching tool for laypersons. The book is com- 
plete with outlines, charts, questions for different age groups, topics 
to explore in preparation and/or class presentation, and ways to expand 
the text into a complete teaching hour. 

Richard displays his command and understanding of scripture as well 
as his desire to provide quality Christian education experiences for 
learners of all ages. 

The Teachers Commentary incorporates the Bible from Genesis to 
Revelation and concentrates on New Testament passages. While the sub- 
jects in chapters and verses are not thoroughly and completely addressed, 
the text is comprehensive and very well presented. 

— Dr. M. E. Drushal 

As a biblical studies instructor, I would also recommend Richards' 
commentary, which fulfills its express aim very well. Richard says: 
'For years now I've felt a need for a commentary just for teachers. A 
commentary that will guide a teacher to understand the broader mean- 
ing of any passage or story he or she might teach, and that will also 


contain ideas to help that teacher communicate life-changing truth to 
learners of every age.' 

It is the rightful goal of academic, technical commentaries to inter- 
pret Scripture in its original setting so one can understand how it would 
have been heard by its original audience. It is not a goal for this kind 
of commentary to make 'the rubber meet the road' by providing specific 
applications, since these are of necessity more time-bound and context 
specific. It is in this latter area of application where Richards provides 
a great service for teachers, even providing exercises by which learners 
of various ages can come to own the message of the Bible for themselves. 
There is some general help in interpreting issues in the text, but much 
of this is deliberately left aside, with frequent reference being made 
to the Victor Bible Knowledge Commentary for further information. 

The commentary appears as if it would be useful in a number of dif- 
ferent age settings, though adults who have done any previous study, 
and who are used to doing Bible study at any depth, might find the book 
too shallow. The book would have been enhanced by including at least 
a concluding bibliography for those asking 'where do I go from here?' 
The book well deserves a place not only on church library shelves, but 
also in the hands of teachers. 

— Dr. David W. Baker 

Mark I. Bubeck 

Overcoming the Adversary: Warfare Praying Against Demon 


Chicago: Moody Press 
139 pp., 1984, $5.95 

BOOK SUMMARY: Sequel to Bubeck' s outstanding book. The 
Adversary. His first book looks at how to have victory over the flesh, 
the world and the devil. This books focuses on the latter. He carefully 
discusses the four keys to victory found in Eph 6. 1) Be strong in the 
Lord — our union with Christ; 2) and in the power of His might — 
the role and power of the Holy Spirit; 3) putting on the armor of God 
(Bubeck devotes a chapter to each piece of armor); and 4) praying at 
all times — the key for implementing the other three keys and taking 
the offensive. At the end of almost every chapter is a written prayer 
for appropriating and implementing what's been discussed. Excellent 
book for teaching and for practicing victory in spiritual warfare! The 
chapters are nicely summarized in the table of contents. The main point 
of each chapter follows. 

1 . SATAN IS NOT INVINCIBLE. Our subjective experience of feel- 
ing defeated must not be allowed to overrule the objective truth of God's 
Word that gives us the authority to be victors. 


ings and prayers must always be with God, not with Satan. We have 
complete legal authority over Satan, but must remember that God is 
our sovereign. Sometimes God permits Satan to test us to refine us (Cf 
Job, and II Cor 12:6-9). We must seek God's perspective and be ready 
to accept the refining even while resisting Satan's attack and rejecting 
him. Centering on God assures victory. 

powered with courage when we understand we are spiritually invinc- 
ible in Christ and His Word. We are empowered with dependence when 
we realize we are helpless without Christ. He reviews five key ways 
we are one with Christ: we are in His name, in His redemptive work, 
in His death, in His resurrection and seated with Him in heavenly places. 

POWER. He warns against seeking spiritistic experiences, lest Satan 
enter in. He describes the Spirit's work as sevenfold: convicting, in- 
dwelling, baptizing, sealing, quickening, interceding and infilling. 
Special attention is given to the benefits of infilling and the process for 
being filled with the Spirit. 

ruthless, brutal foe will hit "below the belt" with lies and deceit if we 
are not wearing the belt of truth. He review four strongholds of truth 
present in Christ, the Word, the Holy Spirit and the church. 

chest is commonly fatal. Satan is seeking to destroy our heart. 
Righteousness stands against self-righteousness and false guilt. 

7. THE SHOES OF PEACE. This includes objective, legal peace 
with God and subjective, experiential peace of God that allows us to 
withstand the crises that inevitably come. Peace is apprehended through 
prayer. Lack of peace may be God's way of calling us to prayer! 

8. THE SHIELD OF FAITH. We trust not in our faith, but in Christ 
the object of our faith. He surrounds us in every direction so that while 
we can see the furious onslaught, we do not feel it inside if our shield 
is fully in place. Sometimes God permits a dart to come through to fur- 
ther refine us. Fire can destroy (Satan's goal) or refine (God's goal). 
Guardian angels and the blood of Christ add to our hedge of protection. 

9. THE HELMET OF SALVATION. Our minds are under siege by 
Satan (and the world). If our minds go, all of us goes. Bubeck argues 
that Satan can put thoughts in our minds; hence the great need for put- 
ting on our helmet daily! 

10. THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, the Word of God. With the Word 
and prayer we can and should take the offensive. The best defense is 
a good offense! We're to claim territory and captives out of Satan's 
territory, penetrating right through his gates (Mt 16:16, 18-19)! The 
rest of our armor must be in place before we attack. We must master 


the word through memorization and meditation to be skilled for vic- 
tory. Yet we must not deify the Word. The Word, without the Spirit's 
empowering and energizing, has no magical power. We must walk in 
the Spirit and never seek victory by fleshly means. 

11. THE ALLNESS OF PRAYER. A fourfold "allness" is presented 
in Eph 6:18. Revival at any level is preceded by great prayer. Praying 
in the Spirit is not necessarily tongues, but more specifically is praying 
in harmony with the Holy Spirit. We are called to "sentry duty" prayer 
when Paul says "With this in mind, be alert..." 

12. INVINCIBLE PRAYER IN ACTION. "One thing will always 
mark a person who has both power with men and power with God. He 
will be a man who is great in prayer." He will be able to move God 
to action, entering into the burden God gives him (or her). 


STRENGTHS: Practical, biblical, excellent warfare and arming 
prayers at the end of almost every chapter. Well illustrated from real 
life incidents. 

WEAKNESSES: Several times he has warnings for or about 
charismatics and the "so-called charismatic gifts". His experience of 
charismatic s has apparently not been well rounded or real positive. In 
spite of this he clearly believes in and appropriates God's supernatural 
working today through His people. Other than a passing comment, he 
does not tie this into spiritual gifts. It would be helpful to know whether 
gifts of discernment or exorcism or any other gifts have a special place 
to play in spiritual warfare. He does not distinguish between how special- 
ly gifted people might function and how every Christian should func- 
tion in spiritual warfare. 

— Dr. David E. Kornfield 

Tom and Betty Sue Brewster 
Community is my Language Classroom 

Pasadena: Lingua House Ministries 

135 N. Oakland Ave, #91, Pasadena, CA 91182 

240 pp., 1986 

BOOK SUMMARY: This book contains first-person accounts of the 
language learning experiences of missionaries who have learned a 
language through relationships with people of their new culture. It com- 
municates a sense of optimism about one's potential to learn a language 
through cross-cultural relationships. The LAMP (Language Acquisi- 
tion Made Practical) method has as its basic thesis that we learn language 
socially (as do children) better than we do academically (as in 
classrooms). In learning socially, learners learn a culture and develop 


new relationships in addition to learning the language. Through becoming 
incarnational in the new culture and developing a network of nonchris- 
tian friends, the ministry payoff is high. Principles and techniques for 
learning a language this way are taught by the Brewsters in a two-week 
course and are summarized in book form in books available from the 
same publishing house as above: Language Acquisition Made Practical 
(LAMP) (a how-to book), Language Exploration & Acquisition Resouce 
Notebook! (LEARN!), and Bonding and the Missionary Task. 

The book includes sixteen stories, three poems and a short quote on 
incarnational living from Hudson Taylor's autobiography. The sixteen 
stories cover pre-field training in the U.S. (2), Latin America (1), Asia 
(3), South Asia (2), South Pacific (1), North Africa (1), West Africa 
(2), East Africa (1), South Africa (1), Middle East (1) and Europe (1). 
Story insights include: 

1. Becoming "bonded" — the key to successful cross-cultural 

2. It's often uncomfortable being just a learner... dependent... 
vulnerable. . .especially for Americans. This calls for approaching others 
with no status or position of our own, earning their respect and 

3. We need to be careful that people with whom we practice language 
feel needed, not used. One of the greatest gifts we can give others is 
the opportunity to help us. Our very weaknesses are the links for 

4. Five step process: GLUEE: Get what you need (a little each day); 
Learn what you get; Use. it a LOT! (with 40 or 50 different people!); 
Evaluate what you've learned; and Envision what you will need next. 
This makes words "glue" together to make many useful sentences which 
"stick" in our memories and "bond" us to people. 

5. How to learn language: go to where the people are and sit down! 

6. Language learning IS communication — IS ministry! 

7. Incarnation and friendship: do I really want to be good news or 
just tell it? 

8. Immersing oneself in the culture results in a period of loneliness 
because of the need to not stay close to English-speakers, but not hav- 
ing yet learned enough language to communicate at a deep level with 
new friends. 

9. Husbands must make a point of seeing that their wives have equal 
and adequate language practice and relationships or the sense of teamness 
will be lost. 

STRENGTHS: Very simple and readable; every chapter includes a 
number of insights like those listed above (which come from just the 
first four stories). Reading all the stories gives a cumulative impact of 
an incarnational servant/learner approach to missions. 

WEAKNESSES: People looking for systems and principles of 


language learning will be a little frustrated with the stories. Yet the 
method of using stories models the essence of the LAMP method in 
a way that a techniques book couldn't. 

— Dr. David Kornfield 

C. Peter Wagner 

On the Crest of the Wave: Becoming a World Christian 

Ventura: Regal 

195 pp., 1983, $7.95 

BOOK SUMMARY: "Becoming a Christian is optional. But once 
you decide to ask Jesus Christ to take control of your life, involvement 
in world missions is no longer optional." With this premise the rest 
of the book gives an overview of how any Christian can and should 
be intelligently involved in world missions. The ten chapters include: 

1 . LOOK AT WHAT GOD'S DOING! The Springtime of world mis- 
sions, reviewing the tremendous missiological advances in the last two 
decades, and the tremendous growth of the church in L.A., Africa and 
Asia recently. 

2. ARE THE HEATHEN REALLY LOST? He clarifies his key terms 
and develops a succinct biblical base for missions, explaining that if 
we can't answer the above question positively, our basis for missions 
is weak. 

of spiritual gifts and how to find yours; defining the missionary gift 
as the ability to minister cross-culturally, different from the gift of 
apostleship, linked to calling. 

local church structures and missions structures; he describes missions 
societies, the various associations of missions — how they function, 
are governed and financed. 

nourish missions through sending and giving. Lays out what the money 
goes to and the five key components to a successful local church mis- 
sions program. 

optional. Reviews 4 keys: 1. The right goals — making disciples; 2. 
Timing — being where the harvest is ripe, using the people approach; 
3. Right methods — contextualization; and 4. The right messengers — 
Spirit-filled, gifted, submitted, empowered disciples. 

7. THE POWER SOURCE OF MISSIONS: Begins with prayer as 
evident in Korea and elsewhere; signs and wonders; beautiful illustra- 
tions from around the world. 

8. ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS: Reviews 5 key missions 
issues: redefining the indigenous church so it's contextualized; the syn- 


drome of church development taking priority over evangehsm; diagnostic 
research in clarifying which evangelistic methods are really working; 
short-term missionary service; and theological education by extension 
as a critical leadership development method. 

sions is when the church that is begun becomes a missionary-sending 
church. This hasn't been taught much, but is now becoming a power- 
ful movement. He reviews the research done in this area, as well as 
defining "missions." 

10. BECOMING A WORLD CHRISTIAN: Practical guidelines for 
how to 1) pray for missions; 2) go to the missionfield; and 3) learn 
more about missions. 

STRENGTHS: Very simple and readable; every chapter concludes 
with 3-5 practical "Do Something Now!" suggestions; excellent over- 
view of Protestant missions; good index; a multitude of addresses from 
which to get further informatio; ideal for anyone wanting an introduc- 
tion to the field of missions. 

WEAKNESSES: Very few! Could be clearer on his definition of a 
"disciple" and possibly overstates his argument regarding the "syn- 
drome of church development." 

— Dr. David E. Kornfield 

Tipper Gore 

Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society 

Nashville: Abingdon 
240 pp., 1987, $12.95 

On the cover of this book is a warning "explicit material — parental 
advisory" and it is appropriate. This book contains some graphic pic- 
tures of explicit sexual violence and suggestive material from rock groups 
and cinema advertisements. 

The responsibility of raising children has never been easy but with 
the role models available today, the task is even more difficult. This 
book is MUST reading, particularly for those parents who were reared 
in the "I Love Lucy" and Chubby Checker era, because they can be 
lulled into complacency very easily. TV, movies, rock groups, and the 
indivuduals who produce this material are not what they once were, 
and parents need to be on the alert. 

There is an excellent leader's guide available to be used in a group 
study. With a group or alone, this book should be read. You may not 
always agree with the author but the shock value of this material is worth 
the time invested. 

— Dr. Mary Ellen Drushal 


John White 

Excellence in Leadership: Reaching Goals with prayer, Courage, 

and Determination 

Downers Grove: Intervarsity 
132 pp., 1986, $5.95 

What, yet another leadership text which studies Nehemiah as the 
supreme leader? Because of the personal response questions at the end 
of each chapter, this text would make a good resource as a study guide 
for a Sunday School class or a small group. As a text to be read for 
insight into excellence or leadership in general, it adds nothing to the 
vast amount of material already available. In fact, I'm surprised this 
book even made it to print. [See further Dr. Drushal's article elsewhere 
in this issue of the Journal, Ed.] 

— Dr. Mary Ellen Drushal 

Ruth L. Kopp 

When Someone You Love is Dying: A Handbook for Counselors 

and Those Who Care 

Grand Rapids: Zondervan 
240 pp., 1985, $9.95 

I have recently lost two loved ones, and Dr. Kopp's text helped in 
both the preparation for and recovery from this life event. This text 
is readable, very helpful and provokes the reader to explore difficult 
concepts of anxiety, denial, anger and finally separation from the lov- 
ed one. 

Throughout this text there is constant emphasis on communicating 
openly and honestly with the loved one. This book is replete with counsel 
and will be beneficial for the pastor who has never experienced the death 
of a loved one and is provocative for those who've encountered death 
frequently . 

— Dr. Mary Ellen Drushal 

Terence and Sancy Thornton 
Grandpa's Chair 

Portland: Multnomah 
33 pp., 1987, $3.95 

This is an excellent book for younger readers, or even those in first 
or second grade who have not learned how to read with fluency. It shows 
the importance of a grandfather in the life of a growing boy, but even 


more importantly, it deals delicately with the subject of death. The book 
is not preachy, nor does it talk down to its readers/hearers. Rather, it 
presents death as both a time for grief but also for poignant memories. 
Its illustrations add considerably to the enjoyment of the book. 

I gave the book a 'trial-run' on an 8 and 10 year old and it was ap- 
preciated and requested to be read periodically. The book should be 
in all church libraries and would make an ideal gift to younger children 
(c. 5-11 years) and their parents. 

— Dr. David W. Baker 

J. A. Thompson 

Handbook of Life in Bible Times 

Downers Grove and Leicester: Intervarsity Press 
384 pp., 1986, $34.95 

Thompson has admirably achieved the three goals which he set himself 
for this volume. Firstly, he presents the archaeological discoveries 
relating to the Bible in a non-technical manner. This he does in seven 
sections. The first of these deals with introductory matters such as the 
geography and history of Israel through Bible times as well as the history 
and method of Palestinian archaelogy. This is typically done in a lucid 
and readable style, as are the following sections on 'people at home', 
'food and drink', 'industry and commerce', 'culture and health', 'war- 
fare' and 'religion'. 

The second goal was "to bring the discoveries of archaeology to life." 
This is pleasingly accomplished by the numerous photographs and maps 
which accompany the text. These make the volume not only useful for 
the lay reader, but also attractive enough for coffee-table browsing. 

The third goal of relating life as illustrated in the volume to that 
evidenced in the Bible is well-served by numerous biblical references 
conveniently placed on the outer margins of the good-sized pages. These, 
as well as indices of places, people and general subjects, make this a 
useful tool for the lay reader, though a Scripture index would have greatly 
enhanced the book's value. Brief bibliographies are sprinkled throughout 
the volume in case one cares to pursue a matter further. 

While scholars will not find Thompson sufficient to meet their technical 
needs, teachers of introductory Bible background, pastors and students 
of Scripture will find him interesting and useful. The book should be 
in all church libraries. 

— Dr. David W. Baker 


John Piper 

Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist 

Portland: Multnomah 
281 pp., 1986, $9.95 

Piper insists that the traditional formula of the cathechism is not quite 
right when it says: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy 
him forever." For this reduces the Christian life to the sub-Christian 
level of duty, better suited to the Stoics or to Kant's unaffected "ought." 
Piper says the proper scriptural formula is rather that "The chief end 
of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever." He believes that 
the human quest for happiness is a wholesome thing. Humankind's sin- 
fulness is not its desire for happiness, but that it seeks happiness at such 
low altitudes. Most people are satisfied with too little. They never really 
ascend the mount of God to find fulfillment in the glorious presence 
of God. 

One of the most exciting parts of the book is the introduction in which 
the author recounts his steps toward Christian Hedonism. Many will 
identify with the dilemma of his college day views that any moral ac- 
tion done with the goal of satisfaction ceased to be truly virtuous. But 
this meant that one had to resist the powerful natural motivation found 
in the pursuit of happiness and substitute for it the less powerful motiva- 
tion of duty alone. When he tried to apply this to the aspect of worship, 
Piper found that worship for duty's sake was a barren enterprise, far 
from the enjoyment of God depicted in the Psalms. 

Piper was rescued from this impasse in his student days at Fuller 
Theological Seminary through the influence of his teachers and through 
exposure to some of Christianity's greatest devotional writers: Blaise 
Pascal, C. S. Lewis, and Jonathan Edwards, among many others. They 
revolutionized Piper's spiritual life by showing him how to enjoy God. 
The book is written to share this basic insight and to show its relation- 
ship to the various aspects of Christian life. 

This is not a light sentimental approach to the topic. The author taught 
Bible for six years at Bethel College (St. Paul, Minnesota) before becom- 
ing the senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. The 
chapters reflect elements of both the classroom and the pulpit; they are 
both lecture-like in content and sermonic in application and illustra- 
tion. Piper is Reformed both in his theological substance and his 
argumentative style. He both fights with his tradition (as can be noted 
in his amendment of the Westminster Cathechism) and grounds his 
arguments in the framework of Calvinistic theology (especially in 
chapters one and two) . The model of his piety is that of the Puritans 
and not the contemporary self-centered pleasure-seeking of either the 
Christian or secular variety. The enjoyment of God he advocates is that 
which is deeply rooted in Scripture and in genuine Christian experience. 


I felt his chapters on worship, Scripture, money, and missions were 
among his better ones. He was at his best when he allowed himself to 
be biographical and practical. When he tried to pay allegience to his 
theological framework, his style became more stilted and his impact 
was more arid. Alas, when David tries to wear Saul's armor, his psalm 
of Christian Hedonism suffers! If one is not into the Reformed tradi- 
tion, one may want to bracket chapters one and two, where it is most 
obvious, and go on to the less theological chapters. One will lose little 
of the book's merit and may actually enhance the enjoyment of Piper's 

The book is a little too heavy for a popular audience, though it will 
do better among those in the Reformed tradition. Students and pastors 
will find much that is helpful and stimulating. The book's message is 
timely and powerful. Both those who profess to believe in Jesus and 
those who think they ought to reject Christ need to know that the true 
Christian life is both life's greatest challenge and its highest pleasure. 

— Dr. Luke L. Keefer, Jr. 

Bernard L. Ramm et. al. 

Grand Rapids: Baker 
152 pp., 1987, $4.95 

Baker Book House should be spanked for this one. Hermeneutics is 
a slightly altered reprint of a work apparently published in 1967. The 
reader cannot be sure, for the copyright page does not disclose when 
the book was originally issued. The only clue is a notice to the effect 
that this is a collection of articles which appeared together in Baker's 
Dictionary of Practical Theology, edited by Ralph G. Turnbull (1967). 

Apart from that, interested readers are left strictly on their own. The 
book consists often chapters by eight authors, not one of whom is iden- 
tified. Apparently it is assumed that everyone knows just who Ramm 
& Company are, where they were, and what they were doing when 
the book first appeared twenty (?) years ago. Dr. Ramm contributed 
two of the offerings ("Biblical Interpretation" and "The New 
Hermeneutic") as did Robert B. Laurin (The Dead Sea Scrolls and In- 
tepretation" and "Typological Interpretation of the Old Testament"). 
The other article-chapters are by David H. Wallace ("Interpretation 
of Parables"), Roger Nicole ("Old Testament Quotations in the New 
Testament"), E. M. Blaiklock ("The Use of Archaeology in Interpreta- 
tion"), Marvin W. Anderson ("Reformation Interpretation"), William 
Sanford LaSor ("Interpretation of Prophecy"), and James P. Martin 
("Tools of the Interpreter"). 


Except for the addition of wider margins and one correction, the book 
is identical to the first edition. This printing includes on pages 44-46 
a full column of material from the Dictionary that was omitted when 
it appeared in separate book form around 1967. Everything else is just 
as it was, and that is the problem. Language which was acceptable twenty 
years ago is now considered to be sexually exclusive. Chapter references 
are to nothing published after 1965. The new hermeneutic, in the judg- 
ment of some scholars, was already running out of gas by the late 1960s. 
And Martin's fine bibliographical chapter (on lexicons, grammars, con- 
cordances, dictionaries, atlases, and commentaries) is outdated. In the 
department of Bible atlases alone we now have resources far more plen- 
tiful and more adequate than twenty years ago. 

The book leaves much to be desired in organization. It contains no 
preface, or foreword, or word to the reader, or introduction and, at 
the end, no index. It is difficult to determine for whom it was written. 
The contents of most chapters are too elementary for experts and may 
be too advanced for some beginners. Unless an interested reader marks 
and annotates the volume, what may be helpful in it will be lost without 
an index. Even the order of chapters is problematic. Why, for exam- 
ple, should a discussion of Reformation hermeneutics be stuck between 
the Dead Sea Scrolls and interpretation of prophecy? 

With a little more effort and attention to important details. Baker could 
have given us a fine coatpocket- sized resource. As it is, alert readers 
can find better helps than this book in which to invest their hard-earned 

— Dr. Jerry R. Flora 

Nathan DeLynn Smith 

Roots, Renewal and the Brethren 

Pasadena: Hope 

151 pp., 1986, $6.95 

It took some bravery to write this book, and it may take some courage 
to read it. The Brethren under discussion are the Plymouth Brethren, 
who began in England about 150 years ago. By 1870 they were migrating 
to North America, where today they have 1200 congregations in the 
U.S. and Canada. The book examines their roots as a church renewal 
movement and their more recent decline. What Smith wants to know 
is, what has happened to cause serious membership loss among the 
Brethren in North America, and what can be done about it? Roots began 
as the thesis for his Doctor of Ministry degree and grows out of 22 
years of service among the Brethren. 

The study opens with five chapters devoted to the origins of the 
Brethren as a reaction against the Church of England. In their search 


for both unity and purity the Brethren could accept neither the established 
church nor such older renewal movements as the Puritans, the Quakers, 
and the Methodists. The established church, as so often in history, seem- 
ed to have unity without purity, while dissenting groups claiming to 
be pure could not unite with one amother. 

The early Brethren contained some strong leaders and some brilliant 
scholars, nearly all of them in their twenties and thirties. The best-known 
personage was undoubtedly John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), who did 
much harm along with some good as Smith sees it. His preferred hero 
is Anthony Norris Groves (1775-1853), whose motto "labor hard, con- 
sume little, give much and all to Christ" influenced many believers, 
especially George MuUer who forsook the Lutherans for the Brethren. 

With a quick transition of five lines (p. 41) Smith vaults to the pre- 
sent scene in which North American Brethren experience serious decline. 
In eight brief chapters he surveys contemporary conditions and calls 
for renewal in this originally renewing movement. He describes reasons 
why many persons have left the Brethren, sets out a biblical perspec- 
tive of the church as God's temple, household, and people, and argues 
that these divine images were distorted by Darby and other exclusivists 
who followed him. Regaining the biblical perspective will require 
understanding the relationship between purpose and structure, the dif- 
ference between principle and practice, and the distinction between loyal- 
ty and conformity. 

The heart of the volume, and its longest chapter, assesses the major 
issues as described by 52 interviewees (39 of them former Brethren): 
lack of positive, vibrant leadership (the greatest single issue), listless 
worship services with women marginalized in them, and a parochial 
spirit of narrowness and anti-intellectualism. 

In the concluding chapters Smith sets out how the biblical perspec- 
tive might be applied the these issues: provide dynamic leadership, 
develop small group fellowships, and enhance renewal through wor- 
ship (the key to lasting corporate renewal). Readers are reminded that 
such renewal, like remodeling a home, "will take longer than you plann- 
ed, cost more than you figured, be messier than you anticipated, and 
require greater determination than you expected" p. 105, (quoted from 
Charles SwindoU). 

The author strives to be honest, discerning, and compassionate in deal- 
ing with such a sensitive topic. He is to be commended for his courage 
in openly addressing a problem faced by other evangelical denomina- 
tions, not to mention individual congregations. One can only hope that 
his message — to the extent that it is accurate — will be heard, heeded, 
and acted upon before it is too late. 

— Dr. Jerry R. Flora 


George M. Kren and George Christlake 

Scholars and Personal Computers: Microcomputing in the 

Humanities and Social Sciences 

New York: Human Sciences Press 
209pp., 1988, $29.95 

Once I heard an old fellow saying "I seen a mite of changes in my 
day , and I been agin ever' one of 'em' ' . If we're old enough to be reading 
this journal, we've seen our share of changes as well, and, while we 
might not be very excited about all of them, some are here to stay. One 
innovation which is defmately here and is sure to become even more 
ubiquitous is the computer. 

The authors of the present book state: "Both of us are historians who 
have never taken a course on computers... Both of us enjoyed using 
a computer; we wrote more, and wrote better. . . As our colleagues began 
using personal computers we saw that every new beginner found similar 
difficulties, and that the available books rarely addressed problems that 
academics who wished to use microcomputers in their research and 
teaching encountered" (p. 11). This book sets out to demystify the com- 
puter to some extent for those who are not interested in how it does 
but in what it does, those in need of a research and writing tool. 

A list of the chapter headings will illustrate the breadth of the topics 
covered. The first, 'the academic writer and the computer' chides us 
for our contentment in incompetence, showing that efficiency has a place 
in academia as well as in industry. 'Academic word processing' is prob- 
ably the most important chapter for most writers, since it introduces 
material which makes the physical process of writing and rewriting im- 
measurably easier. It introduces various useful features in word pro- 
cessing programs, and briefly introduces over half a dozen individual 
programs. As an important aside, books like this are out of date as soon 
as the manuscript leaves the author's hand, so many of the programs 
listed will be updated and (hopefully) improved by the time this review 

Not only programs, but also 'hardware', the computer itself and other 
pieces of equipment which go with it, are next discussed. There then 
follows a chapter on 'writing aids and utility programs' covering such 
goodies as programs which check not only your spelling, but also your 
grammar, both programs which editors and readers of term papers wish 
that all writers at every level used. Next follows a chapter on 'databases' 
which are invaluable for storing bibliographies, notes and other infor- 
mation in such an accessible way that 3" x 5" cards might well become 
a thing of the past. 

Chapter six is entitled "Telecommunications and the academic", and 
introduces us to the huge database services which are accessible from 
home computers and which make vast amounts of information available 


over the telephone. This is followed by a description of the equipment 
needed to make use of these resources. Next are covered some of the 
'bells and whistles' which are available, including foreign languages, 
statistics and graphs and even music composition (games could also be 
included here, though they were not since this is directed toward 
academics, who of course never play games!). 

The final two chapters deal with more specialized subjects. The com- 
puter's applications for the teacher in class preparation, student records 
and committee work is discussed, followed by the computer as a research 
tool for writing a book. 

Many readers of this journal are not 'academics' in the technical sense 
of the term, but surely all of us are readers and students of Scripture, 
preparers of sermons, Bible studies or Sunday School lessons, com- 
mittee members or just inveterate letter writers. Even though the pre- 
sent book is directed especially toward academics, there is much of use 
for all of the above described prople and more. With the price of com- 
puters plummeting constantly, it would be worth your while to at least 
order this book from the library and introduce yourself to something 
which could revolutionize the way you handle words and, with prac- 
tice, enhance the way you are able to serve the Kingdom. 

— Dr. David W. Baker 

Michael J. Hostetler 

Introducing the Sermon: The Art of Compelling Beginnings 

Grand Rapids: Zondervan 
96 pp., 1986, $5.95 

"No contact, no start": that is the beginning of what turned out to 
be an interesting and profitable book on sermon introductions. In a 
perfectly dehghtful way Michael Hostetler carries the reader through 
a series of considerations pertinent to good beginnings. His well-made 
point is carried throughout, if you don't make good contact at first you 
don't carry the listener with you. 

The author argues that preachers put in many hours to develop good 
sermons through diligent Bible study and through careful organization. 
These precious sermons "will evaporate into the rafters of the church 
building unless the introductions make contact with the secular world, 
the Bible, needs of the people, and the main body of the sermon." 

At the heart of the book is the development and illustration of the 
four major developmental points he makes regarding introductions. By 
starting with the secular Hostetler argues that the preacher makes the 
necessary contact with the "ordinary people" in every congregation. 
Using this means the preacher naturally encounters the listener "with 
a secular, life-related contact point." How unnatural it is to begin with 


a religious oration hoping that in some way the listener will make the 
connection between religion and life. Rather, in order for the secular 
to make its contact it must also be spiced up so that there is relevance. 

Having made his point about beginning with the secular and illustrating 
how it is done, Hosteller heads his next chapter "Move to the Word." 
Here the preacher must introduce God's Word. "The nonbiblical ser- 
mon does nothing more than add to the din of social commentary we 
are bombarded with from every conceivable source." The author's em- 
phasis is on preaching God's Word, and as he says, "spelled with a 
capital W." This, "must be the subject matter, the controlling source, 
of every sermon." The introduction must show why the sermon is really 

The third contact point is touching the needs of people, or as he puts 
it, "Touch Home." Essentially he is asking, "who is the sermon for?" 
Answering the question the pastor colors the entire structure of the ser- 
mon. He or she may be simply giving outlet to a personal need, ven- 
ting frustration, or preaching for God's benefit. "No," he says, "the 
sermon is for the congregation." That seems so obvious, yet unless 
a determination is made by a pastor in the study the sermon will not 
get a good start. The introduction must reflect this decision. "Early 
in the sermon the listener must be convinced that the sermon is rele- 
vant not only to our generation, and that is biblical, but also that it bears 
directly on his or her own life now." 

Finally, Hostetler develops the idea of getting from the introduction 
to the main body of the sermon, which he says, "can also be a has- 
sle." The fourth contact point is the structural point, it exists to build 
a bridge between the introduction and the points of the sermon. The 
listener must see a logical and understandable connection between the 
introduction and the body of the sermon. And even though it is fourth 
in position it must be considered early in the preparation. The sermon 
has to be structurally complete before this fourth contact point can be 
developed. The structural contact point is short and simply introduces 
the points to be developed. As Hostetler states, "it bridges the gap bet- 
ween introduction and sermon and leads the audience into an encounter 
with the Word." 

In summary it can be said that the author makes a very good case 
for a strong introduction by stating four major ideas to be included in 
every introduction. He challenges the reader to take the introduction 
to the precious sermon seriously. It should be stated, however, that it 
seems generally to take into consideration only the deductive sermon 
approach. Overall it is a very helpful book making a strong case for 
sound introductions. It is not long and tedious, but very readable. 

— Dr. Charles R. Munson 


Edward R. Dayton and David A. Fraser 
Planning Strategies for World Evangelization 

Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans 
537 pp., 1980, $15.95 

BOOK SUMMARY: the Dayton-Fraser strategy includes ten basic 
steps which analyze and define the goals in reaching "people groups" 
and the obstacles standing in the way. They incorporate the social 
sciences and basic management principles into the context of God's 
sovereignty and of the church's responsibility to evangelize the world. 
The introductory section is followed by ten sections discussing each 
of the ten steps in the cyclical planning model Dayton/Fraser advocate 
(visualized on page 43). Each section averages three chapters. The key 
points of each section can be found at the beginning of the section in 
a page or two titled "considerations". The sections, with one or two 
main thoughts from each, follow below: 

INTRODUCTORY SECTION: Defines and explains the value of 
thinking in terms of people groups, picturing the future, having a 
strategy, having good management and applying this to missions in a 
ten-step circular planning model (circular in that step ten leads back 
into step one to repeat the whole planning process). 

1. DEFINE THE MISSION: Defines and explains the need for a vi- 
sion for the Kingdom of God, the role of the church, the Gospel and 
evangelism, defining an organization's mission, its field of work and 
the people on which it will focus. 

plains what a people is, the value of a people-centered approach and 
the need to understand a) the meaning system (language, hermeneutics, 
culture) of a people; b) the (felt) needs of a people; and c) the behavior 
of a people — which cultural forms can be incorporated into Chris- 
tianity and which need to be confronted by Christianity. 

sionary qualifications, particularly as related to the people one hopes 
to reach; reviews how to find the best organization for reaching a given 
people; and presents a very challenging perspective on recruiting and 
training, suggesting that the medical model of training with all its rigor 
be considered as a missionary model for training. This is perhaps the 
single most challenging chapter of the book. 

4. EXAMINE MEANS AND METHODS: Defines means and 
methods, distinguishing between method as philosophy (general, pur- 
pose level thinking), method as principle (intermediate level with univer- 
sality) and method as performance (immediate concrete tools and tech- 
niques). Discusses how to choose the best methods and indicates the 
resources from which we have to draw. 

Discusses how to plan an appropriate strategy (which begins with go- 


ing through the above four steps). Assumptions, especially about 
ourselves, need clarification. 

6. ANTICIPATE OUTCOMES: Calls for measurable planning, us- 
ing a tool like the Engel scale for how far a people are from Christ. 
The resulting church must be envisioned with clear and realistic criteria. 
We need to aim at specific measurable changes or results, recognizing 
that perhaps the most important changes will be in us ourselves! These 
changes come at four levels, both in us and in the people we are trying 
to reach: knowledge, attitude, behavior and relationships. 

7. DECIDE OUR ROLE: We need to think through who we are (as 
individuals and as an organization) and how we fit — what our place 
is in God's over-all plan and how we fit with the people we want to 
reach. As change agents, we need to find or create points of discontent 
related to their felt needs. 

8. MAKE PLANS: Lays out the need for clear goals for evangeliza- 
tion, clarifying the benefits of clear goals, why we are afraid of them, 
and how to write clear goals. Clarifies what they mean by planning, 
oudines basic (corporate) planning concepts for both short-term and long- 
term planning and lays out how to plan. 

9. ACT: Planning goes from goals to means to resources; acting goes 
from resources to means to goals (while evaluation begins with goals 
and goes on to means and resources). Action begins with gathering the 
right resources, particulary the right people mix. As we apply means 
and methods we need to constantly be replanning for course correction. 

10. EVALUATE: Evaluation needs to be planned from the begin- 
ning, evaluating goals, means and methods, and resources. This will 
result in clarified priorities as well as posteriorities (those things we 
must choose to lay aside in order to have freedom to pursue our 
priorities). They outline ways of evaluating, particularly as it relates 
to personal performance, which is commonly the hardest to do. Evalua- 
tion needs to close the circle in the sense of taking us back to step one 
of the planning process in redefining our mission. From there we can 
go on to repeat the ten-step planning process. 

STRENGTHS: Perhaps the best organized book I've read as illustrated 
by the ten page detailed table of contents. The outlines in each chapter 
enable skim reading in areas with which the reader may be familiar. 
Content packed, this makes an excellent graduate level text for mis- 
sions. The "considerations" that preface each of the ten major sec- 
tions are challenging and provocative at the same time as providing a 
summary of that section. Every chapter defmes key terms before discuss- 
ing them further. The questions at the end of each section reinforce 
the main concepts and allow the reader to check his/her comprehen- 
sion. The authors are able to be objectively critical without being 
judgmental; they embrace any and all denominations in the places where 
they are experiencing significant church growth. Sections eight, nine 


and ten are shorter because other good books have focused in these areas, 
particularly Dayton's God's Purpose /Man's Plans (1971) and 
Engstrom's and Dayton's The Art of Management for Christian Leaders 
(1976) and Strategy for Leadership (1979). Excellent resources at the 
end of the book include an unreached people's questionnaire, a 23 page 
bibliography, a 14 page general index and Scripture index. 

WEAKNESSES: Very few! I felt that section seven on "Your Role" 
could have been more specific. The basic roles through which a mis- 
sionary can enter a new people group were not outlined. Gifts were 
referred to as important, but discussion of them was delegated to other 
reading. Discussion of the function of the apostolic and/or missionary 
gift would have been appropriate. 

— Dr. David E. Kornrield 



Potential reviewers are requested to send their name, address, educa- 
tional experience and area(s) of interest to: Book Review Editor, ATJ, 
910 Center Street, Ashland, OH 44805. 

Elizabeth Achtemeier, Jeremiah, Knox Preaching Guides (John Knox, 


Paul J. Achtemeier, Harper Bible Dictionary (Harper and Row, 1985); 

LeRoy Aden and J. Harold Ellens, eds. The Church and Pastoral Care 
(Baker, 1988); 

Charles L. Allen, Meet the Methodists (Abingdon, 1986); 

Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative (Basic, 1981); 

, The Art of Biblical Poetry (Basic, 1985); 

Bernard W. Anderson, Understanding the Old Testament, 4th ed. 
(Prentice-Hall, 1986); 

J. Daniel Bauman, An Introduction to Contemporary Preaching (Baker, 


Paul A. Beals, A People for His Name (Baker, 1988); 

David A. Black, Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek (Baker, 

James M. Boice, Genesis I, II (Zondervan, 1982, 1985); 

Tom and Betty Brewster, Community is my Language Classroom (Lingua 
House Ministries, 1986); 

Dale W. Brown, Biblical Pacifism (Brethren, 1985); 

Mark I. Bubeck, Overcoming the Adversary: Warfare Praying Against 
Demon Activity (Moody, 1984); 

Philip J. Budd, Numbers, Word Biblical Commentary (Word, 1984); 

Lynn R. Buzzard and Thomas S. Brandon, Jr., Church Discipline and 
the Courts (Tyndale House, 1987); 

Robert P. Carroll, Jeremiah, Old Testament Library (Westminster, 

James L. Crenshaw, Story and Faith: A Guide to the Old Testament 
(Macmillan, 1986); 


Robert Davidson, Jeremiah and Lamentations , 2 vol, Daily Study Bi- 
ble (Westminster, 1983, 1985); 

Dale R. Davis, No Falling Words (Baker, 1988); 

Edward R. Dayton and David A. Fraser, Planning Strategies for World 
Evangelization (Eerdmans, 1980); 

Richard de Ridder and Roger Greenway, Let the Whole World Know: 
Resources for Preaching on Missions (Baker, 1988); 

John I. Durham, Exodus, Word Biblical Commentary (Word, 1986); 

Ralph Earle, Word Meanings in the New Testament (Baker, 1987); 

Charles L. Feinberg, Jeremiah (Zondervan, 1982); 

Jacob Firet, Dynamics in Pastoring (Eerdmans, 1986); 

Cheryl Forbes, Imagination: Embracing a Theology of Wonder 
(Multnomah, 1986); 

Norman Geisler and J. Kerby Anderson, Origin Science (Baker, 1987); 

Tipper Gore, Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society (Abingdon, 1987); 

Norman K. Gottwald, The Hebrew Bible (Fortress, 1985); 

Donald Hagner, The Jewish Reclamation of Jesus (Zondervan, 1984); 

R. K. Harrison, Jeremiah and Lamentations, Tyndale Old Testament 
Commentaries (Intervarsity, 1973); 

John H. Hayes and Stuart I. Irvine, Isaiah: The Eight Century Pro- 
phet: His Times and his Preaching (Abingdon, 1987); 

David J. Hesselgrave, Planting Churches Cross-culturally (Baker, 1984); 

Anthony A. Hoekema, Created in God's Image (Eerdmans, 1986); 

William L. Holladay, Jeremiah I, Hermeneia (Fortress, 1986); 

Michael J. Hostetler, Introducing the Sermon (Zondervan, 1986); 

David M. Howard, The Dream that Would not Die (Baker, 1988); 

Charles Hummel, The Galileo Connection (Intervarsity, 1986); 

W. Bingham Hunter, The God Who Hears (Intervarsity, 1986); 

Roger F. Hurding, The Tree of Healing: Psychological and Biblical 
Foundations for Christian Counseling and Pastoral Care (Zonder- 
van, 1987); 

Keith Huttenlocker, Conflict and Caring (Zondervan, 1988); 

Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Quest for Renewal (Moody, 1986); 


., Toward Rediscovering the Old Testament (Zondervan, 1987); 

R. T. Kendall, Stand Up and Be Counted (Zondervan, 1984); 

D. James Kennedy, Your Prodigal Child (Nelson, 1988); 

Grace Ketterman, Depression Hits Every Family (Nelson, 1988); 

Ruth L. Kopp, When Someone you Love is Dying: A Handbook for 
Counselors and Those Who Care (Zondervan, 1980); 

George M. Kren and George Christlake, Scholars and Personal Com- 
puters: Microcomputing in the Humanities and Social Sciences 
(Human Sciences, 1988); 

John Lawson, The Wesley Hymns: As a Guide to Scripture Teaching 
(Zondervan, 1988); 

James Limburg, Hosea-Micah, Interpretation (John Knox, 1988); 

Alistair McGrath, Justification by Faith (Zondervan, 1988); 

, Understanding the Trinity (Zondervan, 1988); 

William McKane, Jeremiah I, International Critical Commentary (T. 
& T. Clark, 1986); 

Elmer Martens, Jeremiah, Believers Church Bible Commentary (Herald 
Press, 1986); 

Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers, Haggai, Zechariah 1-8, An- 
chor Bible (Doubleday, 1987); 

J. Maxwell Miller and John H. Hayes, A History of Ancient Israel and 
Judah (Westminster, 1986); 

Leon L. Morris, Reflections on the Gospel of John, vol. 2 (Baker, 1987); 

Richard A. MuUer, Christ and the Decree: Christology and Predestina- 
tion in Reformed Theology from Calvin to Perkins (Baker, 1986); 

Graham S. Ogden and Richard R. Deutsch, Joel & Malachi, Interna- 
tional Theological Commentary (Eerdmans, 1987); 

David L. Petersen, Haggai and Zechariah 1-8, Old Testament Library 
(Westminster, 1984); 

John Piper, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist 
(Multnomah, 1986); 

Ian Pitt- Watson, A Primer for Preachers (Baker, 1987); 

Vernon S. Poythress, Science and Hermeneutics (Zondervan, 1988); 

, Understanding Dispensationalists (Zondervan, 1987); 


Bernard Ramm, et al., Hermeneutics (Baker, 1987); 

James and Martha Reapsome, Marriage: God's Design for Intimacy 
(Intervarsity, 1986); 

Lawrence O. Richards and Clyde Hoeldke, Church Leadership (Zonder- 
van, 1988); 

and Gib Martin, Lay Ministry (Zondervan, 1988); 

, The Teacher's Bible Commentary (Victor, 1987); 

J. Ridderbos, Isaiah, Bible Student's Commentary (Zondervan, 1985); 

Christopher R. Seitz, ed., Reading and Preaching the Book of Isaiah 
(Fortress, 1988); 

Nathan D. Smith, Roots, Renewal and the Brethren (Hope, 1986); 

J. Albert Soggin, A History of Ancient Israel (Westminster, 1985); 

Paul R. Sponheim, ed., A Primer on Prayer (Fortress, 1988); 

R. Paul Stevens, Married for Good (Intervarsity, 1986); 

Louis Stulman, The Other Text of Jeremiah (University Press of 
America, 1985); 

John A. Thompson, Handbook of Life in Bible Times (Intervarsity, 1986); 

, Jeremiah, New International Commentary on the Old Testa- 

ment (Eerdmans, 1980); 

Terence Thorton, Grandpa's Chair (Multnomah, 1987); 

Derek J. Tidball, Skillful Shepherds: An Introduction to Pastoral 
Theology (Zondervan, 1986); 

Lucibel VanAtta, Women Encouraging Women (Multnomah, 1987); 

Mark E. van Houten, God's Inner-City Address (Zondervan, 1988); 

C. Peter Wagner, On the Crest of the Wave (Regal, 1983); 

Robert C. Walton, Chronological and Background Charts of Church 
History (Zondervan, 1986); 

Richard E. Whitaker, compiler, The Eerdmans Analytical Concordance 
to the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (Eerdmans, 1988); 

John White, Excellence in Leadership (Intervarsity, 1986); 

J. Rodman Williams, Renewal Theology (Zondervan, 1988); 

Hugh G. M. Williamson, Ezra-Nehemiah, Word Biblical Commentary 
(Word, 1985) 





Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio 



1989 — a year for new beginnings at the Seminary: a new classroom 
building, a new counseling program at Southwest General Hospital, a 
new program in continuing education, a new colleague, in the person 
of the Dr. Jo Ann Ford Watson who contributes to this volume, as well 
as new aspects of the Journal — entry into the International Series Doc- 
tor System at the Library of Congress as well as several indexing and 
abstracting services. New does not necessarily mean better, but we hope 
that these innovations might make the Journal more accessable. We 
continue to strive to serve the Christian community and our great King, 
to whom we must daily give our praise and our ever new thanksgiving. 

David W. Baker 
September, 1989 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 




Mutual Encouragement as Husband and Wife in Pastoral Ministry ] 

Rev. Brian H. Moore 

The Use of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15:16-18 J 

David M. King 

Balance — A Difficult but Needed Perspective for Church 
Music Leadership lA 

Dr. Ronald L. Sprunger 

Church Administration for Leadership and Management (CALM): 22 
A Synopsis of Workshop Material 
Dr. Jerry R. Flora, Dr. Douglas M. Little, Dr. Mary Ellen Drushal 

Ministering in Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying Destitutes, 41 

Calcutta, India 
Dr. Jo Ann Ford Watson 

Book Reviews 55 

Editorial Committee: 

David W. Baker — Editor Ben Witherington III — Reviews 
William H. Myers Bradley E. Weidenhamer 

Journal articles are indexed in Religious and Theological Abstracts ana 
Religion Index One: Periodicals (RIO): book reviews in Index to Book Reviews 
in Religion, both published by the American Theological Library Associa- 
tion, 820 Church Street, Evans ville, Illinois, 60201. The latter indexes are 
also available on line through BRS Information Technologies, DIALOG In- 
formation Services and Wilsonline. 


Published and copyrighted by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 

Mutual Encouragement As husband And 
Wife In Pastoral Ministry 

By Brian H. Moore* 

This occasion is called Pastors' Conference but I think of it more as a retreat 
than a conference because our subjects in these days are not as academic as 
they are personal. We are coming together as husband and wife, to be apart 
from the routines and the pressures of ministry and family. It is a time to con- 
sider how God is at work in our lives and to open ourselves again to the 
possibilities of God, to ask, "What is going on in me?" and to look at our 
spouse and ask, "What is going on in you?" 

But what irony! Here I am without my wife! Failing to exhibit the very con- 
cept I am in theory endorsing and trying to promote! And yet, isn't this the 
reality of life in pastoral ministry? We conceptualize our ideals yet struggle 
very deeply to bring them to reality! So, what my life is saying today provides 
a kind of foundation for the ideals I am trying to perpetuate: if we are not 
careful, we tend to become a houseful of strangers. We will be going places 
and doing things in ministry and leave our families to care for themselves. 
And it is a distinct possibility that we may do so because we find less resistance 
from our inner selves to go out on our 'white horse' to 'save' somebody than 
to deal with the hardships of relating to our family members. There seems 
to be more immediate fulfillment and more obvious reward in exercising our 
Messiah-image than in being a patient spouse and creative parent. 

I'm glad you have blown the whistle on yourself, that you think enough of 
your mate and your mutual relationship to throw off the shackles of a suppos- 
ed indispensability, and that you have allowed yourselves to come to a setting 
where some courage to be vulnerable is required. I hope we experience some 
tension, if not pain, in these few days together, for it is unlikely that much 
of value will come without some tense or painful moments. But more than 
tension or pain, I hope we also experience true pleasure in being together, 
relating to one another and growing closer to one another as husband and wife. 
And for those of us who, like myself, are only partially here, I hope we will 
reflect upon our relationship as husband/wife and go back to our homes with 
new resolve to intentionally encourage one another. And, strange as it may 
seem, may we, in that balanced rhythm of pain and pleasure, discover the 
presence of God all over again in fresh ways. 

I have already implied that I did not ride in on a 'white horse'; I do not 
come as expert or family therapist. In fact, I have wondered on a number of 
occasions since I was first invited why I have been invited to share in this 
at all! (When I am finished, you may wonder the same!) If I have any creden- 
tials, it would simply be that I am one of you and one with you, which seems 
to make my task that of stating those things you would state if you were stan- 

*Mr. Moore, and ATS Alumnus, is Senior Pastor of St. James Brethren 
Church, St. James, Maryland. 


ding here and I were sitting there. My wife and I have been married 24 years. 
We have been parenting nineteen years so far, and expect to continue in that 
role for at least eight or ten more, having twin ten-year-old boys at home. 
We struggle with the same struggles that you do; we are in the trenches with 
you; I've got mud on my boots and blisters on my heel! We get weary of it 
all at times and dream (i.e., fantasize) of that situation where there will be 
few problems, few demands, few expectations, few disappointments, few bills 
(and plenty of money to pay them!), few pressures, and lots of motivation! 
But we haven't found that place yet! (The Lord hasn't called us to your church 
yet!) If these are sufficient credentials, then I have brought mine along, have 
properly signed them, and trust that you will seat me as a delegate among you! 

A number of years ago, I listened to Dr. J. Grant Howard, then pastor of 
Camelback Bible Church of Phoenix, Arizona, address the Kansas State Sun- 
day School Association Convention in Wichita, Kansas. He was quite involv- 
ed as a marriage and family counselor. He said that, generally speaking, he 
could trace every marriage problem back to a failure to do at least one of the 
three things mentioned in Genesis 2:24: 1) leaving father and mother; 2) cleav- 
ing to one's mate; 3) becoming one flesh. That may seem too simplistic at 
first sight, but let us consider that text and the surrounding context as the basis 
of our thoughts on mutual support as husband and wife. 

Before we consider verse 24, let us note how this amazing statement came 
to be given. Verse 18 speaks of the aloneness of man and how, in the face, 
of the all the 'good' things about God's creation that was 'not good'. Man 
names the animals, a naming that implies a kind of assessment of their nature. 
None of them was a proper companion for man (not even a dog!). Man is 
made for companionship; even 'alone with God' is insufficient! We must be 
careful in our counsel not to imply that someone who has suffered the loss 
of a mate can make God his or her companion now — Adam had God as his 
companion, but he was still alone !2 Note, then, in the second part of verse 
18, that God devises to provide the helper, literally, "a help opposite to him," 
"corresponding to him." How do we understand the word 'help' in this con- 
text? Help him work in the garden? Like a carpenter's helper? Help him multip- 
ly the race (he would need help!)? The 'help' corresponds to man's aloneness; 
man is incomplete without this 'help'. Man could, therefore, now become his 
true self because of the woman. This is the very beginning of human com- 
munity: one man and one woman. The cell of the human community is still 
this. "Be fruitful and multiply" would come, the community would enlarge, 
but the fundamental unity in community is husband/wife. "For this 
reason," on this basis, we have verse 24. What reason? That man and woman 
are made for each other, and that together they constitute the basis of human 
community and mutual support. And, unless the stipulations of verse 24 are 
followed, this mutual support and community will be threatened. The 
breakdown of the cell will lead to breakdown of the body. So, to fully realize 
this relationship, those three areas in verse 24 mentioned by Dr. Howard must 
be followed through. To expand on this, I want us to ask ourselves three 

I. Have we left father and mother? 

"For this reason a man will leave father and mother ..." These words 
indicate the seriousness of belonging to each other. The relationship between 
husband and wife is to be exclusive. Literal violations of this are rather easy 
to spot: the husband, even though now living in his own dwelling with his 
wife, remains at the service of his parents. He still allows his parent's demands 
and expectations to take priority over his family responsibility. Or, the wife 
has never let go of the apron strings, still showing primary emotional at- 
tachments to her mother, prefering her parents over her husband when there 
is a choice to be made, and generally making him feel second to them. The 
husband stops at his parents on the way home from work and remains there 
through the dinner hour, sharing the meal, lingering into the evening, while 
the wife has been at home, supper having been prepared, wondering where 
he is. He makes a habit of this, so she knows where he is but doesn't call 
because that would only make matters worse. The wife, on the other hand, 
instead of being home at the usual hour, spends all afternoon shopping with 
her mother and gets home late, while he has been waiting and wondering where 
she is. But he knows where she is, because this happens frequently. The marital 
relationship suffers when there are primary loyalties that have never been 
transferred. Few of us in pastoral ministry have this problem in a literal way 
because we are usually physically removed from our parents and sheer distance 
helps us keep this principle if we are unable to do so otherwise. But we may 
have another, more subtle, problem with leaving father and mother. While 
we probably respect our parents, cannot and would not usually openly forsake 
their ways or deny their influences upon us, a problem can arise if we are 
unable to dismiss subconscious parental influences over us which are detrimen- 
tal to our lives, our relationships or our ministries. 

For example, have you ever wondered, in your down times, who called you 
into the ministry? Have you wondered if it really was the Spirit through the 
Church, or if it was mostly your mother or your father? And how much of 
what we do and the way we do it is directly related to the sense of father and 
mother looking over our shoulders? The Fall 1981 , issue oi Leadership jour- 
nal contains a story by Harold Fickett, Jr., entitled "The Perfect Prodigal."^ 
It is an account of a pastor whose problems with his church board, his reac- 
tions to their decisions and the like, stemmed from unresolved conflicts with 
his mother. Through a long process of counseling at Marble Retreat in Col- 
orado he was able to work through the conflicts and resentments, write to his 
mother, forgive her and begin to be healed. Only relatively late in his experience 
did he "leave father and mother," i.e. their deep-rooted negative influence 
over him. 

The film Amadeus is a Hollywood version of the life of Wolfgang Amadeus 
Mozart. The theme is built around the power struggle of the established court 
composer, Antonio Salieri, and the young threatening upstart, Mozart. Mozart 
had experienced disagreements and conflicts with his father, Leopold. Leopold 
died with these conflicts unresolved. Salieri, trying to rid himself of Mozart, 

came upon the idea of exploiting the sense of incompleteness in the relation- 
ship between Mozart and his father. He induced him to compose a requiem. 
When Wolfgang was very ill, Salieri urged him, pushed him relentlessly, to 
finish the Requiem and thus drove him to his early death. According to the 
story, Wolfgang had never left his father, and that plagued him in life and 
brought him to death. 
Lloyd Olgivie has written, 

"I have come to believe that people select a mate in affirmation or nega- 
tion of the parent of the opposite sex. This is natural, but volatile. With 
the mixed feelings we all have about parental influence or lack of it, we 
run the danger of pressing the person into a straight] acket of reincarnated 
expectation, or we work out unresolved tensions and hostilities of 

Let us ask ourselves if we have really left father and mother. Have we been 
able to distinguish the blessed from the detrimental in our parental legacy and 
have we been able to dismiss the one and retain the other? Mutual support 
is best expressed by keeping this matter in perspective. There is a big dif- 
ference between having our parents as "balcony people" cheering us on and 
their subconsciously badgering us because we are still trying to do the im- 
possible: please them. 

n. Have we learned the meaning of joint union? 

"And be united to his wife," or, "each other." Mutual support was in the 
mind of God from the beginning. The literal meaning of the words is, "be 
glued to his wife." Bonded! Cemented! Permabond! The relationship is not 
only to be exclusive (as indicated in the first point), but permanent. Was it 
Aldous Huxley who envisioned a day when marriage licenses could be bought 
like dog tags: for a specified period of time with no regulations against keep- 
ing more than one animal at a time? Our society has not yet reached that point, 
but there is a spirit about marriage and its permanence which is not far removed 
from that. 

In our relationship as husband and wife, called of God, serving in pastoral 
ministry, this matter of joint union has some specific applications: 1) It should 
alert us to the danger of flirting with those desirable women in our congrega- 
tions (assuming a male pastor) . We have been duly warned about the problem 
of transference in a counseling situation, but I believe there is a broader area 
of concern. These people I have in mind are those who work closely with us; 
they are on committees; they take interest in the work of the church; they share 
our concerns; they support the vision we are trying to promote. This kind of 
partnership in the Gospel can easily lead to an unhealthy partnership. While 
a strong marital relationship is a great help in this area, that alone is not enough 
to stay the forces of temptation. Be glued to your wife! Fight off the mental 
fantasies that somehow worm their way into that union and threaten to dissolve 
the glue! 2) There is another Lady! I have trouble with this Lady! She is at 

once my delight and my greatest headache. (I'm not talking about my wife!) 
This Lady is always around, it seems. She is always making Herself available 
to me. She wants more from me than I can possibly give Her. I have had trou- 
ble with this Lady for quite of few years now. And to complicate matters, 
She is already married! She sometimes interferes with my marriage, but only 
because I allow Her to. I'm talking, of course, about the Bride of Christ. 
I suppose one of the toughest challenges we face as pastors and wives is 
how to keep this Lady from causing our relationships to become an empty 
shell, a hollow formality. For one of the big problems is that we are commit- 
ted to this Lady! We give our lives for Her, i.e., our time, energy, emotion, 
thought. She is our life! And especially when we live next door to her dwell- 
ing we've got a strenuous assignment not to prefer Her to one another. She 
keeps calling, it seems! And She is seldom boring. Someone said that boredom 
is the great enemy of marriage. If, then, we are bored at home, we can always 
go see the other Lady. And She is so tempting! She can seduce us before we 
know it! We get so involved with Her that we can scarcely tear ourselves away 
from Her. And worst of all, I think, is the truth that Gordon Mac Donald stated, 
when he said, "It is glamorous, even heroic, to burn out, break down, and 
even relationally blow up if you can prove that your friend, your spouse or 
your congregation left you because you were faithfully discharging your call."' 
To "cleave to one another" sometimes means saying "no" to otherwise good 
things, even ministry things. If we experienced half as much guilt for denying 
our mate as we do for saying "no" to some off-the-wall church request, maybe 
we would make some changes in our priorities and put wife or husband much 
higher on the list. 

III. Are we experiencing oneness? 

"They shall become one flesh." "One flesh" may refer primarily to physical 
union, but the Hebrew mind and thought didn't seem to divide people into 
categories like we do. (By the way, if our society had maintained the Hebrew 
view of personhood, we would probably not have the sex-related problems 
we now have, stemming so often from sex divorced from personhood.) The 
idea of "one flesh" is basically "oneness." 

I am sure that we all realize that we can experience a growing apart without 
any serious conflict; a drift, as indiscernible as the movement of a glacier. 
And that will happen if we do not take deliberate measures to keep it from 
happening. I try to remember to put notations in my calendar every week just 
for my wife, reservations for just the two of us. Just a little matter to help 
keep us together. 

Consider these suggestions and questions to help us keep and develop our 
oneness: 1) Obtain and read together To Understand Each Other by Paul Tour- 
nier, John Knox Press; 2) Ask ourselves, "Are we talking to each other?" 
Deep encounters rarely take place in a few moments, especially with all the 
distractions that assault us continually. We need hours of careftil drawing 

together. 3) Are we listening? 4) Is one of us paying the greater price for the ■ 
success of our marriage than the other? Becoming one means that this should I 
not be so. It is mutual encouragement that we need. 5) Are we encouraging . 
one another? Men, we can encourage our wives by creating time and space 
for her to have a regular quiet time, by, reading and discussing subjects ■ 
together, by referring persons to her when appropriate, talk her up whenever 
we can, keep her picture in plain view in our study. I heard someone say that 
a wife wants to hear how attractive she is while a husband likes to hear how 
competent he is. We can encourage one another in those areas. 

Not long ago our church choir performed the musical, Bind Us Together. 
I will close with an excerpt from that, entitled, "Who Are You?" 

Their hearts were broken as they told her goodbye 
And they stood in the yard 'til she drove out of sight. 
Then they turned to face their first day and first night 
Of their last child leavin' home. 

She made some coffee and he went outside 
And all afternoon they never met eyes 
And it was late in the evenin' when she realized 
They hadn't spoken all day. 

Then she looked at the photograph up over the bed 
Of the children she could say she knew. 
Then she looked at the stranger alseep in the bed, 
and whispered, "Who are you?" 

Years ago all they had was each other 

They were best of friends and best of lovers. 

Then their good times made them father and mother — 

And they did their job so well. 

Lost in the details of raisin' the kids, 
Was the thing of most value that lovers can give; 
Keeping each other's needs at the top of the list 
Of the things they gotta do. 

And he was the first to wake up next morning 
In a house as quiet as a tomb. 
Then he looked at the stranger asleep in his bed 
And whispered, "Who are you?" 

But it's not to late for fathers and mothers 
To go back to bein' best friends and lovers. 
It's sad when they whisper, "Who are you?" 

Put each other's needs at the top of the list! 
Do those loving things so easy to miss! 
And don't forget to whisper, "I love you"!* 


•This article is from an address to the Brethren Pastor's Conference held at 
Mason, Ohio, in April of 1988. Little effort has been made to disguise its 
nature as primarily a spoken message to a live audience on that occasion. 

^Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall (New York, The Macmillan Company, 
1959), 59 ff. 

^Harold Fickett, Jr., "The Perfect Prodigal," Leadership, Vol. II, No. 4 (Fall, 
1981), 78 ff. 

'^Lloyd Ogilvie, "Marriage As It Was Meant to Be" in Make More of Your 
Marriage, Gary Collins, ed. (Waco: Word Books, 1976), 22. 

'Gordon MacDonald, "The Private Times of the Public Minister," Leader- 
ship, op. cit. 102. 

^Steve Chapman, "Who Are You?" in Bind Us Together, Steve and Annie 
Chapman with Dennis and Karla Worley, arr. by Fletch Wiley (Houston: 
Star Song Music Publications, 1986). 

THE USE Of Amos 9:ii-i2 In Acts i5:16-i8 

by David M. King* 


Many interesting and important topics come under the general heading of 
hermeneutics. One such area which has provided no lack of scholarly discus- 
sion is the question of the interpretation and use of the Old Testament scrip- 
tures with regard to New Testament doctrine and practice. Inevitably, discus- 
sion of this topic must consider the way in which the New Testament authors 
understood and applied the Old Testament, and while this brings up many poten- 
tially difficuh passages, few are as thorny as James' citation of Amos 9: 1 1-12 
during the Jerusalem Council as recorded in Acts 15:16-18. 

The council was called to resolve "the issue of whether to accept the Gen- 
tiles."' After Peter related his experience at the home of Cornelius, and Paul 
and Barnabas told of their work among the Gentiles, James acknowledged these 
works of God as true, and corroborated the experiential evidence with the 
testimony of the prophets, citing Amos specifically. In his citation James quotes 
from the Septuagint (LXX) rather than from the Hebrew text (MT), and herein 
is the problem for it would seem that the LXX version of the passage is based 
upon a flawed reading of the Hebrew, which upon first reading seems to be 
entirely unrelated to James' argument. 

The import of this discrepancy reaches beyond hermeneutics to a question 
of errancy. Was a major crisis of the early church solved on the basis of an 
erronious understanding of the book of Amos, and if so how does this affect 
our formulation of a doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture? Can we simply 
conclude with Augustine that "whatever is found in the Septuagint and not 
in the Hebrew manuscripts, the one and the same Spirit chose to say it through 
the Seventy rather than through the Hebrew manuscripts; and He showed 
thereby the prophetic character of both"?^ Surely claiming inspiration for both 
the LXX and the MT in this case merely compounds the problem. 

It shall be the goal of this paper to argue that James does quote from the 
LXX, and that this version is based upon a misreading of the Hebrew, but 
that upon close observation of the three versions (MT, LXX and NT) it can 
be seen that James' use of the passage does no violence to the intended mean- 
ing of the prophet. It shall be shown that the incorporation of the Gentiles 
into the believing community of God was present in the Hebrew text of Amos. 
Therefore, even though James cites a faulty translation, his use of Amos 9: 1 1-12 
was by no means in contrast to its author's intent, and the integrity of the scrip- 
tural witness remains intact. 

*Mr. King is an MDiv. student at ATS. 


In the ninth chapter of the book of Amos, the prophet has a vision of the 
Lord executing judgment (verse 1). There will be nowhere to hide from His 
wrath (verses 2-4), for He is the Almighty God (verses 5-6). Israel has become 
like the heathen nations (verse 7) and thus must face judgment, but destruc- 
tion will not be total for He will seperate out the sinful from the faithful (verses 

In that day, "i.e. when the judgment has fallen upon the sinful kingdom, 
and all the sinners of the people of Jehovah are destroyed"', God will raise 
the fallen booth of David. This is a reference to the Davidic dynasty, but the 
word choice "booth" (sukkah) instead of house emphasizes the "degenerate 
condition of the royal house of David'"* — a booth "was a rude structure usual- 
ly made by setting up a simple frame and spreading branches over it."^ Not 
only has the house of David been reduced to a rustic tent, but even the tent 
has fallen. But Yahweh will raise David's house, and this restoration is fur- 
ther defined by three clauses. First, the Lord promises to "wall up their 
breaches" (that is, to repair the parts of the walls which have been ruined). 
The Greek versions (as well as most modem translations) smooth out the dif- 
ferences in the suffixes of each of the three clauses, referring each back to 
the feminine "booth," when in fact these differences can and should be taken 
as intentional. Keil insists that the Hebrew feminine plural suffix, "their broken 
places," must be seen as referring to the two kingdoms, which this restored 
house of Israel would consist of.^ Kaiser sees this as an anticipation of the 
unification of the northern and southern tribes such as would be later predicted 
in Ezek. 37:1 7-28. ' 

Second, Yahweh promises to "raise his ruins." Again noting that the 
masculine suffix "his" does not refer to the grammatically feminine booth. 
Kaiser suggests that it "must refer to none other than David himself," and 
understands this to be a messianic reference to the restoration of the Davidic 
line of rulers in Christ.^ 

Finally, the Lord will "rebuild it as in the olden days," the feminine singular 
suffix referring back to "booth." The olden days certainly refer back to the 
"halcyon period of David ... a past distant in time and different in 
conditions"^ when Israel enjoyed Yahweh's favor. The use of the verb "to 
build" may also be reminiscent of Yahweh's promise to David to build a house 
for him and raise a seed whose throne would be established forever (II Samuel 

To summarize, in verse eleven Yahweh promises that in the day when Israel 
has been purged of sin He shall raise again the fallen and humbled house of 
David. This restoration will include a reestablishment of the Davidic kingdom, 
royal line, and dynasty. Thus a complete restoration to past glory is foretold. 

Verse twelve continues the theme of the restoration of Israel. The masculine 
plural subject of the verse refers to the righteous ones remaining in Israel when 
Yahweh restores her, and this restoration will increase the borders of the 
kingdom to include the "nations," {goyimi here used in the sense of the heathen 

Edom, one of the nations originally brought under the subjection of David, 
had recovered its freedom by the time of Amos. It is mentioned specifically 
here "because of her marked hostility toward the people of God."'' A rem- 
nant is spoken of in light of God's judgment which is coming against Edom 
(see Amos 1:12; Obadiah; etc.), and thus this verse refers to those who sur- 
vive Yahweh's judgment. 

The crucial question is the nature of the incorporation of the nations into 
the restored kingdom. The verb "yrsh" means to "take possession of especially 
by force, (to) have as a possession, often with the collat(eral) idea of taking 
in place of others, succeeding, (or) inheriting. "'^ The Normal use of the word 
would infer that the restored Israel will subject, possibly by force, the people 
(here referring to the "last remnant of people" '^ as opposed to simply land 
or territory) of the Gentile nations and Edom specifically. The key to the in- 
terpretation lies in the phrase (lit.) "which my name is called upon them. " Ac- 
cording to Kaiser, "the usage of this phrase in the OT always placed each 
of the objects so designated under divine ownership.""* The Gentile nations, 
and even the remnant of the despised Edom, thus will become God's own 
possession incorporated into His kingdom, making "the nations citizens of 
God. ' ' '5 Here, and in verses such as Isa. 54: 1-8, a time is seen in which Israels' 
"descendants will possess the nations, i.e. instead of defeating them in battle 
the nations will also become God's people."'^ Therefore, regarding verse 
twelve, Kaiser concludes, "It definitely meant to teach that Gentiles will be 
included in some future reign of God."'"' The passage ends with a firm state- 
ment that these are the words of Yahweh, that these works will be accomplished 
by Him, and therefore that these promises are trustworthy. 

To summarize, Amos 9:11-12 predicts a time following the judgment of 
Yahweh when He shall restore the kingdom and royal line of David. The reign 
of the seed of David will encompass not only Israel, but will expand to in- 
clude the Gentile nations as well, reminiscent of the conquests of David. In 
this future kingdom the Gentiles will not be included as slaves, however, but 
instead will be members of the believing community which is called by the 
name of Yahweh. This all will be accomplished by the strength of Yahweh 


In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, Amos 9: 1 1 remains very close 
to the Hebrew. Aside from the substitution of the more general "I shall build 
up again those things which have fallen" for "I shall wall up their breaches," 
and the practice of changing all suffixes to the feminine singular and relating 
them all back to "tent," the LXX follows the meaning of the MT here quite 

In verse twelve, however, a discrepancy arises. Whereas in the Hebrew the 
subject is the people of Israel, the verb is "to possess," and the objects are 


Edom and the nations, the LXX places Edom and the nations as the subjects, 
gives "they shall seek out" as the verb, and offers no object.'* This change 
certainly alters the Hebrew, and can probably be best explained as a misreading 
of the Hebrew rather than a deliberate editorializing. Instead of yrsh "to 
possess" drsh "so see" is read due to a very small difference between two 
Hebrew letters (similar to the difference in English between 'a' and 'd'). In- 
stead of "Edom", "man" is read ("adam" involving only a change of vowels, 
which are not found in the original Hebrew text). The Hebrew accusative par- 
ticle is omitted altogether, thus allowing the Hebrew object to become the 
Greek sugject.''' 

Therefore, the Greek becomes, "in order that the rest of the men and all 
the nations which are called by my name might seek out," the implied object 
of their search being God Himself. As can be seen, while both versions pro- 
mise a restoration of David's fallen tent in verse eleven, the MT states in verse 
twelve that the restored Israel will possess the nations, while the LXX sug- 
gests that Israel's restoration will initiate the nations' own seeking of God. 
Although there are differences, the crucial point maintained by both MT and 
LXX in verse twelve is the inclusion of Gentiles as God's people, called by 
His name. Therefore, while the LXX is based on a misreading of verse twelve, 
the primary point of Gentile inclusion is still present (in fact, it is amplified 
in the LXX reading). The Lord will restore Israel, and this work will also 
include the Gentiles. Thus the intent of the passage is not seriously harmed 
by the translation error. It now remains only to observe how James uses this 
verse in Acts. 


As has been stated, the fifteenth chapter of Acts relates the proceedings of 
the council called at Jerusalum to put to rest the issue of Gentile inclusion into 
the church. After some debate, Peter rises and gives his view based upon the 
witness of the Spirit having been given to Gentiles just as He came to the Jews 
on Pentecost (verse 7-11). Then Paul and Barnabas tell of the mighty work- 
ings of God among the Gentiles which they had witnessed (verse 12). James 
responds that these witnesses show God's design to take for Himself a people 
from the Gentiles (verses 13-14), and then backs up this statement with the 
proof of the scriptures (verses 15-18). Note that James states that these events 
agree with the general messages of the prophets, not simply a single proof 
text. He then offers as an example the passage under consideration. 

With some minor alteration, James quotes Amos from the LXX, as was his 
custom. 2" He alters the beginning ("in these days" becomes "after this)," 
the end ("the Lord God who does these things" becomes "the Lord who does 
these things which has been known for ages," possibly in reference to the 
LXX reading of Is. 45:21), consistently substitutes "rebuild" for "raise up" 
(which he may have considered a technical term for the resurrection of Christ), 
and adds the direct object "the Lord" to verse twelve. ^^ Aside from these 
changes, it is obvious that James quotes from the LXX rather than the Hebrew. ^^ 


The question which must be considered is: Is James' use of Amos 9:11-12 
contrary to its intended meaning specifically because his use is based upon 
a faulty translation? James' argument is that the experiential evidence may 
be accepted because it is confirmed by scripture. The inclusion of the Gentiles 
into God's kingdom is not something new, but rather something which God 
had not only planned long before but which He had also made known long 
ago through His prophets. James had just related how God had desired "to 
take a Gentile people for His name," (verse 14), and it was most likely the 
phrase "for His name" which "was the trigger thought that brought to the 
mind of James the words of Amos. "^^ As has been suggested, the theme of 
Gentile inclusion is intrinsic in both the Hebrew and the Greek, and while 
the LXX is surely more forceful to this point (did James choose it for this 
reason, or was this simply the version he remembered?), "even our Massoretic 
Hebrew could have served the present purpose admirably, since it predicted 
that the 'tabernacle of David,' i.e. the church of the Messiah, would gain posses- 
sion of all the nations which are called by name [of the God of Israel]. "^^^ 


There is certainly a difference between the Hebrew text of Amos 9:11-12 
and the Greek of the LXX, which James cites in Acts 15:16-18. We need not, 
however, solve this dilemma as did Augustine, who claimed inspiration for 
the LXX, nor as some modern critics, who would remove the words from 
the mouth of James entirely and place them into the hands of a Greek editor 
who was unaware of the problem he was creating. Instead, a careful considera- 
tion of the versions in question reveals that the theme of Gentiles included 
in God's kingdom, called by His name, and part of the believing community, 
is present in each, even the Hebrew. And it was this point which James brought 
out. In choosing the LXX he may have had a clearer argument, but it was 
not an argument foreign to the original intent of the Hebrew. 



1. S. Toussaint, "Acts," in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, ed. J. 
Walvoord, and R. Zuck (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1987), 393. 

2. Augustine, City of God, quoted in R.V.G. Tasker Old Testament in 
the New Testament, (London: SCM Press, 1954), 78. 

3. C. F. Deil, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament: Minor Pro- 
phets (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1954), 329. 

A. Ibid. 

5. James L. Mays, Amos: A Commentary (Philadelphia: The Westminster 
Press, 1969), 164. 

7. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., The Uses of the Old Testament in the New 
(Chicago: Moody Press, 1985), 182. 

8. Ibid. 

9. Mays, 164. 

10. R. Laird Harris, "goy", in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 
(TWOT) R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer and B. K. Waltke (Chicago: Moody Press, 
1980), 153. 

11. Kaiser, 183. 

12. F. Brown, S. R. Driver, C. A. Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon 
of the Old Testament (Oxford: University Press, 1907), 439. 

13. Brown, Driver, Briggs, 984. 

14. Kaiser, 184 

15. Keil, 332. 

16. John E. Hartley, "yrsh", in TWOT,4\0. 

17. Kaiser, 185. 

18. Although some LXX versions do contain an insertion of me to complete 
what is implied. See Earl Richard, "The Creative Use of Amos by the Author 
of Acts", Novum Testamentum 24 (1982): 44-52. 

19. A discussion of these changes may be found in Keil, 334, note 1. 

20. Bruce points out that in the Epistle of James nearly all of the OT quota- 
tions are from the LXX. F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles (Chicago: Inter- 
Varsity Christian Fellowship, 1952), 298. 

2 1 . For a fuller discussion of the redactional significance of these changes 
see Richard, 44-53. 

22. Although it is not within the scope of this paper to investigate the 
significance of James' choice of citing the LXX rather than the Hebrew, it 
seems unnecessary to conclude with Munck that ' 'this indicates that the words 
of James have been thoroughly reworked" (J. Munck, The Acts of the Apostles, 
The Anchor Bible [Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1967], 39) or with 
Lake and Cadbury that "either the whole source of this chapter was Greek, 
or the speeches at least are due to a Greek editor" K. Lake and H. J. Cad- 
bury. The Beginnings of Christianity Part I, vol. 4, The Acts of the Apostles 
[Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979], 176). 

23. Kaiser, 184. 

24. C.C. Torrey, cited in Commentary on the Book of the Acts by F. F. 
Bruce (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1954), 310. 


TIVE FOR Church Music leadership 

By Dr. Ronald L. Spninger"' 

As an introduction to the above topic, several pages will be devoted to the 
tracing of my pilgrimage as a church musician. During the past years I have 
experienced a gradual growth in my understanding of the purpose of church 
music ministry. To a great extent this growth has been the result of dealing 
with polarities such as: art music vs. functional church music, thought vs. feel- 
ing, structure vs. freedom, new wine and old wineskins, transcendence vs. 
immanence, and habit vs. meaningful tradition. With regard to these polarities 
truth seems to be held in tension between what often appear as extreme op- 
posites. A dialectical approach does not result in "pat answers," but rather 
in a deeper appreciation of the need for a concept of truth as balance (tension) 
between extreme opposites. Those ideas which seem dialectically opposed to 
each other have the potential to nurture each other. 

In terms of human development, this struggle was in accordance with the 
stage theories of Erik Erikson and Daniel Levinson. The transition from early 
adulthood to middle adulthood is characteristically a time of evaluation, reflec- 
tion, and tension. With a firmer hold on things, and a clear vision, the days 
ahead should be most rewarding. 

The tension began to build during my early 30' s, reaching a climax at age 
37 when I removed myself from church music leadership for a period of two 
years in order to reflect on and evaluate what I had been doing. During this 
time of searching for meaning, I began to question my concept of music ministry 
which was based on stretching people so that they would learn to appreciate 
the kinds of music that I valued. Two experiences that occurred during my 
freshman year of college set the stage for this later struggle. 

At this time I became aware of the disdain that some educated musicians 
have for gospel songs. During a chapel service, another student and I sang 
a Rodeheaver gospel song as a musical offering. Our voice teacher commend- 
ed us for the quality of our rendition, then proceeded to discredit our choice 
of song. Against this backdrop, I share an experience that followed a few weeks 
later. My roommate invited me to sing in a performance of Handel's Messiah, 
presented by his home church. The director, who holds a doctorate in music, 
had established a fine choral tradition at the church. However, to my surprise, 
this gentleman's musical offering at the Sunday morning service was his sing- 
ing and playing of a Rodeheaver gospel song. This experience of observing 
a well-trained musician performing two contrasting styles of music made a 
lasting impression. The effect of this experience was probably nullified for 
a period of time by my transfer to a conservatory of music where the lines 

*Dr. Spninger is Associate Professor of Music at ATS. 


between "art music" and "other music" were even more sharply drawn. Yet, 
even in this environment, I met a person who embraced both worlds of music. 
My organ professor, who was an excellent performer, served as organist in 
an evangelical church where neither the quality of organ nor repertory of songs 
reflected the high standards of the conservatory of music. To him, a fine musical 
tradition and pipe organ were not as important as were his personal commit- 
ment to the Lord, and the preaching of the infallible word. 

During the time of my search for meaning in church music, we began atten- 
ding Sunday evening services at a local church. Sunday evening services were 
an important part of my Christian nurture during childhood and youth, and 
I felt a need for this again. In these services, we experienced a new dimension 
in congregational singing. I can identify with Charles Wesley and G. Camp- 
bell Morgan who were moved by the worship of the Moravians and Welsh 
revivalists, respectively. I had encountered people for whom singing was a 
heart response, and for me it was like water on parched ground. The song 
service, which lasted about 45 minutes, consisted of scripture songs and some 
hymns. There was also a style of singing known in Pentecostal services as 
"singing in the Spirit." For a period of about five years we attended this 
Assemblies of God church in the evening and First Baptist Church in the mor- 
ning. Except for the scripture songs that we introduced during the Sunday 
School hour, the repertory of song at the Baptist Church consisted of hymns 
and anthems. I often described the experience of attending two churches as 
"the best of two worlds." 

At age 40, I accepted an invitation to minister through music in the 
Assemblies of God denomination. One of my goals was to effect a balance 
between scripture songs and choruses on one hand, and traditional hymns on 
the other. Except for Sunday evening services, gospel hymns were used less 
frequently than traditional hymns such as: "All Creatures of Our God and 
King" (LASST UNS ERFREUEN), "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" 
(DIADEM), "Crown Him with Many Crowns" (DIADEMATA), "Holy, Ho- 
ly, Holy" (NICAEA), "Like a River Glorious" (WYE VALLEY), "Now 
Thank We All Our God" (NUN DANKET), "Rejoice, the Lord is King" 
(DARWALL'S 148TH), "This is My Father's World" (TERRA BEATA), 
and "When Peace Like a River" (VILLE DU HARVE). Although a reasonable 
balance was achieved in congregational song repertory, in anthem and solo 
repertory standard classics were not as well represented as were the songs that 
were currently well-known. Solos such as the following were presented and 
rather well-received: "Rejoice Greatly" and "I Know That My Redeemer 
Liveth" (Handel); "Ye People, Rend Your Hearts" and "If with All Your 
Hearts" (Mendelssohn) and "The Lord is My Light" (AUitsen). Toward the 
end of my tenure I became more concerned about teaching that which has lasting 

During transition to middle adult life, it is customary to give thought to the 
legacy that one passes on to the next generation. I wanted the people to have 


in their hearts and minds a legacy of song that would serve as vehicles for 
praise and worship for the next generation. Children need some songs to grow 
on, as well as songs that are soon to be out-grown. During the 1984 Christmas 
season, the children memorized the following traditional hymns and carols: 
"Hark! the Herald Angels Sing," "Joy to the World," "Angels We Have Heard 
on High," and "O Holy Night." There is a need to be con- 
cerned about the transmitting of our spiritual and cultural heritage of 
song. An acquaintance of mine, who teaches in a Christian univer- 
sity, has conducted an annual survey of the students in his classes 
to determine how familiar they are with standard hymnody. On the basis of 
his research over a ten-year period, he reports that there has been a decline 
in the use of traditional hymns. Many of the students who were surveyed were 
from charismatic churches, many of which emphasize scripture songs and 
choruses, sometimes to the exclusion of hymns. On the basis of my experiences, 
I am convinced that these same people could be led to apply their great en- 
thusiasm for singing to the great hymns of our faith. Some of the most en- 
thusiastic hymn singing that I have heard has been in Pentecostal churches. 
If the tradition of vibrant hymn singing is lost by Pentecostals and other 
evangelicals, it is due to the failure of the pastors and ministers of music to 
provide a balance. 

From the vantage point of having served in several denominations, I sense 
a need for church musicians to consider what might be gained by opening one's 
self to new worship experiences. Although I have described the profound in- 
fluence that Pentecostal worship has had on me personally, I also have a great 
appreciation for my Mennonite heritage, and for the many years that I have 
spent in liturgical churches and in free churches. Paul Anderson, writing in 
Leadership magazine, made a statement that expresses my sentiments well. 
He writes: 

The issue is not structure or freedom, but Spirit. God has no preference 
for formless spiritualism or Spiritless formalism — he rejects both. Spon- 
taneity offers no innate advantage over liturgy. Liberty is where the Spirit 
is, not where the preacher has thrown away his notes.' 

Anderson discusses the failure of some leaders to recognize the importance of 
worship. In his words, "Pastors may spend fifteen hours on sermon prepara- 
tion and fifteen minutes throwing the service together. "^ Every church has 
an agenda, a liturgy, whether it is planned in advance or on the spot. Ander- 
son, who is Lutheran, is cognizant of the fact that forms have liabilities. 

Rite easily moves into rote. Those active participants may learn the forms 
and stay disengaged throughout the whole process. The prophets denounced 
the priests who made rite more important than righteousness. Jesus said 
of the scribes, "In vain they worship me." While their lips honored God, 
their hearts were far from him.^ 

The out-pouring of the Holy Spirit in these latter days has brought forth 
an abundance of new songs. Old forms have at times been stretched and 


perhaps even been broken by the new wine poured into them. Although new 
songs and new forms reflect health in the body of Christ, those who write 
and use the new expressions ought to consider seriously the words of Canon 
Demant before readily condoning the current trends in contemporary Chris- 
tian music: 

When the Church undertakes to proclaim the Gospel in secular idiom she 
must beware lest she end up proclaiming secularism in a Christian 
idiom . . ."'* 

Richard Dinwiddle, writing in Christianity Today, also offers words of caution: 

Christian musicians must keep in mind John the Baptist's dictum, 'He must 
become greater; I must become less' (John 3:30, NIV). This can be dif- 
ficult for an artist, for, to quote Donald Hustad, 'The essence of art is self- 
expression; the essence of ministry is self-crucificion.' Performers 
need to be willing not to be in the spotlight. They must make sure that 
people see Jesus in them. They need to control the "hype" that an overly 
zealous management team may employ to boost their careers, egos, and 

Another issue with which I have grappled is that of utilitarianism versus beau- 
ty. The first of these views, sometimes called pragmatism, may be ex- 
pressed as follows: If the music works, or achieves results, it must be good. 
An attitude that is related to this is that of complacency which may be ex- 
pressed as — Why change it, if it has worked so well for so long? Harold 
Best views this as "being at ease in Zion."^ In his words, 

Not only is creational theology contradicted and true creativity forced in- 
to secular arenas, but a more dangerous, idolatrous thing happens. The 
longer something is repeated in the same circumstances, the more it 
becomes equal to the circumstance itself.' 

The opposite of the utilitarian view is that of idealism which affirms that — if 
the music is good, it has to work. There is an inherent danger in this view. 

That danger is to make art an object of veneration. Concerning this view 
Best states that it " . . . speaks of quality for its own sake and often leads to 
a confiasion between aesthetic ecstacy and worship."^ The biblical record in- 
dicates that God commanded the building of works of art. On the basis of scrip- 
ture we know that God was concerned about beauty as well as utility. 

Consider the following: "Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow 
every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food" (Gen. 2:9). God's 
plan for the building of the sanctuary was given to Moses, and included were 
detailed instructions for the works of art (Ex. 25). The plan for the temple, 
to be built by Solomon, calls for artistic work, using the finest of materials 
(II Chr. 2-4). Some of the art seems to have been created for beauty alone. 
For example, free-standing pillars were placed in front of the temple, decorated 
with chains and pomegranates (II Chr. 3:15-16). Also, pomegranates were 
to be made upon the skirts of priest's garments, including the colors blue, purple 


and scarlet (Ex. 28:33-35). And yet, when a work of art becomes an object 
of veneration, God acts. The fiery serpent that Moses was commanded to make 
and place on a standard was broken by Hezekiah, "for unto those days the 
children of Israel did bum incense to it" (11 Ki. 18:4). Martin Luther used 
the concept of "the mask of God" in dealing with this tendency of man not 
to see beyond creation. According to Luther, "the whole creation is a face 
or mask of God. "' Without wisdom and the discernment of the Spirit, we see, 
admire, and adore only the mask. In view of this recurring concept in Luther's 
theology, the singing of "Beautiful Savior" by Lutheran college choirs seems 
particularly fitting. In this hymn one's thoughts are directed beyond the beauty 
of creation to the Source of creation. 

On the basis of what God reveals of himself through creation, it seems right 
to conclude that God delights not only in beauty, but also in complexity. To 
those who would opt for a steady diet of tunes that are sequential in nature, I 
would pose these questions — Does God look with favor on our creative ac- 
tivity when only a small portion of our potential is used? Having been made 
in the image of God, and commanded to participate in the continuing work 
of creation, should we not create works of music that challenge both us and 
those who listen? The questions are obviously rhetorical, but my next ques- 
tion is not. How many musicians who prefer fine art truly delight in the One 
who has given us our creative potential? There is a glow of satisfaction as 
the artist steps back from the canvas or the score, and this seems right. To 
lay a guilt trip on someone for enjoying artistic endeavor would show a lack 
of charity. However, to direct that person's attention to the One who enables 
him or her to create is a responsibility that is mine as a Christian educator and 

When artist-musicians lose the simplicity of devotion to Christ and the motive 
becomes "art for art's sake," it is not surprising that many turn to simpler 
forms of art that are offered with motive that is pure. In I Cor. 1:26-27 we 
are reminded that "God has chosen the weak things ... to shame the things 
that are strong . . . that no man should boast before God." Motive is of ut- 
most importance in leading others to an appreciation of fine art. Those who 
observe us are concerned whether we view art as an object of veneration or 
as a God-given vehicle used for the glory of God and the edification of 
humankind. The following statement by R. C. Sproul challenges me to temper 
"love of beauty" by directing my mind and heart to the One who is Beauty. 

Ultimately, the supreme norm of Beauty is . . . located in the character 
of God. It is what stirs delight in the mind of God. When our souls are 
stirred to delight in the things that God delights in, we are in touch with 

Anyone who has seriously tried to embrace both art music and functional 
church music knows that it is not an easy road. Those who are committed to 
the use of art music tend to see a professional musician's use of simpler forms 
as a lack of integrity. As a pastoral musician. I see it as an integrity that goes 
beyond the pursuit of musical goals. Effective music ministry, as I see it, in- 


volves identifying with people whose musical tastes are different from mine, 
joining with them in the songs that God uses to touch their lives in a special 
way. It is exciting to see how they, in turn, open their hearts and minds to 
the music that I have learned to love and value. I challenge people to give 
their ears to God when they are confronted by that which is unfamiliar to them. 
This is articulately stated by Harold Best in the following: 

While the musicians are offering their music making, the congregation, 
instead of waiting for something to turn them on, are offering their hear- 
ing. This is where faith becomes crucial. If the music is new and disturb- 
ingly unfamiliar, then faith equips us to encounter it without having to 
understand it or be cuddled by its familiarities." 

Anyone who has attempted to maintain some semblance of balance in music 
ministry has likely experienced some difficulty. Within a given congregation 
there are people who say "we know what we like." The truth of the matter 
is better expressed by the phrase — "They like what they know." It is likely 
that a positive response to a particular style of music could serve to influence 
one in leadership to use that style more frequently, particularly if the person 
responding is a significant person. In the case of congregational worship, vibrant 
singing of certain hymns or scripture songs could influence one to choose these 
in preference to songs that are not sung heartily. 

A friend of mine became minister of music in a church that had experienced 
a decline in the use of good repertory. He told me that he would like to use 
some of the recent choral arrangements for the purpose of communicating to 
a larger spectrum of the congregation. However, he had been told by some 
of his gifted choir members that they would not remain in the choir if they had 
to sing this style of music on a regular basis. In an academic community, it 
is even more difficult to maintain a balance between art music and functional 
church music. A way to imagine vividly the perils of this perspective is to 
imagine driving your car down the middle of a busy highway. In so doing, 
you would have to contend both with the traffic going your way and with the 
opposing traffic. In some situations one is expected to choose a side and stay 
with it. In an institution that prepares leaders for ministry, it is important to 
provide some experience in working with both art music and functional church 
music. A school that I attended offered no training in marching band techni- 
ques for students preparing for a teaching career in instrumental music. To send 
a music graduate into some evangelical churches without some training in con- 
temporary Christian music would be akin to sending a missionary to a foreign 
land without helping him or her to know the culture of the people to whom 
the ministry is directed. Yet, a word of caution is in order. In the name of 
contemporaneity one cannot afford to neglect solid classical training that equips 
one to work with music that transcends this generation and the next. Here, 
too, balance is necessary. 

Engaging in this time of reflection has been stimulating for me. If I have 
seemed presumptuous at times, please forgive me. I am still learning, for there 


is effective much to learn. Of two things I am sure. First, growing is both 
difficuh and rewarding. Second, the enabling power of the Holdy Spirit is in- 
tegral to music ministry. We must heed Paul's admonition to the church at 

Let the Spirit stimulate your souls. Express your joy in singing psalms 
and hymns and spiritual songs, making music in your hearts for the ears 
of God! Thank God at all times for everything, in the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. And "fit in with" one another, because of your common 
reverence for Christ. (Eph. 5:18b-19, Phillips) 



'Paul Anderson, "Balancing Form and Freedom," Leadership (Spring Quarter 
1986): 25. 


Hbid., p. 27. 

^Paul Waitman Hoon, The Integrity of Worship (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 
1971), 9. 

'Richard D. Dinwiddle, "Moneychangers in the Church: Making the Sounds 
of Music," Christianity Today (June 26, 1981): 20. 

^Harold Best, "What Music Best Communicates God?" Wheaton Alumni (June/ 
July, 1981): 3. 

Ubid. ^ 


'Jaroslav Pelikan, ed., Luther's Works: Lectures on Galations, vol. 26 (Saint 
Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1963), 95. 

'OR. C. Sproul, "The Soul's Hunger for Beauty," TaWeto/it (February, 1984): 

"Best, "What Music Communicates," 4. 


Church Administration for Leadership 

and management (calm): 

A Synopsis of workshop Material 

In the academic year 1988-89, a pilot study was conducted among Brethren 
pastors. Upon completion of the denominational pilot program CALM was 
revised and offered as a continuing education option to any interested pastors 
and church leaders. The purpose of this pilot study was to assist pastors in 
self-awareness in multiple areas (leadership style, learning style, psychological 
type, and approach to conflict resolution). Information in these areas could 
assist pastors in being more effective in their leadership roles within the church. 

To the extent that pastors understand their strengths and weaknesses they 
gain an awareness that will make them more sensitive to the differences that 
exist among people who serve on volunteer committees, the heartbeat of the 
church structure. Leading these committees effectively is one of the measures 
of successful ministry within the local church. 

Participants in the pilot study were solicited from among all Brethren pastors. 
Of the 120 currently serving in the denomination, 89 (or 74 percent) of them 
chose to participate in this study. Those who completed all facets of the pro- 
gram totalled 82. In the second administration of CALM open to all denomina- 
tions, 84 people participated. 

Inventories were utilized to assist the pastors in their exercises in self- 
awareness. Completed inventories were returned to the seminary for scoring. 
The participants agreed to attend regional workshops where their scores were 
interpreted. DePree (1987:54) states that "three of the key elements in the 
art of working together are how to deal with change, how to deal with con- 
flict, and how to reach our potential". Therefore, instruction was included 
in the workshop sessions giving information in three areas: reaching one's 
potential in Christ, resolving conflict, and managing change. A schematic 
design for CALM appears in Figure 1 below. 



•y / 












Figure 1. CALM Workshops 


Highlights from these sessions are included below and each is written by 
the faculty person involved with their presentation in the CALM project. 

I. Reaching One's Potential in Christ 

Dr. Jerry R. Flora* 

The CALM project (Church Administration for Leadership and Manage- 
ment) addresses three areas: reaching one's potential in Christ, resolving con- 
flict, and managing change. The need for such attention arises from a number 
of directions. Some polls suggest, for example, that the average Protestant 
pastor in America spends more that six hours per day in administration, manage- 
ment, and clerical duties. Many pastors, however, believe that their real call- 
ing is to preach, teach, and lead the people of God in worship . Current 
estimates are that 80 percent of pastoral work involves other people (Oswald 
and Kroeger, 1988, 38, 70). Therefore, just on the basis of what has been 
cited here, administration and interpersonal relations loom large in effective 
pastoral ministry. 

CALM was bom out of such concerns. The idea seem timely, for the eighties 
have been a decade dedicated to improvement. Business, education, and the 
church sense that something has been missing. Witness some publications of 
the decade: Peters and Waterman, In Search of Excellence; Engstrom, JTte 
Pursuit of Excellence; Peters and Austin, A Passion for Excellence. Leaders 
are asking, how can we be all that we ought to be? How can we become the 
church that God wants us to be? How can I use the potential with which I 
have been graced, and do so for the glory of God and my neighbor's good? 

Reaching our potential begins with the double knowledge of God and self, 
together with the relationship that implies. This has long been acknowledged 
by some of Christendom's greatest minds: "if one knows himself, then one 
knows God" (Clement of Alexandria, Instructor 3.1). "Let me know myself 
and let me know thee" (Augustine, Soliloquies 2.1.1). "The first step in know- 
ing God is knowing ourselves") Bernard of Clairvaux, quoted in Faucett, 1987, 
123). "Nearly all the wisdom we possess, true and sound wisdom, consists 
of two parts, the knowlege of God and the knowledge of ourselves" (Calvin, 
Institutes of the Christian Religion 1.1.1). What we attempt here, therefore, 
is an exercise in increased self-awareness, realizing that this comes from God 
and that it permeates how we actualize our potential, resolve our conflicts, 
and manage the change for which we are responsible as church leaders. 

Knowledge that Liberates 

Our century has produced one of the best guides to self-understanding in 
the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a product of Consulting Psychologists Press 

*Dr. Flora is Professor of New Testament Theology at ATS. 


in Palo Alto, California. Researched and tested for more than sixty years, it 
is the first personality inventory to be published by Princeton's Educational 
Testing Service. More precisely, it indicates behavior preferences, and 1-2 
million Americans will take it this year. Already used in Japanese business 
and industry, it is, thanks to recent popularizing publications, becoming well 
known in this country (Kroeger and Thuesen, 1988; Hirsh and Kummerow, 

Sixteen Types 

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assesses a person's behavior preferences 
according to sixteen possible types. These are based on four pairs of attitudes 
and functions which describe how we are energized, how we perceive reality, 
how we process and decide questions, and our preferred approach to living. 
These can be outlined as follows: 

Energizing: either Extravertive or Introvertive (E/I) 

Perception: either Sensing or Intuitive (S/N) 

Processing: either Thinking or Feeling (T/F) 

Living: either Judging or Perceiving (J/P) 

A person who focuses on the outer world and gains energy from being with 
others is termed Extravertive (E), while an Introvert (I) is restored by solitude 
and will expend energy in being with others. An S (Sensing) type perceives 
details through the physical senses, paying attention to matters as they exist 
now; an N (Intuitive) perceives the forest as a whole rather then individual 
trees, often with a hunch of what might be possible in the future. A person 
who processes as T (Thinking) is task oriented and will use logical principles 
in decision making, while an F (Feeling) is more person-oriented, reaching 
decisions on the basis of personal values; that is, how the outcome will affect 
those who are involved. Finally, a J (Judging) is not a critical person but rather 
one who prefers an orderly, structured approach to living; a Perceiving type 
(P) chooses new experiences with spontaneity and enjoyment of process rather 
than closure. These eight preferences can be combined in sixteen ways (e.g. 
ESTJ, INFP) to identify types of human behavior. It is important to keep in 
mind the specific way in which such terms as Extravertive, Intuitive, Feeling, 
and Judging are used, and there is ample literature available to keep the defini- 
tions clear [(Myers, 1980; Keirsey and Bates, 1984; Myers and McCaulley, 
1985; Kroeger and Thuesen, 1988; Hirsh and Kummerow, 1989)]. 

Four Temperaments 

We may plunge into the heart of the matter with the question of how we 
go about perceiving the world. Available research suggests that, if a person 
scores high in the Sensing factor, the next most important function for them 
will be with either J or P. There seems to be a bonding between these behavior 
preferences which is so strong that it determines much of how this individual 
behaves. Similarly, if one scores high as an Intuitive, then the next most signifi- 
cant quality will be either Thinking or Feeling. By examining these four 


temperaments (SJ, SP, NF, NT), we can learn much that is of value for reaching 
our potential in Christ. 

The descriptions of temperament which follow are synthesized from a variety 
of sources, (Keirsey and Bates, 1984, 27-66; Kroeger and Thuesen, 1988, 
49-61; Oswald and Kroeger, 1988, 57-89). Sensing-Judging persons (SJs) make 
up about 38 percent of the American population and a higher proportion of 
church members. SJs are structured individuals, carefully organized, atten- 
tive to duty, sensitive to tradition and eager to maintain continuity between 
past and present. They tend to be matter-of-fact types who focus on what is 
now, but always on the basis of what has been. For them the Christian faith 
is a heritage to be passed on to the next generation, and in a worship experience 
it is important for them to commemorate (e.g., through the church year) the 
great acts of God which have brought us to the present. 

Sensing-Preceiving persons (SPs) also constitute about 38 percent of the 
American population, but they offer quite a contrast to the staid SJs. SPs are 
spontaneous individuals, impulsive, unstructured, and action-oriented. They 
are free spirits who concentrate on the present as present. Continuity with past 
or future is of no great concern to them; what matters is this moment. They 
may want to create the First Church of What's Happening Now, for their faith 
takes the primary form of activity and their worship wants to major in celebra- 
tion. SP leaders may be good at resolving crises, for they are hands-on types 
who do not worry about precedents. 

NTs (Intuitive-Thinking individuals) are a smaller group (12 percent) of 
Americans. As leaders they are often forceful, for they tend to be tough-minded 
thinkers, natural planners, visionaries, brooders who can always conceive a 
better way to do things. Their conceptualizing can at times become perfec- 
tionistic, but there is no question about their basic orientation. It is to the fumre 
and how we can best get there. Because NTs are such thinkers, they may at 
times seem rather impersonal, but the church desperately needs their clear- 
headed abilities and their obvious energies. They may see Christianity as a 
set of doctrines, and they will appreciate a worship experience that includes 
careful thought with perhaps time for personal reflection. 

Like NTs, those who are NF (Intuitive-Feeling) make up perhaps 12 per- 
cent of our populace. They are natural people persons centered on identity, 
especially in terms of seeing the potential that lies untapped within most in- 
dividuals. They are usually self-directed and gravitate easily toward such pro- 
fessions as counseling where their Intuitive, sometimes even psychic, abilities 
can surface. For them, the Christian faith is primarily expressed in personal 
relationships, which they both enjoy in the present and expect for the future. 
They prefer worship that focuses on such matters with a strong sense of an- 
ticipating what is to come. For NFs, the best is yet to be! 

Let us look at some implications of this learning for church leadership 
(Keirsey and Bates, 1984, 129-165; Oswald and Kroeger, 1988, 57-89; Kroeger 
and Thuesen, 1988, 75-122). SJs are careful about details, but they may not 
adequately plan for the future with much energy. They are good at maintain- 
ing the status quo but may need help in becoming effective change agents. 


SPs so enjoy the process of what is going on that they may not conserve its 
benefits. While they may excel in time of emergency, they will need help in 
planning and producing long-term results. NTs bring forceful leadership to 
the church, but they may be tempted to do it singlehandedly and, at worst, 
can become dictators. It will be crucial for them to learn techniques of par- 
ticipative leadership and exercise great patience in leading others to envision 
the future as they themselves do. NFs may gravitate to the church as a place 
where they can specialize in relationships. They can be hurt, however, to learn 
that not everyone responds positively to them, and the church may even har- 
bor individuals who should be termed antagonists or evil (Peck, 1983; Haugk, 
1988). NFs may need around them some level-headed, tough-thinking 

The great point to be grasped is this: God uses all of these temperaments 
to lead the church. None of them is right or wrong; all of them are simply 
preferences. Just as we have preferences for which shoe goes on first and which 
hand we write with, so we also have these preferences in how we behave as 
persons. Although some temperaments will function better in certain situa- 
tions, one is not better than another for leadership. Like James, Cephas, John, 
and Paul (Gal. 2:7-9), we are unique individuals, and the Almighty chooses 
to honor and use our uniqueness. Each of us has much to contribute, and in- 
creased self-awareness is indeed a knowledge that liberates. 

Opportunites that Challenge 

These preferences are fairly well set in childhood, and in adolescence and 
young adulthood they become fixed. Our task is not to try changing them, 
but learn how to use their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. 


The second half of life (age 35-on) presents us with the opportunity of ex- 
ploring and utilizing the shadow side, the undeveloped or underdeveloped 
aspects (Schemel and Borbely, 1982, 13-14; Faucett, 1987, 79-107). I am, 
for example, an ISTJ — an Introvertive, Sensing, Thinking, Judging individual. 
My F (Feeling) factor is also high, I often act in an ISFJ manner (service- 
oriented with concern for the wellbeing of others). The challenge presented 
by mid-life is to identify and unearth the opposite of each of these preferred 
characteristics. That would be ENFP — an Extravertive, Intuitive, Feeling, 
Perceiving person. Fortunately, a couple of friends demonstrate that typology, 
so I have some concrete vision of what it is like. To the extent that I can ac- 
tivate and use all of the preferences in the remainder of my life, I will move 
toward becoming a balanced, integrated human being. I will experience freedom 
to choose appropriate behaviors in diverse situations without always respon- 
ding along the lines of conditioned emotional reflexes. I will have life, "and 
have it to the full" (John 10:10), for this fulfillment of the divine image is 
part of the life that we have in Christ. 



A second challenge growing out of this new self-awareness is that we really 
do need each other. Church leadership is no place for Lone Ranger types — 
and even the Lone Ranger had his faithful companion, Tonto! NT planners, 
for example, need SJs to care for details and NFs to pay attention to personal 
values. SP leaders need NTs to help them think clearly and concretely. The 
best situation for a board or committee is to have all four temperaments 
represented within its membership. The separate functions operate well 
together: When a project needs to be done, the Sensing persons can gather 
all the relevant data, and the Intuitives will easily brainstorm it. The Thinkers 
will consider it with logical, clear eyed principles, while the Feelers can ask 
how the project may impact those for whom it is intended (Lawrence, 1979, 
57-65; Faucett, 1987, 74-75). This process is schematized in Figure 2 as a 
"Z" decision-making model: 

Figure 2. "Z" Decision-Making Model 

All four functions are indispensable to planning, and, because no one or two 
of us possess them all, we must learn to cooperate. 


A third challenge proceeding from new self-understanding is to integrate 
it with what we already know of God and ourselves. As noted at the outset, 
this twofold knowlege is true wisdom. Coming to us from the early church 
is the classic devotional method referred to as Lectio divina or "sacred reading" 
(Hall, 1988). Through this practice, observed in whole or in part by many 
Christians who have never heard it explained, we are in touch with the spirituali- 
ty of nearly fifty generations of believers. The new understanding provided 
by twentieth-century research serves only to verify what the ancients inten- 
tionally or intuitively established. 

Lectio divina embraces four activities, not necessarily in the following order 
but most often so: Lectio ("I read"), in which thoughtfully, deliberately we 
open ourselves to the Word of God by reading, perhaps by reading aloud, 
maybe even by copying its lines for ourselves. This might on occasion be 
broadened to include the unspoken "word" in general revelation (Ps. 19: 1-6). 
This done, "I meditate" (meditatio) on what has presented itself to me. We 
can think about it, roll it around in our mind, examine it from every conceivable 
angle, and ponder the truth as God illumines it for us. Our spirit is full now, 
simplified perhaps, and ready to express itself to the Almighty. Oratio ("I 
pray"), offering to God the thoughts and intents of my heart. Our prayer is 
a personal one, not an oration, but the highly individual expression of divine 
revelation's impact on our inner being. The prayer may take the familiar forms 
of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication both for self and for 


others. This is followed by silence in which we neither read nor think nor 
speak but listen {contemplatio, "I contemplate"). It is a time for resting in 
the Lord, looking at and loving the Holy One, opening ourselves in the quiet 
of inner peace to a fresh word that may take the form of direction, applica- 
tion, or assurance. Here our devotion becomes dialogue. Here can be gathered 
the small "bouquet" which reminds us through the day that we have been 
in paradise, the garden of the King. 

This ancient prayer technique, which many Christians use without knowing 
its name, is both time-honored and contemporary. The four elements, in what- 
ever order they fall, correlate with the four functions identified by the Myers- 
Briggs Type Indicator (Michael and Norrisey, 1984, 31-45; Oswald and 
Kroeger, 1988, 90-95). In Lectio one perceives divine revelation by reading, 
hearing, speaking, or perhaps touching; this is the Sensing aspect of our per- 
sonality. In meditatio we use our Thinking function, restating the Word of 
God in our own human words, processing it, analyzing, synthesizing, and per- 
sonalizing. Then in prayer (oratio) we offer this to God through the Feeling 
of our hearts. The F function, remember, has to do with personal values and 
the impact of actions on other persons. So, in prayer, we offer ourselves and 
those for whom we pray to the One who is eternally three-personed. Such 
prayer honors the Holy and fulfills us as well. Finally, in quiet expectation 
we bring into play our Intuitive function (contemplatio) . We open our spirit 
to God's Spirit welling up within in what may be a powerful surge or a gentle 
stillness. The effect should be one of integration, balance, and peace. 

Such fourfold devotion is well-founded, flilly-orbed, and satisfies every aspect 
of our common human nature. As an unknown author wrote: 

Every morning lean thine arm awhile 

upon the windowsill of heaven; 

Then, with the vision in thy heart, 

turn strong to meet the day. 

All too soon, however, the vision fades, and we think the Presence is no more. 
There is help available if we are willing to use it. The first help is techniques 
for creating personal solitude in the cacophony of our over-stimulated socie- 
ty. Richard Foster (1988, 105-9) suggests that we take advantage of occasional 
quiet minutes throughout the day (before getting out of bed, while driving to 
work, a moment before eating); find a quiet place to be alone (a comer in 
an apartment, a room in a house, a spot in a park, a place in the countryside); 
discipline ourselves to listen more and speak less; withdraw several times a 
year for a half-day of personal reflection and inventory; and go on retreats 
of several days for study or renewal. 

The second help for maintaining the sense of Presence is friends, in this 
case beloved books that speak out of lives deeply touched and empowered by 
grace. For a start there are such authors (randomly arranged) as Brother 
Lawrence, Thomas a Kempis, Oswald Chambers, Augustine, Teresaof Avila, 
Henri Nouwen, George Fox, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Julian of Norwich, 
and Thomas R. Kelly. With the addition of Hannah Whitall Smith, Dietrich 


Bonhoeffer, and Evelyn Underbill we easily reach a baker's dozen, any one 
of wbicb is capable of nourishing our spirit for years to come. 

The goal is the double knowledge of God and self that moves us closer to 
our full humanity in the divine image, enables us to achieve more of our poten- 
tial in Christ, and liberates us to live for the glory of God and our neighbor's 
good. Ted Loder, Senior Minister of the First United Methodist Church of 
Germantown in Philadelphia, summarizes it beautifully (Loder, 1984, 82): 

Ingenious God, 

1 rejoice in your creation, 

and pray that your Spirit touch me so deeply 
that I will find a sense of self 
which makes me glad to be who I am 

and yet restless 
at being anything less 
than I can become. 
Make me simple enough 

not to be confused by disappointments, 
clear enough 

not to mistake busyness for freedom, 
honest enough 

not to expect truth to be painless, 
brave enough 

to get in trouble, 
humble enough 

to admit trouble and seek help, 
joyful enough 

to celebrate all of it, 

myself and others and you 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

(Guerrillas of Grace by Ted Loder. 

Copyright 1984, Lura Media, San Diego, CA. 

Used by permission.) 


II. Resolving Conflict 

Dr. Douglas M. Little* 

Conflict among church members probably embarrasses church leaders more 
than any other aspect of body life. Many Christians carry an unrecognized 
burden of frustration, pain, and discouragement — the fallout of one fight too 
many among believers. While the price of mishandled conflict is substantial, 
many leaders seem to want to look the other way and ignore the problem until 
it reaches crisis proportions in their own back yards. 

Involvement in conflict is unpleasant for most people. Specific strategies 
for managing conflict must therefore be developed and employed so that the 
general health of the church does not suffer further deterioration. 

Our objective here is to present a number of concepts and tools which can 
be used to bring out the best in people — especially when the people are em- 
broiled in conflict. The focus is on situations wherein the participants are moral- 
ly responsible, rational, and willing to compromise, if necessary, to see the 
conflict resolved. Procedures for situations in which the preceding cannot be 
assumed are handled in Haugk's (1988) excellent treatment of that special case. 

Knowing Where We Are 

A place to begin in improving our conflict management skills is to do an 
objective analysis of our preferred style in conflict situations. It is important 
for us to learn how we lead before we spend much energy learning new ways 
of handling conflict. 

Numerous inventories are available to assist the church leader with this self- 
assessment. Speed Leas (1984) has developed an easily understood self-scoring 
instrument which assesses a person's preference for the following conflict 
stategies: supporting, negotiating, collaborating, avoiding/accommodating, 
compelling, and persuading. Teleometrics International has developed the Con- 
flict Management Survey (1986) to assess the relative importance attached to 
persons and to tasks when resolving conflict. Styles include synergistic, com- 
promise, yield-lose, win-lose, and lose-leave. 

These and other available inventories assume that a leader is likely to use 
several or perhaps all of the styles. It is also assumed that each person has 
a preferred mode of dealing with conflict. Knowing one's style can help 
eliminate blindspots and help ensure more intentional and appropriate mat- 
ching of style to the demands of the context. 

Some of us might think that a cursory and subjective personal conflict assess- 
ment is sufficient. Louis McBurney, a Christian psychiatrist and counselor 
for church leaders, observes that "many people in the ministry find it very 

*Dr. Little is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Ashland Theological 


difficult to admit they have any weaknesses or needs. One of the most dif- 
ficult tasks I face is helping them admit this." (McBurney, 1980, 92). 

The risks of not exploring our style for counterproductive features can be 
significant. Speed Leas, an authority on conflict in the church, has said, "A 
leader who is uncomfortable with dissension, who is unable to encourage others 
to express their differences, who negatively judges those who do surface their 
differences, is going to cause even more organizational difficulty" (1982, 63). 
Church leaders can take constructive steps toward greater harmony in the church 
by spending time in the process of assessing their own preferred mode(s) of 
handling conflict. 

Individual Strategies for Bringing out the Best in People 

Church leaders can take some steps on the individual level of their own lives 
to enchance the constructiveness of the way conflict situations are managed 
within the church. Our discussion of ways for bringing out the best in people 
begins with six general principles and conludes with three specific tools which 
have proven their worth. The ideas are not comprehensive and are not meant 
to minimize the difficult challenge of bringing more constructive and loving 
methods into the life of the church. We must avoid three tempting pitfalls: 
assuming that there is a quick way, that there is an easy way, or that there 
is a foolproof way to resolve conflict. 

General Principles 

The first principle is to believe that, by God's grace, we can be persons 
that bring out the best in others. No doubt many leaders have never seriously 
considered this as a goal. The Scriptures affirm that "His divine power has 
granted us everything pretaining to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3) and that 
"our adequacy is from God" (2 Cor. 3:5). Surely these promises include our 
ability to minimize the devasting effects of some conflict. 

The second principle is to work on bringing out the best in ourselves. Lov- 
ing ones neighbor as oneself does require attention to personal needs. 
Pastors/leaders must attend to such things as exercise, rest, recreation, time 
alone, and proper diet. Skills must be developed in keeping short accounts, 
being able to say "No" when necessary, minimizing overload. We are to give 
careful thought and apply wisdom to how we "walk" (Eph. 5:15). 

Third, leaders should work on being alert to the circumstances that bring 
out the worst in them. With some effort (perhaps through journaling) we can 
become aware of particular times of vulnerability when destructive reactions 
are more likely. Times of the day, week, month or year may be considered. 
Other triggers might include getting little sleep for two consecutive nights, 
not being appreciated, being criticized publicly, committee meetings which 
routinely go beyond announced time limits, being asked to do something without 
adequate preparation time, or having ones mate compared to the previous 
pastor's spouse. Being aware of these sensitive times can make it easier for 
us "to lay aside the old self (Eph. 4:22). 


The fourth principle is probably more difficult to implement because of role 
expectations (our own or others') that the pastor is the answer person — one 
who gives rather than needs help. Nevertheless, pastors who want to see greater 
fruit in bringing out the best in others would benefit by bonding with others 
in the body of Christ (Gal. 6:2). Sometimes this will need to involve colleagues 
or mature Christians from another church or fellowship. Time spent working 
on this principle will help undercut the crippling notion that pastors/leaders 
should be lone rangers or self-sufficient. 

Many passages of Scripture (e.g., Prov. 12:18, 25; Eph. 4:29; Phil. 4:8) 
point to the fifth principle: we should base our efforts to help people on their 
strengths. This does not mean that we are blind to their weaknesses. It merely 
points to the place of emphasis. Punishing (zapping) people for their errant 
behavior is not very effective in helping them learn new behaviors. Punish- 
ment (if sufficiently intense) does not eliminate unwanted behavior; it merely 
suppresses it. Unfortunately, our formal and informal training in critical think- 
ing has made us masters at finding fault but novices in finding the praisewor- 
thy. Motivation for constructive change is marshalled when we affirm and help 
another to recognize personal strengths. 

Finally, those of us who want to bring out the best in others must be serious 
in beseeching God through prayer. In the actual order of things, prayer should 
be our first resource. Two prominent passages on prayer are given to us in 
the context of coping with conflict. The well-known assurance that "where 
two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matt. 
18:20) is part of the solution for those times when "your brother sins against 
you" (Matt. 18:15). Paul's exhortation to "be anxious for nothing" explicity 
ties prayer to handling the stress casued by conflict between Euodia and Syn- 
tyche (Phil. 4:2-7). For the sake of any combatants or participants, prayer 
must be a part of our efforts. 
Specific Techniques 

Communicate to build bridges. It is crucial that those seeking to bring about 
a peaceful resolution of differences speak for themselves. "I" language is very 
important. For example, one might say, "As I see it . . ."or "What I wish 
would happen is . . ." When using "you" language, stick to descriptions of 
behavior. Avoid statements which interpret motives or intentions (e.g., ''You 
say that, but you really just want to get even."). Also to be avoided are 
statements which judge, categorize, or absolutize in a negative manner (e.g., 
"You are just like your father, slower than molasses."). 

Another way to build bridges is by making an effort to accurately reflect 
the feelings and experiences being expressed by the other person. There is 
a saying which goes, "I know you believe you understand what you think I 
said, but I am not sure you realize that what I said is not exactly what I meant." 
This reminds us that communication must be two-way — each person taking 
responsibility for the quality of the interaction. 

When we fail to check out our understanding (e.g., "It sounds like you are 
really angry that no one called you ahead of time about the board meeting. ' '), 


ambiguity abounds on two fronts. We are not sure we can really understand 
others' experiences, and they are not sure we can really appreciate where they 
are coming from. It might seem wooden and artificial to use reflection of feel- 
ings, but with practice and sincere delivery it can help defuse volatile situa- 
tions — especially when the method is not overused. We encourage the best 
in others when we periodically acknowledge in an explicit way what we hear 
them saying. 

We also help to bring out the best in others when we avoid labels and put- 
downs (e.g., "you jerk"). Labeling mistakenly equates the whole of a person 
with a few limited behaviors. Even in jest, this can be a perilous practice. 
Most people who are hypercritical of others are in fact very hard on themselves. 

Points are earned when we are willing to admit our mistakes. By our being 
open and vulnerable in this way, others are less likely to be forced into a defen- 
sive or critical posture. Finally, those who want to keep conflict from bring- 
ing out the worst need to be careful to avoid gossip about the offending par- 
ties. Strife ceases when there is no gossip (Prov. 16:20). 

Keep short accounts. All too often interpersonal problems grow worse 
because we wait until the exploding point before dealing with offenses. No 
case is being made here for being overly sensitive to every slight. If, however, 
something bothers us enough that our attention keeps returning to that slight, 
it is time for the accounts to be settled. Direct discussion is called for (Matt. 
18:15, Gal. 6:1). 

One system for keeping short accounts is the DESC script. When we 
recongize that another's behavior has been offensive, we may schedule a time 
when we can talk to the person in private. First, we should describe in objec- 
tive and nonjudgemental terms the behavior that bothers us (e.g., "Last Sun- 
day you talked to Amy during the hymns and the prayers."). Then we can 
express our feelings associated with their behavior (e.g., "I was so distracted 
that I worked up a good case of anger before Pastor Jim ever started to 
preach."). Next, we specify what we would like the person to do differently 
in the future (e.g., I wish you would wait until the service is over to catch 
up on news."). Finally, we note the consequences, if any, which we want 
to mention) e.g., "This bothers me so much that I may have to get up and 
move to a different section of the church if it continues."). 

Be Responsible for personal feelings. Emotional reactions, with their 
automatic and overleamed qualities, can be very misleading. Typically, we 
blame external events exclusively for the totality of emotional upset. For in- 
stance, a driver pulls out and drives 54 mph in the passing lane where the 
speed limit is 65 mph and road conditions are excellent. If we are traveling 
to an important meeting but are now slowed by this person, what is our reac- 
tion? Many might say somthing like, "Oh, he really makes me mad!" Slow 
driver (A) causes me to be angry (C). Activating event (A) causes emotional 
consequence (C). It all happens so quickly and seems so clear. What could 
be missing? 

What is not initially apparent takes shape when we ask, "I am acting as 


if I believed what to be true about A?" Soon interpretations and beliefs about 
A are identified. "He shouldn't do that. How totally rotten to be delayed. I 
will probably be late. They will think I'm incompetent. I can't stand this treat- 
ment. People like this turkey deserve to be shot." 

Anger builds as we keep running these thoughts over and over in our minds. 
Soon the key role of our cognitive processes (thoughts and beliefs) in emo- 
tional reactions becomes clearer. Actually the concept is not at all new — as 
we see in Proverbs 23:7: "For as he thinks within himself, so he is" Philip- 
pians 4:8,9 instructs us what to think about to have peace of mind. We are 
challenged to be transformed (e.g., have our feelings and behavioral reactions 
changed) by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2). What we focus our mind 
on is very important (Col. 3:2). 

The point is that what we think about a given event contributes significantly 
to the feelings we have about the event. The activating event (A) occurs first. 
Then, imperceptibly the beliefs (B) about A -I- B = C. We may not be able 
to control the A's of life, but with concerted effort and instruction we can 
learn to challenge the B's so that we substitute beliefs that are verifiable 
("Where's the evidence they will think I am incompetent?") and not distorted 
or exaggerated ("Where is the proof that this is totally rotten and that I can't 
stand it at all?"). 

Unfortunately, our minds fool us by working so quickly. We contend that 
A caused C and almost totally ignore the role of our own self-talk (B) about 
A which we alone control. 

We become responsible for our own feelings when we cease blaming others 
and assume responsibility for at least sustaining our emotional upset through 
our choice of self-talk (B). This does not ignore that we can be the victims 
of painful and even cruel actions (A), nor does it mean that we passively ac- 
cept these unjust circumstances. But it is not other persons who run projection 
rooms is in our mind. We must be responsible for what we control. 

One way to grasp this point is to remember this saying: "No situation is 
so bad that we can't make it worse with our crooked thinking." As we take 
responsibility for our own feelings (especially anger) and build bridges with 
good communication while using DESC scripts to keep short accounts, we 
go a long way toward bringing out the best in others — and in ourselves. 

Group Procedures for Bringing out the Best in People 

Bringing out the best in people can also be approached on the group level. 
Every church organizes itself through various planning and decision-making 
groups. Each of these subgroups can be trained to use more effective ways 
of managing and resolving conflict. Numerous models have been suggested 
to deal with the various levels and types of conflict (e.g., Haugk 1988; Hut- 
tenlocker 1988; Leas 1982, 1989; McSwain and Treadwell 1981; Wakefield 

The approach selected for review here has been developed by Malony (1988a 
,1988b, 14-21). It not only addresses individual and group dimensions of con- 


flict but also sensitively involves both the spiritual and psychological dynamics 
necessary for constructive results. Malony's model can effectively address those 
situations of ongoing conflict in which one or more of the participants have 
stopped being concerned with maintaining relationships or with accomplishing 
goals and tasks and are intensely focused on restoring threatened self-esteem. 

It should be noted that Malony goes beyond mere methodology to advocate 
an organizational lifestyle for the church. All the models, methods, and techni- 
ques of conflict management must be employed as part of a process which 
preeminently values persons over programs and objectives. The church must 
consistently, persistently set its course toward helping its members become 
all they can become in Christ. Toward this end, it is necessary for church leaders 
to esteem differences and encourage their expression. 

Once it becomes evident that conflict has surfaced in a group, the leader 
can suggest that special procedures be put into effect. At this point, Malony's 
8-step model can be employed. (It is adapted and presented in abbreviated form 
here. The interested reader will profit by reviewing the complete documents 
available through H. Newton Malony at Fuller Theological Seminary.) 

Assume the best. When the leader recognizes that conflict is erupting and 
individuals are struggling to restore threatened self-esteem, the leader can call 
the group's attention to the special situation and the need for special procedures. 
If this model has been taught beforehand, the leader can mention the "new 
tradition" that is being used at "First Church." The leader overtly and 
specifically reviews the basic assumption of good will: "Let's take a minute 
to remember that each of us is specially gifted by God and is a unique and 
precious creation. We are each doing our best to find and do the will of God 
in this situation. Let's remember that as Christians we are committed to living 
together and loving one another in spite of any difference we may have." 

Classify the difference(s). It will help the group to regain some objectivity 
if it can spend a few moments talking about what type of conflict seems to 
be occurring. It really does not matter what classification system is used or 
whether all participants can agree on what type the present conflict is. Some 
unproductive emotional energy is drained away as the group refocuses its at- 
tention on the issues at hand and, for the moment, away from hurts and 

Malony recommends four categories of classification: issues, convictions, 
ways, and means. Issues have to do with what the church considers its "do- 
main of responsibility" (1988b, 16). Examples might include day care, the 
homeless, missions, or education. Conflicts of conviction concern beliefs around 
which consensus is assumed to be needed. Examples here could include the 
inerrancy of Scripture or the nature of spiritual gifts. Ways conflicts revolve 
around which programs or methods will be used to implement issues and con- 
victions. Means conflicts focus on how the programs will be supported with 
finances, facilities, and other resources. 

Clarify the viewpoints. Healthy resolution of conflict requires that differences 
be aired. Some leaders are afraid of this step, fearing that it may get out of 


hand. In actuality, the conflict is less likely to escalate as people get a chance 
to share feelings and perspectives and have them recognized. In this step every 
person involved is encouraged to identify and express personal views. Church 
leaders can play a key role by encouraging and modeling such behavior. 

Prompt deeper reflection. To this point the whole group has been involved 
as a unit. Now it is time to ask the participants to do some individual work. 
The goal here is to expand awareness and deepen understanding. The leader 
in charge directs each person to reflect privately on the following questions: 

"What is God teaching me about myself or Himself?" 
"What is God asking or leading me to do in this situation?" 
"In what ways are my self-esteem needs and feelings toward others in- 
fluencing my approach in this conflict?" 

The group may need to be reminded that no one is being asked to change 
any opinions. The objective is increased understanding. 

Promote thorough understanding. Maloney prescribes a very intentional pro- 
cess to assure understanding among the parties involved. One person volunteers 
to begin by stating their viewpoint. Then someone with a differing (or op- 
posite) viewpoint states their understanding of what has just been said. "Now, 
let's see. You seem to be saying that the copy machine we have is good enough 
for our bulletins and newsletters. You're worried about going over budget if 
we buy a new one. On top of that you're a little annoyed because you see 
me as repeatedly not taking the budget seriously. You vote to repair the old 
machine. How am I reading you?" 

The second person keeps working at it until the first party can say, "Yes, 
that's what I mean." Then the process is repeated until every one who has 
a viewpoint says, "I believe you understand what I'm saying." As in the 
preceding stage, no one is asked or otherwise pressured to change an opinion. 

Encourage sincere forgiveness. Again, time for inner reflection is provid- 
ed. Without being coerced to change any viewpoint, each person is asked to 
privately seek forgiveness from God for such things as uncharitable assump- 
tions about other (e.g., believing the worst); over-involvement to the neglect 
of others, the church and the work of Christ (e.g. , the negative impact on the 
youth and children of the church); and attacks through gossip, bad reports or 
direct and poor-spirited verbal criticism. After seeking forgiveness for their 
own misconduct, participants can, through private subvocal prayer, grant 
forgiveness to the others for the specific offenses they committed. These pro- 
cedures should help the participants to become aware of such un-Christlike 

Establish a goal. Sharing, understanding and discussion must eventually 
move toward a "consensus" or toward a "distinction" goal. Some projects 
lend themselves more easily to distinction goals. For instance, the church could 
emply both Evangelism Explosion and a program of friendship evangelism. 
Both are possible, and the participants could agree to mutually support one 
another in their separate programs. Most churches couldnot afford two copier 


machines, so presumable in that instance some sort of consensus goal will need 
to be selected. 

Recall ultimate priorities. Now that a decision has been made, it is time 
to bring the process of conflict resolution full circle. The process began by 
focusing on commonly shared faith and discipleship. The process concludes 
with a reemphasis of the larger issues of the faith. Believers need to continue 
to affirm the importance of worshipping God, glorifying Christ through lov- 
ing obedience, winning the lost, building up the body of Christ, and serving 
as we are gifted. 


Conflict is one of the most draining factors in church life, neutralizing much- 
needed potential. In the face of conflict some leaders seem to vacillate bet- 
ween a smothering denial and an authoritarian dominance. They seem uncer- 
tain about what to do but are too busy to work on improving their style of 
leadership and conflict management. However, Matthew 5:9 does not say that 
the peace lovers are blessed. Those who would be blessed (and a blessing) 
must roll up their sleeves and studiously work at being peace makers. 

Conflict is not entirely destructive and often contains the seeds of great op- 
portunity. Every believer has been given a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 
5:17-21). The estranged lives we meet at every turn provide excellent oppor- 
tunities to fiilfill our commitment to the Lord and His church. Every church 
leader has a wealth of training opportunities for learning how to bring out the 
best in people. After a solid self-assessment, the leader can set about to 
systematically develop individual and group approaches for minimizing the 
destructive impact of conflict. 

What decision will we make: business as usual or seize the opportunity? 
"Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds ... en- 
couraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near" (Heb. 
10:24, 25). 


III. Managing Change 

Dr. Mary Ellen Drushal* 

American society has baeen depersonalized to include only brief encounters 
with other (Hestenes, 1987): the clerk at McDonald's the collector in the toll 
booth and the reader of the gas/electric meter. Even cash can be obtained from 
one's bank account by using a plastic card rather than interacting with a teller! 
People are, therefore, often not sufficiently prepared by societal contacts to 
endure the kind of relational exchange necessary to produce planned change. 

No one likes change, and those who do would rather dictate it than work 
through a process that results in it. In our "microwave culture" we expect 
change to be immediate. If soup and a sandwich is desired it can be a reality 
within 3 to 5 minutes and devoured in 5 to 8 minutes. Having satisfied the 
hunger pains, the consumer is off to slay other dragons instantaneously 

Any tampering with the status quo brings with it uncertainty and doubts about 
its replacement, no matter how logical and needed the change might be. Most 
people fear the unknown end-results of change. The process of planned change 
should not be employed for every decision. To change from using small paper 
clips to larger ones is not radical enough to warrant experiencing the process 
of planned change. But it should be entered into when decisions made will 
impact a large number of people and/or long-term decisions requiring the sup- 
port and commitment of many. In the church, such decisions that would benefit 
from experiencing an approach to planned change could be: long-range plan- 
ning, designing organizational modifications, selecting curriculum, estabUshing 
outreach ministries, providing support groups and others, ad infinitum. 

Bennis and Nanus (1987, 21) state, "Managers are people who do things 
right and leaders are people who do the right thing." Wise leaders will ap- 
proach the process of planned change (the right thing) as one that involves 
a variety of people who will manage the tasks (do things right) necessary for 
implementing change. 

Havelock (1973, 1 1) oudines a process of successful planned change, which 
contains six stages. His stages include: 

I. Building a Relationship 

II. Diagnosing the Problem 

III. Acquiring Relevant Resources 

IV. Choosing the Solution 

V. Gaining Acceptance 

VI. Stablizing the Innovation and Generating Self-Renewal 

These stages and church-relateed applications of them are outlined below. 

*Dr. Drushal is Associate Professor of Christian Education and Church Ad- 
ministration at ATS. 


Building a Relationship 

There is an adage that purports, "If you intend to change something in a 
new setting, do so within six months while the 'honeymoon' phase of the rela- 
tionship exists." Whoever imparted that questionable morsel of wisdom un- 
doubtedly never enjoyed a long tenure in any position. 

Before any significant change can be accomplished, the leader or initiator 
of change must have built trusting and reliable relationships with those in the 
church. This cannot be accomplished adequately in six months! Change of any 
magnitude is usually associated with conflict and a wise leader, doing the right 
things, will undertake these issues carefully. Leaders/pastors should remember 
that people don't work for them. They do not need to ask, "How High?" when 
one says "Jump!" They (in fact, all of us) work for the Lord Christ to bring 
him honor and glory. If that fact pervaded the thinking in the church, conflict 
in the midst of change would be significantly reduced. 

Planned change is a group process undertaken to accomplish some specific 
task that is too complex to be done alone. To do it effectively requires a climate 
of trust and acceptance to be evident. Attempting planned change without having 
spent time with people in developing a meaningful relationship is akin to walk- 
ing the plank. Safety is assured only as long as the plank exists! The quality 
of the relationship lengthens the plank. 

Diagnosing the Problem 

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is the battle cry for those who want to avoid 
change. If manufacturing firms believed that motto, entire research and develop- 
ment departments would be dismantled and become defunct. What would hap- 
pen to their product lines? Ultimately they would be replaced by new com- 
panies making innovations to "their" outdated products. Manufactureres must 
constantly be evaluating their products and redesigning them for efficiency, 
durability and effectiveness. To keep pace with the needs of society, the church 
must replicate these ideas and constantly be evaluating its programs. 

Through honest evaluation, leaders become aware of those programs that 
need attention for the purpose of refining the ministry focus. Evaluation is 
crucial for identifying problems that exist. 

A critical component in the evaluation process is defining or revising the 
organizational Mission Statement. Every organization needs to know and ar- 
ticulate its mission. This articulated Mission Statement becomes the propellant 
for every ministry or program that emerges from the organization. The mis- 
sion statement answers the question "Who are we?" and delineates the reason 
for existence. Once the mission is stated, no program should be undertaken 
unless it reflects that Statement. Each program designed to fulfill the Mission 
Statement should have a succinct purpose or "Why do this particular thing?" 
Answering the question "By when and by whom will it be done?" results in 
making the goals measurable and attainable. 

When all of these questions are addressed by an interacting group of people 
who desire that the mission of the organization be achieved, identification of 


problem areas becomes readily apparent. The process of planned change has 
been initiated by this evaluation, discussion of potential problems and possi- 
ble needs that exist. The means through which these can be remedied, redesign- 
ed or discarded, provides an indication of the needed resources to accomplish 
the change or plan in the organization. 

Acquiring Relevant Resources 

Knowing what is needed and when is the wisdom in managerial science. 
Accumulating the right combinations of people, curriculum and other printed 
materials which results in meeting the stated purpose of a program enhances 
the likelihood of achieving the mission of the total organization. Each facet 
of the organization must meet its purpose if the organization is to survive and 
thrive. But to become an effective organization, leaders must be willing to 
remove or redesign whatever it is that doesn't function properly. 

Sometimes an objective, outside consultant should be engaged to assist in 
conducting the evaluation. This person has no passion or vested interest in 
the organization's specific program but becomes the facilitator for the group 
process of planned change. In lieu of a consultant, materials are available to 
be used by a group and can also be effective when used by sensitive and respon- 
sive leaders. (Examples are: Mealey's, Effective Team Building for Managers: 
Engstrom's, Ministry Planning and Goal Setting; and Bartel's Congregational 
Goals Discovery Plan. These are somewhat tedious but can be used effective- 
ly to accomplish the planning objective.) 

Choosing the Solution 

In this stage, Havelock (1973) instructs leaders to experience four steps: 

A. Derive implications from research 

B. Generate a range of solution ideas 

C. Test solutions for feasibility 

D. Adapt the solutions to the local setting 

The church needs to begin to develop a greater appreciation for what is glean- 
ed through research. For example, considerable information is known through 
research in the area of designing new facilities or renovating old ones. There 
is much that can be learned from research about how the environment of rooms 
impacts learning. Much is known about effective teaching methods and using 
instructional methods to the fullest, and yet the church is frequently the last 
place where these are employed. 

Understanding gained through research can elucidate a variety of solutions 
to problems if leaders in the church will take the time to search out these 
resources. Once these resources are gathered together, brainstorming could 
be employed to generate alternative solutions. Although field-testing every solu- 
tion is not always practical, to select one solution over another without testing 
either of them in real-life situations is only asking for problems. 

After solutions are field-tested, adaptations of them sometimes need to oc- 


cur to assure a reasonable "fit" within the organization. In advance of im- 
plementation, developing a series of criteria by which to evaluate the com- 
patibility or success of the plan will assit in the leader's remaining objective 
about the solution. The criteria would differ based upon the type of change 
instituted, but these can then be utilized in the final stage of planned change, 
evaluating the innovation. 

Gaining Acceptance 

As Bennis and Nanus (1987) say, if "leaders do the right things" then leaders 
should explore the options available and be able to justify and document why 
they selected a particular option. Perhaps in making a presentation to the body 
who will ultimately accept the change, leaders might select two options and 
allow the adopting group to select the best course of action. If a particular 
direction must be "sold" to the group and tremendous persuasion is required 
for them to accept the plan, then the leader must question whether this is a 
good plan (Roberts, 1985)! The plan must be accepted or "owned" by the 
larger group affected by the proposed solution. Previously, the proposed plan 
was just that — a proposed plan. But acceptance of an idea requires the par- 
ticipation of a larger group, and therefore how the proposed solution is 
presented to the adopting group is a critical essential stage of planned change. 
The preparation for such discussions should receive as much, if not more, at- 
tention as any of the previous stages. 

A period of time in which to ' 'try out' ' the planned change should be agreed 
upon. The leader of planned change should understand that the more people 
who are involved in the process at this juncture, the more likely will be the 
successful implementation of the plan. Involvement breeds commitment and 
no plan can succeed without people who believe in it. 

Stablizing the Innovation and Generating Self-Renewal 

After acceptance of the planned change has been achieved, implementation 
of the proposed plan has become a reality and an agreed upon period of time 
has passed since the inception, the time has come for evaluation of the plan 
as experienced by the organization. Determining the criteria for evaluation 
(see Choosing the Solution for suggestions) should be agreed upon at some 
point in the planning process, but at this juncture in planned change the results 
need to be measurable. 

A Case Study 

The following is an actual scenario of planned change within a church set- 
ting. As the story progresses, review the stages of planned change and watch 
for signs of evidence for each stage. 

After two years as Director of Christian Education (DCE) in a large church 
(3200 member), the DCE realized that to expand the course offerings in the 
adult division of the Sunday school would require some major changes. There 
was a dearth of leadership in adult classes because there were only seven classes 


with a combined attendance of 700. The adult division of the Sunday school 
contained three large classes (mini-churches of approximately 200 each). The 
teachers of these classes never changed, except for an occasional substitute, 
and the course content was selected by the teacher. 

The church did not have a Mission Statement but the Christian Education 
Department had established its purpose: "Be in partoership with the home and 
family for the purpose of teaching and learning. Across the age level divi- 
sions, our biblical intruction is to know God, His attibutes and character." 

To enable the fulfillment of its purpose, the Christain Education Committee 
determined that it needed to identify and train new teachers, select a broader 
conspectus of courses, design a three-year cycle for rotation of classes and 
teachers and allocate classroom space based upon the number of people 
registered for each class. 

A needs assessment was distributed among the adult population to deter- 
mine what courses would attract people to attend Sunday school if they were 
not already in the habit of coming, as well as courses that regular attenders 
desired to study. Based upon that information, tlie Christian Education Com- 
mittee was able to group the studies into four basic areas: biblical, doctrinal, 
Christian living and special classes. 

To accomplish its goals of creating more adult teachers and to provide class 
offerings that covered a comprehensive spectrum with qualified teachers, the 
adult curriculum was expanded from seven classes to twelve. This enabled 
the curriculum to be cycled every three years. The classes offered were a variety 
of lengths; some were taught for one, two or three quarters. No class lasted 
the entire year, thus enabling teachers to be periodically under the instruction 
of another person. 

Selecting this solution to an identified problem in the Christian Education 
program did not happen quickly. The plans for instituting such a radical restruc- 
turing took one year to complete. The public relations aspect of this change 
cannot be minimized. Current teachers needed to accept this as the direction 
to move, Sunday school participants had to see the multiple educational op- 
tions open to them in this format and potential teachers had to be trained in 
effective teaching methods. None of these items happened easily or without 
much time spent in listening and refining the plan. 

The new structure was initiated in September and was to complete two full 
years in operation before a review of its success was to be conducted. The 
number of courses offered moved from twelve to twenty -one. Part of the ac- 
ceptance of the structure came as a result of offering courses that people re- 
quested, all the while providing others that the Christian Education Commit- 
tee felt were needed. The committee determined the courses to be taught, the 
duration of the class and the teacher who taught. 

After two years in this format the evaluation proved that the Committee had 
accomplished its objective of expanding the curriculum taught by qualified 
instructors but at a loss of community or body among some participants. The 
changes initiated after this two-year trial period involved establishing some 


classes as permanent groupings and others as rotating electives. People could 
choose whether to remain with a consistent group and have the content change 
periodically, or flow in and out of classes of their choice. 


Churches need to explore areas of ministry that could benefit from the ex- 
perience of planned change. Planned change takes time — usually more time 
than people are willing to commmit to a project. But, as has been said, 
"Anything worth doing is worth doing well." When it is the Lx)rd Jesus Christ 
who is served and honored by the work of the church, it seems incumbent 
upon the leaders to do things decently and in order, thoroughly and very well. 
Moving through the stages of planned change in an organization will produce 
change that is acceptable, even welcome, to people. 

Summary of CALM 

CALM I workshops are offered at Ashland Theological Seminary as 
RETREATS in continuing education. (RETREATS stands for Revitalizing 
Evangelistic Thrust Through Education at Ashland Theological Seminary.) At 
least once a year, two days will be set aside for leaders from any denomina- 
tion to experience this process. CALM II is also a reality. This involves on- 
site consultation with the governing board of the local church. An inventory 
is administered that examines the team building issues within the group. The 
CALM team believes that as Jesus trained the disciples to be a team of co- 
workers, church boards and committees should be instructed likewise. 

Church Administration for Leadership and Management 

CALM was designed to assist the building up of the church and the people 
who function together in the local church. As we serve God together, may 
we do so faithfully, full of the knowledge that he is glorified in our efforts 



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Ministering in Mother Teresa's home for 

THE dying destitutes, CALCUATTA, INDIA 

Personal Observations and Experiences 
Dr. Jo Ann Ford Watson* 

I had the opportunity to travel to India and serve as a missionary volunteer 
in May, 1988 in Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying Destitutes, Nirmal Hri- 
day in Calcutta. Nirmal Hriday means "Place of the Pure Heart". As a mis- 
sionary volunteer, I worked with the nuns of Mother Teresa's order, the Mis- 
sionaries of Charity and the Missionaries of Charity Brothers and served the 
poorest of the poor in Calcutta. 

As I first approached the door of Mother Teresa's home, I was shocked at 
the poverty that surrounded the stark, stone building. There were dirty, crowded 
streets. Calcutta is a city of 18 million people, 1 square foot per person. There 
are 750 million persons in India. There is no mass electricity, water, sewage, 
or refrigeration. The democracy of India is a third world country in the earliest 
stages of an industrial society with few factories or machines. Most labor is 
still done by hand. It is predominately a Hindu country. Many people live on 
the streets, on the sidewalks, huddled together on straw mats. The people wear 
rags or bits of clothing. Other people crowd into hundreds of little makeshift 
shacks or huts that are merely hovels along the streets. There are rows and 
rows of little dark shops and street tent bazaars. 

Piles of human waste and debris fill the gutters of the streets. Women tend 
small open cooking stoves on the sidewalks. Cattle, sheep, pigs, and dogs run 
freely. The streets are not only full of people, but they are also full of bicycles, 
cars, taxis, oxen carts and rickshaws pulled by men. Children bathe naked 
in common water pumps along the sidewalks that flow into the gutters. Mothers 
often comb children's hair and pick the nits of lice out right in plain sight on 
the streets. Old men, wrapped in white cloths called dhotis, around the waist 
often sleep curled up on their little straw mats on the street curbs in the midst 
of the noise. The poor can live on one rupee or ten cents a day. The average 
annual income is about $300.00. 

Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying Destitutes serves the poorest of the 
poor of Indian society. In India, these people are the "untouchables", the per- 
sons at the bottom rung of the Hindu caste system. Although the caste system 
has been abolished as law since 1947, the time of the democratic policy of 
Gandhi, it still flourishes in the minds of Indian people. Therefore, these poor 
people are often neglected by society, rejected by hospitals and left with nothing 
and no one to care for them. They are sick, dying, and destitute. Mother 
Teresa's Missionaries of Charity pick up these people from the streets and 

*Dr. Watson is Assistant Professor of Christian Theology. 


bring them to Nirmal Hriday for proper medical care, nourishment, treatment, 
and love. 

At Nirmal Hriday, they die in dignity, or they recover and go out to live 
a better life. Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying Destitutes is situated near 
the temple of the Hindu Goddess, Kali, who symbolizes destruction and death. 
The sign at the entrance of Mother Teresa's reads in stark contrast: "Welcome 
to Mother's First Love. Let every action of mine be something beautiful for 
God." Mother Teresa started Nirmal Hriday in 1948 as her first ministry to 
the dying in Calcutta. 

I enter the hospital. It is clean yet stark and functional. There are three main 
areas: the kitchen and washroom, the mens's ward and women's ward with 
three rows of iron cots, 15 beds in a row in each ward. In the kitchen there 
is a huge open coal stove. Beside the stove there are two big troughs of water 
where dishes are washed. There are also two large stone tubs with running 
water used for beating, washing, and rinsing clothes. The gutters open into 
a common drain on the floor. Upstairs there is a lovely white stone chapel 
with a simple plain wood altar. Above it are the words of Jesus, "I thirst," 
a trademark of Mother Teresa's life of prayer and work for Christ. Each day 
there are services of prayer, singing, and silence. 

The women helpers cook huge pots and kettles of rice, eggs, and vegetable 
curry on the stove. For meals the patients eat boiled eggs, vegetable curry, 
and two pieces of bread or traditional flour cakes, chappatiis, mashed in their 
metal pan with their hot tea poured on it. The people eat with their hands. 
I assist the Missionaries of Charity Sisters and Brothers in distributing food. 
WhUe I am here I work as they do: distribute medicine, clean and dress wounds, 
and offer love and care to the sick and dying. 

The men and women patients of Nirmal Hriday are so fragile. They are frail 
and thin. Some can barely sit up or speak. Some can no longer walk but only 
crawl along on their hands and knees. Their bodies are just literally skin and 
bones, no flesh or fat on them whatsoever. Their limbs are just like sticks. 

After meals I help wash dishes. On the floor, I use coconut palm for the 
brush and wet ashes from the coal for soap and scrub the metal sauce dishes, 
pans, and pots. Then I rinse them in the trough. There is no ventilation in 
the kitchen and the heat is sweltering, each day averaging 110 degrees. 

In the later morning, the Missionaries of Charity van brings about 50 children 
from a nearby neighborhood slum to Nirmal Hriday. The sisters bathe each 
of the children under the big pump of cooling clean water in the kitchen. It 
is refreshing for the children to get the filth they live in cleaned from their 
little bodies. The nuns douse them with powder for delousing. The children 
are quite deprived yet joyous, open, and loving. I lead them in singing songs 
and saying numbers and the alphabet in English. Mother Teresa's Home 
represents for them love and hope in the midst of squalor. 

I care for women patients and tend to their wounds and needs. As a sister 
dresses an oozing wound of one particular blind woman, I hold her hand. She 
grasped at my hand so firmly and so lovingly. This little woman is so emaciated, 
yet her smile radiates from her face and brightens the room. She calls me by 


the familiar "Auntie." Although I can't speak Hindi, Bengali, or her native 
Indian tribal dialect, I enjoy just being with her. 

I minister to some of the patients who are victims of leprosy. This I have 
never seen before. The effects of the disease are devastating. One woman's 
face is not longer distinct. Her nose is half gone and appears to have been 
eaten away. Here eyes are not in their proper place but appear to be sunken 
into her nose and cheeks. This woman has beautiful long thick black hair and 
a smile on her face. It is amazing to see such a look of contentment on her 
face in the midst of her trying life. 

I also assist the brothers as they care for the male patients. I tend a very 
sick old man near death. He is literally wasting away and dying before my 
very eyes. We huddled around him and pray. He quietly passes away. The 
brothers close his eyes, undress him and wrap his body in a white clean sheet 
and tie knots in it to secure the body, which will be taken to the crematorium 
later in the day. The man has gone to God in the peace and love of Nirmal 
Hriday. He died in dignity instead of the gutters of the street. 

The brothers and I then tend another man who has a huge, open, oozing 
sore on his back. The man's wound is about one foot wide and one foot long. 
The outer skin is gone. It is open to the flesh. The flesh is full of green and 
yellow pus and maggots that live in the wound in the pockets and folds of 
the inner skin. The brother lovingly scrubs each portion of the wound with 
a cotton swab and antiseptic as a mother would swab a newborn baby. As I 
help, Mother Teresa's words came alive to me: "Let my touch heal thy broken 

Some of the patients who came to Nirmal Hriday do not die, but through 
proper care and love, recover. They either go home to start a better life or 
become converts to Christianity and remain to help others. While I am here, 
one lady recovers and is released to go home. She is so happy. She takes off 
her simple bed clothes, washes and puts on a beautiful, orange silk sari. She 
looks lovely . She walks up and down the rows of beds and gives the words 
and sign of greeting, namastey, the folded palms raised to the level of the chin. 

Another woman whose name was Hazel becomes a Christian and remains 
to help at Nirmal Hriday. She is a tiny person, doll-like. She is full grown, 
yet no bigger than an eight year old girl. She helps with cooking the food, 
dispensing the medicine and the general intake of patients. She wears a blue 
American dress and a big cross. There are some 16 million Christians in India. 

At Nirmal Hriday I found intense suffering and deprivation comingled with 
faith, joy, and an outpouring of love. The human suffering is taken up into 
Christ's suffering on the cross. Human suffering is made redemptive in union 
with Christ's suffering. As I ministered to the poorest of the poor with the 
brothers and sisters and with other volunteers from all over the world, I could 
see that we were actually ministering to Christ in his distressing disguise of 
the poor. We gave his joy and love through giving care to others whom the 
world has cast aside. 

In this humble service there is the love of Christ. We minister to him, and 


for him and through him to the poor at Nirmal Hriday. Christ came not to 
be served but to serve. We are called to do likewise; to say "yes" to Christ 
wholeheartedly for sevice and devotion in his name. At Nirmal Hriday, there 
is a sign with Mother Teresa's words on it "Let us pray the work by doing 
it with Jesus, for Jesus, to Jesus." In serving the poor I felt one with him. 
I experienced inner peace. Jesus' words to God the Father from the Gospel 
of John for the world spoke to me: ". . . that the love with which thou hast 
loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:26b RSV) 

I found that the love of Christ transcends the misery of the world. His divine 
love seeks to transform the world. In the midst of poverty and suffering there 
is joy and peace in Christ. In loving the poor, I am loving Christ and in their 
love, Christ is loving me. We are called in life to radiate the love of God to 
others in all we do, for all persons are children of God. 

Biography of Mother Teresa of Calcutta 

After working at Nirmal Hriday, I began to study more about Mother Teresa, 
her life and work and her Order, the Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa 
received the Nobel Prize for Peace in Oslo, Norway in 1979 for her work 
with the Missionaries of Charity among the poor in Calcutta, India, and all 
over the world. 

Mother Teresa was bom in Skopje Albania (Yugoslavia) on August 26, 1910 
as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. At the age of 12 she began to experience the call 
of God. At age 18 she decided to be a missionary nun. Mother Teresa 
remembers: "I was still very young, no more than twelve years old, when, 
in the heart of my family, I first experienced the desire to belong completely 
to God. I thought and prayed about it for six years. At times, I had the im- 
pression that my vocation did not exist. But finally I was convinced that God 
called me."' 

Mother Teresa first joined the Sisters of Loreto, a teaching order of nuns 
and was assigned to a girls' school in northern India. During her novitiate. 
Mother Teresa studied the works of Therese Martin who was St. Therese of 
the Child Jesus, St. Therese of Lisieux. Mother Teresa's name comes from 
this, her patron saint. She was deeply moved by Therese 's commitment to 
mission and charity in love and sevice to the church. ^ 

Mother Teresa remained a Loreto nun in the teaching profession for 20 years 
before she had a second call. On September 10, 1946 Mother Teresa received 
"a call within a call." She has to be God's instrument to serve the poor while 
living among them. Mother Teresa states: "In quiet intimate prayer with our 
Lord, I heard distinctly a call within a call. The message was quite clear: I 
was to leave the convent and help the poor whilst living among them. It was 
an order. "3 

On December 21 , 1948, Mother Teresa started in Calacutta an open air school 
for poor children from the streets. She took off her traditional European garb 
of the Loreto nun and put on a plain white cotton sari, the garb of the poor 
women of India. On the veil she put two blue stripes, the sign of her Order, 


the Missionaries of Charity. 

She continued her outreach to the poor. By 1949 some of the Indian women 
students from her school where she had been teaching came to join her in her 
new work for the poor in Calcutta. After becoming a citizen of India, Mother 
Teresa began to draft a constitution for her new religious order."* 

The Work of the Missionaries of Charity 

In 1950 the Constitution of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity was 
brought before the Pope in Rome. It received permisison to begin official work 
in India. The four vows of the order would be: poverty, chastity, obedience, 
and "to give wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor."^ In 
1953 a large and gracious estate home in Calcutta on Lower Circular Road 
was given to Mother Teresa to be used as the Mother House for the Missionaries 
of Charity. The Missionaries of Charity began their multi-facted work to the 
poor, the sick, the abandoned, the leprous, the destitute, the dying in Calcutta. 

Besides Nirmal Hriday, where I worked, which serves the dying destitutes 
of Calcutta, Mother Teresa's order has other centers of outreach. Mother Teresa 
comments that in 25 years she has picked up from Calcutta's streets some 
36,000 people of which 17,000 have died in dignity while the others have got- 
ten well.* 

The Missionaries of Charity also have a huge ministry to the lepers. Mother 
Teresa started Titagarh, a leper community outside of Calcutta, as a haven 
of care and medical treatment for them. A whole town was later established 
for families of lepers and a sister-doctor was put in charge there. The town 
is named Shanti Nagar, "Town of Peace." Throughout the city, the Mis- 
sionaries of Charity take mobile units to dispense medicine to the lepers. Their 
vans read "Touch the leper with your compassion." In the Calcutta area, they 
work with over 55,000 lepers.'' 

The Missionaries of Charity also have mobile food units that dispense rice 
daily to the hungry. They feed 7,000 people a day in Calcutta. Another outreach 
is to children, orphaned, sick or dying. Mother Teresa began a children's home 
or orphanage in Calcutta named Shishu Bhavan. This home offers care, shelter, 
hope, and love to abandoned babies and orphaned children. Sisters nourish 
and tend the sick, dying and abandoned little ones, often picking up neglected 
children from the streets or babies still alive that have been discarded in trash 
cans on the streets.* 

In 1965, Mother Teresa gained approval to establish homes and centers for 
ministry outside Calcutta. The first house was in Cocorote, Venezuela.' In 
1963, Brother Andrew began the Missionaries of Charity Brothers. A group 
of men would carry out the same work with the poor performed by the Mis- 
sionaries of Charity sisters. Their work began in Calcutta alongside of Mother 
Teresa's and then it too branched out worldwide. By 1983, the Missionaries 
of Charity Brothers had 401 members with 25 nationalities represented. They 
worked in 5 1 bourses in India and oversees. As of 1986 there were about 1 ,000 
sisters in Missionaries of Charity. There are about 60 centers in Calcutta and 


40 houses in other parts of India and more than 150 houses in other countries 
all over the world, with a total of 330 houses worldwide.*® 

Mother Teresa's Theology 

Three aspects of theology form the core of Mother Teresa's life, spirit, and 
ministry: her concepts of love, the significance of Christ's suffering and the 
Mass, and the power of prayer. Mother Teresa defines her concept of love 
in the words from her acceptence speech given after receiving the Nobel Peace 
Prize. She states that the heart of her ministry is to love as God loves. She 

It is not enough to say I love God but I do not love my neighbor. St. 
John says you are a liar if you say you love God and you do not love 
your neighbor. How can you love God whom you do not see if you 
do not love your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom 
you live. And this is very important for us to realize that love to be 
true, has to hurt. It hurt Jesus to love us. It hurt him." 

On love. Mother Teresa further states, "Love. Love Jesus in people. Serve 
him in them. Love until it hurts. Real love is always painful and hurts: then 
it is real and pure."'^ 

The Mass, the Eucharist, brings us into oneness with Jesus and his suffer- 
ing and brokenness on the cross. In his redemption, there is redemption for 
the suffering of humanity. Mother Teresa writes, "In the Mass, we have Jesus 
in the appearance of bread, while in the slum's we see Christ and touch him 
in the broken bodies and in the abandoned children."'^ 

Mother Teresa's life, ministry and vision are sustained by the power of 
prayer. Mother Teresa calls us to pray with a clean heart, a simple heart, and 
a humble heart. For Mother Teresa, prayer is "oneness with Christ""^ To 
pray means to listen in silence, to find God, to hear him and speak with him 
in our hearts. In the fullness of our hearts, we are able to speak to God.*' 
Mother Teresa says, "Jesus and I are one. He prays in me. He thinks in me. 
He works with me and through me. He uses my tongue to speak he uses my 
brain to think. He uses my hands to touch Him in the broken body.""* 

Mother Teresa in serving the poor is actually serving Christ, the hungry 
Christ, the naked Christ, the forsaken Christ, the dying Christ. Mother Teresa 
describes who Jesus is for her: "The Leper — to wash his wounds, the Beg- 
ger — to give him a smile. The Blind — to lead him, the Crippled — to walk 
with him ... To me Jesus is my God, Jesus is my Spouse, Jesus is my life, 
Jesus is my only Love, Jesus is my Everything."'' 

In conclusion. Mother Teresa exemplifies supreme devotion to Christ, com- 
plete self-surrender and total obedience to the will of God in total service to 
him for others. She continues to inspire me each day that I live. Hear her humble 
words: "I am nothing. He is all. I do nothing of my own. He does it. That 
is what I am. God's pencil. A tiny bit of pencil with which he writes what 


he likes." She aptly concludes, "God writes through us, and however imperfect 
instruments we may be, he writes beautifully."'* 



'Mother Teresa of Calcutta, My life for the Poor, ed. Jose Luis Gonzales- 
Balado and Janet N. Playfoot (New York: Harper and Row, 1985), 1. 

^Eileen Egan, Such a Vision of the Street: Mother Teresa-The Spirit and 
the Work (New York: Doubleday, 1986), 20-21. 

^Mother Teresa, My life for The Poor, 7. 

'^Egan, Such a Vision of the Street, 43-48. 

'Ibid., 48-49. For further discussion of the vows of the Missionaries of 
Charity, see Edward Le Joly, Mother Teresa of Calcutta: A Biography (New 
York: Harper and Row,1983), 251-252. 

•^Mother Teresa, My Life for the Poor, 90. 

^Georges Goree and Jean Barbier, Love Without Boundaries: Mother Teresa 
of Calcutta, trans. Paul Speakman (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 
1974), 38-43. 

^B. Srinvasa Murthy, Mother Teresa and India, (Long Beach, CA: Long 
Beach Publishing, 1983), 47-49,80. 

'Egan, Such a Vision of the Street, 498. 

•"Ibid., 498-502. 

'•Kathryn Spink, The Miracle of Love: Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Her Mis- 
sionaries of Charity and Her Co-Workers, (New York: Harper and Row, 1981), 
231. Reference includes the complete Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. 

'^Mother Teresa, My Life for the Poor, 103-4. 

''ibid., 96. 

"*Egan, Such A Vision of the Street, 495. 

''Mother Teresa, Mother Teresa: Contemplative in the Heart of the World 
(Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1985) 93-104. 

'^Egan, Such a Vision of the Street, 496. 

'^Mother Teresa, My life for the Poor, 106-7. 

'sibid., 95. 



Robert L. Cord 

Separation of Church and State: Historical Fact and Current Fiction 

Grand Rapids: Baker Book House 

302 pp. n.p., 1988 

Robert Cord is Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University and 
noted scholar of the First Amendment of United States' Constitution. The 
amendment states: 

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or 
prohibiting free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or 
the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition 
the government for a redress of grievances" (page 302). 

It is this first article of the Bill of Rights and its subsequent interpretation that 
Cord treats in his book. 

Baker Book House has taken Cord's 1982 book Separation of Church and 
State and reprinted it. As nearly as I can determine, this reprint is nearly the 
same as the 1982 version. With the exception of a small print notice on the 
book's copyright page, there is no other mention of previous publication. The 
reason behind this omission makes for interesting speculation, but is outside 
the parameters of our immediate concern. 

Cord's contention, making this the book's only essential claim, is that the 
first amendment has been historically misinterpreted by the nation's courts 
and its legal scholars. Further, the legal application derived from such misinter- 
pretations runs counter to the original intent of the Constitution's framers, 
especially James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Cord's argument rests upon 
what he sees as the historic misunderstanding of the "establishment" clause. 
He argues that neither Madison nor Jefferson intended to build a wall of ab- 
solute separation between the state and religion. Cord believes the complete 
secularization of the state was never the framer's intention. 

Instead, as Cord argues forcefully, the founding framers wanted to ensure 
that no state religion or individual religious group would be given special status 
through federal statutes. England and the history of Anglicanism give must 
common-sense support to Cord's argument. 

If Cord's view is correct, then 210 years or so of Constitutional law have 
been founded on a false premise. That is, the underlying assumption, that the 
framers wanted a strict separation between the state and religion/church, is 
a false assumption. The framers, according to this view, only wanted for no 
one group or sect to receive an advantage from the perspective of the national 
government and its laws. Thus, the states could decide this question themselves, 
regardless of how the national laws were interpreted. For all practical pur- 


poses this is how the most recent Supreme Court decision regarding abortion 
has been handled. 

For many ministers this may be a difficult book to read. It reads like a law 
book. This should come as no surprise since the thrust of the book is to make 
one point and then support it by citing all the "establishment" clause cases 
which have been heard by the United States Supreme Court. This relative dif- 
ficulty should not dissuade those who have a deep interest in this vital topic. 

To be fair, it must be noted that Cord is one of the handful of persons with 
a good understanding and interpretation of the "establishment" clause. It is 
also important to say that, though his is the distinctly minority opinion, Cord 
is nonetheless taken very seriously by the community of legal scholars and 
political scientists. 

By reading this book, in conjunction with Leonard Levy's The Establish- 
ment Clause and Richard McBrien's Caesar's Coin, ministers and theologians 
will have a broad and thorough knowledge of the issues surrounding the con- 
tinuing church-state debate. A solid grasp of the facts rarely hurt people's pur- 
suit of the truth. David N. Mosser 

First United Methodist Church 
Georgetown, Texas 

C. F. Keil 

Introduction to the Old Testament 
Peabody, MA: Hendrickson 
1092 pp. (2 vol.), 1988, $39.95 

C. F. Keil was one of the leading conservative Old Testament scholars in 
Germany in the last century. He is probably best known for his joint produc- 
tion with F. Delitzsch of the Commentaries on the Old Testament now published 
by Eerdmans. The present volumes are an English translation of a German 
original, the translation being first published in 1869. It is here reproduced 
from the original plates. 

The work is divided into two main parts, "the origin and genuineness of 
the canonical writings" and "the history of the transmission of the OT." Some 
more general discussions, for example that on the OT languages, are quite 
dated and need supplementation, but other offerings, such as those on individual 
books, still yield riches to those who spend time in them. 

Not only does the book provide an interesting insight into the battles in OT 
schoarship which were being waged in the mid-nineteenth century. It also can 
provide help in the current sphere in which the war still seems to be raging, 
though possibly in some cases in different areas. Some points made by scholars 
of Keil's vintage and even later, e.g., Finn and Green, have been too often 
ignored by less conservative scholars, so a reintroduction of Keil's work should 
be useful to all in search of an understanding of Scripture. While the pastor 
will most probably get more use from Keil and Delitzsch 's commentaries, 
awareness of this set should also provide assistance in the ail-too neglected 


field of Old Testament interpretation. 

1 David W. Baker 

Lowell J. Satre 

All Christians are Charismatic 
Mineapolis: Fortress Press 
93 pp., 1988, n.p 

If one is looking for new theological insights or stunning biblical revela- 
tion, All Christians Are Charismatic is not the place to look. If, however, one 
is looking for a solid examination of the biblical concept of "charisma" then 
this book recommends itself. Lowell J. Satre is Professor of New Testament, 
Emeritus, at Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary. Writing within the 
"Bible for Christian Living" series, Satre has thoroughly explored Paul's use 
of this critical New Testament concept. 

Few Christians need reminding that throughout the turbulent sixties and 
milder seventies many congregations were rocked by a phenomenon called 
"the Charismatic Movement." More than a few churches — Protestant and 
Catholic — were sorely divided over this charismatic issue. Satre points out 
that the controversy was often focused on "glossolalia" (speaking in tongues), 
though confusion was rampant about charismatics and the movement itself as 
to its true identity. 

Sensing something of a communication gap at the heart of the charismatic 
misunderstanding, Satre labors mightily to define terms. 

"This is no mere word battle but a crisis in vocabulary that involves 
fundamentals and continues to disturb individuals and congregations 
of many denominations, both their lay members and their pastors" (p. 
Revealing what a variety of terms actually mean in light of their New Testa- 
ment usage, is Satre 's method of pursuing a helpful theological discussion. 
A catalogue of such misunderstood terms is provided in the preface (see p. 8). 

Terms discussed are found in three major Pauline (or psuedo-Pauline?) 
passages: Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12-14; and Ephesians 4:7-12. Satre 
does a fine job of defining terms within these three passages. His method is 
intentionally self-limiting and he focuses his efforts admirably on a project 
of manageable scope. 

The "gifts of the spirit" are grouped into two parts: gifts of speaking and 
gifts of serving (p. 40). Satre is quick to point out these categories are not 
mutually exclusive. Gifts of speaking include apostles, prophets, evangelists, 
pastors, teachers, exhortation, and so on. Gifts of serving includes serving, 
helping, administering and contributing. Satre makes the helpful comment 
several times that Paul's use of lists are meant to be suggestive and not ex- 
haustive (pp. 52, 85, etc.). This observation is most instructive where New 
Testament interpretation slides toward legalistic tendencies. As Satre says, 


"Ever since Adam and Eve, and Abraham and Sarah, God has been calling 
a people, not merely an elite within a people" (p. 50). 

This book is marked by balance and fairness. It also remains very near the 
biblical texts within which most of the discussion takes place. Satre takes ad- 
vantage of what he calls "a different, more open spirit" betwen Christians. 
He asserts on a number of occasions that "Paul places his teaching on the 
Spirit in a christological setting" (p. 58). This keeps charismatic thinking from 
running amok. Satre helpfully reminds the reader, 

"Paul had a way of putting things in perspective. As he began his discus- 
sion of the Spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14), he pointed to the fun- 
damental gift from God's Holy Spirit: faith that confesses, 'Jesus is 
Lord' " (p. 79). 
This kind of solid orthodox thinking recommends this book to all Christians. 

David N. Mosser 

Philip J. King 

Amos, Hosea, Micah — An Archaeological Commentary 

Philadelphia: Westminster Press 

176 pp., 43 illustrations, 1988, $13.95 

Dr. King is Professor of Biblical Studies, Boston College and has served as 
President of the American Schools of Oriental Research, the Society for Biblical 
Literature and the Catholic Biblical Association. He is well known also for 
his commentaries on the eighth century prophets as well as his experience and 
interest in biblical archaeology. This book arises from his conviction that in- 
sufficient attention is paid by conventional commentators to archaeological data, 
so he sets out to provide an up-to-date synthetic work to bring that informa- 
tion to bear on these biblical books. 

King's method is first to give a very brief survey of Palestinian archaeology 
and to argue cogently that an ongoing dialogue between that discipline and 
biblical studies is essential. The emphasis on American contributions does not 
directly include work ftirther afield. • A Britisher, Flinders Petrie, whose 
centenary is celebrated next year introduced fundamental methods which re- 
main basic, though with modifications now needed according to site and to 
the increasingly 'new' emphasis on the recovery of the socio-economic history 
of the region. Archaeology is here limited to the artifactual evidence and the 
author professes to omit that of contemporary written documents. In practice 
this is impossible and is essential for any full cultural comparison. When he 
does include it, as in his note on "pledged garments" (Amos 2:8) it is with 

The references in these prophets to their background or to specific categories 
of information; weights and measures, architecture, fortification and warfare, 
the cult, agriculture, plants and animals are taken to group useful short essays 
which cover information for many sources. Where this is concentrated on the 


discussion of particular passages such as the oracles against the nations, the 
dirge of Micah (1:10-15) and the revelry and high living exposed by Amos 
(6:4-7) it brings information not readily avaiable to the average reader. In ef- 
fect we are given archaeological commentary to about half the 436 verses in 
thes prophets. The book is therefore an excellent supplement to any reliable 
standard commentary. 

The reviewer, however, questions the principle of such "archaeological com- 
mentaries." The idea has been tried before, usually with selected notes on 
consecutive biblical verses or incidents. ^ Archaeological data is accumulative, 
progressive and sometimes subject to varying interpretations which require 
full discussion and cannot be isolated from other written evidence needed for 
a balanced reconstruction of the whole cultural setting (as here in chapters 
2-3 which do this in a form commonly found in "traditional" commentaries). 
Inevitably the author needs to move further afield as in discussing the "ivory 
bed" or house (Amos 3:15) which is better illustrated from the finds of com- 
pete objects at Nimrud, Assyria than from the few fragments from Samaria. 
Moreover, to cover the Bible in this manner a major series of detailed com- 
mentaries will be required. With but few additions this volume could have 
been made to cover the contemporary prophets Isaiah and Joel. Otherwise such 
commentaries will need to include repetitive material. While this special volume 
is to be welcomed as helpful and convenient, will not Biblical studies be bet- 
ter served and more economically if all teaching and commentary on any book 
be required to include all relevant archaeological data just as it does the literary, 
linguistic, historical, theological and other evidence? Dr. King is doubty fighter 
for the understanding of the Old Testament who has declared that "faith is 
my favorite biblical virtue."^ His concern is to make the prophets speak as 
the living word of God and the Bible to address the contemporary situation. 
In all this we should be grateful to Dr. King for enlightening as well a challeng- 
ing Old Testament scholars and readers to this end. 

Professor Donald J. Wiseman 

Emeritus Professor of Assyriology 

University of London 

'See however the author's American Archaeology in the Mideast: A History 
of the American Scholls of Oriental Research, (Philadelphia: ASOR, 1983). 
^Cf. recently, G. Baez-Camargo, Archaeological Commentary of the Bible, 
New York: Doubleday, 1984. 
^Bible Review III/l, (1987), 4-5. 

A. James Rudin, Marvin R. Wilson, ed. 

A Time to Speak: The Evangelical — Jewish Encounter 

Chicago: William B. Eerdmans 

197 pp., 1987, $11.95 (paper) 

In the Austin American-Statesman, September 4, 1989, there appeared the 


following excerpt: "The dispute over the Carmelite convent on the perimeter 
of the Auschwitz [concentration] camp has become a source of growing ten- 
sion between Jews and Catholics. Jews have protested the presence of a Chris- 
tian convent and 23 -foot wooden cross next to it at a site they consider the 
central symbol of the genocide carried out against European Jews by the 
Nazis." And the controversy remains alive despite 2000 years of conflict by 
religious people. 

There is an element of truth in the thought that most religious groups are 
understood in stereotypic ways by others. When this happens accuracy is lost 
in the process of simplification. As this is true for Jews and Catholics, then 
it is true also for evangelical Christians. A Time to Speak reflects the great 
need for both Jews and evangelical Christians to come into a mutually beneficial 
dialogue. This dialogue should enable the process of self-definition and mutual 
understanding. This is not to say that it will be achieved, only that an attempt 
at dialogue is being tried. "Both groups are weary of being the victims of 
stereotypic caricatures and viewing the respective beliefs and teachings of the 
other from a distance" (page xi). 

The major aim of A Time to Speak is to give both groups — evangelical 
Christians and Jews — a forum where they can hear and be heard. The for- 
mat of the book grants nineteen scholars an opportunity to turn this ecumenical 
conversation toward the subject of their particular essay. These subjects range 
widely, as these title indicate: "Jews and Judaism: A Self-Definition," "No 
Offense: I Am an Evangelical," "The Place of Faith and Grace in Judaism," 
and "The Place of Law and Good Works in Evangelical Christianity." Several 
responses to essays are also included. 

The need for this Jewish-Christian dialogue, and for this book, ought to be 
self-evident to those who work and think in contemporary society. This book 
focuses not simply upon the abstract theological principles in question, but 
also upon how these are lived out in the twentieth century. Space does not 
permit me to go into great detail, but suffice it to say that, in my judgement, 
the best among all the essays was Hillel Levine's essay "Evangelicals and 
Jews: Shared Nightmares and Common Cause." 

I recommend this collection to all who are interested in theology and 
ecumenical dialogue. It is pertinent to each of our contexts, and is written with 
a sensitivity to the religious plurality within which we attempt to live out our 

David N. Mosser 

Dallas Willard 

The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives 

San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988 

287 pp. cL, $15.95 

Dallas Willard has given us in The Spirit of the Disciplines a very important 
book. While Richard J. Foster described in Celebration of Discipline (1978, 


rev. ed. 1988) how Christians might go about practicing classic spirituality, 
Willard here addresses a different, prior question: Why discipline? Why 
spiritual disciplines? If love is unconditional and grace is free, then who should 
bother with something that could be painful? The Spirit of the Discipline pro- 
vides a rationale for what Foster earlier set out, and Foster has called Willard's 
work "the book of the decade." 

Professor of philosophy at the University of Southern Caifornia, Dallas 
Willard is also a Southern Baptist minister and author of several previous 
volumes. In this one he sets out a tough-minded case for why we need spiritual 
disciplines and describes what he means in no-nonsense language. True to his 
professional scholarship, Dr. Willard has given us a book that comes equip- 
ped with footnotes, bibliography, and three indexes. It is serious, but not dif- 
ficult reading. No Lone Ranger, he is in dialogue with the larger Christian 
community as references to his favorite conversation partners will show. They 
are, in order, John Wesley, Egypt's St. Anthony, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and 
Martin Luther. 

In the first chapter ("The Secret of the Easy Yoke") Willard points out that 
following Christ means bringing every aspect of our life into line with him 
and his over-all Ufestyle. In our efforts to avoid the necessary pains of discipline 
we miss the quality of life that he has to offer. The second chapter ("Making 
Theology of the Disciplines Practical") continues Willard's analysis of the 
present scene in North American Christianity. The 'sixties and 'seventies 
witnessed a startling change: "the complete trivialization of sectarian 
dogmatism along denominational lines . . . The general effect was to dull the 
specific character of church life" (p. 21). What remains is the challenge of 
integrating historic spiritual disciplines into the Reformation watchwords sola 
gratia and sola fide. 

With chapter three ("Salvation Is a Life") Willard reaches cruising speed, 
declaring that the "great acts" of Jesus' career were only moments in a life 
completely shaped by such practices as solitude, study, and fasting. "Salva- 
tion," says this Baptist, "is not just forgiveness, but a new order of life" (p. 
32). Jesus demonstrated the powers of that new order during his short career, 
and the resurrection validated what he exemplified before his death. 
Foregiveness from the cross is only one small aspect of salvation; what we 
need in today's easy-believing church is to recover the power of Jesus' life. 

It is a central contention of the USC professor that Christians must take the 
human body more seriously, for "That body is our primary area of power, 
freedom, and — therefore — responsibility" {^. 53). Spiritual disciplines are 
"activities of mind and body, purposefully undertaken, to bring our personality 
and total being into effective cooperation with the divine order" (p. 68). To 
rephrase the point, "The disciplines for the spiritual life, rightly understood, 
are time-tested activities consciously undertaken by us as new men and women 
to allow our spirit ever-increasing sway over our embodied selves" (p. 86). 
Jesus and Paul said little about the necessity for such practices because, in 
the world of their day, regimens of prayer, fasting, solitude, and study were 
simply taken for granted by those who would be adept in spirit. 


Central to Willard's discussion are chapters 8 and 9 ("History and the Mean- 
ing of the Disciplines"; "Some Main Disciplines for the Spiritual Life"). The 
modem Western world at large, he maintains, is prejudiced against disciplinary 
activities as part of religious life largely because of their abuse in the past. 
We welcome asceticism in Olympic contenders but reject it for spiritual 
development. What is needed are healthy ascetics — those who enter the train- 
ing appropriate for development into accomplished athletes of body, mind, 
or spirit. The key element here is the body, for "whatever is purely mental 
cannot transform the self" (p. 152). 

In the book's longest chapter Willard sets out classical training practices 
which he places in two categories: disciplines of abstinence and disciplines 
of engagement. This twofold classification may be better than Foster's triplex 
approach (inward, outward, and corporate), having the advantage of parallel- 
ing such basic bodily functions as breathing and heart rhythm. Disciplines of 
abstinence regulate the intake side of human nature; they counter the "seven 
deadly sins," each of which concerns a legitimate desire gone wrong. By 
disciplines of abstinence Willard means practices such as solitude (the most 
fundamental), silence (we have two ears but only one mouth), fasting, frugality, 
chastity ("not the suppression of lust but the total orientation of one's life toward 
a goal" — Bonhoeffer), secrecy (i.e., anonymity), and sacrifice. 

Disciplines of engagement are the outbreathing of the Christian life, and 
they include study (the primary activity), worship, celebration, service, prayer 
(which has its greatest force in strengthening the spiritual life only as we learn 
to pray without ceasing), fellowship, confession (the lack of which explains 
much of the superficial quality often found in our churches), and submission. 
Which disciplines loom largest for us as individuals will depend on which sins 
most entice or threaten us from day to day. 

Willard concludes with chapters on poverty as spiritual (no, he answers) 
and power structures (yes, they must be used, especially by those prepared 
through careful spiritual training). The class of seminarians with whom I recent- 
ly read the book concluded that, helpful and important as these two chapters 
might be, they seem out of character with the remainder of the discussion. 
They could belong in a sequel to this otherwise outstanding work. 

Make no mistake — The Spirit of the Disciplines is an important book, 
forcefully argued and worthy of more than one reading. If Richard Foster gave 
us the "how" of disciplined Christian lives, Dallas Willard has laid out the 
"why," and his discussion deserves careful study. Whether North American 
Christianity flourishes into the twenty-first century will depend in part on how 
we answer the challenge posed in these pages. Foster could be right: this may 
be "the book of the decade." 

Jerry R. Flora 


Nahum M. Sarna 

The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis 
Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society 
414 pp., 1989, $47.50 

The launching of any new commentary series is a major event, especially 
one with the caliber of authors enjoyed by this series. Sarna, who is also the 
general editor of the series, is professor emeritus of Biblical Studies at Brandeis 
University, and is known best for his two previous works. Understanding 
Genesis and Exploring Exodus. He is assisted by Chaim Potok as literary editor. 

The most striking feature for a Christian who opens the book is that it reads 
from 'back-to- front' like Hebrew. That is, you start at what is ordinarily the 
end of an English book. The introductory material includes a discussion of 
the title 'Genesis', the role of Genesis, the antiquity of the narratives (Sarna 
is conservative as to the historicity and reliability of the Genesis traditions), 
and the Documentary Hypothesis, as well as a glossary, especially useful for 
those not familiar with the Jewish exegetical tradition, abbreviations and two 

The commentary proper includes an introduction to the pericope under discus- 
sion. For Gen. 1:1-2:3, this includes allusions to other ancient Near Eastern 
creation accounts, the religious significance of the passage and something of 
the literary shape of the unit. A portion of the accented Hebrew text, taken 
from the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia with a few Masoretic notes, is ac- 
companied by the recent JPS translation of the portion. Immediately below 
there is a word by word or phrase by phrase commentary on the passage. Here 
Hebrew is transliterated and the meaning of the Hebrew term can usually be 
drawn from the context. The format is thus something like that of the Cam- 
bridge series on the New English Bible. Following the commentary and the 
collected footnotes there are 30 excurses in which some matters such as the 
chronology of the flood, the morality of Jacob and genealogies are discussed. 

Sarna' s commentary is not critical, in that he interacts more with the text 
than he does with other scholars, though he is aware of scholarly literature, 
as can be seen in his footnotes. Dealing with the text itself and unpacking its 
meaning is usually of more interest to the layperson and the pastor, so such 
a one would benefit from this work. Due to Sarna's stature, as well as to the 
excellence of the work itself, scholars will also need to consult the volume. 

The large-sized volume is beautifully printed and bound, which could to 
some extent account for its relatively steep price. Unfortunately, it is the price 
which will probably get in the way of the use of the series among the wider 
world of textbooks. The Jewish perspective, while evident, should not preclude 
the use of the book. After all, conservative Christians probably have more 
in common theologically with conservative Jews than either has with their 
liberal brothers. The Jewish perspective comes through, for example, in the 
lack of any messianic interpretation of Gen. 3:15 and parallels with the New 
Testament in Gen. 22, but since the author's main concern is with the text 


itself and not its later interpretations, this lack is not a bad thing. 

David W. Baker 

Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld 

Daughters of the Church: Women and Ministry from 

New Testament Times to the Present 

Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan 

544 pp., 1987, $15.95 

Tucker and Liefeld' s work is a major contribution to the academic study 
of the history of women in the church. They take seriously the task of presen- 
ting women's valuable though often overlooked or neglected contribution to 
the Christian Church over almost two millenia. 

The authors point out that their study of the history of women in the church 
is neither "feminist" nor "traditionalist." They seek to represent the objec- 
tive truth of women's contribution as accurately as possible. Their work is 
a broad spanning of the history of women in the church from New Testament 
times to the 19th and 20th century. Their efforts demonstrate careful selection 
within a vast area of subject matter and research material. 

The work begins with women in the time of Jesus and the early church. 
It includes women in medieval Catholicism, Reformation Protestantism, and 
post-Reformation Sectarianism, as well as women in the contemporary church. 
A special contribution is its inclusion of both women in foreign missions as 
well as the work of women in the non-Western Church. The book is a wonderful 
resource for Evangelical Christianity as it lifts up the unique contributions of 
women in revivalism, reform movements, Pentecostalism and other various 
Evangelical denominations in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

The book has excellent resources for further research and study. It contains 
over two dozen pages of bibliography in the area of women's studies. Its three 
appendices offer exegetical notes and commentary on difficult NT passages 
pertaining to women, as well as discussions on hermeneutics and the issue 
of women's ordination. 

This work is highly recommended. It would be very useful in the classroom 
for seminary or college level teaching. It could be used and read by church 
groups as well. 

JoAnn Ford Watson 

Alister E. McGrath 

Justification by Faith: What It Means for Us Today. 

Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988, 176 pp., $11.95 

Does anyone care nowadays about the doctrine of justification or, to title it 
more accurately, the doctrine of justification by grace through faith unto good 


works? For Martin Luther, this idea was so crucial that he termed it the arti- 
cle by which the church stands or falls. But many, if not most, moderns deem 
it a relic of ancient history, a bit of trivia that is really irrelevant. 

Oxford theologian Alister McGrath is out to change all that. He has given 
us in this small volume a first-rate introduction in lay language to the impor- 
tance and the excitement of this great doctrine. Coming to theology by way 
of science (Ph.D. in molecular biology), McGrath has focused his attention 
on questions of christology and soteriology . The result is that here he can draw 
upon his earlier technical monographs, Luther's Theology of the Cross 
(Blackwell, 1985), lustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justifica- 
tion (2 vols. , Cambridge, 1986), and The Intellectual Origins of the European 
Reformation (Blackwell, 1987) together with more than a dozen scholarly ar- 
ticles published on matters related to justification. But this volume, while foot- 
noted and indexed, is not written in technical, academic jargon. It is a 
straightforward, lucid exposition of justification in two parts: the background 
of the doctrine (wrongly capitalized on the contents page) and its contemporary 

McGrath argues in the introductory chapter that doctrine exists to serve Chris- 
dan experience. Our faith, he says, is not in some abstract principles but in 
what God has done for us and in us through Christ and by the Holy Spirit. 
Theological doctrines attempt to conceptualize and articulate what is experienc- 
ed, but they can never contain it. The problem is not the doctrines; the pro- 
blem is that we have not sufficiently contextualized them. The doctrine of 
justification is not dull — counselors, pastors, and teachers who have missed 
its point are the problem. 

In four swift chapters McGrath sketches what he calls the background of 
this teaching. He moves from Old Testament to New and then to Augustine 
and the Pelagian controversy. From those important discussions he proceeds 
quickly to the equally important Reformation and the Protestant-Catholic 
"denominational differences" which followed. This survey would be refreshing 
for any pastor-teacher and may prove enlightening to some for whom justifica- 
tion has not yet come alive. 

What the Oxford professor does next is where so many have failed: he devotes 
more than half of his book to "the contemporary significance of the doctrine." 
He considers it from four angles: existential, personal, and ethical dimensions 
followed by an appendix on the dogmatic significance of justification. He at- 
tempts in these chapters the contextualization that he spoke of earlier, and with 
good results. In discussing the existential dimension he suggests that we think 
of sin along the lines of an addiction model. We can escape the prison of 
enslavement with its resulting alienation and find fulfilling, authentic ex- 
istence — this is what justification by grace through faith is all about. 

Similarly, in a world where so many people are folded, stapled, or mutilated 
as objects rather than being cherished as persons, there is good news. The 
personal God takes human personhood seriously , including our ability to say 
no even to the Almighty. Experience of God's absence is really experience 


of alienation from God, just as we can distance ourselves from other human 
beings. McGrath writes, 

Human relationships are not fulfilling in themselves but point beyond 
themselves to the ground of their fulfillment — and the Christian doc- 
trine of justification asserts that the ground of their fulfillment is none 
other than the living God, who makes himself available to us (pp. 
Unlike so many popular self-help movements, Christianity stands human 
achievement on its head. We cannot clean up our act enough to find new life 
or real life. Instead, "The Christian affirms that new life leads to personal 
moral renewal, inverting the [self-help] order" (p. 120). This is what McGrath 
terms the ethical dimension, by which he means the transformation of us as 
moral agents. Humanity will never be reformed, he says, until it is first 
transformed; then ethical renewal will take place from the inside out. The gift 
of right relationship with God includes the obligation and the ability for a new 

McGrath finishes his treatment of justification's contemporary significance 
by offering five conclusions: this great truth concerns an experience, a paradox, 
personal humility, an overturning of secular values, and the very future of 
Christianity. In an appendix the author discusses the dogmatic significance 
of the doctrine, connecting it systematically with other loci in the structure 
of Christian belief. 

Here is an excellent handbook (the author calls is a primer) on one of the 
most important, exciting concepts in all of theology. Workers engaged in almost 
any form of Christian service should steal the time to study it carefully until 
the grandeur and surprise of God's grace begin to dawn. Speaking of another 
of McGrath 's books, Michael Green summed up my feelings about this one 
when he wrote, "In a word, this is a book to buy — and fast." 

Jerry R. Flora 

David A. Rausch, Professor of Church History and 
Judaic Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary 
Building Bridges: Understanding Jews and Judaism 
Chicago: Moody Press 
251 pp., 1988 

Building Bridges is Dr. Rausch 's eighth book overall and the fifth in his 
specialty area of Jewish studies. It is the author's second book published by 
Moody Press and is addressed to those Christians sensitized to Jewish people 
through the former book, A Legacy of Hatred: Why Christians Must Not Forget 
the Holocaust. Its goal is to help Christians who want to learn how to relate 
constructively to Jewish poeple. 

The book is addressed toward the average North American Christian. It is 
an introductory level book on the topic of Judaism, but even those who have 


considerable acquaintance with Jewish people will find much that is profitable. 
The fact that the book is into its third printing, within a year of its release, 
suggests that many readers are finding it a book they have wanted and need- 
ed. Written and published with a conservative evangelical audience in mind, 
the book virtually stands alone as a unique contribution to the growing literature 
of Jewish studies. 

There are three major divisions to the book. The first part introduces the 
reader to Judaism through chapters which cover basic Jewish concepts and 
walk one through the annual and life cycles of the Jewish person. Holidays, 
worship and ceremonies are carefully explained in terms the reader will unders- 
tand. It is miniature reference work which will answer frequent questions gen- 
tiles have about Jews. 

The second part introduces the Jewish people and their history, summariz- 
ing their experiences in the Western world where Christianity has been the 
dominant religious culture. Many will find chapter 5, American Jewry, to be 
particularly helpful, but chapter 6 on "The Israeli Jew" is also enlightening. 
Here one comes to appreciate the historical issues which have shaped the Jewish 
people and their perceptions of life. 

Part three introduces the various groups within Judaism. While not as 
fragmented as the Christian denominational scene, there are various expres- 
sions of Judaism (such as Orthodox, Reformed, Conservative, and Reconstruc- 
tionist Jews). Dr. Rausch summarizes the history of each group, along with 
its key representatives, its theology, and its institutions. 

Dr. Rausch is to be commended highly for this book. As his A Legacy of 
Hatred made Christians aware of the role Christianity has played in the persecu- 
tion of Jews in the past. Building Bridges teaches them how to understand Jewish 
people as friends and neighbors. Together they equip Christians to interact 
with Jews in an informed way that respects their religious heritage, their history, 
and their sense of peoplehood. 

I have only two criticisms of the book, both of them minor in comparison 
to its overall strengths. In writing about any minority group, an author must 
explain them in terms of their own self-understanding, seen in their best light, 
as all of us would like to be evaluated. This is necessary in order to overcome 
prejudice and stereotyping. Sometimes a fine line is crossed in this process 
that makes the minority group appear to be unrealistically good. There were 
times I felt Building Bridges crossed this line. 

Secondly, a major accomplishment of the book masks a weakness as well. 
Dr. Rausch succeeds well in cautioning the Christian against unrestrained 
evangelism. He shows how centuries of Christian prejudice and persecution 
have turned off most Jewish people to the message of Christ. He insists that 
Christians must build bridges of understanding with Jewish people, letting them 
initiate the dialogue of faith, and earning the right to verbalize a faith which 
has learned of Jesus how to love people in their own right. Muted in this discus- 
sion, however, is the question of evangelism, which is so germane to evangelical 
faith. Since the book is primarily intended for such an audience, the theological 


issue of salvation for all through Christ connot be permanently avoided. The 
book warns against bad evangelism; it does not offer a program beyond bridge- 
building. I suspect many evangelical readers will want some direction for faith- 
sharing once bridges of understanding and acceptance have been established. 
These criticisms notwithstanding, I highly commend the reading of Building 
Bridges. It is a most necessary book, and it is a splendid accomplishment in 
helping Christians to understand Jews. 

Luke L. Keefer, Jr. 

Alister E. McGrath 

Understanding the Trinity 

Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988. 154 pp. 

In the decade of the eighties a new name has emerged in British theology: 
Alister E. McGrath. Born in Ireland in 1953, McGrath is presently lecturer 
in Christian Doctrine and Ethics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and a member of 
the Oxford Faculty of Theology. He has published numerous articles and several 
major technical monographs, among them Luther's Theology of the Cross 
(Blackwell, 1985) and The Making of Modem German Christology: From the 
Enlightenment to Pannenberg (Blackwell, 1986). His scholarly articles have 
appeared in some of the world's best academic journals, and at the same time 
he has written a handful of books for lay readers. 

His skill in communicating to nonexperts has drawn special attention, for 
he combines encyclopedic learning, a gift for concrete illustration, and what 
some have called brilliant simplicity. Well-known evangelical Anglican Michael 
Green writes of McGrath, "He believes pasionately that theology is too im- 
portant to be left to the theologians, and he is determined to make the unlearn- 
ed understand." In the pursuit of that goal McGrath has recently published 
Understanding Jesus: Who Jesus Christ Is and Why He Matters (1987) and 
The Mystery of the Cross (1988) — both released in this country by Zonder- 
van Publishing House. Understanding the Trinity follows up the earlier book 
about Jesus and contains ten chapters of about 15 pages each with no foot- 
notes, bibliography, or index. 

This volume commences with modern criticisms of the very idea of God: 
God is a projection of human ideas and desire (Feuerbach, Freud) or the opiate 
of the masses serving society's vested interests (Marx, Lenin). After rebut- 
ting such arguments McGrath moves to the important point that God is to be 
known, not just known about: God is to be encountered, not just experienced. 
Thinking about God, he points out, is similar to using scientific models or 
studying roadmaps — models and maps are real, but they fall short of the reality 
that one intends to encounter. There are biblical models of God such as 
shepherd, spirit, parent, light, and rock, and the author takes a quick look 


at all these before moving to the most important one: God is personal. In the 
latter discussion he raises the question of anthropomorphisms (e.g., the jealousy 
of God) and draws a steady bead on the concept of universalism in soteriology. 

The infinite, personal God has become incarnate in Jesus Christ. That, says 
McGrath, is not an appendix to Christian faith — it is the heart of it. The Ox- 
ford don admits that at one time he joined Thomas Jefferson in scorning 
"Trinitarian arithmetic," but now he sees more clearly. "Those who criticise 
the incarnation all too often seem to end up with a dull, bookish form of Chris- 
tianity, lacking any real vitality and excitement, incapable of converting 
anyone" (p. 107). But he adds, the doctrine of the trinity converts no one — 
that is the work of God through the proclamation of the doing and dying of 
Jesus together with what follows from it. "The doctrine is that the 'God' in 
question has to be thought of as a trinity if this proclamation is valid" (p. 115). 
In ordinary life, therefore, trinitarian doctrine is the end, not the beginning; 
it is the result of faith, not the cause of faith. 

The triune God is the cause of all things, and is much more than any of 
our roadmap doctrines. McGrath is careful to note that, while Jesus was and 
is identified with God, Jesus is not identical with God, for there is much more 
to the Almighty just as, on a liner crossing the Atlantic, one may experience 
the sea, but there is far more to the ocean than that. "Jesus allows us to sam- 
ple God" (p. 125). The doctrine of the trinity, as finally set out in the fourth 
century, affirms but cannot explain; it makes explicit what in the New Testa- 
ment is implicit. As light behaves as both waves and particles, and as a river 
will have both source, stream, and estuary, so the eternal, infinite One is in 
fact three. 

I feared at one point late in the discussion that Dr. McGrath was creating 
the impression of Sabellianism (modalism), which some seminarians fall into 
unknowingly: the one God has been self-revealed in three ways at three dif- 
ferent times in human experience. But the author was careful a few pages later 
to refute such an error. 

At the end, say McGrath, there sfill remains the mystery of God. Our ex- 
perience is that of faith seeking to understand, and "The doctrine of the Trini- 
ty is to the Christian experience of God what grammar is to poetry — it 
establishes a structure, a framework which allows us to make sense of 
something which far surpasses it" (p. 147). 

The author describes his book as laying the foundations for understanding 
the trinity, and this is a sound, deceptively simple foundation for futher 
understanding. Among several suggestions he makes for the next steps, 
McGrath recommends E. Calvin Beisner's God in Three Persons (Tyndale, 
1984). The suggestion is good, for Beisner deals in greater detail with the 
biblical material and pushes on through the debates of the early church to the 
Declaration of Chalcedon (A.D. 451). But the conversational manner of 
McGrath, his concrete imagery, and his lucid style all combine to create a 
nearly ideal introduction to this indispensable doctrine. 

Jerry R. Flora 


Baruch A. Levine 

The JPS Torah Commentary: Leviticus 
Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society 
284 pp., 1989, $47.50 

This is the second volume of this series to be published. The author is Pro- 
fessor of Hebrew and Near Eastern Languages at NYU and has previously 
published useful work on biblical ritual texts. After a discussion of the Hebrew 
and English names of Leviticus, Levine summarizes the book and discusses 
its internal structural patterns and its literary formula as well as the textual 
witnesses to the book. 

In a very important discussion, Levine argues for a 'realistic interpretation' 
of Leviticus as a text which reflects actual religious practices that were followed 
at times as part of Isreal's religion. They are therefore not later, idealistic 
fabrications but real parts of Isreal's national, cultic existance. Levine also 
spends more time on the history of composition of Leviticus than N. Sarna 
did on Genesis in his commentary. He opts for the final completion of the 
book in the post-exilic period in association with the priestly historical work. 

The final section of the introduction focuses on the Israelite institutions of 
community, priesthood, sanctuary, and cult. Following the commentary pro- 
per, which follows the form discussed in the review of Sarna' s commentary, 
Levine discusses at length the post-biblical, Jewish use of Leviticus, especial- 
ly after sacrifices were no longer possible following the destruction of the Tem- 
ple in Jerusalem. As well as sexual and dietary applications, he looks at the 
use of the text in worship. There then follow eleven excurses on such things 
as the dietary laws and those of the new mother and the scapegoat. 

This commentary should prove a ready entrance into this too ignored Old 
Testament book. Coming from a Jewish author, New Testament references 
and allusions, and contemporary Christian applications are lacking, as should 
be expected. These references and applications need to be based on an ac- 
curate understanding of the text as applied to its original audience, however, 
and that is the need to which Levine competently addresses this commentary. 

David W. Baker 

C. Ny Strom 

Jenny and Grandpa: What is it like to be old? 

Batavia: Lion Publishing 

44 pp., 1988, $6.95 

This book is the third in Carolyn Nystrom's 'Lion Care' series, the other 
two being on the topics of divorce and adoption. From this volume, it looks 
as if the target readership is the 4-6th grade, though it could be read to younger 
children. The book is in hard covers with color drawings scattered throughout. 
It will be useful for children to read on their own or to have it read to them 


by grandparents! It would also find a useful place in Sunday school and church 
libraries and would not be out of place in a public library. 

David W. Baker 

John Bimson 

The Compact Handbook of Old Testament Life 

Minneapolis: Bethany House 

172 pp., 1988, $5.95 

John Bimson is a British archaeologist and Old Testament scholar at Trinity 
College in Bristol, England. He uses this background to bring to life the daily 
life of the Old Testament period. The coverage of the volume is exemplified 
by his chapter titles, which are 'the land', 'states and empires', 'pastoral nomads 
and village farmers', 'the cities', 'water', 'warfare', 'the family', 'Israel's civil 
institutions' and 'Israel's religious institutions'. 

To some extent, Bimson is updating and pupularizing R. de Vaux's Ancient 
Isreal. He is also providing a "little brother" for J. A. Thompson's more re- 
cent IVP Handbook of Life in Bible Times, reviewed in the last issue of the 
Journal. The volume includes several line drawings, time charts from 
Mesopotamia and Egypt as well as of OT history, and indices of subjects and 
Scripture. The style, and price, are directed toward the layman, and pastors 
should find in the book material of use for preaching and teaching. 

David W. Baker 

Picture Archive of the Bible 
ed. C. Mason and P. Alexander 
Batavia, London, Sydney: Lion 
192 pp., 1987, $29.95 

This book is a must for every church library as well as the home of those 
interested in not only reading but seeing what the biblical text is about. In a 
generally chronological arrangement divided into twelve "galleries," the book 
presents "photographs covering the main biblical places, important artifacts 
and significant archaeological discoveries which have a direct bearing on our 
understanding of the Bible." 

The photographs are beautifully clear and each has a small description 
alongside, though at some points it is difficult to be sure which description 
goes with what picture, since the latter are not numbered. A number of the 
pictures have a supplementary "archaeological note" written by Alan Millard, 
a leading biblical archaeologist and epigrapher from Britain, who himself wrote 
the bestselling Treasures from Bible Times. 

Lion Publishing has existed in Britain for some time with the purpose of 
publishing Christian books for the general marketplace. Excellent graphics 


and illustrations are one of their hallmarks, and it is good to welcome the com- 
pany to North America. It is also good to welcome this volume, which will 
be accessible to all age groups and would make an attractive coffee-table piece 
as well as a work to study. 

David W. Baker 

T. C. Mitchell 

Biblical Archaeology: Documents from the British Museum 

New York: Cambridge University Press 

112 pp., 1988, $12.95 (paper)/$34.50 (hard) 

Terence Mitchell, an evangelical who is Keeper of Western Asiatic Anti- 
quities at the British Museum in London, is also a major contributor to the 
Cambridge Ancient History, specifically on the period of the Israelite monar- 
chy. He is thus uniquely qualified to pen this book illustrating the links bet- 
ween archaeology and the Bible. 

The British Museum has good holdings from some aspects of the biblical 
period, but the fact that this work is restricted to their displays limits the volume 
as compared, for example, with Lion's Picture Archive of the Bible, reviewed 
elsewhere in this issue of the Journal. Mitchell presents sixty separate entries 
(called 'documents,' though not all are written texts) ranging from a cylinder 
seal from the third millennium through the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser and 
Codex Sinaiticus to a Hebrew Pentateuch manuscript from the ninth century 

The Museum's holdings are strongest in Mesopotomian, Egyptian and 
Classical artifacts, so they are well represented. Actual Palestinian pieces are 
rare, being mainly restricted to the excavations at Lachish and Samaria. Each 
entry has a detailed, readable description by Mitchell illuminating its historical 
background as well as its biblical relevance. Also included are black-and-white 
photos of each item, some hand copies of texts, a helpful bibliography for 
further reading and indices of general subjects and biblical references. The 
volume should be of interest to students of biblical backgrounds, but they will 
find it more limited than other works which have a wider collection of material. 

David W. Baker 

Paul J. Achtemeier, ed. 
Harper's Bible Dictionary 
San Francisco: Harper and Row 
1178 pp., 18 maps, 1985, $28.50 

This work is the fruit of the labors of members of the Society of Biblical 
Literature, the largest biblical studies professional body in the world. Member- 
ship of the Society is broad, including Protestants, Catholics and Jews, so the 


entries in this volume show the same diversity. The work therefore represents 
a wide spectrum of theological opinion, differentiating it, for example, from 
the more evangelical New Bible Dictionary. 

All important places, names and biblical subjects are said to be covered, 
though what is important is relative, since if you want to know about anything 
it is important. Numberous shorter articles are unidentified as to their author, 
and these generally do not have any bibliography attached. Longer articles 
at times do have references for further study, as well as often extensive cross- 
references to other entries of relevance. The format is generally two columns 
per page, though some of the longer articles are not divided into columns. 
The book contains numerous black and white illustrations, as well as some 
beautifully photographed color plates. There are also both black and white 
and color maps, the latter having a separate index. 

The volume will be of use to students and pastors who want to have a con- 
venient entry into contemporary, main-stream biblical studies. Most readers 
of this Journal, however, would probably prefer the above-mentioned New 
Bible Dictionary (Tyndale House), and all should look forward to the forthcom- 
ing publication of the more comprehensive Anchor Bible Dictionary, due to 
start publication in 1990. 

David W. Baker 

George Carey 
The Message of the Bible 
Batavia: Lion Publishing 
256 pp., 1988, $26.95 

This book is an excellent starting point for those who don't know anything 
about the Bible. It is written by those knowledgeable in their specific areas 
but for those with no background in the Bible. It is also lavishly illustrated 
with photos that help draw out the contemporary significance of the topics 
under discussion. 

After an introduction on how to use the book, there are brief sections on 
hermeneutics (though the word is not used), the nature and origin of Scrip- 
tures, maps and the canon of the Bible, and then each biblical book is discussed. 

For each book there are sections on the message of the book, placing it in 
its context and giving a summary of it, on key passages with a brief commen- 
tary on these, a discussion of 'belief features,' in which 48 different theological 
themes are discussed under the headings 'Father, Son, Spirit' (theology per 
se), 'God's answer' (God's relationship with and provision for man), 'the Chris- 
tian life' (the disciplines), and 'life in society' (ethics). Most books include 
an outline and also a 'chain reference' section, tracing motifs and themes 
through Scripture. 

This is in no way a full-fledged commentary, nor does it claim to be, but 
it seems to admirably fulfill its aims. It would make a good gift for a new 


Christian and should be in any church library. It could also serve as a text 
for a new believers' class. 

David W. Baker 



ISSN: 1044-6494 





Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio 1990 


The face of the world is changing daily, as evidenced by recent events 
in such places as Eastern Europe and South Africa. In some of these 
changes, the Church or individual Christians have taken an active role, 
seeking to personally and corporately embody Christ's exhortation to 
be salt and light. 

The Church, your church, and individual Christians also need to be 
in the forefront of positive change and the advancement of God's 
kingdom more locally. We pray that this collection of articles and reviews 
may encourage and inspire each reader to seek ways in which they too 
are being called to be salt and light. 

We especially welcome to this issue Dr. James I. Packer of Regent 
College whose Fall Lecture Series on the theology of preaching 
challenged those who attended. We thank him for allowing us to pre- 
sent here the content of two of his addresses. We also thank faculty, 
students and friends of Ashland Theological Seminary for their 

David W. Baker 
July, 1990 

Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio 




No Room in the Inn 

Dr. William H. Myers 


Translation and Literary Style: Appreciating Biblical Literature 

Dr. David W. Baker 

Women and Angels . . . When They Speak, It's Time to Listen 

Rev. Timothy L. Chafms 

Like Father, Like Son 

Helen S. Friend 

The Three Tenses of Salvation in Paul's Letters 

Dr. Brenda B. Colijn 

From the Scriptures to the Sermon 

Dr. James I. Packer 
I. Some Perspectives on Preaching 
n. The Problem of Paradigms 

Creation and Evolution: Sorting Perspectives in Four Recent 

Amy F. Galen 

Post-Modern Orthodoxy: A Review Article 

Dr. Jo Ann Ford Watson 

Book Reviews 

David W. Baker - Editor Ben Witherington III - Reviews 

Journal articles are indexed in Religious and Theological Abstracts and Religion Index One: 
Periodicals (RIO); book reviews in Index to Book Reviews in Religion, published by the 
American Theological Library Association, 820 Church Street, Evansville, Illinois 50201. 
The latter indices are also available on line through BRS Information Technologies, DIALOG 
Information Services and Wilsonline. 


Published and copyrighted by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805. 


By William H. Myers* 

"And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddhng cloths, 
and laid him in a manager, because there was no space for them in the inn" 
(Luke 2:7) 

As we approach the Yuletide season in which people all over the world get 
caught up in the holiday that recognizes the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus 
Christ, I find myself drawn once more to this passage. 

With merely three words — "she gave birth" — Luke captures in a rather 
uneventful way the most important birth in the history of the world. Even if 
some wish to debate whether he was Luke the physician, Paul's companion, 
obviously Luke was not a woman. Any woman would tell you that giving birth 
is far more eventful than Luke's account allows. Although I hate to admit it, 
such a narration cuts at the heart of my well-argued thesis elsewhere that Luke 
was a black Baptist preacher. Every true-born black Baptist preacher that I 
know would give this scene all the color he could muster, and he would milk 
it for every amen available. 

However, our knowledge of Luke as a crafty theological historian leads us to 
believe that something is up. He is no mere compiler of data; no mere chronicler 
of events no mere historian enamored with history for historicity sake. He is no 
mere preacher that just has to say something, he is a preacher that has something 
to say. He is a theologian with his own inimitable style, quite different than the 
other Synoptics. Therefore, we are left with the impression that Luke doesn't 
merely want to merely narrate the historicity of Jesus' birth. 

One quickly observes that this apparently dry chronicle is surrounded by passages 
that have angels flying around everywhere. Luke loves angels you know; he has 
more angels flapping their wings as they speed through the air faster than a bullet, 
than any other gospel account. Furthermore, these angels always seem to be car- 
rying messages to someone. Now one would think that an angel is far more im- 
portant, far more capable than merely delivering the mail. You know, they could 
pass time with important and exciting things; like throwing devils out of heaven 
and chaining them down, something really heavy-duty. 

Before our passage we notice Gabriel telling Mary that she will bear Jesus who 
shall save generations of people. Also he tells Zechariah that Elizabeth, his wife, 
would bear John, and he would prepare the people for Jesus' coming. 

Following our passage, another angel appears to shepherds in the field at night 
proclaiming that the story is on, the Saviour is bom. Suddenly there appears a 

*This is a chapel address delivered by Dr. Myers, Associate Professor of Bibhcal 
Studies/New Testament at ATS. 

whole gang of angels celebrating this joyous occasion. Now that's impressive. 
An entire Philharmonic orchestra suspended in mid-air wings "flapping" while 
singing and making music in the pitch of heaven. 

Squeezed in between all of this excitement, these mysterious, miraculous 
occurrences is my text, put forth in what at first glance appears to be a rather 
innocuously drab chronicle; something about a man and his wife-to-be, who 
is pregnant outside of wedlock and on the brink of delivery, responding to 
the census takers, finding themselves in a city with nowhere to stay. Now, 
on the surface such an account appears to be nothing more than a straightfor- 
ward historical account of what Luke believed to have been the case. Yet, on 
the basis of what he says in those few verses some have even questioned whether 
he even got his historical facts straight. That is of little consequence and interest 
to me. I'm much more intrigued by this bizarre Halloween-type stuff of angels 
suspended in mid-air singing and talking to people out in a pasture. After all, 
only the unstable would believe that kind of story. 

Perhaps Luke has tipped his hand, however, and one starts to get the impres- 
sion that lying behind this mere historical chronicle is an even larger theological 
story, an even more significant Lucan ethic than initially meets the eye. 

This thought forces itself upon us as interpreters and resignifiers of the word. 
As we focus particularly on the last verse of the paragraph (v. 7), we observe 
that the word translated "inn" (kataluma) in this passage is not the word Luke 
uses when he wants to say "inn" — i.e., motel/hotel/inn in our lingo. Luke has 
a word for "inn" (pandocheion) as can be seen at Luke 10:34, the place where 
the Good Samaritan left the wounded man. Therefore, the interpreter asks, "Why 
the change Luke?" Is this mere literary variety or should we look for more? 

Perhaps we gain clarity on his usage of this different term when we observe 
how he uses it elsewhere. It refers to an individual's "guest room." That's right 
a room, one where Jesus and his disciples could eat and dialogue together one 
last time, usually referred to as the Last Supper (22:11). Even more significant 
is the meaning of this term in its original cultural context — an "open place under 
one roof where individuals shared space with one another for the night. How 
strange, an open place where individuals occupy wide open space but could make 
no room for others. 

Further significance is derived as we recall a favorite technique of Luke's; con- 
trasts. Here, we observe his contrasting the idea that there was no space in the 
"inn," yet there was room in the manger (phatne). This particular newborn baby 
— surely that is the significance of the symbolism of spar ganon; "cloth bands," 
"swaddling cloths," " strips of cloth" — had to fight for room where there was 
no space. While on the inside preparing to break into history, make history and 
change history, an unwary world was preparing to deny this infant space among 
the very people he came to help, yet was willing to offer him room only among 
the animals. (The manger — phante — was a feeding trough for domesticated 

Who is this infant that dares to make room for himself in a place where others 
control space, and have the power to announce that there is no more space? Who 

is this infant that has the audacity to intrude upon the terrain of power jugglers 
who control space for their own benefit? Who is this infant? While others reject 
his request for just a small space in a decent place, he willingly accepts a room 
the size of a feeding trough that he might drop his baggage for the night? Who 
is he? 

Does this not foreshadow what lies ahead for this infant who would dare in- 
vade space all charted out and controlled by others by asking for a little room 
for himself? He was banned to a ministry that tried to find just enough room 
for his ideology to take root in a place where there is no space. And, he was 
chained to a ministry that would expend an enormous amount of energy trying 
to get an inattentive bunch of disciples to make room where there was no space. 

Hear him speak. "It's too crowded in the manager you started me in. I've 
outgrown it. Things have changed for me since you knew me as an infant, as 
a teenager, as a young aduh. My focus has changed — better yet, narrowed — 
and I need just a little more room to negotiate in. Could you just allow me a 
litde room in your space, especially since there is so much of it. Don't merely 
relegate me to that room you cut out for me in the stables, that room which is 
no longer adequate for my present self-understanding of who I am and what my 
ministry is to be." However, in his lifetime the infant would not experience this 
goal. Instead of making room for him where there was no space, the world took 
the little room allowed him in the feeding trough, simply because he asked for 
a httle more space. 

Subsequent to the world's elimination of him altogedier from their space, even 
his disciples would argue among themselves about how open the "inn" should 
be; about how much space was really available; about how much room was to 
be allowed to those seeking occupance in this particular inn. 

Today, as we stand on the brink of the day in which we celebrate this most 
auspicious historical event; before our very eyes an unrepentant world sends yet 
again the very same message to this infant. There is no room in my inn for you. 
All of my space is occupied, even my feeding trough. I cannot afford to allow 
you any room. My hfe is filled with the abundance of things; there is no place 
for you. My schedule is filled with the affairs of this world; there is no time 
for you. My mind is filled with self-centered ambitions; there is no space for 
you. My heart is filled with gaiety and gain, anxiety and pain; I tell you there 
is no room for you in my inn. 

The militarization of our world and the ease in which it engages in warfare 
where women, children and young men are mutUated and killed often before life 
barely begins says to the Prince of Peace there is no room in my inn for you. 

The starvation observed in Third World countries and in inner-city America 
contrasted with abundance in Western countries and suburban America, the audaci- 
ty of the American government to pay farmers not to produce but to store food 
until it rots or is destroyed, and the attempt by an American President to count 
ketchup as food in free inner-city lunch programs says to the Bread of Life there 
is no room in my inn. 

The callousness of a nation that pretends to care so much for the unborn that 

they have never seen while caring so little for "these little ones of niine" that 
they see every day and do little to nothing to improve their pUght, says to the 
Giver of Life there is no room in my inn. 

The hypocrisy of a nation that can find a solution, summon the iron will and 
the conviction to invade South America, fill the heavens with their mihtary jets 
over the Philippines, find the billions to support the fracas in the Middle East, 
but somehow their conviction is missing, their will turns to clay and their solu- 
tion is empty when it comes to the plight of the Africans being shot down every 
day in South Africa, says to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Just Judge, 
there is no room in my inn. 

Oh, Micah, how could you speak so directly to our time 2700 years before 
it occurred? — "the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the power- 
ful dictate what they desire — they all conspire together. The best of them 
is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge" (Micah 7:3b-4). 

However, unlike those permanent dwellers who couldn't find room for this 
infant in their lives, there arrived on the scene a host of "overnight travelers" 
who did make room for the infant to drop his baggage in their space. These 
"overnight travelers" not only made room for the infant but they made room 
for other "overnight travelers" who sought to pick up the same baggage that 
the infant had dropped. In so doing, the very make-up of the inn was recon- 
figured and the dimensions of the inn, so narrow initially, were greatly enlarged. 

Yet, wait awhile. I hear ominous echoes shattering the silence in the inn. 
An argument has arisen among the "overnight travelers," the infant followers, 
the room makers, over the type of infant badges all "overnight travelers" 
should wear as well as the infant slogans the badges should bear. In the other- 
wise still quiet of the night a sigh becomes a roar; "no room in the inn." 
However, this time that roar comes not from the dwellers of the inn, but from 
the "overnight travelers" that are supposed to be room makers. 

What happened to turn room makers into room takers? Perhaps, it began 
when the infant followers forgot who they were, "overnight travelers," not 
permanent dwellers. Even more, when they forgot the one and only law the 
infant gave; "check your baggage at the door." Because with all the "over- 
night travelers" that will ultimately descend upon this inn there is only room 
for one set of baggage — mine. 

Don't you know that this inn has an inexhaustible amount of space for the 
"overnight travelers" seeking temporary lodging. It has elasticity the likes 
of which no "overnight traveler" has ever seen, one that allows it to stretch 
without breaking. For somehow when people are involved in short-term mat- 
ters there always seems to be room for just one more; you know, one more 
on the elevator, in the automobile, at the dinner table, overnight lodging. 

However, baggage is an altogether different matter. It has a way of ac- 
cumulating, feeding on itself, thinking more highly of itself than it ought, tak- 
ing up more room than is necessary, reducing the seemingly infinite amount 
of space available for individuals. Somehow people feel it's necessary to drag 
all the baggage along that they can carry, thereby narrowing the space that 

otherwise would allow room in the inn for other "overnight travelers" pass- 
ing in the night, heading the same way. 

Have you not noticed that most people carry more baggage than is necessary, 
filled with more contents than they need. Even in an elevator that appears to be 
completely filled, if you asked for those purses and briefcases — baggage if you 
will — how much more room would there be? Even if you only took the con- 
tents from the baggage that they didn't need undoubtedly you could still make 
room for one more. 

Like the story of our text, we also encounter this strange phenomenon today 
in our inn. We operate in a wide open place where individuals occupy space but 
can make no room. Whereas it is lamentable that we live in a world that makes 
no space for Jesus, I am even more disUirbed by what I observe taking place 
in the inn of the "overnight travelers" — the church. These travelers who are 
supposed to be room makers have instead opted to be room takers. There is no 
room in their space for other "overnight travelers" who perhaps look a little 
different, talk a little different, walk a little different than they do. They don't 
like the baggage of these different travelers, because the contents might be slightly 
different than their own. 

Hereafter, we prepare to celebrate again the meaning of this most significant 
event in the life of the church. I call upon those of us who are "overnight travelers" 
to consider whether we are room makers or room takers. I call upon us to ponder 
again the contents and weight of our baggage and its impact on the configuration 
of the inn. 

For instance, whence cometh this mind-set that makes "inerrancy" the shib- 
boleth of Christianity, thereby leaving no room in the inn for some? Whose 
baggage is that anyway? Is this not circumcision, dietary laws and special days 
all over again, whereby only the labels on the badges have changed? Or, how 
is it that on the one hand we can affirm the sovereignty of God to call whom 
He wills, and to distribute gifts as he pleases. Yet we make no room in the 
inn for those who patiently assert and demonstrate that the call to a particular 
ministry is upon their lives? If we have decided beforehand what room in the 
inn other "overnight travelers" can occupy, whom God could not call to cer- 
tain ministries as a result of some supposedly permanent blemish like gender 
for some, divorce for others and missing limbs for still others, who really is 
the Sovereign One? Perhaps it is not unfair to ask when we do this whether 
we are not to some degree laying claim to our own unblemished state and wor- 
thiness to be called. Am I arguing that anything and everything goes, for no 
limits whatsoever. God forbid! Rather, I'm asking, limits according to the con- 
tents of whose baggage? 

I asked a biblical scholar that I know who had taught Old Testament for 
20 years why he had quit teaching in seminary? His response was sobering. 
"I got tired of teaching people who knew all the answers. Teaching Bible is 
the only discipline in higher education in which students come knowing all 
the answers beforehand." Similarly, I find myself mortified by the observa- 
tion that so many student's actions suggest that they come to seminary — not 
at Ashland of course — not to learn how to become better room makers, rather 

they come as "overnight travelers" to exercise their power as room takers. 
They are much more interested in restricting the size, shape, and diversity 
of the inn according to their dogmas. 

What madness has gripped those of us who are nothing more than "overnight 
travelers"? What blindness keeps us from seeing that this makes our inn look 
just like all others, a place where those in power guard the gate and their space 
with tenacity and can make no room for anyone else different. How much dif- 
ferent is it than those "inns" across this nation, whether chiseled in stone, wood 
or the mind that says "no blacks," "no women," in our inn? Are we who are 
"overnight travelers," not acting like those who are permanent dwellers? 

Some years ago I had a white student of mine, who was the pastor of a church, 
lament in class that he was certain that if I came to his church I would not be 
welcomed, because I am black. 

Another white student of mine, who was a pastor also called me one day in- 
quiring whether a course I was going to teach in the summer on urban ministry 
would aid him and his denomination in planting churches in the inner-city. When 
I asked for what reason he wanted to establish these churches, especially in view 
of the excessive number there already, he said, "Because, I have always been 
told and understood that the problem with the black church is that they are lack- 
ing leadership." I wanted to ask him, but didn't, from what level of Dante's 
Hades had he received this information. 

Just last year, 1988, the first black commencement speaker to address an Ashland 
seminary graduating class in its history was verbally attacked by a white "over- 
night traveler." She did not like how he understood the gospel. At the same time 
her husband accosted the vice president for letting this black "overnight traveler" 
in the inn in the first place. His reasoning: "The black church doesn't unders- 
tand the Bible anyway." Whose inn is this anyway? My prayer to God is that 
we would be delivered from power moves inside the inn. 

But, I prefer an inn that has enough space in it that allows even an untrained 
Black Baptist preacher in Cleveland to tell a little boy from the hills and molehills 
of Mississippi that there is room in the inn, room for you just as you are. It mat- 
ters little that you are in a foreign city, of a race of people in a foreign land, 
stripped of name, heritage and ethnic identity. The infant child that was told, 
"there is no room in the inn" has taken over the inn, reconfigured its dimen- 
sions and he has found some spare rooms. He says that the inn belongs to his 
father, not to any "overnight traveler". To those whom room takers are trying 
to shut out of the inn, he says, "let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God, 
believe also in me. For in my Father's inn are many rooms." 

I prefer an inn in which I can hear uttered in the hallways the stirring depth 
of the Lutherans' "A Mighty Fortress of God," and where the harmonious 
reverberations of the Methodists' "Oh For a Thousand Tongues" lifts my spirit. 
But, I want a room in that inn where I can go to hear my people sing "When 
I can read my title clear to mansions in the sky, I'll bid farewell to every fear 
and wipe my weeping eyes. Should earth against my soul engage. And fiery 
darts be hurled, Then I can smile at Satan's rage. And face a frowning world." 

I prefer an inn that rings with the melodious chant of the Presbyterians' 
Westminster Confession, but just allow me a room where I can hear the broken 
cadence of the black deacon's prayer — "Father, I want to thank you for wak- 
ing me up this morning the blood still running warm in my veins, still had 
the right conception of my mind, the four corners of my room wasn't the four 
corners of my grave, my bed wasn't my cooling board and my sheets wasn't 
my winding sheets." Let me hear the heightened pitch of the black preacher's 
intonation as he wanders through the theology of somehow; "the cattle of a 
thousand hills are yours, the earth is yours and the fullness thereof, you made 
a way out of no way and I know our people will make it somehow." I wonder 
if there is room in this inn for you and me? 

Must I be Jew in order to be a Christian? Must I be Methodist in order to 
be in the inn? Must I wear your badge to rate Christian status? Must I be white 
and male, old and wise, confirming and conforming in order to find room in 
the inn? Is there not some exegetical negotiating room in this space known as 
an inn? Just allow me enough room the size of a feeding trough. I just want enough 
room to be a Christian in your space. 

I want an inn that has grown to the size of a city adorned as a bride prepared 
to meet her husband coming down out of heaven with entry points from every 
direction, dwellers from every tribe of every nation, in numbers that no one can 
number. This is an inn that has an unlimited capacity, rooms innumerable if the 
inn-dwellers would just be room makers instead of room takers. 

Somewhere deep within my innermost being, I do not know where, perhaps 
it is the inner sanctum of my soul, maybe the inner recesses of my mind, or 
the deeper caverns of my spirit, where words cease to be effective, cease to have 
power and only a groan or a sign can be noticed. There, where the Holy Spirit 
does the translating, translating utterances that are otherwise incoherent, un- 
translatable, my spirit groans to my soul, "Is there room in the inn?" In the 
still quiet of that Holy place, my soul ponders the pain of the question itself, 
the agony of the groan, for what seems to be an eternity; but then an answer 
breaks the silence. Yes, yes there is room, but only if the "overnight travelers" 
will check their overnight baggage at the door. If they will merely allow just 
enough room in their space the size of a feeding trough, this inn will be transformed 
into a city the likes of which no one has ever seen. Is there room in your inn 
for me? 

Translation and Literary Style 
Appreciating Biblical Literature 

by David W. Baker* 

Poetry, more than prose, uses various aspects of the literary craft to enhance 
its meaning and impact. In it, through a selection of literary devices, the medium 
becomes a significant part of the message. Since poetry is intended to attract 
the senses and to stir the emotions, it goes beyond the cognitive and proposi- 
tional to the realm of feeling; it must move from intellect to imagination. 

A discussion of English poetry would elicit numerous elements distinguishing 
it from prose. These would include rhyme and rhythm, alliteration, assonance 
and various kinds of imagery. Similar devices characterize other languages, 
including Hebrew, and specifically that of the Bible. Unfortunately, it is at 
this very level of literary appreciation where translation causes problems. This 
is so because the majority of devices are formal, dealing with a word's shape 
or sound, rather than semantic, dealing with its meaning. Rare is the word 
in the target language that has the same form as a word with the same mean- 
ing in the source language. 

In describing a battle between Canaan and Israel we can hear that "loud 
beat the horses' hoofs with the galloping, galloping of his steeds" (Judges 
5:22; RSV). It is fortuitous that English describes this action by the 
onomatopoetic "galloping" while Hebrew uses daharot, both having the same 

There are a vast number of such examples, but unfortunately a limitation 
to an English translation deprives us of a real appreciation of most, unless 
the translation, or at least its final stylistic shaping, is done by one who is 
himself a poet. In this case we generally do not have a mirror of the Hebrew 
original, but rather a new creation based on concepts provided by the Hebrew. 

Among the numerous subtleties which are lost to us are the alliteration of 
the three sibilants which could only inadequately be rendered by "seek the 
safety of Jerusalem" (Ps. 122:6), as well as the mournful aso nance of the sound 
'oo' in the lament in Isa. 53:4-6. Numerous word plays, which are often the 
raison d'etre of the particular words chosen by the author, are only made ap- 
parent through marginal notes or a commentary and not through the transla- 
tion itself. For example, in Isaiah 5:7, the good desired by God from his peo- 
ple has become depraved and replaced by its opposite; justice (mishpat) has 
given way to bloodshed {mishpah) and righteousness (tsedaqah) to a poignant 
cry of anguish (tse'aqah). Even the inversion of two letters can be used to 
great effect, such as in the rememberance by Esau of the two privileges of 
which Jacob had deprived him, birthright (bekorah) and blessing (berakah). 

*Dr. Baker is associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at ATS. 


All of these delights, and more beside, which are based on the physical form 
or sound of the words, are lost to those who must read only in translation. 

While the artist of the Hebrew language did use these and other literary 
devices in molding his text, most will be aware that these devices are not 
themselves the backbone of biblical Hebrew poetry. Pride of place is taken 
here by parallelism. Much English poetry is formed around parallelism or 
repetition of sound in the use of rhyme, but we have seen that this is usually 
impossible to preserve in translation. Hebrew parallelism is that of the repeti- 
tion of ideas rather than of sound. Since it is the content, rather than the form 
of the words which are used, that bears the parallelism, we are fortunate in- 
deed to be able to preserve this in translation. On this level, at least, we are 
able to appreciate Hebrew poetry as fully as did the original audience. 

The most common form of parallelism is that in which one idea is immediate- 
ly repeated in different words, for example: 

"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world, and those who 
dwell therein; for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon 
the rivers" (Ps. 24:1-2). 

Another form of parallelism, especially common in wisdom literature, in- 
volves antithesis, the contrast of opposite ideas, such as: 

"for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked 
will perish" (Ps. 1:6). 

A second element of poetry which is also readily translatable is imagery, 
since again the meaning and content of the words rather than their form is 
of preeminent importance. Readers of any language can appreciate the splen- 
dor of the praise of God 

"who has laid the beams of thy chambers on the waters, who makest the 
clouds thy chariot, who ridest on the wings of the wind, who makest the 
winds thy messengers, fire and flame thy ministers" (Ps. 104:3-4). 

A final literary device to be noted here is the pun, or a play on the multiple 
meanings of one word. Most often these are not directly translatable, since 
the two languages do not share the same range of meaning for the two words 
involved. There is one deft example of this type of device in Genesis, however, 
which does come across into English with suitable impact. When describing 
the respective fates of the steward and the baker who were imprisoned by 
Pharaoh (Gen. 40), the author explains that both of them had their "head 
raised" (v. 20; cf. vv. 13, 19). Various commentators have sought to better 
understand the passage by emending the text in some way, but it can be more 
effectively read as a macabre pun. In 1 Kings 25:27 (paralleled by Jeremiah 
52:31), Jehoiachin's head is raised, an idiom for his being singled out from 
among his fellow prisoners and elevated to a special position. Both the steward 
and the baker are singled out, in accordance with Joseph's dream. Both were 
given special treatment, the steward by his idiomatic raising, in which he was 

restored to his original position, and the baker, who was literally raised, or 
at least his head was, when he was decapitated. Thus we can appreciate, even 
in translation, the sublety of the word play, which meant a totally different 
end for the two people involved. 

We have seen that literature can be appreciated and experienced even at one 
remove, through translation. One could liken this, however, to kissing one's 
beloved through a handkerchief; it is enjoyable, but not nearly as satisfying 
as real contact. It is good, but it lacks something. In a like manner, our con- 
tact with biblical texts could be greatly enhanced if we also would remove 
the handkerchief and delight directly in the subtleties and delicacies of Hebrew 
literature. If for no other reason, the benefits of increased aesthetic apprecia- 
tion should motivate a study of Hebrew. 



A Study of the Structure of Luke 23:50 - 24:12 

By Timothy L. Chafins* 

Parts of Scripture have proven troublesome to human understanding over 
time, with richest meanings deeply buried under shallow attempts at study. 
In some cases the attempts at understanding have caused scholars to jump to 
false conclusions about the intent of the author or the veracity of the text. This 
can be seen in the early writings of Christianity, where textual variants were 
sometimes created by well meaning scribes attempting to clarify a difficult text. 

Luke 24:12 is a good example. It is a textually difficult verse in that it is 
missing from some of our most dependable manuscripts (e.g. D, Marcion, 
et. al.). As a result, some translations have simply removed it from the text 
and placed it instead in a footnote, suggesting that it was a later interpolation 
(e.g. RSV). Curtis argued that Luke 24:12 "stands uneasily in its con- 
text ... has the appearance of an appendage," and "breaks the transition from 
the Easter morning story to the Emmaus Road story. "• 

On the other hand, Neirynik has argued for its textual authenticity and has 
suggested that "for all recent commentators, the verse is a genuine part of 
the text. "2 

The authenticity of the verse is further strengthened by the form of the passage 
in which it is located. Luke's choice of form was a fundamental method of 
writing which was popular in both the Roman and Hellenistic worlds and was 
"in use at least as early as the writing of Homer and the Iliad. "^ The form 
he chose has been variously termed inversion, inverted parallelism, chiasmus, 
or ring composition. 

Ancient Greek pottery illustrates the method. Circular friezes were arranged 
above and below a panel, on which a scene was depicted, in the center of a 
vase. "The circular friezes both framed the scene and gave balance to the 
whole.'"* In literature, closely related statements were used at the beginning 
and end of a section to help frame the elements in a single "ring". 

While there were many variations of this form of writing, Luke chose one 
wherein lines were inverted in an A B C D E D' C B' A' pattern. His focus 
is found at the center of the inversion, between the parallels. Knowing that 
Luke (or any author) has used this form is important for a number of reasons. 
Bailey has suggested that the structure may: 

1. identify the climactic center; 

2. show how the author is relating the center to the outside; 

3. make clear the turning point of the passage and alert the reader to look 
. for a significant shift of emphasis in the second half; 


Rev. Chafins is an M.Div. graduate of ATS. 


4. provide a crucial key to understanding by enabling the reader to see 
what words, phrases, or sentences are matched with what other 
words, phrases, or sentences in the structure; 

5. demonstrate where newer material has been fitted into an older piece 
of literature; 

6. mark off the literary unit itself with clarity (the beginning and the end 
are usually distinct and thus the unit is identified); 

7. provide crucial evidence for textual problems.^ 

Before examing the structure of this passage, one must note some important 
difference between the Lucan narrative and the other three gospels. The synoptic 
problems are quite real and equally diverse. While a number of harmonies 
have attempted to eliminate them, problems persist. The major differences be- 
tween Luke's account and the others can be summarized rather quickly. 
Fitzmyer encapsulates seven: 

1. resting of the women on the Sabbath; 

2. lack of concern regarding who rolled the stone away; 

3. explicit statement that the women did not find the body; 

4. two men instead of one young man; 

5. reformulation of the message of the angels to the women; 

6. delayed mention of the women's names; 

7. Peter's verification of the empty tomb.^ 

The key that unlocks part of the mystery surrounding his reporting of the 
burial/resurrection narrative is found in three main ideas: 

1. Preparation, found in both 23:56a and 24:1b; 

2. Jesus' words in Galilee as reported by the angels, in 24:6-8; 

3. "Wondering" as evidenced by the women in verse 4 and Peter in verse 12. 

Why would Luke make these redactions? What is his hidden agenda? Why 
does Luke alone speak of "sinful men" in relation to the passion narrative 
(24:7)? Similarly, why is he the only one to include "be crucified?" His struc- 
ture provides the only insight into his rationale for including these words. 

Luke distinctly uses an inversion in this narrative, which accounts for at 
least a part of his redaction. His skill as a wordsmith is evident in the way 
he carefully weaves the drama through synonyms and parallel ideas. His struc- 
ture has avoided detection in this passage partly because his inverted parallelism 
was missed when modern chapter divisions were defined. He used at least two 
different, discernible patterns. 

The first begins with 23:50 and goes to 24:3. 

(50) Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good 

and upright man, (51) who had not consented to their decision and action. 

He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the 

kingdom of God. 


A. (52) Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body. 
B. (53) Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in 
a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. 
C. (54) It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to 
D. (53) The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee 
followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body 
was laid in it. 
E. (56) Then they went home and prepared spices and 
perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedi- 
ence to the commandment. 
D' (1) On the first day of the week, very early in the 
morning, [they went to the tomb]^ 
C' the women took the spices they had prepared and went to 
the tomb. 
B' (2) They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 
A' (3) but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.' 

Verses 50 and 51 serve as a historical introduction to the main thrust of 
the chiasm. Both 23:52 and 24:3 refer to the body of Jesus. In the former, 
Joseph is seen going before Pilate to inquire regarding the body. In the latter, 
"the women" enter the tomb, looking for the body. 

Verse 53 tells of a body being placed in a tomb cut in the rock, while 24:2 
describes that a stone has been rolled away from the tomb. Why was the detail 
of the tomb being cut into the rock included? Perhaps to match the stone? 

Verse 54 tells us that it was the Day of Preparation. In 24:1b we find the 
women taking with them the spices they had prepared. Clearly, in this passage, 
preparation is one of Luke's major themes. 

Verse 55 reveals a trip by Joseph and the women to the tomb. 24: la records 
a return trip by the women. Verse 56a shows us that the women went home 
and worked preparing spices, while verse 56b has them resting on the Sabbath. 

This is an interesting place for the chiasm to intersect, for it is at a point 
which is clearly Lucan. Devout Jewish women are the center of Luke's burial/ 
resurrection record. Not the tomb, not Joseph, not the disciples, but devout, 
Jesus-following, God-fearing, Jewish women. Luke's major themes can be 
demonstrated as follows: 

A. Body of Jesus 
B. Tomb in the rock 
C. Preparation 
D. They went to the tomb 

E. Preparation and Sabbath rest 
D' They went to the tomb 
C Preparation 
B' Stone at the tomb 
A' Body of Jesus 


The second inversion begins in 24:4 and concludes in verse 12. Note that 
verse 12 provides the outer frame for the whole inversion pattern. It seems 
unreasonable that a later editor could have added it with such sublime precision. 

A. (4) While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes 
that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 
B. (5) In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the 
C. but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living 
among the dead? (6) He is not here; he has risen! 
D. Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in 
E. (7) 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of 
sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised 
again.' " 
D' (8) Then they remembered his words. 
C (9) When they came back from the tomb, they told all these 
things to the Eleven and to all the others. 

1. (10) It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of 
James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 

2. (11) But they did not believe the women, because their 
words seemed to them like nonsense. 

B' (12) Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Stooping down, 
he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, 
A' wondering to himself what had happened. 

Verse 4 reports that the women were wondering about the angels, while 
verse 12b shows Peter wondering about the empty tomb. Verse 5a describes 
the women bowing their faces to the ground, looking down. Verse 12a gives 
us a glimpse of Peter bowing down to look inside the empty tomb. Verses 
5b and 6a record part of the message of the two angelic men, while verses 
9-11 report the message the women gave. 

Luke expanded the story at this point to give a short — but meaningful — 
digression. In verse 10, the believing women are listed and then contrasted 
with the unbelieving apostles in verse 1 1 . He was careful to record both the 
first people to witness the resurrection and those who were first to refuse its 
veracity! Perhaps the listing of the mother of James was designed to underscore 
the importance of the devout Jewish women, who were the theme of the 
previous inversion. 

Verse 6b encourages the women to remember the words spoken to them 
in Galilee and verse 8 reports they did just that. "They remembered!" 

Verse 7 is the apex of the story. It is the basic kerygma of the gospel message, 
perhaps presented in its early catechetical form: A sinless man is crucified 
by sinful men. Only Luke records this truth. To him it was the essential truth 
about the resurrection and as such was reported at the center of the resurrec- 
tion story. 


Many have argued that the focus of the Lucan narrative is on what has been 
called the praeconium paschale: "He is not here, but has been raised."'" While 
other gospel writers may peak with this idea, the structure we have outlined 
here would argue against it as the central point for Luke. His themes might 
be outlined as follows: 

A. Wondering 
B. Bowed down 
C. Men speak 
D. Remember 

E. Catechetical prophecy 
D' Remember 
C Women speak 

1. Believing women 

2. Unbelieving men 
B' Stooping down 

A' Wondering 

Once we have identified the structure Luke used we can clearly see that verse 
12 stands easily in its context. Furthermore, Walther has shown that the Em- 
maus Road story is built around an inversion as well . ' ' Hence we have three 
chiasms placed back to back with incredible artistry and skill. As we study 
Luke, we should never be surprised by the discovery of another well camouf- 
laged inversion. 

Some have suggested that Luke was dependent on John because of the number 
of similarities to his account, as well as several Lucan shifts in vocabulary 
that are difficult to explain. However, in light of his apparent skill with a variety 
of writing forms, it is conceivable that Luke's change in vocabulary was by 
design. An examination of the Greek text would show that many of his struc- 
tural themes were managed through the use of synonyms. Therefore, it is just 
as reasonable, to argue for a common source rather than dependence on the 
other writer's work. 

As a follower of Christ, Luke was secure in his beliefs, even in the midst 
of doubt that was all around him. Those who had lived and walked with Jesus 
even, could not at first accept the idea of the resurrected Christ. Yet, Luke 
had searched all things well and his conclusions were that Jesus Christ had 
"been delivered into the hands of sinful men," was "crucified, and on the 
third day" he was "raised again." The Lucan distinctives cannot be ignored. 

When the angel announced John the Baptist's birth, Elizabeth believed and 
Zechariah didn't. When the angels announced the resurrection, the women 
believed and the disciples didn't. Luke's message is clear: Women and 
angels . . . when they speak, it's time to listen! 


End Notes 

'K.P.G. Curtis, "Luke 24:12 and John 20:3-10," Journal of Theological 
Studies 22 (1971) 515. 

^Frans Neirynk, "John and the Synoptics: the empty tomb stories (rela- 
tionship between Jn 20: 1-18; Mt 28:9-10; Lk 24: 12)," New Testament Studies 
30 (1984) 164. 

^Kenneth R. Wolfe, "The chiastic structure of Luke- Acts and some im- 
plications for worship," Southwestern Journal of Theology 22 (1980) 62ff. 

"Wolfe, 62. 

'Kenneth E. Bailey, Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes: A 
Literary Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke. Combined Edition (Grand 
Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1983) 74-75. 

^Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke, Volumes 1 and 2, 
The Anchor Bible. (Garden City: Doubleday, 1981-1985) 1541. 

■'The words of Jesus in Galilee are found in Luke 9:22 and 44. However, 
they are a general recollection and not an exact quote. It's form here may be 
an early catechetical formula. 

^In the Greek text, travel to the tomb comes prior to the repetition of the 
"preparation of spices." It is bracketed here to show the balance found in 
the Greek text. We have not removed it from its place in the NIV and can 
be found repeated in its proper place in what we have called "C." 

'Scripture, throughout this work, is quoted from the New International 

'"Fitzmyer, 1542. 

"O. Kenneth Wahher, "A solemn one way trip becomes a joyous round- 
trip! A study of the structure of Luke 24:13-35," Ashland Theological Jour- 
nal 14 (1981) 60-67. 


Bailey, Kenneth, E. , Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes: A Literary 
Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke. Combined Edition. Grand Rapids: 
Wm. B. Eerdmans. 1983. 

Curtis, K.P.G., "Luke 24:12 and John 20:3-10," Journal of Theological 
Studies 22 (1971) 512-515. 

, "Linguistic support for three Western readings in Luke 24," Exposi- 

tory Times 83 (1972) 344-345. 


Drury , John, Tradition and Design in Luke 's Gospel: A Study in Early Chris- 
tian Historiography. Atlanta: John Knox. 1977. 

Ellis, Earle E., The Gospel of Luke in the New Century Bible Commentary. 
London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott. 1974. 

Fitzmyer, Joseph A., The Gospel According to Luke. The Anchor Bible. Garden 
City: Doubleday 1981-1985. (2 Volumes). 

Neirynk, Frans, "John and the Synoptics: the empty tomb stories (relation- 
ship between Jn 20: 1-18; Mt 28:9-10; Lk 24: 12)," New Testament Studies 
30 (1984) 161-187. 

Ross, John M. , The Genuineness of Luke 24: 12," Expository Times 98 (1987) 

Walther, O. Kenneth, "A solemn one way trip becomes a joyous roundtrip! 
A study of the structure of Luke 24: 13-35," Ashland Theological Journal 
14 (1981) 60-67. 

Wolfe, Kenneth R., "The chiastic structure of Luke-Acts and some implica- 
tions for worship," Southwestern Journal of Theology 22 (1980) 60-71. 


Like Father, Like Son 

A discussion of the concept of agency in Halakah and John 

By Helen S. Friend* 

This paper proposes to examine the concept of agency in the halakic materials 
of the Mishnah and the Babylonian Talmud and its relationship to the concept 
of agency in the Gospel According to Saint John. First, some general introduc- 
tory material on the Gospel will be reviewed. Following the discussion on agen- 
cy is a brief evaluation of whether Rabbinic material can be used to determine 
what first-century Jewish practices and concepts concerning agency were. 


There have been many hypotheses about the test of the Gospel of John and 
its source, purpose, and destination. One concerns the relationship between John 
and the Synoptic Gospels. The view that the evangelist was familiar with the 
Synoptic tradition and was literarily dependent on it has allowed many scholars 
to infer that the purpose of his Gospel was to complete, surpass, or replace the 
Synoptics (see Schnackenburg, I, pp. 26-43 for a summary). It cannot be proved 
whether or not John was acquainted with one of more of the Synoptic Gospels. 
There is a growing consensus that John was directly dependent on neither the 
Gospels (excepting Barrett's view of Mark as a source, p. 45) nor their written 
sources (Robinson, p. 1). His contact with the Synoptics is explained by the com- 
mon oral tradition that existed before or contemporaneous with the synoptic tradi- 
tion. Although Barrett (p. 45) says, "anyone who after an interval of nineteen 
centuries feels himself in a position to distinguish nicely between 'Mark' and 
'something much like Mark,' is at liberty to do so." 

The Gospel of John is clearly based on a tradition of the words and works 
of Jesus, since in it is given historical information about Jesus that is not found 
in any other Gospel. Additional information given includes: (a) that Jesus, like 
John the Baptist, had a baptizing ministry; (b) that Jesus went to Jerusalem more 
than one time; and (c) that the Jewish authorities opposed Jesus throughout his 
ministry, not just at the end. 

The independent tradition of John, together with the author's theological con- 
cerns, provides a base from which to view Christological elements as growing 
with significant differences from those expressed in the Synoptics. First, in John, 
in contrast to the Synoptics, Jesus performs miracles to reveal who he is, and 
his teaching is explicity Christological. Second, the synoptic Jesus is conspicuously 
'historical,' while the Johannine Jesus is considered both in his humanity and 
divinity (Cullmann, Johannine Circle, p. 14). Third, the interest expressed in 
the kingdom of God in the Synoptics is transferred in John to the person of Jesus 

*Mrs. Friend has an M.A. from OSU in philosophy and is currently an M.A. 
student in biblical studies at ATS. 


Qirist as the Gospel of the kingdom (Barrett, p. 70). 

The text's background was the Palestinian Judaism of Jesus' times which had 
already been affected by the pressure of Greek influence (Barrett, p. 39). The 
absence of any reference in the Gospel to any actual situation of pre-70 A.D. 
Judaism and the presence of allusions to the drastic measures against Christians 
(9.22; 12, 42; 16.2) which reflect the hostile and polemical attitude of post-80 
A.D. Judaism, point to a date of composition for the Gospel between 90 and 
100 A.D. (Barrett, p. 28). 

While opinions about the evangelist's reasons for writing and addressing his 
audience can assist us in evaluating the kind of Christology presented in the Gospel, 
the converse is also true. Although this paper does not attempt to present an evalua- 
tion of Johannine Christology, it will address, at least peripherally, the issues 
of the destination and purpose of the Gospel. 

John did not write a Gospel merely for its own sake or "primarily to satisfy 
himself" (Barrett, p. 135). He did have an audience in mind, whether Jewish 
or Gentile. 

As Barrett has written (p. 575), both the purpose of the Gospel and the author's 
theology are summed up in 20.31 ; "these things have been written that you may 
beheve that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have 
life in His name." The evangelist's general purpose is to confirm and strengthen 
the faith of those who already believe, as evidenced by the present subjunctive. 
The variant reading with the aorist, which suggests that the Fourth Gospel is 
primarily a missionary document, is less probable. While both readings are well 
attested, the present subjunctive is preferable in light of the similar statement and 
grammatical structure of 19.35 and other statements directed to believers at 13.19 
and 16.33. Certainly the general purpose to confirm faith in no way lessens the 
value of the Gospel as a missionary tract to bring people to a saving knowledge 
of Christ. 

Over and above the main inner-church purpose of the Gospel specified in 20.31 
there are' notable particular interests which arise from the historical situation of 
the Johannine community. These interests include: (a) that the Gospel was meant 
to replace or supplement the Synoptic Gospels; (b) that is was intended to have 
a missionary purpose, especially in restating the Christian message in Hellenistic 
terms (Dodd, p. 9); and (c) most frequently heard today, that it was to function 
as an apologetic or polemic document. There are the polemics about sacramental 
teaching (Cullmann, Early Christian Worship, p. 84), eschatological teaching 
(Barrett, pp. 139-141), and against the sectarians of John the Baptist (Brown, 
pp. 69-71) and the Jews (Perkins, p.x.) 

Another particular interest of John's Gospel is the polemic against heretics. 
Whether this false doctrine is docetism (attributing an apparent body to Jesus), 
adoptianism (separating the historical Jesus from the Christ), or whether this heresy 
held that redemption by a man in flesh and blood was superfluous (Schnacken- 
burg, I, pp. 169-170), is beyond the scope of this paper. There is an anti-gnostic 
tone to the Fourth Gospel, in spite of the many attempts to link it with gnostic 
views that either make John an incipient gnostic of portray him as editor and 


'christianizer' of the gnostic myth of a redeemer figure. 

The evangelist has produced a Gospel in which both the divinity and humanity 
of Jesus receive their due emphasis. They form the two necessary and complemen- 
tary sides of the person of Jesus. The divine and human are set together in the 
prologue, in the signs (where Jesus, while performing supernatural deeds, re- 
mains a man), and in the discourses (where he presents himself as the heavenly 
son). John's thrust is not to dwell upon either the divine or human nature of Jesus 
Christ, but rather, upon his significance in the history of salvation. Most of the 
terms he uses denote functions or express some particular aspect of Jesus' activi- 
ty as the mediator of salvation. There is not a full development of ontological 
categories. The stress is placed on what Jesus does, although his mission ultimately 
depends on his being a certain kind of entity. John constandy witnesses to Jesus 
the God-man. 

This witness to Jesus presents the historical events as seen through the eyes 
of faith. It is not a series of made-up stories written to illustrate theological truths. 
John "wrote the Gospel as a whole, combining discourse material with narrative, 
in order to bring out with the utmost clarity a single presentation, an interpreted 
history, of Jesus" (Barrett, p. 141). 


Principle of Agency 

The basic principle of agency is found in the Kiddushin of the Babylonian 
Talmud. This is a commentary on the earlier Mishnah. Although the context con- 
cerns betrothal, the principle is stated in 41b that "a man's agent is as himself." 
The legal aspects of this are reiterated in Baba Kamma where Rabbi Abbahu said, 
"the agent was acting for the principal upon the terms of his mandate and it is 
the same [in law] as if the principal himself had done it" (102b). Rabbi Jonathan 
said: "We find in the whole Torah that a man's agent is [legally] as himself 
(Baba Mezia, 96a). These references are ver>' similar to what is found in John. 
"He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him" 
(5.23). There are several other passages that reflect the agency of Jesus and show 
him to be "as his principal." 

He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent me. 


And he who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me. (12.45) 

He who receives Me receives that One who sent Me. (13.20) 

He who has seen Me has seen the Father. (14.9) 

He who hates Me hates my Father also. (15.23) 

The agent acts in the place of the principal or represents him. He is to be treated 
as the equal /equivalent of the sender or as if he were himself the principal. This 
is true regardless of the position of the sender. "The agent of the ruler is like 
the ruler himself (Baba Kamma, 113b). In the Kethuboth Tractate, in the con- 
text of a sale through an agent, the agent takes legal title to the goods. Similarly, 


the Father has given title to certain "goods" to the Son. "All that the Father 
gives Me shall come to Me" (6.37). The Father gave him both authority over 
mankind and gave him believers to whom the Son will give eternal life (17.2). 

Agent As The One Who Is Sent 

Jesus constantly characterizes himself as the one sent from the Father: "I am 
from Him and He sent Me" (7.29). Believers begin to know him when they 
understand that Jesus was sent; "and these have known that Thou didst send Me" 
(17.21). In referring to God, Jesus often said "the Father who sent Me" (5.29) 
or "him who sent Me" (5.30; 6.38). He called himself "him whom the Father 
has sent" (6.29). 

In the controversy between Jesus and the Jews, Jesus is asked both where his 
teaching comes from (7.15) and, where he himself comes from (9.29, 19.9). To 
the former question Jesus answers, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent 
Me" (7.16). In reference to the Jewish view that no one will know where the 
Messiah will come from but that they all had known where Jesus came from, 
he responds, "You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not 
come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true" (7.28). So, when Jesus is asked 
where he or his teaching comes from, he responds that it does not come from 
himself, but that he and his teaching are from the Father, he was sent. 

Not only is Jesus sent from God (above, heaven), he receives his authority 
from God. He both speaks as the Father taught him and does things that are pleas- 
ing to the Father (8.28-29). 

Jesus is wholly the channel through which God communicates himself to the 
world. His being is relational, and his existence is to be the communication be- 
tween the Father and humankind. Jesus is the one sent and is thus defined both 
by his relationship with the Father and by his mission. Thus the Johannine con- 
cept of Jesus as "the sent one" adopts the official halakah on agency. 

Son As Agent 

Many of the citations in the Talmud refer to the agent, servant, and son together 
(Baba Mezia 96a). If the agent is as the one who sent him, how much more so 
would the son of the household be as the father who sent him. The son as agent 
emphasizes both the importance of the agency and replicates in visible form the 
principal. Instead of the agent having merely a legal or task likeness to the sender, 
he additionally has an inherited likeness — a likeness of natures or being. The 
verb "to send" is used forty -one times in the Fourth Gospel. Twenty-four of 
those times it is in the form of "he who has sent him (me)" or "the Father who 
has sent him (me)." Each time it is associated with Jesus as the Son or in passages 
in which Jesus refers to his relationship with the Father who sent him. 

Ho hyios as a title for Jesus is used seventeen times in John. It is used almost 
exclusively by Jesus. The only exception is 3.34-36 where it occurs three times. 
John the Baptist seems to be the speaker, since there is no indication of a change 
of speaker from when the Baptist was talking to his disciples about Jesus (Barrett, 


The term occurs eight times in 5.19-30. Jesus has cured a cripple on the Sab- 
bath, and, responding to the negative reaction of the Jews, says, "My Father 
is working until now, and I myself am working." The key issue is the special 
filial relationship to God, his Father, which gives him the authority to work, like 
God himself, even on the Sabbath. Since this claim to equality with God is viewed 
by his audience as blasphemous, Jesus proceeds to explain the role and nature 
of his Sonship. The Father lovingly reveals to the Son everything that he does, 
including empowering him to raise the dead from the grave and to bring them 
to eternal life or judgment. The Son can give life to anyone he chooses, because 
he shares in the very life of the Father. Similarly, the Son, having been given 
the divine privilege and power to judge, is thereby entitled to be honored like 
the Father. Therefore, to have eternal life and escape condemnation in judgment, 
all must listen to the Son. All these considerations follow from the perfect union 
of action and being between the Father and the Son. Jesus says "I and the Father 
are one" (10.30). Observe also: 

the Father is in Me, and I in the Father (10.38) 
I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me (14.10) 
even as Thou, Father, are in Me, and I in Thee (17.21) 

The view of the identity of the agent and sender is modified by the dependence 
of the Son on the Father in everything he does. This is clearly stated in 5.19, 
introduced by the emphatic amen, amen, "the Son can do nothing of Himself," 
and in 5.30, "I can do nothing on My own initiative . . . because I do not seek 
My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." "Truly, truly, I say to you, 
a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent greater than 
the one who sent him" (13.16). Regardless of which verb for "send" is used 
in the Greek, it is always an active form that is used when referring to Jesus. 
This places an emphasis on the activity of the Father in sending his Son, but 
the subordination of the one sent is not one of a servant, rather it is one of a 
loving son. (Jesus uses the metaphor of slave and son in 8.35 to show the radical 
difference between the permanent status of the son and the temporary status of 
the slave in the house. The Son even has the authority to liberate those in slavery.) 
The son of the household is, in the Jewish view, the most fully qualified agent. 
The Son of God is the perfect agent. 

Witnesses To The Agency 

Baba Kamma asks how people are to know that one is an agent. If the sender 
"did not appoint him in the presence of witnesses, whence could we know that 
he was appointed as an agent at all" (104a)? The evangelist provides us with 
many witnesses to Jesus as the Son/agent of the Father. In 1.19-24, John the 
Baptist bears witness to Jesus as the Son of God. God sent the Baptist to baptize 
with water and told him that the one coming after him would baptize with the 
Spirit and could be recognized by the fact that the Spirit would come down and 
remain on the Christ. Schillebeeckx says that prophetic messianism meant "simply 
the prophet filled with God's Spirit (Zech. 7:12; Neh. 9:30); Christ and Pneuma- 


possession are synonymous" (p. 443). So the Baptist is truly a witness. He did 
not initiate the story; he knows how to recognize the one from God because God 
told him how to do so. At 3.27 John said, "A man can receive nothing, unless 
it has been given him from heaven." Jesus tells us that although John the Baptist 
has borne witness to him, he does not really need that witness since he has better 
witnesses. These are "the Father who sent me" (5.37; 8.18), Jesus himself who 
bears witness to himself (8.14, 18), the Scriptures "that bear witness of me" 
(5.39), and "the works which the Father has given Me to accomphsh" (5.36). 
Jesus performs both the work and works of the Father. God initiates the work(s); 
Jesus obediently does the work(s) of his Father, which reveals Jesus' special rela- 
tion with the Father, and the work(s) of Jesus will be continued by the exalted 
Son. This last point relates to the notation of Tractate Nazir 12b that an agent 
can be appointed "for something which cannot be done at once but can be done 
later" (compare with 14.12-14; 5.20-21). 

My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to 

accomplish His work (4.34) 
I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the 

work which Thou has given me (17.4) 
We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as 

it is day (9.4) 
the works that I do in My Father's name, these bear 

witness of Me (10.25) 
If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe 

In Me (10.37) 
though you do not believe me, believe the works (10.38) 

Mission Of The Agent 

Jesus being the agent of the Father — sent by God — points to both his rela- 
tionship of Son to the Father and to his mission or works. In turn, both the mis- 
sion and works bear witness to him as the agent of the Father. In the Talmud, 
"there is a presumption that an agent carries out his instructions" (Hullin, 12a). 
He "carries out his mission" (Erubin, 32a), namely the mission of the one who 
sent him. The agent is given his brief in obedience to the sender. In 6.38, Jesus 
said, "I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of 
Him who sent Me." He always does "the things that are pleasing" to the one 
who sent him (8.29). 

Jesus is the one sent by God, from God, to the world. The world is the agent's 
destination. He speaks what he has heard from his Father to the world (8.26). 
He came to the world for judgment (9.29) and as a witness to the truth (8.37). 
God sent him into the world to save the world (12.47), but if the world does 
not know Jesus, then it has "no excuse" for its sin (15.22). Not only does the 
Son "give eternal life" to believers, but he does not allow anyone "to snatch 
them out of the Father's hand" (10.29). Jesus' mission includes the provision 
of a protection plan (6.39; 17.12 — except the son of perdition; 18.9). 

In John's view, Jesus' mission is unique. Jesus did not come to bring a message; 


he is the message. He does not bring truth; he is truth. He does not bring a gift; 
he is the gift. Truly the medium in the message. Jesus' mission is a communica- 
tion between God the sender and mankind. His activity or mission depends on 
his being a certain kind of entity. In fact, his whole being is a certain kind of 
communication between God and man. 

For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God (3.34) 

My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me (7.16) 

He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard 
from Him, these I speak to the world (8.26) 

I did not speak on My own initiative, but the 
Father Himself who sent Me has given Me command- 
ment, what to say, and what to speak (12.49) 

the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's 
who sent Me (14.24) 

I manifested Thy name to the men who Thou gavest Me 
out of the world (17.6) 

Jesus was commissioned by the Father whose agent he is. The Father, as sender, 
is the source of Jesus' mission of revelation and salvation. The Son is constantly 
aware that he has come from the Father and goes to the Father: 

knowing . . . that He had come from God, and was 

going back to God (13.3) 
I came forth from the Father, and have come into the 

world; I am leaving the world again, and going to 

the Father (16.28) 
I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the 

work which Thou has given Me to do. And now, 

glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father (17.4-5) 

Extending Agency 

After Jesus returns to the Father, his mission can continue to be accomplished. 
As noted in Kiddushin 41a, "the agent can appoint an agent." Jesus tells his 
disciples, "as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." The "disciples" in the 
Fourth Gospel include not only "Those who are made believers by Jesus through 
his work and his signs," but also "the later community in contrast to the unbeliev- 
ing Jews" and "the later believers in that they are challenged and tempted and 
their faith is inadequate" (Schnackenburg, EI, 206-7). In other words, in John 
the "disciples are firstly Jesus' close companions, secondly his serious adherents 
and finally all later believers" (Schnackenburg, HI, 208). Disciples who love Jesus, 
as reflected in their deeds, will be loved by him and the Father. Jesus will manifest 
himself to them and he and the Father will come and dwell with them (14.21 , 23). 

As Jesus is contrasted with his adversaries, so too will his agents be against 
the world (15.18). But God loved the world and sent his Son to the world. So 
too, believers are representatives of the Son and are sent into the world (17. 18), 
but while in the world are kept "from the evil one" (17.15). These believers 


are united because of the unity between the Father and the Son and the fact that 
the Son is in them as is the Father's love (17.26). 

These believers are not for John "sons" of God. They are "children" (11 .52). 
They are related to the Son and the Father in a special way. Somehow God in- 
itiates the process (6.37) such that they are drawn to him and Jesus, so they can 
see that Jesus' teaching comes from God (7.17). However, a faith response is 
also required. There is a dependence on the Son, so that believers must in faith 
respond to him, in order to become children of God. 

Jesus tells his disciples (16.27) that the Father loves them because they love 
Jesus. But Jesus does not ask his disciples to love him; instead, he loves them 
so that they may love one another. This altruistic, self-sacrificing love is the kind 
of abundant fruit by which his disciples should glorify his Father (15.8). The 
mission that disciples are given is much like the mission of Jesus. There are two 
levels of agency here that function both for the receivers and the agents; "he 
who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives 
Him who sent Me" (13.20) and "that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, 
art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us" (17.21). Just as Jesus 
knew that what he said, what he did, and who he was all came from the Father, 
so too, the disciples should know that their words, deeds, and being are derived 
from the Father and his agent, the Son. 


Of particular interest among sources useful to an examination of Jewish con- 
cepts of agency are the Mishnah and the Babylonian Talmud. At the same time 
the particular problem of reliability is posed by the question: if the Mishnah came 
to closure at approximately 200 A.D. and the Babylonian Talmud's reflections 
on the Mishnah were completed by 400 A.D., how can there be reasonable 
assurance that what is contained in them has anything to do with Jewish practice 
and conceptual life two hundred to four hundred years earlier? E. P. Sanders 
claims, "parallels are often illuminating, as long as one does not jump from 
'parallel' to 'influence' to 'identity of thought' " (p. 11). 

While the Mishnah was closed at approximately 200 A.D., it was a redaction 
of ideas and sayings from up to several hundred years earlier. From historical 
criticism and a systematic literary analysis of the document, Jacob Neusner (p. 
xff.) has developed a method to determine the earliest period from which the 
materials are claimed by the Mishnah itself to originate. The Mishnah contains 
statements that are attributed to authorities prior to the redaction of the docu- 
ment. One of the factors used to test the antiquity of a Mishnah allegation con- 
cerns the grouping of the authorities by periods of time during which they 
flourished. The authorities designated A, B, C, and D are among the earliest, 
producing their sayings before 70 A.D. The Kiddushin Tractate, from which we 
derive the principle of agency, lists authorities A, B, and C as the ones who refer 
to the issue of agency. This suggests that the concept of agency occurs early in 
halakah. The second factor used to determine how ancient a particular Mishnah 
allegation is pertains to the logical sequence of a principle to its corollary. A prin- 


ciple of law logically and chronologically precedes a corollary to or a specific 
instance of that same law. Thus the principle of agency and an understanding 
of the concept is prior, in both thought and time, to any debate about whether 
betrothal can be effected through an agent. 

In an article in Jewish Law Association Studies, Alexander Guttman argues 
that laymen held an important role in shaping halakah. Unlike the priests, the 
rabbis focused their attention on the material and spiritual needs of the people, 
especially as they related to their real-life situations. "Therefore, they often had 
to react positively to the wishes of the people, accept and approve of many of 
their customs. Moreover, in several instances, rabbis had to accept their ways 
of executing laws, biblical (toraitic) and rabbinical, as legitimate parts of Judaism" 
(pp. 4M2). Although in principle the law is superior to custom, a dictum of 
the Palestinian Tahnud is, "Custom nullifies the Law." This does not mean that 
custom would nullify an existing law, but that no ftiture ruling could be intro- 
duced as law if it would abolish an existing custom of the people. From this posi- 
tion we can suppose that the principle of agency expressed in the Mishnah not 
only was pre-70 A.D., but in no way was contrary to the customs of the people 
concerning agency. 

Since there were similarities in the concept of agency in halakah and in the 
Fourth Gospel, it seems possible that the former was derived from the latter. 
But, concepts and terminology stressed by early Christianity (including proselytiz- 
ing practices and religious rituals) tended to be deemphasized by Judaism (Gordon, 
p. 685). It seems unlikely that during a period when there was much polemic 
between Jews and Jewish Christians, there would be much Jewish borrowing from 
Christianity. In fact, if the concept were not an integral part of Jewish conceptual 
life, one might suppose that, upon recognition of its vital function in the Gospel, 
Jews would find it easy to forsake. 

The arguments favoring the antiquity of the concept of agency reflected in the 
Mishnah are threefold. First, as Neusner points out in his literary and historical 
analysis of the document, dating the concept of agency in halakah to pre-70 A.D. 
is reasonable and likely. Second, any legal application of a principle presupposes 
the recognition of the principle. The social role of custom in the development 
and recognition of legal principles, however, suggests an even earlier date for 
the concept. Finally, had the notion developed from a (Jewish) Christian source, 
it would have been discarded in the Jewish/Christian polemic. Its very existence 
in the Mishnah provides prima facie evidence for claiming its depth in Jewish 
conceptual life. 

Presuppositions To Agency 

There is a concept that seems to be logically prior to that of a divine agent. 
Certain characteristics of the concept of agent, as later expressed in halakah, were 
used by the evangelist in his concept of divine agency. This divine agent is total- 
ly human, and the totally pervasive human and divine aspects of the agent do 
not always seems to be what precipitate controversy in the Gospel. While Jesus 
is threatened with stoning for his perceived blasphemy in calling God his Father 


— thereby making himself equal to God — there are underlying currents in which 
it seems that the truly intense aversion of the Jews to Jesus was not because a 
human was claiming to be divine. Rather the aversion stems from this particular 
human claiming to be divine in the particular way in which he claims it. He clearly 
does not meet their expectations in either his behavior or his being. 

This suggests that preconceived notions of the divine agent were prevalent. 
This agent is not to be merely an instrument, a carrier of messages. While he 
does the will of the Father it is also his will. To have this kind of conception 
seems to require a cluster of logically prior notions about the nature of God. The 
God who would send such an agent must himself be of a certain sort. He cannot 
be perceived to be a totally transcendent being. He must not only be thought of 
as immanent, but must be a real person, a mensch. He is not just a divine pro- 
vidence who sends rain on both saint and sinner or even divides mankind into 
two groups — the blessed/saved and the cursed/lost. Rather, he is seen to be 
a personality with personal activities, even quirks. He must in some way be ac- 
cessible to man. 

To see God in this way may seem to be an instance of "creating God in man's 
image," but some sort of anthropocentric conceptual framework appears to be 
necessary for acceptance of the idea of divine agency. Clearly it is beyond the 
scope of this paper to examine the Old Testament for a development of this 
"human" God, this God who feels human feelings and does human things, but 
it is not out of place to mention this cluster of apparently logically prior concepts 
and to entice the reader to think about this and its possible ramifications for the 
history of the doctrine of the incarnation. 


Barrett, C. K. The Gospel According to St. John. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 

Brown, R. E. The Community of the Beloved Disciple . New York: Paulist Press, 

Cullman, Oscar. Early Christian Worship. London: SCM Press LTD, 1953. 

The Johannine Circle. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986. 

Dodd, C. H. The Fourth Gospel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968. 

Epstein, L, ed.. The Babylonian Talmud. 18 vols. London: Soncino Press, 1961. 

Gordon, Cyrus H., "Jewish Reaction to Christian Borrowings." In The Word 
of the Lord Shall Go Forth, ed. Carol Meyers and M. O'Connor. Winona Lake, 
Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1983. 

Guttmann, Alexander, "Participation of the Common People in Pharisaic and 
Rabbinic Legislative Progesses." In Jewish Tmw Association Studies /. ed. B. S. 
Jackson. Chico, California: Scholars Press, 1985. 


Neusner, Jacob, trans. The Mishnah. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. 

The Mishnah Before 70. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1987. 

Robinson, John A. T. The Priority of John. Edited by J. F. Coakley. Oak Park, 
Illinois: Meyer-Stone Books, 1985. 

Sanders, E. P. Paul and Palestinian Judaism. Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1977. 

Schillebeeckx, Edward. Jesus. New York: Seabury Press, 1979. 

Schnackenburg, Rudolf. The Gospel According to St. John. vol. 1. New York: 
Crossroad, 1982. 


The Three Tenses Of Salvation In 
PAUL'S Letters 

By Brenda B. Colijn* 

Although the term "salvation" (in Greek, soteria) has given us the name 
for a central category of systematic theology (soteriology), many discussions 
of soteriology do not give much attention to the actual Biblical use of the word 
group related to salvation. A systematic approach, of course, must synthesize 
the various Biblical concepts, and the terms for salvation occur with relative 
rarity. In addition, a focus on justification by faith has sometimes contributed 
to the neglect of the salvation word group. Nevertheless, some scholars believe 
that salvation is the key to the theology of Paul.' Certainly the subject is of 
central interest to believers, both in Paul's day and now. 

This essay will not attempt to cover Paul's soteriology as a whole. Any such 
discussion would draw upon a number of different word groups. Instead, this 
paper will focus on passages in which Paul uses terms from the "salvation" 
group — sozo, soteria, soterion, soterios, and soter — to see how he uses 
them. In particular, it will examine Paul's description of salvation as past, 
present, and future. As A. M. Hunter observes, "When Paul thought about 
Christian salvation, he saw it as a word with three tenses: a past event, a pre- 
sent experience, and a future hope."^ In what follows, I will attempt to 
characterize Pauls' view of salvation in each of these tenses. To do this, I will 
discuss the effects of salvation, not the means of salvation. I will also explore 
the implications of these concepts for believers. 

Instances of salvation in the past tense are very rare in Paul's letters. In 
the undisputed letters, only one instance of sozo in the past tense occurs: "For 
in this hope we were saved" (Rom. 8:24). ^ The past-tense salvation Paul is 
describing here corresponds to the justification he discusses in previous 
chapters.'* He sums up the situation of believers in Rom. 5:1-2: "Therefore, 
since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through 
our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this 
grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." 
Without using the terms for salvation, these verses express the same ideas as 
Paul's three tenses of salvation: believers were "justified through faith" in 
the past, they "stand" in "grace" in the present, and they have "hope of 
the glory of God" in the future. 

Romans 8:24, despite being in past tense, reveals more about the future of 
believers than about their past. It occurs in an eschatological passage describ- 
ing "the glory that will be revealed in us" (8:18). Rather than focusing on 
what believers already have, Paul emphasizes what they do not yet have: "But 

*Dr. Colijn holds a Ph.D. in English from Cornell and is an M.A. student 
at Ashland Theological Seminary. 


hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But 
if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently" (8:24-25). 
Paul implies that the salvation they already have is incomplete, or not yet ful- 
ly realized; believers look forward in hope to its full realization in the last days.' 

In the present, believers receive certain benefits as a result of their ac- 
complished salvation. Paul opens his discussion in Romans 8 by declaring: 
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" 
(8:1). Believers who have been saved have been incorporated in Christ and 
have been freed from condemnation. They have "the firstfruits of the Spirit" 
(8:23), which include new life in the Spirit (8:10), new ability to live accor- 
ding to the Spirit (8:4-5), the Spirit's intercession for them (8:26-27), the Spirit's 
inner testimony that they are God's children (8:15-16), the right to address 
God as "Abba" (8:15), and a new status as co-heirs with Christ (8:17). Paul's 
concept of inheritance expresses his dialectic of present and future: someone 
who becomes an heir has not yet received an inheritance but enjoys a new 
status in the present.^ The firstfruits of the Spirit would also presumably in- 
clude spiritual gifts, but Paul does not discuss them in this passage. The cen- 
tral evidence that salvation has been accomplished is the presence and activity 
of the Holy Spirit.'' 

What believers do not yet have, I will discuss more fully later, is their full 
"adoption as sons, the redemption of [their] bodies" (8:23) and the ability 
to share in Christ's glory (8:17). Paul seems to use the past tense in Rom. 
8:24 to assure believers that the salvation God has already accomplished through 
Christ — and the present evidence of that salvation in their lives — is their 
guarantee of their future inheritance. He tells them: "He who did not spare 
his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with 
him, graciously give us all things?" (8:32). J. Schneider states that in Rom. 8:24 

we can see how strongly Paul was conscious of the inner relationship be- 
tween present and future salvation. The very fact that we have already been 
saved makes the expectation of final eschatological salvation the greater 
reality. Moreover, the final verdict is passed at that time. This future salva- 
tion ... is the goal towards which Christians press.* 

Ephesians contains the only two instances of salvation in the perfect tense in 
the New Testament: Eph. 2:5 and 2:8. Both verses emphasize grace: "For 
it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from 
yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast" 
(2:8-9). The perfect tense describes a past action that continues into the pre- 
sent. Believers have been saved from their transgressions and sins (2:1, 5) 
and saved into new life (2:5). They have been "raised up . . . with Christ 
and seated . . . with him in the heavenly realms" (2:6). Their salvation should 
also have the present effect of good works: "For we are God's workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for 
us to do" (2: 10). Although Paul emphasizes that works play no part in believers' 
past-tense salvation accomplished through Christ, he stresses that works play 
an integral part in the present. 


In Ephesians l:13f, the word "salvation" occurs in a context of past-tense 
verbs: "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of 
truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him 
with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit ..." The believers were saved when 
they heard the word of truth and believed; the evidence of their salvation is 
their possession of the Holy Spirit. But this salvation is still an interim state; 
the Holy Spirit is "a deposit guaranteeing [their] inheritance until the redemp- 
tion of those who are God's possession" (1:14; cf. 2 Cor. 5:5). 

In the Pastorals, past-tense salvation emphasizes grace, points forward in 
hope, and calls to present action. For example, in 2 Tim. 1:9, Paul states that 
God "has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we 
have done but because of his own purpose and grace." He adds that he trusts 
in God's ability to "guard what I have entrusted to him for that day" (1:12). 
Similarly, Titus 3:5-7 says that God 

saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his 
mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Ho- 
ly Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our 
Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs 
having the hope of eternal life. 

Vers6 8 adds that because of these things believers should "devote themselves 
to doing what is good." 

Thus, Paul describes salvation in the past tense to emphasize God's grace 
accomplished through Christ, to assure believers of their future salvation, and 
to urge believers to ethical action in the present. The Holy Spirit serves both 
as evidence of believers' past salvation and as a downpayment on their future 

Instances of salvation in the present tense in Paul's letters are nearly as rare 
as instances of the past tense. Only one example in the undisputed letters is 
unambiguously present tense, if present tense is defined as salvation occurr- 
ing in the present in the life of believers. Phil. 2:12 states: "[As] you have 
always obeyed . . . continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembl- 
ing, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good 
purpose." Salvation here appears as a cooperative enterprise. In a chapter 
describing the attitudes and actions believers should exhibit, Paul tells the Philip- 
pians to further their salvation as God enables them to "will" and "act" in 
ways that please him. God is still the one who makes salvation possible, but 
believers have a responsibility to cooperate with him. Paul implies that God's 
enabling frees believers from the power of sin in the present. The reference 
to "fear and trembling" suggests that believers have no room for complacen- 
cy. Their salvation is intimately connected with their obedience: "work out 
your salvation" seems to be equivalent to "obey," suggesting that a continu- 
ing salvation is dependent upon obedience.^ 

Paul's reminder to Timothy that the Scriptures "are able to make you wise 
for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15) may also refer to 


salvation in the present tense. In verses 16-17, Paul further defines this salva- 
tion by describing the present role of Scripture in "teaching, rebuking, cor- 
recting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly 
equipped for every good work." Scripture assists the present salvation of 
believers by guiding them and stimulating their growth in the faith. It also 
equips them for ethical responsibility. As we have seen, good works play an 
important part in the present as an expression of believers' obedience and as 
a means of growth. 

Other instances of present-tense salvation seem to refer to the general offer 
of salvation that is available to unbelievers in the present. •" In 1 Cor. 1:18, 
Paul states: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are 
perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." Similarly, 
he says in 2 Cor. 2:15-16a: "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among 
those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are 
the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life." 

Paul is describing two categories of people, classified according to their 
responses to the gospel in the present: those people who are being saved (among 
whom he includes himself and his audience) and those people who are perishing. 
The expression "being saved" certainly describes God's gracious work in the 
present. It is, however, a corporate rather than an individual reference, and 
it may refer to a group to which God is adding people in the present rather 
than to God's present work in the lives of believers. Paul's ministry itself 
polarizes people into these two groups as they react in their different ways 
to the "knowledge of [God]" that God is revealing through him (2 Cor. 2: 14). 
Rudolf Bultmann's discussion of salvation in Paul focuses almost exclusively 
on this present aspect. He collapses past and future tenses into the present of 
existential decision: 

It means that the salvation-occurence continues to take place in the pro- 
clamation of the word. The salvation occurrence is eschatological occur- 
rence just in this fact, that it does not become a fact of the past but con- 
stantly takes place anew in the present. . . . Consequently, in the pro- 
clamation Christ himself, indeed God Himself, encounters the hearer, and 
the 'Now' in which the preached word sounds forth is the 'Now' of the 
eschatological occurrence itself." 

Paul's declaration that "now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of 
salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2, referring to Isaiah 49:8) seems to refer to the general 
offer of salvation. But Paul is writing this to believers, to those who have re- 
ceived God's grace; he uses this declaration to exhort them "not to receive 
God's grace in vain" (6: 1). In view of the Corinthians' problems with spiritual 
gifts, he may be urging them to use their many gifts for their proper purpose. 
They should pursue reconciliation rather than strife (5:18-20) and live for Christ 
rather than for themselves (5:15). However, since salvation is so closely con- 
nected with obedience, Paul may be implying that the Corinthians' self-centered 
and disorderly moral lives could put their salvation at risk. His exhoi:mtion 


certainly implies his urgent concern that they get their house in order. 

Thus, Paul discusses present salvation to remind believers of their respon- 
sibilities. While God is still the author of salvation in the present tense, believers 
participate in the process of salvation through their obedience. They grow in 
Christlikeness and share their knowledge of God with others. In general, 
present-tense salvation seems to correspond to sanctification. 

This progressive aspect of salvation is confirmed by other passages that speak 
of God's continuing work in the life of the believer. For example, Paul states 
in 2 Cor. 4:16: "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we 
are being renewed day by day." He seems to suggest in 2 Cor. 3:18 that even 
glory has a progressive aspect: "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect 
the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing 
glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. "'^ The references to 
present-tense salvation often occur in a corporate context, suggesting that work- 
ing out one's salvation takes place within the body of believers. 

Salvation, for Paul, is predominantly future.'^ As we have seen, even his 
uses of salvation in past and present tense have a forward-looking aspect. Wrede 
has observed: "The whole Pauline conception of salvation is characterized 
by suspense; a suspense which strains forwards towards the final release . . . " "* 
Salvation in its fullest sense is eschatological: 

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you 
to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than 
when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. 
So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 
(Rom. 13:11-12) 

Complete salvation has not yet occurred, but it is growing "nearer." Paul 
explains this to illuminate the "present time" as one in which the Age to Come 
is already active.'^ Believers who know that the time is shortened will "behave 
decently" (13:13) and presevere in anticipation of the Day of the Lord. 

Believers were already saved from their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1, 5). 
In the present, believers are being saved from the power of sin (Phil. 2:13, 
2 Cor. 5:15, 17; cf. Eph. 2:1-10). In the last day, believers will be saved from 
God's wrath (his righteous response to sin) and from death (the result of sin): 
"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through 
our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, 
we may live together with him" (1 Thess. 5:9-10).'^ 

Modern American Christians give little thought to God's wrath. Bultmann 
comes closer to Paul's perspective when he observes that "Christian faith in 
the grace of God does not consist in the conviction that God's wrath does not 
exist or that there is no threatening impending judgment (II Cor. 5:10), but 
in the conviction of being rescued from God's wrath . . ."•'' Romans 5:9-10 
states: "Since we have now been justified by [Christ's] blood, how much more 
shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's 
enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much 


more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" Justifica- 
tion and reconciliation have already been accomplished through Christ's death. 
Salvation is yet to come, but believers can have assurance of their coming 
salvation because of God's gracious work for them in the past.'^ Because Christ 
now lives (5:10), believers will also live. Because of their assurance, they can 
"rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ" in the present (5:11). 

Nevertheless, Paul makes clear that believers have no room for complacen- 
cy. They will be saved from wrath, but not from judgment: 

[Each person's] work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will 
bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the qual- 
ity of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his 
reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, 
but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Cor. 3:13-15) 

Believers must build on the foundation of Jesus Christ (3:11). The work they 
do will be judged on the last day, and they will receive reward or loss based 
on that work. Paul does not suggest that believers earn their future salvation 
by their works, but he does stress the seriousness with which God regards 
their actions. As Sanders expresses it, "[Salvation] is by grace but judgment 
is according to works; works are the condition of remaining 'in', but they do 
not earn salvation. "•' A similar distinction between works and personal salva- 
tion seems to occur in 1 Cor. 5:5. Paul describes the judgment succinctly in 
2 Cor. 5: 10: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that 
each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, 
whether good or bad." 

While future salvation is not earned by works, it does seem to be condi- 
tional. Paul tells the Corinthians: "By this gospel you are saved, if you hold 
firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain" 
(1 Cor. 15:2). If they do not "hold firmly to the word," Paul suggests, they 
will have "believed in vain." This must mean that believers can do something 
to forfeit their salvation. The expression "believed in vain" would be mean- 
ingless unless someone who had actually believed could fail to receive the final 
salvation. Paul exhorts Timothy in a similar fashion: "Watch your life and 
doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both 
yourself and your hearers" (1 Tim. 4:16). This verse implies that Timothy 
has the option not to persevere.^" 

We have already seen in Romans 8 the effects of future salvation: adoption 
as sons, the redemption of believers' bodies, and sharing in Christ's glory. 
Other passages expand upon these themes. For example, 2 Tim. 2:10 describes 
future salvation as glory: "Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the 
elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eter- 
nal glory." Philippians 3:20-21 connects this glory with the believer's resur- 
rection body: "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior 
from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring 
everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will 


be like his glorious body."^^ As Beker has pointed out, Paul sees a necessary 
connection between Christ's resurrection and the resurrection of believers. ^^ 

Paul declares in 2 Thess. 2: 13-14 that glory was in God's plan for believers 
since before creation: "[From] the beginning God chose you to be saved 
through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He 
called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of 
our Lx)rd Jesus Christ." Because of their hope, they should cooperate with 
the "sanctifying work of the Spirit" and persevere: "So then, brothers, stand 
firm and hold to the teachings I passed on to you . . ." (2:15). 

Thus, future salvation can be summarized as glorification. Believers will 
share in Christ's glory, and their bodies will be transformed in the resurrec- 
tion to resemble his.^' Final salvation will bring to completion the conformity 
to Christ's image that has begun in the present. 2"* Paul refers to future salva- 
tion to give his readers hope, urge them to action, and warn them against com- 
placency. Believers can have assurance of God's commitment to their future 
salvation because of what he has already done for them, but they must take 
seriously their own responsibility to live out the salvation they have already 
been given. They can wear their "hope of salvation" as a helmet to protect 
them in their struggles in the present life (1 Thess. 5:8, Eph. 6:17).^' Future 
salvation, for Paul, can also have a strong corporate emphasis. The greatest 
concentration of salvation terms in Romans occurs in chapters 9-11, where 
Paul discusses the future salvation of Israel. 

Paul's concept of the three tenses of salvation has many implications for 
the lives of believers. His emphasis on future salvation should challenge the 
stress that modern evangelicals and fundamentalists have placed on past-tense 
salvation. Paul does not allow believers to rest complacently on their conver- 
sion. For Paul, believers should look forward, not back. They should move 
forward in cooperation with God's continuing salvation in the present and look 
forward with anticipation to God's completion of salvation at the Parousia. 
Modern believers have largely lost Paul's sense of expectancy in general and 
his sense of the urgency of evangelism. As Ridderbos observes, "[The] cer- 
tainty that in Christ the day of salvation, the acceptable time, has dawned does 
not mean the end of redemptive expectation, but only makes it increase in in- 
tensity. "^^ 

The future orientation of salvation also underscores the fundamental place 
of resurrection in the Christian faith — both Christ's resurrection and the resur- 
rection of believers. Paul looked forward to life in a resurrection body trans- 
formed in the final salvation to resemble the glorified body of Christ. His view 
corrects the overrealized and overspiritualized eschatology that is prevalent 
in many modem churches. 

In Paul's view, believers find themselves living between the salvation that 
has already been accomplished and the salvation that is yet to come. They par- 
ticipate both in the present world and in the world to come. This tension is 
reflected in Paul's use of flesh and spirit: "But if Christ is in you, your body 
is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness" (Rom. 


8:10)." Likewise, in 2 Cor. 4:16, Paul says: "Though outwardly we are 
wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." Now that 
they have been empowered through the Holy Spirit, believers have an obliga- 
tion to live according to the Spirit rather than according to the flesh (Rom. 
8: 12-14). They must choose to live by the Spirit in order to manifest the fruit 
of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-25). In other words, they must work out their own 
salvation (Phil. 2: 12-13). But they must do so in a world that has not yet been 

Paul uses the three tenses of salvation to give believers a greater sense of 
their ethical responsibility. Furnish sees in Paul's view of salvation a dialectic 
of present and future that corresponds to his dialectic between indicative and 
imperative. 2* Beker contends that the future orientation of salvation fuels Paul's 
ethics: "[The] apocalyptic dawn of God's triumph in Christ provides Paul's 
gospel with its fundamental ethical motivation."^' Believers are responsible 
for working out their salvation by obeying Christ as Lord. They can expect 
to be saved from sin and from wrath, but they cannot expect to be saved from 
suffering in this life or from judgment in the next. 

Paul's concept of salvation includes assurance, but not eternal security. If 
future salvation were inevitable for believers, Paul would have no need to ex- 
hort them to persevere. Paul does not base their assurance on their conversion 
experience, but on Christ's completed work, the present activity of the Holy 
Spirit, and the promise that their resurrection will follow from Christ's.^" 

Paul's concept should give believers a more theocentric rather than an- 
thropocentric view of salvation. God's purposes include not only the salva- 
tion of individuals, but the redemption of all creation, which "was subjected 
to frustration" and "has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up 
to the present time" (Rom. 8:20, 22). Martin argues that Paul's idea of salva- 
tion includes — in fact, is grounded upon — global and even cosmic recon- 
ciliation: "Salvation, therefore, suggests an omnibus term to embrace a wide 
range of human needs; but it presupposes and builds on the prior action of 
God who has reconciled the world to himself."^' The "groaning" of human 
beings and the rest of creation, while it expresses the incompleteness of pre- 
sent salvation, is also a confirmation of the coming redemption. ^^ Completed 
salvation will be comprehensive: "Paul's overall descriptive term for the final 
victory of God in the coming age, when the last enemy shall have been 
destroyed and God shall reign as the unchallenged Sovereign above all, is 5a/va- 

Finally, this view of salvation affects the believer's view of God. Paul por- 
trays a Savior who is intimately involved and active in the believer's life in 
past, present, and future. His work is not complete with conversion; it con- 
tinues until the final judgment. His love chose believers for salvation from 
the beginning (1 Thess. 5:9), but he also requires obedience and growth. He 
takes seriously any sin in the believer's life. In all three tenses of salvation, 
believers must be utterly dependent upon him. 

Nevertheless, Paul's three tenses of salvation cannot be strictly separated. 


Salvation as past event and present activity serve as the basis for future hope.''* 
Titus 2:11-14, in describing the purpose of salvation, summarizes all three 
tenses, as well as their present implications for believers: 

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches 
us to say "No" to ungodliness and wordly passions, and to live self- 
controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for 
the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, 
Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness 
and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what 
is good. 


•For example, A. M. Hunter believes that salvation is "a more comprehen- 
sive word [than either justification or communion with Christ] to express the 
richness and range of Christianity according to St. Paul." The Gospel Accor- 
ding to Paul (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1966), p. 14. H. D. McDonald ex- 
presses the same opinion in Salvation (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 
1982), p. 26. 

^Hunter, p. 15. Hunter devotes a chapter to each of the three tenses of salva- 
tion, but he uses those headings to discuss soteriology in general. Similarly, 
Millard Erickson devotes only two paragraphs to the tenses of salvation as 
such (p. 888-89), but the concept underlies the organization of his section on 
soteriology. His chapter titles include "The Beginning of Salvation," "The 
Continuation of Salvation," and "The Completion of Salvation." Christian 
Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983-85). 

^ Among the disputed letters I will include 2 Thess., Col., Eph., 1 Tim., 
2 Tim., and Titus. See Richard N. Soulen, Handbook of Biblical Criticism, 
2nd ed. (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1981), p. 54. All Biblical citations will 
be from the New International Version. 

'*Hunter states: "Salvation as a past event rests on the 'finished work of 
Christ' — what he did for men on the Cross — and looks back to the time 
when the sinner, by the decision of faith, made that deliverance his own" (p. 

'In his discussion of the title "'soter'' in the New Testament, Oscar Cullmann 
points to some Pauline passages in which Christ has "already fulfilled his role 
as Soter"" and others which expect him to fulfill that role "at the end of days." 
He observes that this tension between past and future "is characteristic of the 
whole New Testament and in particular of New Testament Christology." The 
Christology of the New Testament, translated by Shirley C. Guthrie and Charles 
A. M. Hall (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1963), p. 244. 


^Victor Paul Furnish, Theology and Ethics in Paul (Nashville: Abingdon, 
1968), p. 127-28. 

'Rabbinic Judaism would have regarded the activity of the Holy Spirit as 
evidence that the Messianic age had dawned. The Judaism in which Paul was 
raised believed that the Holy Spirit had ceased to act in the present but ex- 
pected to see him come again in the future. W. D. Davies, Paul and Rabbinic 
Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980), p. 215-16. 

Wew International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, edited by Colin 
Brown (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), 3:214. Furnish states: "Precisely 
because God's love is already powerfully present and active in his Spirit, there 
is hope for something more, namely, the fulfillment of salvation, the comple- 
tion and perfection of God's redemptive activity" (p. 132). 

'E. P. Sanders notes that obedience, for Paul, does not earn salvation, but 
disobedience can exclude one from salvation. Paul and Palestinian Judaism 
(Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977), p. 518. 

>°W. Foerster states that the present tense of salvation "expresses the fact 
that the way to soteria or apoleia is not yet closed." In Gerhard Friedrich, 
ed.. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited and translated by 
Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), 7:992. 

^^Theology of the New Testament, 2 vols., translated by Kendrick Grobel 
(New York: Scribner's, 1951-55), p. 302. 

'^See Furnish, p. 126. 

'^As Foerster observes, "Primarily, then, soteria is for Paul a fiiture, 
eschatological term" (7:992). See also Furnish, p. 122. 

'■^W. Wrede, Paul, translated by Edward Lummis (Boston: American 
Unitarian Association, 1908), p. 105. Wrede explains this suspense in terms 
of the eschatological significance of Christ's work: "The redemptive act must 
itself be reckoned as belonging to the final age; it is the first act of the last 
development, an act which must be followed swiftly and of necessity by all 
the rest. This makes the suspense, the forward outlook, especially intellig- 
ible" (p. 105). 

'^G. E. Ladd remarks that justification itself is eschatological, in that the 
final acquittal does not take place until the Day of the Lord. But the Age to 
Come ' 'has reached back into the present evil age to bring its soteric blessings 
to men." A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), 
p. 441-42. 

'^As R. McL. Wilson states, salvation "means deliverance from sin, and 
from the power of sin; it means deliverance from wrath and judgment . . . 
and it means deliverance from death, for in a very real sense sin is death." 
"'Soteria,'" Scottish Journal of Theology 6 (1953): 412. 


I'Bultmann, p. 288. 

'^Foerster confirms that sozomai and soteria "in contrast to justification, 
reconciliation and redemption, refer to future, eschatological salvation" 

•'Sanders, p. 542. 

20A conditional salvation seems to be in view in 1 Tim. 2:5: "But she will 
be saved through childbearing — if they continue in faith, love and holiness 
with propriety" (NIV mg.). The precise nature of the subject and the condi- 
tion, however, have been the subject of much debate. 

2' Wilson notes that "salvation is not, as for the Greeks, the deliverance of 
man's immortal soul from the bondage of the body; it concerns the whole man, 
body and soul together, in every aspect of his life and every part of his being" 
(p. 413). 

^^A. Christiaan Beker, Paul's Apocalyptic Gospel: The Coming Triumph of 
God (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982), p. 46. 

23The evidence in Paul strongly favors the interpretation that believers will 
receive their glorified bodies at the resurrection, rather than at death, as Hunter 
(p. 56) and Davies (p. 318) argue. 

2'*" [Being] conformed to the image of His Son ... is the positive content 
of eschatological salvation." Foerster, 7:993. 

^'Furnish describes how Paul alters the Old Testament image of the helmet 
of salvation in Is. 59:17 to convey the idea of a future hope (p. 122). 

^^Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, translated by John 
Richard DeWitt (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), p. 487. 

2'Ridderbos notes that in Paul, the flesh is connected with the old aeon, while 
the Spirit is connected with the new aeon that has broken in (p. 66). 

^^Furnish, p. 126. 

2'Beker, p. 89. As Beker expresses it, "The ethical activity of the Christian 
then is motivated not only by the power of Christ in the Spirit but also by 
the beckoning power of God's Kingdom. And so both God\ past act in Christ 
and his future act in the resurrection of the dead converge on Christian life 
in the present" (p. 87). 

^"Ralph Martin has pointed out that Paul never appeals to believers' ex- 
perience of salvation as the basis of their assurance. "Instead he announced 
the arrival of the new age and cast his lot with the new beginning that had 
been made in world history." Reconciliation: A Study of Paul's Theology 
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989), p. 40. 

^'Martin, p. 40, 42. 


'^Ridderbos, p. 53. 

^^Furnish, p. 122. 

3'*Foerster states: "In the NT, however, only the event of the historical com- 
ing, suffering and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth brings salvation from God's 
wrath by the forgiveness of sins" (7:1002). 


Beker, A. Christiaan. Paul's Apocalyptic Gospel: The Coming Triumph of God. 
Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982. 

Brown, Colin, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. 
4 vols. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986. 

Bultmann, Rudolf. Theology of the New Testament. 2 vols. New York: 
Scribner's, 1951-55. 

CuUmann, Oscar. The Christology of the New Testament. Philadelphia: 
Westminster Press, 1963. 

Davies, W. D. Paul and Rabbinic Judaism. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980. 

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985. 

Furnish, Victor Paul. Theology and Ethics in Paul. Nashville: Abingdon, 1968. 

Hunter, Archibald M. The Gospel According to Paul. Philadelphia: 
Westminster, 1966. 

Kittel, Gerhard, and Friedrich, Gerhard, eds. Theological Dictionary of the 
New Testament. 10 vols. Edited by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1964. 

Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerd- 
mans, 1974. 

Martin, Ralph P. Reconciliation: A Study of Paul's Theology. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1989. 

McDonald, H. D. Salvation. Westchester, IL: Cross way Books, 1982. 

Ridderbos, Herman. Paul: An Outline of His Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerd- 
mans, 1975. 

Sanders, E. P. Paul and Palestinian Judaism. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 

Soulen, Richard N. Handbook of Biblical Critisicm, 2nd ed. Atlanta: John 
Knox Press, 1981. 

Wilson, R. McL. "'Soteria.'' Scottish Journal of Theology 6 (1953): 406-16. 


Wrede, W. Paul. Translated by Edward Lummis. Boston: American Unitarian 
Association, 1908. 


From The Scriptures To The Sermon 
I. Some Perspectives On Preaching 

By J. I. Packer* 

"I urge you, Timothy, as we live in the sight of God and of Christ Jesus 
(whose coming in power will judge the living and the dead), to preach the 
Word of God. Never lose your sense of urgency, in season or out of season. 
Prove, correct, and encourage, using the utmost patience in your teaching." 
Thus J. B. Phillips, that prince of paraphrasts, renders the first two verses 
of 2 Timothy 4. Note the aspects of the communicative action that Paul 
prescribes (they are all there in the Greek): proclamation, demonstration, cor- 
rection, instruction. Note the commitment to the preaching ministry for which 
Paul calls: press on, he says, with utmost urgency and stick-to-it-ive-ness (a 
fine North American word that catches the force of makrothumia better than 
does the English scholar's "patience"). And now consider whether we 
evangelicals, who so often cite these words of Paul to each other and who 
claim to know so clearly that the preaching of the Word is the power-source 
of the church, can be said to succeed in rising to the demands of this insight 
that we inherit. I think it must be honestly admitted that often we fail here; 
we do not succeed in preaching the Word of God as plainly, pungently, and 
powerfully as we would like to do. What follows is offered in the hope that 
it will help us to preach better. If you do not find my thoughts useful, please 
remember that, like so many of our unsuccessful sermons, they were at least 
well meant. 


First let me focus the concept of preaching the Word of God as I think it 
ought to be focused. I do not define preaching institutionally or sociologic- 
ally, but theologically and functionally. An institutional definition would pre- 
sent preaching in terms of buildings, pulpits, and pews.^ A sociological defini- 
tion would view preaching as a special kind of monologue fulfilling specific 
corporate expectations on the part of the group being addressed. Both types 
of definition are no doubt useful in their place; but if one is, or hopes to be, 
a preacher oneself, and wants to know what fulfilling the ministry that Paul 
urged upon Timothy really involves, then a theological definition that shows 
what should happen when preaching takes place is what one needs. Here, then, 
is my attempt to formulate this concept in normative theological terms. 

Christian preaching, I urge, is the event of God bringing to an audience 
a Bible-based, Christ-related, life-impacting message of instruction anddirec- 

* Dr. Packer is professor of historical and systematic theology at Regent Col- 
lege, Vancouver. This article and the next were delivered at ATS's fall lec- 
ture series in 1989. 


tionfrom himself through the words of a spokesperson. Please note the following 
points about this definition. First, it is theological: it conceptualizes preaching 
in terms not of human performance but of divine communication. Also, it is 
prophetic: it views God as speaking his own message via a messenger whose 
sole aim is to receive and relay what God gives. Furthermore, it is incarna- 
tional: for it envisages God embodying his communication in the person of 
the messenger who both delivers it and, in delivering it, models response to 
it. Phillips Brooks' famous delineation of preaching as truth through personality^ 
points to the way in which personal attitudes to God and man come through 
in the course of declaring God's message, and the demeanor of preachers in 
their messenger-role as bearers of God's truth and wisdom to people whom 
God loves will always, for better or for worse, become part of their message 
and affect the impact that they make. Jesus himself, God's incarnate Son, is 
of course the paradigm case here. Finally, this normative definition of preaching 
has a critical function to fulfill; for it obliges us to test pulpit utterances, and 
to say of any that was not Bible-based, Christ-related, and life-impacting, in 
a sufficient sense, that, whatever else it was, it was not preaching in the full 
and proper meaning of that word. 

Preaching as described is necessary for a healthy church. Without a regular 
diet of Bible-based, Christ-related, Ufe-impacting messages from God the mind- 
set of a congregation will become either institutionalist and sacramentalist, 
as in old-style Roman Catholicism where there was no effective preaching, 
or moralistic and legalistic, as in liberal Prostestant congregations where the 
agenda is social service and God is expected to accept one for doing it. Where 
there is preaching of the type described, however, the Bible will be received 

So I do not equate preaching with what is called sermonizing or pulpiteer- 
ing. Not every performance from the preacher's podium is preaching. It is 
notorious that some sermonizing produces only bitter wisecracks about the 
pulpit as coward's castle, and preachers as standing six feet above contradic- 
tion, talking at rather than to their hearers, and as climaxing invisibility dur- 
ing the week with incomprehensibility on Sunday, and so on. But such ser- 
monizing, which is certainly bad preaching, may be my definition not be 
preaching at all, though the institutional and sociological definitions would 
compel us to call it that. From my theological standpoint, what is said from 
the pulpit is only preaching if its content conforms to the specification stated 
above. Conversely, any communication that fulfills these specifications ought 
to be categorized as preaching, whereever and however it is done — as when 
Philip sat in the Ethiopian eunuch's chariot and "told him the good news about 
Jesus" (Acts 8:35, NFV; KJV had "preached unto him Jesus;" the Greek word 
is euangelizomai , one of the two main New Testament terms for declaring 
the gospel). For the New Testament, a Christian spokesman preaches (kerusso) 
only when some aspect of the God-given message concerning Christ (the 
kerygma) is the content of the utterance. This is not our usual modem way 
of looking at the matter, but it is the biblical way, and it is always best to 
follow the Bible. 


as the Word of God, because it will constantly be impacting people as just 
that; Jesus Christ will be known and loved, because he will constantly be pro- 
jected as lover and Savior of our souls; and Christians will grow and flourish 
through being fed on true spiritual food. Surely it is beyond dispute that a 
church made and kept healthy by authentic preaching must ever be our goal. 

Today's evangelicalism has behind it a noble heritage of preaching. The 
Reformation itself grew out of practical biblical preaching with Christ at the 
center. The great Puritan movement (and it was great) was sustained on both 
sides of the Atlantic by preaching of this kind. The eighteenth-century revival 
in Britain and the Great Awakening in New England were profound spiritual 
movements with powerful evangelical preaching at their heart. In the nine- 
teenth century men like Charles H. Spurgeon sustained magnificent ministries 
by preaching in this fashion, and more recently men like Donald Barnhouse 
and Marty n Lloyd-Jones have done the same. But the great tradition is cur- 
rently tapering off. Why is this? we ask; what has happened to eclipse the 
grand-scale presentations of the works, ways, and will of God, through which 
evangelicalism once grew lively and strong? It is not, I think, that preachers 
as a body have stopped caring about preaching or trying to do it properly; 
the problem goes deeper, and arises in the first instance from the drift of our 
culture. We live in days in which the credibility of faithful biblical preaching 
is radically doubted, not only outside but also inside the churchs, and misguided 
but insistent expectations on the part of listeners put many difficulties in the 
way of faithful preaching that were not there before. Five factors in particular 
operate in this way; we need to be aware of them, so I propose to review them 

First, the prevalence of non-preaching in Christian pulpits has eroded 
awareness of what true preaching is. 

Lack of good models tends always to lower standards, and unfortunately 
good models have been in short supply throughout this century. Far too many 
pulpit discourses have been put together on wrong principles. Some have failed 
to open up Scripture; some have expounded biblical doctrine without apply- 
ing it, thus qualifying as lectures rather than preachments (for lecturing aims 
only to clear the head, while preaching seeks to change the life); some have 
been no more than addresses focusing the present self-awareness of the listeners, 
but not at any stage confronting them with the Word of God; some have been 
mere statements of the preacher's opinion, based merely on his own exper- 
tise, rather than messages from God carrying divine authority. Such discourses 
are less than preaching, as was stated previously, but because they were an- 
nounced as sermons they are treated as preaching and people's idea of preaching 
gets formed in terms of them, so that the true conception of preaching is 

It is often said, and truly, that sermons must teach Bible truth, and that the 
renewal of preaching needed today will take its rise from a fresh awareness 
that this is so; my slighting reference to some content-laden sermons as lec- 
tures rather than preachments may therefore have seemed perplexing. But 


preaching is more than teaching — not less, but more! Preaching is essentially 
teaching /7/m5 application (invitation, direction, summons), and where that plus 
is lacking something less than preaching takes place. Study of printed sermons 
from past generations reveals that older evangelical preachers kept a careful 
balance between doctrinal content as such (biblical orthodoxy) and practical 
and experiential applications (biblical orthopraxy) — something like half and 
half in most messages. In our day, however, the balance has been largely lost, 
and sermons tend to be either all doctrinal content without application, or all 
exhortation without doctrinal content; and to the extent to which either form 
of imbalance prevails, both types of utterance become instances of non- 
preaching, and very inadequate models, therefore, of what preaching ought 
to be. Many in our churches have never experienced preaching of the historic 
evangelical sort at all. 

Second, topical as distinct from textual preaching has become common in 
North America (less so in Britain and elsewhere). 

For sermons to explore announced themes rather than biblical passages is 
a twentieth-century development, and hardly a happy one. Why should it have 
occurred? Partly, I suppose, to make preaching appear interesting and impor- 
tant to a generation that has largely lost interest in the pulpit; partly, no doubt, 
to make the sermon seem different from what goes on in the Bible class before 
public worship starts; partly, too, I am sure, because many topical preachers 
do not trust their Bible enought to let it speak for itself and utter its own message 
through their lips. Whatever the reasons, however, the results are unhealthy. 
In a topical sermon any text taken is reduced to a peg on which the speaker 
hangs his own line of thought. The shape and thrust of his message thus reflect 
no more than his own idea of what is good for people, and then the only author- 
ity that the sermon can have is the human authority of a knowledgeable per- 
son speaking with emphasis (raising his voice, perhaps, and even banging the 
pulpit). To my mind, topical sermons of this sort, no matter how biblical their 
component parts may be, cannot but fall short of being preaching in the full 
sense, just because in them the authority of God speaking is dissolved, more 
or less, into the authority of human religious expertise. Many in our churches 
have only ever been exposed to topical preaching of this kind: no wonder then 
that they do not appreciate what real preaching might be. 

Third, low expectations become self-fuUfiUing. Where little is expected from 
sermons, little is received. 

Many moderns have never been taught to expect sermons to matter much, 
and so their habit at sermon time is to relax, settle back and wait to see if 
anything the preacher says will catch their interest. Most of today's congrega- 
tions and preachers seem to be at one in neither asking nor anticipating that 
God will come to meet his people in the preaching; so it is no wonder if this 
fails to happen. According to your unbelief, we might say, be it unto you! 
Just as it takes two to tango, so ordinarily it takes an expectant, praying con- 
gregation, along with a preacher who knows what he is about, to make an 
authentic preaching occasion. A century ago in Reformed circles in Britain 


the regular question to a person coming from church was, how did he or she 
"get on" under the preaching of the Word: this reflected the expectancy of 
which I am speaking. Nowadays, however, on both sides of the Atlantic, the 
commoner question is, how did the preacher "get on" in his stated pulpit per- 
formance, and this shows how interest has shifted and the mental attitude has 
changed. It is now assumed that those who sit under the preaching are observers, 
measuring the preacher's performance, rather than participants waiting for the 
Word of God. Many in our congregations do not know that there is any other 
way of listening to sermons than this way of detached passivity, and no one 
should be surprised to find that those who cultivate such passivity often dismiss 
preaching as an uneventful bore. Those who seek little find little. 

Fourth, the power of speech to communicate significance has in our Western 
culture become suspect, so that any form of oratory, rhetoric, or dramatic em- 
phasis to show the weight and significance of stated facts tends to ahenate rather 
than convince. 

This development is due mainly to the media. On radio and television strong 
expressions of feeling sound and look hysterical; cool and chatty intimacy is 
required if one is to communicate successfully. This standard of communicative 
sincerity is now applied everywhere. Prior to this century a preacher could 
use words dramatically and emphatically for up to an hour to set forth the 
majesty of God the King, the glory of Christ the Savior, the greatness of the 
soul, the momentous importance of eternity, and the significance of present 
reactions to the gospel message for determining personal destiny, and con- 
gregations appreciated the manner as being appropriate to the matter. 
Nowadays, that kind of utterance is widely felt to be false, as if passionate 
speech as such argues a purpose of browbeating and bludgeoning the mind, 
pulling the wool over the eyes, and carrying through a confidence trick. To 
avoid this suspicion, many preachers nowadays talk of spiritual life and death 
in a style better fitted to reading the sports results, and their cozy intimacy 
makes the theme itself seem trivial or unreal. The discrediting among us of 
grand-scale public speech puts preachers into what might well be felt to be 
a no- win situation. 

It was my privilege, forty years ago, to spend a winter under the preaching 
ministry of the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd- Jones, and to enjoy a working relation- 
ship with him for twenty years after that, so that I was able to observe from 
many angles his approach to the preacher's task. His gifts fitted him for grand- 
scale ministry, and his sense of spiritual reality told him that great things must 
be said in a way that projected their greatness. He could fairly be described 
as a nineteenth-century preacher born out of due time, and though he was ful- 
ly aware that the older type of preaching had become suspect and unfashion- 
able he continued to practise it and to encourage others to do the same. Com- 
bining the electric energy of the orator with the analytical precision of the court- 
room or the clinic, and focusing his businesslike rhetoric on the inner drama 
of the gracious hound of heaven capturing and changing sinners' benighted 
hearts, he communicated an overwhelming sense of the greatness of God and 


the weight of spiritual issues, and left behind him a large body of hearers, 
myself among them, who will for ever be thankful that as a modem man he 
deliberately swam against the stream and did the old thing. The vision of 
preaching that I gained from him, as from no one else, stays with me, and 
what I am saying now reflects, I am sure, my experience of the power of 
preaching under his ministry. From the vantage-point that this experience gave 
me, I urge that the only real way forward for preachers today is to follow 
Dr. Lloyd-Jones in cultivating an honesty with words that earns us the right 
to fly in the face of our laid-back culture and to dwell passionately, urgently, 
dramatically, and at appropriate length, on the desperately important agenda 
of the relationship between God and man. In this as in so much else, the old 
paths constitute the good way. But how few today, preachers or people, know it! 

Fifth, spiritual issues themselves, issues of radical repentance, self-despairing 
faith, costly cross-bearing as central to discipleship, spending and being spent 
in order to do others good, putting holiness before happiness, and keeping 
the world out of one's heart, are felt to be irrelevant by many church attenders. 

The problem that preachers face here is that church attendance for many 
has little or nothing to do with the quest for God. Why then are they in church 
at all? The answers are all too familiar. Because churchgoing is the mark of 
a respectable and trustworthy citizen; or because attending an appropriate ethnic 
or denominational church helps one keep alive one's cultural heritage; or 
because the genial and relaxed regularities of Sunday worship help to stabilize 
a hectic life; or because faithful churchgoing is thought to guarantee some kind 
of happy lot in the next world; or because one likes the people one meets at 
church; and so on. There are many such reasons, but none of them has anything 
to do with knowing and loving God and none of them, therefore, fosters any 
spiritual interest in preaching. So when preachers point the way to a richer 
relationship with God, this type of hearer feels a sense of irrelevance, and 
his or her heart is inclined to say: here is a religious professional talking about 
the things he is paid to talk about; I am not a religious preofessional, so none 
of that is really my business; however, I will sit through it patiently, as good 
manners require. Preachers, for their part, know that this is how many of their 
hearers are thinking, so they strain every nerve to speak in a way that will 
lead persons without spiritual interest to rate them fascinating, relevant, and 
smart. How we love to be rated smart! But this preoccupation makes against 
faithful spiritual preaching, and results in congregations not experiencing 
faithful spiritual preaching for long periods together. 

All these factors tend to set up wrong standards and thus constitute obstacles 
to the kind of preaching that I seek to commend. However, difficulties are 
there to be overcome; so I proceed. 


In what I have said so far I have been clearing the ground for discussion 
of my main concern in this presentation, which is to show what authority in 
preaching means and to suggest how it might be reestablished in today's 


churches. My interest at this stage centers not on homiletics, that is, the 
technical procedures whereby preachers bring to us what they have to tell us 
about God, but rather on the theology of preaching, that is, the supernatural 
process whereby God through his messenger brings to us what he has to tell 
us about himself. Preaching as a work of God, mediating the authority of God, 
is my theme, and the rest of my space will be devoted to its development in 
a direct way. 

My first step in opening up my theme must be to outline what I mean when 
I speak of the authority of God. Authority is a multi-faceted relationship with 
a moral and intellectual as well as a governmental side: the basic idea is of 
a claim to exercise control that is founded on having the right, power, and 
competence to do it. The authority that belongs to God springs from his 
sovereign dominion over us as his dependent creatures, linked with the moral 
perfection of all his dealings with us. Holy Scripture, "God's Word written" 
(Anglican Article 25), is the instrument of God's authority; our Lord Jesus 
Christ exercises and embodies it; and the Holy Spirit induces acknowledg- 
ment of it by making us realize the reality of the Father and the Son as they 
address us in all their awesomeness, holiness, and graciousness. God speaks 
through his Word, written and preached, and our preaching of the Word should 
match the Spirit's strategy — that is, we should always be seeking to bring 
home God's reality and authority to human minds and hearts by elucidating 
and applying Holy Scripture. Encounter with the living, authoritative Lord 
brings spiritual understanding and life as we hear and respond to his call for 
trust and obedience, praise and worship, and the preacher's aim should ever 
be to occasion this edifying encounter. The discussion on which we now enter 
seeks to show something of what this means, and so to help us set our sights 
as preachers more effectively. 

I ask three questions. 

First: what does it mean for preaching to be marked by authority? 

The answer I propose is that authority in preaching is a reality in every situa- 
tion in which the following things are true. 

(1) There is no doubt about the nature of what is happening: the Bible is 
doing the talking. The preacher is treating himself as a mouthpiece for the 
biblical word of God, and that word is coming through. He has resisted the 
temptation to stand in front of his text, as it were, speaking for it as if it could 
not speak for itself, and putting himself between it and the congregation; in- 
stead, he is making it his business to focus everyone's attention on the text, 
to stand behind it rather than in front of it, to become its servant, and to let 
it deliver its message through him. As the Westminster Directory for Public 
Worship put it, three and a half centuries ago, what the preacher presents must 
be "contained in or grounded on (his) text, that the hearers may discern how 
God teacheth it from thence.'' Preaching has authority only when the message 
comes as a word from God himself, and that only happens when what is said 
is perceived as, in the words of the Westminster Confession (I.x), "the Holy 
Spirit speaking in the Scripture," and that perception only occurs as the 


preacher labors to let the text talk through him about that with which, like 
every other text in the Bible, it is ultimately dealing — God and man in rel- 
tionship, one way or another. If what is presented appears as the preacher's 
ideas, it can have only human authority at best; when, however, the preacher 
serves the written Word in a way that lets it speak for itself, its divine author- 
ity is felt. 

(2) There is no doubt about the purpose of what is happening: response to 
God is being called for. The preacher, as spokesman for the text, is seeking 
not only to inform and persuade, but to evoke an appropriate answer to what 
God through the text is saying and showing. Man's answer will consist of repen- 
tance, faith, obedience, love, effort, hope, fear, zeal, joy, praise, prayer, or 
some blend of these; for such are the dispositional qualities, springing from 
the heart into devotional and doxological expression, that God everywhere re- 
quires. The preacher is hoping, under God, to reproduce the state of affairs 
that Paul looked back to when he wrote to the Romans, "you wholeheartedly 
obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted" (Rom. 6:17). The 
teaching is God's testimony, command, and promise; the preacher entrusts 
his hearers to it by begging them to respond to it and assuring them that God 
will fulfill his promises to them as they do so; and in this process the divine 
authority of the messsage is felt. 

(3) There is no doubt about the perspective of what is happening: the 
preaching is practical. This point is an extension of the last. What is being 
said would not be preaching at all were it not life-centered. Communication 
from the text is only preaching as it is applied and brought to bear on the 
Usteners with a life-changing thrust. Without this, as was said earlier, it would 
merely be a lecture — that is, a discourse designed merely to clear people's 
heads and stock their minds, but no in any direct way to change their lives. 

I must confess that I do not think that present-day evangelical pulpit is strong 
here. Reacting against the kind of preaching that too often marks the liberal 
pulpit, in which the speaker offers personal reflections on human and reUgious 
life, too many of us preach messages that suffer from what might be called 
"doctrinal overload." With thirty minutes in which to preach, we spend twenty- 
eight of them teaching general principles of divine truth from our text, and 
only for the last minute or two do we engage in any form of application. But 
there is little sense of God's authority where so much of the message is lec- 
ture and so little applicaton is found. 

A wiser way of preceeding, and one that mediated a very vivid sense of 
divine authority, was that followed by Dr. Martyn Lloyd- Jones in the greatest 
days of his preaching ministry. The introductions to his pastoral and evangelistic 
sermons were very cunningly conceived. Having announced his text, he would 
spend the first few minutes of the sermon talking about some widely-felt 
perplexity of modern life, pointing out in everyday language that no adequate 
solution or remedy seemed to be in sight. In this he was operating on the wise 
principle, "scratch where it itches," and involving his hearers in a realization 
that this was their problem, pressing and inescapable. When he had secured 


their interest at this level, he would begin to demonstrate that this text gives 
God's angle on the problem and his answer to it, and the demonstration would 
be applicatory all the way. Not everyone who experienced the authority of 
God in the preaching of "the Doctor" discerned its source. Certainly, Dr. 
Lloyd Jones' personal power as a speaker and his humble, insightful submis- 
sion to his text had much to do with it, but much of the authority flowed from 
the fact that he was applying the truth in a searchingly practical way throughout 
to remedy the need that he had already brought his hearers to face and own. 
The more explicit the practical perspective, and the more overtly it involves 
the listeners, the more the divine authority of the preaching will be felt. 

(4) There is no doubt about the impact of what is happening: the presence 
and power of God are being experienced. The preaching mediates an encounter 
not merely with truth, but with God himself. A staggering throwaway line 
in 1 Corinthians 14 illustrates this. Paul is showing the superior usefulness 
of prophecy (speaking God's message in intelligible language) over tongues, 
and he says: "If the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in 
tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will 
they not say that you are out of your mind?" (Expected answer: yes.) "But 
if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody 
is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged 
by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and 
worship God, exclaiming, 'God is really among you!' " (1 Cor. 14:23-25). 
Whatever else in this passage is uncertain, four things at least are plain. First, 
prophecy as Paul speaks of it here corresponds in content to what we would 
call preaching the gospel: detecting sin, and announcing God's remedy. Se- 
cond, the expected effect of such prophecy was to create a sense of being in 
the present of the God of whom it spoke, and of being searched and convicted 
by him, and so being moved to humble oneself and worship him. Third, in 
the experience of both Paul and the Corinthians what Paul describes must have 
actually occurred, otherwise he could not have expected the Corinthians to 
believe his assertion: for that which never happened before cannot be predicted 
with such certainty. Fourth, Paul is anticipating a situation in which a divine 
authority in and through the preaching would be felt. 

To sum up, then: preaching is marked by authority when the message is 
a relaying of what is taught by the text, when active response to it is actively 
sought, when it is angled in a practical, applicatory way that involves the 
listeners' lives, and when God himself is encountered through it. So much 
for the first questions. 

Second: what are the hindrances to authority in our preaching? I can be brief 
here, since the points are so obvious. 

Lack of a clearly Bible-based, applicatory message, summoning its hearers 
one way or another to a deeper relationship with God in Christ, precludes the 
possibility of authority. 

Imprecision, confusion, and muddle in presentation, so that the message and 
its application cannot be clearly grasped, has the same effect. 


Self-projection also undermines and erodes authority. If by his words and 
manner the preacher focuses attention on himself, thus modelling some mode 
of self-absorption or self-satisfaction rather than humble response to the word 
that he proclaims, he precludes all possibility of his channelling any sense of 
divine authority: what he does not feel himself he cannot mediate to others. 
James Denney said somewhere that you cannot convey the impression both 
that you are a great preacher and that Jesus Christ is a great Savior; he might 
have added: or that the Lord is a great God. God-projection and Christ- 
projection rather than self-projection is the way to communicate and engender 
in one's hearers a sense of divine authority in one's preaching. 

Self-reliance in the act of preaching is a further hindrance to true authority 
in preaching, just as self-projection is. It too has the effect of inducing the 
hearers to attend to the messenger rather than the message — in other words, 
to man rather than to God — and authentic authority is eliminated when that 

So to my final question. 

Third: what are the conditions of authority in our preaching? 

To this question I offer first a general and then a specific answer. 

The general answer is that preaching has authority when both its substance 
and its style proclaim in a transparent way the preacher's own docile humility 
before the Bible itself and before the triune God whose word the Bible is. It 
is as the preacher himself is truly under, and is clearly seen to be under, the 
authority of God and the Bible that he will have authority, and be felt to carry 
authority, as God's spokesman. It needs to be obvious to the hearers that he 
has put himself wholeheartedly under the authority of the God as whose 
emissary he comes; of Christ the chief shepherd, whom he serves as a subor- 
dinate shepherd, and to whom he must one day give account of his service; 
and of the Holy Spirit, whom he trusts each moment as he preaches actually 
to communicate the divine message to his hearers' hearts at that moment. A 
preacher who has authority will come across as one who consciously depends 
on the Holy Spirit to sustain in him vividness of vision, clarity of mind and 
words, and freedom of heart and voice, as he delivers his message, just as 
he trusts the Holy Spirit to be the agent of conviction and response in the lives 
of his hearers. It is those under authority who have authority; it is those whose 
demeanor models submission to the Scriptures and dependence on the Lord 
of the Word who mediate the experience of God's authority in preaching. 
"Unlike so many," writes Paul, "we do not sell the word of God for profit" 
— that is, we do not preach with mercenary motives, nor do we modify the 
message in order to please hearers who, if pleased, will smile on us, but if 
displeased, might become obnoxious to us. "On the contrary; in Christ we 
speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God" (2 Cor. 2:17). On- 
ly those preachers who could say the same, by reason of their conscious and 
conscientious fidelity to the written Word, are likely ever to be able to say, 
as Paul elsewhere said: "we also thank God continually because when you 
received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as 


the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in 
you who believe" (1 Thess. 2:13). 

Specifically, and looking at the matter directly from our own standpoint as 
preachers, the conditions of authority are four in number, each of which we 
should now recognize as a summons and a directive to us from the Lord himself. 

(1) The heart of our message on each occasion must be an application of 
biblical material to the heart and conscience, to lead folk to know, love, wor- 
ship and serve God through Jesus Christ. Is this our constant purpose when 
we preach? 

(2) The way we preach must display a transparent wholeheartedness of 
response to our own message, as well as a thoroughgoing conunitment to per- 
suade our hearers to trust, love, honor and serve the Lord as we ourselves 
seek to do. Constant self-scrutiny is therefore required of preachers in par- 
ticular, to make sure that our own hearts are right before we attempt to speak 
int he Lord's name. Do we practice this self-scrutiny? 

(3) We need the unction of the Holy Spirit for the act of preaching itself.' 
Richard Baxter, the Puritan, in his classic volume, The Reformed Pastor (which 
every would-be pastor-preacher will be wise to read once a year), spoke of 
"a communion of souls" that takes place in preaching, whereby the hearers 
catch the preacher's mood."* Ths being so, it is vital that the preacher should 
be full of the Holy Spirit for his appointed task, so that he is clear-headed, 
warm-hearted, ardent, earnest, and inwardly free to concentrate on the task 
of instruction and persuasion that each message imposes. An anointing of the 
Spirit, therefore, grving parrhasia — uninhibited freedom to say from one's 
heart what one sees with one's heart — is to be sought every time we preach. 
Beethoven wrote on the score of his Missa SoUennis (Mass in D, op. 126): 
"From the heart it comes, to the heart may it go," and these same words should 
express the preacher's desire every time he ventures to speak. But it is only 
as we seek and receive the divine unction, sermon by sermon, that it will be 
so. Do we seek unction as we should? 

(4) Finally, we need grace to be spontaneous when we preach: by which 
I mean, easy and free-flowing in appropriate expression. This, too, is a gift 
from God — it is in fact an aspect of the parrhasia that the Spirit bestows 
— but it does not come without hard work in preparation: preparation not just 
of the message but also, and even primarily, of the messenger. The appropriate 
formula here comes, I believe, from W. H. Griffith Thomas, and runs as 
follows: "Think your self empty; read yourself full; write yourself clear; pray 
yourself keen; then into the pulpit — and let yourself go!" That is the sort 
of preparation that produces spontaneity. Is this how we prepare to preach? 

God bless us all in our preaching ministry, and empower us to preach with 
authority — as we ought to preach! 



'Most books on preaching assume an institutional definition. Typical is this, 
from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: "What then is preaching? What do I mean by 
preaching? Let us look at it like this. There, is a man standing in a pulpit and 
speaking, and there, are people sitting in pews or seats and listening. What 
is happening? Why is this? Why does that man stand in that pulpit? What is 
his object? Why does the Church put him there to do this? Why do these other 
people come to listen? What is this man meant to be doing? What is he trying 
to do? What ought he to be doing? These it seems to me are the great ques- 
tions ..." (Preaching and Preachers , Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1972, p. 53). 

2" Preaching is the bringing of truth through personality" (Phillips Brooks, 
Lectures on Preaching, London: H. R. AUenson Ltd., [1877], p. 5). 

^See Lloyd-Jones, op.cit., pp. 304-25. 

*The Reformed Pastor, London: Banner of Truth, 1974, p. 149. 


From The Scriptures To The Sermon 
n. The problem Of paradigms 

By J. I. Packer* 

The word paradigm has become something of a technical term in modern 
academic discussion.' It is used to mean what we would once have called an 
overall frame of reference, or a controlling point of view. A paradigm is a 
large-scale hypothesis about reality that is presupposed and taken for granted 
as a basis for interpreting data and determining values, goals and procedures. 
One's paradigm determines one's mind-set, shaping one's thinking by giving 
it direction and establishing boundaries and limits beyond which belief may 
not go. Paradigms thus exert control, and usually without our realising what 
is happening; who, under ordinary circumstances, reflects on how much he 
or she is taking for granted? So our paradigms of reality determine how we 
process informational data — what we make of it, to speak in everyday terms 
— for processing data is essentially a matter of fitting the bits into our overall 
frame of reference. Thus paradigms become the pathway to understanding, 
if the paradigm is a good one, or to misunderstanding if it is not. 

Paradigms are always present with us, even if they go unnoticed. The human 
mind abhors incoherence and demands to fit everything into a single frame 
of reference, so that it can see how things relate. You, I and everyone else 
do in fact fit incoming data into categories of thought and judgment provided 
by our paradigms, which are regularly those of thought and judgment provided 
by our paradigms, with which we identify — our family, school, club, gang, 
firm, church or whatever. The paradigms thus operate in our minds like col- 
ored spectacles, or sunglasses, which filter out glare and cause us to see ob- 
jects as having a color that the glasses themselves have imparted. There is, 
for instance, a marxist paradigm for viewing reality, also a secular humanist 
paradigm, also a New Age paradigm, also a Jewish paradigm, also a Muslim 
paradigm, and alongside these and others stands the Christian paradigm. Each 
paradigm yields a distinctive mind-set and colors perceptions in a distinctive 
way, and communication between the adherents of different paradigms is 
stultified if the reality and potency of the paradigms themselves is overlooked 
and ignored. 

Our present concern is with preaching — preaching viewed as Christian com- 
munication, that is, the communication of Christianity. The point I want to 
develop is that in a post-Christian culture like ours the preacher of the gospel 
needs to be aware that the paradigms that currently possess people's minds 

* Dr. Packer is professor of historical and systematic theology at Regent Col- 
lege, Vancouver. This article and the preceding one were delivered at ATS's 
fall lecture series in 1989. 


rarely match the Christian paradigm that controls his own thinking. What they 
take for granted is not identical with what he takes for granted, nor vice ver- 
sa. Once, in the Christendom era, a broadly Christian paradigm could be assum- 
ed in all Western minds, but in today's world that is no longer so. So the ef- 
fective Christian communicator will be the person who can bring into con- 
sciousness and challenge, in terms of God's revelation, the secular paradigms 
that control modem society and the people who make it up. He needs to under- 
stand how these paradigms work, and the best way to do that is to see where 
they came from and how they developed. My point, in other words, is that 
preachers for our time need to appreciate the paradigm shifts that have taken 
place in our culture with regard to God, man and religion, and to equip 
themselves for the task of reversing them. 


Let me illustrate what I mean by a paradigm shift. Here are two examples. 

The first is the paradigm of the universe, the physical order of reality to 
which we belong. Here there have been several shifts over the centuries. First 
came the shift from the earth-centered Ptolemaic world- view, which suppos- 
ed that the universe consisted of spheres within spheres circling round this 
planet, to the Copemican heliocentric concept of planets revolving round the 
sun. Newton then amplified Copernicus by explaining the movements of the 
planets in terms of universal gravitation, and Einstein amplified Newton by 
his theory of relativity and curved space. In each era speculative and experimen- 
tal physicists have fitted their proposed explanations of puzzling phenomena 
into the currently accepted paradigm. 

A second example is the shift from accepting to rejecting external authority 
as a guide for living, which came about through the European Enlightenment. 
Starting in England in the 17th century, gathering strength on the continent 
of Europe in the 18th century, and carrying all before it in the Western world 
in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Enlightenment was the watershed between 
the Christendom era and the post-Christian modern world. To characterize 
it as anti-clerical, as its French exponents did at the time of the Revolution, 
is not to say enough; at deepest motivational level, the Enlightenment was an 
abandoning of all forms of external authority in favor of intellectual and moral 
individualism. The self-directed, self-affirming individualism that is commonly 
traced to the Romantic movement rode in on the Enlightenment's back. The 
effect of this individualism was that one's own personal reason, rather than 
the church or the community or the cultural tradition, became one's definer 
of reality; it was for each thinking person to work out for him- or herself a 
personal solution to the riddles of life. In the 19th century artists and 
philosophers did this and the guardians of conventional values clucked their 
tongues, wondering how long it would be before society fell apart. In the 20th 
century most people have done it, and society today holds together mainly 
through a shared embrace of materialist values projected by the press and media. 
For all except conservative Roman Catholics and adherents of some sects the 
idea of having one's thought-life and conduct controlled by official church pro- 


nouncements, accepted without question because questioning the church is not 
right, now seems utteriy strange and unconvincing. That, we feel, is certainly 
not the way to go! Intellectually and morally, it nowadays has to be every man 
for himself, for no external authority can be fully trusted. Every particular 
problem must now be dealt with as a matter about which one makes up one's 
own mind. This modern mind-set evidences a major paradigm shift from the 
willingness to trust authorities in matters of truth and right that was there before. 

This second example of a paradigm shift brings us right up to our present 
task, which is to focus the post-Christian outlooks of the West in their 
characteristic form as they relate to the older, Christian understanding of God, 
man and religion. In this regard, as we shall see, it is possible to generalize 
about them without being unduly simplistic, even though in terms of positive 
commitment they fan out, and end up as far away form each other as each 
is from historic Christianity. But in the terms in which they distance themselves 
from their Christian heritage they stand pretty much together, and their stance 
is reinforced by the media, the schools, the world of literature, the news in- 
dustry and just about every opinion-making institution in North America and 
Europe, apart ft-om the church itself. And to say "apart from the church itself 
is, alas, something of an overstatement, for significant bodies of opinion within 
the Christian constituency have themselves accepted from the drifting culture 
post-Christian attitudes to Christian realities and now seek to define the faith 
in these terms. Ever since Schleiermacher the liberal Protestant way has been 
to keep in step with secular philosophy and adjust Christian belief according- 
ly, so that it has operated as something of a Trojan horse, or fifth colunm, 
in the institutional churches, and many (not all of them Protestants, be it said) 
are treading this path today. 

The result of the shift from Christian trust in external authority (church or 
Bible) to post-Christian mistrust of both is, so far as the United States is con- 
cerned, rather curious. Americans, as de Toqueville noted long ago, are 
remarkably religious people, and most of them, it seems, still want to have 
a Christian veneer on their lives. But when they use Christian words to make 
Christian-sounding affirmations, it is apparent that many of the words have 
been redefined and their biblical meaning has been largely forgotten. What 
is said about God and Christianity in popular religious talk is not what used 
to be said, and what used to be said (about holiness, self-denial and judgment, 
for instance) is hardly heard any more. So Christian spokespersons — preachers 
and teachers, I mean — in North America nowadays have to be alert to the 
problem created for them by the prevalence in their hearers' minds of alien 
paradigms, just as cross-cultural missionaries have to be. The problem is to 
ensure that the gospel heard verbally will be understood substantively. That 
requires both a return to authentic biblical definitions of Christian key words 
and a corrective interaction with the new paradigms to make room again in 
people's minds for authentic Christian thoughts. The tide of one of Carl Henry's 
early books. Remaking the Modem Mind, aptly sums up the task. One may 
tackle it by head-on encounter, as Francis Schaeffer for instance did, or in- 


directly and in a sense incidentally, as Billy Graham for example does; but, 
one way or another, it must be tackled, or our preaching and teaching will 
achieve little. 

We look now at three themes — God, man and religion, or godliness, to 
see how at paradigm level minds have changed, and how they need to be chang- 
ed back again. 


With regard to jGod, I ask you to take note that we stand at the end of four 
centuries of God-shrinking. In the era of the Reformation the biblical faith 
in God as one who rules, judges and saves, the source, sustainer and end of 
all things, took possession of people's minds in a vivid, clear, compelling way. 
But by the start of the 17th century Lutherans and Arminians were already 
denying God's human creatures, and were thus dethroning him at a crucial 
point. By the end of the 17th century deism, the concept of God as the mighty 
mechanic who, having made the world, now sits back and watches it go without 
involving himself in it in any way, was well-established, and thus God was 
in effect being barred out of his world. At the end of the 18th century Im- 
manuel Kant, the most influential philosopher for the next 100 years, silenced 
God by denying all possibility of God communicating with us in words. In- 
evitably, therefore, with no word from God to check man's thoughts by, 19th 
century thinkers equated God with their own feelings and fancies about God, 
thus in effect absorbing him into themselves in a way that prompted the atheist 
Feuerbach to comment that when men talked of God they were really talking 
about themselves in a loud and solemn voice. It was this God, God-in-the- 
mind as we may call him, whom Nietzsche pronounced dead, and whom Marx- 
ists, Darwinists and Freudians decided in due course that they could get on 
better without. 

With that history behind us, it is no wonder that concepts of God current 
today display a drastic diminishing of Reformation faith. Outside conservative 
Christendom, the man in the street thinks of God in one of two ways. The 
first concept is of a God who is personal but limited in power, so that he can- 
not always do what he wants to do or prevent what he would like to prevent. 
He is prepared to overlook the sins of people who are not in the social sense 
vicious; he makes no claims, is infinitely kind and tolerant and behaves like 
Father Christmas, seeking to show benevolence and practice beneficence 
towards everybody. Process theology draws the profile of this finite, well- 
meaning, struggling, unipersonal deity. The second concept is of God as an 
immanent cosmic principle rather than a sovereign person, an animating and 
energizing aspect of the universe rather than its Maker and its Lord. The latest 
expression of this concept is found in the New Age movement, in the teaching 
of people like Shirley MacLaine; it has much in common with the monism 
of Hindu philosophy, which is known to be one of the main sources of New 
Age thought. 

Neither concept corresponds at all closely to the God of Scripture; each 
is a misconceived paradigm, needing correction. Here, briefly, is a Bible-based 


theological grid for the purpose. 

The God in whom biblical Christians believe is not a product of human 
speculation and guesswork, but a self-announcing, self-defining deity who takes 
the initiative to tell mankind who and what he is. The Bible, which from one 
standpoint is the interpretative record of God's self-revelation in history, is 
ft-om another standpoint revelation in its own right, the word of God testify- 
ing to himself in the words of men; and in the Bible God shows us four fun- 
damental facts about himself, which we may conveniently alliterate in order 
to make them memorable. 

First, God is plurql. He is essentially tripersonal, one in tliree; he is they, 
a society. Father, Son and Holy Spirit united in a oneness of being that finds 
expression in an eternal fellowship of love. Jesus, the incarnate Son, reveals 
by his words and life a relationship between himself and the Father, between 
the Father and the Spirit, and between the Spirit and himself, in which each 
seeks honor and glory for the other (see especially Jn. 14-16): this is the true 
nature of love, and the ultimate, eternal truth about God's being. God, self- 
named as Yahweh in the Old Testament, is one in the sense of being the only 
creator, the only Lord, the only guide of history, the only source of hope for 
the future; but he is, and always was, triune, though this fact was not revealed 
until Jesus made it known. Fact it was, however, and it is properly read back 
into the Old Testament, as indeed the New Testament writers actually do. 

The answer given, therefore, to the question who and what is God? must 
be trinitarian. The world's religions and philosophies are ignorant of the trini- 
ty; only those who know about the one who made demands on his disciples 
that only God has a right to make, who called himself the Son and prayed 
to one whom he called Father, and who promised, when he left this world, 
to send one whom he called the Holy Spirit in order to secure a continuance 
of his presence with his disciples and his ministry to them, knows anything 
about it. The rationalistic and relativized Protestant theology that calls itself 
hberal has been characteristically unipersonal in its view of God, and has often 
represented the trinity as no more than a way of saying that through the God- 
filled man Jesus we experience God as above us, beside us, and within us, 
but there is more to it than that. The Father above us, the Son beside us and 
the Spirit within us are not one person playing three roles (as if God were 
like the late Peter Sellers, who could play three roles in the same film!), but 
one God whose nature it is to be three persons in the fullest sense of that word. 

Second, God is powerful. Scripture answers the question, how does God 
exist?, by pointing to the reality of a self-sustaining, self-determining, infinite 
life that has neither beginning nor end. The mystery of God's aseity (deriva- 
tion of life and energy from himself unendingly) is central to the biblical revela- 
tion. All created things are limited one way and another, and sooner or later 
run out of steam, or decay, but not God! He is like the burning bush, con- 
stantly using energy yet remaining just as energetic and potent as before. 
Created things only continue to exist as he, their creator, actively upholds them 
in being, but we do not sustain God; God sustains himself. 


So Paul, explaining basic theism to the polytheistic Athenians in Acts 17, 
takes pains to state that God draws life from himself and does not need anything 
we can give him to keep him going. He gives us life and health and everything 
that we have; we can give him nothing save our worship. He is not limited 
by time or space or any power, agency or dimension found in the world that 
he made. He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He is Spirit (that 
is, personal power and energy, unrestricted). He has life in himself; he is the 
living God. We cannot direct him, control him or thwart him. He is the 
sovereign God, the Lord who reigns, God on the throne. 

Third, God is perfect, in the moral sense of that word. Scripture answers 
the question, how does God behave? by saying, in effect: gloriously, from 
every point of view. Observe the revelation of God's name (i.e., his nature 
and character) in Exodus (it is one of the book's main themes). At the burning 
bush, the first level of meaning in the name Yahweh is blocked in: it means 
that God is self-sustaining and self-determining, and makes sovereign cove- 
nant commitments (Ex. 3:13-15). Then, after the episode of the golden calf, 
when Moses, having interceded successfully for the people, says very boldly, 
"Now show me your glory" (33:18), God allows Moses to see what he 
mysteriously calls his back and passes before him, proclaiming: "Yahweh, 
Yahweh, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in 
love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving iniquity, 
rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes 
the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth 
generation" (34:6 f.). Here is God declaring his moral glory, his goodness, 
love, mercy, grace, faithfulness and trustworthiness, patience, forbearance, 
and readiness to pardon the penitent, alongside his holiness and purity and 
righteousness, which express themselves in awesome retributive judgment on 
the impenitent. 2 This is moral majesty, the perfection of a God committed in 
covenant love, and whose "name is Jealous" (34: 14) — that is, who, like any 
lover, presses an exclusive claim on the affection and loyalty of the people 
he loves and blesses. This is the second level of meaning in the name, Yahweh. 

Elsewhere, Scripture rounds off its presentation of God as morally perfect 
by celebrating his wisdom (Rom. 11:33, 16:27; Eph. 3:10; etc.). Wisdom 
means choosing in each situation the best goal at which to aim and the best 
means for attaining it; God's wisdom means this, as well as man's. The climac- 
tic thought about God's moral perfection in the Bible is that all the qualities 
mentioned — goodness, wisdom, justice — find supreme expression in the 
redemption of the world through the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, where 
heaven's love, heaven's justice and heaven's wisdom met together for our salva- 
tion. Blood atonement by penal substitution is looked on askance in some 
quarters, as if it were an embarrassingly barbaric idea; but the truth is that 
none of God's doings displays his moral perfection as a covenant God so over- 
whelmingly. And this leads on to the final point. 

Fourth, God h praiseworthy. His works of creation, providence and grace 
have displayed his glory; now it is for mankind to give him glory in response 


to this demonstration of his glory. "Glory" in both Testaments is systematically 
ambiguous, signifying both God's demonstration of his praiseworthiness and 
man's responsive offering of the praise that is due. Giving God glory for what 
we see of his glory will be the life of heaven, and we should be practising 
for it here on earth. So Paul, a praising man if ever there was one, breaks 
out repeatedly into doxology in the course of his theological arguments and 
admonitions (Rom. 1:25, 9:5, 11:33-36, 16:25-27; etc.). So the book of Revela- 
tion pictures heaven as a place of praise (chs. 4, 5, 7, 19:1-10, etc.). And 
the book of Psalms models glory-giving as the central activity of one's life. 

Some have queried the creator's requirement of worship as if it were 
dishonorably self-centered. Should a human being make such a requirement, 
it would be dishonorable and vicious — that we grant. But the creator is not 
a human being, and his requirement of us that we focus on him, honor and 
love him, and show our appreciation of his love for us by praise and adoration 
is ennobling to ouf nature; it is entirely appropriate in a love-relationship (yes, 
the Christian life is meant to be a love affair); and God has so made us that 
glorifying him is the way of supreme fulfilment for our humanness. When 
we discover by experience that giving glory and worship to our lover-God 
brings supreme joy, delight, happiness and inner contentment, our doubts and 
hesitations about the divine demand for glory-giving melt away. 

Here, then, are the central truths about God that the post-Christian paradigms 

— the God who is Father Christmas, and the God who is Shirley MacLaine 

— lose sight of. Our task is to detect and dispel these degenerate and unwor- 
thy notions, challenging them wherever they are found, in the churches as well 
as outside them, and reintroducing those who have been embracing these ideas 
to the God who is plural, powerful, perfect and praiseworthy in ways that at 
present they have not begun to conceive. The new paradigm needs correction 
by the old one; in this case, at any rate, the old is indeed better. 


With regard, now, to man, what we face in the modem world is less a 
coherent paradigm than an incoherent pose, a grandiose self-image produced 
by wishful thinking that we find impossible to sustain consistently. For the 
past two centuries, egged on by the Enlightenment, Western man has been 
playing the role of Wizard of Oz. We have set up for ourselves a magnificent 
facade of technological competence and mastery, power and glory, and our 
official claim, if I may put it that way, is that man is the measure of all things 
and the monarch of all he surveys. Behind that facade, however, over the same 
two centuries Western man has increasingly found himself unable to avoid 
feeling that real life is desperately dreadful. Our optimistic triumphalism masks 
deep pessimism and anxious fear, and we oscillate constantly between the two 
moods. Politicians, journalists and media people labor to maintain in us the 
feeling that our society is going somewhere good and that they themselves 
are helping to lead us there. But writers and artists, who mirror the sensitivities 
of the culture around them, have long been saying, and with increasing 
vehemence, that man is not so much the master as the maniac, and that his 


madness is making for unutterable misery. Dostoevsky and Camus among 
writers, and Francis Bacon among painters, come to mind as exponents of 
this theme, who inexorably map modern nihilisn and pin-point the guilt, anx- 
iety, loneliness and disgust that it engenders. Publicly, we continue as optimists, 
talking as if Utopia is just round the comer; privately, we have become 
pessimists, feeling more and more with Thomas Hobbes that human life is 
nasty and with the early Eliot that as individuals we are bankrupt and empty. 
In our moments of truth we see ourselves as pathetic little persons lurking. 
Wizard of Oz style, behind our facade of fantastic technology, knowing that 
our supposed magic is a sham. There is an inward failure of hope, of vision 
and of nerve. We feel lost — as in truth we are. 

What must be said to correct this post-Christian, split-minded perception 
of ourselves, with its unattainable purpose of re-erecting the broken-down 
paradigm of man the master? Three things. 

First, the human individual's true dignity derives from being made as God's 
image, steward and partner (Gn. 1:26-28). Exegetically, the basic understan- 
ding of God's image in man is to be drawn from Gn. 1 : 1-25, where God ap- 
pears as rational, forming and fulfilling purposes; as creative, calling into be- 
ing what previously did not exist; as managerial, establishing and maintaining 
order in place of chaos; and as a value-producer, whose achievements are "very 
good." Add to these qualities God's capacity for personal relationships and 
the moral perfection of his dealings — facets of the divine life already ap- 
parent by the end of Gn. 3 — and you have the fulness of the image that man 
was made to express. Older theology in the Thomist tradition construed the 
statement that God made man in his own image statically, as if the image con- 
sisted in abstract rationality and conscious selfhood as such. But the statement 
should in fact be understood dynamically, as telling us that God made man 
upright (Eccl. 7:29), so that he images God more or less according to how 
far he uses his natural endowments for obedience, love, and righteousness, 
and how far he does not. It is this perspective that explains how Scripture can 
affirm both the continuance of the image-relationship after the fall (Gn. 9:6; 
1 Cor. 1 1:7; Jas. 3:9) and its restoration in Christ by new creation (Eph. 4:23; 
Col. 3:9); our human powers as such do indeed image God to some degree, 
but God-like righteousness is a dimension of the image too, and here it is a 
matter of less in our natural fallenness and more through the moral transfor- 
mation that flows from supernatural saving grace (Mt. 12:33; Eph. 2: 10). The 
call to express God's image in our lives remains, however, the basic and univer- 
sal human vocation. 

A further element in human dignity is that as God is eternal and everlasting, 
so each human being has been created for eternity, and the choices and com- 
mitments made in this life have unending significance, since they determine 
what sort of experience the eternity that follows our leaving this wold will 
be. This world is a vestibule and rehearsal-room for that which is to come, 
and our doings here will determine our destiny there. (See Rom. 2:6-10; 2 
Cor. 5:10). The biblical answer to the feeling that life is trivial and mean- 


ingless is that through saving knowledge and steady service of God in Christ 
we may lay hold of unimaginable glory, whereas failure at this poiflt will result 
in unimaginable loss. The everlastingness of the individual, and the momen- 
tousness of present life as determining future life, are the twin themes to which 
the Puritan phrase, "the greatness of the soul," refers, and this destiny-making 
significance of the present is an aspect of the dignity of man that we need to 
hear more about from present-day pulpits than we do. 

But now, second, each human individual's life has become a tragedy — that 
is, a story of goodness wasted, potential squandered, and value lost. Each of 
us has fallen from the image of God, and all that is natural to us now is what 
Scripture calls sin — egocentricity (always looking after number one), pride 
(always seeking to be on top, in the know and in control), sensuality, exploita- 
tion, indifference ot evil, carelessness about truth, and a lifelong quest for 
whatever forms of self-indulgence appeal to us most. Much of this, in our 
post-Christian culture, is thought of as admirable and ideal, but it all appears 
vicious and demeaning when measured by the call and law of God and the 
example of Jesus. It is in fact ruinous folly, and folly of which we are quite 
unable by our own resources to shake fi-ee, for we are by nature slaves of 
sin. This, the inexcapable bad news with which the gospel starts, must be af- 
firmed against all ideas of the natural goodness and perfectibility of man (which 
ideas are themselves products of egocentric pride). 

And now, third, restoration by grace to life in God's image is the glory and 
felicity — the only true glory, and the only lasting felicity — of sinful human 
beings. Granted, to the self-seeking eye of the natural man the path of faith, 
love, and obedience, of repentance, conversion, self-denial and cross-bearing 
does not look like either glory or felicity, but the way of life is in truth to 
die to self in order to live to God. One loses to gain; one gives up in order 
to receive; one repudiates and negates the life of self-serving in order to ex- 
perience new life with Christ in Christ, his resurrection life lived out in and 
through our own living. 

This is the baptismal paradigm: dying to live. "Remenber always," says 
the classic Angelican Prayer Book, "that Baptism represents unto us our pro- 
fession; which is, to follow our Saviour Christ, and to be made like unto him; 
that as he died and rose again for us, so should we, who are baptized, die 
from sin, and rise again unto righteousness, continually mortifying all evil 
desires, and daily increasing in all virtue and godliness of living." To fulfil 
this pattern is a life's task; laying hold of God's salvation, which in itself costs 
nothing, costs everything. Yet those who take this road are rich beyond all 
telling, for God himself is their shield and their great reward. 

The pride, self-sufficiency, proclaimed independence and lurking despair 
of the post-Christian paradigm of human fulfilment must be challenged an- 
tithetically by appeal to the baptismal paradigm of humility, self-denial, 
acknowledged dependence and happy hope in Christ. Each view of man is 
a direct negation of the other, and the gospel cannot be grasped where the 
secular view holds sway. 



With regard to religion, little need be added to what has already been said. 
The secular assumption is that religion would be seen as a hobby; if practised 
at all, it will be a venture in self-fulfilment, a quest of a crutch of transcendent 
help and support. Presentations of Christianity as a recovery of self-esteem 
(SchuUer) or a discovery of health and wealth (Hagin and Copeland) appear 
to endorse this. But Scripture conceives religion as the living of a life of God- 
esteem and self-abasement, and of faith in Jesus Christ that blossoms into a 
love affair of doxology and devotion, and insists that without such religion 
life in inescapably maimed. The secular paradigm must be repudiated; the 
biblical paradigm must be affirmed. 


Ladling Tabasco sauce into a frying pan is not the way to start preparing 
a meal, and I do not suggest that orchestrating a paradigm clash in the pulpit 
is the way to start preparing a sermon. But I do suggest that if Christ's 
messengers fail to realise how much of the application of sermons an alien 
mind-set in the audience regarding God, man and religion will filter out, they 
will preach much less effectively than they might do. 

Further, I suggest that preachers who pander to these secular paradigms and 
try to fit their message into the frames that the modern mind-set provides can- 
not but be unfaithful to God at a deep level, and put their labor into a bag 
with holes. Fragments of truth and wisdom will no doubt get across, but overall 
the story of their ministry will be one of qualified failure due to the distortions 
involved in their frame of reference. 

So, finally, I do suggest that in preaching and teaching each gospel truth 
we should regularly call attention to the difference between God's viewpoint 
about himself and ourselves and the contrasting mind-set of our culture on 
the same subject. This task can be looked at picturesquely in the manner of 
the late G. K. Chesterton, out of whose book Thomas Howard and I took a 
leaf when we titled the last chapter of Christianity the True Humanism^ 
"Upside-Down is Right Way Up." Through his journalism, apologetics, novels 
and Father Brown stories, Chesterton projected a consistent vision of the human 
race as intellectually inverted through sin, so that mankind now naturally lives 
and thinks upside-down in relation to the truth that should lead and guide us. 
It is commonplace to say that the gospel message, and the Christ who comes 
to us in and through that message, turns us upside-down in relation to what 
we were before. What is not so common is to see with Chesterton that to turn 
upside-down those who are inverted already is to set them right way up, and 
so in a real sense restore them from craziness to sanity.'* But that is in fact 
what the authentic message of Christ will do when set within the authentic 
paradigms of biblical faith. The pastoral and evangelistic preaching of 
evangelicals, I believe, desperately needs this emphasis on the proper paradigms 
in these confused and confusing days, and that is why I have spoken about 
it so strongly and at such length. 



•Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago: Universi- 
ty of Chicago Press, 2nd ed. 1970, has done more than anyone to give the 
word technical status, and to focus the idea of a paradigm shift (the replace- 
ment of one frame of reference by another, due to some kind of pressure). 
I make free use of this idea in the present article. 

^Punishment for parental sin to the third and fourth generation does not im- 
ply the injustice of penalizing innocent parties. There is a back reference to 
Ex. 20:5, " . . . punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third 
and fourth generation of those who hate me. " The assumption is that children 
will follow in their parents' footsteps, and the divine form of words is intend- 
ed to alert parents to the damage they may do to their families, and to children 
yet unborn, by sinning, over and above the damage they will do to themselves 
by provoking their God to be angry with them. It remains a stubborn fact that 
children will do what they see their parents doing. 

^J. I. Packer and Thomas Howard, Christianity the True Humanism, Word, 
Waco, 1985, pp. 231 ff. 

*The title of Alzina Stone Dale's study of Chesterton, The Outline of Sani- 
ty, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982, catches this idea, though there is more 
to it than Dale brings out. 



By Amy F. Galen* 

Charles E. Hummel 

The Galileo Connection — Resolving Conflicts between Science and the Bible 

Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press 

293 pp., 1986 

Norman L. Geisler and J. Kerby Anderson 

Origin Science — A Proposal for the Creation - Evolution Controversy 

Grand Rapids: Baker Book House 
198 pp., 1987 

Howard J. Van Till, Davis A. Young and Clarence Menninga 
Science Held Hostage — What's Wrong with Creation Science and 

Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press 
189 pp., 1988 

Vernon Blackmore and Andrew Page 
Evolution — The Great Debate 
Oxford: Lion Publishing 
192pp., 1989 

There has been a struggle among evangelicals for well over a century con- 
cerning the nature of life and the relationship between theology and science. 
Was life created or did it evolve? Is a literal reading of Genesis a criterion 
of faithfulness, or is it a sign of scientific ignorance? The books reviewed in 
this article attempt to delve into these questions by examining a particular facet 
of the purported conflict betwen scientific endeavor and Christian belief. The 
perspectives are wide-ranging and the authors are thorough in presenting their 
carefully delineated areas of investigation. The scientific and philosophical 
issues that lie beneath the controversy are competently, even scathingly, 
handled. In my opinion, however, the theological issues are glossed over in 
an attempt to mitigate the polemics. None of the authors even begins to build 
a creative anthropology — an effort that is sorely needed if the depths of the 
controversy are truly to be plumbed. 

Charles Hummel approaches the conflict historically. In a well-researched 
series of portraits he illustrates how, in Galileo's terms, "the Bible tells us 
how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go." He gives a thorough account 
of scientific perspectives from Aristotle to Newton, emphasizing that the Chris- 
tian worldview has encouraged, rather than discouraged, an empirical investiga- 

*Mrs. Galen holds a Master's degree in anthropology from Columbia and is 
currently pursuing graduate studies in theology. 


tion of the laws of nature based upon a deeply rooted faith that such an in- 
vestigation was a "sacred duty and privilege." 

In discussing Kepler, Hummel highlights the compatibility of his faith in 
both sustaining and encouraging his drive to interpret the physical world. In 
Hummel 's view, the "scientific" reliability of the Bible is an inappropriate 
assumption, and he candidly admits to his own failures at reconciling Genesis 
with science when challenged at Yale by a "non-Christian friend" who asked 
him, "Why are you so desperately concerned to make the Bible scientifically 
respectable? Isn't Christianity essentially a matter of commitment to Jesus 
Christ?"' Hummel is jarred into surmising that since science is a multi-faceted 
and ever-changing investigation of the natural world, "a Bible whose credibility 
depends on its agreement with modern science, . . . will eventually find its 
place alongside obsolete scientific theories on a shelf of historical relics. "^ 

Nevertheless, Hummel pursues a number of questions relevant to the crea- 
tion/evolution debate with lucidity, taking care to define terms and to delineate 
presuppositions concerning their respective domains of inquiry. He is to be 
commended for his competent overview including a thoughtful discussion of 
miracles and scientific laws. He lacks depth, however, in his discussion of 
human origins which, for most readers, is the crux of the issue. Hummel's 
approach is to accept the fossil evidence on its own merits and to separate 
the metaphysical issues (i.e. the concept of human creation in the image and 
likeness of God) for theological consideration. He adds somewhat wistfully 
that it should suffice to say, "I accept the biblical accounts of creation and 
the scientific theory of evolution."^ Nevertheless he acknowledges, paren- 
thetically, that this position draws fire from both extremes and is argued to 
be "impossible." Sometimes, Hummel adds, "that seems to be the one point 
on which . . . [the protagonists] . . . can agree.""* 

Geisler and Anderson take a more didactic and philosophical route. The pur- 
pose of their writing is to define the arguments, presuppositions and avenues 
of inquiry in both science and theology. They are thorough, at times to the 
point of tedium, as they hammer persistently at the premises undergirding 
naturalism and supernaturalism. They propose a carefully drawn model for 
understanding the difference between origin science and operation science, 
suggesting that origin or forensic science should be carefully separated from 
operational or secondary cause investigation. 

After segregating the different categories of scientific inquiry they lauch in- 
to "new possibilities"' consisting of a general outline of a creationist view 
of origins. Geisler and Anderson are not young-earth creationists but they are 
antagonists of evolutionary theory. On this point, they propose to extend their 
stance on the origin of life to embody a creationist perspective which they term 
"Pre-Darwinian. " Their case rests on two major premises. First, that the design 
universally observed in the natural world provides conclusive evidence of an 
intelligent Creator. Secondly, they argue that recent assessments of the fossil 
record have highlighted the rather sudden appearance of various life forms. 
Termed "punctuated equilibrium," this revised perspective on the pace of 


evolution is viewed by the authors as authenticating the creationist perspec- 
tive. For them, punctuationalism lacks "a satisfactory mechanism to make 
plausible their view of sudden evolution."^ "After all," they suggest, even 
"Darwin took suddeness as a sign of creation."^ 

Are they convincing? Unfortunately they may be to those readers possess- 
ing a minimal knowledge of the fossil record. Their arguments are clever and 
they press upon the reader highly polemical statements backed by a subtle 
manipulation of the data. Enter Van Till, Young and Menninga who aggressive- 
ly present themselves as defenders of the scientific method. In my opinion, 
they are positively swashbuckling as they set about refuting "creation science" 
while they take pains to distinguish the domain of "natural science" from 
religious and philosophical inquiry. Because these authors are, respectively, 
a physicist and two geologists, they have a firm grasp of their disciplines as 
they approach such topics as the size of the sun, the thickness of moon dust 
and the salinity of the oceans. 

But, as their title declares, they are equally critical (though not tor scien- 
tific reasons) of a philosophical orientation called evolutionism which draws 
upon Darwin's theory to support an atheistic world view. This approach, 
popularized by Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov, is called "naturalistic scien- 
tism" in which "science is treated as if it were applicable to everything"* 
and a "victor over religion" in the search for truth. Both scientific creationism 
and evolutionism are defined by these authors as "folk sciences" which are 
creedal in their orientation but seek to use scientific fact (dubiously so in the 
case of creation science) to support a worldview. With bold arguments they 
seek to set the cosmological record straight while supporting biological evolu- 
tion as a satisfactory mechanism for understanding the history of life on earth. 
Their overriding concern is to separate questions like "the duration of cosmic 
history, the interpretation of the geological record, the temporal succession 
of life forms, the physical mechanisms required for evolutionary development"' 
from religious questions which they contend lie at the heart of the "folk science 
debate and generate most of its emotional energy."'" 

Up to this point, the three books reviewed concentrate on separating issues 
in the creation/evolution controversy. They make a cogent appeal for vigilance 
in distinguishing theological inquiry from that of empirical science. In this 
they are logical and thoughtful, but they leave the reader with a hunger for 
more than semantics and refutation. After all, the controversy sinks deeply 
to the roots of evangelicalism both in Britain and in America and is manifest 
currently in the widespread publication and broadcasting of creation science 
propaganda. Over the last decade both educational policies and political agen- 
das have been revised under pressure from creationists. Where does the in- 
quirer turn for a balanced presentation of all these issues? 

Fortunately, Blackmore and Page have come upon the scene with a book 
that is both comprehensive and a pleasure to read. Laid out like a biology text 
with colorful photographs and intriguing "thought-boxed" (highlighted sec- 
tions where controversial issues are explored in depth), its appeal is broad, 
handling historical, sociological and biological perspectives deftly, but not 


superficially. The authors juxtapose scientific discovery with social theory, 
theological speculation with genetic maps and the result is both enlightening 
and satisfying. False dichotomies are carefully dissected and ideological pre- 
judice is quietly exposed without resorting to polemics. The authors are master- 
fill at handling sacred cows (both scientific and theological) and successful 
at presenting alternative points of view with tolerance and clarity. 

Where Van Till et al. tend to slash, Blackmore and Page provoke thoughtful 
reflection. As confessing Christians they see God working in and through His 
creation which has taken myriad forms over time. The random behavior of 
molecules, or that of complex living beings, is not seen as contradicting the 
immanence of God, but rather, as demonstrating the current limits of human 
understanding. How refreshing! Indeed, I readily admit to my delight in 
Blackmore and Page because I, too, come from a tradition which holds both 
theological and scientific truths in compatible tension. I sense, however, that 
the evangelical community will require further explication. There is a need 
for creative minds to articulate some kind of synthesis; Blackmore and Page 
are not theologians. Pragmatically speaking, the average church goer should 
not have to choose between science and theology, yet regretably many feel 
compelled to cast one aside in an effort to embrace the other. 

It is the theologians who will have to speak up if the church is to clarify 
not obfuscate the creation/evolution controversy. Over half of the American 
public, laments ethologist Richard Dawkins, does not "believe in evolution. 
Not just any people . . . but powerful people with influence over educational 
policy."" Is this a victory for creation science? Hardly. It is a statistic which 
speaks of ignorance and confusion. Caution is in order; no theological or scien- 
tific manipulation has been spared in this on-going debate. Strong voices must 
continue to present the issues boldly and thoughtfully, lest faith be assaulted 
by misappropriated biology or falsely delimited by an aggressive theology mas- 
querading as a comprehensive science. 


'Hummel, The Galileo Connection, p. 18. 

2Ibid,. p. 18. 

3Ibid., p. 250. 

''Ibid., p. 250. 

'Geisler and Anderson, Origin Science, p. 19. 

<*Ibid., p. 151. 

^Ibid., p. 151. 

'Van Till, Young, Menninga, Science Held Hostage, p. 167. 


'Ibid., p. 171. 

»»Ibid., p. 171. 

'•Richard Dawkins, "Put Your Money on Evolution," New York Book 
Review, March 1989. 



By JoAiin Ford Watson* 

Thomas C. Oden, Tlie Living God 
Systematic Theology, Vol. One. Harper and Row, San Francisco, 1987. 
430 pp. $29.95. 

Thomas C. Oden, The Word of Life 
Systematic Theology, Vol. Two. Harper and Row, San Francisco, 1989. 
583 pp. $32.95. 

This review will briefly discuss the contents of each of these volumes by 
Oden. These works represent the first two of a three volume systematic theology 
written by a major Protestant American theologian. Volume in will be titled. 
Life in the Spirit and will deal with the Holy Spirit, Church, sacraments, and 
the Christian life. Oden's theology focuses on the development of "post modem 
orthodoxy" first stated in his Agenda for Theology (1979). "Post modem or- 
thodoxy" for Oden is a contemporary reappropriation of classical orthodoxy. 
Oden states in The Living God, "Post modem orthodoxy is Christian teaching 
that, having passed through a deep engagement in the assumptions of modern- 
ity, has rediscovered the vitality of the ancient ecumenical Christian tradition" 
(Vol. I, p. 323). "Post modern orthodoxy," Oden declares, stands in con- 
trast to pre-modem reformed systematic theology such as Charles Hodge's 
or modern accommodationist systematic theology such as Paul Tillich's (Vol. 
1, p. 329). 

Oden's systematic theology then has rediscovered the early Christian tradi- 
tion. Oden organizes his work in each volume around a pyramid of sources 
in which Scripture and early patristic writings serve as the base. In Vol. I Oden 
writes, ' 'The weighting of references may be compared to a pyramid with Scrip- 
ture and early patristic writers at the base and the most recent references at 
the narrower apex." (Vol. I, p. xiii). In Vol. n, Oden gives an actual pyramid 
which represents the ordering of sources with Scripture at the base, then Ante- 
Nicene, Post-Nicene Writers, Medieval Sources, Reformation Writers and 
finally Modem Interpreters on top (Vol. II, p. xv). 

In Vol. I, The Living God, Oden states that his "aim is to present classical 
Christian teaching of God on its own terms and not in diluted modem terms" 
(Vol. I, p. xiii). This first volume on the doctrine of God is organized into 
four parts. Part I, "The Living God," has three chapters. Chapter 1 deals 
with the naming of God as it comes to us from the Scriptural witness. Chapters 
2 and 3 discuss the nature and character of God and focus upon the divine 
attributes of God. Oden speaks about the nature of God in terms of the Divine 

*Dr. Watson is assistant professor of Christian Theology at ATS. 


Sufficiency and the Divine Majesty. Oden describes the character of God as: 
the Divine Thou and the Divine Goodness (p. 51). 

Part II deals with the reality of God. Chapter 4 fleshes out five types of 
arguments for the existence of God which are predominant in classical Chris- 
tian theistic reasoning: cosmological, teleological, ontological, anthropological, 
and moral or aesthetic arguments. Oden defines the viewpoint of each argu- 
ment yet affirms the existence of God — as Scripture attests. Chapter 5 deals 
with the Trinity because it is so central to Christian faith. He draws beautiful- 
ly upon biblical material especially "NT unfolding of Truine Teaching" (Vol. 
I, p. 194). 

"The Work of God" is the title of Part m. The work of God as Creator 
is the subject of Chapter 6. Oden emphasizes the goodness of God's creation 
and of creatures. Theological Scriptural truths about God as Creator and the 
goodness of creation as found in the Genesis 1 account of creation are given. 
His treatment of Genesis and his reference to modern scientific inquiry blend 
into an integrated discussion. Oden states, "Christian faith in God the Creator 
relies primarily on Scripture's attestation of divine revelation, but partial witness 
to the truth of revelation may occur through scientific investigation and ra- 
tional inquiry." (Vol. 1, p. 227). 

Chapter 7 discusses God's care for the world. Oden centers upon the doc- 
trine of providence and deals with God's divine preservation, co-operation 
and divine governance of the world. He touches upon related problems such 
as fate, sin, evil. 

Part IV focuses on the method of the study of God. Following ancient 
ecumenical tradition, Oden first studies the nature of God. Then, in Chapters 
8 and 9, Oden asks questions of method and rationale. For Oden the Living 
God is prior to and more crucial than methods of inquiry. Oden states, 
. . . "methodological reflection best occurs as a retrospection upon the actual 
practice of the study of God rather than an arbitrary limitation upon practice 
before study has begun." (Vol. I, p. 319). 

Oden's Systematic Theology, Volume II, The Word of Life, "plunges into 
perplexing issues of whether the Word became flesh, whether God has entered 
history in Christ, and whether that has saving significance for us." (Vol. 11, 
p. x). Oden points out that this volume though integrated into a larger system 
of theology can be read as a self-standing argument. He states, "It commends 
but does not require the reading of its companion volumes." (Vol. II, p. x). 

In this volume, Oden speaks of his mission as to deliver the "core of con- 
sensual belief concerning Jesus Christ that has been shared for two hundred 
decades" . . . (Vol. n, p. x). For Oden, his systematic ecumenical theology 
looks for a "cohesive grasp of the whole of classical Christian teaching" as 
it pertains to Jesus Christ. (Vol. II, p. x). Oden states that his study and task 
is to unapologetically set forth "in an undisguised way the apostolic testimony 
to Christ in its classical consensual form." Oden wants to show that what is 
most valuable in contempory biblical exegesis was discovered by the fifth cen- 
tury (Vol. n, p. xi). 

Oden concludes that although he will use contemporary sources where per- 


tinent, he will not be preoccupied with speculative modem critical debates. 
He will rather center upon the historic Christian consensus concerning the doc- 
trine of Christ. He states, "As one who has taught and studied and written 
on modem existentialism, psychotherapies, and social theories, I have paid 
full dues to modemity and now tum to the classic wisdoms conceming the 
way of Christ. " (Vol. 11, p. xii). His study holds to the central core of Chris- 
tianity and teaching on Christ by focusing on "ecumenical consenses" within 
the classical Christian tradition. (Vol. H, p. xx). 

Oden's systematic theology focuses on the person of Jesus Christ. Oden 
declares, "Christianity is a relation to a person. It is not essentially an idea 
or institution. It has defined itself in canon and tradition as a relation to Christ. 
He is the one to whom faith relates and in whom faith tmsts." (Vol. n, p. 1). 

Oden's systematic theology in the classic — ecumenic tradition is organized 
on the essential stmcture of the Nicaea — Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 
— "Nicene Creed." For Oden, "The creed has a deliberate overarching stmc- 
ture of three articles of faith in one God: God the Father, God the Son, and 
God the Spirit." (Vol. II, p. 23). This volume examines in thorough detail 
the various topics of the second article on God the Son. 

The creed's second article is ordered according to the essential two-fold divi- 
sion that sums up classic Christology: the person and the work of Christ, (Vol. 
n, p. 23). The creed provides the core outline of Oden's study. His Christology 
is ordered into 4 parts. 

Part I is comprised of six chapters which center around the theological issue 
of the Word made flesh. Oden's study focuses on four basic questions: ''Who 
assumed humanity in the incarnation? What nature did the etemal Son assume? 
How are deity and humanity united in one person? Why did the Son become 
flesh?" (Vol. m, p. 30). 

To address these questions, Oden gives traditional arguments for the divin- 
ity of Christ which recur in classical exegesis of hundreds of New Testament 
texts in Chapter 2. Oden emphasizes the nature of divine Sonship, the pre- 
incamational life of the Son, the humbling of God to servanthood in Chapter 
3. Chapter 4 deals with the fact of incarnation itself. Oden states the essential 
key teaching . . . "the etemal Son assumed human nature without ceasing 
to be God." (Vol. 11, p. 93). Oden concludes, "Incarnation is the necessary 
premise of any further episode of the unfolding Christ event." (Vol. II, p. 
93). Chapter 5 discusses the virgin birth and notes the biblical witness of Luke 
and Matthew. Chapter 6 explores the Scriptural grounding of the theandric 
union and affirms two natures in the one person of Christ. 

Part n is comprised of chapters 7, 8, 9 and focuses on Christ's earthly 
ministry. In chapter 7, Oden states that after considering the incamation, it 
is now appropriate to study Jesus' earthly life and ministry. In this chapter 
Oden gives a "personal interlude" which defines his "post-critical" stance 
in his Christology. (Vol. II, p. 217). Oden states his reversal in thought from 
modemity to ancient ecumenical councUs and patristics. Oden declares, "Only 
then in my forties did I begin to become a theologian. Up to that time I had 


been teaching theology without ever having sufficiently met the patristic men- 
tors who could teach me theology." (Vol. II, p. 220). 

Chapter 8 discusses events of Jesus' ministry that primarily affect the Chris- 
tian teaching of salvation. (Vol. II, p. 229). In chapter 9 Oden discusses the 
work of Christ in light of the three offices of prophet, priest, and king. Oden 
states, "Only one who is truly human and truly God in personal union is able 
to do what is needed for salvation. Hence the person of Christ is the requisite 
premise for the work of Christ." (Vol. II, p. 279). 

The death of Jesus and his atoning sacrifice on the cross are the contents 
of chapter 10 and chapter 1 1 in Part HI. For Oden, these are central and essential 
in grasping the meaning of Jesus for our salvation. Oden states in chapter 10, 
"It was not an easy death. That he suffered punitively for us in his death is 
intrinsic to the meaning of his death." (Vol. II, p. 317). In chapter 11 Oden 
focuses upon issues relating to the salvific work of Christ on the cross: such 
as Christ's obedience, vicarious atonement. He gives various theories of the 
atonement with clear illustration in a thorough and detailed chart on pp. 

Part IV of Oden' s Christology is entitled "Exalted Lord" and is comprised 
of the remaining three chapters in this volume, chapters 12, 13, and 14. In 
chapter 12, Oden declares, "With the death of Jesus an old era ends. With 
the resurrection of Jesus a new era begins." (Vol. II, p. 429). "The exalta- 
tion of Christ encompasses four teachings: descent to the nether world, (chapter 
12), resurrection, (chapter 13), ascension, and session at the right hand of God 
(chapter 14). 

In chapter 12 Oden states the thematic focus of his systematic theology — 
life. He points out that the title of volume II comes from I John 1:1-2. Oden 

The central theme of the first volume of this series was God's own life — 
The Living God. Now we speak of that same life — the source and ground 
of life itself — that has appeared and become known in history in an in- 
comparable way through the Word spoken and embodied in Jesus, The Word 
of Life. (Vol. n, p. 431). 

Oden is to be highly commended for his outstanding work in Vol. I and 
Vol. II of his systematic theology. His work in Vol. I is careful, detailed, and 
excellent. His Christology is Vol. n is absolutely exceptional. It is so thorough, 
so complete — truly a masterpiece. He interweaves in a beautiful mosaic the 
essentials of Christian faith. He writes of God and Christ in a classic ecumenical 
perspective appropriate for and much needed today. 

Oden's two volumes are recommended for clergy, laity, seminary professors 
and students who want to be enriched by the essentials of Christian faith in 
such a thorough and comprehensive fashion. I eagerly await the completion 
of Volume III, Life in the Spirit. 

JoAnn Ford Watson 



David Hocking 

The Rise and Fall of Civilization: From Creation through the Flood 

Portland, OR: Multnomah 
157 pp., $8.95, 1989 

David Hocking, senior pastor of Calvary Church in Santa Ana, California, 
will be known to many as the speaker on the broadcast "The Biola Hour." 
In a style of writing suitable for a broadcast to the general Christian public, 
Hocking here looks at issues arising from Genesis 1-9. 

The book starts with a brief introduction in which he accepts without serious 
argument the Mosaic authorship of all but the final verses of the Pentateuch. 
Hocking asks about the relationship between science and Scripture and right- 
ly accepts that God's ' 'revelation in the universe cannot contradict His revela- 
tion in the written record of the Bible." What he does not address here, though 
it is vital for this kind of study, is that fact that human interpretation of Scrip- 
ture is not inerrant, so many who agree with the above statement do not 
necessarily agree with the interpretations used by Hocking. 

Hocking divides the rest of the book into twelve chapters, presumably to 
fit into one quarter's Bible study class. Many would find the book useful in 
this setting, especially since the exposition is readable and clear. A few obser- 
vations on matters of interpretation could indicate Hocking's perspective and 
so his suitability for the context of the reader of this review. He bases his ex- 
position on the New King James Version, and in the first chapter argues against 
the 'gap theory' and for six, twenty four hour days of creation. Hocking pro- 
posed that dinosaurs were destroyed in the flood, woman was created in order 
to meet man's needs (though "there is a certain interdependency" when the 
relationship is as God intended it), sexual fulfillment is good, but only within 
marriage, Satan was the cause of the fall, women's pain in childbirth illustrates 
the coming tribulation, Cain's rejected sacrifice was so because of a wrong 
attitude, sons of God (Gen 6:2) were most probably angels and that the flood 
was global. 

There are a number of helpful observations in this popular level book, so 
it could well be considered for use by those who interpret Genesis in ways 
similar to Hocking. 

David W. Baker 


James M. Boice 

Genesis: An Expositional Commentary, 3 vols. 
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982, 1988, 1988. 
$14.95 each. 

Allen P. Ross 

Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis 

Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988. 
744 pp., $29.95. 

Gordon J. Wenham 
Genesis 1-15 

Word Biblical Commentary 
Waco: Word, 1987. 
353 pp., $24.99. 

These commentaries show how Evangelicals can look at one book and direct 
their interpretive endeavors toward different audiences by using different styles 
and formats. 

James Boice is the pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. 
His love for preaching and his pastor's heart for the exposition and applica- 
tion of the biblical text to a congregation come shining through in his volumes 
which contain the sermons preached as a series in his church over the course 
of a number of years. 

Expositions span about six pages each and cover larger (e.g.. Gen. 8: 1-19) 
or shorter (e.g., there are nine expositions before we even reach Gen. 1:3). 
Boice is not loathe to tackle ticklish interpretational difficulties, presenting, 
for example, separate studies on five views of creation: evolution, theistic evolu- 
tion, reconstructionism (the "gap-theory"), six-day creationism and progressive 
creation (he leans toward the latter). He also briefly mentions the Documen- 
tary Hypothesis regarding the question of authorship, though not in any depth 
since it is not the sort of issue which lends itself to preaching. 

Those seeking a detailed exegetical commentary using the text-critical tools 
and interacting with the most recent scholarship will not find that here, but 
they will provide themselves with many valuable insights more directly rele- 
vant to a congregation. The value of the work is enhanced by including a sub- 
ject index. 

Ross' contribution is also directed toward exposition, as evidenced by the 
subtitle, but he provides the grist for the expository mill rather than the pre- 
baked bread of Boice. Ross divides Genesis up into 64 sections of unequal 
length for analysis. Typically a section begins with a general introduction to 
the passage, a discussion of its theological ideas, and a section on "Structure 
and Synthesis" looking at the story's literary structure and development, a 
summary of its message, and an outline. There follows a more lengthy section- 
by-section exposition or exegesis, dealing with points of history, language 
(transliterated Hebrew is at times used), text, etc. much as would be expected 
in a regular commentary. The treatment is not exhaustive, even though other 


scholars are referred to at times. Since the expositor of Scripture, rather than 
the serious student of the Bible, is the expected reader of this volume, some 
interpretational difficulties are by-passed, but this is not a major flaw in the 
book, considering its aim and audience ("written for pastors, teachers, and 
all serious Bible students who wish to . . . increase their ability to expound 
[Genesis]"). More technical exegetical issues on the study of Genesis and 
specific issues, such as the nature of Abraham's faith, are included in an in- 
troductory section of the volume and in appendices. There are also brief 
bibliographies at the end of each section as well as a very meager one at the 
end of the book. There are no indices, even though those would increase the 
usefulness of the volume. 

Pastors should find the book of use, at least the first time preaching through 
a section. It will not be sufficient for a sustained, detailed study (nor was its 
goal to be so), so it could well be supplemented by other sources, including 
Wenham's volume. 

Wenham presents us with an exemplary model of a detailed technical com- 
mentary. A part of the Word Biblical Commentary series, some of which has 
been reviewed previously in this Journal, it follows its established format of: 
(1) bibliography (running over three pages on Genesis 2:4-3:24), (2) transla- 
tion (done by the author rather than following a pre-existing English text), 

(3) notes (on technical matters of text and translation, providing welcome par- 
sing of "the trickier verbal forms" for those working in the Hebrew text), 

(4) form/structure setting (discussing literary genre and the shape of the text 
as well as its place among similar traditions and forms in the ancient Near 
East), (5) comments (discussing historical, geographical, cultural, linguistic 
and interpretational points in dialogue with other scholars) and (6) explana- 
tion (providing a useful theological analysis of the section with insights into 
possible areas of contemporary application). Technical Hebrew language 
discussions are generally limited to section (3), with foreign words generally 
transliterated and/or translated in the other sections, so even those without 
language skills will benefit from the book. 

Wenham is a literate Evangelical, aware of and willing to interact with a 
variety of interpretational issues. He is not obscurantist, trying to hide dif- 
ficulties from the reader, nor is he abrasively polemical, seeking to bludgeon 
opponents. He rightly feels that scholarly interaction should be in the spirit 
of a team pulling together rather than as two boxers in the arena. 

Much more detail is to be found in Wenham than in the other two works, 
but Wenham is a lucid writer so the pastor and interested student should find 
his contribution accessible and valuable, as are all of his other works. We 
eagerly await the completion of his masterful study of Genesis. 

David W. Baker 


Philip J. Budd 

Numbers, Word Biblical Commentary 

Waco: Word 

xxxii + 409 pp., $24.99, 1984 

This volume is one of the early entries into the Word commentary series which, 
during the time lapse awaiting this tardy review, has produced twenty Old Testa- 
ment volumes so far. This volume continues the series' format of an introduction 
followed by the commentary proper which includes, for each text section discussed, 
a bibliography of works up to 1980, the author's own translation with notes on 
textual issues, form/structure/setting discussing questions of literary structure, unity 
literary genre, etc., comment, which is the verse by verse discussion of historical , 
lexical, geographical, etc. issues, and an 'explanation' section discussing such 
things as the redactor's purpose and issues of theology. 

Budd himself is lecturer in Old Testament at Oxford. The commentary series 
styles itself as "evangelical, and this term is to be understood in its positive, historic 
sense of a commitment to scripture as divine revelation, and to the truth and power 
of the Christian gospel." Under this definition, Budd could well be an evangelical, 
though his uncritical acceptance of the Documentary Hypothesis, with priestly 
revision of Numbers coming from the late fifth century BC, and his view that 
in the book history "cannot be assumed to be present at all points" would raise 
the eyebrows of many who would consider to call themselves Evangelical with 
a capital 'E'. 

The series is based on a discussion of the Hebrew text, though the general 
practice of translating the Hebrew will make the discussion accessible to most 
readers of this review. What will probably get in the way more will be a constant 
discussion of the contributions and perspectives of the various purported source 
documents. While there are valuable insights in the book, most of our readers 
will probably benefit more from Wenham's Tyndale Commentary contribution 
on Numbers rather than trying to separate Budd's wheat from his chaff. 

David W. Baker 

Martin Lockshin 

Rabbi Samuel ben Meir's Commentary on Genesis 

Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1989. 
440 pp. $79.95. 

Martin Lockshin. associate professor of humanities and Hebrew at York 
University in Ontario, Canada, has provided the first English annotated transla- 
tion of the commentary of this 12th century Hebrew Rabbi. Rashbam, as he 
is known by his acronymic nickname, was the grandson of the even more 
famous French exegetical scholar Rashi. It is a pleasure to see his work ac- 


cessible to an English-speaking audience. 

This volume is opened with a brief introduction to Rashbam and the ex- 
egetical methods practiced in northern France. These do not include the more 
expansive midrashic supplements to the text but seek to disclose its plain mean- 
ing (peshat). 

The layout of the commentary proper, which deals with Gen. 1, 18-50, has 
the transliteration of a Hebrew phrase, its translation into English and com- 
ments upon it. These involve points of grammar, history, theology, etc. There 
are also numerous annotations by the editor at the bottom of each page, 
sometimes filling more than half the page, explaining some of Rashbam's points 
and comparing him with other rabbinical exegetes. 

While the volume will not replace the standard commentaries on Genesis 
for pastor or student, it can open a window on a fascinating and, at times, 
illuminating period of exegetical activity which is all too often closed to present- 
day non- Jewish interpreters. It is a pity that the publisher's pricing policy is 
such that the volume will probably only fmd its way into a limited number 
of specialist libraries. 

David W. Baker 

Simon J. DeVries 
1 and 2 Chronicles 

The Forms of the Old Testament Literature XI 
Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans 
XV + 439 pp., $27.95, 1989 

Ronald M. Hals 

The Forms of the Old Testament Literature XIX 
Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans 
xiii + 363 pp., $29.95, 1989 

These two latest additions to a series which examines the Old Testament 
from the perspective of form criticism are both from faculty members at our 
sister institutions in our D.Min. consortium. Simon DeVries is Professor of 
Old Testament at Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio, and is 
the author of a number of previous works on various OT topics, including 
prophecy and history. Ron Hals is Professor Emeritus of OT at Trinity Lutheran 
Seminary in Columbus and has penned works on Ruth and OT theology, among 

The description of the series is provided by the publishers. "Fundament- 
ally exegetical, the volumes examine the structure, genre, setting, and inten- 
tion of the biblical literature in question. They also study the history behind 


the form-critical discussion of the material, attempt to bring consistency to 
the terminology for the genres and formulas of the biblical literature, and ex- 
pose the exegetical procedure so as to enable students and pastors to engage 
in their own analysis and interpretation of the Old Testament texts." Having 
a purposeful focus on form, areas of text, history and philology are laid aside, 
so forithese the reader is directed to commentaries of a more traditional kind. 

Each volume of the series proceeds like peeling an onion. For example, 
DeVrJes' first section is on the books of Chronicles as an entire unit, pro- 
vidinj^ a detailed bibliography, a discussion of the relationship between 
Chronicles and Ezra/Nehemiah (probably from different authors), and the genre 
and setting, and intention of Chronicles. He also discusses the 'redacted ver- 
sion' of the book (the present, canonical form) as well as an "original" ver- 
sion, which is viewed as lacking the genealogies in 1 Chr. 1:1-9:34. His se- 
cond, chapter looks at the subunit of the genealogies themselves, and then the 
third, most extensive section looks at each of the individual units. 

The individual units are discussed in a very similar pattern to that just men- 
tioned: (1) structure — providing an outline of the passage and a discussion 
of the arrangement and interrelationship between the various component parts, 
(2) genre — providing names for various forms and subforms which comprise 
each section (these are defined in more detail in a concluding glossary), (3) 
setting — the relationship between the passage and antecedent portions of Scrip- 
ture, (4) intention — why the author included the passage and what it was in- 
tended to achieve, and (5) a brief bibliography. 

The two authors well cover the material within the parameters set by the 
series in which their volumes are included. DeVries brings out useful insights 
into the relationship between the Chronicler and his sources in Joshua-Kings. 
Hals is generally more terse than DeVries, making his material somewhat less 
interesting to read. These volumes do serve a useful function in biblical studies, 
but will probably be of more use to the serious student than the busy pastor, 
who will want more theological interaction and will miss the usual elements 
of exegesis found in a traditional commentary. 

David W. Baker 

Ralph W. Klein 

Ezekiel: The Prophet and His Message 

Studies on Personalities of the Old Testament 
Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press 
xi + 206 pp., $24.95, 1988 

Andre LaCocque 
Daniel and His Time 

Studies on Personalities of the Old Testament 
Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press 
xvii + 240 pp., $24.95, 1988 


These are two members of a series "written by specialists in the Old Testa- 
ment for readers who want to learn more about biblical personalities without 
becoming professional students of the Bible themselves." LaCocque's volume 
is a translation and revision of a 1983 French original, while Klein's contribu- 
tion appears here for the first time. 

Both authors are well prepared for their task. LaCocque, professor at Chicago 
Theological Seminary, has penned commentaries on Daniel and Zechariah 9-14 
an has a special interest in the study of apocalyptic literature. Klein, dean and 
professor of Old Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, 
has already published a theological study covering the period of Ezekiel's 
ministry (Israel in Exile, 1979). While neither author would find himself com- 
fortable with the theological conservativism of most readers of this Journal, 
both volumes contain much of interest to all students of the Old Testament. 

LaCocque's work is comprised of seven chapters, a useful bibliography 
covering 10 pages and some works as recent as 1985, and indices of ancient 
texts (with separate listings for OT, OT apocrypha, OT pseudepigrapha, 
Qumran, rabbinic material, NT early Christian and classical material), modern 
authors (with sparse Evangelical representation, this mainly due to their relative 
lack of contribution in this area), and subjects. His first chapter is a historical 
introduction in which he accepts the book as pseudepigraphic and holds the 
chronology presented in Daniel as inauthentic. 

In the second chapter, the 'social and spiritual milieu of early Jewish 
apocalypses' is discussed, placing Daniel firmly in the Seleucid period, though 
simply accepting this date while not arguing for it. He sees the origins of Daniel 
in the Hasidic movement and undertakes a comparison of it with Qumran and 
its writings. There is an appendix tracing the Hasidic movement 'from Enoch 
to Qumran.' 

Chapter three looks at literary aspects of Daniel, analyzing the different sec- 
tions 1-6, 7-12, seeing 1-6 as collected popular tales concerning Daniel while 
7-12 were original to the author working c. 165 BC. Chapter four looks at 
the characteristics of Daniel as apocalyptic; chapter five, its symbolic language 
and dream/vision form; six covers aspects of the book's theological lessons 
(the mythic confrontation between personified good and evil, the Messiah/Son 
of Man and his relationship with David, and resurrection) and seven, the figure 
of Daniel as prophet and sage. 

The volume is not an ordinary commentary, but deals in greater depth in 
matters generally covered in commentary introductions and excurses. The ques- 
tions of the historicity of the future Daniel and the piecemeal compositional 
history proposed for the book will make many readers of the Journal uncom- 
fortable. The volume does present a useful survey of contemporary, mainstream 
scholarly opinion on Daniel and apocalyptic. 

Klein's volume on Ezekiel follows a different format. He proceeds more 
or less in canonical order through the book in ten chapters, which are fol- 
lowed by a six page bibliography and author and Scripture indices. In his in- 
troduction, Klein very briefly introduces the temporal and geographical set- 


ting of Ezekiel and his health (he is apparently normal, with many of his sym- 
bolic actions being literary devices rather than real actions). 

Klein's first chapter investigates Ezekiel's call, and he compares the visions 
of chapter 1 with ancient Near Eastern art, and in the second he looks at the 
various sign acts used by Ezekiel and how Ezekiel himself is a sign. These, 
and the rest of the chapters, will provide helpful insight into areas of history 
and interpretation of Ezekiel. Useful drawings are also included on, e.g., the 
layout of the restored Temple in Ezekiel 40ff. 

Those who are looking for contemporary application will be disappointed 
here, and even more so with the volume on Daniel. Useful background for 
preaching and teaching can be gained from the books, but they probably will 
not find their way into many church or pastor's libraries, though they need 
to be consulted by serious students of the books involved. 

David W. Baker 

Hans Walter Wolff 

Obadiah and Jonah: A Commentary 

Minneapolis: Augsburg 
191 pp., $29.95, 1986 

Hans Walter Wolff, emeritus professor of Old Testament at the University 
of Heidelberg, is one of the most prolific commentators on the OT today. This 
translation from the 1977 German original follows a number of other transla- 
fions of his work. 

The layout of the commentary, like that of the original in the Biblischer Kom- 
mentar series, begins with an introduction in which the author discusses the 
canonical position, compositional date, literary development, etc., along with 
useful bibliographies. The latter have not been updated for the English ver- 
sion so the most recent work appeared in 1976. Serious students must then 
provide their own supplementary references. 

Each section of the commentary proper begins with a brief bibliography on 
the passage, the author's own translation, text critical and grammatical notes, 
a discussion of the literary form, the historical setting, a commentary proper 
on each verse, and a discussion of the purpose of each section. In this last 
section the author touches upon areas of NT and contemporary theological 

While generally doing an excellent job, the author's presuppositions as 
regards the text, for example, come through when he rearranges Ob. 15 due 
to a proposed "faculty scribal transmission" of it. He places Jonah as late 
as the Hellenistic period and its literary genre as a midrash on 2 Kings 14:25, 
Jer. 18:8 or Exod. 34:6. 

The commentary will be a necessary resource for serious scholars, though 


the pastor will probably find it a bit too detailed. Hebrew is liberally scattered 
throughout the text but the terms are most often translated or explained in the 
immediate context. Most church libraries would probably be best advised to 
look elsewhere for commentaries on the books, pastors should be aware of 
this volume's existence for consultation, but probably few readers of the Journal 
will need it in their own personal library. 

David W. Baker 

Graham S. Ogden and Richard R. Deutsch 

A Promise of Hope — A Call to Obedience: A commentary on 

the books of Joel and Malachi 

International Theological Commentary 
Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans 
120 pp., $7.95, 1987 

As the series title suggest, this latest entry into a well-established series self- 
consciously seeks to be both international and theological. The international 
character is evident in the areas of service of the two authors (Taiwan, Hong 
Kong and Switzerland). 

Introductory matters include canonical position and literary form and struc- 
ture. Ogden argues strongly for a literary unity of Joel and musters useful 
evidence, while Deutsch argues for several redactional levels of Malachi. Each 
has a brief theological introduction, but this area is more fully developed in 
the course of the commentary itself. Ogden also includes a section on 'the 
Christian and lamentation' since this is a genre which has much to do with Joel. 

The busy pastor will probably find this series more useful for his/her needs 
than some of the more technical series. An adequate handling of historical, 
grammatical and, to some extent, textual issues is accompanied by a fuller 
theological exposition than is often the case. As with any published work, the 
viewpoint and starting point of an author will not parallel that of the reader 
so there will be areas of disagreement. This should not preclude the use of 
this, or any other book, but should remind us readers that in all our reading 
we should be engaging in a critical dialogue with the text and its author. 

David W. Baker 

John Joseph Owens 

Analytical Key to the Old Testament: Vol. 4: Isaiah-Malachi 

Grand Rapids: Baker Book House 
1989, xxi + 941 pp., $34.95 


John Owens, former professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Southern Baptist 
Theological Seminary over the course of some thirty-five years, has prepared 
a tool which Hebrew students have been eagerly awaiting. This is the first of 
four proposed volumes which analyzes each word in the Hebrew Bible as to its 
grammatical form and meaning. 

The text proceeds canonically in the order of the Protestant canon, and presents 
each word in the order in which it occurs in each biblical verse. Entries contain 
the following information in the order given: Hebrew word or phrase, gram- 
matical form indentification, root (for verbs), page number of the discussion of 
the word in Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon, reference to any discussion of the form 
in Gesenius-Kutsch, Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (if any), and the English transla- 
tion. The Hebrew text, which is not as sharply printed as one might wish, is 
taken from the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, while the English usually follows 
the RSV, though the editor does at times provide his more literal translation. 

The volume, and the series to which it belongs, will undoubtedly find its place 
on the desk of Hebrew students as well as pastors who wish to preach from the 
Old Testament, but have not developed (or have lost) and fluency in the Hebrew 
and Aramaic languages. While a useful tool, the work must not be seen as a 
replacement for the necessity of learning the languages of the Old Testament since 
the subtleties and nuances of the text cannot be extracted completely from the 
Key any more than one could get the full benefit of Shakespeare with only the 
use of a collegiate dictionary. 

David W. Baker 

Daniel L. Smith 

The Religion of the Landless: The Social Context of the Babylonian Exile 

Bloomington, IN: Meyer Stone, 
xvii + 249 pp. $19.95 paper. 

As the sub-title indicates, this book is a contribution to the growing number 
of studies that approach the Hebrew Bible (and New Testament) from a 
sociological pespective. A revision of Smith's doctoral dissertation submitted 
to Oxford University, The Religion of the Landless, is not confined to a rehearsal 
of the historical-critical research on the exilic literature nor to a complete 
reconstruction of the period. 

Rather, Smith proposes that our understanding of the exile be informed by 
what N. H. H. Graburn calls a "Fourth-World" perspective (see page 8 and 
the reference to Graburn's work), that is, "the view of social events and values 
that become operative for a minority in a conditions [sic] of forced removal 
and settlement under imperial control and power" (p. 10). In other words, 
we need to approach the exile from "the perspective of the exiled themselves" 
(P- 9). 


Toward this end Smith draws from the experiences of four groups: South 
African Bantustans, African slave societies in pre-Civil War U.S., Japanese- 
American internment during WWII and the Bikini Islanders removed in 1946 
by the U.S. Smith draws on the common "mechanisms for survival" found 
to be at work in these groups, using the data "to suggest themes and questions 
to inform exegesis" (p. 11; [see the details on pages 70ff]). He then 
demonstrates how these mechanisms were at work among the Babylonian ex- 
ilic Jewish community. 

In Part II Smith applies his findings to selected biblical texts, first by ex- 
amining the structure of the exilic community (e.g. the function of "elders;" 
the primacy of the Bet 'Abot and their relationship to pre-exilic Bet 'Ab and 
Mishpehah), then individual texts (Jer. 29), the P strata, the Diaspora Novella 
and Haggai. 

Smith is judicious in his use of these comparative data; he allows them to 
be suggestive. This is the strength of the work. There are many historical ques- 
tions left unexamined but, given Smith's thesis, this is not unexpected. TJie 
Religion of the Landless, like the data it surveys, is suggestive and should 
stimulate further "sociological" exegesis of this significant period in Israelite- 
Judean history. Smith offers us a model after which such investigation should 
be patterned. 

Smith concludes his work with a brief section, "Toward a Contemporary 
Theology of Exile." He focuses on a reaction to the ethics of power, remin- 
ding us that while the exodus event was central to the faith and formation of 
Israel, it must not be emphasized at the expense of the message of exile: an 
alternative community with hope and vision. 

This book will probably not receive the wide reading it deserves. Students 
of the Hebrew Bible will read it with profit, but its usefulness in illuminating 
a significant theological and historical event should not be overlooked by the 
working pastor. It should be in any serious theological library. 

David M. Phillips 

Associate Pastor, 

First United Methodist Church, 

Ashland, Ohio 

Ronald E. Clements, ed. 

The World of Ancient Israel: Sociological, Anthropological and Political 


Society for Old Testament Studies Monograph Series 
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. 
xi + 436 pp. $65.00. 

This book is a series of essays by members of the British Society for Old 


Testament Studies and itself is the eighth of such volumes since 1925 on various 
aspects of the Old Testament Study. The title of the volume could be misleading, 
possibly suggesting a study of Israel in its ancient Near Eastern geographical, 
historical and archaeological context. This area was touched on to some ex- 
tent in previous volumes by SOTS members. The subtitle more accurately sug- 
gests that the present work is intended to bring to bear the understandings deriv- 
ed from the social sciences on to the study of the Old Testament. 

A review of this size cannot expect to render justice to an eclectic volume 
such as this. Rather, I will list the entries, with some comments. The initial 
part includes three introductory articles. The first, by the editor, "Israel in 
its Historical and Cultural Setting," serves as an apologia for the present 
volume. John Rogerson surveys the use of anthropological perspectives in the 
study of biblical texts while Andrew Mayes does the same for the field of 
sociology. The former points out how the various anthropological approaches 
leave the field in a state of flux but with major advances in biblical understand- 
ing on the horizon, while the latter surveys earlier and more recent influences 
of Weber and Durkheim. 

The second part is entitled "Israel" and includes five essays on the subjects 
of "ecology, agriculture and patterns of settlement" (Frank Frick), "Israel 
as a tribal society" (James Martin), mainly summarizing the debate concern- 
ing the nature of the "Conquest" and of the social structure of pre-monarchic 
Israel, kingship in Israel (Keith Whitlam), where he lauds an interdisciplinary 
approach rather than one which presupposes a uniqueness for Israelite kingship, 
Israel in transition (Hugh Williamson), explaining in particular the Chronicler's 
contributions to the historical understanding of Israel, and the origins of the 
Jewish diaspora (Richard Coggins) or communities of expatriates. Both of the 
latter cast useful light in the very poorly understood post-exilic period. 

A third major section of the volume explores fundamental institutions within 
the social and religious life of God's people, including investigations of law 
and legal administration (Bernard S. Jackson), prophecy (Robert P. Carroll), 
wisdom (R. Norman Whybray) and apocalyptic (Philip R. Davies). The final 
section deals with important "ideas and ideals," theological and social prin- 
ciples serving as underpinnings for Israel's life and faith. These include studies 
of holiness and the cult (Philip J. Budd), holy war (Gwilym H. Jones), the 
covenant (Robert Davidson), the land (Eryl W. Davies), women and their place 
(Grace I. Emmerson), and the Old Testament view of life and death (Michael 
A. Knibb). 

While this is not a text from which sermons may be easily extracted, it will 
provide great help in understanding the social and religious milieu of many 
Old Testament passages. This can only help in making the bibilical text come 
more alive to contemporary audiences, if the material is used judiciously. The 
volume represents among the best of contemporary British scholarship (with 
one token American contribution). The relative dearth of Evangelicals included 
should firstly open our eyes to areas where differences in one's view of Scrip- 
ture might affect one's interpretation of the text, and secondly spur Evangelicals 


on to make concentrated effort in these key areas of biblical studies. 

Though not recommended for most church libraries, especially in light of 
its price, serious expositors and students of Scripture should be aware of and 
consult this work in their sermon or lesson preparation. 

David W. Baker 

Maurya P. Hogan and Paul J. Kobelski, eds. 

To Touch the Text: Biblical and Related Studies in Honor of Joseph A. 

Fitvnyer, S.J. 

New York: Crossroad, 1989. 
xiv + 418 pp. $39.95. 

The Jesuit scholar in whose honor this volume was published is one of the 
leading authorities on Aramaic and on the Qumran texts, especially as they 
apply to the study of the New Testament. This collection of 25 essays is a 
fitting tribute to this master as he approaches his 70th birthday. 

Contributors were asked to address the issue "of how ancient extrabiblical 
writings illuminate the biblical text." The authors are either former students 
or collegues of Professor Fitzmyer from Australia, Israel, Italy, Sweden and 
the United States and include Catholics, Jews and Protestants. In addition to 
the international ecumenical list of contributors to this, his second honorary 
volume, the impact of Fitzmyers' scholarship is also shown by the concluding 
list of his publications, numbering 490 journal and encyclopedia articles, 
reviews and books up to 1989. 

Contributions are divided into four sections. Part I: Language, includes ar- 
ticles dealing with Old and Targumic Aramaic, Greek and Ugaritic texts. Part 
II: Hebrew Bible, looks at aspects of Isaiah, the prophets of the eighth cen- 
tury B.C. in relation to apodictic law, and the important question arising from 
recently discovered inscriptions from 'Ajrud and Qom regarding a possible 
consort for Yahweh. Part III: Dead Sea Scrolls, sees what light these documents 
can cast upon Paul's epistles, NT poetry and Matt. 18: 15-17, as well as a 
reexamination of the evidence regarding the origin of the Qumran communi- 
ty. Part IV: New Testament, explores NT text criticism, birth narratives, the 
beatitudes in Matthew, the theology and Hellenistic religious background of 
I Thessalonians, literal and figurative language in I Peter, the "Son of Man" 
sayings, and several other topics. 

While not directed toward pastors and students, this eclectic volume should 
provide at least something to prick the interest and thinking of pastor and stu- 
dent as well as biblical scholar. We join in wishing Professor Fitzmyer well 
in his continuing efforts to illuminate Scripture. 

David W. Baker 


New Testament Archaeology Slide Set 

Biblical Archaeology Society 

1986, 180 Slides $159.00 

Of the many resources available to scholar, pastor, and student of the Bible 
alike, few compare to the slides and commentary now made available through 
the Biblical Archaeology Society. Here in one collection one finds visual im- 
ages of many of the sites where various of the events recorded in the NT 
transpired. The viewer is taken on a tour of Palestine, Herodian Jerusalem, 
Qumran, Bethlehem, the Galilee, as well as various of the locations visited 
on the three missionary journeys of Paul. The slide selection ends with a small 
collection of slides highlighting aspects of early Judaism contemporaneous to 
the events of the NT. 

Though one picture may be worth a thousand words. Dr. Dan P. Cole, an 
archaeologist from Illinois, has, with brief commentary on each slide, made 
each picture speak more eloquently and understandably. The guide book with 
Cole's commentary is in many ways as valuable as the slides themselves. 
Without using overly technical language he has helped bring light and life to 
these slides. 

Especially valuable in this slide collection are the various aerial shots that 
the average student or professor would be unable to obtain otherwise. The 
Jerusalem slide collection in this set is somewhat truncated, but no doubt this 
is because the Society offers another whole collection of Jerusalem slides and 
they did not wish for the two sets to overlap too much. I personally found 
the slides by Sonia Halliday of Paul's journeys some of the best in the entire 
collection. The slides have been culled from a variety of sources and not all 
are of equal quality or usefulness, but none of them are without their value 
to anyone studying the NT. 

While my overall impressions of this set of slides and the commentary that 
goes with them are extremely favorable and I would commend them to anyone 
who is serious about understanding the NT, a few brief criticisms are in order. 
The majority of scholars still consider Colossians Pauline, and so it is unfor- 
tunate that no slide of Colossae, Laodicea, and Hieropolis are included in this 
set. Also, in view of the fact that many scholars of various persuasions, and 
even more lay persons still consider the Pastoral Epistles Pauline, it is a shame 
that this collection ends without tracing Paul's possible journeys to Crete, 
Nicopolis and elsewhere after his release from house arrest in Rome. It would 
also have been helpful if the slides related to the Book of Revelation had been 
expanded in number to include various of the sites of the cities addressed in 
Rev. 1-3. One could also have wished that a few more of the sites on Paul's 
sea journey, such as Malta, had been included in this set. Nevertheless, these 
shortcomings do not mean that this set is not extremely useful as it is. I know 
of no other single slide collection that is a better introduction to some key aspects 
of the locations of the NT, and I commend them to all our readers. A set of 
these slides should be available to every Church and person that is serious 
about understanding the NT. When I have used these slides with students at 


the seminary the response has been enthusiastic. 

Ben Witherington, III 

Richard John Neuhaus, general editor 

Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: The Ratzinger Conference on Bible and 


Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1989. 
190 pp., n.p. 

This group of essays grew out of a conference sponsored by the Rockford 
Institute, the Center of Religion and Society. It is one of Eerdmann's 12 books 
in a series called "Encounter." Among the series' other titles: Virtue — Public 
and Private, Democracy and the Renewal of Public Educaiton, Jews in 
Unsecular America, The Preferential Option for the Poor. 

Our book under review. Biblical Interpretation, is divided into five essays 
and seems to be the most explicitly theological of the Encounter Series — at 
least by judging the titles. The preface is written by the director of the Center 
of Religion and Society, Richard John Neuhaus. Though the conference, which 
addressed biblical interpretation, had 22 participants, only five participant 
essays were selected for publication. The first, and keystone, essay was Car- 
dinal Ratzinger' s. 

Stating the focal issue clearly Ratzinger says: "It would not be fair to the 
historical- critical method simply to chastise it because of the faults of its er- 
roneous practitioners. On the other hand, one must ask to what extent its er- 
roneous application is due to the defects of the method itself. Again, I am not 
saying the method has done no good. I am suggesting that it contains such 
significant mistaken assumptions that a reexamination of it is now incumbent 
upon all who would affirm the perennial importance of God's written word 
for the church and for the world today." 

The Cardinal sets the Conference's parameters by adding, "It is useless to 
take refuge in an allegedly pure, literal understanding of the Bible. On the 
other hand, it is clear that a merely positivistic, rigid ecclcsiasticism would 
not suffice either." 

His essay compares and contrasts both the insights and limitations of biblical 
criticism. Ratzinger focuses especially on the hermeneutical issues surroun- 
ding the historical -critical method. It is to these issues other Conference scholars 
address themselves. 

Raymond Brown's fine essay, "The Contribution of Historical Biblical 
Criticism to Ecumenical Discussion," was, like all his work, careful, insightful 
and helpful. His essay is broken into three primary components: historical 
biblical criticism, ecumenical church discussion and the contribution of 
historical biblical criticism. Brown's essay includes sage words about his prin- 


ciple teacher. "For him the greatest sin in scholarship was the inability to 
change one's mind in the face of evidence, an inability arising from one's 
presuppositions. Thus the very notion of natural-science certitude in biblical 
investigationneverenteredthemindsof his students. [The students] . . . were 
told that their task was to become aware of their own presuppositions with 
the goal that these might not become total prejudices, distorting eveid