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Grace College and Seminary 
Winona Lake, IN 46590 

For Reference 

Not to be taken from this room 

ISSN: 1044-6494 




Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 2005 

ISSN: 1044-6494 
Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 




Enough is Enough: Matthew 6:5-15 1 

Wyndy Corbin Reuschling 

Where Have All The Prophets Gone? 7 

Marvin A. McMickle 

"To Be Right With God": 

An Exploration of the New Perspective View on Paul 19 

Rich Hagopian 

The Question of Evil: Theodicy, Moltmann, and Pannenberg 39 

Jon Kane 

Waiting Table in God's Household: 

A Personal Theology of Ministry 51 

Mark Hepner 

Amanda Berry Smith 65 

Vivian L. Hairston 

10 Commandments of Pastoral Leadership: A Theological Study 

of Pastoral Leadership in the Brethren Church 77 

Roy A. Andrews 

Pauline Theology: A Review Article 91 

Allan R. Bevere 

Book Reviews 99 

Journal articles are indexed in Elenchiis of Biblica, New Testament Abstracts, Olo 
Testament Abstracts, Religious and Theological Abstracts, and Religion Index One: 
reviews are indexed in Index to Book Reviews in Religion. The latter two indices, 
published by ATLA, 820 Church Street, Evanston, Illinois 60201, are also available 
online through BRS Information Technologies, DIALOG Information Services and 
Wilsonline. Views of contributors are their own and do not necessarily express those 
endorsed by Ashland Theological Seminary. 

VOLUME xxxvn 

Published and copyright held by Ashland Theological Seminary,Ashland, Ohio, 44805 
Printed in the USA. 


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in 2011 with funding from 

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Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

"Enough is Enough": Matthew 6;5-15 

By Wyndy Corbin Reuschling* 

In the next couple of weeks, most of us will likely be celebrating the 
national holiday called "Thanksgiving". What always strikes me about 
Thanksgiving is the gratitude we express for abundance. We are to give thanks 
for abundance, as if abundance is perhaps normal and something we deserve, 
and something we actually ought to celebrate. 

Abundance was always apparent at the Thanksgiving feasts celebrated 
in my extended family. Around 4:00 in the afternoon, family members were 
saying "enough is enough" probably about the relatives as well as the food. I 
should know that "enough was enough." I was usually on clean-up duty on 
Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if this was a statement of my cooking skills ("oh, 
honey, don't bother to bring anything") or a sign of grace since I was the one 
who usually traveled to get where I needed to be on Thanksgiving. 

Whatever the reason, each year, it was apparent there was never enough 
room in the refrigerator for the more than enough to fill tupperware and cool 
whip containers with leftovers which could easily provide 3 to 4 meals for the 
same 21 relatives. 


I have a confession: I am ambivalent about Thanksgiving, even while I 
go on celebrating it with friends and family. 

1. I am ambivalent about Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is one of those 
mixed days in our national history. While many of us participate in the 
abundance of good food and renewal of family relationships, we are keenly 
aware (or ought to be) of those who cannot participate in abundance and who 
don't even have enough for daily bread. 

2. I am ambivalent about Thanksgiving: On Thanksgiving, we 
selectively recount the story of the pilgrims, their courage and valor, while at 
the same time selectively ignoring the cost their growing abundance and 
expansion meant for native peoples who were already living here even as some 
of us reap the benefits. 

3. I am ambivalent about Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is one of the 
days exposing the huge discrepancies in our world that can't be addressed 
through charity, important as charity is for teaching us how to be generous. The 

*Wyndy Corbin Reuschling (Ph.D., Drew University), is Associate Professor of 
Ethics and Theology at ATS. This is a chapel address delivered to the Seminary 
community on Nov. 7, 2005. 



Ashland TheologicalJoiirnal 2005 

discrepancies are the result of injustice that relies on the poverty of certain 
people to maintain the wealth of the few as noted in global consumption 

The United Nations' Report on Human Development reminds us that 
"inequalities in consumption are stark"' Globally, the 20% of the world's people 
in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption 
expenditures - the poorest 20%) a minuscule 1.3%. More specifically, the richest 

Consume 45%) of all meat and fish, the poorest fifth 5%. 
Consume 58%o of total energy, the poorest fifth less than 4%. 
Have 74%o of all telephone lines, the poorest fifth 1.5%. 
Consume 84% of all paper, the poorest fifth 1.1%. 
Own 87%) of the world's vehicle fleet, the poorest fifth less than 1%. 

The Book: 

I am ambivalent about Thanksgiving, even as I go on celebrating, it. 
As I read the Bible, I see the dangers of pursuing material abundance, especially 
at the cost of others which is an act of injustice that disturbs God. 

And as the text for today reminds us, Christ did not command us to 
pray for and assume abundance, perhaps except for spiritual abundance in 
knowing Christ. Christ encouraged us to pray for "just enough," our daily bread. 
We find this prayer in the text that was read this morning, Matthew 6:9-13. 

Many of you may come from traditions where this prayer is prayed as 
regular part of our worship services. We often refer to this prayer as "The 
Lord's Prayer." But perhaps we ought to refer to this prayer as "The Disciples' 
Prayer," as some do, since it is instruction given by Jesus to his disciples on how 
we ought to pray. 

This Disciples' Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13, is part of Jesus' Sermon on the 
Mount. The Sermon on the Mount is considered to contain the substance of 
Jesus' moral teachings on how we ought to live and what we ought to do as 
disciples of Christ. Jesus' teachings in the 5*'', 6"^ and ?"' chapters of Matthew 
are very clear and concrete, leaving no mystery of how we ought to act as 

Jesus gives very specific instructions on prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. He 
starts this teaching on prayer with two negative commands about prayer: don't 
pray like the hypocrites and don't pray like the babblers. 

1. Don't pray like the hypocrites who were more concerned with 
appearances, caring more what others thought of them than what God 
thought. Don't pray like the hypocrites, but instead pray in secret. 

2. Don't pray like the babblers. The babblers to whom Jesus is referring 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

were "mere talkers, mimickers." Jesus associated the babblers with 
pagans. As Dallas Willard notes, the babblers illustrate the danger of 
making prayer a mechanical process, since babblers "falsely imagine 
that mere sounds, repeated over and over again, will gain the desired 
effect.""" Instead of directly addressing God as "our Father," it has been 
suggested that babblers relied on repeating a list of divine names 
hoping to arrive at naming the "right god" in order to receive what they 

Don't pray like the babblers, but instead pray to your Father, the one 
true God who name is hallowed and ought to be treated that way. 

The good news about this passage, however, is the specific, positive 
instruction Jesus gives us on how we ought to pray. We are not left with what 
not to do; we are left with what we should do when we pray. 

Unlike the hypocrites and babblers, we ought to pray to our Father in 
secret with honesty and directness in our motives and words. The example 
which Jesus gives is to pray like this. 

Richard Foster in his book. Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home, 
believes this wonderful example of prayer for the disciples of Christ contains 
three primary petitions or requests: Give, Forgive and Deliver Along with the 
request that God our Father forgive us of our sin (with the understanding of the 
imperative that we forgive others) and the request that we might be delivered 
from evil (our own failures when tested and protection from the evil one, Satan), 
we are also commanded to ask that God gives us our daily bread with directness 
and honesty, without the concern for appearances (unlike the hypocrites and 

What is the daily bread to which Jesus refers? 

1 . The daily bread for which we are to ask is parallel to the provision of 

daily bread from heaven for the Israelites recorded in Exodus 16. 

• The Israelites were released from slavery in Egypt and were on the way 
to the promised land of God. God provided for them through their 
desert wanderings by "raining down" bread from heaven. God also 
gave clear instructions: take what you need for each day because what 
God provides for each day is sufficient. It did not "pay" for those who 
took more: the unused, hoarded bread was full of maggots the next day 

• In the desert the people of God were to gather JUST ENOUGH for 
each day, gathering twice as much on the sixth day to keep them for the 

• Early on, the people of God were to practice gathering "just enough" to 
keep them from hoarding and to live out their faith in God as their 

Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

2. The daily bread for which we are to ask is the provision of life's 
essentials, not luxuries. We pray for the "enough is enough" to keep our bodies 
healthy and our physical needs met. 

• Jesus is concerned here with not just the "dailyness" of our request but 
the measure and content of it: we are to ask for "just enough" for this 
day's provision. 

3. The request for daily bread concerns the immediate, not the worry that 
there may not be enough in the future. 

• The request for daily bread reminds us of our daily dependence on God, 
and the fact that all material provisions belong to God. 

• God is the sustainer of all of life, and all of life matters to him: both the 
spiritual and the physical which Jesus links together in this prayer. 

4. However, this prayer is not just for "my" daily bread. This is a 
corporate prayer that starts with "Our Father." Therefore, we are to 
pray for the daily needs of all, both daily and in adequate measure that 
"enough will be enough" for the physical and spiritual well-being of all 

Unlike the hypocrites and babblers, we are to pray simply and directly to God, 
asking for the provision of daily bread. 

The prayer today: 

This simple request for daily bread perhaps appears bizarre, and even 
quaint, to those of us familiar with lofty religious and churchy language and 
those of us living in an affluent, consumer driven culture such as ours. And we 
can perhaps become "ho hum" about it in the danger of repeating it week after 
week. But this prayer is survival for the millions of people in our world who 
have no resources themselves for the provision of daily bread. 

Do we stop celebrating Thanksgiving? No. But perhaps the Disciples' 
Prayer can give a reorientation to what we are doing when we stop, remember 
and celebrate on this day. I think there are four implications of the direct and 
simple prayer as we ask for our daily bread and as we participate in a. national 
holiday that celebrates an abundance out of proportion to the world in which we 

1. It forces us to ask when is "enough is enough." ft reminds us to look 

critically at our own culture and the ways in which pervasive 
consumerism and the obsession to accumulate erodes our own spiritual 
well-being and the physical well-being of others. We are damaged 
spiritually because we forget that our very lives are dependent on God, 
and others are hurt physically because as we obtain more and more, 
others receive less and less. 

Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

2. It sensitizes us to the inequity and imbalances of our society. This 
prayer to "our Father' reinforces our responsibility to pray and work 
toward the supply of daily bread for others. This, too, is spiritual work 
for the people of God and evidence that we understand our own 
dependence on God and our responsibilities for others 

3. It helps us retain proper balance and perspective. God cares about what 
we need. In the disciples' prayer, we are reminded that we need daily 
bread, forgiveness and deliverance from evil, an apparent odd mixture 
of physical and spiritual needs. 

Are we just as obsessed with confessing our sin, forgiving others, 
seeking forgiveness and being diligent in avoiding temptation as we are 
with daily wants which we call needs, and working for the needs of 

How ironic that one of our greatest temptations in this culture is the 
drive to consume more and more, and to confuse wants with needs, a 
temptation from which we need to be delivered as we are reminded 
again in this prayer of the measure of daily needs and when enough is 

4. We are reminded of our dependence on God. Our attitudes toward 
physical needs and the substance of daily bread are ultimately a 
spiritual issue and a reflection of our willingness to trust God with all 
of our lives: our very salvation as well as our material existence. 

At the close of his chapter looking at the Prayer of the Disciples in Matthew 6, 
Richard Foster proposes a prayer for us as we ignore the intent and substance of 
how we should pray as taught by Jesus in Matthew 6. 

"Dear Father, I don't want to treat you like Santa Claus, but I do need 
to ask things of you. Give me, please, food to eat today. I'm not asking for 
tomorrow, but I am asking for today. Please forgive me for the infinite offenses 
to your goodness that I have committed today. ...this hour. I'm not even aware 
of most of them. I live too unaware. That in itself is a sin again heaven. I'm 
sorry. Increase my awareness. And in my ignorance if I have asked for things 
that would be totally destructive, please, do not give them to me - do not lead me 
into temptation. Do protect me from the evil one. For Jesus' sake. Amen." 


When is enough enough? This question is perhaps more easily 
answered by those who find the prayer for and provision of daily bread a matter 

Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

of survival, and as a result, have a deeper and more dependent relationship with 
God than I'll ever have. It's an important question, one that I believe is 
ultimately a spiritual one, placed by Jesus in the Disciples' Prayer right along 
with matters of forgiveness and temptation from evil. My attitudes toward daily 
bread are just as important as my understanding of forgiveness in Christ and my 
desire to avoid temptation. How I pray and what I do in these areas reflect my 
trust in God and my willingness to allow the reality of Christ to permeate all of 
my life, as I learn to trust God for daily bread and adjust my life and make 
decisions accordingly to "enough is enough." 

May God grant us courage to ask for two things according to Proverbs 30:7-9: 
Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I 
die. Keep falsehood and lies from me; give me neither 
poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 
"Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so 
dishonor the name of my God. 

Notes j 

' . ^ 

" Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, ' 

1998), 194. " j 

Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart 's True Home. San Francisco: 

Harper San Francisco, 1992), 185. ] 

Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Where Have All The Prophets Gone? 

by Marvin A. McMickle* 

One of the essential needs in every congregation of believers is an 
occasional sermon rooted in the words and witness of the Old Testament 
prophets. Preachers need to play a role within the life of their congregation and 
their community similar to the role that such people as Amos, Jeremiah and 
Micah played within the life of the nations of Israel and Judah. James Ward and 
Christine Ward begin their important book on this subject of prophetic 
preaching by writing: 

77?^ natural inclination of the Christian community, like all 
religious communities, is to adapt its witness of faith to its 
most immediate human needs. In doing this the community 
always runs the risk of obscuring the wider dimensions of the 
gospel, particularly the wider implications of God's demand 
for righteousness and justice. What is needed, therefore, is 
preaching that recovers these wider dimensions and 
illuminatesthe ways in which the community obscures them. 

Those who preach must appreciate the need to let their sermons play this role in 
the life of their church, their surrounding community and the wider society of 
which the preacher is a member. 

There is a tendency within congregational for the preacher to become 
preoccupied with such pressing matters as new members' or confirmation 
classes, the maintenance or renovation of the church building, whether or not the 
annual budget will be met and how to maintain a feeling of intimacy in the face 
of a rapidly growing or shifting membership. What may be lost in the rush to 
respond to these issues is that congregation's responsibility to respond to an 
escalating problem of homelessness in the community, or overcrowding in the 
jails, or the abuse of drugs and alcohol by youngsters in the local school district. 
It is the preacher's job to remain watchful, to use the image of Ezekiel 3 and 33, 
and to sound the alarm about the injuries that are being inflicted upon people as 
well as about the injustices that are taking place. 

Prophetic preaching shifts the focus of a congregation from what is 
happening to them as a local church to what is happening to us as a society. 
Prophetic preaching then asks the question, "What is the role or the appropriate 
response of our congregation, our association and our denomination to the 
events that are occurring within our society and throughout the world?" 
Prophetic preaching points out those false gods of comfort and of a lack of 

* Marvin McMickle (Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University) is Professor of Homiletics 
at ATS. This paper was originally presented before the Narrative and Imagination Group 
of the Academy of Homiletics in Memphis, TN at their 2004 Annual Meeting. 

Where Have All The Prophets Gone? 

concern and acquiescence in the face of evil that can so easily replace the true 
God of scripture who calls true believers to the active pursuit of justice and 
righteousness for every member of the society. Prophetic preaching also never 
allows the community of faith to believe that participation in the rituals of 
religious life can ever be an adequate substitute for that form of ministry that is 
designed to uplift the "least of these" in our world. 

The words of the eighth century B.C. prophets Amos and Micah come 
immediately to mind. Both of them condemned Israel because that nation 
seemed more interested in the acts of animal sacrifice and the observance of 
religious feast days than they were in the poverty and economic exploitation that 
impacted the lives of so many people in their society. The voices of the biblical 
prophets echoed from the top of Mt. Carmel where Elijah confronted Ahab and 
Jezebel and the priests of Baal to the streets of Jerusalem where John the Baptist 
challenged Herod Antipas. 

The prophets preached truth to power, attacking the monarchs and the 
ruling elite for putting more confidence in armies and alliances than they did in 
the God who had brought them into that land. The prophets challenged the 
people of Israel who believed that God would never abandon them no matter 
how far the nation strayed from the covenant it had established with God back at 
Sinai. With an urgency that could not be contained and a fervor that could not be 
controlled, the prophets declared their "Thus says the Lord" despite the ridicule, 
rebuke and outright rejection that most of them experienced throughout their 
lives. It is impossible to imagine the biblical narrative being told without the 
pronouncements of the prophets. 

As preaching schedules are being planned and as biblical texts and 
topics are being considered, it is easy to see the need for prophetic preaching in 
our churches and throughout our society. Many Christians worship inside of 
immaculately maintained churches that are situated in neighborhoods that look 
like bombed out war zones. Many Christians drive from the suburbs to churches 
located within a community that has been ravaged by poverty, drug trafficking, 
the loss of industry through outsourcing and factory closings, and under-funded 
and overwhelmed public school systems. Of course, many Christians never have 
to see these sights or confront the people and problems in these inner city 
communities, because they have moved out of the city to pristine outer ring 
suburbs and have brought their churches out to those upscale areas with them. 

For those who continue to travel into the crumbling and decaying cities 
of our nation, it is crucial that they hear a prophetic word about the problems 
that surround their church, the social policies that are the root cause of those 
problems and what they can do as an expression of their biblical faith to bring 
about change. For those who live and worship in exurbia and who never get 
close enough to the grimy side of America for anything to rub off on them, 
prophetic preaching becomes even more urgent. It is crucial that people with 
wealth, power and influence be challenged by a prophetic word that calls upon 

Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

them to direct their resources not simply for tax advantages for themselves, but 
for a fairer and more just society for their fellow citizens. 

The benefit of a regular use of materials taken from prophetic texts is 
that the preacher is forced to consider people, issues, and socio-political 
conditions that stretch over a period of one thousand years; issues that the 
preacher might otherwise have overlooked. There is no other genre of biblical 
literature that approaches the prophetic corpus in terms of the breadth of history 
and the depth of human experiences that are included among its pages. 
Sometimes Israel is at the height of its power and influence, and the message of 
the prophets is that God is about to bring that mighty nation to its knees because 
of its arrogance and pride. Other times the prophets issue a sweet call to Israel to 
return to the God whose love for them will not allow God to completely give up 
on them. The God who sent Hosea out to marry a prostitute named Gomer is the 
God whose love for us is stronger than our disregard for God. 

The prophets remind Israel, just as we need to be reminded through 
regular doses of prophetic preaching, that God is the sovereign creator and 
sustainer of the whole creation. The God who sent Jonah to preach salvation in 
Nineveh is the same God who used first Babylon and the Persia as the 
instruments of God's will. The God who formed Israel into a great nation when 
they were brought out of the brick pits of Egypt is the same God who can send 
Israel back into captivity and cause them to hang their harps upon the willows 
and weep as they sit along the banks of the River Chebar and remember the life 
they once lived back in Zion. God's concern is for the whole of creation and for 
all the people that dwell therein. When the people of God lose sight of the fact 
and begin acting as if only they and their nation really matter, it is time for a 
prophet to declare, "Thus says the Lord!" 

In a nation whose religious life seemed overly focused on the Temple 
of Solomon, the levitical priesthood, the careful observance of a legalistic 
lifestyle, and the proper practices of "holy living", prophetic preaching focused 
the people's attention on the issues that were broader than how to worship or 
where to pray or what it is lawful to eat. The Mosaic covenant included a series 
of clear commandments to care for the widows, the orphans, and the stranger 
who was among them. When the people of Israel lost sight of that 
commandment, the prophets were there to remind them. 

Now as then, there is a need to lift up the conditions of widows, 
orphans and strangers. Today they take the form of single women, many of them 
living in great poverty, who have been abandoned by husbands and boyfriends 
and are raising children by themselves. The world is literally awash with 
children who have been left orphaned by the unrelenting ravages of HIV/ AIDS, 
as well as by tribal warfare in Africa, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, and wars 
in Iraq and Afghanistan that use the methods of terror (shock and awe) to 
combat acts of terrorism around the world. 

The stranger is also among us today, though here too the forms have 
shifted. Now they are the migrant workers who pick our food, the illegal 

Where Have All The Prophets Gone? 

immigrants who clean our homes and hotels, and the prisoners at Guantanamo 
Bay and inside of Abu Ghraib prison who are under U.S. control but not 
afforded the protections of the U.S. Constitution, the Geneva Convention, or the 
common decency that any U.S. citizen would expect and/or demand for 
themselves. The stranger is also that person with an "Arab sounding name" or 
that Sikh from India who, because his religion requires him to wear a turban or 
some other kind of head wrap, are being caught up in the post-9/11 frenzy 
created and sustained by a government which is always on the lookout for a 
"person of interest." 

In the face of all that is currently happening in our world, it is shocking 
to note that the voice of the prophet is rarely if ever heard. True enough, biblical 
texts taken from the prophetic corpus are often employed in weekly sermons, 
but the power and the pathos are not heard or felt. Isaiah and Micah are used 
primarily to demonstrate that the birth of Jesus was foretold 700-years earlier. 
Malachi is seldom heard from except in an occasional sermon on tithing and the 
promise (3 : 1 0) that God will open the windows of heaven. We may hear from 
Zechariah (9:9) around Palm Sunday when the story is told of Jesus riding 
triumphantly into Jerusalem on a colt amid shouts of hosanna. However, the 
fiery words of the prophets go unspoken in most pulpits across America. There 
is very little likelihood that the vast majority of those who hear sermons today 
will come out of their churches saying to one another "the land cannot bear his 
words" (Amos 7: 10). 

In our Post-modem society with its widespread biblical illiteracy, most 
people do not know and will likely never hear about Jeremiah's trip to the 
potter's house, his confmement in a cistern or the yoke of oxen he wore around 
his neck to symbolize the bondage that was awaiting Judah if Jehoiakim and 
Zedekiah did not change their ways and the ways of the nation they ruled. They 
will probably not hear about the encounter between Nathan and David when the 
prophet told the king "You are the man." They may never hear a sermon based 
upon Isaiah's condemnation of false gods and idolatry, or Ezekiel's warning 
from God that God's people were rebellious and impudent. 

More than likely our people will hear sermons about the values of 
patriotism, the paths to peace and prosperity, the appropriate methods for 
baptism and communion, why God does not approve of women in ministry and 
why a woman's right to control her reproductive choices is the single greatest 
evil in the world today. Many of those who will preach such sermons are our 
former students in homiletics classes in seminaries and schools of religion 
within the Association of Theological Schools. Many of them will preach with 
no particular urgency or attention paid to the prophets because no such urgency 
was laid upon them when they sat in our classes in Bible, theology, ethics or 
even homiletics! 

A folk song of the 1 960s raised this question in the context of the anti- 
war movement; where have all the flowers gone?" There is a homiletical 
equivalent to that question which says: 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Where have all the prophets gone? 

Gone in search of mega-churches, every one. 

Where have all the prophets gone? 

Gone in search of faith-based funding every one. 

Where have all the prophets gone? 

Gone in search of personal comfort every one. 

Where have all the prophets gone? ' 

Gone in search of political correctness every one. 

Where have all the prophets gone? 

Gone into a ministry that places praise over speaking truth to power 

every one. 

When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? 

In his book. Interpreting God's Word in Black Preaching, Warren 
Stewart reflects on two hermeneutic principles fashioned by James A. Sanders 
the Old Testament scholar who taught Warren and me when we were students 
together at Union Theological seminary in New York City in the 1970s. Sanders 
wrote about the "constitutive" and the "prophetic" readings of scripture. Stewart 

In biblical times the constitutive reading of the Torah story, 
which was based on a supportive interpretation of the Word, 
gave Israel an identity and a purpose. As the moral as well as 
the historical context of Israel changed, Israel became in need 
of a challenging message that would call it back to its original 
purpose as God's elect. Israel, in such a state, was not in need 
of a supportive reading of the tradition. The establishment 
context of Israel called for a prophetic interpretation of the 
Torah story. 

The message of the prophets calls us back to our original purpose as the 
people of God. It reminds us of how we should have been living all along. It 
points out to us what we have become as a people. Then it challenges us to 
return to the ways of the Lord our God; the way in which we had long ago 
promised we would walk. 

In his Letter From a Birmingham Jail written in 1963, Martin Luther 
King, Jr. embodies for us what it looks like to preach from the prophetic texts 
and to be a prophet in our midst. He wondered how white Christians could build 
churches that were so beautiful to behold, and then practice something as ugly as 
racial segregation within those same structures?"^ No doubt, the church spires he 
noticed as he traveled throughout the American south in the 1950 and 1960s 
were well staffed and well-funded. They had a solid constitutive foundation. 
However, those churches were not focused on what was the central social issue 


Where Have All The Prophets Gone? 

of that generation. In fact, the people in those churches were the primary reason 
why racism, segregation and the rule of law known as Jim Crow could last as 
long as it did in America. What those church people needed to hear was a 
prophetic word. 

As was stated earlier and cannot be reinforced too strongly, prophetic 
preaching does not demand or even require the use of a text taken from one of 
the prophetic books of the Old Testament. Nor does it require any reference to 
one of the prophets of the classical period that stretched from the 8* to the 5* 
centuries B.C. Many sermons have been preached from a text taken from a 
prophetic book that were more "pathetic" than "prophetic." That is usually the 
result of a preacher who did not have his/her focus on that which constantly 
occupied the biblical prophets, namely the fact that God's people were living in 
disobedience to the covenant that had been established between God and the 

Prophetic preaching occurs when the preacher seeks to bring the will of 
God to the attention of the people of God, and then, as Elizabeth Achtemeier 
observes, challenge them "to trust their Lord in all circumstances and to obey 
him with willing and grateful hearts."^ Prophetic preaching happens when the 
preacher has the courage to speak truth to power not only inside of the church 
building but also in the streets and board rooms and jail cells of the secular 
order. We must be willing to do this if we are to be faithful to and worthy of 
following in the footsteps of Samuel who confronted Saul, Nathan who 
confronted David, Amos who condemned Jeroboam, Jeremiah who challenged 
both Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, and John the Baptist who did not grow mute or 
meek in the presence of Herod Antipas. 

This approach to prophetic preaching is consistent with what Walter 
Brueggemann calls "prophetic consciousness" in his book The Prophetic 
Imagination. He writes that the work of the prophet is to be able to project 
before the people "an alternative future to the one the king wants to project as 
the only thinkable one."^ For Brueggemann the Old Testament prophets had to 
contend with something he calls "royal consciousness" that represents "the 
deeply entrenched forces - political, economic, social or religious - of Israel." 
They are the status quo, and they only offer to people a vision of the future that 
allows them to remain in power, and requires that the masses of people remain 
marginalized in society. The work of the prophet is to combat that single vision, 
and show that God can and will bring about a future different from that 
envisioned by the ruling elite. 

In drawing the tension between "prophetic consciousness" and "royal 
consciousness", Brueggemann is reminding us that in the 8"^ century BC world 
occupied by prophets like Amos and in the 6* century BC world occupied by 
prophets like Jeremiah, not all of the preachers were prophets. Indeed, we are 
also reminded that not all people who call themselves or who are referred to as 
prophets are standing in the tradition of those preachers who spoke an 
unrelenting message of justice and righteousness. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

The presence of Amaziah who is an ally and defender of King 
Jeroboam and the presence of Hananiah who serves a similar role with and for 
Zedekiah serve as the clearest indicators that the great Old Testament prophets 
whose words and work are so instructive to us today did not have the preaching 
platform to themselves. There were others voices being heard at that same time, 
other voices that were also cloaked in the title of being prophetic. However, 
there was a difference between Amos and Amaziah and between Jeremiah and 

Amaziah stood against Amos and told him to return to Tekoa and to 
never again preach in Bethel because "this is the king's chapel and the king's 
court." (Amos 7: 13). To add insult to injury, in the preceding verse (7:12) 
Amaziah told Amos to go back and "earn his bread" by preaching in Judah; a 
clear reference to the fact that Amaziah assumed that all of the so-called 
prophets were on someone's payroll, as he was very likely on the payroll of his 
monarch. This comment led Amos to declare "I was no prophet, neither was I a 
prophet's son.... The Lord said unto me Go, prophesy unto my people Israel" 
(Amos 7: 14-15). 

Prophesy the word of the Lord is precisely what Amos did. He decried 
the abuse of the poor in an economic system that favored and rewarded those 
who were already rich. He condemned a class of people, referred to as cows of 
Bashan, whose personal comforts prevented them from feeling or caring about 
the poverty and misery being experienced by many of their own people. Amos 
also made it clear that the comfort class was in large measure responsible for 
that inequity in society. 

Hananiah sought to persuade both the king and the country of Judah 
that the words of judgment spoken by Jeremiah were not true. Hananiah saw it 
as his mission to reassure both king and country that God was not displeased, 
that the enemy at the gate (the army of Nebuchadnezzar) would not triumph 
over Judah, and that the future of Judah and its royal line was secure. Hananiah 
was the son of a prophet and he, too, spoke with the opening phrase "thus says 
the Lord." He seemed to have at least as much credibility and authority as 
Jeremiah, and yet they preach two widely different messages; one was 
constitutive and the other one was prophetic. One was based upon the 
preservation of the status quo that is the essence of royal consciousness and the 
other was fueled by the alternative vision of the future that is the heart and soul 
of prophetic consciousness. 

It cannot be doubted that many pulpits across America are filled by 
preachers who operate out of a royal consciousness. I once heard a televised 
sermon by a popular Presbyterian preacher from Fort Lauderdale, Florida who 
ended his pastoral prayer with the words "God Bless America." In the sermon 
that followed I heard no reference from that preacher about the 2000 presidential 
election and the voting fraud that occurred in Florida that resulted in the first 
ever "selection" of a President of the United States. While this paper is being 
prepared, armed members of the Florida State Patrol are going to the homes of 


Where Have All The Prophets Gone? 

elderly African Americans who had been actively involved in Get-Out-The-Vote 
efforts for the 2004 election. This is an obvious attempt to intimidate black voter 
registration and to suppress black voter turnout in that swing state. 

This particular preacher consistently operates within a constitutive and 
royal consciousness hermeneutic. He and so many of his colleagues who crowd 
the airwaves of Cable TV religious broadcasting are reaching an enormous 
audience with the message that all is well in America. They have hijacked the 
title of being evangelical. No longer does that word suggest a deep commitment 
to the authority of scripture, a burning passion for spiritual transformation in the 
lives of those who hear the Gospel and a solid separation of church and state. 
Now, as a result of the National Association of Evangelicals and preachers like 
the ones that are seen on TV 24-hours a day, an evangelical is someone who 
holds a specific position on such issues as prayer in schools, abortion, school 
vouchers, capital punishment, affirmative action and increased military spending 
even if it is done at the expense of social programs. "God Bless America." 

In 2r' century America, a person who identifies themselves as an 
evangelical is most likely to vote Republican, vote against school levies for 
public school districts, stand opposed to funding the United Nations because that 
agency encourages birth control in parts of the world where poverty and over- 
population go hand-in-hand. Today's evangelicals want a smaller government 
here in the United States, but support the overly aggressive Patriot Act that not 
only enlarges the size and cost of the U.S. government but also greatly threatens 
civil liberties and privacy. 

Evangelicals are likely to have supported the war in Iraq and the fall of 
Saddam Hussein, even though they also likely know that 20-years earlier we 
equipped and encouraged that same Saddam Hussein when he was our ally in a 
war that Iraq was fighting against Iran. The same could be said about modem- 
day evangelicals who likely supported the war in Afghanistan against the 
Taliban, Al Qaeda and Osama bin Ladin, despite the fact that we encouraged 
and equipped them in their war against the Soviet Union during that same point 
in history. United States foreign policy 20-30 years ago laid the foundation for 
most of the turmoil in which our nation is engaged today. That being said, the 
preachers in America, black and white, who have the largest following and the 
highest name recognition, seem to have nothing to say on matters of justice and 
righteousness. Where have all the prophets gone? 

What is needed in America is an alternative voice that sets forth God's 
alternative vision for the future. While $87 billion have been allocated to rebuild 
Iraq after we needlessly blew the country up with our shock and awe, there are 
45 million Americans that have no health insurance. While nearly $1 billion was 
spent on the 2004 election by candidates pursuing elective office at the federal 
level alone, a ban on assault weapons will be lifted without much congressional 
debate, the minimum wage laws leave many working Americans in the status of 
being the working poor and newly established overtime laws in the workplace 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

will allow employers to require overtime from their workers without paying 
them an overtime wage. 

The abuse of the poor by the rich, the neglect of the neediest in our 
society, and the focus of a religious life that is defined by the proper 
performance of rituals and not the dogged pursuit of righteousness is where we 
find ourselves in America in 2004. It was times similar to these that spawned the 
biblical prophets and that also spawned the prophets who flashed across the 
stage of history: Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King, Jr., Desmond Tutu, Oscar 
Romero, Fannie Lou Hamer, William Sloane Coffin and Philip and Daniel 
Berrigan. There are a lot of people preaching in this country and throughout the 
world today, but one feels the need to raise the question, "where have all the 
prophets gone?" 

Lest I be accused of focusing all of my attention outside of the black 
community, rendering black people more as victims than as perpetrators of the 
constitutive hermeneutic, let me say a word or two about what is happening in 
the pulpits of black churches across the country. It can best be described by the 
phrase, "All the prophets have turned to praising. " I recently heard an 
announcement about a cruise that was being planned to the Caribbean that is to 
include presentations by many of the biggest names in the black community in 
the fields of entertainment, business, motivational speaking and sports. The 
advertisement then said, "Get your praise on with the biggest names in the 
black church today. " They then listed such names as Noel Jones, Creflo Dollar, 
Eddie Long and others. I am not condemning any of those persons or the 
ministries in which they are engaged. I am expressing concern that the focus 
within so many black churches has shifted away from justice and righteousness 
to "getting your praise on." That is precisely what Amos was condemning when 
he uttered these words from the Lord: 

Take away from me the noise of your songs, 

For I will not hear them, 

But let justice roll down like water. 

And righteousness like a mighty stream (Amos 5: 23-24). 

What has happened to the legacy of Vernon Johns, Martin Luther King, 
Jr., Howard Thurman, Samuel Proctor, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and James 
Lawson? Where are the successors to Richard Allen, Nannie Helen Borroughs, 
Fannie Lou Hamer and Prathia Hall? Why is it that more black preachers today 
are interested in helping people "get their praise on" than they are in getting 
schools improved, or getting the levels of poverty in the community right around 
their church reduced, or getting the rate of divorce lowered, or getting more and 
more black men into school and out of prison? One has to labor long and hard 
these days to hear a prophetic word even from within the African American 
church; that part of the body of Christ that 40 short years ago had the audacity to 
see as its mission the goal of "saving the soul of America." 


Where Have All The Prophets Gone? 

The black community in America is in what may be its greatest crisis 
since slavery. That community faces record levels of poverty, drug addiction 
and alcohol abuse, and a staggering and constantly escalating rate of 
imprisonment usually for drug related offenses. So many of the finest young 
men and women in our community make a foolish mistake with regard to the 
use or possession of the smallest imaginable amounts of illegal substances. They 
are convicted of felony offense, and even if they receive a shortened sentence or 
drug abuse counseling in lieu of a prison term, they live the rest of their lives 
and the bulk of their lives as ex-offenders. That phrase has the power to limit 
their hopes and dreams, their employment and upward mobility for as long as 
they live. It faces record levels of unemployment among adults and a staggering 
rate of teens that are both parents and high school dropouts. 

These are the very real and urgent problems that confront millions of 
African Americans. There is certainly a need for praise and celebration as one 
way to cope with the problems that confront our community. The inspiration 
that come from times of praise and worship can go a long way toward helping 
people bear up under the weight and burden of these conditions. However we 
cannot let "getting our praise on" become the sole or central reason for our 
coming together. We must speak to the issues that are the root causes of the 
social problems that we face. That is where prophetic preaching comes into play. 

J. Deotis Roberts writing in Roots of a Black Future: Family and 
Church notes that the black church has traditionally operated out of two forms 
of ministry that he calls the priestly and the prophetic. He says, "The priestly 
ministry of black churches refers to their healing, comforting and succoring 
work. The prophetic ministry involves its social justice and social transforming 
aspects. "'° By being careful to include prophetic preaching in the course of a 
year's pulpit work, while continuing to allow people time to "get their praise on" 
black preachers can be sure that this historic and important balance in the 
worship and witnessing life of the black church continues into the future. 

In speaking to those issues, black preachers must declare "Thus says 
the Lord" not only with regard to what is being done to black people by white 
society. We must also say "Thus says the Lord" to our own community and our 
own congregations about the choices we are making and the values we are 
adopting that greatly contribute to our present dilemma. It must be remembered 
that as long as Amos was listing the "for the three transgressions and four" 
against Moab, Edom, Syria, Gaza and Judah he was on safe ground in Bethel. It 
was when he turned his attention to the people who were before him at the time 
that his courage had to increase and his popularity suddenly fell. 

It is not possible for a prophetic ministry to be sustained or for 
prophetic preaching to have authenticity when the words "Thus says the Lord" 
are directed only toward those outside of your own community who are doing 
harm to that community. At some point, preachers must direct the prophetic 
word to those who are members of their own nation, their own community and 
even their own congregation. Moreover, they must engage in that prophetic 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

preaching endowed with the "divine pathos"" that Abraham Joshua Heschel 
says was the essence of the messages that God sent to Israel through the bibUcal 
prophets. "The prophets communicated God's anger over the sins of the 
covenant community. However, "what God intends is not that his anger should 
be executed, but that it should be annulled by the people's repentance."'" In the 
last analysis, it is hope and deliverance, not death and destruction that is the 
ultimate promise of prophetic preaching. As Israel learned in 722 BC and as 
Judah discovered in 586 BC, death and destruction came not because God willed 
it, but because the people of God refused to listen to what the prophets were 

Finally, prophetic preaching requires something more than righteous 
indignation over what is happening in society and over what is not happening 
within the church. Prophetic preaching also requires a large amount of humility 
and the awareness that the sins we see in the people who hear the sermons are 
also alive and at work in the people who preach the sermons. Preachers have no 
right to preach a prophetic word with their fist balled up and their index finger 
pointed out and away from themselves. We do not have the right to preach to 
people about their sins. The preferred approach is to preach about the sins and 
shortcomings that grip us all and that pull all of us away from the love and 
loyalty we should be displaying toward God. 

Isaiah speaks for all of us when he says, "Woe is me, for I am a person 
of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6: 5). 
My slave ancestors put it equally well when they encouraged every one, 
preachers included to sing: 

It ain't my mother, 

It ain't my father. 

But it's me, O lord. 

Standing in the need of prayer. 


' James Ward and Christine Ward, Preaching From the Prophets, Nashville: 
Abingdon, 1995, p. 11. 

" Lyrics for Where Have All the Flowers Gone? By Pete Seeger, 1955. 

■ Warren Stewart, Interpreting God's Word in Black Preaching (Valley Forge: 
Judson Press, 1984)32-33. 

" Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Can't Wait (New York: Signet Books, 1963) 

^ Elizabeth Achtemeier, Preaching From the Minor Prophets (Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1998). 

'' Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination (Philadelphia: Fortress 
Press, 1978). 

' Ibid, 44. 

^ Ibid, 30-31. 


Where Have All The Prophets Gone? 

J. Deotis Roberts, Roots of a Black Future: Family and Church (Philadelphia: 
Westminster Press, 1980). 



Ibid., 110. 

" Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets (New York: Harper & Row, 1962) 

'- Ibid, 224-225. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

"To be Right with God": 
An Exploration of the New Perspective View on Paul 

by Rich Hagopian* 


In 1977, with E. P. Sanders' publication of Paul and Palestinian 
Judaism, a major upheaval took place in Pauline studies.' Sanders' main thesis 
was that the long-held view of looking at Paul through "Lutheran-colored 
spectacles" was incorrect." Luther believed that much of Paul's theology was 
grounded in an attack against Jews trying to be justified through works, thereby 
earning their "right-standing with God" — a conclusion that has been influential 
in nearly all post-Reformation New Testament scholarship.^ Sanders radically 
proposed that this was not a concern of Paul's at all; that in fact this scenario 
was not a reality at the time of Paul.'* Instead, Sanders saw Judaism in Paul's 
time as a "covenantal nomism," in which Israel was graciously given 
membership in God's covenant, which required obedient action while providing 
atonement for sin.^ These conclusions have been a substantial challenge to 
traditional understandings of Pauline thought, which have been based on 
Luther's understanding of first-century Judaism. As McGrath has written, "If 
Sanders is right, the basic features of Luther's interpretation of Paul are 
incorrect, and require radical revision."*" That revision, both positively and 
negatively, has been the main emphasis of a spectrum of scholarship that Dunn 
has labeled "the New Perspective on Paul." ^ 

This paper will attempt to trace the argument set in motion by Sanders' 
work. The intention of such a survey is to bring together various components 
and viewpoints within the New Perspective in order to answer the question, 
"What does it mean to be 'right with God?'" 

The Religio-Historical Context 

There does not seem to be a "New Perspective School" in New 
Testament studies.^ There is, however, what might be called a "spectrum of 
appropriation," in which theologians accept Sanders' basic conclusions 
concerning covenantal nomism with varying degrees of enthusiasm over their 
usefulness or implications.^ Seyoon Kim has noted that those who accept 
Sanders' conclusions about the nature of the Intertestamental period "elevate [it] 
to the status of dogma," while insisting on interpreting Paul only in that 
context. '° Kim serves as a starting point in the discussion of this paper, insofar 
as he calls for an examination of the broad religio-historical context that serves 
as "the plank upon which all varieties of the [New Perspective] rest."" 

Rich Hagopian (B.A, Ohio State University) is an M. Div. student at ATS. 


"To be Right with God:" An Exploration of the New Perspective View on Paul 

Covenantal Nomism as Primary Religio-Historical Context 

Sanders argued that Judaism at the time of Paul was "a religion of 
grace, with human obedience understood as a response to that grace."^^ 
Accordingly, he felt that ''obedience maintains one 's position in the covenant, 
but does not earn God's grace as such. It simply keeps an individual in the 
group which is the recipient of God's grace. "'^ God's covenant to Israel was 
given in grace, and "doing the law" earmarked the way of life within the 
covenant, as well as maintained one's membership therein.'"^ Thus, these 
"works of the law" were not done to earn covenant membership, its promises, 
and its salvation, but rather to maintain one's availability to them.'"'' This, as 
noted in the introduction, stands against the ideas about this period under which 
most Protestant theology has been formed. N. T. Wright sums up Sanders' main 
thesis as stating that "Judaism in Paul's day was not... a religion of legalistic 
works-righteousness."'^ This idea, which has been ternied covenantal nomism, 
is an aspect of the New Perspective about which Kim might be said to be 
correct; it is accepted as "dogma." Yet, this is not an acceptance a priori, but 
rather a conclusion arrived at after being explored in depth by many who engage 
with the New Perspective.'^ 

The responses to this thesis are varied. Stuhlmacher — though a strong 
opponent of the New Perspective — seems to accept Sanders' view, noting that 
theologians long before him argued the same.'*^ Yet D. A. Carson finds the idea 
of covenantal nomism misleading and reductionistic.'*^ This conclusion is in 
tension with that drawn by Raisanen, who nine years prior to Carson noted that 
it has "ceased to be a minority position.""" 

Despite Carson's strong language, there does seem to be what Durm 
calls a "growing consensus" on two aspects of covenantal nomism. "' The first is 
that a "right-standing with God" began with God's gracious giving to Israel a 
covenant in which to stand. The second is that participation within this covenant 
community necessarily called for the keeping of its covenantal obligations. 

There are two other aspects of Intertestamental Judaism that are critical 
to a New Perspective understanding of one's "right standing with God." These 
are the dimensions of exile and ethnicity, both articulated by two of the more 
visible supporters of the New Perspective."" 

Persistence of Exile in the Religio-Historical Context 

N.T. Wright has proposed that Intertestamental Judaism's self- 
perspecfive was one of continuing exile."^ Noting that often in both the biblical 
prophets and Intertestamental literature the idea of a forgiveness of sins is 
combined with a return from exile — itself combined in Jeremiah with the idea of 
"covenant renewal" — he draws the conclusion that "Since covenant renewal 
means the reversal of exile, and since exile was the punishment for sin, covenant 
renewal/return from exile means that Israel's sins have been forgiven — and vice 




Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Two implications follow from this statement. The first is that this 
sense of continuing exile contributes to an inherently eschatological 
expectation: it puts Judaism at the time of Paul anticipating that God will do 
something (namely, renew his covenant/end exile/forgive sins).~^ The second is 
that this expectation is communal rather than individual. Davies affirms this, 
noting that many narratives written within the intertestamental period all "link 
the justification of the individual with the justification of the Jewish people.""^ 
These two implications will prove fruitful when examining the New Perspective 
interpretation of Paul. 

Marks of Membership in the Religio-Historical Context 

Jews were those who kept the covenant. New Perspective thought 
emphasizes that if what mattered to the Judaism of the day was staying in the 
grace of the covenant given to Israel by God, the corollary of which meant the 
following of certain obedient actions (such as circumcision, the observance of 
Sabbath, and dietary laws), those actions thus served as markers of belonging 
within the boundaries of the covenant."^ Thus, Dunn can state, "A member of 
the covenant people was, by definition, one who observed these practices in 
particular.""^ Dunn also notes that in Intertestamental literature Jewish heroes 
are those who don't break these covenant obligations and points out that Greco- 
Roman literature of the time explicitly identified those who observed the law as 
being Jewish.'^ This idea becomes increasingly important when examining 
Pauline thought, insofar as a basic contention of the New Perspective is that 
Paul's condemnation of "works of the law" (particularly as seen in Galatians and 
Romans) is not a statement against trying to earn righteousness by works, but 
rather a condemnation of misusing the markers of covenant obedience to protect 
their sense of "identity and privilege" as covenant members.^° 


Within New Perspective thought these three interwoven ideas — 
covenantal nomism, persistence of exile, and marks of membership — are seen as 
the religio-historical context of Paul. The result is that Pauline interpretation is 
done in light of this background, as opposed to the traditional Protestant 
perspective noted in our introduction. 

The Language of Righteousness 

If the re-examination of the above themes within Judaism could be 
thought of as one pillar upon which the New Perspective rests, the other would 
surely be Paul's language of righteousness and justification. Understanding 
Paul's use of such language is foundational for any Christian understanding of 
what it means to be 'right with God.'^' It is not, however, as easy a task as might 
seem. Dunn has remarked on the difficulty of discussing such language, insofar 
as Greek uses the same root word and its cognates to describe what in English 
are two separate words: the noun "righteousness" (dikaiosune) and the verb 'to 


"To be Right with God:" An Exploration of the New Perspective View on Paul 

justify' (dikaioo).^'^ This is important, for it reveals that one cannot speak of 
righteousness apart from justification. The importance of this when interpreting 
Paul's thought will be apparent. 

However, before examining Paul it is first necessary to look at the use 
of righteousness language within the religio-historical context surveyed above. 
This survey of language use within Paul's context is highly relevant insofar as 
understanding Paul's use of such language derives primarily from an 
understanding of the language of the time. N.T. Wright notes that this language 
has three dimensions — covenantal, judicial, and eschatological — making simple 
classification difficult.^^ The eschatological dimension can also be fairly aligned 
with a creational dimension, further embellishing the New Perspective 

Covenantal Righteousness Language 

J. A. Ziesler, in an exhaustive study on the language of righteousness, 
notes that within the Old Testament "most scholars regard righteousness as 
fundamentally concerned with relationships. "^"^ However, important for the 
understanding of New Perspective interpretations on Paul, Ziesler notes that in 
the Old Testament, the "relationship above all others within which behavior 
occurs which may be called 'righteous' is the covenant."^"^ He goes on to say 

When Israel thought of relationship (our terni) she thought of 
covenant (her term). It is true that the covenant was primarily 
what Yahweh had done and was doing, that is, it was a matter 
of grace, but it was also a reciprocal thing. The act of grace 
required a continuing response, and that response was to a 
large extent righteousness, the behavior proper to the 
covenant. ^^ 

This statement unpacks into profound areas of meaning, especially as it 
relates to covenantal nomism. By affirming an inherently relational nature of 
righteousness language — yet qualifying that relationship with covenantal 
boundaries — it affinns the gracious nature of Sanders' covenantal nomism. 
Though righteousness is a relational term, its boundaries of usage lie within 
God's covenant with his people. All actions within this covenant thus 
presuppose a gracious relationship with God. Ziesler will go on to note that this 
covenantal terni — righteousness — has implications within the realm of inward 
and outward disposition, corporate and individual persons, and that 
"every thing... which befits the requirements of the covenant in a given situation 
is then 'normal' or righteous."^'' Thus, living righteously is living correctly 
within the covenant. This proves foundational to the understanding of the New 
Perspective, especially concerning its inherent affirmation of Sanders' 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

covenantal nomism. The main point to note, however, is that righteousness only 
makes sense as a covenantal term. 

Judicial Righteousness Language^^ 

The judicial dimension of righteousness that Wright claims (above) 
follows from this covenantal understanding. Ziesler goes on to note that the way 
God is seen in context determines the word's usage with reference to God.^^ 
Thus, "God's righteousness means mercy in one situation, triumph in another, 
judgment in another, the establishment of good government and good justice in 
another. ""^^ N. T. Wright is quick to note that God's righteousness, however, is 
never the same as an individual's righteousness."*' As noted above, being within 
the covenant is the only context for righteousness; thus those "outside the 
covenant, and therefore not in relation to Yahweh, cannot be righteous.""*^ In this 
situation, those that are judicially declared righteous are the "keepers of the 
covenant.""*^ They are in this sense declared to have the status of righteousness. 
Righteousness, then, is status judicially given to someone who has frilfilled 
covenant obligations, whatever those might contextually be."*^ 

Eschatological/Creational Righteousness Language 

Reviewing the language of righteousness within the Old Testament, 
Mark Seifrid concludes that it has to do primarily with "creational thought."^^ 
He ties this explicitly to the "biblical concept of kingship" which has much to do 
an "all-embracing justice by means of God's rule."^^ For Seifrid this is 
something that necessarily calls for a clear separation of the language from a 
covenantal context. From the New Perspective this separation is unnecessary — 
creation and covenant can be seen to complement each other quite well. Ziesler 
also sees the existence of this creational component having an eschatological 
emphasis over and above a judicial sense.'^'' Drawing upon several verses in 
Isaiah, he notes that the "existence of righteousness and justice among men" is 
directly related to God's outpouring of his Spirit "in the last days.""*^ This is to 
be seen as a "new creation" in humanity that will correspond to a "new creation" 
in nature."*^ Insofar as Ziesler notes that this idea of created righteousness is 
explicitly a gracious covenantal promise, righteousness then becomes an 
attribute that is both creational and eschatological.^^ 


Thus, a review of the language of righteousness implies that 
righteousness is an explicitly covenantal term, the covenant being the only realm 
within which such language makes sense. It is also eschatological — yet in a 
creational way: in the last days, God will create his righteousness among his 
chosen people through his Spirit. Finally, it x?, judicial: one is declared righteous 
when one fulfills covenantal obligations in whatever way is appropriate. 


"To be Right with God:" An Exploration of the New Perspective View on Paul 

Righteousness Language Qualifier: On Pauline Usage 

Having reviewed the broad context for and usage of righteousness 
language at Paul's time, it is necessary to briefly examine traditional 
interpretations of Paul's actual use of that language. This is particularly true of 
the phrase the "righteousness of God" (dikaiosune theou). 

Wright has succinctly reviewed four possible interpretations of this 
phrase.^' It can have either the meaning of a moral quality (a possessive 
genitive), a "salvation-creating power" (subjective genitive), a "righteous 
standing" from God (genitive of origin), or a righteousness that "counts before 
God" (objective genitive).^" Nearly all modem Protestant and Catholic views of 
the righteousness of God are now associated with the genitive of origin, in 
which God's righteousness is judicially declared concerning a person 
(imputed/Protestant) or given to a person to "grow into" (imparted/Catholic) 
because of one's faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.^^ 

Concerning the genitive of origin, Wright declares it is "simply" a 
categorical mistake, in that righteousness is not "a substance or a gas" that can 
be transferred from one person to another. '"* As Ziesler noted — and as Wright 
agrees — it is rather a judicial metaphor, denoting the covenant faithfulness of the 
one to which it is applied.^^ In contrast, Wright emphasizes a combination of 
aspects of the subjective and possessive genitive.''^ Thus he ends up defining 
righteousness in a way that is highly similar to that seen in the survey of Ziesler, 
finding it both "a quality in God and... an active power which goes out, in 
expression of that '[covenant] faithfulness, to do what the covenant always 
promised. "^^ 

Synthesis of Religio-Historical Situation and Righteousness Language 

Bringing together the three dimensions of righteousness language as 
informed by Wright's conclusions with the three dimensions of the religio- 
historical context of Paul, we can draw a New Perspective backdrop for Paul. 
Paul is writing from a context of covenantal nomism, in which Jews are acting 
out "works of the law" as both obligations required by, and badges of, their 
covenant membership. They do these works aware of unfulfilled promises — 
namely that they are not yet experiencing forgiveness of sins/covenant 
renewal/end of exile — yet they look forward to the pouring out of God's Spirit 
so that this multi-dimensional expectation can be lived out. The language of 
righteousness in this context refers to covenant faithfulness. 

Concerning God and the phrase "the righteousness of God" 
(dikaiosune theou), the reference is to God's personal commitment to fulfill 
what has been promised to those who are faithfial to the covenant. For humans, it 
is the judicial acknowledgement by God of one's proper covenantal behavior. It 
does not mean receiving God's own personal righteousness. 

These conclusions intermingle and inform one another; they also 
provide the New Perspective backdrop against which Pauline theology is done. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

In addition, they focus the question with which this paper began: In hght of 
these intermingling realities, what does it mean to be "right with God?" This 
answer lies in Paul, and thus to him we must now turn. 

Paul and the New Perspective 

Having prepared the New Perspective backdrop against which Paul is 
interpreted, it is necessary to survey a selection of themes from Paul's thought. 
These include Jesus, the Law, the Spirit, Resurrection, and others. By doing 
this, one will be able to answer the question that served as the impetus of this 
paper: What does it mean to be "right with God" according to the New 

On Jesus: Preliminaries 

L.W. Hurtado feels that Paul's statement in Rom 8:29 ("For those 
whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, 
in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family") is a sign of what 
he calls the "primacy of divine sonship.""''^ He notes how the role of "firstborn" 
holds a special rank in ancient Judaism.^" Further, the phrase itself is often 
shorthand for either the nation of Israel (specifically as it relates to its divine 
covenant status) or the Davidic king.^' Wright affirms this, noting, "in ancient 
Israel... the king and the people are bound together in such a way that what is 
true of the one is true in principle of the other. "^" Thus, the covenant people 
(Israel) have been redrawn around the divine "firstborn" (Jesus). This 
foundational Pauline understanding is even more explicit in Rom 1:3-4, where 
Paul states his gospel as concerning Jesus the "Son of God... who was descended 
from David. "^^ This very brief sketch of Jesus as the one around whom the 
covenant was redrawn will prove fruitftil for the following discussion.^"^ 

Life of the Spirit as fulfillment of the Law 

In Rom 7:6 Paul states, "But now we are discharged from the law, dead 
to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written 
code but in the new life of the Spirit." Thielman has argued that this "life of the 
Spirif can be seen as a new "law" (or covenant) that those who believe in Christ 
are to foUow.^^ This idea is strengthened by Wright, who examines Paul's 
statement in Rom 8:2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set 
you free from the law of sin and of death." He believes that in both cases the 
"law" referred to is the Mosaic Law.^^ In the latter case ("the law of sin and 
death"), sin prohibits the law from delivering the life it was supposed to offer, 
whereas in the former case ("the law of the Spirit of life") this same law is 
reinterpreted in light of Christ and shown as the "final intention" and fulfillment 
of the Mosaic Law. ^'' This insight dovetails into a proposal made by 
Longenecker, in which he notes that "works of the law" might be thought of as 
"the means whereby behavior is governed and managed" (not only marks of 
covenantal membership).^^ Both the management of this behavior and the 


"To be Right with God:" An Exploration of the New Perspective View on Paul 

fulfillment of the Mosaic Law meet in one place, love. Paul thus writes in Rom 

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one 
who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 
"You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; you 
shall not steal; You shall not covet"; and any other 
commandment, are summed up in this word, "Love you 
neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; 
therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. 

Together these statements inform Pauline phrases such as Gal 5:25, "If 
we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit." The conclusion to be 
drawn is that those who "live by the Spirif live by the law that is Christ's law, 
characterized above as love in action — the fulfillment of the Law of Moses. ^^ 

This Spirit is also mentioned in Rom 8:10-11, where Paul writes, "If 
Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because 
of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in 
you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also 
through his Spirit that dwells in you."''° What is important to note here is that 
Paul explicitly links the indwelling of the Spirit to being "in Christ" and notes 
the expectation of resurrection that those who are "in Christ" should have. 

Why can it be said of Jesus that by being "in him" one receives the 
Spirit? In addition, what is the significance of his resurrection? To answer 
these questions a closer examination of Jesus' resurrection becomes necessary. 

Resurrection and Being in Christ. 

Wright goes to great lengths to show that the idea of resurrection at the 
time of Paul was a sign of eschatological vindication. ^' This vindication would 
take the form of justification, as those who were resurrected from the dead 
would be declared to have been righteous in life — or, marked out judicially as 
faithful to the covenant.''"' In this sense resurrection functioned as a denotation 
of those who were considered righteous. God thus confinned through Jesus' 
resurrection his identity as the righteous one, the Messiah. ^^ Yet, this 
eschatological expectation has not occurred at the end of time as expected, but 
rather in the middle of history.^"* Jesus has been "justified" in this judicial sense. 
In Rom 8:10-1 1, above, this judicial justification is appropriated by those who 
are "in Chrisf in such a way that they can look forward with certainty to their 
own resurrection and future justification.^^ Thus Paul in Gal 5:5 can encourage 
these believers to "await the hope of righteousness" that is theirs because of the 
Spirit they have. This hope is something inherently gracious (Gal 4:4), as all 
things belonging to the covenant have always been.^'' It is also precisely the 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

hope for a positive future judgment of covenant faithfulness in their favor 
because of their being in Christ. 

Concerning righteousness language, we recall that the partner of 
eschatology is creation. We have already seen the way in which the outpouring 
of God's Spirit at the end of time will result in a "new creation." Thielman links 
this period particularly with Paul's statement in Rom 5:5b: "God's love has been 
poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."^^ 
Elsewhere, Paul can write that this "new creation is everything" (Gal 6:15). 
Further, Wright notes the way in which Paul uses this term "new creation" as a 
demarcation of those who are followers of Jesus. ^^ If we recall that the essential 
nature of Jesus as Messiah is Israel's representative individual, and that "what is 
true of him is true of them,"''^ then those who are "in Christ" — thereby having 
his Spirit — are seen to be members of the true covenant people (Israel) in whom 
new hearts have been created, from which they can be obedient to the demands 
of the covenant. That is, they can live obediently in the life of the Spirit and 
fiilfill the demands of the covenant through love (above). 

Though the survey of Pauline themes is very nearly complete enough to 
answer the question with which this paper began, it is not quite complete. This 
paper assumes the presence of sin as a Pauline reality. Thus, any New 
Perspective conclusion that is to be drawn concerning what it means to be "right 
with God" must necessarily engage this reality. What follows is the review of 
that engagement. This review will allow us to bring together the full breadth of 
themes presented, thus answering the question of what it means to be "right with 

From Sin to the Summing Up of All Things 

As our discussion of the New Perspective started with Seyoon Kim's 
criticism, the beginning of the end will start with another's. Stuhlmacher has 
states that a major shortfall of the New Perspective is its lack of any real 
atonement, by which he means dealing with sin.^" From what we have seen, 
Israel expected an end to exile. This would be marked by a covenant renewal 
that would graciously remake hearts and forgive sins. In Jesus, God effected 
this covenant renewal, breaking the eschatological hope into the middle of 
history. Some implications of that have been seen above; however, to address 
Stuhlmacher' s concerns, a more complete understanding of "forgiveness of sins" 
is necessary. To review this, one must turn to a particularly important Pauline 
passage, Rom 3:21-26. Here Paul writes, 

But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been 
disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the 
righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who 
believe. For there is no distinction since all have sirmed and 
fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his 
grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 


"To be Right with God:" An Exploration of the New Perspective View on Paul 

whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his 
blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his 
righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed 
over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the 
present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies 
the one who has faith in Jesus. 

What might a New Perspective interpretation of this verse be? Before 
this can be answered we must briefly review the nature of "faith." Longenecker 
notes that there are often good linguistical reasons for reading the phrase "faith 
in Chrisf in Paul's epistles as "the faith/faithfulness of Christ."^' DeSilva, in 
examining patron-client relationships at the time of Paul, notes that faith in this 
context "denotes the patron's reliability, the client's acknowledgement of that 
reliability and the client's loyalty or fidelity toward the patron as part of the 
client's response of gratitude."^" The patron (Jesus) thus secures "benefits" for 
his client (the one who believes).^^ Together these insights call for a dynamic 
reading of the idea of faith as being something a believer has (i.e., "faith in") 
concerning what Jesus has already done (or, "the faithfijlness of Chrisf ).^'^ 
Recalling the nature of righteousness language, this Pauline selection might then 
be understood as saying. 

But now, apart from law, God's covenant faithfiilness has 
been disclosed, and is attested to by the law and the prophets, 
God's covenant faithfulness through the faithfiilness of Jesus 
the Messiah for all who believe. For there is no distinction 
since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they 
are declared covenantally faithful by his grace as a gift, 
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put 
forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective 
through faith. He did this to show his faithfulness to his 
covenant, because in his divine forbearance he had passed 
over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the 
present time that he himself is covenantally faithful and that 
he declares covenantally faithful the one who has the 
faithfulness of Jesus. 

To engage appropriately with this newly-minted translation, we must 
draw together the themes of Paul that have already been explored; in so doing, 
we will implicitly answer the question posed at the beginning of this review, 
"What does it mean to be 'right with God' from the New Perspective?" This in 
mind, we turn back to Rom 3:21-26. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

What It Means To Be Right With God; A Synthesis of Rom 3:21-26 

We has seen above that sin subverted the law, keeping it from giving 
the hfe it was meant to give. Believing in Jesus in this verse means believing 
that Jesus' faithfulness to the covenant secured justification — a judicial 
declaration of covenant faithfulness — for those who are "in him." This 
believing also allows one to claim "redemption" from the sins that are inherent 
in everyone. This redemption is accessible to "all," thereby fulfilling God's 
intentions to bless "all nations" as seen in Gal 3:6-9.^'' Atonement — redemption 
from sins — is thus gained by faith in Jesus' faithfulness. This faith in Jesus 
functions as a marker of covenant membership, against which all other markers 
(such as works of the law) are found unreasonable and ineffectual.^'' Prior to 
examining Paul, we saw that the main markers of covenant membership were 
the obedient actions done in obligation to the covenant. Now, however, the 
main marker of covenant membership has become faith — a faith in Christ's 
opening up of the covenant to all those who are "in him."^^ Paul can thus 
remind his readers that "The one who is righteous will live by faith."^^ This is 
true "justification by faith" — covenant membership through faith in Christ's 
faithfulness, something Wright can term "justification by belief."^^ 

This, then, is what it means to be "right with God." It is to live within 
this graciously given covenant, offered un-eamed to any who would accept it.^" 
It is to believe in Jesus, and be found in him. Those who would do this live as 
new creations, with their sins taken away and themselves emboldened by the 
Spirit to obediently fulfill the call for love that lies at the heart of the Law of 
Moses. In the meantime, they look toward their future resurrection as the final 
declaration of their status as covenant members. They stand justified before 


The implications of the New Perspective way of thinking are broad; I 
have not been able to explore every nuance of the argument nor fully elucidate 
even those that have been reviewed.^' Yet one simple — and quite personal — 
realm of implication can be briefly examined: the ethical. Evangelical faith, 
which centers so solely on the work of Jesus, often requires little ethical 
behavior from those who claim it as their own.*^' The New Perspective view that 
we have seen emphasizes not only one's entrance into the community of the 
faithful, but the implication that membership in this community must naturally 
affect and inform one's whole life. This life, characterized as it is by the law of 
the Spirit — the law of love — clarifies how to read Paul's statements on the body 
of Christ and its corollary, love (the "more excellent way" in I Cor 13:1-13). It 
is the sublime character of the covenant community. To be a Christian (and thus 
a member of the covenant in Christ) is to be one who lives and loves by the 
Spirit. Insofar as the goal of this covenant is to welcome ever more people into 
it, love also denotes all outward facing behavior with humanity and the world. 
Of course faith is needed, of course grace is a reality, of course Christ is the 


"To be Right with God:" An Exploration of the New Perspective View on Paul 

center of all of this — ^but the implication of a community of ethical love is highly 
attractive, an idea which if understood as foundational would necessarily 
renovate the mission and substance of evangelical faith. 


' N.T. Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 

" Alister E. McGrath, lustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of 
Justification, 2"'' ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 379. 

^ See Wright, 1 1-14 for a brief review of this trend. 

'^ James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1998), 338. Here Duim succinctly summarizes Sanders' view. We will 
briefly re-visit Sanders' work Paul and Palestinian Judaism below. 

^ Ibid., 338-339. 

^ McGrath, 379. 

^ James D. G. Dunn, Jesus, Paul, and the Law: Studies in Mark and Galatians 
(Louisville: Westminster/John Knox , 1990), 3, 183. 

^ But see Seyoon Kim, Paul and the New Perspective: Second Thoughts on the 
Origin of Paul's Gospel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 295, where Kim argues 
against mainly Dunn, but also the New Perspective School. 

^ See Wright, 114, "Most of us in the guild of New Testament studies have, I 
think, taken the path... of searching the texts carefully to see if, and if so to what extent, 
these things may be so." A helpful overview of many of these theologians is in Colin G. 
Kruse, Paul, the Law, and Justification (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996), 24-53. 

'" Kim, 294. Kim attempts to interpret Paul without relying on dogma at all, 
either that of "the New Perspective or of the Old Perspective," so that Paul can be taken 
as a reliable witness to Judaism of the period. In so doing, he concludes that the New 
Perspective is incorrect in their findings. 1 somewhat doubt the feasibility of this method. 

" Brendyn Byrne, "Interpreting Romans: The New Perspective and Beyond," 
Interpretation 58 no. 3 (July 2004): 241-252. Available [Online]: HW Wilson. [March 4, 2005]. 

'" Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, 338. See E. P. Sanders, Paul and 
Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion (Philadelphia: Fortress, 
1977), 543, for a slightly more nuanced conclusion. 

'^ Sanders, 420. 

'^ Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, 338-339. 

'^ Dunn, Jesus, Paul, and the Law, 187. Sanders has often been critiqued on 
how he has used this idea of "covenantal nomism" in relation to Paul. 

'^Wright, 18-19. 

^^ See above n.9. 

Peter Stuhlmacher, Revisiting Paul's Doctrine of Justification: A Challenge 
to the New Perspective (Downer's Grove: Intervarsity, 2001), 16-11 . See here for a short 
list of such theologians. 

' D. A. Carson, "Summaries and Conclusions," m. Justification and Variegated 
Nomism: The Complexities of Second Temple Judaism, eds. D. A. Carson, et. al. (Grand 
Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 1:554. This is the first in a projected two-volume work 
attempting to provide further examination of "covenantal nomism" (from preface). 
Obviously, the title of the volume is not accidental. He argues that the time period is 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

much more complex than covenantal nomism allows for. This might be the case; 
however, this does not negate conclusions made by the New Perspective, so much as call 
for further exploration — a thing that most New Perspective scholars are doing. 

" Heikki Raisanen, Jesus, Paul and Torah: Collected Essays, Journal for the 
Study of the New Testament Supplement Series no. 43 trans. David E. Orton (Sheffield: 
Sheffield Academic Press, 1992), 266. Winsomely, he follows this with "except perhaps 
in Germany." 

^' James D. G. Dunn, "In Search of Common Ground," in Paul and the Mosaic 
Law: The Third Durham-TUbingen Research Symposium on Earliest Christianity and 
Judaism (Durham, September, 1994), ed. James D. G. Dunn (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
2001), 327-328. The two points that follow are from these pages. 

"" Mark A. Seifrid, Christ, Our Righteousness: Paul 's Theology of Justification, 
New Studies in Biblical Theology no. 9, ed. D. A. Carson (Downers Grove: Apollos, 
2003), 17-25. In this section Seifrid explicitly fmds both these self-understandings of 
second temple Judaism incorrect. 

^^ See Frank Thielman, "The Story of Israel and the Theology of Romans 5-8," 
in Pauline Theology: Romans, eds. David M. Hay and E. Elizabeth Johnson 
(MirmeapoHs: Fortress, 1995), 3:172-176 for a similar stance on this issue. 

''^ N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996), 
269. See 268-275 for the survey of verses and arguments that bring Wright to this 

"" See also Thielman, 174. 

" Philip R. Davies, "Didactic Stories," in Justification and Variegated 
Nomism: The Complexities of Second Temple Judaism, eds. D. A. Carson, et. al. (Grand 
Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 1:131. 

^^ Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, 356. 

^* Dunn, Jesus, Paul, and the Law, 192, within context of 191-194. 

"^ Ibid., For the former, see 191; the latter, 193. For a (relatively) more 
complete treatment, see also Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, 354-359. 

^^ Byrne, 2004. 

' See Mark A. Seifrid, "Righteousness Language in the Hebrew Scriptures and 
Early Judaism," in Justification and Variegated Nomism: The Complexities of Second 
Temple Judaism, eds. D. A. Carson, et. al. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 
1:415, where he makes this point before proceeding to conclusions that for him show 
general shortcomings of a New Perspective view of righteousness. The New Perspective 
scholarship reviewed here does claim to be Christian scholarship. 

^^ Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, 341. Though purposeftilly written 
to argue against the new perspective, volumes such as Justification and Variegated 
Nomism reveal the difficulties in mapping out the Intertestamental period, including its 
language use. These difficulties, however, have never limited theologians from drawing 
myriad (and often distinctly incongruent) conclusions directly based upon linguistics. 
Dunn, of course, is not the only one who has examined the ambiguities of the language of 
righteousness (e.g., both Ziesler and Wright, who follow). 

" Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said 99, 117-118. As with any 
compartmentalization, what follows is artificial, and thus overlap of 'dimensions' is 
inevitable. This is not, however, explicitly negative; in fact, one aspect of the whole 
study is to show that righteousness/justification language is multi-dimensional. 


"To be Right with God:" An Exploration of the New Perspective View on Paul 

J. A. Ziesler, The Meaning of Righteousness in Paul: A Linguistic and 
Theological Inquiiy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), 38. This is a 
fascinating and apt-titled treatment of the topic. 

'' Ibid. 

^^ Ibid., 38-39. 

" Ibid., 39-40. 

^^ Ibid. Ziesler gives an incredibly thorough treatment of this topic. See 
especially 70-104. Much more could be said here; suffice it to say the book is 
fascinating, and language use within the time period complex. 

^■^ Ibid., 41. 


^' Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, 99. 

^' Ziesler, 42. 

^Mbid., 43. 

'^ Ibid. 

'^^ Seifrid, Justification and Variegated Nomism, 440. I feel as though the quite 
interesting arguments presented here could be as easily put to service for a covenantal 
understanding as they have been for the creational conclusions Seifrid has drawn. This 
is, of course, purely opinion. 

'^^ Ibid., 425. ' - 

^^ Ziesler, 44. 


'' Ibid. 

^° Ibid., 44,45. 

^' Others have done this as well, e.g. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, 


"Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, 100-101. 

^^ Alister E. McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction, 3'^ ed. (Maiden: 
Blackwell Publishing, 2001), 457-460. These lines do blur. Attempting to follow the 
nuances of traditional doctrinal interpretations of righteousness/justification is not easy! 

■ Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, 98. He does not seem to argue against 
the genitive of origin per se, but rather sees the options he favors as more complete and 
more fully in line with the context of righteousness language at the time of Paul. For a 
more comprehensive review of the possible understandings of this phrase see N.T. 
Wright, "On Becoming the Righteousness of God: 2 Corinthians 5:21," in Pauline 
Theology: I& 2 Corinthians, ed. David M. Hay (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993), 2:200- 

^-^ Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, 99. 

^^Ibid., 103. 

Ibid., 103. These promises include "saving his people, dealing with evil, and 
doing so impartially." 

^^ It is worth noting that the limited scope of this review allows for only the 
briefest delve into what is a very large cavern of Pauline thought and New Perspective 
interpretation. Regardless of this caveat, enough can be learned from the dive to find a 
relatively well-rounded answer as to what it means to be "right with God." 

^^ L. W. Hurtado, "Jesus' Divine Sonship in Paul's Epistle to the Romans," in 
Romans and the People of God: Essays in Honor of Gordon D. Fee on the Occasion of 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

His 65''' Birthday, eds. Sven K. Soderlund and N. T. Wright (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1999), 230. The work from which this is taken is very interesting, incorporating 
theologians from a wide spectrum of methodologies and theological emphases. 

^"ibid., 231. 

^' Ibid. 

N. T. Wright, The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline 
Theology {MmncdiTpoMs: Fortress, 1991), 46. 

^^ These phrases are actually inverted in the Bible. All verse quotations unless 
otherwise noted are taken from The Harper Collins Study Bible: New Revised Standard 
Version, ed. Wayne A. Meeks, et. al. (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993). 

^^ The limitations of this survey don't allow a full Trinitarian/Christological 
treatment. The basic Christian Trinitarian doctrine is thus assumed for the sake of this 
argument. A brief note may, however, be helpful: In I Cor 8:6 Paul writes, "Yet for us 
there is one God, the Father from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one 
Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." N.T. 
Wright, noting the similarity of this section to the Jewish "basic confession of faith" (the 
Shema) in Deuteronomy 6:4, which states "The Lord our God, the Lord is one" (alternate 
reading in NRSV), has argued that by placing Jesus in the middle of this Jewish 
confession of Monotheism, he reinterprets the one true God as being both Father and 
Lord — Jesus and Yahweh {What Saint Paul Really Said, 65-67; see chapter 4 for larger 

^^Thielman, 190-191. 

Wright, The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline 
Theology, 209. This is a conclusion drawn from within a narrative analysis of Romans 

'^^ Ibid., 209-210. 

^^ Bruce W. Longenecker, "Defining the Faithful Character of the Covenant 
Community: Galatians 2.15-21 and Beyond: A Response to Jan Lambrecht," in Paul and 
the Mosaic Law: The Third Diirham-Tiibingen Research Symposium on Earliest 
Christianity and Judaism (Durham, September, 1994), ed. James D. G. Dunn (Grand 
Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2001), 88. He here does not seem to be 
excluding the more popular New Perspective view (that is, works as covenantal badges), 
but rather slightly emphasizing this aspect. 

^^ Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, 1 60. 

™ The "if would seem to read rhetorically in this case, i.e., as "because." 

'' Wright, The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline 
Theology, 203, as well as N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God 
(Mirmeapolis: Fortress, 2003), 153-175. This book is an astonishingly readable 
treatment of nearly every facet of resurrection imaginable. 

^" Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, 155-157. 

^^ See above, n.64, for a slightly larger picture of Jesus than has been seen in 
the main text. 

Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, 140-142. 
I Cor 15:24 

^^ Recall Ziesler and Sanders statements on this above. 


"To be Right with God:" An Exploration of the New Perspective View on Paul 

'''' Thielman, 178. He also notes various Old Testament passages (Ezek 11:19, 
18:31, 36:26) that show God promising Israel a new spirit that will "re-create" its heart to 
make it "new" at the nation's restoration from exile. 

^^ Wright, The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline 
Theology, 48. See also 2 Cor 5: 17. 
' '' Ibid. 

^'^ Stuhlmacher, 44. 

^' Longenecker, 84,85. -^ 

^~ David A. DeSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, 
Methods, and Ministry Formation (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 2004), 612-613, 506- 

" Ibid, 507. 


'^^ Robin Scroggs, "Salvation History: The theological Structure of Paul's 
Thought (1 Thessalonians, Philippians, and Galatians)," in Pauline Theology: 
Thessalonians, Philippians, Galatians, Philemon, ed. Jouette M. Bassler (Minneapolis: 
Fortress, 1991), 1:232. Here Scroggs maps out a very interesting salvation history from a 
narrative framework. 

^^ This would seem to be the main thrust of much of Galatians. 

^'^ "bright. What Saint Paul Really Said, 132. 

^^Rom 1:17. 

^^ N. T. Wright, "Putting Paul Together Again: Toward a Synthesis of Pauline 
Theology (1 and 2 Thessalonians, Philippians, and Philemon)," in Pauline Theology: 
Thessalonians, Philippians, Galatians, Philemon, ed. Jouette M. Bassler (Minneapolis: 
Fortress, 1991), 1:185. It is not a declaration that one "earns their righteousness by 
works" any more than is the traditional idea of "justification by faith." It is, however, a 
clarification of terms. See Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, 132-133. 

The notion of this covenant membership availing all who believe in Christ is 
implicit in the notion of the gospel, something that we have unfortunately been unable to 
really explore. However, see Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, 151-165. The 
question of how this sense of universal availability relates to Paul's conversion 
experience is undeniably important, yet it would stray too far from the topic at hand. It 
is, however, a major focus of Kim's work — it having been written to counter much of 
Dunn's theologizing on the topic. (For example, see Dunn, The Theology of Paid the 
Apostle, 181, "It was the encounter with Christ on the Damascus road which 
revolutionized Paul's whole faith and life. Christ became the key to understanding God's 
purpose for humankind, and indeed God himself. ..Encountering this Christ turned his 
whole system of values upside down.") 

' Of course, many things could not be covered in this survey, such as a review 
of Paul's Adam-Christology, or his self-perception as a missionary to the gentiles. It 
would also be interesting to examine the New Perspective implication concerning the role 
of baptism. 

" This may be due to the individualistic slant "right standing with God" takes 
in most evangelical circles, as well as the inherited theological caution concerning any 
attitude that might dangerously lend itself to heavily-feared practical legalism. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 


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The Complexities of Second Temple Judaism, eds. D. A. Carson, et. al., 505- 
548. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001. 

Davies, Philip R. "Didactic Stories." In Justification and Variegated Nomism: The 
Complexities of Second Temple Judaism, eds. D. A. Carson, et. al., 99-131. 
Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001. 

DeSilva, David A. An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods, and 
Ministry Formation. Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 2004. 

Dunn, James D. G. "In Search of Common Ground." In Paul and the Mosaic Law: The 
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Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2001. 

. Jesus, Paul, and the Law: Studies in Mark and Galatians. Louisville: 

Westminster/John Knox , 1 990. 
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Hurtado, L. W. "Jesus' Divine Sonship in Paul's Epistle to the Romans." In Romans and 
the People of God: Essays in Honor of Gordon D. Fee on the Occasion of His 
65"" Birthday, eds. Sven K. Soderlund and N. T. Wright, 217-233. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999. 

Kim, Seyoon. Paul and the New Perspective: Second Thoughts on the Origin of Paid' s 
Gospel. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002. 

Kruse, Colin G. Paul, the Law, and Justification. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996. 

Longenecker, Bruce W. "Defining the Faithful Character of the Covenant Community: 
Galatians 2.15-21 and Beyond: A Response to Jan Lambrecht." In Paid and the 
Mosaic Law: The Third Durham-Tiibingen Research Symposium on Earliest 
Christianity and Judaism (Durham, September, 1994), ed. James D. G. Dunn, 
75-97. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2001. 

McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: An Introduction, 3''^ ed. Maiden: Blackwell 
Publishing, 2001. 


"To be Right with God;" An Exploration of the New Perspective View on Paul 

. Institia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, 2""^ ed. 

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 

Meeks, Wayne A., ed. et. al. The Harper Collins Study Bible: New Revised Standard 
Version. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993. 

Raisanen, Heikki. Jesus, Paul and Torah: Collected Essays, Journal for the Study of the 
New Testament Supplement Series no. 43, trans. David E. Orton. Sheffield: 
Sheffield Academic Press, 1992. 

Scroggs, Robin. "Salvation History: The theological Structure of Paul's Thought (1 
Thessalonians, Philippians, and Galatians)." In Pauline Theology: 
Thessalonians, Philippians, Galatians, Philemon, vol. 1, ed. Jouette M. Bassler, 
212-225. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991. 

Sanders, E. P. Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patters of Religion. 
Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977. 

Seifrid, Mark A. Christ. Our Righteousness: Paul 's Theology of Justification. New 
Studies in Biblical Theology no. 9, ed. D. A. Carson. Downers Grove: Apollos, 

. "Righteousness Language in the Hebrew Scriptures and Early Judaism." In 

Justification and Variegated Nomism: The Complexities of Second Temple 
Judaism, eds. D. A. Carson, et. al., 415-442. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 

Stuhlmacher, Peter. Revisiting Paul's Doctrine of Justification: A Challenge to the New 
Perspective. Downer's Grove: Intervarsity, 2001. 

Thielman, Frank. "The Story of Israel and the Theology of Romans 5-8." In Pauline 
Theology: Romans, vol. 3, eds. David M. Hay and E. Elizabeth Johnson., 169- 
195. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995. 

Wright, N. T. Jesus and the Victoiy of God. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996. 

. "On Becoming the Righteousness of God: 2 Corinthians 5:21." In Pauline 

Theology: 1& 2 Corinthians, vol. 2, ed. David M. Hay., 200-208. Minneapolis: 
Fortress, 1993. 

. "Putting Paul Together Again: Toward a Synthesis of Pauline Theology (1 

and 2 Thessalonians, Philippians, and Philemon)." In Pauline Theology: 
Thessalonians, Philippians, Galatians, Philemon, vol. 1, ed. Jouette M. Bassler, 
183-211. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991. 

. The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline Theology. 

Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

. The Resurrection of the Son of God. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003. 

. What Saint Paul Really Said. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997. Ziesler, J. A. 

The Meaning of Righteousness in Paul: A linguistic and Theological Inquiry. 
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972. 


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Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

The Question of Evil: Theodicy, Moltmann, and Pannenberg 

By Jon Kane* 


In his memoir Night, Elie Wiesel describes an execution by hanging. 
The child, too light to tighten the noose around his neck, struggles long before 
succumbing. Wiesel's fellow prisoners, forced to watch, weep. "Where is God 
now?" one of them asks. Wiesel' s bitter response: "Where is He? Here He is 
— He is hanging on the gallows."' The evil of the twentieth century tells other 
tales likes this one from a Nazi concentration camp: the destruction of 
Hiroshima, the purges of Stalin and Pol Pot, the cruelty of My Lai and 9/11. 
Even at a remove of years, events such as these give us pause, yet they cast only 
a faint shadow in comparison to the sum total of creation's suffering past and 
present. Christians cannot ignore the reality of that suffering. We must respond 
to Wiesel's fellow prisoner and answer the question "Where is God?" in a way 
that prevents Wiesel's own words from echoing in our hearts and the heart of the 

This essay will provide such response, however brief. Theodicy is an 
extensive vein in theology, not one that can be adequately explored in so short a 
space. So I will take a narrow focus. First, I will set the stage using two authors 
whose work stands as paradigmatic in theodicy. Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Ivan 
Karamazov provides the signature argument for protest atheism in the face of all 
religions. Albert Camus specifically addresses the Christian response to 
suffering in his essay The Rebel and finds it wanting. After the stage is set, I 
will turn to two twentieth century theologians — Jurgen Moltmann and 
Wolfhart Pannenberg. I will explore how each responds to the question of 
suffering and evaluate their responses in light of Karamazov and Camus. 
Finally, I will conclude with a brief retrospective on how their work influences 
theology and furthers the life of the church. 

Setting the Stage 

Traditionally conceived, theodicy is the attempt to reconcile three 
statements: God is omnipotent, God is omnibenevolent, and evil is real.^ Many 
philosophers and theologians continue to work along these lines, attempting to 
show that these statements can be held without contradiction.^ A less traditional 
approach to theodicy, however, simply takes suffering as a given and seeks to 
understand God within this obvious reality. As Stanley Hauerwas explains it, it 
is a question of "what kind of God it is Christians worship that makes 
intelligible our cry of rage against the suffering and death."^ Both Moltmann 
and Pannenberg dwell near the border between these two approaches. 

The nontraditional approach to theodicy has developed in large 
measure as a response to the arguments Dostoyevsky places so eloquently in the 

Jon Kane (B.A., Franklin & Marshall College) is an MAR student at ATS. 


The Question of Evil: Theodicy, Moltmarm, and Pannenberg 

mouth of Ivan Karamazov. Ivan admits that some suffering might be 
redemptive or justifiable as punishment, but not all suffering and certainly not 
the excess of suffering seen in the world. Describing the brutal murder of a 
young serf, he states that such suffering by a child is surely incomprehensible. 
Yet even if he could understand it, Ivan proclaims, or knew that it would some 
day make sense, he would not accept it. He refuses to accept a god who justifies 
suffering in any way. He finds such a god unacceptable on moral grounds and 
rebels by declaring himself an atheist.'' 

Ivan defines the position of protest atheism: "In the face of misery, 
protest atheism says no to any god who would continue to allow such 
conditions."^ According to Richard Bauckham, while Ivan's argument is 
specifically against an eschatological theodicy (a theodicy which seeks to justify 
suffering on the basis of some future good), it is also valid against the freewill 
and pedagogical theodicies. Such theodicies explain some of the suffering in the 
world, but they cannot explain it all. If correct, Ivan's argument makes the 
traditional approach to theodicy impossible, Bauckham writes, because the 
traditional approach to theodicy "can only justify God by justifying the 
suffering, we can only accept it [the traditional theodicy] by suppressing our 
moral outrage at the injustice of the suffering. Therefore we ought not to accept 

Albert Camus builds on the position that suffering should not be 
accepted, developing several arguments aimed directly at Christianity and its 
interpretation of the Cross. As an atheist, Camus sees Christ's crucifixion as 
itself a rebellion against God. The human Jesus protested to the end against the 
suffering he was forced to endure, but in the end he suffered like any other 
human victim.** However, Camus reasoned, if Christ truly was God as 
Christianity claims, the Cross would be even more pernicious. The example of a 
passive Christ on the cross seems to encourage the acceptance of suffering. If 
God suffered without protest, humans would likewise have no grounds to protest 
suffering. By Camus' interpretation, the Cross justifies suffering.^ As 
Bauckham summarizes it, "If the cross is invested with deity, it becomes the 
most effective, but also the most objectionable theodicy, justifying suffering and 
silencing protest."'" According to Camus, neither interpretation of the cross — 
Jesus as human or Jesus as divine — provides a satisfactory theodicy. 

To provide a theodicy that is satisfactory, contemporary Christian 
theologians must respond to the positions of Ivan and Camus. The task before 
us is twofold. First, involuntary and unredemptive suffering must not be 
justified for any reason, whether for the purposes of God or the improvement of 
humanity. Such explanations cannot be completely comprehensible, and they 
stifle attempts to alleviate suffering. Second, an explanation of suffering must 
provide a way of overcoming suffering. Only that type of explanation can avoid 
the trap of justifying suffering; it can also provide motivation to work for the 
alleviation of suffering." 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Moltmann and Pannenberg 

As theologians, Moltmann and Pannenberg often follow similar lines of 
thought. Both place great emphasis on eschatology and were influential in the 
development of the theology of hope. Both develop their theology from a 
trinitarian understanding of God. Both insist on the historical nature of 
revelation. But their work on theodicy reflects more differences than 
similarities. Pannenberg, by and large, remains more concerned with theory. 
Nor does he appear to stray beyond the borders of traditional theodicy. 
Moltmann, on the other hand, insists on embedding his work in practical 
realities. He also shows great willingness to ask what the Trinity's experience 
of suffering tells us about God. Their discussions provide an interesting window 
into the question of evil, as in many ways the two theologians parallel each other 
while reaching different conclusions. 

One significant similarity should be noted here, as it relates directly to 
the question of suffering. Both Moltmann and Pannenberg hold to a belief in 
human freedom. Freedom, as Pannenberg interprets it, is not a formal freedom 
of choice but a freedom to fulfill human destiny.'' "The ability to decide among 
possibilities of conduct is a high form of creaturely independence," he notes, but 
"it is in fact only a totally inadequate if necessary condition of true freedom, the 
freedom of the children of God."'^ Instead, true freedom finds its basis in the 
Trinity. Pannenberg writes: "[T]he aim of giving creatures independent 
existence was that they should be able to share in the relation of the Son to the 
Father and hence in the Trinity's eternal fellowship of love."''* Moltmann too 
develops his concept of human freedom out of an understanding of the Trinity, 
but in his case the whole experience of human freedom is tied to the human 
experience of the Trinity, rather than the Trinity merely serving as the 
foundation for freedom.'^ He writes: "The theological concept of freedom is the 
concept of the trinitarian history of God."'^ Either way, both Moltmann and 
Pannenberg accept the reality of human freedom, and while this in no way 
composes the sum total of their theodicies, it does shape them significantly. 

The Reality of Suffering 

Moltmann and Pannenberg agree on the importance of theodicy in 
Christian theology, but they reach this conclusion by different routes. 
Pannenberg conceives the importance of theodicy in the context of a believer's 
faith. Citing Isaiah 45:9 ("Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, 'What 
are you making?'"),'^ he posits that a solid faith does not question God's doings 
in the world. Still, the question does arise as an attack on firm belief in a good 
Creator. He writes: "On the soil of belief in God the Creator a problem of 
theodicy . . . cannot seriously arise. Yet this fact does not prevent the question 
from forcing itself even upon believers as an assault upon their faith. "'^ 
Christians should not question God as Creator for any reason, but the existence 
of suffering causes them to do so. Therefore it must be answered. 


The Question of Evil: Theodicy, Moltmann, and Pannenberg 

Pannenberg also explores the why of suffering, finding his answer in 
the fabric of universe itself. By definition, creation is not God, and it 
experiences a status less than that of God. "Limitation is a necessary part of 
creaturehood insofar as every creature is different from God and his perfection. 
God could not give the creature all things without making it itself a god."'^ This 
limitation is not evil, Pannenberg argues, nor is it the direct cause of suffering. 
But it carries with it the possibility that free humans will reject their creaturely 
limits. Such a rejection is the root of evil and suffering in the world^° 
Pannenberg summarizes: "If the Creator willed a world of finite creatures and 
their independence, then he had to accept their corruptibility and suffering, and 
the possibility of evil as a result of their striving for their own autonomy."^' The 
limitations inherent in the ontology of creation coupled with the gift of freedom 
allow the possibility of a move away from God. 

Moltmann, on the other hand, does not place theodicy in the context of 
faith. He grounds it in the reality of the world. Suffering asks a question which 
neither humans nor God can ignore. He writes: "The suffering of a single 
innocent child is an irrefutable rebuttal of the notion of the almighty and kindly 
God in heaven. For a God who lets the innocent suffer and who permits 
senseless death is not worthy to be called God at all."^^ But for Moltmann 
suffering is more than a question. It is "the open wound of life" which theology 
and faith must address if humanity is to survive and continue living. It needs to 
lead believers deeper into the experience of creation and God.^^ 

Moltmann does not attempt an in-depth explanation of why suffering 
exists. Instead he accepts it as a reality and attempts to understand God through 
it. This approach undermines the protest atheism of Ivan Karamazov, while, 
interestingly enough, following the path of Ivan's brother Alyosha, the clear 
"hero" of Dostoyevsky's novel. Those of Ivan's ilk ground their atheism in 
protest against suffering, but once God has been abandoned only suffering 
remains."^ Moltmann writes that while "suffering is the rock of atheism . . . On 
the rock of suffering the atheism of the godless person who is left to himself 
ends too.""'' As Moltmann understands it, the very protest against suffering 
points to a reality of which atheism can never conceive, a reality without 
suffering. He writes: "if suffering calls into question the notion of a just and 
kindly God, then conversely the longing for justice and goodness calls suffering 
into question.""^ The protest against suffering itself arises out of a sense of love 
and justice. Only those realities can give voice to protest."^ 

The Eschaton 

But simply undermining protest atheism does not answer the question 
of suffering. Nor does it address either of the requirements protest atheism 
places on theodicy. To do so, both Moltmann and Pannenberg turn to the 
eschatological event. They see the eschaton not as God's justification of 
suffering but as God's overcoming of the suffering of the world. Pannenberg 's 
eschatology infuses his entire theology. He views the eschaton as nothing less 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

than the completion of creation. The present, temporal world is connected to the 
Future Creator God through the work of the Spirit. At the eschaton, the present 
world will meet the future God and be made new.^^ He writes: "With the 
eschatological future God's eternity comes into time and it is thus creatively 
present to all the temporal things that precede this future.""^ This has important 
implications for theodicy, because it means that "the kingdom of God will be 
actualized and the justification of God in the face of the sufferings of the world 
will be achieved but also universally acknowledged. "^° The kingdom of God is 
the place of peace and justice for which the temporal world can but yearn, but 
which will be made a reality through the eschatological work of God. History 
and earthly time will end; God's kingdom will be realized."^' In this way the 
question of evil, according to Pannenberg, will be resolved in God's final 
eschatological event. 

The same is true for Moltmann. He looks to a future time when 
creation will be redeemed and history integrated into God.^^ The present world 
is one of suffering, unrighteousness, and injustice — but it is not the final world. 
Historical events, Moltmann argues, "have always at the same time also an 
unfinished and provisional character that points forwards. ""^'' The future world, 
to which the present one only points, the one brought about by God's 
eschatological event, when time meets eternity, will be a place of life, 
righteousness, and justice."*" Moltmann bases this belief on his understanding of 
God's character. God, he writes, is a "God of hope," a God "with future as his 
essential nature," a God who "confronts us with the promise of something new, 
with the hope of a future given by God."^^ In the eschaton, the sufferings of the 
present world are not justified by God; they are overcome. God's true purpose 
is not in the present sufferings but in the coming eschatological future God has 

The two theologians also place absolute importance on the work of 
Jesus Christ in reference to the coming eschatological event. For both 
Moltmann and Pannenberg, Jesus represents God's promise of the future. ^^ 
More than Moltmann, Pannenberg focuses on the work of God through history. 
He writes of the love of God being at work in each stage in the history of 
creation^^ This love is especially evident in Jesus' incarnation. He writes: "the 
coming of divine love into time culminates in the event of the incarnation."^^ 
The death of Jesus points to the coming eschatological end: "This event is in 
itself already an overcoming of evil, and its effects deliverance from the power 
of sin and death.'"*" Finally, Christ's resurrection not only confirms Jesus' deity 
but also offers the promise of the coming eschatological future."*' 

Unlike Pannenberg, for whom the resurrection is a continuation of the 
cross, Moltmann understands the significance of Jesus' life, death, and 
resurrection in the light of a dialectic between cross and resurrection. The two 
are opposites, one death and the other life. The cross has its own importance in 
relation to Moltmann's theodicy, but the resurrection relates directly to 


The Question of Evil: Theodicy, Moltmann, and Pannenberg 

eschatology. If Christ's cross represents this present life, the life-in-hi story, then 
Christ's resurrection is the promise of the future resurrection of humanity and of 
God's new creation."*" It is the promise that suffering will be overcome/^ And it 
is the beginning of the fulfillment of that promise'" According to Moltmann, 
what happened in Christ "is understood as the dawn and assured promise of the 
coming glory of God over all, as the victory of life from God over death. "^ 

This emphasis on promise underscores Moltmann' s more rooted 
response to the problem of suffering. As he sees it, the coming eschatological 
event is something that gives hope, and humanity needs to orient their lives 
around that hope. A believer is to "transform in opposition and creative 
expectation the face of the world in the midst of which one believes, hopes, and 
lives.""^ The eschaton not only promises to overcome suffering at some future 
moment, it also gives encouragement to daily cross-bearing and the struggle 
against suffering. ■ 

The Cross 

In their full understanding of the Cross and its meaning for theodicy, 
Moltmann and Pannenberg diverge. Pannenberg does not venture beyond the 
borders of traditional theodicy. Moltmann, on the other hand, willingly goes far 
a field. While Pannenberg certainly affirms the importance of the Cross and the 
Trinity'"*^ he stops short of exploring the connection between the two. He does 
mention that God takes responsibility for the evil God has allowed to exist in 
creation. He writes: "God did not shirk the responsibility but shouldered it by 
sending and giving up his Son to the cross. In this way, as Creator, he stands by 
his responsibility for the work that he has made. Evil is thus real and costly 
enough for God himself as well as for creatures.'"*^ But that is all. This 
formulation does not influence his description of God as a trinitarian God. God 
retains God's omnipotence"*^ and remains immutable.''" One wonders if it is not 
contradictory to claim that evil cost God if God remains untouched. 

If this analysis is correct, Pannenberg's theodicy remains within the 
boundaries of the traditional approach. He provides an explanation for the 
origin of evil and suffering, and his theodicy rests on the promise that suffering 
will be overcome by the eschaton. This is an adequate response to the 
conditions set by Ivan Karamazov, but it is not a powerful one. Nor does it 
address the issues raised by Camus. God appears to have little present-day 
relevance in the world. Pannenberg's "responsible" God lacks the rhetorical 
force found in Moltmann. 

Like Pannenberg, Moltmann' s theology of the eschaton responds to 
Ivan's arguments, providing a way for suffering to be overcome. But Moltmann 
also conceives of Jesus as providing God's divine protest against suffering. 
Although Jesus went willingly to the cross, he did not suffer passively.^' 
Instead, he cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mk. 
15:34). This argument responds to both issues raised by Camus. First, it is God 
on the cross. Jesus is not just another human victim; he is God. Second, Christ 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

did not justify suffering or silence protest on the cross. He protested against 
suffering himself. Moltmann writes: "Hope finds in Christ not only a 
consolation in suffering, but also the protest of the divine promise against 

More than protest, however, Jesus is God standing in divine solidarity 
with the suffering." Jesus the Son suffered a brutal death in innocence. The 
Father suffered the pain of watching the Son suffer and die. Moltmann writes: 
"The Son suffers dying, the Father suffers the death of the Son."^'^ God is not 
impassible or unmoved. Just as the Father suffered along with the Son, so God 
suffers along with God's creation, because through Jesus God has identified 
with creation"^^ To Wiesel's protest Moltmann responds: "It is true . . . God 
himself hung on the gallows. "^^ But not in death, as Wiesel believes. God hung 
in protest and solidarity with the suffering. 

Moltmann fully addresses the arguments of Ivan and Camus. He in no 
way seeks to explain evil and suffering. He provides in the historical 
resurrection and the future eschaton a promise that suffering will be overcome 
and the encouragement to continue the present struggle against it. Finally, 
unlike Pannenberg, Moltmann goes beyond the boundaries of traditional 
theology and draws a picture of God who is not only transcendent but also 
immanent, a God who both suffers and protests against suffering. This God 
promises a good future and provides a present hope.^^ 


In terms of Christian theodicy, Moltmann and Pannenberg both 
contribute the element of hope. By making God's eschatological event the 
centerpiece of their theodicies, they answer the argument of Ivan Karamazov by 
claiming not that suffering will be justified, but that it will be overcome. They 
point toward a future that for atheism is an impossibility: a good future without 
suffering. This they call the Kingdom of God. 

Of course, their arguments, especially those of Moltmann, raise 
important questions about the future direction of theology. Pannenberg retains a 
largely traditional understanding of God as omnipotent and omniscient, but 
Moltmann does not. By not asking the why of suffering and by making God a 
fellow-sufferer, Moltmann recalibrates the levels of God's power and 
knowledge. While certainly not a process theologian or open-theist, Moltmann 
does at least face that direction. This is an issue for theologians, and especially 
traditional ones, to consider. 

Finally, Moltmann and Pannenberg 's response to the question of evil 
and suffering holds practical implications for the life of the church as its 
members seek to make their way in the face of the world. First, we should not 
silently accept the suffering we encounter. Christ's cry on the cross makes that 
clear. Instead, we should offer a similar cry of protest while at the same time 
working for a better future. Because there is hope for the future. The same 


The Question of Evil: Theodicy, Mohmann, and Pannenberg 

Jesus who suffered on the cross rose again, and his resurrection is the promise 
and beginning of God's good future. We may never understand our suffering, 
but at the full realization of God's kingdom we know that it will be overcome. 
And that is reason enough for hope. 


' Elie Wiesel, The Night Trilogy (New York: Hill and Wang, 1 987), 7 1 -72. 

Tyron Inbody, The Transforming God: An Interpretation of Suffering and Evil 
(Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997), 27. 

'inbody, 32-33. 


Stanley Hauerwas, Naming the Silences: God, Medicine, and the Problem of 
Suffering (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 35. 


Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, trans. David McDuff (New 
York: Penguin Books, 1993), 279-283. 


W. Waite Willis, Jr., Theism, Atheism and the Doctrine of the Trinity: The 
Trinitarian Theologies of Karl Barth and Jurgen Moltmann in Response to Protest 
Atheism (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1987), 79-80. 


Richard Bauckham, The Theology of Jurgen Moltmann (Edinburgh: T&T 

Clark, 1995), 74. 
Albert Camus, The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt, trans. Anthony Bower 

(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967), 21. 


Camus, 68 


Bauckham, Theology, 81. 
Bauckham, Theology, 81-82. 


Stanley J. Grenz, Reason for Hope: The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart 
Pannenberg (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 106. 


Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley 
(Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans PubUshing Company, 1991-1998), 3:643. 


Pannenberg, 3:630-631. 


Bauckham, Theology, 180. 


Jurgen Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God. trans. 
Margret Kohl (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, San Francisco, 1981), 218. 


All Scripture quotations from New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, 
copyrighted, 1989. 


Pannenberg, 2:163. 


Pannenberg, 2:170. 


Pannenberg, 2:169-172. 


Pannenberg, 2:173. 


Moltmann, Trinity, Al . 


Moltmann, Trinity, 49. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Willis, 85. 


Moltmann, Trinity, 48-49. 


Moltmann, Trinity, 49. 


Moltmann, Trinity, 48. 
''Orenz, 189-190. , ;.., 

Pannenberg, 3:531. 

30 I 

Pannenberg, 3:531. 
^'Crenz, 195. 


John David Jaeger, "Jurgen Moltmann and the Problem of Evil," The Asbury 
TheologicalJournal 53.2 (Fall 1998): 10. 


Jurgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope: On the Ground and Implications of a 
Christian Eschatology, trans. James W. Leitch (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993), 

34 , ^ . . . . ,, " 

Bauckham, Theology, 9. 


Moltmann, Theology of Hope, 16. 


Bauckhan\, Theology, 84. . 

37 ' , . . 

Bauckham, Theology, 33; Grenz, 192. 


Pannenberg, 3:645. 

39 ' ■ '' ■ 

Pannenberg, 3:645. 


Pannenberg, 3:637. 
'*' Pannenberg, 3:324; Grenz, 112-117. 

42 .•■■■■* ■ ' " 

Bauckham, Theology, 33. 


Bauckham, r/7eo/ogy, 83. 


Jurgen Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic 
Dimensions, trans. Margaret Kohl (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1990), 214. 

45 ,.'■■■■> 

Moltmann, Theology of Hope, 201. 


Moltmann, Theology of Hope, 330. 
"'Grenz, 122-123. 

48 . " 

Pannenberg, 2: 169. 


Pannenberg, 1:416. 


Pannenberg, 2:169. 


Jurgen Moltmann, The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation 
and Criticism of Christian Theology, trans. R. A. Wilson and John Bowden (Minneapolis, 
MN: Fortress Press, 1993), 51. 


Moltmann, Theology of Hope, 21. 


Richard Bauckham, '"Only the Suffering God can Help': Divine Passibility 
in Modem Theology," Themelios 9.3 (April 1984): 11. 


Moltmann, Crucified God, 243. 


The Question of Evil: Theodicy, Moltmann, and Pannenberg 

Bauckham. Theology, 83. 
Moltmann, Crucified God, 278. 
Inbody, 170-172. 


Bauckham, Richard. '"Only the Suffering God can Help': Divine Passibility in Modem 
Theology." Themelios 9.3 (April 1984): 6-12. 

Bauckham, Richard. The Theology ofJurgen Moltmann. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1995. 

Camus, Albert. The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt. Translated by Anthony Bower. 
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967. 

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Translated by David McDuff. New 
York: Penguin Books, 1993. 

Grenz, Stanley J. Reason for Hope: The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg. 
New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. 

Hauerwas, Stanley. Naming the Silences: God, Medicine, and the Problem of Suffering. 
Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990. 

Inbody, Tyron. The Transforming God: An Interpretation of Suffering and Evil. 
Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997. 

Jaeger, John David. "Jurgen Moltmann and the Problem of Evil." The Asbury 
Theological Journal 53.2 (Fall 1998): 5-14. 

Moltmann, Jurgen. The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and 
Criticism of Christian Theology. Translated by R. A. Wilson and John Bowden. 
Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993. 

. Theology of Hope: On the Ground and Implications of a Christian 

Eschatology. Translated by James W. Leitch. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 

. The Trinity and the Kingdom: the Doctrine of God. Translated by Margret 

Kohl. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, San Francisco, 1981. 

. The Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic Dimensions. Translated by 

Margaret Kohl. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1990. 

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Systematic Theology. Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. 3 
vols. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991- 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Willis, W. Waite Jr. Theism, Atheism and the Doctrine of the Trinity: The Trinitarian 
Theologies of Karl Barth and Jurgen Moltmann in Response to Protest 
Atheism. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1987. 

Wiesel, Elie. The Night Trilogy. New York: Hill and Wang, 1987. 


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Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Waiting Table in God's Household: A Personal Theology of Ministry 

by Mark Hepner* 


This paper presents a preliminary statement of the author's personal 
theology of ministry. "Waiting tables" refers to one of the basic senses of the 
primary "ministry" word group utilized throughout the books of the New 
Testament (diakoneo 'to serve', diakonia 'service', and diakonos 'servant')' and 
this concept 'serves' as an apt metaphor for Christian ministry since it denotes 
the taking of resources provided by the Master of the house and distributing 
them to those gathered around the Master's table to sustain the physical and 
spiritual health and well-being of the Master's family. Though it is the ministry 
of the Christian church, engaged as it is in carrying out "the revealing and 
reconciling mission of Jesus"" which is the topic of this paper, the phrase 
"theology of ministry" places the focus on God (it is after all a theology! of 
ministry and not an anthropology of ministry) and thus "ministry" in this paper 
will be presented mainly in terms of service carried out at God's direction and 
on God's behalf, by God's servants, for the continuous growth, health and joy of 
God's people. From this perspective then, it is God, rather than his table guests, 
who determines the needs of the church — sets the menu so to speak — and who 
decides which person will serve what to whom and in what order and quantity. 

The metaphor of ministry as waiting tables will be explored and applied 
more ftilly in the discussion below. Along the way, a Biblical foundation or 
model of ministry will be presented using the first chapter of Paul's letter to the 
Colossians as the particular textual base from which several key components of 
a theology of ministry will be derived. Then, picking up on the repeated 
occurrences of the word diakonos "servant" in that chapter (Col. 1:7, 23, 25), the 
fundamental or characteristic quality of ministry will be developed via a brief 
study of the diakoneo / diakonia / diakonos word group referred to earlier. 
Finally, a brief discussion of the role of the Holy Spirit in equipping and 
empowering God's people for ministry will round out the presentation. 

A Biblical Model for Ministry: Colossians 1:1-29 

The Relational Context of Ministry (Col. 1:1-2)-^ 

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, " 
To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you 
and peace from God our Father. 

The apostle Paul and his "brother" Timothy write to their "brothers and sisters" 
in Colossae, and include in their salutation a wish for grace and peace 

* Mark Hepner (M.A.B.S.-N.T., ATS) is with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Papua, New 


Waiting Table in God's Household: A Personal Theology of Ministry 

from the their mutual ("our-inclusive") "Father." Clearly for Paul the relational 
context of his ministry to the Colossians was as sibling members of the 
immediate family of God's household. Though Paul had never visited the 
Colossian Christians, he claims the same Father as they do, and so writes as an 
(older) brother with a genuine "kinship" concern for the spiritual health and 
well-being of these as yet unmet brothers and sisters in Christ. Thus Christian 
ministry is at heart a family affair — loving service done for the benefit of those 
with whom we share the closest and most supportive of human relationships — 
with each family member committed to promoting his or her brothers' and 
sisters' "progress and joy in the faith" (Phil. 1:25). 

The Pattern of Ministry (Col. 1:3-8) 

" In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, "* for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you 
have for all the saints, " because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have 
heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel ^ that has come to 
you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been 
bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly 
comprehended the grace of God. ^ This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved 
fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, ^ and he has 
made known to us your love in the Spirit. 

From these verses can be distilled the basic pattern of ministry. The 
gospel is proclaimed, people hear and recognize the truth of the message and the 
hope that is being offered to them, and so respond by placing their trust for 
salvation in Christ Jesus (l:5b-6a). Then as they receive continued instruction in 
the gospel they come to comprehend in increasing measure the nature of the new 
life that has been imparted to them and the magnitude of God's gracious 
goodness to them (1:7a). At the same time, along with increased understanding 
of who they are and what they are to become, their lives begin to bear the Holy 
Spirit-inspired fruit of Christ-like behavior that is characteristic of every true 
member of the family of God (1:4b, 6b, 7b-8). As this passage suggests, the 
preeminent mark of the Christian is love, and particularly love for "all the 
saints." This is the motivating love (cf 2 Cor. 5:14) that transforms them from 
recipients of ministry into ministers themselves. It is this full-circle pattern of 
ministry that lies behind Paul's thankfulness for the Colossian believers and the 
loving concern they have reciprocated to him in the person of Epaphras."* 

The Goals of Ministry (Col. 1:9-14) 

^ For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you 
and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all 
spiritual wisdom and understanding, "^ so that you may lead lives worthy of the 
Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 


grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength 
that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure 
everything with patience, while joyfriUy '" giving thanks to the Father, who has 
enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. '^ He has 
rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of 
his beloved Son, '"* in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

Paul's ceaseless prayer for the Colossians delineates many appropriate 
goals for Christian ministry. Ministry strives for mutual growth in wisdom, that 
is, an understanding of the way things "really are" in terms of the order God has 
designed into the world, and the way the Creator works to bring about his 
purposes and intentions for his world. This steadily growing knowledge of 
God's person and acquaintance with his ways enables God's people to live their 
lives in harmony with his will, so that God's desires become their desires, 
resulting in deeds that are truly good because they are fully pleasing to the Lord 
and contribute to the working out of his purposes in the world. 

Ministry, fortified as it is by the power of Christ (Col. 1 :29), should 
also be mutually encouraging and strengthening, thus enabling the community 
of faith to endure trials and persecutions with patience and the power of God and 
so arrive at the goal of their faith with the circle of their fellowship unbroken. 
There truly is "strength in numbers" and a crucial goal of ministry is to foster a 
unified community that affirms and confirms each individual in the hard and 
often counter-cultural choices that need to be made in order to keep living a life 
"worthy of their calling." 

Since these ministry goals are contained in the words of Paul's prayer, 
the underlying natural assumption is that it is God who actually will make all of 
these things become a reality for the Colossian believers.^ Thus the wisdom 
Paul desires for them is Spiritual, the strength he longs for them to possess 
comes from God's glorious power, and it is the Father who enables them to 
share in the inheritance of the saints by rescuing them from their enemies' 
control and placing them under the control of his own beloved Son. Ministry is 
thus fiindamentally a divine activity. This kind of Spirit-inspired ministry is 
aimed at promoting and nurturing and even actualizing to one degree or another 
a "kingdom of Christ" way of life among God's people in the present in 
anticipation of the time when the Son returns and such a way of living in his 
kingdom will not only be the norm, but will be experienced in undiluted 

The Cosmic Context of Ministry (Col. 1:15-20) 

^"'' He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; '^ for in him 
all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, 
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers— all things have been created 
through him and for him. '^ He himself is before all things, and in him all things 


Waiting Table in God's Household: A Personal Theology of Ministry 

hold together. '^ He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the 
firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 
'^ For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, "" and through him 
God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in 
heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. 

Reference to the kingdom of God's "beloved Son" leads Paul into an 
extended hymn-like exaltation of Jesus Christ that provides the cosmic context 
of ministry. Jesus occupies the highest position of privilege and authority over 
all creation. This is because, as Paul asserts, Jesus himself is the focal point 
around which all of God's intentions and desires for all the things he made in 
heaven and on earth are organized. From the work of creating, to the work of 
maintaining creation, to the work of bringing a wayward creation back on course 
to arrive at the divinely appointed end for which it was originally made, all of 
this was conceived with the Son in mind as the one who would implement these 
divine plans and bring them to their divinely appointed end. 

Christian ministry within the church is, then, part of Christ's cosmic 
program of reconciling all things in heaven and on earth to the will of God, 
bringing them back into a "friendly" relationship with their Creator, fully 
submissive to the purposes and intentions he originally had in mind when he 
made them. Ministry, thus conceived and carried out is first and foremost aimed 
at establishing Jesus Christ as the one who has first place over all things in the 
world, and especially over his body the church. Then secondly, ministry aims at 
promoting the glory of Christ by working to bring the life of the church into line 
with his world-reconciling agenda. Such ministry promotes a proper perspective 
on human existence because it is guided by God's priorities, which are 
ultimately "all about Jesus" as one worship chorus puts it.^ 

The Necessity for Ministry (Col. 1 :2 1 -23) 

And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, " he 
has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy 
and blameless and irreproachable before him— "^ provided that you continue 
securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope 
promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every 
creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel. 

All people are bom into a relationship with their Creator that Paul here 
characterizes as "estranged" and "hostile" and marked by the willful 
rebelliousness of "evil deeds." In this context of human need, ministry — 
"serving the gospel" as Paul puts it — is actually Christ, through his body the 
church, working to reconcile God's enemies back into a relationship of loving 
friendship with him who is their true Father so that they will qualify for one day 
being welcomed without reservation into his very presence (cf. 2 Cor. 5:18-20). 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

But ministry is also the equally crucial work of maintaining Christ's 
people in unwavering covenant faithfulness to God by keeping them from 
deviating from the hope held out to them in the good news that formed the basis 
of their original entrance into salvation. All of this work is carried out by 
everyone in the body of Christ who, like Paul, are to be reliable waiters and 
waitresses of the gospel, taking what the Master provides and distributing it to 
each other without adding anything "a la carte" to it on the way to the table. ^ 
The Mode, Authority, Scope and Power Source of Ministry (Col. 1 :24-29) 

"'' I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am 
completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, 
the church. " I became its servant according to God's commission that was 
given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, '^ the mystery that 
has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed 
to his saints. "'' To them God chose to make known how great among the 
Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the 
hope of glory. ^^ It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching 
everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. '^'^ 
For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within 

For Paul, the mode of ministry is incarnation. Bringing people into the 
body of Christ requires continued acts of suffering in the same way that Christ 
suffered — "for righteousness' sake" (Mt. 5:10). Paul's Christ-like suffering was 
due to his Christ-like commitment to make known God's intention to 
incorporate all peoples. Gentile as well as Jew, into God's covenant community 
of faith. The goal of this incamational ministry was to "present everyone mature 
in Christ." In this sense, the mode of ministry also becomes the goal of ministry, 
that is, ministry can be described from an incamational perspective as "Christ in 
me, working (and suffering) to form Christ in you, and vice versa." The end 
result of this process is a unified church body, full grown and looking 
remarkably like its Lord.^ 

As with Paul, the authority of every servant in the body of Christ to 
carry on ministry derives from the commission of God. Ministry is simply 
carrying out the will of the Master with regard to a particular service he wants 
performed for his people. This does not preclude individual creativeness in 
doing ministry, but again, it does proscribe the kind of "ad-libbing" that 
abandons heavenly wisdom in favor of the latest successful marketing strategy. 

The scope of Christian ministry is limited only by the number of people 
groups in the world. It is Paul's contention in this passage that the mystery of the 
gospel that God has commissioned him to make fully known is that the benefits 
of what Christ accomplished are so plentiful that they are enough to help not 
only the Jewish people, but all the non-Jewish people too. Thus the scope of the 


Waiting Table in God's Household: A Personal Theology of Ministry 

proclamation or evangelistic aspect of Christian ministry in particular includes 
all of mankind equally. 

Finally, the source of Paul's power for ministry is God. This does not 
mean that Paul does not himself work hard at ministry. On the contrary, he 
asserts that he toils and struggles to accomplish the task given him by God with 
all the might he possesses. Yet in the same breath he is quick to make it clear 
that he is energized to expend himself in this way by the very power of God.^° 
Very likely Paul intends to imply that this power is mediated to him by the Holy 
Spirit," as the NRSV rendering above correctly implies. 

It seems clear from this survey of Colossians 1 that, "the key concept of 
the Church is that it is a Spirit-led people of God who carry out Christ's mission 
in the world."'" That mission includes both evangelism (service to unbelievers in 
the world) and edification (service to believers in the church). The picture of 
Christian ministry distilled from Paul's words to the Colossian believers may 
thus be summarized as "the living Christ active in each member of the family of 
God through the sensible, powerful presence of his Holy Spirit, working in and 
through them to form them individually and corporately into a body that looks 
like him, loves like him, perseveres like him, obeys like him, suffers like him, 
relates to the Father like him, and strives to see God's purposes realized in the 
world like him." 

The Core Concept of Ministry: Life-sustaining service 

As mentioned in the introduction, the primary word group used by New 
Testament authors to denote Christian ministry includes the verb diakoneo "to 
serve" and its cognate noun diakonia "service". An additional cognate noun 
form, diakonos refers to one who performs acts of diakonia, i.e. a "seryant." 
The use of this trio of words to designate Christian ministry appears to be 
something of a departure on the part of the New Testament writers from the 
'official' ministry vocabulary of the LXX.'^ 


A survey of the uses of diakoneo in the NT indicates a basic meaning 
of "giving someone what is necessary to sustain their physical life." 
Consequently the word is frequently used in the gospels to mean "set food 
before someone" or "wait on someone." In Mt. 4: 11 angels "attend" Jesus in the 
wilderness after his very long period of fasting. Later on, Peter's mother-in-law 
"begins to wait on" Jesus and his disciples after being healed (Mk. 1:31). Luke 
relates Martha's complaint to Jesus that her sister has left her alone with the 
"work" of providing Jesus and his disciples with a meal (Lk. 10:40). There are 
numerous other references in the gospels and Acts where this word is used to 
denote "serving food to" or "waiting table on" people, e.g. Lk. 12:37; 17:8; 
22:27; Jn. 12:2; Acts 6:2. Beyond the idea of setting food before someone to 
eat, the word may also denote any act of generosity that supplies what is 
necessary to sustain everyday physical life. Luke tells of women who 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

"supported" Jesus and his disciples out of their own means (8:3; of. Mt. 27:55; 
Mk. 15:41). 

The use of diakoneo to refer to the provision of what is necessary to 
sustain material or physical life continues on into the epistles. In Rom. 15:25 
Paul refers to his task of delivering and overseeing the distribution of an offering 
to alleviate the material needs of impoverished believers in the church in 
Jerusalem as "serving" the saints. In 2 Tim. 1:18 Paul remembers with fondness 
Onesiphorus for the many ways he helped Paul in Ephesus, surely a reference to 
service aimed at meeting the practical needs of staying alive. Finally, the author 
of Hebrews reassures his readers that God will not forget their past and current 
practice of "helping his people," again most likely a reference to providing 
practical assistance to God's people to meet the needs of day-to-day survival, 
probably in the face of persecution (Heb. 6:10). 

Metaphorically, diakoneo is used to refer to serving people in the 
mterests of preserving and enhancing their spiritual life with God. Thus Jesus 
came to serve by ransoming God's people from the forces that held them captive 
(Mt. 20:28). It was also a spiritual service that the prophets of old provided for 
the saints in ages to come (1 Pet. 1:12). Whether referring to physical or 
spiritual sustenance, diakoneo generally denotes the practical acts of service that 
help people by supplying what they need to 'carry on with' the business of daily 


Given the highly suggestive basic meaning of diakoneo, it comes as no 
surprise that the nominalized form of the verb becomes in the New Testament 
the standard tenn to denote the act of providing to God's people that which 
creates and sustains both their physical and spiritual life "in Christ." Indeed, 
this word, used to refer to the distribution of food in Acts 6:1, is just as easily 
applied to the distribution of God's word to the members of the church a few 
verses later (Acts 6:4). It is in this extended sense that the word is used to 
designate the evangelistic program of Barnabas and Saul in Acts 12:25. 
Similarly, in Acts 20:24 Paul refers to the proclamation "of the gospel of God's 
grace" as the "service" the Lord has given him to do. 

Ministry as diakonia provides what is necessary for each member of the 
body of Christ to stay alive, to grow to maturity, and to "discharge all the 
duties" (2 Tim. 4:5) of their divinely assigned tasks. Ministry is expressed in a 
variety of forms (1 Cor. 12:5) all of which are aimed at helping every member of 
the body in every way possible to arrive at the goal of their faith. As 2 Cor. 6:3 
makes clear, ministry is the opposite of causing people to stumble. In other 
words, ministry makes it easier, not harder, to keep believing in Jesus and 
following him as Lord. This is because ministry is service to the saints (2 Cor. 
8:4) received from the Lord (Col. 4:17) who intends by it the building up of his 
body (Eph. 4:12). 


Waiting Table in God's Household: A Personal Theology of Ministry 


This third member of the NT "ministry" word group is used to 
designate the person who "serves" (diakoneo) by doing acts of "service" 
(diakonia) on behalf of a master) Here the emphasis is on the nature of ministry 
as discharging the duties laid upon the servant by a person of higher status and 
authority. As a king orders his servants and they obey (Mt. 22:13), so the 
servant-minister acts in strict accordance with the will of his or her Master (cf. 1 
Cor. 3:5 (NIV): "What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, 
through whom you came to believe — as the Lord has assigned to each his 
task."). Thus believers are variously described as servants of Jesus (Jn. 12:26; cf. 
Col. 1:7)), of God (2 Cor. 6:4), of the new covenant (2 Cor 3:6), of the gospel 
(Eph. 3:7; cf. Col. 1:23), and of the church (Rom. 16:11; cf. Col. 1:25). 

If believers are servants of Christ their Lord, they are also servants of 
Christ's body, the church (Col. 1:25). In the first instance believers serve the 
will of One who is infinitely superior in authority and status. In the church 
however, where all members (ideally) share the same status in Christ, ministry is 
carried on among equals. In this context the Christian minister is at heart one 
whose actions are dictated by the need-requirements of his or her brothers and 
sisters in Christ. Thus a minister in the household of God is one who makes the 
needs of the rest of the family equal to the command of Christ himself (Mt. 
20:26; 23:11). 

To sum up, this survey of the diakonia word group indicates that the 
core idea of ministry is supplying what people need to keep on living as Christ's 
body in the world. Christian ministry is fiindamentally a practical activity, 
consisting of acts of service to others for the purpose of sustaining their life as a 
community of faith, promoting their maturity and growth in Christ-likeness, and 
enhancing their ability to carry on the mission of Christ. Ministry is obedient 
sei-vice done on behalf of the Master for the benefit of his people. Ministry is 
making the needs of fellow believers equivalent to the command of the Lord 
himself mid willingly distributing to them what the Master has placed in their 
hands to meet those needs. 

The Substance of Ministry: "Serving up" the gifts of the Spirit 

If ministry is "waiting tables in God's house," then what is on the 
menu? What is it that we as members of the body of Christ bring to each other 
from the Master's table to sustain each other in our life of faith and discipleship 
to Jesus? 

Referring again to the portrait of ministry derived from Colossians 1 
earlier in this paper, Gordon Fee has pointed out that although "Spirit" 
terminology is only minimally present in Colossians due to Paul's need to 
address what are primarily Christological deficiencies in the Colossian Heresy 
(see note 8 above), there are nevertheless several references in the first chapter 
of Colossians to the Spirit's activity in the lives of both the Colossian believers 
and in Paul himself. These include references to Spirit-inspired love (1:8), 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Spirit-imparted understanding (i.e. the "insight into God's will that the Spirit 
provides;"'"* 1:9), and the Spirit-infused energy that empowers Paul for the hard 
work of ministry (1:29).''^ These three references provide a fairly complete 
summary of the role of the Holy Spirit in providing the substance of Christian 
ministry: 1) knowledge of what God wants done, 2) power to carry out the 
divine mandate, and 3) acts of sei-vice ("love in the Spirit" manifesting itself in 
"love to the saints") which are to be provided to fellow members of the body of 
Christ to sustain their life in Christ and in the world. 

These acts of sustaining service that the Spirit provides through 
Christ's people and for Christ's people should not be confused with the "fruit of 
the Spirit" which are typically produced from within the life of every believer 
(Gal. 5:22-23) and which provide the "quality control" for all service performed 
within the body of Christ."' In addition to these "fruits" of the Spirit, the Holy 
Spirit also gives "gifts" to his people in a variety of forms and functions (cf. the 
different lists in Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, and Eph. 4) to equip them for ministry in 
the building up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12) by promoting the "common good" 
(1 Cor. 12: 7) of the group. Such gifts as leadership, preaching, teaching, 
miracles, healing of various kinds, helping, wisdom, mercy, evangelism, 
discernment, etc. provide the actual "substance" of ministry, that is, the specific 
services that members of God's community of faith provide to each other in 
order to sustain the physical and spiritual life of the body of Christ and grow it 
into a size and shape that is in correct proportion to its head (Eph. 4:13). 


"Waiting tables in God's household" is a metaphor for describing 
Christian ministry as an activity of humble service dictated by the Master of the 
house in which divinely supplied sustaining grace is placed before those 
gathered around the Master's table, in need of the nourishment required to 
maintain their physical and spiritual lives. Ministry as waiting tables means that 
all members of the household are at the same time both the table guests and the 
waiters and waitresses whose job it is to bring the "food" of Holy Spirit-inspired 
service to each other, imparting strength and encouragement and providing all 
the practical necessities that continued life as the incarnate presence of Christ in 
the world requires. 

To sum up then, a final definition of ministry could be stated as 
follows: "God's people, energized by God's Spirit, 'dishing up' a variety of 
concretized fonns of God's grace to each other in loving ways in order to sustain 
each other's life of faith in the world and aimed at growing and maturing each 
other into the body of Christ which increasingly looks like the Lord Jesus, serves 
each other and the world like the Lord Jesus and is ultimately welcomed into the 
presence of God the Father like the Lord Jesus." 

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for 
their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to 
one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. . 


Waiting Table in God's Household: A Personal Theology of Ministry 

. . Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love 
covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another 
without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold 
grace of God, serve (diakoneo) one another with whatever gift 
each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one 
speaking the very words of God; whoever serves (diakoneo) 
must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God 
may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him 
belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen." 
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10; 1 Peter 4:8-11 (NRSV) 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 


A Model of Christian Ministry: "God's people, energized by God's Spirit, 'dishing up' a 
variety of concretized forms of God's grace to each other in loving ways in order to 
sustain each other's life of faith in the world and grow and mature each other into the 
body of Christ which looks like the Lord Jesus, serves the world like the Lord Jesus and 
is ultimately welcomed into the presence of God the Father like the Lord Jesus." 


Waiting Table in God's Household: A Personal Theology of Ministry 


Anderson, Ray S. The Shape of Practical Theology: Empowering Ministry with 
Theological Praxis. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001. 

Boa, Kenneth. Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual 
Formation. Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 2001. 

Breshears, Gerry. "The Body of Christ: Prophet, Priest, or King?" Journal of the 
Evangelical Theological Society 31 (March 1994): 3-26. 

Bromiley, Geoffrey W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One 
Volume. Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1985. 

Bruce, F. F. The Epistles to the Colossians. to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. The New 
International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. 
Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1984 

Fee, Gordon D. God's Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul. 
Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994. 

O'Brien, Peter T. Colossians, Philemon. Word Biblical Commentary. Waco, TX: Word 
Books, 1982. 

Schweizer, R. Eduard. "Ministry in the Early Church." In The Anchor Bible Dictionary, 
ed. David Noel Freedman. New York: Doubleday, 1992. 

Voulgaris, Christos S. "The Church as the Body of Christ." The Greek Orthodox 
Theological Review 43 {\99S): 549-551 . 


" Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Theological Dictionaiy of the New Testament: 
Abridged in One Volume (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1985): 152. 

" Gerry Breshears, "The Body of Christ: Prophet, Priest, or King?" Journal of 
the Evangelical Theological Society 37 (March 1994), 4. 

^ The following "boxed-in" Scripture quotations are taken from the New 
Revised Standard Version Bible, 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National 
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. 

"^ "[T]heir 'love for all the saints,' mentioned already in v. 4 [of Colossians I], 
is now acknowledged as specifically directed toward Paul as well." Gordon D. Fee, 
God's Empowering Presence (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1994): 639. 

" "From the gift of life and provision of all things needed for the sustaining of 
life, to the provision for people to exchange enmity with God for a place in God's 
household and under God's supervision and under God's personal patronage, God is the 
one who supplies our lack, who gives assistance in our need." David A. deSilva, Honor, 
Patronage, Kinship & Purity (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 133. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

^ Writes Ray S. Anderson, "The Spirit that comes to the church comes out of 
the future, not the past. The presence of the Spirit is the anticipation of the return of 
Christ. . . . When Christ returns to bring to consummation this pledge made by the gift of 
the Holy Spirit, it will be the 'last century.' The Spirit is thus preparing the people of 
God for this 'last century.' . . . The praxis of the ministry of the Holy Spirit can be 
understood in light of that which God desires to become a reality at the end, not merely to 
replicate that form of ministry during the first century." The Shape of Practical Theology: 
Empowering Ministry with Theological Praxis (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 
2001) : 105-106. 

^ Matt Redman, The Heart of Worship (Thankyou Music, 1997). 

^ It is widely acknowledged that Colossians was written to counter a line of 
unorthodox teaching confronting the Colossian believers. This teaching combined 
aspects of asceticism, particularly dietary restrictions, with elements of Judaism such as 
circumcision and the observance of special religious festivals, and also a form of mystical 
"knowledge" gained through visions, and perhaps even some kind of angel worship. This 
teaching, normally referred to as the "Colossian Heresy" implied that the work of Christ 
needed to be augmented with these 'additional' religious exercises in order to negotiate 
successfully the multiple layers of supernatural powers in the world and gain access to 
God. Cf F. F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, 
The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. 
Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1984) : 17-26. 

^ The words of Prof Christos S. Voulgaris on this topic are striking: "Christ 
and the Church together form a 'whole;' without Christ the Church is nothing; in him the 
Church is everything. Without the Church, Christ the Son is not incarnate, because after 
his incarnation the Son can be thought of only as both divine and human and, therefore, 
only with the Church, while the Church can be thought of only in Christ and with Christ 
as his human body, i.e. as 'the fullness of him who fills all in all' (Eph. 1:23)." "The 
Church as the Body of Christ." The Greek Orthodox Theological Review 43 (1998), 555. 

'" "While Paul works, earnestly expending all his energies in the prosecution of 
his ministry, he gladly acknowledges that the strength for such unremitting labor comes 
fi-om above . . ." Peter O'Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary 
(Waco, TX: Word Books, 1982) : 91. 

Fee, God's Empowering Presence, 637-638. 

'" Breshears, "The Body of Christ," 3. 

'^ "Despite the fact that the Greek-speaking world offered to the early Church a 
rather rich vocabulary for the notion of 'ministry,' most NT writers instead utilized a 
comparatively rare Greek word that hardly ever appears in the LXX: diakonia, "service" 
(especially of a place at table)." R. Eduard Schweizer, "Ministry in the Early Church," in 
The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 1992) , 
4 : 836. 

Fee, God's Empowering Presence, 637. 

'^ Cf Fee, 636-645 for the entire discussion of Spirit language in the 
Colossians 1. 

"' "Spiritual fruit is produced from within; spiritual gifts relate to Christian 
service. The fruit of the Spirit, especially love, should be the context for the operation of 


Waiting Table in God's Household: A Personal Theology of Ministry 

the gifts of the Spirit." Kenneth Boa, Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical 
Approaches to Spiritual Formation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001) : 303. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Amanda Berry Smith 

by Vivian L. Hairston* 

Amanda Berry Smith was one of the most remarkable missionaries of 
the nineteenth century. Her dedication and unselfish service has impacted many 
people throughout the United States and other countries in the world. Even 
though she departed this life in 1915, she still lives on in the hearts of many 
because of her missionary efforts. The purpose of this paper is to briefly 
summarize her life, discuss her ministry, explain what motivated and sustained 
her ministry, and describe the principles and techniques that she utilized in her 

Her Life 

Amanda Berry was bom a slave in Long Green, Maryland in 1835. Her 
parents, Samuel and Miriam Berry, lived on different plantations, even though 
they were married. Amanda was the oldest of their thirteen children.' She was 
reared in a godly home. Her mother was an earnest Christian with strong faith in 
God. Her father read the Bible to his family and prayed over all their meals. Her 
grandmother, a woman of great faith, prayed mightily that her grandchildren 
would be freed from slavery." 

Her Childliood 

As a child Amanda was protected from the disciplinary actions of her 
mother by her matron, Rachel Green. This woman would often treat Amanda 
with bread spread with sugar and honey. She treated Amanda like one of her 
own children. She would dress Amanda like the rest of her family in Quaker 
style clothing, and take her to their Presbyterian Church. As a result of Mrs. 
Green's nurturing and protection, Amanda was not exposed to some of the harsh 
realities of slavery. It also began her close attachment to white people and 
unbending stand on racial equality.^ 

During her early childhood years, her father purchased his freedom from 
slavery, and later purchased the freedom of his wife and children. At age 15, 
Amanda received her freedom.'' Her father earned the money for his family's 
freedom through hard and diligent work. His daytime hours were spent fulfilling 
his daily obligations to his mistress. Afterwards, he would harvest fields until 
the early hours of the morning.^ Since freedom was very important to her father, 
he allowed his family's home in Shrewsburg, Pennsylvania to be used as a 
hiding place for runaway slaves. None of the slaves that were hid in his home 
were ever captured and returned to their masters. 

Schooling was very difficult for Amanda to obtain. When she was 
eight years old, she and her brother attended a Methodist school for black 

*Vivian L. Hairston (M.A.C.M., ATS), is a mathematics teacher at the DePaul Center for 
Young Mothers in Cleveland, OH. 


Amanda Berry Smith 

children. However, the school was closed within six weeks because the teachers 
moved out of town. Five years later, she and her older brother attempted to 
attend school again. It was not a special school for black children. Everyday she 
and her brother walked ten miles roundtrip to school. Upon arriving at school, 
they had no assurance that they would receive instruction because they had to 
wait and see if the teacher had the time to teach them. As a result of their long 
walks to school during the harsh winter, and the unwelcome reception from the 
teacher, Amanda and her brother dropped out of this school after two weeks. 

Her Employment 

Since Amanda was unable to attend school, she left home at the age of 
thirteen to enter the workforce. Her first job was a live-in maid for the Latimer 
family in Strausburg, Pennsylvania.'' Her duties included cleaning, washing and 
ironing, babysitting, and cooking. She continued in this line of work after she 
had married and started her family. After she and husband moved to Greenwich 
Village, New York in 1866, she took in laundry, and occasionally cleaned the 
houses of wealthy people to support her family.^ 

In 1871, she gave up her career as a washerwoman, and became the 
first female black evangelist. The next forty four years of her life she traveled 
around the United States and to other countries in the world, giving her personal 
testimony, and witnessing through song and the preached word to both white 
and black congregations.^ 

Her Marriages 

Amanda had two bad marriages. At age seventeen, she married Calvin 
Devine; they resided in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and had two children. 
Their second child, Mazie, was the only one of their two children who survived. 
Her first husband, Calvin, caused her much mental anguish because he allowed 
alcohol to control him. He enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War and 
never returned home after the war.'*' 

Amanda met James Smith, her second husband, in the early 1860's. He 
was both a deacon and preacher at their local church. He was more than twenty 
years older than her. They were married in the mid 1860's and moved to New 
York City. During this marriage, she gave birth to three more children, who all 
died during their infancy. For the majority of their marriage, she and her 
husband lived in separate dwellings. She either lived at her place of employment 
or in an apartment. He lived at his place of employment and used his earnings to 
pay his Masonic lodge dues and to keep up with New York black elite society. 
This marriage ended in 1 869 when James Smith died of stomach cancer. 

Both of these marriages caused Amanda to suffer. She had to work long 
hard hours and even starved herself so that her family would have food and 
shelter. All of her children from both the marriages died except one. Living in 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

damp rooms was stated as the probable cause of their deaths. These hardships 
did not discourage Amanda, but drove her closer to the Lord.'" 

Her Spiritual Encounters with God 

When Amanda left home at the age of thirteen to enter the workforce, 
she lived in a white neighborhood. Thus, she was the only black person who 
attended her church. In her endeavors to find peace with God, she joined this 
church. However, the instructor over the new members class refused to teach her 
until all the white new members had been taught. Since she had to wait, it made 
her late serving dinner to her employer. Consequently, she had to quit the class 
in order to keep her job. As a result, her fonnal spiritual growth was put on 

During her first marriage, she really was not concerned about spiritual 
matters until she nearly died due to an illness in 1855. Her father visited her 
sickbed and told her to pray.''* She prayed and fell asleep. While asleep, she 
dreamed that she was preaching at a camp meeting. After she recovered from 
her illness, she believed that God had spared her life for a purpose.'^ One night 
during the revival services at a local Baptist Church, she felt the urge to go to 
the altar. While praying, "O, Lord, save me," she shouted out at the top of her 
voice. God responded to her by overwhelming her with a stillness that she could 
not comprehend, because she did not know how to exercise her faith. Since she 
did not understand what had occurred, she continued in her search for peace 
with God. '^ 

In 1856, she had her conversion experience in the basement of a 
Quaker home where she was working. For two months, she had been praying, 
fasting and longing for her personal conversion experience. Then, on March 
I?"', 1856, she went into the cellar of the home and asked God to convert her or 
take her life that afternoon. She remained on her knees prepared to die, if God 
did not convert her. In the exact moment that she confessed her belief in Him, 
she was converted. She cried out, "Hallelujah, I have gotten religion," when she 
saw herself glowing with radiance in the mirror and experienced a wonderful 
change within.'^ 

Even though she had experienced instantaneous salvation in the 
basement of the Quaker home, she longed for the "second blessing," that is 
purity of heart (sanctification) through the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, 
she continued in fasting and prayer. In 1867, she received her blessing of purity 
of heart. She was at the Green Street Methodist Episcopal Church in New York. 
John Inskip, the Methodist holiness leader, was preaching a sermon on 
sanctification.'^ He explained that a believer receives a pure heart by faith, and 
that God will keep all believers in a state of holiness. Amanda believed Inskip's 
words, exercised her faith immediately and received the blessing of a pure heart. 
The blessing motivated and enabled her to witness others.'^ 


Amanda Berry Smith 

Her Ministry 

When Amanda left Green Street Methodist Episcopal church after 
receiving her sanctification, she was overcome with joy. On her way home, she 
stopped to tell all her acquaintances along the street that her soul had been 
sanctified by the Lord. She felt that she was prepared to tell the world of the 
sanctifying power of God. As she testified of her experience to her friends and 
neighbors, she urged them to seek purity of heart with God. She also began 
sharing her experience and promoting sanctification at many of the local 
churches in her community."" 

Sharing her testimony with friends, neighbors and other churches was 
not enough for Amanda; she sought a deeper understanding. She began 
attending the weekly meetings of Phoebe Palmer to learn more about the 
doctrine of sanctification. As she became more committed to sanctification, she 
became more alienated from the members of her own African Methodist 
Episcopal (AME) denomination, and her husband too. It caused her to change 
her dress to Quaker style to distinguish herself from worldliness and to 
demonstrate her piety and commitment to God."' In this attire, she continued to 
testify about holiness and to pass out tracts on street comers. Thus, Amanda 
took a bold stand for holiness."" 

1869 was a turning point in Amanda's ministry. The winter leading up 
to this year, her last son who was a small infant, contracted bronchitis. He died 
in June of 1869, and her husband failed to help her with the burial costs or 
attend their son's funeral. The latter part of that same year her husband died of 
stomach cancer. After both of their deaths, Amanda left her daughter Mazie, the 
only one of her children who survived into adulthood, in the care of friends 
while she pursued her spiritual vocation."^ 

Amanda did not have the correct credentials to pursue her spiritual 
vocation as an evangelist because she was a freed slave and second class citizen, 
a washerwoman, a common servant and an uneducated woman. However, she 
overcame all these obstacles and became a dynamic spokeswoman of God's 
amazing grace." AME and Protestant Churches allowed her to speak on the 
doctrine of holiness. In her message to others, Amanda stressed holiness and the 
purity of heart with God. Her many ministries to others included the Women's 
Temperance Movement leader and spokeswoman, a missionary to foreign 
countries, and an orphan home founder and administrator. 

Camp Meeting Evangelist 

Camp meetings are a series of daily church services held at various 
locations. They became a hallmark of the Methodist movement after the first 
Great Awakening in 1800. During the 1870's, the meetings lasted for 10 days 
with church services continuing into the night. John Inskip was the leader of the 
organization. The National Association for the Promotion of Holiness, which 
sponsored the camp meetings. Amanda attended her first camp meeting in 1870. 

Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

At this meeting, she gave such a powerful testimony on her sanctification that it 
was written up in the daily paper. She continued giving her testimony to other 
audiences, making a lasting impression upon those who heard it."^ 

In 1873, Smith played a major role in the 16"^ National Holiness Camp 
Meeting at Landisville in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. At this meeting she 
led the prayer and testimonial services. She also led the separate services for 
colored worshippers. By 1874, Smith's popularity had spread to some 
influential, wealthy white people in New Jersey. They engaged her to speak at a 
Methodist holiness resort in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. She preached her 
messages during this engagement with such persuasive eloquence that it 
convicted the hearts of hundreds of people and gave them the desire for the 
purity of heart. In 1875, Smith was involved in three camp meetings. Two were 
ten day meetings for the promotion of holiness, and one was a two day meeting 
for the promotion of temperance. She always enjoyed and participated in camp 
meetings because they gave her a sense of spiritual renewal." Since her singing 
and preaching ability stirred the hearts of the people during camp meetings, she 
was given two nicknames, "The Singing Pilgrim" and "God's Image Craved in 

Temperance Movement 

During Smith's involvement in an 1875 revival in Philadelphia, Mary 
Coffin Johnson, the first national secretary of the Women's Temperance 
Movement, shared the podium with her. They began a relationship which 
enabled Smith to become successful in both the Temperance Movement and 
foreign missions. Amanda spoke from John 1 5 at a temperance camp meeting in 
August of 1875. Her message supported the temperance resolutions against 
alcohol sales and imports. She exhorted believers to trust God for everything, 
and to ask Him to make them holy. From this point forward, she began speaking 
at temperance meetings in both the Northeast and Midwest states."^ 

The leaders of the Temperance Movement wanted Amanda to sail to 
Liverpool, England in 1878 to participate in the Keswick Convention. She was 
afraid to sail, but she prayed and God gave her the courage to take the voyage. It 
had been exactly ten years since she had proclaimed that she wanted to testify to 
everyone around the world about the sanctifying power of God."^ She presented 
her message to the English and became a popular speaker at Temperance 
meetings and revivals throughout England and Scotland. 

Foreign Missions 

Amanda's plunge into foreign missions was just like the initiation of all 
her other ministries. It was an opportunity that was dropped into her lap by 
William Osbom, founder of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting. He invited 
Amanda to join him on a missionary trip to India. She was reluctant about going 
to India. She prayed about it and God showed her that it was His will for her to 


Amanda Berry Smith 

go. Amanda had no funds to pay for her voyage, but a Boston lady, who was 
going to India too, raised the money to pay for Amanda's voyage. She landed at 
Bombay, India, but she traveled to Calcutta, where thousands of Indians came to 
hear her preach. Osbom was impressed with her impact on the crowd because 
many Indians, who had refused to enter a Methodist Chapel, came to hear her 
preach. She conducted revivals in the major cities of India. Along with her 
smashing success. Smith also faced opposition in India, because many Indians 
believed that it was a dreadful thing for a woman to proclaim the gospel.^*' 

At the conclusion of Amanda's mission in India, she was led to visit 
West Africa before returning home to the United States. However, she did not 
have the money to finance a trip to Africa. Thus, she returned to London, 
England. While in London, her English supporters raised her fare to travel to 
Africa. Her visit to Africa lasted over eight years. During these years, Amanda 
had many accomplishments. She established many chapters of her Band of Hope 
Temperance Society which saved many from a drunkard's grave. ' She 
conducted revivals, visited and ministered to the sick and needy, and assisted 
with the establishment of schools and missions. In the midst of all these 
ministries, she suffered with several bouts of malaria. She also adopted two 
orphaned African children. Their names were Frances and Bob. At the end of 
1 889, she left Africa for England with her adopted son. Bob. She had no choice, 
but to leave her sickly daughter, Frances, in the care of friends. "" 

Orphan Home Founder/Administrator 

During the latter part of 1892, Smith changed the focus of her ministry. 
She decided to channel her energies into institution building by establishing an 
orphan home for destitute colored children. ' In 1895, she began this effort by 
purchasing two lots and a building in Harvey, Illinois through taking a three year 
bank loan. The Amanda Smith Industrial Orphan Home officially opened on 
June 28, 1899 with one building, and an endowment of $288.00 and five 
orphans. Her goals for the home were to provide housing for destitute colored 
children, offering them care, education, and industrial training. Her home was 
not subsidized by the local child welfare authorities, yet they would often refer 
colored children to the home for help. 

Keeping the home open was both a struggle and a strain for Smith. She 
found herself constantly struggling to pay the bills and to maintain competent 
help. She strained her health by overloading herself with numerous speaking 
engagements in order to raise funds to pay the bills. In spite of all obstacles 
faced by the home, it did manage to thrive until 1905. During that year, the 
financial situation of the home had deteriorated to the brink of financial 
collapse. In 1906, Amanda signed the home over to a group of local trustees 
comprised of local business and religious leaders. They were unable to raise the 
funds required to revitalize the home. It continued to operate, constantly 
bombarded by debt and neglect. In March 1918, a tragic fire at the home 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

destroyed the living quarters and killed two girls, resulting in the closing of the 

Her Motivation 

Amanda Berry Smith spent more than forty years of her life preaching, 
singing, and testifying to others about the sanctifying power of God. She had 
long days and short nights. She would get up at about 6:00A.M. each morning 
and would not retire until midnight. Before she became a popular evangelist, her 
mode of transportation to camp meeting and revivals was walking. Many days, 
she walked over 10 miles in all types of weather to carry God's message to 
others. She was not a rich woman with houses and land. She was never fortunate 
enough to find herself a good husband to provide for her financial needs. Yet, in 
spite of these obstacles, Amanda continued to thrive. How did she manage to 
continue her mission and many ministries in spite of so many obstacles? The 
next few paragraphs will discuss her motivational forces and how they enabled 
her to fulfill her mission and ministries. 


Amanda's Father in heaven above was her chief motivator. Without His 
blessing and assurance, Amanda did not attempt to do anything. In 1870, she 
was invited to conduct a Methodist revival in New Jersey. She refused to 
proceed with the request until she received confirmation from God."*^ She 
testified to others that God had made her aware that she had been ordained by 
Him as one of His chosen ones to carry the gospel message^^. When she was 
afraid to sail to England with the Temperance Movement, she relied on God to 
ease her fears and to give her courage.^^ 


Ever since she received the blessing of purity of heart in 1 867, she was 
motivated by personal holiness. She studied the holiness doctrine under Phoebe 
Palmer and her husband. This led her to join the Holiness Movement. She gave 
her personal testimony about the sanctifying power of God to others at churches, 
camp meetings and revivals all around the world. She wanted everyone in the 
world to experience the personal joy that she had received when God sanctified 
her heart. Her desire for holiness caused her to make a bold stand against the 
evils of alcohol as a spokeswoman for the Temperance Movement. Before her 
last husband died, she withdrew her involvement from the female auxiliary of 
his lodge, because she felt the organization's activities were unholy. Holiness 
was not just a message that Amanda preached and testified to others. It was her 
way of life.^' 


Amanda Berry Smith 

Evils of Segregation 

Even though Amanda was sheltered as a very small child from many of 
the cruelties of discrimination, she did encounter it as she grew older. When she 
attempted to get an education, she had to wait until all the whites had been 
taught. When she needed a job, the only job available to her was domestic work. 
When she needed housing, she was limited to the black ghetto sections of town. 
When she needed welfare assistance for herself, as a young mother, and for her 
orphan children, as an institution director, she was denied because of race. When 
she attempted to serve the Lord at local churches and religious gatherings, she 
encountered special sections, restrictions, and services for blacks only. 

None of the aforementioned evils of segregation destroyed her will. In 
1873 she gave her testimony at the annual camp meeting. She told the 
congregation that since the Lord had sanctified her, she no longer wanted to be 
white, but was happy that God had made her as she was. She emphasized that 
she had no bitterness towards whites, but she loved them and wanted them to be 
saved."*^ This public statement about her love for whites was not something new 
for Amanda. Since she had spent so much time with whites as a child, and had 
been genuinely touched by their love and kindness, she sought to eliminate 
racial barriers through expressing the love of God in song and testimony. As a 
result, she had many influential white friends who supported her in her 
ministries and missionary efforts. ' 

She also loved her own people and did not want them to experience the 
pains of a segregated society. This was one of the stimuli which motivated her to 
establish an orphan home for colored children. Her love for her own people is 
also exemplified through her extended missionary trip to Liberia, where she 
traveled all over the country, freely extending her helping hands to all classes: 
civilized. Christians, and native worshippers. She received a warm reception in 
many places that had rejected whites."*" During her eight years in Africa, she had 
many opportunities to return home, but she often found herself delaying her 
departure in order to complete another humanitarian project."^^ 

Thus, Amanda freely gave her unselfish love for all races as she served 
the Lord. She spoke in white churches as well as black. Her message of holiness 
was the same to all. Her life demonstrated that holiness is colorblind. God used 
her life to tear down racial barriers and exhibit the power of His love. 

Needs of Her People 

While recuperating at a local sanitarium in England in 1894 from 
exhaustion, Amanda Smith had an eye-opening experience. She received such 
good care at the sanitarium that it greatly affected her. In a letter to a friend, she 
praised the facility and expressed that she would not have received the same 
care, as a black woman, in the United States. Her friend sent the letter to a local 
newspaper that published it. This caused Amanda's name to be highlighted in a 
religious controversy. She was accused of lacking faith, and relying on the 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

hospital instead of prayer. In spite of the negativity, Smith never retracted her 
praise of the sanitarium. Between this controversy and her extended stay in 
Liberia, Amanda was motivated to change the focus of her ministry from 
evangelism to building an institution that would protect and educate destitute 
colored children. She wanted them to have a place to live and to have access to 
the educational opportunities that she was denied as a child. 

Her Ministry Techniques 

Amanda had one basic technique that she used as she commenced all 
her ministries. It was quite simple. She sought, acknowledged and trusted God 
(Proverbs 3:5 - 6). Before she would begin any ministry endeavor, she would 
ask the Lord for divine guidance. She would remain prayerful until the Lord 
gave her the confirmation and the financial means to proceed. When she arrived 
at the places to which the Lord had directed her, she did not exalt herself. She 
would take a back seat, and wait until she was asked to testify, lead, speak or 
sing."*^ Despite this humble and submissive technique, Amanda still faced the 
barriers against her race and women in ministry."*^ God removed all the barriers 
that prevented her from doing His will.'*'' 

Evangelism and orphan home founder and director are the two major 
ministries that Amanda fulfilled during her productive life. For each of these 
ministries, she used not only her basic technique, but others as well to 
accomplish her mission. 

Evangelism of the Common People 

As a revival speaker and worship service leader, Amanda was forceful, 
but drew the worshippers together and enabled them to experience the power of 
God. She would walk up and down the aisles among those who were kneeling 
and seeking salvation to show them the simple way to be saved by faith."*^ When 
she took the podium, she spiritually blessed the congregation with her melodious 
voice. When she preached on a passage from the Bible, she would break it down 
into common terms, easily understood by all. As she ministered in the church, 
she made the people fall in love with sanctification. At the conclusion of her 
messages, she would make an appeal for personal holiness, stressing that faith is 
required to obtain purity with God."*^ 

Faith, Sacrifice and Hard Worlc 

Continuous and diligent work was the method that Amanda used to 
establish her home for colored children. She worked without ceasing until she 
was able to open her home in 1899. Her challenge was to raise enough money to 
pay the mortgage on the buildings that she had purchased in 1895. To 
accomplish her goal in a three year time frame, she published and sold a 
monthly newsletter entitled The Helper. She used the proceeds from her 
autobiography, which was written while she was in the home of friends in New 


Amanda Berry Smith 

Jersey and published in 1893."^^' Donations that she received from singing and 
speaking at camp meetings, revivals, and church speaking engagements were all 
deposited into her savings account for the home. She also sold a photograph of 
herself for twenty five cents."''' All of the aforementioned activities were done on 
a rigorous full time schedule all over the United States to raise money to open 
and maintain the operation of her home. 

Lasting Impact of Amanda Berry Smith 

"A picture is worth a thousand words" is an old saying that can be used 
to describe the impact of the life of Amanda Berry Smith. Her life's portrait has 
been painted by the itiformation written in her autobiography, biography and 
other sources. All this information provides a lasting picture of Amanda's life 
and legacy. This picture is framed with her devotion to God, drawn by her 
dependence upon God, and colored by her unselfish service to others. 

Amanda's devotion to God has shown what God can do through those 
who are fully committed to Him. She was not merely satisfied with just 
accepting Jesus as Her personal Savior. She wanted purity with God. She did not 
want anything to come between her and God. She did not make a move without 
asking God for His guidance and blessing, because she always wanted to be in 
the will of God. Her devotion to God exemplifies that she loved God with all her 
heart and permitted nothing to penetrate the framework of her love. 

Her total dependence upon God revealed her steadfast faith in Him. She 
did not have possessions or any hope for her future, except God. She asked God 
for everything that she needed, and waited patiently for Him to provide. He did 
not always immediately answer Amanda's prayer requests, so she trusted Him 
and waited until His appointed time. He always provided her exactly what she 
needed and she gave Him the Glory for His goodness to her. Her total 
dependence upon Him demonstrates that her life's portrait is drawn by the 
power and will of God. 

Amanda spent over forty years of her life edifying others. When she 
became sanctified, she wanted others to experience personal holiness, so she 
testified of her personal sanctification as often as she could. She visited the sick 
and the unevangelized to pray and to comfort them with words of 
encouragement as often as she could. She spoke to many groups within the 
United States and other countries in the world about the evils of alcohol. She 
worked diligently for eight years in Africa to improve the living and spiritual 
conditions for the people she encountered. She spent the senior years of her life 
establishing a home for destitute colored children. Her dedication and unselfish 
service to and for others has demonstrated how the children of God can color 
this dim and dark world with His light of love and kindness. 

Just thinking about the picture that Amanda has left in my mind has 
caused me to evaluate my life and ministry. If I could take on Amanda's heart 
for holiness, I would stop my complaining about what is not right with my 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

ministry and spread God's message to everyone I encounter. If I used the 
spiritual gifts that God has given me to build my ministry, it would multiply like 
the two fish and five loaves of bread. If I stopped allowing every little set back 
to distract me, and continued in faith to do God's will, I would reap the 
bountiful blessing of obedience like Amanda did. If I would channel my 
dissatisfactions with today's society into projects which would improve the 
quality of life for mankind, what a wonderful imprint I would leave on this 
world. In order to make all my "if statements true realities, I must walk in the 
footsteps of Jesus Christ, seeking holiness and purity of heart like Amanda did, 
moving ahead in faith and obedience at God's command, and sacrificing my 
will for His. 

Thus, the life of Amanda Berry Smith has inspired me to serve God 
with all my heart and trust Him for everything. I am certain that her life will also 
impact others too.. 


Amanda Berry Smith The Singing Pilgrim Available online from 1 / 1 00 ASmith.htm. 

" Amanda Smith, The Story of the Lord's Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith the 
Colored Evangelist: An Autobiography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 23- 

Adrienne Israel, Amanda Berty Smith: From Washer-woman to Evangelist: A 
Biography (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press Inc, 1 998), 1 1 . 
Amanda Berry Smith The Singing Pilgrim. 
^ Smith, 18-19. 
^Israel, 19-20. 
^ Smith, 27. 

"Israel, 29-41. " ' 
' Ibid., 49-56. 
Ibid., 19-22. 
Ibid., 23-51. 

"A Hunger for Holiness: The Anguish and Joy of Amanda Smith," Christian 
History Institute, Issue #136 Available online at . 
'-'Israel, 19. 
'^ Ibid., 20. 
'^ Smith, 42-43. 
'^ Israel, 20. 
'^ Ibid., 20. 
'^ Smith, 73-77. 
'^ Israel, 42-43. 
'" Ibid., 49-50. 

"' Pamela E. Klassen, "The Robes of Womanhood: Dress and Authenticity 
among African American Methodist Women in the Nineteenth Century," Religion and 
American Culture: A Journal oflnter'pretation. Volume 14, No. 1, (2004). 
^- Israel, 49-50. 


Amanda Berry Smith 

^^ Ibid., 50-51. 
Sandra J. Higgins, Amanda Smith's Amazing Grace, "Holiness Digest," 
(Fall, 1999) Available online at 
-^Israel, 51-52. 
-^ Ibid., 53-62. 

Amanda Beriy Smith The Singing Pilgrim 
-^ Israel, 59-62.' -^^ 

^^ Ibid., 59-64. ■■ 

^° Ibid., 70-73. 
^' Smith, 472-475. 

Israel, 74-86. 


" Ibid., 105. 

David C. Bartlett and Larry A. McClellan, "The Final Ministry of Amanda 
Berry Smith," Illinois Heritage, Volume I, No. 2, (1998): 20-25. Available online at 
"Israel, 127-147. 

^^ Ibid., 52-53. 
"ibid., 55. 


^^ Ibid., 64. 

Ibid., 49-51. 
^^ Ibid., 55-56. 
^Mbid., 51-59. 
^^ Smith, 467. 
^^ Ibid., 461-464. 
^Israel, 103-104. 
^^ Smith, 206-207. 
^^ Ibid.,, 277-282. 
^^ Ibid., 436-442. 
^^ Israel, 57. 
^'^ Ibid., 96-99. 
^° Bartlett and McClellan. 
" Israel, 109-123. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

10 Commandments Of Pastoral Leadership: A Theological Study Of 
Pastoral Leadership In The Brethren Church (Ashland, Ohio) 

by Roy A. Andrews 


Writing a theology requires a framework. To build confidence in the 
framework, the theologian must reveal the foundational assumptions basic to 
such construction. Thus, the brick and mortar of this paper is built with a two- 
step logical progression. First, a sound theology must be based upon Scripture. 
After all a study of God should be founded upon his Word. Secondly, the human 
side of Scriptural interpretation brings discovery and discussion to the 
theological process. This is, of course, from where all the various theologies 

The human process of dealing with the divine can be seen in terms of 
the following analogy. There are three streams that feed a biblical theology, each 
of which can be posed as a question. The answers then ultimately fill the 
"theological pool" from which the adherents to the theological tradition drink. 
First, what are the current official documents of the church? This is sometimes 
referred to as the dogma.' Second, what are the writings of thinkers in the past 
who have commented upon the theological understandings of their time? These 
are historical in nature and help provide a basis for understanding how the 
dogma was developed. Third, what are the writings of contemporary theological 
thinkers? This gives a current contextual flavor to the dogma that helps today's 
followers understand and hopefully adhere to such tenets of the faith. 

Before examining each of these feeder streams for pastoral leadership 
specifically, some explanation is necessary regarding the Brethren theological 
process in general. The Brethren Church finds its identity among the 
classification of churches known as "free churches" or "believers churches." 
These have an historical aversion to systematized thinking. This is true for their 
understanding of God, the Bible, church government, etc."* The Free Church 
emphasis is upon "right living" not on "right thinking," the assumption being 
that the true measure of spiritual maturity lies in action, not in thought or 
rhetoric. In short, a person living rightly certainly must think correctly. Why talk 
about it or write it out?^ 

This mindset results in devotional writing more than theological 
documentation.^ Thus, the Brethren Church, as a part of this Free Church 
tradition, has little overt theology in any of the three streams mentioned above. 
Of the theology that has been espoused in its 300-year history, the vast majority 
is dedicated to the ordinances of baptism and communion.'' To find any theology 
even remotely related to pastoral leadership, the researcher must examine the 

* Roy Andrews (M.A., ATS) is pastor of Elkhart First Brethren Church, Napanee, IN, 
and a Ph.D. student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. 


1 Commandments of Pastoral Leadership 

writings on the body life of the church. Though not explicitly addressed 
theologically, there are some clues as to the Brethren views on pastoral 
leadership and the biblical texts that inform them. 

Undeniably, there will be some overlap between the theological 
concepts delineated below. However, for ease of study and discussion, what 
follows will be presented as the "10 Theological Commandments of Pastoral 
Leadership." Much like the 10 Commandments of the Old Testament, these 
theological concepts will be presented in both the positive and negative forms 
depending upon the concept presented. There will be Scriptural sources and, 
where available, evidences for each commandment from the three streams 
mentioned earlier. 

Commandment #1: Thou shalt not be the holy one 

Leading as a pastor in the Brethren Church requires a foundational 
understanding of the Brethren view of the church. A key starting point for 
comprehension emerges from 1 Peter 2:9-10. The Protestant Reformation's 
injunction that the church is "the priesthood of all believers" was crucial in the 
development of a denominational mission statement a little over a decade ago. 
The opening words of this statement read, "The Brethren Church is a priesthood 
of believers...." The General Conference Moderator at the time explained, "It 
stresses each Brethren person's role as a priest for the church."^ 

Interestingly, when a pastor reared in another tradition assumed the 
pastorate in a Brethren church during the late 1970's and wrote in the 
denominational magazine of his ideas of differing levels of belonging in the 
church,^ the reaction was alarm. Later editorials ranged from lengthy reasoned 
biblical responses to the simply put, "Where is any equality of believers? We are 
all priests. "'° Of course the Brethren humbly realize their priesthood was made 
possible by Jesus, the High Priest's, atoning death which rent the temple curtain 
allowing free access to the Holy by all." 

The implications of this theological point for pastoral leadership are 
two-fold. First, the pastor is called to ministerial service by the local church; 
thus, there is a sense that though the role is now different, the essence is still the 
same. Though the pastor will perform what may be considered "priestly" duties, 
there is the very humbling yet helpful reality that God can and will use any 
number of his "priests" within the church to accomplish his task. In short, the 
pastor will handle the holy things of the church, but this does not make the 
pastor the holy one. 

Second, to further this point, the Brethren view of pastoral ordination, 
unlike that of many denominations, is functional in nature rather than positional. 
Thus, all authority and responsibility are tied to the task of pastoring, not to the 
pastor personally.'" 

The upside of these points for the pastor is confidence in delegating 
tasks to capable lay people in order to create a truly shared ministry in the 
church. The downside can be seen when there is little respect given by church 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

members to the pastor. Much like Jesus' situation in Nazareth, "Only in his 
hometown ... is a prophet without honor," '^ the Brethren pastor can become 
ineffective simply due to the contempt for leadership by the church membership. 

Commandinent #2: Thou shalt not seek to be the head of the body 

A second aspect of the Brethren view of the church is found in the 
biblical metaphor "the body of Chrisf cited in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. This is 
an extension of the priesthood concept in that it recognizes an equality of 
belonging for all in the church. However, it differs, in that the body analogy 
recognizes unique parts/roles for each individual. Thus, by focusing on Paul's 
body parallel, the church membership can find individuality confirmed in the 
gifts of the Spirit while seeing commonality displayed in the fruit of the Spirit.'"^ 
Keeping the aforementioned in mind though, does not obfuscate the real focus 
of this commandment — not on the body, but rather the Head — which is Christ! 

The significance of this theological point for pastoral leadership can be 
found in both the body and the Head. The latter point makes it clear that there is 
only one true Leader in the church. And because all members of the body have 
access to the Head, there is no need for an intermediary. This point in and of 
itself provides freedom for the pastor, and ultimately for all involved. Yet, taken 
to an ugly extreme, there can be a rejection of any human leadership in the 

A helpful distinction concerning this issue can be found in the 
following thoughts on relationships in church government, "since all are on 
equal standing before Christ, Congregationalism recognizes no absolute 
authority in the church except Christ's."'"^ The key word, of course, is 
"absolute." Just as it is reasonable to see Christ as the only absolute authority, so 
it is to recognize the need for some level of human authority that is not of an 
absolute nature. 

As for pastoring the body, there is an unexplainable mixture of joy and 
fear in providing leadership to a lively, dynamic group of unique individuals.' 
This entails a unique approach to church polity. The foremost Brethren writer on 
this topic, Jack Oxenrider, relates this connection thus: 

Because this principle of the body of Christ was and is 
paramount to the Brethren idea of the church, the 
organizational principles which the Brethren Church employs 
must reflect the essential qualities of the body imagery. Those 
qualities are coordination, cooperation, interdependence, 
shared responsibility, mutual accountability, interdependent 
relationships, and the inclusion of every individual member 
into the comprehensive whole. '^ 

The next commandment will complete this point. 


10 Commandments of Pastoral Leadership 

Commandment #3: Thou Shalt Believe The Best About The Church 

The final commandment that focuses on the nature of the church in 
Brethrenism is the high view of church membership.'^ The early church 
examples of Acts 1 and Acts 6 are readily cited as the model for congregational 
government. The choosing of Judas' replacement and the choosing of the seven 
for a ministry of service are seen by the Brethren as an apostolic example of 
total community involvement in the governing process. 

Three Brethren writers revealed key concepts of how this high view of 
church membership informs healthy Congregationalism. Oxenrider begins with 
the theological concept of redeemed humanity and its link to church 
government. He states, "The very concepts of mutual responsibility, voluntary 
accountability, and the practice of shared leadership are predicated on a view 
that regenerate people are capable of accepting responsibility, being 
accountable, and fulfilling leadership roles. "'^ 

An old school contribution on this issue is presented by Smith Rose 
who when describing the rationale for Brethren polity describes an idyllic 
church membership. Rose writes. 

Brethren Church government has been congregational as this 
was believed to be apostolic. This assumed that each member 
of the congregation would through an awareness of God's will 
through His written word, through prayerful communication 
with Him, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit make the 
decisions that were pleasing to God.^° 

Current day historian/theologian Dale Stoffer cites the sobering duty 
such an eclectic church government with a high view of its members, places 
upon the Brethren. Stoffer relates the expectancy of the early Brethren that still 
persists to this day, "Such a process for discerning truth places a great deal of 
responsibility upon the entire body — for knowing the content of the faith, for 
critiquing current forms of Christianity, for individually and corporately being 
open to the Spirit's direction.""' 

The practical import for the Brethren pastor related to this 
commandment is simple to state and yet difficult to counteract. If indeed, a 
pastor is able to pastor such a mature group of disciples, then believing the best 
about the church will be easy. However, if such expectations of the church 
membership are unrealistic, then true pastoral leadership becomes virtually 

Commandment #4: Thou shalt be inclusive in decision making 

Consideration of the first three commandments will help the Brethren 
pastor appreciate the necessity of inclusivity in the decision making processes in 
the church. As was mentioned above, the narrative accounts of Acts 1 and 6 
form a normative approach to making decisions in today's Brethren Church. 
Because the Brethren see themselves as priests who are members of the body of 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Christ, with each member being an invaluable contributor to the democratic 
process, there is a dangerous propensity toward "radical Congregationalism." 
Stoffer discusses this extremism as follows: 
I find that some churches seem to feel congregational 
government means that the entire congregation must be 
involved in making every decision, not only the major ones 
regarding selection of pastor and building of facilities, but also 
the lesser ones of what color to paint the nursery and what 
Sunday school curriculum to use. Such radical 
Congregationalism becomes unworkable in any but the 
smallest congregation. (Even here it is poor stewardship of 

This thinking is reflected not only in the practical experiences of pastors, it is 
also a part of the Brethren mindset recorded in their official documents. At times 
it is even forcefully expressed as exhibited in this example from the Manual oj 
Pastoral and Congregational Procedures, "The New Testament church, our 
divine model, is a very democratic organization. The will of the majority, 
honestly expressed, is its law" (italics mine).^^ 

Commandment #5: Thou shalt not rush decisions 

This commandment is closely related to the first four, yet provides an 
important nuance for the Brethren pastor to consider. In the political world it is 
true that on a voting issue the majority wins; however, in the church there is the 
fear of disenfranchisement for the minority who "loses." Thus, maintaining a 
cohesive fellowship leads the Brethren Church to trade clear-cut 
majority /minority democratic processes for the more palatable consensus 

Unfortunately, the strength of guarding church unity is at times offset 
by the impotence of delays when timeliness is essential. Again, much like the 
potential errors of extremism mentioned in radical Congregationalism, so it is 
with the necessity of consensus building on even the smallest of issues. 
Oxenrider distinguishes issues of "policy and purpose" as those that are worthy 
of seeking a consensus on "God's will for the congregation at that time and 

The wise Brethren pastor will seek balance in dealing with 
commandments four and five. For the few decisions of great importance, 
leadership must seek large-scale input of the membership, and show patience in 
the often slow and difficult process of consensus building in the body. For all 
other decisions, pastoral leadership should be prayerful, purposeful, and timely. 
When speaking of decision making. Brethren scholars point out the need for 
pragmatism in the role of pastoral ministry,"" trust by the body extended to their 
pastors,^^ and recognition of respect for pastoral authority and responsibility in 
the church."'' 

10 Commandments of Pastoral Leadership 

Commandment #6: Thou shalt be accountable 

This commandment is important for all healthy relationships in the 
church; however, it is essential for pastors and others in positions of authority. 
The Brethren have cited Ephesians 5:21 as the basis for this theological tenet, 
with Paul counseling the church members in Ephesus to mutually submit one to 

Oxenrider wrote extensively in the early 1980's on the connection 
between accountability and church government. First he succinctly states, "The 
key to unity is voluntarily-shared responsibility and mutual accountability." 
Next, he reveals the intimidating nature in such relationships, "For people to 
agree to be accountable, they must be secure in themselves and in their 
relationships. People will not volunteer to be under obligation to a person or 
organization that they do not respect."^^ Finally, the genesis for such a healthy 
environment of respect is properly placed: 

In the local church accountability begins with the pastoral and 
congregational leadership. When those in leadership begin to 
act with love, trust, security, and respect, they develop an - 
atmosphere in which accountability can flourish.^° 

The expression of accountability for the Brethren pastor is best 
evidenced through modeling. Remembering the identity value of church 
membership as expressed in the preceding commandments and looking ahead to 
the concept of servant-leadership that will be discussed next, pastors must be 
willing to risk vulnerability and transparency in leadership. Accountability in the 
church depends on the respective roles of leaders and followers not obscuring 
the fact of equal standing before Christ. One nationally known Brethren leader 
stated it thus, "We are all sinners saved by grace, and the area beneath the cross 
is level ground. There are no 'greater' or 'lesser than' people in the Body of 

Commandment #7: Thou shalt be a servant-leader 

Although the topic of servant-leadership has gained increasing 
popularity in the past few years, it has been a hallmark of the Brethren from 
their inception. Stoffer writes of Brethren Church founder Alexander Mack that 
he "sought to serve his flock with a sensitive humble spirit. "^"^ The foremost 
Brethren theological thinkers of the 19'*' (Peter Nead) and 20''' (J. Allen Miller) 
centuries, concurred in their writings. Nead's thinking has been summarized as 
follows, "Ministers should remember that they are servants and not masters of 
the church." " Miller furthered this point by including all in leadership, "All 
officers are to remember that they are not the rulers but the servants of the 
church. "^'^ 

The official documents of the Brethren Church touch briefly on this 
subject as it relates to pastors today. After listing many responsibilities 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

associated with the office, A Manual of Procedure for The Brethren Church 
states one final area of pastoral duty, ". . .under the direction of the church, 
administer government and discipline. "^^ The very concept of leaders being 
placed "under" the church may appear counterintuitive to some, but for the 
Brethren this is the essence of servant-leadership. 

The words of Jesus himself form the biblical corpus for this concept of 
servant- leadership. In Luke's gospel, Jesus settles a power struggle between his 
disciples regarding "greatness" with this statement, "The greatest among you 
should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. "^^ 
The fact that this teaching occurred during the last supper, which in John 
includes the personal example of Christ assuming the role of a servant by 
washing his disciples' feet, has not been lost on the Brethren.^^ To this day they 
are among the few Christian groups who still practice this symbolic act of 
humble service as they celebrate Communion. 

Concerning the practical workings of this commandment in church 
polity, a former denominational executive addressed an interesting phenomenon 
in the following analysis: 

Understanding our sin nature, we sometimes fear that our 
leaders may take a controlling attitude rather than that of a 
servant. So we tend to grant responsibility and authority to 
groups of people — boards or committees or the congregation 
as a whole — rather than entrusting leadership to a few. The 
result is creation of bureaucracies — groups who encumber 
their decisions with the burden of regulations and limitations. 
At times such groups unconsciously discourage ministry rather 
than empowering and enabling it!^^ 

For the Brethren pastor an awareness of such a subtle nuance is invaluable to 
effective church leadership. A final helpful thought concerning servant- 
leadership comes from long-time Ashland Theological Seminary theology 
professor Jerry Flora, 

"Every one of us has a ministry, and no one should be called 
'the minister.' All of us are ministers, that is, servants. Some 
have been given the service of pastoring or shepherding, but 
shepherds don't give birth to sheep — sheep have sheep!" 

Commandment #8: Thou shalt not assume a position of authority 

In a similar vein, the Brethren have been averse to hierarchy and a 
wariness of those who seek positional authority. Mark 10:35-37 records the 
request of James and John to be placed in heavenly seats of distinction. Jesus' 
response in the following verses taught not only his two disciples then, but they 
also instruct the Brethren of today. Seeking positional authority and being 
Christlike are incongruous to the Brethren mind. 


10 Commandments of Pastoral Leadership 

Oxenrider's studies provided this assertion: "Brethren, because of their 
aversion to hierarchy, their commitment to the equality of community, and their 
functional view of the priesthood of all believers, have had little use for 
directive, autocratic structure in the overall organization of the Brethren 
Church." Speaking of organizational structures, an independent consultant 
hired by the Brethren Church to evaluate their financial and organizational 
health in the mid-1990's observed: 

In most organizations, there are formal lines of organization, 
with appropriate boxes and lines, which describe how 
decisions are made, who reports to whom, and generally who 
is in charge at any level. Often these same organizations have 
the informal structure, which is never put on paper. The 
informal organization is how the church actually operates."" 

The astute Brethren pastor will realize the natural suspicions affiliated with a 
leadership position, and will work through the many and varied informal 
structures to provide effective leadership. 

Commandment #9: Thou shalt equip the saints 

The Brethren pastor who sees the pastoral role as one of facilitating 
ministry will find widespread acceptance within the church. Ephesians 4:11-13 
provides the biblical evidence for such facilitation. Oxenrider posits in his 
ministry model for church organization, "It is the basic function of the persons 
in leadership — such as deacons, moderator, officers, and pastor — to serve as 
resource persons to the ministry groups and to the task-oriented sub-groups.""^" 
He follows this functional description with a relational emphasis, "Of all the 
resources a leader has at his disposal, the only resource that can follow is people. 
Thus the only resource which can be led is people.""*"^ How apropos for the spirit 
of this commandment to be one of balance in leadership. Having direction (task) 
and followers (relationship) is perhaps seen most clearly in "equipping the 

Commandment #10: Thou shalt be called 

Finally we end where we could have easily begun. In fact, adherence to 
the other nine commandments and neglect in this one will result in frustration 
and failure in the pastorate. For the Brethren, the call to pastoral ministry is a 
partnership between God and his church."^ Stoffer records this connection with 
the thinking of an early Brethren leader, "Nead contends that ministers, who 
have been entrusted with the preaching of the Word, derive their authority from 
Jesus Christ. Yet, this authority is never self-assumed, for the Lord uses the 
church to choose His ministers.""*^ 

The Manual of Pastoral and Congregational Procedures gives a 
lengthy description of the calling process. Three basic concepts emerge from 1 
Timothy: Number one, "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands. "**^ Number 

Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

two, "He must not be a recent convert."'*^ Number three, "They must first be 
tested.""*^ Though these passages sometimes refer to differing tasks or positions 
in the early church, they are all concerned with leadership."*^ A number of 
persons and groups work in conjunction with the Holy Spirit to confirm a 
pastor's calling. Clearly, of all leaders within the church, the Brethren pastor 
must be called! 

Concluding Reflections and Suggestions 

What has been presented thus far has been done with an understanding 
that this is a very abbreviated look at the theology of pastoral leadership in the 
Brethren Church. I readily admit a limited understanding of the history and 
theology of the Brethren. It is hoped, however, that this discussion will become 
a catalyst for further investigation by those who are more qualified to tackle the 
task with scholarly vigor. What follows is an attempt to open the dialogue for 
future study, not lend the final word. Hopefully, such a study will make a 
meaningful contribution to those about whom and for whom we write — the 
Brethren pastors. 

The first three commandments above dealing with the nature of the 
church as described in the Bible must be balanced by a sober appraisal of the 
church's actual current composition. Can the Brethren afford to continually 
subject their pastors to unrealistic leadership expectations based upon faulty 
conclusions about the true nature of the church? Rather than asking the Brethren 
to abandon the biblical picture of the church, I am instead suggesting that a more 
complete depiction be presented. The Brethren have always been guided by the 
truth of Scripture, yet how can they give credence to the realities of the church 
as it is, all the while striving for the ideal of what God's Word calls it to be? 
Only as the whole counsel of Scripture is sought can these inequities reach a 
balance. This can only be accomplished by acknowledging the fallen nature of 
our world and the frailty of humanity, while at the same time seeking the 
guidance of the Holy Spirit in the current cultural applications of biblical 

Commandments four and five, those dealing with decision-making, 
should be re-examined in light of today's society. The church cannot respond to 
the governing needs of the "now" by using yesterday's methods. Fully 
democratic processes and consensus seeking are values more indicative of the 
American infancy into which the Brethren of the I700's were thrust - a vastly 
different social structure than that of the early church presented in Scripture. 
Have the Brethren asked their pastoral leadership to submit to church traditions 
that are based more upon socio-historic standards than biblical ones?^° The 
Brethren should explore Scriptural texts dealing with autocracy and 
representative democracy in the decision making process. Perhaps today's words 
of "efficiency" and "effectiveness" are really in step with the biblical council of 
good stewardship. 


1 Commandments of Pastoral Leadership 

A more realistic theology of the church and a more balanced theology 
of church polity would have a profound effect on commandments six through 
ten presented earlier in this work.^' Briefly stated here are some possible 
ramifications of an unhealthy church. 

The accountability issues of commandment six are certainly valid 
portrayals for life together in community. For the Brethren pastor, however, 
being a transparent and vulnerable model carries great risk. An insecure and 
suspicious church body often rejects such pastoral modeling. This fact, 
combined with the potential excesses of radical Congregationalism, can result in 
pastoral submission ending in pastoral termination!" 

Likewise, the servant-leadership discussed in commandment seven is 
an important biblical injunction; however, the practical outworking of this 
concept can prove hazardous to the Brethren pastor. An unhealthy church body 
can refuse the leadership aspect and abuse the pastor's service. The "hired hand" 
or "chaplain" metaphors have been used to describe such Brethren pastorates. 
The result is oftentimes a disillusioned, burned-out pastor! 

Further, the eighth commandment imploring the Brethren pastor to 
avoid positional authority is biblically sound. Though the Brethren have 
unofficially spumed positional authority, they have officially dealt with the 
pastorate in a manner similar to other denominations that have embraced 
hierarchy. This mixed message of Brethrenism has often confused Brethren 
pastors and can contribute to unhealthy congregations."'"'* A schizophrenic church 
government damages both the sheep and the shepherd! 

Commandment nine finds its strength and foundation in Ephesians 
4:11-13, where equipping the saints is a hallmark of healthy church leadership. 
However, busyness, independence, and spiritual shallowness in the church's 
membership short-circuits pastoral attempts to enable and empower. Seeking to 
equip saints who are not faithful, available, or teachable can lead to great 
frustration for the Brethren pastor. The Brethren pastor may respond in extremes 
~ workaholism or sloth — neither of which is beneficial for the pastor or the 
church being served! 

Pastoral calling, as described in the tenth commandment, is a wonderful 
Scriptural example of the combination of the mystical (God calls) and the 
practical (the church confirms). Remembering that the pastoral candidate comes 
from the body and is affirmed by the body, God may remain an unseen and 
unheard entity in the process. Unfortunately, some pastors are hired to lead 
Brethren churches without the call of God to empower and guide! 

Finally, a few disclaimers are in order. First, what has been written 
describes possibilities that may be more representative of the few extreme cases 
than the general rule 

for Brethrenism. However, many of these possibilities have become realities and 
can easily spread to healthy bodies if left unchecked. 

Second, what has been described as Brethren issues are certainly not 
limited to this small strain of Christianity. Many Christian groups struggle with 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

similar issues. Yet, the Brethren cannot settle for a "misery loves company" 
attitude and a throwing up of our theological hands. 

Third, some of what has been presented as problematic have no 
foreseeable solutions, from my vantage point. Of course, that can be considered 
a hopeless statement; however, it is actually hope that causes me to write. 
Perhaps others, from their vantage point, can provide insights that when 
combined will lead to greater theological understanding and health. 


Millard Erickson, Christian Theology. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 
1983), 21-22. 

'The American Heritage Dictionary defines dogma as "Theology: A system of 
doctrines proclaimed true by a religious sect." 

John H. Yoder writes of this grouping of churches that it "differs from the 
other streams of evangelicalism... in that it has no one founder, no one classical place or 
generation of origins, no foundational corpus of normative writings, no primary 
institutional bearer of its theological identity, and no accredited body of teachers and 
writers whose way of working we could observe. See John H. Yoder, "Thinking 
Theologically From A Free-Church Perspective" in Doing Theology in Today 's World. 
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 251. 

See the preface of The Free Church & the Early Church, edited by D.H. 
Williams (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), vii-xiii. Williams gives a brief but thorough 
introduction to this aversion to theological thinking, some reasons for it, and some 
preliminary rebuttal to such thought. 

^Barry L. Callen, Radical Christianity. (Nappanee, IN: Evangel Publishing 
House, 1999), 83. 

Dale R. Stoffer, Background and Development of Brethren Doctrines 1650- 
1987. (Philadelphia: Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc., 1989), 2. 

Jack L. Oxenrider, "What Do Brethren Believe About the Church?," The 
Brethren Evangelist, June 1982: 6. 

^Kenneth Sullivan, "Setting Direction for The Brethren Church," The Brethren 
Evangelist, May 1990: 6. 

^Stephen Swihart, "Biblical Leadership in the Church," The Brethren 
Evangelist, May 1978:9. 

'"Letters to the Editor, The Brethren Evangelist, October 1978: 20. 

"See Gospel accounts in Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45 for 
references to the Temple curtain tearing during Christ's time on the cross. See the book 
of Hebrews for multiple references to Jesus as our "high priest." 

'■^See The Brethren Church_Manual of Pastoral and Congregational 
Procedures, 16. 

'^Mark 6:4, NIV. 

'"^Roy A. Andrews, "Spiritual Gifts Coordination: Integrating Spiritual Gifts 
Into A Biblical Model Of Administration/Leadership" (Masters Thesis, Ashland 
Theological Seminary, 1993), 17-21. 

'^John T. Byler, "What On Earth Is Church Polity?," The Brethren Evangelist, 
June 28, 1975: 13. 


10 Commandments of Pastoral Leadership 

See The Brethren Church Manual of Commissioning, Licensing, and 
Ordination Procedures, 64. J. Allen Miller, noted Brethren leader from the early 1900's 
writes of this phenomenon in his article "The Origin and Spirit of the Brethren People," 
He states, "In seeking to characterize what I like to call the spirit and the genius of 
Brethrenism I always find myself at a loss for words. In the first place this is true because 
it is a LIFE that I am trying to depict. And what makes this all the more difficult at least 
for me is the fact that it is not the life of a particular man or woman but the life of a 
community that I am trying to describe. Yes, it is a life. To appreciate it one must really 
enter into it." 

'^Jack L. Oxenrider, "What Do Brethren Believe About the Church?," The 
Brethren Evangelist, June 1982: 7. 

' Jack L. Oxenrider, "A Brethren Management Theory," The Brethren 
Evangelist, September 1982: 4. 

"^Smith F. Rose, "Brethren Church Government," The Brethren Evangelist, 
June 28, 1975: 13. 

" Dale R. Stoffer, Background and Development of Brethren Doctrines 16 SO- 
WS?. (Philadelphia: Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc., 1989), 84. 

"Dale R. Stoffer, "Let Us Be Brethren," The Brethren Evangelist, June 1988: 

"See The Brethren Church Manual of Pastoral and Congregational 
Procedures, 36. 

""^Jack L. Oxenrider, "A Working Brethren Model," The Brethren Evangelist, 
August 1982: 12. 

^^Frederick T. Burkey, "Challenges and Opportunities," The Brethren 
Evangelist, March 1979: 10. 

-^Dale R. Stoffer, "Let Us Be Brethren," The Brethren Evangelist, June 1988: 

- Larry R. Baker, "Power Struggles and the Pastor's Role in the Church," The 
Brethren Evangelist, February 1993: 10. 

Jack L. Oxenrider, "Defining Church-Pastor Relationships," The Brethren 
f'vawge/w/, October 1982: 9. 
^''ibid., 10. 

'Mary Ellen Drushal, "Brethren Megatrends 2000," The Brethren Evangelist, 
June 1990: 8. 

"Dale R. Stoffer, Background and Development of Brethren Doctrines 1650- 
1987. (Philadelphia: Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc., 1989), 68. 

''Ibid., 126 
^^Ibid., 209. 
"See The Brethren Church y4 Manual of Procedure for The Brethren Church, 

^^Luke 22:26, NIV. 
"See John 13:1-17. 
Ronald W. Waters, "Leaders for a Growing Church," The Brethren 

Evangelist, March 1993: 4. 

Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

^^Jerry R. Flora, The Message of Faith. (Ashland, OH: The Brethren Church, 
Inc. 1996), 105. 

Jack L. Oxenrider, "Understanding Organizational Design," The Brethren 
Evangelist, July 1982: 6-7. 

"^'Norman L. Edwards, "The Brethren Church: Financial and Organizational 
Study," February, 1994: 14. 

"Jack L. Oxenrider, "A Working Brethren Model," The Brethren Evangelist, 
August 1982: 14. 

"Jack L. Oxenrider, "A Brethren Management Theory," The Brethren 
Evangelist, September 1982: 4. 

The Manual of Pastoral and Congregational Procedures cites, "Ordination 
possesses both divine and human aspects. It is a formal recognition of God's call in a 
person's life and affirms both that those spiritual gifts needed for a special calling are 
present and that God promises grace to fulfill the responsibilities of the task. But 
ordination also includes human components. It assumes that God's calling must be 
ratified by human witnesses as well who can testify to the evidence of the divine call. The 
act of laying on of hands is also performed by persons with the appropriate authority who 
can likewise vouch for the person's character and integrity. In the ordination process, 
God and human beings cooperate to provide the best possible leadership for the further 
advance of God's kingdom purposes." 

Dale R. Stoffer, Background and Development of Brethren Doctrines 1650- 
1987. (Philadelphia: Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc., 1989), 126. 
^^See 1 Timothy 5:22. 
^'Seel Timothy 3:6. 
^^Seel Timothy 3:10. 

Unlike many denominations, the Brethren have not understood Scripture to 
present levels of hierarchy in leadership that are normative for all times and situations. 
Terms such as "overseer," "elder," and "bishop" are all lumped into one category as an 
ordained clergy. Laypersons are ordained as "deacons" and "deaconesses." See J. Allen 
Miller, Christian Doctrine - Lectures and Sermons. (Ashland, OH: The Brethren 
PubHshing Company, 1946), 106. 

Erickson concludes his chapter on the "The Government of the Church" with 
a brief yet interesting historical appraisal of the three major forms of church polity 
functioning today. See Millard Erickson, Christian Theology. (Grand Rapids: Baker 
Book House, 1983), 1086-1087. 

After listing seven assumptions about Brethren management theory that were 
idealistic, Oxenrider reftjtes what I have stated; however, his appraisal is over twenty 
years old and he is no longer a part of the Brethren Church to give an updated evaluation. 
Nevertheless, I have included his comments here to be considered by future researchers. 
"The accusation will be made by some that such a theory of leadership and church 
organization is impractical and idealistic - that it fails to take into account the fact that 
the church exists in a fallen world and that there are problems of carnality within the 
church. These charges are false. The Brethren Church grew out of a reaction to these very 
problems within the world and the institutional church. It was a reaction to these very 
things that gave birth to the Anabaptists and, later, the German Pietists, both of which are 
the parent movements to The Brethren Church." See Jack L. Oxenrider, "A Brethren 
Management Theory," The Brethren Evangelist, September 1982: 6. 

10 Commandments of Pastoral Leadership 

"General Conference Moderator for 1990 wrote in the denominational 
magazine the following candid comments regarding this unfortunate circumstance, "A 
fiind should be established that would provide for counseling, restoration, and assistance 
to pastors and their families who have been chewed up and spit out by a local church. I 
am embarrassed to even admit this happens in Brethren churches, but it does, and it needs 
to be dealt with at every level" See Mary Ellen Drushal, "Brethren Megatrends 2000," 
The Brethren Evangelist, June 1990: 9. 

^ Longtime Brethren pastor Larry Baker, after assessing the reasons for 
congregational/pastoral conflict, wrote the following, "In some congregations the pastor 
is neither expected nor allowed to exercise his responsibility and authority. He is viewed 
as an employee of the congregation with 'chaplain' responsibilities." See Larry R. Baker, 
"Power Struggles and the Pastor's Role in the Church," The Brethren Evangelist, 
February 1993: 10. 

"^■^Oxenrider writes about this issue in the following, "A well-defined and 
understood organization is a key to the effective ministry of a local Brethren church and 
to the effective function of the pastor within that church. Where church structures are 
confused or ill-defmed, increasing difficulty will result. Where organizational structures 
are confusing or hidden, the pastor will experience great difficulties in his role of 
directing the affairs of the church. A clearly understood and used organizational structure 
is essential for the effective leadership-management of the Brethren Church." Jack L. 
Oxenrider, "A Working Brethren Model," The Brethren Evangelist, August 1982: 14. 



Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Pauline Theology: A Review Article 

Allan R. Severe* 

James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998. 
808 pp., cloth, $50.00. 

Dunn's book is a detailed work on the theology of the great apostle and the 
culmination of forty years of study, lectures, and publications. In the Preface Dunn begins 
by mentioning his interest in Paul, even as a boy, and how that interest took on a more 
profound aspect. "In my student days the fascination deepened as I began to appreciate 
something of Paul the theologian. The combination of profound theological reflection and 
sensitive grappling with all too real human problems, of outspoken argument and pastoral 
insight, 'found me' at many points" (p. xv). Having been found by Paul, it could be said 
that this book focuses on what Dunn as "found out" concerning Paul's theology. 

Given the nature of a full-scale work on Paul, Dunn had to make several 
difficult decisions on approach and method. First, was to use the book of Romans as a 
template for a more complete explanation of Paul's theology. The value in this is to use 
the major theological themes developed in Romans. The problem with this approach is 
that the other letters in the Pauline corpus are treated in a "more broken" (p. xvi) way, 
which is less agreeable. But Dunn sees the other possibility of analyzing each letter as 
problematic in its own right. 

"A second important decision was to treat the subjects in sufficient detail for 
(Paul's) theological and (my) exegetical rationale to be clear" (p. xvi). Thus at certain 
places in the book, Dunn provides quotations of key scriptural texts, sometimes at great 
length (e.g. pages 138 and 302). Dunn is aware that the reader may not always have the 
texts of scripture at hand. Not only does this provide a convenience to the reader, it also 
assists in reinforcing certain key points by the writer. 

A third critical decision was to decide on the degree of engagement with other 
scholars on the "substance and detail" (p. xvi) of Paul's theology. The massive volume of 
scholarly work available on Paul could easily turn an already large discussion into an 
endless one. Thus difficult choices had to be on what scholars to include in the discussion 
based on the themes being developed. 

A final difficult decision was what to entitle the book. The Theology of Paul 
was not self-explanatory outside scholarly and ecclesiastical circles, and The Theology oj 
St. Paul, according to Dunn, would not correctly characterize an apostle who used the 
term "saint" to refer to all believers. Thus Dunn settles for The Theology of Paul the 
Apostle, since "apostle" is clearly one title Paul cherished (p. xvii). 

In the Prologue Dunn wrestles with the complexity of whether or not a 
theology of Paul is possible, and if so, how one should be written. He asks and answers 
several key questions as he works toward a solution. Why a theology of Paul? The 
answer: "Paul is the first and greatest Christian theologian" (p. 2). What is a theology of 
Paul? It is a study wedded to "historical analysis and contextualization" that is neither 
necessary nor possible with many other early Christian writings (p. 11). It is theology that 
has everything to do with everyday living (p. 9). Can a theology of Paul be written? Yes, 
it can. In fact it is possible to write a theology of Paul in a way not possible with anyone 
else in the first century of Christianity (p. 13). How do we write a theology of Paul? 

* Allan Bevere (Ph.D., Durham University) is Assistant Professor of Biblical 
Interpretation and Theology at ATS. 


Pauline Theology: A Review Article 

According to Dunn, not around a center of core principles reminiscent of much German 
scholarship in the twentieth century, which led to a theology too inflexible putting Paul 
into a static, unchanging world (pp. 19-20). Nor should a theology of Paul be written 
around the notion of his theological development, of which the problems have been 
clearly stated (p. 22). Dunn finally settles on Beker's model of coherence within 
contingency, whereas (quoting Beker), "the coherence of the gospel is constituted by the 
apocalyptic interpretation of the death and resurrection of Christ" (p. 23). One key 
assumption is that Paul's thought is essentially coherent unless incoherence is 
demonstrated. This is simply a matter of respect for Paul and his work. How do we move 
toward a theology of P anil The answer here is two-fold: First, through dialogue. This is 
not simply theological dialogue, but the kind of dialogue where we learn to understand 
and appreciate others. We thus dialogue with Paul, not only in his theology, but also in 
his history, and in his person and on his own terms. Second, in using Romans as a 
template for the discussion, since it was written to articulate and "defend his own mature 
understanding of the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17) as he had thus far proclaimed it and as he 
hoped to commend it both in Jerusalem and beyond Rome in Spain" (p. 25). 

Having put forth the task and its method, Dunn then moves into Paul's theology 
proper. The progression of the chapters reveals a traditional theological approach from 
God to sin, from Christ to salvation, from church to sanctification. Chapter two is focuses 
on the discussion of "God and Humankind," then it moves to chapter three, "Humankind 
Under Indictment." From there: chapter four, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ;" chapter five, 
"The Beginning of Salvation;" chapter six, "The Process of Salvation;" chapter seven, 
"The Church;" chapter eight, "How Should Believers Live?" and chapter nine, 

In chapter two Dunn focuses on Paul's doctrine of God and humanity. For Paul, 
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Israel (p. 43) is the foundation of theology. 
Paul was firm in his conviction that there is only one God, and that this God is the creator 
of the world and its judge. It is this understanding of God that is indispensable for his 
understanding of salvation; and it is this thoroughly Jewish view of God that creates the 
primary tension in Paul's theology as a Jew who believed in Jesus and called to proclaim 
the Gospel to the Gentiles. Thus Paul's theology is not abstract reflection, but it is 
"sustained and informed by his own experience in conversion and mission and prayer" (p. 

Paul's understanding of humanity works within various aspects. Human beings 
are embodied, that is, they are social, having the desire and the ability to enter into 
relationship, which is indispensable to human existence. Human beings are merely 
human, weak and subject to "appetites and desires" (p. 78) that make them vulnerable. At 
the same time, as rational, they are "capable of soaring to the highest heights of reflective 
thought" (p. 78); and as emotional beings, able to experience the most profound feelings 
and motivations. And most significantly, human beings are "animated by the mystery of 
life as a gift" (p. 78). 

In chapter three "Humankind Under Indictment," Dunn takes up the subject of 
Paul's understanding of Adam, sin and death, and the law. There is clearly a dark side to 
humanity, an indispensable dimension of sin. Here Dunn makes some helpful references 
to this dark side as depicted by such literature as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture oj 
Dorian Gray, Gulliver's Travels, and Shakespeare's portrayal of tragic heroes (p. 81). 
Yet, Paul focuses on Adam to explain this dark side of humanity. 

Human beings were created to be in relationship with God, which is the very 
essence of human life. But human beings believed a more fulfilling relationship with the 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

world was possible apart from relationship with God. In thus turning away from God and 
focusing solely on the creation, human beings attempt to become their own creators. "In 
consequence humankind has fallen when it thought to rise, has become foolish not wise, 
baser not superior. It has denied its likeness to God and preferred the likeness of beasts 
and things" (p. 101). Humanity thus stands under indictment. 

Sin leads to death. The forces of evil are real and working in the world. These 
forces are not simply to be reduced to human will and selfishness. "There are also 
constraints and pressures operating within and upon human society which combine with 
human weakness to corrupt both individual and community" (p. 127). Sin is individual 
and social. "Humankind lives out its life in the service of sin, whose payoff is death" (p. 

For Paul, the law plays an important role in explicating sin bringing it to 
consciousness as transgression. It has the same, though less obvious task, with the 
Gentiles through conscience. Thus all humanity, Jew and Gentile, are guilty before God, 
having missed the mark of what God has intended for human beings. 

While the law in some respect plays a role with Gentiles, it has a special 
relationship with Israel, "particularly to protect and discipline Israel in the period from 
Moses to Christ" (p. 160). Such a role for the law is only interim, eliminated with the 
coming of Jesus Christ. 

Israel is unable to recognize the temporary role of the law, assuming that the 
law had given them a privileged relationship. Thus Israel is even more vulnerable to the 
indictment of Romans 1:18-3:20. The coming of Christ has ushered in an "eschatological 
shift," and Israel's insistence on the continued significance of the law means that "Israel 
is now 'behind the times'" (p. 160). 

God gave the law to Israel first and foremost to provide direction for living and 
provide the terms by which Israel could maintain her covenant status with God. How this 
relates to the law's functioning to protect Israel, as well as Peter's criticism of Israel's 
inability to recognize the eschatological shift in Christ, are unclear. 

One thing is clear: the power of sin uses the law to enslave human beings. 
Israel's own rejection of the temporary status of the law and using it to cling to its 
privileged status is an obvious example of how sin exploits the law to trap humanity in 
sin and death. Thus, the law given by God as an interim guide to expose sin and put forth 
the terms of the covenant, now becomes an ally of the very sin it was given to expose. 
Logically, therefore, the law as an ally of sin leads to death. 

Chapter four, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ," is the beginning of the solution to 
the plight of the law, sin, and death. "Paul's gospel, the divine response to the divine 
indictment, was centered wholly on Jesus Christ" (p. 181). For Paul, divine response was 
made personal in his encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus road, and it 
completely turned Paul around. Christ was the key for knowing God's purposes for 
humanity and he revolutionized Paul's values. Christ became Paul's "supreme passion" 
(p. 181). 

Dunn argues that Paul was indeed familiar with Jesus' ministry prior to his 
crucifixion and was influenced in his letters by the Jesus tradition. Jesus' own Jewishness 
and his messiahship were important features of Paul's christology, and "God's actual 
presence" (p. 206) in Jesus is clearly expressed in Paul's later work. 

Paul believed his own gospel was entirely in keeping with Jesus' own teaching. 
Thus Jesus' Jewishness was not to be rejected; indeed, Jesus had fulfilled the messianic 
hopes of his people. This was not to be forgotten. Simultaneously, this continuity 


Pauline Theology: A Review Article 

between Paul's gospel and Jesus' teaching meant that the good news was not only for 
Israel, but for all humanity. 

"There can no doubt as to where the center of gravity of Paul's theology is to 
be found. It lies in the death and resurrection of Jesus" (p. 208). In explicating the 
meaning of Jesus' death, Paul uses a variety of metaphors. The most significant ones are 
representation, sacrifice, curse, redemption, reconciliation, and conquest of the powers (p. 
231). Dunn makes clear his view that these aspects of Christ's work on the cross are 
indeed metaphors and what is significant about a metaphor is that it is "not the thing itself 
but a means of expressing its meaning. It would be unwise, then, to translate these 
metaphors into literal facts, as though, for example, Christ's death were literally a 
sacrifice provided by God (as priest?) in the cosmos, conceived as a temple" (p. 23 1). 

While I am not inclined to accept Dunn's view that these aspects of the 
significance of Christ's sacrifice are to be understood as metaphorical alone (and I doubt 
Paul would accept it either), Dunn is surely correct to state that all of the different 
"metaphors" Paul presents reflect a richness to the importance of Christ's death, and we 
must not make one of these images normative over all the others. 

Paul certainly presents Christ's sacrifice as God initiated. "The act of Jesus is 
the act of God" (p. 232). The variety of metaphors reveals the influence of the 
proclamation of the gospel. The atonement itself is very much related to the experience of 
atonement. Thus, for Paul there can be no alternative scheme of salvation. Soteriology is 
focused entirely on the cross and the resurrection. Christ's crucifixion is an effective 
remedy for the power of sin and death. 

Along with the crucifixion, Paul understood the resurrection of Jesus as 
decisive. There is no real distinction to be made between Jesus' resurrection and 
exaltation. The risen Christ is the last Adam. He is God's co-regent, and co-lifegiver with 
the Holy Spirit. In his sonship he is the elder brother of a new family and also the Son of 
God in power. In all of this, Paul's monotheism remains intact. Jesus' Lordship is held 
within its bounds (p. 265). 

Dunn argues that Paul does indeed have a concept of Christ's preexistence, but 
not in the traditional theological sense. Instead it is the preexistence of Wisdom now 
identified by and as Christ. Wisdom (and Spirit, as Dunn argues) was a basic way of 
speaking of God's interaction with his world and with his people. Paul's christology puts 
forth the tensions between Adam and Wisdom that led to subsequent theologizing over 
how Jesus could be understood both as divine and human. 

There is no doubt that Christ's second coming was a definite aspect of Paul's 
theology, and he maintained that belief in his later letters. While it was an integral part of 
his theology, Dunn suggests that it was not part of "the center of gravity of his 
christology" (p. 314), and unlike the cross and resurrection, the parousia never attained 
confessional status. The different imagery Paul uses to refer to the second coming is not 
mutually consistent, and no attempt should be made to draw it together into a single 
portrayal (p. 315). 

In chapter 5, "The Beginning of Salvation," Dunn discusses Paul's 
understanding of the nature of what it is that Christ has done in his cross and resurrection. 
Paul's metaphors for salvation draw on the customs of the time. Justification and the 
removal of a debt are legal metaphors. Redemption is a metaphor from the practice of 
slavery or captivity in war. There are also communal images such as citizenship. He also 
draws images from religion (set apart), and from everyday life (adoption). These different 
metaphors were attempts to express a reality that defied simple explanation. Again, Dunn 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

uses the language of metaphor because it is necessary to express such deeply moving 
experiences (pp. 332-333). 

Dunn devotes a major section of this chapter to justification by faith, not 
because it is a major concept in Paul, but because of its significance in Protestant 
interpretation of Paul. As part of the school of the "new perspective on Paul," Dunn seeks 
to present an alternative to the typical Lutheran understanding of "works of the law" as a 
reference to good works, and the misunderstanding that the Judaism of the first century 
was a religion where one's salvation was earned. 

Justification means, of course, acceptance by God, the God who justifies the 
ungodly. Christ's death is a representative death; that is, sinners who trust in Christ do 
not escape death, they share in Christ's death. Justification opens up unhindered access to 
God. It is "acceptance into a relationship with God characterized by the grace of Israel's 
covenanf (p. 388). Gentiles are granted a share in Israel's inheritance. Justification is 
above all liberation, which is clearly the major point Paul makes in Galatians. It is here 
that Dunn makes his case for the traditional rendering of pistis Christou as "faith in 
Christ," over against the alternative proposal "faith of Chrisf (e.g. Richard Hays). 

Less judicial in nature is Paul's view that salvation is participation in Christ. 
For Dunn, participation is the "more natural extension of Paul's christology" (p. 390). 
There is a mystical aspect to this participation, revealed to some extent in the phrase "in 
Christ," which occurs eighty-three times in the Pauline corpus, a motif neglected in 
modem scholarship, which Dunn finds surprising. The phrase and related phraseology 
highlights that what has happened in salvation depends upon Christ, it refers to the status 
of believers subjectively, and it is used to refer to Paul's own work and activity (p. 398). 
Dunn also discusses the "striking feature of Paul's theology" (p. 401) — the "with Christ 
motif and its complementary formulations (e.g. into Christ, the body of Christ, through 
Christ, etc.). Dunn notes that Christ's work is not only for the individual, but that Paul's 
soteriology is corporate in nature. Participation in Christ does not remove the believer 
from the world; it provides the foundation for a daily life that is differently motivated (p. 
41 1). The gift of the Holy Spirit demonstrates that the Paul's gospel has everything to do 
with everyday realities. 

Baptism signifies those everyday realities. Baptism was socially significant in 
the earliest Christian community revealing that conversion was not "some private 
spiritual transaction" (p. 447). Those baptized were publicly renouncing their old ways 
and putting on a new way of life. Baptism is also clearly linked to the death of Christ. As 
important as baptism was to Paul, he did not believe it to be the be all and end all of 
salvation, as evidenced by his comments to the Corinthians not to esteem their baptisms 
too highly (p. 449). Finally, Dunn argues that, for Paul, baptism itself is not the 
replacement for circumcision; it is the gift of the Spirit that replaces circumcision, even 
though baptism "in effect formed as effective a group boundary as circumcision" (p. 

In chapter 6, "The Process of Salvation," Dunn discusses the eschatological 
tensions in Paul's theology and the tension of relating the gospel to unbelieving Israel 
(Romans 9-11). For Paul the gift of the Spirit is the starting point for the believer, thus 
there is no second step or phase where one receives the Spirit after conversion. Paul's 
understanding of spirituality and maturity are not to be connected to earthly wisdom, 
eloquent speech or the exercise of certain spiritual gifts; spiritual maturity is revealed, 
seen in those who live according to the Spirit they have been given (p. 495). 

"The believer's whole life is lived in the overlap of the ages, within the 
eschatological tension between Adam and Christ, between death and life" (p. 495). 


Pauline Theology: A Review Article 

Christians live within this tension; they do not escape from it. In this very real sense, 
then, salvation is a process. Suffering is thus viewed as an integral part of this process. 
This process also provides the foundation for ethics. "In every moral decision there was a 
choice to be made, for the flesh or for the spirit" (p. 497). While apostasy is a real 
possibility for Paul, that does not diminish the assurance of adoption and the guarantee of 
the Spirit for believers. 

In reference to Israel, Dunn states "Paul bares his soul as nowhere else" (p. 
531). His understanding of the future of Israel was closely linked to his own calling as an 
apostle to the Gentiles. He hoped that his ministry to the Gentiles would lead to Israel's 
turning. This hope, according to Dunn, was unfulfilled, and while Paul has been often 
misinterpreted in reference to Israel and its place in the covenant, Dunn argues that Paul 
himself presents part of the problem. While Paul has been used throughout Christian 
history in a negative way in reference to Israel, Dunn thinks it is possible to use Paul, 
particularly "Paul the Israelite," as an authentic voice of Israel to build bridges between 
Christians and Jews (p. 532). 

Dunn discusses Paul's theology of the church in chapter seven. The church is, 
at the same time, different things — the body of Christ, the church of God, a community 
without cult, and a charismatic community sharing the experience of the Spirit. Paul's 
ideal understanding of the church is lessened by "the social realities of community 
formation within hostile environments" (p. 598). The question in Dunn's mind is whether 
Paul's model of church as charismatic community expresses "the idealism and unreality" 
of the movement's enthusiasm of the first generation of Christians? Do the Pastoral 
epistles represent a corrective to this idealism with its institutionalization of authority and 
its "routinization of charisma." Dunn is not satisfied with the pitting of the ecclesiology 
of 1 Corinthians 12-14 against the ones put forth in the pastorals. Dunn mentions, in 
particular, the work of Hans Kiing, who understands Paul's charismatic vision of the 
church as the fundamental framework for Pauline ecclesiology. 

In this chapter, Dunn concludes with an extended discussion of the Lord's 
Supper. The significance of the Lord's Supper for Paul is beyond debate with its 
importance being maintained throughout the history of church tradition, particularly in 
Catholicism and orthodoxy. It is thus disappointing that any discussion of the practice is 
limited to one letter (1 Corinthians 10-1 1). This Dunn attributes to Paul's ad hoc theology 
by epistle. Moreover, the fact that Paul has to address the subject so little suggests that 
the Lord's Supper was so common and fundamental to the life of the early church, that 
abuses, such as what was taking place in Corinth, were rare (p. 600). For Paul, the Lord's 
Supper is spiritual food; it is the sharing in the one body. The Lord's Supper re(-)presents 
the death of Christ with the new covenant graciously given. In "linking the Lord's Supper 
with judgment as well as spiritual food, with Christ's coming again as well as his death, 
Paul underlines the extent to which celebration of the Lord's Supper does indeed 
"proclaim" the whole gospel and provide instruction as well as sustenance during the 
long slog from the already to the not yet" (p. 623). 

Chapter eight, "How Should Believers Live, "takes up the subject of Paul's 
ethics. He begins with questioning (and rightly so) the traditional distinction made 
between indicative and imperative. "In fact, however, the 'theology followed by 
application' dichotomy is misleading. Paul never spoke other than as a pastor. His 
theology was a living theology, a practical theology through and through. The application 
is inherent in the exposition itself (p. 626). This does not mean a complete rejection of 
the indicative and the imperative. It is true that for Paul that the indicative of what Christ 
has done is the basis for the imperative of what believers must do (p. 630). The 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

underlying principles of Paul's ethic strike a balance between "internal motivation and 
external norm" (p. 668). The external norms include such things as traditional wisdom, 
vices and virtues, notions of right and wrong accepted by people of good will, 
perspectives on community interdependence and the good ordering of society. It is 
Christ's love and self-giving that add a distinctive Christian perspective to these norms 
integrated to a thoroughly Jewish background of Paul's moral discussion. 

The internal motivation is a combination of inner trust that depends upon the 
compulsion of the Spirit. It is also a renewed mind, the mind of Christ, always seeking to 
know the will of God. For Paul ""both the outward norm and the inward motivation were 
essential for ethical living" (p. 669). 

In the final section of chapter eight, "Ethics in Practice," Dunn looks at how 
Paul puts these inward motivations and outward norms into practice by analyzing specific 
moral issues. He begins by affirming that Paul's moral context as a social context. His 
ethics cannot only be dealt with as personal ethics. He then analyzes Paul's discussion on 
a variety of matters — living in a hostile world (Romans 12:9-13:14), living with 
fundamental disagreements (Romans 14:1-15:6), sexual conduct (1 Corinthians 5-6), 
marriage and divorce (1 Corinthians 7), slavery (I Corinthians 7:20-23), and social 
relations (1 Corinthians 8-10). 

On all moral matters, the eschatological tension is clearly evident and forming, 
and Paul shows great sensitivity in steering a difficult course in living in the already and 
not yet. "If in the end of the day the lasting impression is not just the principles which 
Paul enunciated for determining Christian conduct but the care with which he sought to 
live them out and the complications entailed, that is probably as Paul himself would have 
wished it" (p. 712). 

The Epilogue of chapter nine is a postlegomena to Paul's theology. Dunn 
begins this last chapter where he started the book: reminding the reader that to write a 
theology of Paul, one must dialogue with Paul, theologically, historically, socially, and 
personally. The foundation of Paul's theology was stable. Paul did not think of 
Christianity as a new and different religion. The Jewishness of his theology is seen in the 
pillars of his faith, God, Israel, Torah, and Scripture. Paul's theology remains Jewish, 
even though, after his conversion, the fulcrum point of his theology was Christ, "the point 
on which a whole larger mass swings round into a new plane or direction" (pp. 722-723). 
For Paul, this made sense and could be no other way. "For Paul, God was now to be 
known definitively by reference to Christ" (p. 723). Christianity is Christ; he is the lens 
through which all reality comes into focus. Cross and resurrection are central to this 

Dunn ends the Epilogue by reminding us that people cannot be isolated by their 
thinking alone. Paul's enduring example to us is not only as a theologian, but also as a 
teacher and pastor and as a Christian. Indeed, his theology can only be properly 
understood when Paul is viewed as a whole person. "Paul theologized by writing letters. 
This means that his theology was always wrapped around with the greetings, 
thanksgivings, and prayers of letter openings, with the travel arrangements, personal 
explanations, and farewells of letter closings. Or, should we say, his theologizing always 
began and ended with the practicalities and little things of human relationships. Paul's 
theology, however, complex and high-flown, was never of the ivory-tower kind. It was 
first and last an attempt to make sense of the gospel as the key to everyday life and to 
make possible a daily living which was Christian through and through" (pp. 736-737). 

Dunn's book will be an indispensable resource on the theology of Paul for 
years to come. It is a thorough discussion with detailed analysis written by someone with 


Pauline Theology: A Review Article 

an unparalleled command of the subject and resources. Particularly helpful are the brief 
bibliographies given at the beginning of each section, in addition to the general 
bibliography at the beginning of the book. One could take issue with some of the scholars 
he chooses to exclude from the discussion, but what would be the significance of such a 
criticism? With a written text of 736 pages and attention to many and diverse sources, 
such critique would be quite petty. One could also criticize his use of Romans as a 
template, but again, why bother? Dunn has made a good case for his methodology, while 
recognizing it has limitations, as is the case with all methodologies. No doubt there are 
points where others will take issue with him on matters of Paul's theology, and rightly so, 
but that just means that the great discussion on the greatest Christian theologian of the 
first century, and every subsequent century, will continue. 
Thanks be to God! 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Book Reviews 

Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen, The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our 
Place in the Biblical Story, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004. 252 pp., $19.99. 

The prevailing practice in biblical scholarship is to examine the Old and New 
Testament documents on their own terms, apart from the rest of the canon. Bartholomew 
and Goheen take a different approach. They step back from the historical-critical task 
and present the entire Protestant canon as a single, unified story of God's work in the 
world. Rather than a work of critical scholarship, which would focus on the historical 
context or textual questions, their book is an attempt at narrative theology. It does draw, 
however, on the latest scholarship in its presentation of the biblical narrative and 
therefore serves as a worthy introduction or teaching tool. 

After an opening Prologue, in which they lay out their presuppositions of the 
Bible as a single, grand narrative, the authors turn to the selections of Scripture that 
compose their telling of the story. The remainder of the book is structured in six Acts 
and an Interlude. Acts One and Two tell the story of creation and fall. Act Three, the 
longest in the book, portrays the history of the Nation of Israel. The Interlude stands in 
for the intertestamental period, with special attention paid to Jewish culture in the years 
leading up to the beginning of the Common Era. Acts Four and Five describe the life of 
Jesus and the development of the early church , with a closing movement on living in 
God's story today. Finally, the drama ends with Act Six, as the the authors point toward 
the coming eschatological work of God. 

The book has several strengths. It is a highly readable work. The authors' clear 
and simple writing style allows the reader to be caught up in the movement of the story 
itself. The book also contains twenty six figures, the majority of which are well-placed 
maps, which add to the sense of story and make the characters' movements and actions 
more conceivable. Other figures provide visual reference for some of the theological 
concepts that arise in the course of the story. Finally, the authors maintain a good 
balance between the biblical story itself and the historical background behind the story. 

At times this historical context is presented in what scholars would regard as 
an over-simplified manner. Little or no space is given to the debates over particular 
historical-critical issues. Such a presentation, however, is well within Bartholomew and 
Goheen' s thesis. The Drama of Scripture does not argue that the Bible is a single, unified 
story; it simply assumes that it is and builds on that assumption. 

The book has several possible uses. It would be an excellent companion text in 
an introductory course on the Old or New Testament. In the pastoral setting, it would 
provide an accessible overview of the Bible for the new, adult believer. And for those 
Christians who are themselves looking to step back and gain a fresh perspective on the 
Bible, Bartholomew and Goheen's work might well prove worth a read. 

Jonathan E. Kane 


Book Reviews 

Tim Dowley, The Kregel Bible Atlas. Grand Rapids, MI. ICregel Publications, 2003. 91 
pp., hardcover, $21.99. 

Dowley, a noted biblical history expert, opens this book with a geographic 
overview of the Holy Land, then traces the major highlights and events of the Old 
Testament from the journeys of Abraham to the rebuilding of the temple after the 
Babylonian Captivity. He then devotes a section to the Intertestamental period, focusing 
on the Alexander the Great and the Maccabean rule. His section on the New Testament 
begins with the Roman Empire as it existed at the time of Christ and includes Jesus' life, 
the journeys of Paul and concludes with the expansive spread of Christianity in A. D. 

The more than 80 maps are precise, easy to read and specific to the purpose of 
illuminating the text. In addition to the expected maps, Dowley includes campaigns 
during the time of the Judges, David's flight from Saul, the possible routes of the exodus, 
Jesus' travel and ministry in Galilee, and the spread of Christianity before Paul. The 
author has juxtaposed many of his own photographs with some of the maps, which offer a 
well tailored schematic and detailed presentation. His insightful writing gives context to 
the prophetic books such as Haggai and Zechariah, which are included in the section on 
the return from Babylonian exile. 

An atlas is essential for any serious student as Scripture assumes the reader has 
a certain knowledge of the terrain, climate, soils and economy of the region. It is 
impossible to fully understand inferences or meanings without this basis. The text is 
complete in its coverage of geographical features and major events in the Bible, and each 
page is full of maps, colorful photographs, summarizing charts and clarifying diagrams. 
This book is an excellent companion for the Bible student and lay person alike. Its size 
and price make it affordable, and its coverage make it a valuable addition to a home or 
church library. 

Mary Elizabeth Nau 

J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays, Grasping God's Word: A Hands-on Approach to 
Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible. Grand Rapids, ML: Zondervan, 2001. 
431 pp., hardcover, $37.99. 

Touted as a "user-friendly book for serious readers who desire to journey into 
the world of the Bible," (p. 9) Grasping God's Word readily lives up to its title. Written 
by two seminary professors, the authors' backgrounds in biblical interpretation. Old and 
New Testament, Greek, Hebrew, and spiritual formation provide an excellent mix to a 
textbook that is critical, yet practical in its approach. The three main components of the 
book consist of laying a foundation for thoughtful reading, discussion of hermeneutical 
issues and guidelines for interpreting the major literary genres of the Bible. 

In Part 1, the authors lay their foundation by likening biblical interpretation to 
that of a journey. On this "interpretative journey," readers are encouraged time and again 
to read the text of Scripture thoroughly and carefully in order to determine the meaning 
within the text before advancing one's own ideas. Readers are taught to read at a micro 
level (sentences) and then expand out to the macro level (discourses), giving attention to 
details one would normally omit such as repetition, contrasts, comparisons, dialogue, 
conditional clauses, story shifts, etc. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

In Part 2, the authors move into hermeneutical issues such as what the reader 
brings to the text, historical-cultural and literary contexts, word studies and Bible 
translations. It is here that one sees the shift from the practical to the theoretical, an 
approach the authors say their students have responded to positively. In dealing with the 
issues of preunderstanding and presupposition and their influence upon one's 
interpretation of the biblical text, even the staunchest critic of the role of culture in 
interpretation will have to admit the validity of the authors' position. For example, the 
reader is asked to read Romans 13:1-7 and then consider if it would have been wrong to 
participate in the Boston Tea Party with its apparent act of rebellion. (Here the authors 
acknowledge their readers from outside of America and ask them to reflect on a similar 
event from within their particular culture.) 

Also within Part 2, Duvall and Hays tackle the tougher issues of historical- 
cultural and literary context, defining their terms and giving advantages and 
disadvantages to the use of these approaches. Relevant examples are given of some of 
the common misuses of Scripture such as the illustration found in the gospels about a 
camel going through the eye of the needle. The authors maintain the passage means just 
what it says — it is impossible for a large animal like a camel to squeeze through the eye 
of a sewing needle. 

In the final sections of the book, the authors address meaning, the role of the 
Holy Spirit in interpretation and principles specific to biblical genres. As to meaning, the 
authors answer the question of who controls the meaning and discuss the levels of 
meaning that can be found in the text. A generous part of one chapter is spent discussing 
the role of allegory in interpretation, using Martin DeHaan's interpretation of a particular 
Old Testament passage as an example of violating interpretive principles related to 
historical-cultural context. The Bible Code and typology are covered as well. In a 
separate chapter, the authors address the role of the Holy Spirit in interpretation and 
outline their view on whether a text can be understood apart from the Holy Spirit, 
acknowledging Him as the "divine Author" in the Scriptures" (p. 201). 

This book could serve as a text at the college or seminary level. Each chapter 
provides either review questions or assignments that offer hands-on and/or reflective type 
of exercises of the material. Good use is made of stories and anecdotes in the 
introduction of each chapter to provide a platform for the material that is going to be 
covered. The book's appendices include guidelines for writing exegetical papers and 
building a personal library. Also helpful is the publisher's website which offers a sample 
syllabus, lesson plan and exegetical paper. 

All in all, the authors achieved their goal of offering a hermeneutics text that 
would help fill in the gaps in their students' knowledge of the Bible as well as equip them 
"for life and ministry" (p. 13). In so doing, they have provided a text that will be of 
particular value in an evangelical school. 

Patricia M. Pope 

Alan Reynolds, Reading the Bible for the Love of God. Grand Rapids, ML: Brazos Press, 
2003. 143 pp., paper, $12.99. 

With a foreword written by Eugene Peterson and reviews from other notables 
in the Christian faith, expectation is high for more than just another book on Bible study. 
Written by a former pastor and university chaplain, Reynolds states that he has been more 
of generalist than a specialist, one who tries to see Christian faith in the context of the 


Book Reviews 

world (p. 7). This may explain his tendency to get bogged down in the discussion of 
technical and historical matters. For instance, he describes the events that led to the 
scientific study of the Bible and its subsequent impact on the Church's approach to 
Scripture more as an object to be observed than a place for meeting God (p. 19). 
Reynolds' point is valid and his goal of laying the historical groundwork is admirable. 
He does a much better job of relating the applicability of biblical passages to the 
believer's hfe. 

His discussions regarding prayer and worship as ways of responding to God 
and evangelism as the fruit of a deepening relationship with Christ are very well 
presented. Reynolds contends that response to Scripture through prayer and worship is 
not enough (pp. 103-104). He has quite a bit to say on the issue of evangelism, defining it 
in its broadest sense as "whatever the church does to relate the gospel to the world" (p. 

Following his discussion on evangelism, Reynolds deals with holiness and 
describes it as that which calls Christians to action which can only be found in a 
deepened "relationship with the Word of God" (p. 1 19). It is within this discussion that 
Reynolds turns centuries of church practices on their head such as the Church's 
separation from the world into monasteries and the keeping of guidelines and customs as 
the means of holiness. 

Instead, Reynolds emphasizes a holiness that finds itself anchored in love; this 
provides a transition into the final portion of the book where he seems to get to the real 
reason behind writing it. Rather than being a book of techniques on enhancing one's 
reading experience, Reynolds offers an alternative: read for love (pp. 122-123). 
Reynolds devotes an entire chapter to the issue of love, defining it at its various levels. It 
is agape, however, where Reynolds says self-fulfillment can be found, and it is at this 
level that Reynolds feels one's reading should take place. 

However, he does not let the reader off the hook at this point. He encourages 
participation in the renewal that he sees taking place in which people are seeking to read 
the Bible for an experience of and relationship to God. It is his contention that with this 
as a goal, the Church may avoid some of the disputes that have long plagued it (p. 134). 

While the title might indicate that the reader is going to get techniques on how 
to read the Bible, Reynolds encourages that the Bible be read with love as the goal. As 
he so aptly puts it in his conclusion, the Bible is where "we meet and hear the voice of the 
One who calls us into communion, in love" (p. 135). As one reads in this way, a love for 
the Scripture can be cultivated or rediscovered. The book emphasizes that one's 
relationship with God should be the primary object in reading Scripture. 

Patricia M. Pope 

Paul D. Wegner, The Journey from Texts to Translations. Grand Rapids: Baker 
Academic, 1999/2004. 462 pp., paper, $29.99) 

Being a Wycliffe Bible translator and avid student of the Bible, I have had a 
more than passing interest in the subject matter of this very helpful book. So it was with 
eager anticipation that I began reading Wegner' s volume and I was not disappointed. 
Well-written, well-organized and concisely stated, his presentation is a readable and 
fairly comprehensive introduction to a whole host of inter-related topics having to do 
with the written texts of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures and the means by which they 
have been preserved, passed down, and promulgated through the centuries. Beginning 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

with the nature and composition of the Bible (including a convenient overview of the 
synoptic problem), the author then surveys the canonical process whereby both the Old 
and New Testaments of the major branches of Christianity attained their distinctive 
shapes, the hand-copied transmission and resulting variety among the numerous original- 
language manuscripts of the books of the Bible, and the basic principles of textual 
criticism of both Old and New Testaments along with the most important manuscripts 
used in each of those disciplines respectively. Then, following a brief section on early 
Bible translations and the first printed versions of the Greek New Testament, the author 
concludes with an extensive and informative account of the English Bible that spans over 
615 years of translation history. From the ground-breaking work of John Wycliffe (1382) 
and William Tyndale (1534) to the Authorized Version of 1611 and on through the 
veritable explosion of Bible translations in the mid- to late-20"' century, Wegner traces 
the fascinating story of English Bible translation as far as the publication of the New 
Living Translation (1996) and The Message (1997). Along the way he includes bits of 
relevant cultural, historical, and political background as well as interesting biographical 
details and even portraits or photographs of some of the major players in the story he 

Wegner's book is made even more attractive and useful by the plentifiil 
presence of reproductions of early manuscripts and printed versions of Scripture, maps, 
pictures of important archeological artifacts and many, many charts and diagrams that 
conveniently summarize the author's prose descriptions and contain a plethora of useful 
information from "Paleo-Hebrew and Square Scripts," to "Description of the Books in 
the Old Testament Apocrypha," to "Variants in Editions of the Authorized Version." The 
last major section of the book concerning the history of English Bible translation also 
includes a number of useful comparisons and evaluations of the different modem English 
Bible versions in chart form. 

There are a few drawbacks in the book. The lack of a comprehensive 
bibliography occasionally requires a time-consuming back-tracking through several 
footnotes (actually endnotes) in order to retrieve the full bibliographical citation of a 
particular source. Indeed, the use of endnotes, rather than footnotes, is perhaps the most 
inconvenient aspect of the book. Wegner makes full use of a wide range of sources and 
authorities to document his material, but having to turn to the back frequently and flip 
through nearly 30 pages of endnotes to find a particular source or read an additional 
comment, was both laborious and time-consuming. Of lesser importance is the repeated 
use of the Lord's Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13) to provide a "taste" of the kind and quality of 
each English translation as it is discussed. Initially interesting, this pattern becomes 
somewhat tedious by about the 20* recital in yet another version that differs only slightly 
from the last. 

While not all readers will agree with Wegner's conservative views on the 
nature and authority of Scripture, or with every one of his evaluations of the different 
modem language versions he reviews, especially his mildly pejorative (and sometimes 
perhaps even inaccurate) use of the word "paraphrase," there is no question that he has 
produced a work that is exceedingly useful. The book is a mine of information for both 
students and teachers of Scripture and anyone who spends time with it will be stimulated, 
informed and made more appreciative of those who have done the difficult and often 
thankless job of producing vemacular Scriptures for God's people throughout the ages. 

Mark Hepner 


Book Reviews 

Elmer A. Martens and Willard M. Swartley, eds. Believers Church Bible Commentary. 
Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, in process. 

The Believers Church Bible Commentary is the work of a specific 
hermeneutical community attempting to interpret the biblical text. The Believers Church 
is identified as those Christians who are committed to "believers' baptism, the rule of 
Christ in Matthew 18.15-20 as crucial to church membership, belief in the power of love 
in all relationships and a willingness to follow Christ in the way of the cross." 
Eventually all the books of the Bible will be treated. These volumes attempt to be 
faithful to the text of scripture standing within a specific church tradition. Critical issues 
receive attention but not in the narrower interest to be avante garde in the scholarly 
debate. Writers are selected from the Believers Church tradition, they in turn consult 
with another biblical scholar and work with editors during a process of feedback. Then 
the manuscript is read by an Editorial Council of six members. These six are 
representatives from the Brethren Church, Mennonite Church Canada, Church of the 
Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite Church USA. Dr. 
David Baker is the representative for the Brethren Church on the Editorial Council. The 
Old Testament editor is Elmer A. Martens and the New Testament editor is Willard M. 
Swartley. The target audience includes pastors, teachers and Bible study groups. 

Introduction to the various volumes are usually extensive and generally include 
a Preview, Content and Major Themes, Structure, Address, Authorship, Date, Historical 
Context, Pastoral and Hermeneutical Considerations, Translations and Other 
Commentaries. Each commentary follows the same basic format of Preview, Outline, 
Explanatory Notes (extensive), Text in Biblical Context ad Text in the Life of the 

The last section is unique and especially interesting in its application to the 

Richard E. Allison 

BibleWorks Version 6.0. 2004. 1-888-747-8200. $299.95. 

Bible Works 6.0 (BW) is a powerful research tool accessible to students, 
pastors, and scholars alike who are in need of doing serious research efficiently. With all 
the databases within BW, it is possible to conduct a seemingly endless list of different 
kinds of searches and to dump the results - references, texts, etc. - into any document in 
which you are working. BW 6.0's new features include: a Diagramming Tool to create 
grammatical diagrams of text, including Greek and Hebrew; Flash cards to build personal 
flashcard sets (print or electronic) and quiz yourself; Greek/Hebrew paradigms; Auto- 
complete morphologies that provide available options in an automatic popup list; Popup 
gloss and definitions that open a mini-window showing the gloss for Greek and Hebrew 
words to appear as your mouse passes over tagged words; Lexical/Grammatical Helps 
Window that displays a color-coded list of all lexical and grammatical references, 
including the introductory line from each reference as you move the mouse over tagged 
text; text coloring that allows you to highlight text by hand or highlight search results 
with various colors and formattings; a text comparison tool that allows you to compare 
multiple Bible versions at once; a series of editable outlines of biblical texts; a clone 
window that opens an identical copy of your BW window in which you are working, and 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

new Greek and Hebrew fonts that allow you to share documents in HTML, Word, 
Outlook, and many other applications. 

Shall I go on? Okay. There are new databases as well. These include 
Tichendorf s Greek NT with complete apparatus; the complete works of Josephus, parsed 
and lemmatized, with Whiston's 1828 English translation; WTM Groves-Wheeler 
Westminster Hebrew OT Morphology database v. 4.0 with two accent tagging systems 
and editorial comments; the Aramaic New Testament (Peshitta; viewable in Estangela or 
Hebrew letter script) with the Murdock English translation; the Targumim, parsed, 
lemmatized, and tied to entries in the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon; Gesenius' 
Hebrew Grammar; Moods and Tenses of NT Greek, by Burton; Basic Hebrew for Bible 
Study, by Futato; Matthew Henry's Commentary ~ complete and linked to BW; Apostolic 
Fathers (Greek); and a few translations, including the Bishops' Bible (1595), Tyndale's 
New Testament (1534), and the NET Bible with notes and maps. 

Had enough? Well, there's more. BW 6.0 has new modules available. The 
following tools are also available for unlocking: Beginning Biblical Hebrew (full text), by 
Futato ($25), Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New 
Testament, by Wallace ($25); Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, by Waltke and 
O'Connor; and The Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts with morphological tags ($80). Also 
available are BDAG (3'"'' edition, $125) and HALOT {4* edition, $159), or both together 
(BDAG and HALOT, $197). Apologies to those who bought Brill's two-volume 
concordance to the non-biblical texts of the DSS ($299.00). Upgrades are available from 
BW 4 ($150) and BW 5 ($125). Information for this and system requirements are 
available on the BW website. 

Nothing is perfect, and the improvements BW has made over the years are 
indicative of their constant effort to improve their product. Having Josephus in Greek is 
priceless (apologies to those who bought Brill's [now two-volume] concordance to 
Josephus [$349]) though Whiston's translation is less reliable than that in the Loeb 
volumes. Perhaps BW will soon include the works of Philo (with Yonge's translation). 
Translations for the Apostolic Fathers and the Targumim would be helpful. The Peshitta 
of the OT would be most welcome, as well as a parsed text of the NT. There are much 
better Syriac fonts available than that used in BW, which seems to be a BW creation 
(BWHeba). Some accents on LSJ lexicon do show up in the display garbled. The same is 
true for the UBS dictionary, some of Louw-Nida, and Thayer's dictionary. It is 
unfortimate that you cannot display or output other Greek fonts, such as SBL's SPIonic, 
without remapping fonts from BW's BWgkl. 

It is amazing what you can do with this product! Having BDB full and abridged 
and Bible dictionaries (including ISBE!) is very helpful. There's even a key to LSJ's 
abbreviations (I've always wanted one!). The flashcard component is great for those 
keeping up on language skills. There are even parsing cards for Hebrew and Greek. 
Vocabulary can be set by frequency, by book, or by frequency within a book, etc., though 
it does not seem set to the LXX, only NT Greek. With a few clicks of a button, you can 
use this feature to see that Jude has 226 different words. 16 of which are hapaxes. This is 
excellent for someone studying the text of a particular book. Moreover, the vocabulary 
flashcards are expandable and one can create databases for Aramaic, Latin, German, and 
French. HopefiiUy these will appear in fiature upgrades. 

While this tool may be a bit too much horsepower for many, it can be very 
useful for students serious about keeping up language skills, pastors who want an 
efficient way to work in primary sources, and Bible translators who will find the original 
language tools essential and perhaps the scores of various Bible translations to be a 


Book Reviews 

helpful resource. More than once I've found myself punching the air in triumph and 
exclaiming my joy at the depth of work I can accomplish with a few buttons that used to 
take me hours. Though the price can be a bit offsetting, BW does offer discounts for 
those buying in bulk, and will take about 10% off at ETS and SBL conferences. 
Considering all the books you do not have to buy if you have BW, the cost is easily 
justifiable to the nervous spouse concerned about the cost of books. 

This review is by no means complete. Fuller reviews are written by Moises 
Silva in WTJ 66.2 (2004) 449-54 and a full article comparing Bible software packages by 
H. Van Dyke Parunak, "Windows Software for Bible Study," JETS 46.3 (2003): 465-95 
(comparing BW version 5). 

Daniel M. Gurtner, Bethel Seminary, St Paul MN 

Logos Bible Software Series X, Release 2.1b, 2004. Logos Bible Software, 1313 
Commercial St., Bellingham, WA 98225-4307. . Original Languages 
Library, $399.95; Scholar's Library, $599.95; Scholar's Library Silver Edition, $999.95. 

Christof Hardmeier, Eep Talstra, Bertram Salzmarm, Stuttgart Electronic Study Bible. 
Stuttgart: German Bible Society ( ) / Haarlem: Netherlands 
Bible Society ( ), 2004. Software, 240 Euros. 

Electronic resources for biblical and theological study are expanding at a rapid 
rate, as they are in all fields of study. These two products continue the expansion of 
offerings using the Libronix Digital Library System. This journal has published two 
previous reviews or earlier versions (ATJ 28 [1996] 116-120 and 34 [2002] 94-97). 
Many of the features of the software, as well as some shortcomings, were addressed 
there, so here we will look at some additional features. 

The Logos software continues to add Bibles, Bible study tools, and a plethora 
of other material across the spectrum of theological education. Some very useful new 
tools have been added to the libraries to aid in linguistic analysis. One is called a 'verb 
river' which presents the occurrence of verbal forms in a passage in a graphical, visual 
form so one can see changes in, for example, number and gender within a passage. For 
example. Exodus 20 is clearly shown to have both singulars and plurals at the beginning 
and end, but only singulars in the middle, Decalog section. There is also a similar 
graphical river showing variants between 10 different English translations, including 

A feature not reviewed before is the Word Study Guide. Opening this tool from 
within Genesis 1 , for example, can open up a screen with each Hebrew word listed with 

an English gloss, e.g. 'beginning', a transliteration, 'r ft, and various links: the 

enhanced Strong's lexicon. Englishman's Hebrew concordance (referring to every 
occurrence of the word), the Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains, 
and several other dictionaries and word study tools. These links open up the resource in 
its own window, making word analysis tools easy to access, though one still needs to 
know how to analyze, evaluate, and use the information provided. 

A largely forgotten tool for language analysis is sentence diagramming, where 
the relationship between words in a sentence can be clearly demonstrated. The program 
provides a diagrammatical function which can be used for Hebrew, Greek or English, 
aiding in understanding a passage's syntax. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Finally, the Graphical Query feature makes complex searches easier through 
visualization of the relationship between the words to be searched rather than simply 
listing the words. For example, it is relatively straightforward to make a query regarding 
every occurrence in the NIV where David precedes Jesse by not more than 5 words, and 
it is also possible to search for proximate words displaying various grammatical features. 
This sophistication allows textual analysis in ways impossible or extremely time- 
consuming without computer resources. 

The Logos tools will help students of Scripture at all levels, from novice to 
seasoned scholar. The company is also always eager to hear of available resources which 
they might add to their repertoire, or of new concepts which need to be developed. 

SEES is more limited in scope to actual Bible analysis tools: 18 Bible versions 
in Hebrew, Greek, German, English, French, and Dutch; dictionaries (Hebrew-German, 
Hebrew-English, Greek-English of the LXX, and NT Greek-English and Greek-German); 
and 4 helpful databases (the BHS database from the Free University of Amsterdam; the 
CCAT LXX database; the GRAMCORD NA^^ NT database; and the German 
lemmatization database. A most valuable prize in this package for serious scholars of the 
original language biblical text is the availability for the first time, to my knowledge, of 
the marginal text-critical apparatus for BHS and NA"^. This relieves the frustration of 
having to constantly consult a printed source while working with a computer-based 

Both of these resources have great depth which can be plumbed for serious 
Bible study. Some of these are easily accessible, but some of the more advanced need one 
to consult the help material available in electronic and printed form. When using these in 
SEES, remember that it originated in German, so if you find you can't read the 
instructions, don't panic, but look for the English translation which is also included. 

David W.Baker 

William G. Dever, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? 
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. 268 pp., cloth, $25.00. 

Following the format and tone of What Did the Eiblical Writers Know and 
When Did They Know It? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), Dever addresses the question 
of the origin of Israel, presently one of the most contested issues in biblical scholarship. 
He aims to offer "the average educated reader" an accessible account the emergence of 
Israel, supported by "convergences" between archaeology and the Bible. Whereas the so- 
called "maximalist-minimalist" controversy constitutes the main focus of the prior 
volume, the present book concentrates on the disparate portraits of Israel's beginnings 
rendered by the Bible and the archaeological record, with primacy given to the latter. 

The book provides an excellent and compact synthesis of archaeological 
excavations, surveys, methods, and models and will therefore be of particular interest to 
readers looking for a concise overview of the archaeological record as it impacts the 
books of Joshua and Judges. Dever begins with a brief assessment of the Exodus and 
wilderness traditions in light of the archaeological record (which offers little in the way 
of confirmation). He then summarizes the three models that, in the past, have been used 
to explain Israel's origins in the land: conquest, gradual infiltration (by pastoral nomads), 
and peasant revolt. The summaries are illumined by brief but informative accounts of the 
excavations at key sites (such as Jericho, Ai, and Gibeon - none of which yield 
significant evidence of occupation during the period in question). He then charts the shift 


Book Reviews 

in archaeology from the 1970's - away from monumental remains and large sites in favor 
of surveys, smaller settlements, and material culture. He believes these yield evidence of 
a developing sense of ethnicity that is both continuous with and distinct from the culture 
of Late Bronze Age Canaan. Among the distinctive elements are house plans and village 
layouts, the absence of pig bones, indications that the society was kin-based and 
autonomous, and indications of different potting techniques (although with styles that 
demonstrate continuity). 

A review of previous attempts to synthesize archaeology and the Bible opens 
the second main section of the book and leads to a refutation of Israel Finkelstein's 
proposal that the explosion of settlements in the central highlands is to be explained by 
the resedentarization of peoples originally displaced by the massive destructions that 
marked the end of the Middle Bronze Age. Dever then advances his own proposal, 
namely that Israel emerged from a melange of groups that withdrew from Canaanite 
culture at the point of collapse and settled the central highlands in search a new society 
and lifestyle. He finds support for this proposal from archaeology - in remains that 
suggest the highland settlers had experience as subsistence farmers and that their villages 
display a homogeneity of material culture - and from the Bible - in the opposition to 
kings and their concomitants reflected in various texts. In short, he sees Israel gradually 
emerging from "an agrarian movement with strong reformist tendencies driven by a new 
social ideal" (p. 189). 

Dever believes that it is better to refer to the early highland settlers as "proto- 
Israelites," and he locates the heartland of what became Israel in the central highland 
regions of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin. He suggests that the Joseph tribes 
probably shaped the larger literary tradition of Israel to a large degree and eclipsed the 
traditions of other proto-Israelite groups, a possibility reinforced by the disproportionate 
attention given to the Joseph tribes at various points in the Hebrew Bible. He asserts that 
the Exodus-Sinai traditions, and indeed the pivotal role accorded to Moses, cannot have 
been an essential part of this process and are probably to be attributed to "Yahweh-alone" 
reforms, probably during the reign of Josiah. Moses, like Joshua, is more myth than man. 

Dever's comprehensive review and assessment of archaeology in Palestine 
succeeds in offering an informative and accessible synthesis of a vast and complex 
discussion. Many readers will find this worth the price of the book in itself. His 
assessment of convergences and proposal for Israel's origins is thoughtful and informed 
but begs for more elaboration. He suggests, for example, that traditions about Moses 
may have entered early and may have been transmitted through pre-Israelite folk religion. 
Yet he also asserts the Canaanite fertility themes continued as the fundamental aspect of 
Israelite religion, the arena of which would also seem to be folk religion. Mosaic religion 
is fundamentally aniconic and covenantal and therefore antithetical to the fertility cults. 
How, then, did folk religion constitute the medium for both? 

Regrettably, Dever's rhetoric sometimes undercuts the fair-minded, centrist 
persona he constructs, particularly as it perpetuates tired and outdated stereotypes of 
evangelical scholars, whom it seems are hardly worth mentioning. Whether through 
willful ignorance or intentional caricature, he lumps conservatives and evangelicals 
together with fundamentalists and Orthodox Jews as those who read the biblical text 
"uncritically, quite literally," an assessment difficult to comprehend in light of some of 
the evangelical works he cites in his bibliography. Those who situate the Exodus in the 
15' Century (this reviewer not among them) are summarily dismissed as "a few diehard 
fundamentalists." From these and other comments, one can reasonably infer, therefore, 
that the "average educated readers" he has in mind do not include many of evangelical 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

persuasion. This predilection notwithstanding, readers will find in this book an informed 
and provocative introduction to the contemporary discussion on Israel's origins. 

L. Daniel Hawk 

Steven Grosby, Biblical Ideas of Nationality: Ancient and Modern. Winona Lake, Ind.: 
Eisenbrauns, 2002. 269 pp., cloth, $29.50. 

This volume brings together ten essays previously published in a variety of 
journals and anthologies. They include the following: "Religion and Nationality in 
Antiquity"; "Kinship, Territory, and the Nation in the Historiography of Ancient Israel"; 
"Sociological Implications of the Distinction between 'Locality' and Extended 
'Territory'"; "The Chosen People of Ancient Israel and the Occident: Why Does 
Nationality Exist and Survive?"; "Borders, Territory, and Nationality in the Ancient Near 
East and Armenia"; ""''Aram Kulloh and the Worship of Hadad: A Nation of Aram?"; "the 
Category of the Primordial in the Study of Early Christianity and Second-Century 
Judaism"; "Territoriality"; "The Nation of the United States and the Vision of Ancient 
Israel"; and "Nationality and Religion." 

The essays are united by the author's interest in concepts of boundaries, 
territoriality, and nationality in the ancient Near East, with particular attention to Israel. 
Grosby asserts that the literature of ancient societies manifests notions of "nationality" 
that approximate modem concepts. As a whole, the essays advance this argument by 
exploring and developing interlacing topics: nationality as a concept founded on a trans- 
tribal collectivity living on bounded territorial entities; the role of "primordiality" (the 
importance attached to birth to particular lineages and specific territory); the influence of 
monolatry and a "law of the land" (and particularly Deuteronomy) on unifying smaller 
collectives into an Israelite nation; the relationship between the this-worldliness of 
nations and the other-worldliness of religion in shaping national consciousness; and 
parallels between ancient and modem expressions of these. To a large extent, the 
author's discussions of ancient Israel interact with classical models of Israelite religion 
and society (e.g. Wellhausen, Alt, von Rad), a puzzling focus given the explosion of 
studies which, in the last 20 years, have appropriated the social sciences to address the 
very topics of kinship and territory that form the heart of his program. Nevertheless, the 
call to explore associations between ancient and modem concepts of nationality is worth 
pursuing. The essays collected here offer useful models and language for shaping the 

' L. Daniel Hawk 

Rodney R. Hutton, Fortress Introduction to the Prophets. Minneapolis: Fortress Press 
2004. 115 pp., paper, $16.00. 

The primary purpose of this text is to provide a brief overview of the pre-exilic 
and exilic prophets. Hutton, a Old Testament Professor at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, 
wrote an intelligent written but easily comprehendible book that provides a great starting 
place for college students, beginning seminary students or anyone interested in leaming 
more about the prophets of the Old Testament. At 115 pages the book does not 
adequately cover any of the prophets but it does introduce the major themes surrounding 
them sufficiently. Unfortunately, the book does not cover any of the later, post-exilic 


Book Reviews 

prophets, except to briefly mention them at the end of the text. The purpose of the book is 
to expose the reader to the general concepts and purposes of Old Testament prophesy 
instead of exhaustively introducing each prophetic book. Subsequently, the books 
discussed include Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and 

Hutton provides a refreshing, balanced presentation of both conservative and 
liberal thought. One of the finer points of the book was the adeptness he displays in 
addressing issues of how to read Israelite prophecy. Should prophecy be read solely 
through the lens of Christ or do the prophets only speak in their own context? The 
controversial Isaiah 7 passage regarding virgin birth was presented lucidly. The 
beginning student will greatly benefit from the well-articulated discussion of both sides 
of this complex issue. While Hutton sides with a traditionally liberal view in regards to 
virgin birth, he recognizes the importance of a more orthodox view. Finally, he draws 
out what he feels is of more significance, one should trust in God to provide deliverance. 

Authorship, historical context, literary form and literary structure in the 
prophets are all areas of relevance in the prophetic books. Each prophetic book Hutton 
discusses is used to exemplify and discuss these different issues. A fair presentation of 
the facts on each issue is presented in order to help the reader understand the bigger 
picture. While no book is written without bias, Hutton falls on different sides, 
conservative and liberal, on the various issues. No notes are used in the book, which 
would prove helpful for the reader to further explore the theological debates and facts 
presented by Hutton. Regardless, for a student who is still learning about the prophets and 
theological positions, the book's articulations will be beneficial. 

Hutton utilizes Hebrew in an effective manner. There were several instances 
where a basic knowledge of Hebrew grammar was necessary to understand the point 
being made but his use was appropriate for a beginning reader. While an academic 
approach was not abandoned there were short devotional application pieces interspersed 
throughout the book. According to Hutton, in Isaiah, the theme of the book is to trust in 
God's deliverance. In Jeremiah, after a lengthy discussion of the nature of the prophets 
prophesying in the name of Baal, the main theme for Hutton is a false confidence in God. 

Overall, this book is helpful for understand the basics of prophetic literature, 
the literary form, historical context, theological positions, and means of interpretation. 
The length of the book prohibited any in-depth analysis but it did provide a good starting 
point for further exploration. Yet due to the brevity, it would not be well suited for a 
thorough introduction to the prophets. In addition to the length, an extensive amount of 
time is devoted to the book of Jeremiah. This fiarther inhibits getting a fiill picture of the 
entire group of Old Testament Prophets. While not ideal for thorough introduction. 
Introduction to the Prophets is a stimulating book that should provoke new students of 
the Bible to want to further explore the nature and content of the Old Testament Prophets. 

Curtis D. Bissell 

James W. Watts, ed., Persia and Torah: The Theory of Imperial Authorization of the 
Pentateuch. SBL Symposium Series. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001. 228 
pp., paper, $39.95. 

The book of Ezra contains a letter, purportedly written by Artaxerxes, which 
gives imperial authority to Ezra and enjoins obedience to "the law of your God and the 
law of the king" (Ezra 7:26). In 1984, German scholar Peter Frei proposed that the letter 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

reflects a policy typical of the Achaemenid empire, whereby the Persian authorities 
granted a degree of autonomy to subject peoples by authorizing local legislation. The 
proposal has ramifications for the study of the Pentateuch, for this was indeed the case, 
one could reasonably be infer that the "authorization" of a law code for Judah served as a 
catalyst for the formation of the Pentateuch. The essays in this volume examine and 
evaluate the proposal from a variety of perspectives. 

The first essay, "Persian Imperial Authorization: A Summary," is a translation 
of a German original published by Frei in 1996. In it, Frei elaborates his theory through a 
review of texts from Egypt, Yehud, Elephantine, and Asia Minor that he offers as 
examples of imperial authorization. Joseph Blenkinsopp responds with an essay titled 
"Was the Pentateuch the Civic and Religious Constitution of the Jewish Ethnos in the 
Persian Period?" which examines the Egyptian, biblical, and Elephantine texts cited by 
Frei. Blenkinsopp affirms that some of Frei's conclusions are possible but reserves 
judgment on the theory as a whole due to inconsistencies between the biblical account 
and the process of authorization, questions about the process itself, and the existence of 
attractive alternatives. The next essay by Lizbeth Fried, "'You Shall Appoint Judges': 
Ezra's Mission the Rescript of Artaxerxes," examines Ezra's mission and concludes that 
it was confined to the appointment of judges in accordance with Persian law. Lester 
Grabbe ("The Law of Moses in the Ezra Tradition: More Virtual than Real?") comes at 
the issue from an even different angle; he questions the historicity of the biblical account 
and some of the historical constructs that support the theory of imperial authorization. 

Gary Knoppers' contribution, "An Achaemenid Imperial Authorization of 
Torah in Yehud," raises the question of whether the Persians actually encouraged the 
collection or writing of local law codes and answers by seeing a more passive Persian 
involvement in local affairs. Donald B. Redford, in "The So-Called 'Codification' of 
Egyptian Law Under Darius I," evaluates a key supporting pillar of Frei's argument and 
concludes that the recording of Egyptian law drawn up by order of Darius was more a 
translation into Aramaic undertaken to familiarize imperial authorities with local 
traditions, as opposed to an authorization of local legislation. In the final essay, '"Persian 
Imperial Authorization': Some Question Marks," Jean Louis Ska goes to the heart of the 
matter and questions whether any of the documents cited by Frei really constitute 
evidence of the type of imperial authorization he proposes. Speaking to the origin of the 
Pentateuch in particular. Ska finds the needs of the Second Temple community to be a 
more plausible explanation than an intervention from imperial authority. 

As this review indicates, the respondents do not as a whole find Frei's thesis to 
a compelling one. All essays, however, are well-written and stimulating and offer many 
insights into the context of postexilic Yehud. They will therefore be of most interest to 
readers who wish to know more about the history of this community - and how that 
history is constructed and evaluated. 

L. Daniel Hawk 

Andrew Louth, ed., with M. Confi, Genesis 1-11, Ancient Christian Commentary of 
Scripture: Old Testament, ed. T. C. Oden. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2001. lii + 204 
pp., cloth, $40.00. 

Exegetes do well by remembering the observation of John Donne that "No man 
is an island, entire of itself" While we do have our own exegetical observations to make, 
we are blessed by a 'great cloud of witnesses', living and dead, who have plowed these 


Book Reviews 

same fields before us. Part of the task of any exegete worthy of that title is to be aware of 
the thoughts of these others. 

The aim of Thomas Oden and InterVarsity Press is to aid in this endeavor by 
making available commentary on Scripture from the patristic period, the first seven 
centuries of the Church. Oden begins by introducing the project itself, the plenteous 
resources which had largely been neglected up to now, the ecumenical range of 
contributors and consultants (Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and 
Evangelical), as well as providing useful comments on misogyny, anti-Semitism and 
Pelagianism. The volume editor, professor of patristic and Byzantine studies at the 
University of Durham, then introduces the volume itself He comments on the varieties of 
versions (Hebrew, Greek, Latin) and various theological issues such as typology and 
original sin. 

The commentary proper begins each section with the verse or pericope under 
discussion (taken from the RSV). Following an overview of the passage, there is 
comment on words and phrases drawn from the fathers. For those used to working with 
Jewish sources, the layout is similar to that of the rabbinic commentaries. 

The volume, and the series, fills an important gap in exegetical resources. 
While it will not be the only, or even the first, commentary, which a student of Scripture 
will have on the desk, it is an important resource if one wants to seriously grapple with 
the text. If nothing else, I hope that the series lifts our modem eyes from a superficial 
personal application based on all too shallow exegesis to a time when the Bible was 
considered worthy of serious theological engagement. 

David W. Baker 

Creach, Jerome F. D., Joshua. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and 
Preaching. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2003. 168 pp., cloth, $24.95. 

Jerome Creach is an associate professor of Old Testament at Pittsburgh 
Theological Seminary. The purpose of the interpretation biblical commentary series is to 
be a resource for teaching and preaching while emphasizing the use of historical and 
theological results to find meaning within the biblical text. Creach believes that Joshua 
was "written in the ancient world to trace national origins and support nationalistic 

goals their concern is to create identity and teach values, not to report 'what really 

happened'" (p. 5). The narrowness of Creach's focus does not include: the historical 
phenomenon of Joshua, an editorial history, a comparison of the LXX and the Masoretic 
Text, or a detailed analysis of the whole book (p. 4). He believes that the theological 
themes in Joshua are rooted in Deuteronomy: obedience to torah, warfare and herem, and 
the unity of Israel. Creach uses source and redaction criticism to locate the author(s) and 
the audience of Joshua (p. 4). He divides Joshua into three distinct parts: God's gift of the 
land (Josh. 1-12), dividing the land for an inheritance (Josh. 13-22), and when YHWH 
had given rest (Josh. 23-24). 

There are several advantages to Creach's study of Joshua. Creach effectively 
deals with the issues that surround the ban. He demonstrates that the authors of Joshua 
struggled with the issue of the ban. The only sins reported in the land of Canaan are 
Israel's transgressions. Yet any Canaanite who surrendered to Israel's God could be 
saved (p. 42). Another advantage of Creach's work is that he tries to understand violence 
within the context of Joshua's time. He recognizes that violence was defined as any 
action which defied God's sovereignty, especially pride and "imperious self-interesf ' (p. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

15). Violence was not understood as the utter annihilation of a whole people group. 

There are disadvantages to Jerome Creach's study as well. Creach is somewhat 
successful in his argument that Joshua was a prophet. However, Creach misuses Hosea 
12:13 as one of his points that Joshua was a prophet. He believes that the second prophet 
in Hosea 12:13 is a reference to Joshua. Hosea 12:13 referred to one person, Moses, who 
was the prophet who brought Israel out of Egypt. The second reference to "a prophet" in 
verse thirteen also referred to Moses. The author(s) of Hosea contrasted the main 
character of verse twelve, Jacob, with the main person of verse thirteen, Moses. The 
second disadvantage of Creach's book is that he reads too much into the text. He draws 
conclusions from the color of the cord that Rahab hung out of her window and the fact 
that the spies were hidden under flax (Josh. 2:6, 18, 21). He compares Rahab with the 
virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:10-31. Joshua 2 does not say that Rahab worked with 
flax (Prov. 31:13) or that she dressed her family in crimson clothes (Prov. 31:21). Creach 
also hypothesizes that Rahab may have been a prostitute in order to pay back a family 
debt which would show that Rahab was really devoted to her family (p. 39). Rahab was 
devoted to her family in that she saved them from being killed; however, Joshua does not 
say that she was a hooker in order to repay a family liability (Josh. 2:12-13). The third 
disadvantage to Creach's research is that he does not take into consideration the broad 
perspective that the diversity of the United States has upon the applications of Joshua. He 
states that: 

Americans, diverse in ethnicity and experience, tend to adopt and identify with 
a single view of national origins. Settlements at Jamestown and Plymouth have come to 
embody values for the nation as a whole that collapse the variegated experience of 
immigrants into one (p. 53). 

This "tendency" probably does not account for the numerous slaves who were 
brought over from Africa. This "tendency" probably does not account for the Chinese 
who were exploited for the railroad systems in the West. What about Middle Easterners, 
Hispanics, and other Asians? If Creach's view of the whole of Americans is the white 
majority then maybe he is right; however, many would disagree. 

Jerome Creach successfully stayed within his focused topic and he approached 
the theological argument of herem effectively. Yet sometimes his applications do not fit 
the text or the relevance of the vast opinions of society. He also stretches the meaning of 
Hosea 12:13 in his search to find a text that actually referred to Joshua by the title of 

Heather Hicks 

Eugene F. Roop, Believers Church Bible Commentary: Ruth, Jonah, Esther. Scottdale, 
PA: Herald Press, 2002. 283 pp., paper, $24.99. 

The Believers Church Bible Commentary: Ruth. Jonah, Esther is a well- 
written, easy to read commentary on three short biblical narratives. It was written in 
response to the expressed need of many different churches for help in biblical studies. 

The foreword of the book gives great detail about the Roop's purposes and the 
Believers Churches' goal in writing this commentary. The author worked primarily with 
English translations of the biblical stories for the easy understanding of the lay audience. 

These three books of the Bible are looked at separately and broken down into 
the detailed episodes of each book. Special attention is given to the overall themes of the 
books; debated issues are addressed, but not emphasized. Each biblical book is given an 


Book Reviews 

overview, outline, introduction, detailed analysis of the episodes in the book, and a 
conclusion. Attention is also given to the application of the texts within the church 
setting. Difficult terms throughout the text are addressed at the end of the book in the 
form of short essays, and are referred to in the text by bracketing and italicizing the term. 
The book also has an extensive bibliography and index of ancient texts. 

Due to a printing error, the first thirty-two pages of the book are repeated at the 
end of the book. Hopefully, the publishers have already discovered this, and it will not 
be an issue in later press runs. 

This commentary is very easy to read. The expansions and explanations by 
Roop were well written. It would make a wonderful addition to the library of any Sunday 
school teacher, pastor, or person interested in learning more about Ruth, Jonah or Esther. 

Amy Kinder 

Steven J. Lawson, Psalms 1-75. Holman Old Testament Commentary. Nashville: 
Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2003. 384 pp., hardcover, $19.99. 

The Holman Old Testament Commentary series attempts, in a concise way, to 
deliver an essential understanding of the Old Testament books. Interpretation is based on 
the NIV version of the Bible. The purpose is to present a practical resource guide for 
teachers and pastor to assist them in their teaching of the Old Testament. The 
introduction to the volume on Psalms 1-75 contains many helpful articles such as: unique 
features, book title, human authors, time period, intended purpose, superscription and 
notations, literary types, book divisions, literary style, figures of speech, and acrostics. 

Each of the covered Psalms 1-75 receive a patterned treatment. First there is an 
illustrated introduction to the Psalm. Then follows a verse-by-verse commentary that 
interprets the passage with accompanying identification of the main idea and the 
supporting idea. Third, the conclusion draws together the themes identified in the 
passage. This is followed by a life application section with additional illustrative 
material. Next is a prayer followed by a deeper discoveries section designed to provide 
explanation for keywords, phrases and background information. The seventh section is a 
somewhat detailed teaching outline of the Psalm and concludes with issues for 

The book is obviously a resource for teaching in the local church. One aim of 
the work is to "make every minute of preparation time meaningful." Thus the market is 
to pastors, teachers and personal devotional study. Each psalm received four to eight 
pages of treatment. The author is the senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in 

Mobile, Alabama. He holds a D.Min. degree from Reformed Theological 

Richard E. Allison 

David George Moore and Daniel L. Akin, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs. Holman Old 
Testament Commentary, ed. Max Anders, vol. 14. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 
2003. 367 pp., hardcover, $19.99. 

Most commentaries are written for academics, pastors and other persons 
educated in biblical scholarship. This volume is clearly written with a different target 
audience in mind. The format of this book is designed for those who are interested in 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

learning and applying the text without wading through lengthy discussions on textual 
criticism and other more academic arguments. Even so, the introduction of Ecclesiastes 
includes a fair discussion of the issues relating to authorship, while no such discussion is 
presented in Song of Songs. Overall, due to the extensive illustrations and application 
discussions, this material seems to be best suited for an American audience, or for those 
with an otherwise western cultural understanding. Theologically, the writing attempts to 
fairly represent many sides of significant academic discussions, but teaches from a 
generally evangelical perspective. 

The introduction to Ecclesiastes includes a summary of the overarching theme, 
a description of the discussions on authorship and date of origin, an outline, an overview 
of its genre, its canonicity and other background notes. The body of the commentary is in 
a different format than normally seen. The scripture is broken up not by chapter, but into 
passages that represent sections of logical thought. Each section under analysis includes 
an introductory section, commentary, conclusion, application and notes for deeper 
discoveries. These sections then conclude with a teaching outline and issues for 
discussion. Overall, Ecclesiastes is presented in clear, understandable language that helps 
the reader to sift through passages that can include complex and sometimes baffling 
forms and difficult terminology. My only difficulty in reading Ecclesiastes, was that the 
authors seem to try too hard to make a dark subject more cheerful than is merited. 

The section on Song of Songs is laid out similar to Ecclesiastes, but, in 
addition, this introduction includes sections on the purpose of the book and a description 
of how the book can speak to a modem generation. Song of Songs is similarly well 
written, and, although this book does not present the same difficulty to the reader that we 
find in Ecclesiastes, the authors point out many interesting highlights along the way. 

The format of this commentary puts a lot of material on a lower shelf, 
accessible to many who may consider traditional commentaries to be too difficult or 
complex. Combined with the authors' understandable writing style, this volume is 
worthy of serious consideration by laypersons normally put off by academic 

John Partridge 

Richard S. Hess, Song of Songs. Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and 
Psalms. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2005. 285 pp., hardcover, $29.99. 

Richard S. Hess's Song of Songs is the first volume of the Baker Commentary 
on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms, edited by Tremper Longman III. Hess, 
professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary, is the author and editor of numerous 
works, including the commentary on Joshua in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries 
and Israel's Messiah in the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the present volume, as 
Calvin Miller of Beeson Divinity School comments on the back jacket flap, he opts to 
"tear away the brown wrapping" from the often controversial Song of Songs, introducing 
readers to the sacred music of this exotic "song for the ages." 

The intent of the new series is to present the message of each biblical book to 
an audience that includes "clergy and future clergy, namely seminary students" (p. 8). 
This volume thus was written to be accessible to nonscholars, although abundant 
footnotes provide detailed information for scholars and venturesome nonscholars alike. 
Limiting the scope of the series to the Psalms and Wisdom books allows each volume to 
be "tailored" to the unique character of that portion of the Hebrew Scriptures and to 


Book Reviews 

highlight significant poetic conventions, a task which Hess accomplishes richly and 

Hess's commentary consists of an introduction and individual chapters 
representing his seven major structural divisions for the Song. As will be the case for all 
commentaries in the series, each division is accorded (1) an original translation, (2) a 
detailed interpretation, and (3) a final reflection on theological implications. The 
introduction includes a section entitled "How (Not) to Read the Song," in which Hess 
explains that the Song of Songs is not a drama or sequential narrative, an allegory, an 
anthology of diverse erotic poetry, a "manifesto for free love," a description of a married 
relationship, or a sex manual. It is a literary work similar in imagery and metaphor to 
Egyptian love poetry; "a fantasy that explores the commitment of an erotic love affair" 
(p. 35), probably in the context of marriage; and an introduction to the concept of sex as a 
gift from God, "an experience of love whose intensity has no parallel in this cosmos and 
serves as a signpost to point to the greater love that lies beyond it" (p. 35). 

In the "Translation" sections, Hess leaves no word unturned: his detailed notes 
offer historical and etiological facts for virtually every significant word in each section, 
thought-provoking arguments for nontraditional lexical decisions, and alternative points 
of view. The "Interpretation" sections consist of verse-by-verse comments that address 
literary, historical, rhetorical, even psychological issues. In addition to detailed 
observations concerning other interpretations, the section footnotes encompass 
information on parallel texts, explanations of literary and poetic conventions, and 
discussions of thorny grammatical and lexical concerns. The "Theological Implications" 
sections, which are short (sometimes less than one page) but comprehensive, link the 
Hebrew text to Christian application. Overall, despite his strong belief that the couple in 
the Song are, at least ultimately, married, Hess affirms that physical love is the main 
focus of the Song. Passion, he declares, is "the closest experience this side of the grave of 
the transcendent knowledge of the living God" (p. 34), and his last theological reflection 
connects the still-unsatisfied longing of the couple in the Song's final scene to the human 
yearning for God's love, which will reach consummation only "in the marriage of Christ 
and his Bride," described so eloquently in Rev. 19:7-9 (p. 251). 

In a book dedicated to presenting God's message, Hess's theological reflections 
seem brief, but such brevity may nudge the reader toward further, independent 
theological reflection — an especially good exercise for seminarians. Nonscholars should 
at least skim the extensive footnotes, which provide a wealth of fascinating information, 
much of it comparatively "user-friendly," and the substantial bibliography. This book 
speaks to different levels of scholarship without forcing one level on the reader, raises 
thought-provoking questions without imposing answers, presents a theological challenge 
without threatening faith. One need not agree with everything Hess says to conclude that 
he solidly achieves the series' goal to "inform readers and... stimulate reflection on and 
passion for" (p. 9) a sacred writing that has intrigued, shocked, and challenged readers for 

Susan A. Blake 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Stephen R. Miller, Holman Old Testament Commentary: Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, 
Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2004. 
Xiii + 378 pp., hardback , $19.99. 

The Holman Old Testament Commentary Series edited by Max Anders is one 
of the most helpful biblical resources for local church Bible study. Stephen R. Miller 
well utilizes the form and structure of the Holman commentaries which are known for 
their eight-fold presentation of the material (Introduction, Commentary, Conclusion, Life 
Application, Prayer, Deeper Discoveries, Teaching Outline, and Issues for Discussion). 
Any lay teacher would find themselves delightfully equipped to lead a study of these six 
prophetic books as Miller provides interesting, insightful, and informative information 
that brings these ancient prophecies to life for the modem day and time. Miller provides 
relevant historical facts that impinge on the life and times of the prophets. He includes 
helpful diagrams and charts to organize personalities, dates, and eras of the time, and, ties 
the prophetic literature to the New Testament when appropriate. His illustrations and 
anecdotes are diverse and to the point. 

While all church leaders would benefit form having Miller's work on their 
shelf, for a deeper understanding of the literature one would need to supplement the study 
of these prophets with other works which address them within the broader Book of the 
Twelve. Unfortunately, though Miller makes a passing remark with respect to the 
Twelve to argue for the unity of Zechariah, he fails to bring the context of the Twelve to 
bear on the interpretation of the individual books and passages. Recent scholarship is 
making significant strides to read the Twelve as a theological unity which sheds 
considerable light on the message(s) of the Minor Prophets (cf. the recent works of 
scholars such as C. Seitz, R. Clements, R. Rendtorff, J. Jeremias, T. Collins, R.C. Van 
Leeuwen, etc.). 

Failing to tap into this discussion of The Twelve means that several interesting 
issues involving these prophets were overlooked in the commentary. For example, how 
does the compassion formula (Exodus 34) that occurs in Nahum 1:2-3 function in the 
light of the way it grows and develops within The Twelve (Joel, Jonah, and Micah)? 
What about the significance of Malachi's divorce theme in respect to Hosea's marriage 
motif? How does Malachi's last verse respond to Joel's eschatological judgment? What 
roles do the books without historical superscriptions (Joel, Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, 
and Malachi) play in the theological development of the Twelve? What is the 
significance of the three consecutive uses of mass a in Zechariah 9, 12, and Malachi 1? Is 
Haggai-Zechariah presenting the fruit in Zion that Habakkuk is waiting for? How do the 
books relate to Micah 3:12, the center of The Twelve? The way one views the Minor 
Prophets as a unity influences the interpretive force of various themes and motifs running 
through the individual books. 

In Miller's defense, dividing the Minor Prophets into two commentaries did not 
especially yield itself to focusing on the contours of the entire corpus. This division is an 
editorial decision. Nonetheless, a few remarks as to how the material of Nahum-Malachi 
corresponds to reading The Twelve as a theological whole could still have been 

Steven D. Mason, St. Mary's College, University of St. Andrews, Scotland 


Book Reviews 

A. Andrew Das, Paul and the Jews. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003. 256 
pp., paper, $24.95. 

In many ways Andrew Das is an old school scholar. He has a careful eye to 
detail, is exegetically laborious, and he is interested in the comparative dynamics of 
Pauline letters. In many ways too, the exegetical conclusions of Paul and the Jews are not 
radically different than those of authors from a generation ago. Yet Das is significantly 
aware of the "New Perspective on Paul," and is seeking to move that discussion forward. 
The newest offering brings together the best of what the New Perspective has to offer, 
with cautious critiques and careful exegesis to see the study through. Essentially, Paul 
and the Jews is a study of Galatians and Romans focused by the question: how does Paul 
understand Judaism in light of the Christ event? 

Das asks two questions of Galatians: What does Paul find problematic about 
the Law? Why can the Law not save? Most significant for answering these questions is 
understanding audience. Das suggests that Jewish Christians were promoting Gentile 
law-observance alongside faith. For Paul, this denied the power of the new thing God did 
in Christ and the Spirit. The Law always pointed to Messiah, and the Hebrew Scriptures 
displayed God's grace and mercy in the person of Jesus Christ. When Paul met Jesus, this 
altered the way he viewed his Judaism, and concluded that if faith did this, the Law did 
not have efficacy. 

Das then turns to Romans. He begins with chapters 14-15, and the 
identification of the "weak" (Gentiles law-keepers) and the "strong" (other Gentile 
Christians). This context is confirmed by a background in which Jewish Christians 
established the Roman church, but were expelled by Claudius. Without their support. 
Gentile believers were ostracized in the synagogue and left to worship on their own and 
without Kosher resources. Regarding Romans 9-11, Paul's Christology forces him to 
speak negatively and positively about ethnic Israel. Das critiques the "two-covenant" 
theory for not including all of the data, concluding that the only way to read Rom 9-1 1 
consistently with 1 1:25-31 is that in the future ethnic Israel will be converted. Das asserts 
God's impartiality, yet argues that Paul still holds a position of primacy for national 

Can impartiality and primacy co-exist? Das dedicates a chapter to studying this 
very issue, and focuses specifically on how Romans 1 1 fits with Galatians 3-4 and 1 
Thessalonians 2:14-16. Das concludes that Paul does not curse Israel for disbelief, but 
holds out hope for ethnic Israel. He maintains racial distinction, but his Christology still 
requires all to be saved by a faith in Christ. 

In chapters 6 and 7, Das turns to Paul's view of the Mosaic Law. Like his view 
of Judaism, Paul feels ambivalently regarding the Law. Das affirms the finding that Paul 
objected to the ethnic exclusivity of the Law, but adds that Paul also had other critiques. 
He concludes that Gentiles will be judged according to the same Law, but with the power 
of the Spirit Gentile believers fulfill the Mosaic Law while (paradoxically) not seeking to 
obey it, thus enjoying the benefits of Israel's election. 

"Hope" is the motif Das chooses to end with. He concludes that Paul's "radical 
reconceptualization of grace" when he encountered Christ changed his view of Judaism 
and Torah significantly. Das recognizes that although Paul holds out hope for his Jewish 
compatriots, his Christocentric theology remains a stumbling block. 

Das's strengths are his competence in creating plausible background 
hypotheses for his careful exegesis, and offering significant critique and correction to the 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

New Perspective on Paul, while still swimming the same stream. Das shows significant 
respect for differing conversation partners and he is eager to tackle difficult texts. 

Unfortunately, though. Das resultant treatment of the key text, Romans 7, was 
far too brief and cursory at best. In an attempt to capture Paul's ambivalence (I believe), 
Das's exegetical conclusions are sometimes ambivalent, and he never really explains how 
Israel's primacy and God's impartiality work as they sit together in tension, despite 
several tries. Although Das does not come off as a traditionalist, it is unclear how Das's 
monograph is a "newer perspective" on Paul, and what difference the New Perspective 
has actually made. 

Despite his desire to contribute to Jewish-Christian dialogue, does Das actually 
contribute in that direction? Das's Paul is consistently ambivalent and significantly 
negative toward ethnic Israel and the Mosaic Law. This is, however, one of the keener, 
and most subtle, insights of Das: true dialogue in Jewish-Christian relations must be 
predicated with a faithful reading of Pauline texts. 

Upper-level NT students and serious seminarians should find much beneficial 
in this volume. Das is detailed, but presents his arguments logically and understandably. 
Most of all. Das offers an important contribution to and critique of the New Perspective 
on Paul in an excellent introduction to Paul and Judaism. 

Brenton Dickieson, Regent College, Vancouver, BC. 

David A. deSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament. Contexts, Methods & Ministry 
Formation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity; Leicester, UK: Apollos, 2004. 975 pages, 
cloth, $40.00. 

Guthrie has been the venerable volume that InterVarsity Press contributed to 
the genre of New Testament introduction. Donald Guthrie's massive tome (1161 pages) 
was most recently issued in 1990 in its fourth revised edition. Now we have a weighty 
and worthy complement to Guthrie from IVP, one that extends the typical borders of the 
genre — as indicated in the book's subtitle. Dr. deSilva, who teaches New Testament and 
Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary, has made notable contributions to scholarship in 
his many prior books and articles, particularly in his studies on the social contexts of the 
world in which the New Testament emerged. 

As a longtime teacher of seminary introductory NT courses, I have heard 
students' reactions to a succession of introductory texts. While many agreed that Guthrie 
thoroughly covered the issues (at least up through the mid-1980s), reading his text was 
tough going, and many considered it too dry and laborious. Both Carson, Moo, Morris 
and Achtemeier, Green, Thompson presented worthy improvements. Professor deSilva 
offers the latest and perhaps the best successor. First, he expands the genre from the 
standard concerns of "introduction," viz., authorship, recipients, characteristics, purpose, 
date, structure and integrity, language and style, contents, plus other matters specific to 
particular books. To these he adds (1) important introductory chapters, (2) recurring 
"exegetical skill" sections that introduce the readers to the wide range of disciplines 
currently practiced in NT studies, and (3) a section on "ministry formation" at the end of 
the study of each NT book. The book brims with pictures of places, maps, tables, and 
many sidebar type articles that address issues pertinent to the subjects at hand. A few 
examples include "The Contents of Q," "Differences Between the Greek and Hebrew 
Texts of the Old Testament," "The 'Faith of Jesus Christ' in Galatians," "Paul's Use Of 
The Old Testament In 1 Corinthians," "The Didache," and "How Christian Is James?" 


Book Reviews 

The three initial chapters position the book and explain some of its notable 
features. Chapter 1, entitled "The New Testament as Pastoral Response," reminds readers 
that the NT books were written to help Christians understand who they were in 
distinction to the Jews on one hand and the pagan world out of which they have come on 
the other. The NT books respond to pastoral concerns, and we neglect the point of the 
Bible apart from a careful appraisal of their implications for life and ministry today. 
Accordingly, at the conclusion of most chapters deSilva includes a section on "ministry 
forrnation" that suggests ways to apply the major themes or concerns of each book. Many 
of his applications are hard-hitting but true to the text. On ministry formation from 
Philippians he writes, "Many Christians live as if Paul's exhortation to 'be of the same 
mind' means 'if you are willing to think and to worship as I do, then we can have 
fellowship and experience God together.'" (p. 666). Ouch! 

Chapter 2 sets the NT in its historical and cultural contexts in the first century 
world — growing out of developments in the intertestamental period and within the 
diversity of Judaism and the many Greco-Roman religions and philosophical schools. 
Chapter 3 addresses a constellation of issues under the rubric of "The Cultural and Social 
World of the Early Church" including such matters as purity and pollution, honor and 
shame, patronage, and the family. Awareness of these kinds of cultural matters does not 
end with this chapter, however. It prepares the reader for components of the following 
chapters on the gospels. So we find, "Cultural Awareness: Jewish Purity Codes and 
Mark's Gospel," "Cultural Awareness: Honor Discourse in Matthew," "Cultural 
Awareness: Luke and Patronage," and "Cultural Awareness: Kinship Language and the 
Interpretation of John's Gospel." 

Following a chapter on gospel criticism the book moves sequentially from 
Mark to Matthew and then to Luke and Acts; to John and the Johannine Epistles; then, 
after a prologue to the study of Paul, through Paul's letters, including an excursus on 
pseudepigraphy and the canon; then to the general epistles; and finally to Revelation. 
Each chapter concludes with a significant bibliography for further reading. 

A feature that sets this book apart from its peers is the addition of "exegetical 
skill" sections sprinkled throughout, usually at places where their practice helps shed 
light on its usefulness in illuminating the biblical text at hand and the critical method 
itself DeSilva divides the skills into their areas of special focus: "inner texture: close 
study of the text itself," "intertexture: the text in conversation with other 'texts,'" "social 
and cultural texture: the intersection of a text with its world," and "ideological texture: 
agendas of authors and interpreters." In other words, instead of introducing students only 
to the background of the books of the canon — how and why they emerged — deSilva 
helps students grasp the larger plan for the full exegesis of the texts themselves, what 
Vernon K. Robbins calls "socio-rhetorical interpretation." DeSilva illustrates how the 
various exegetical tactics can combine to produce the best understanding of the text. In 
the process, readers will find few skills unmentioned — and no doubt quite a few that 
many seminary students have not encountered before. 

A glance at the table of contents will confirm that the author has outlined a 
comprehensive agenda for himself I conclude that he has succeeded marvelously. While 
understandably not including a defense of his henneneutical approach to the NT, deSilva 
has provided his readers with a virtually complete introduction to the background, 
contents, and values of studying the NT while also showing readers what they need to do 
to grasp that message well. At the same time, of course, no reader will agree with all the 
conclusions in a book that covers so much territory. Some might well suspect that his 
bent toward social-scientific criticism predisposes him to find more examples of kinship, 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

honor/shame, or patronage than are clearly present. He sometimes prefers Paul account of 
something rather than Luke's when their accounts are difficult to reconcile where others 
might pardon Luke on the grounds of his selective reporting. To his credit, deSilva 
sometimes is willing to remain on the fence on some interpretive issues when he believes 
the evidence is evenly divided. For example, on the authorship of Ephesians he writes, 
"Either position faces serious obstacles, and it is best to conclude that there are no easy 
resolutions of this particular question (however much scholars on both sides might 
represent the solution as clear and indisputable!)" (p. 721). He invites readers to think 
through for themselves answers to the tough issues (such as pseudonymity) while 
emphasizing that all such interpretive disagreements need to be subsumed under the 
affirmation that what is in the canon is authoritative Scripture. So, he advises, "nor 
should the value of the Pastorals be diminished should they be found decisively to be 
pseudonymous" (p. 748). 

Overall, this is a remarkable achievement. Its unique constellation of 
components sets it apart from all other books on NT introduction. I am going to test it out 
on my next classes in NT introduction. I think it will serve my students well. 

William W. Klein, Denver Seminary 

James D.G. Dunn, ed., The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul. Cambridge; Cambridge 
University Press, 2003. 324 pp, hardback, $65.00 / paperback, $23.99. 

The Cambridge Companion Series is designed to provide a solid introduction to 
a particular topic for new readers and non-specialists. This particular volume provides 
such a service by acquainting the reader with the current issues being discussed in the 
area of Pauline studies. The most appropriate audience for this text would seem to be 
college or seminary-level students being introduced to the life and letters of St. Paul for 
the first time. Edited by James D.G. Dunn, this book contains articles about St. Paul 
from some of the foremost Pauline scholars today. 

Beyond simply providing commentary on specific Pauline epistles, this text 
offers articles which discuss topics of the life of St. Paul himself The introduction, 
written by Dunn, provides key information so the beginning student will understand some 
of the debates in Pauline scholarship over the past two centuries. To this end Dunn 
briefly surveys F.C. Baur, the History of Religions School and the New Perspective. 

After the introduction, the book is divided into four primary sections. The first 
section which is entitled "Paul's life and work," includes the following contributions: 
"Paul's Life" (Klaus Haacker) and "Paul as missionary and pastor" (Stephen C. Barton). 
This section is primarily designed to show the reader what historical information about 
the life of the Apostle can be gleaned from biblical texts. 

The second section, entitled "Paul's letters," examines the Pauline epistles 
themselves with general commentary on the text. This section contains the following 
articles: "1 and 2 Thessalonians" (Margaret Mitchell); "Galatians" (Bruce Longenecker); 
"1 and 2 Corinthians" (Jerome Murphy-O'Connor); "Romans" (Robert Jewett); 
"Philippians" (Moma Hooker); "Colossians" (Loren T. Stuckenbruck); "Ephesians" 
(Andrew T. Lincoln); "The Pastoral Epistles" (Arland J. Hultgren). 

One particular area of this section which will certainly be of interest to the 
reader just beginning to study the Pauline epistles is the portion which discusses whether 
or not the Pastoral Epistles were written pseudonymously (142-143). While Hultgren, in 
the end, concludes that these texts were written pseudonymously, the reader is provided 


Book Reviews 

with the arguments, in five clear and simple to understand points, which have caused the 
author to hold these views. The reader is thus able to see the data supporting both sides 
of the argument and is able to better understand the dilemma for which there will never 
be an absolute solution. Rather than simply casting the opposing side in a pejorative 
light, Hultgren clearly shows why such a belief can be held. 

The third section, entitled "Paul's theology," includes the following 
contributions: "Paul's Jewish presuppositions" (Alan F. Segal); "Paul's Gospel" (Graham 
N. Stanton); "Paul's Christology" (L.W. Hurtado); "Paul's Ecclesiology" (Luke Timothy 
Johnson); "Paul's Ethics" (Brian Rosner). Since many readers of the New Testament are 
often puzzled by Paul's use of scripture, Segal's article will also likely be of interest to 
the beginning reader. In this article Segal discusses such topics as Paul's handling of 
scripture (e.g. Paul's use of midrash in Gal. 3:6-14) and what Paul's presuppositions may 
have been as a Pharisee (164-71). 

The final section, which is simply entitled "St. Paul," includes the following 
articles: "Paul in the second century" (Calvin J. Roetzel); "Paul's enduring legacy" 
(Robert Morgan); "Contemporary perspectives on Paul" (Ben Witherington, III). 
Witheringon's article has several facets which will be helpful to the reader unfamiliar 
with the topic. One such area is that Witherington juxtaposes Alan Segal's views about 
Paul's Jewish-ness against opponents of such a view (257-58). The debate which he 
singles out is the degree to which Paul was a "good Jew" (257). Other sections of 
Witherington 's article provide broad overviews of such topics as feminist and 
liberationist approaches to the Pauline Epistles as well as a discussion of understanding 
the corpus through the lens of rhetorical criticism. 

Readers unfamiliar with the technical terminology used in biblical studies will 
greatly appreciate the glossar)' provided at the beginning of the text. While this text is 
certainly broad in focus it provides a solid foundation from which the reader is able to 
venture out into the larger world of Pauline studies. It seems this book would be helpful 
in an introductory course and would aptly serve as a supplement to a New Testament 
introduction text book. 

Marcus P. Adams 

Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament. 
New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. vi + 342 pp., cloth, $30.00. 

Lost Scriptures provides a readily available and accessible collection of 
Christian texts from the second through the fourth centuries CE, some republished here in 
their entirety, some available here only as selections. Ehrman has included many of the 
important witnesses to emerging Gnostic Christianity, ascetic streams of Christianity, as 
well as proto-orthodox Christianity, though the Apostolic Fathers are on the whole poorly 
represented in this collection (though these are readily available in other collections 
edited by Ehrman). The collection groups works by genres in the same order as the New 
Testament: extra-canonical Gospels, Acts, Epistolary Literature, and Apocalypses, 
concluding with early witnesses to the formation of an authoritative canon of New 
Testament writings. 

There is an unmistakable agenda behind the collection of these writings, 
namely an attempt to level the playing field, as it were, turning back the clock to a period 
in which "orthodox" Christianity was but one group among many vying for the right, as it 
were, to define what Christianity was. Gnostics, Docetists, and ascetics should not be 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

thought of as "heresy" (which Ehrman equates with "false belief," though "divisive 
faction" would be more apt), but as promoters of competing understandings of Jesus' 
significance and message. The introduction to the collection positions readers to 
experience the expressions of faith in the various documents as fundamentally "equal," 
without giving due notice to the unequal geographic and demographic distribution of 
these views, an inequality that would support the traditional view that there was in fact a 
broad consensus regarding the apostolic message and elite or sectarian groups that "split" 
from this consensus to pursue their own adaptations of the Gospel. The process of 
canonization, a process of selection that is now recognized largely to have proceeded 
from the ground up rather than to have been imposed on a broad-minded, inquiring, and 
tolerant church from above, is much more susceptible to the traditional rather than this 
revisionist view of diversity in the early church. 

Such tendencies aside, Ehrman is to be commended as always for investing his 
considerable energies into putting the primary texts in the hands of the general reader. 
The study of early Christianity should certainly not be limited to the reading of the New 
Testament, but must extend to the careful study of the apostolic fathers and the literature 
collected in this volume. This treasure trove of primary sources was published primarily 
to complement the reading of his Lost Christianities (New York and Oxford: OUP, 
2003), but it would serve equally well as a complement to the reader's independent 
exploration of the varieties of expression of the Christian faith in the first three to four 
centuries. . . 

-- ■ David A. deSilva 

Michael J. Gorman, Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul 
and His Letters. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004. 624 pp., paper, $39.00. 

The man who wrote the book on Pauline Spirituality {Cruciformity: Paul's 
Narrative Spirituality of the Cross) has now ventured into the broader world of Pauline 
Introduction. Michael Gorman has not, however, left behind his Christocentric 
theological reading of Paul. Instead, Apostle of the Crucified Lord is a theological 
introduction to the biography, mission, spirituality, and letters of Paul. 

The first section of the book introduces Paul's frame of reference, overviews 
his mission, and provides an introduction to his letters that is sensitive to Paul's social 
contexts. Gorman has three chapters in this introductory section that deal with Paul 
ideological mindset: Paul's gospel, Paul's spirituality, and Paul's theology. The chapter 
on Paul's gospel forms a good introduction to the current discussion, but it is the latter 
two chapters that display Gorman's distinctive contribution within Pauline studies. 

Gorman's acute observation of Paul's inseparable connection between gospel 
and life was explicated in depth in his Cruciformity, and he focuses the discussion in this 
theme here. There are six distinctive aspects of Paul's spirituality that Gorman discusses: 
Paul's lived experience is Covenantal, Cruciform, Charismatic, Communal, 
Countercultural, and (New-) Creational. Gorman's chapter on Paul's theology is less 
specific and demanding of Pauline particularities, but rather draws out twelve key Pauline 
theological themes that are effective in broadly representing Paul's theological 
formulation, even if they are different in scope and form from traditional Pauline 

The second section contains introduction and commentary to the thirteen letters 
attributed to Paul. As promised, the chapters are theologically focused. This does not 


Book Reviews 

mean that Gorman is ignorant of contextual issues — quite the opposite. Each chapter 
begins with a brief discussion of academic issues, a description of the geographic and 
sociological setting, and an overview of the setting of the book within Paul's pastoral 
ministry. Gorman exegetically summarizes significant chunks of Pauline texts within 
what he deems to be chronological order. He draws out the theological themes that are 
significant to Paul's gospel, theology, and spirituality as delineated by Gorman in the first 
section of the book. 

Between the covers of Apostle of the Crucified Lord are many of the tools 
needed to move undergraduate students on the path of reading Paul's letters with 
theological acuity. Gorman includes numerous maps, lists, pictures, exegetical charts, 
stimulating quotations, summaries, reflection questions, and introductory bibliographies. 
This text should suffice as both background reading and reference material for beginning 
students engaging in Pauline studies. Gorman gives us the best of the conversations 
taking place in contemporary Pauline studies, but steers completely clear of intimidating 
vocabulary and purely academic peculiarities. 

This attempt at accessibility has a downside. Gorman could have included some 
footnote discussions to help students in research and to be more forthcoming about where 
he lands on key academic debates that obviously lurk in the background. This is 
unfortunate, because Apostle of the Crucified Lord represents a key step in the New 
Perspective on Paul — testing the basic hypotheses of the movement by seeing if it stands 
up to the test of theological integration and biographical presentation. Gorman is also an 
example of the positive things that can come of the new focus on narrative readings of 
Paul, on the question of contextual backgrounds and exegesis, and on social 
repercussions of Paulinism, both ancient and modern. Much of that background 
discussion, however, remains veiled to the eager student wishing to pursue those paths. 

Apostle of the Crucified Lord is intended as a comprehensive, but accessible 
introduction to Paul and his writings for undergraduate theological students. In this aim, 
Gorman has succeeded. To date, I know of no better theological introduction to Paul that 
opens the student to critical issues yet still roots them in the personal and ecclesial 
ramifications of Paul's letters, both ancient and modem. 

Brenton Dickieson 

Douglas Harink, Paul among the Postliberals: Pauline Theology beyond Christendom 
and Modernity. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2003. 288 pp., paper, $24.99. 

Paul among the Postliberals is a synthesis of postliberal students of Karl Barth, 
particularly Hauerwas and Yoder, and a synopsis of this postliberal reading with the New 
Perspective on Paul (NPP). The result is a brilliant picture of how the NPP and postliberal 
thinking fit together in biblical studies, theology, ecclesiology, and social and political 
ethics to form a fundamental critique of evangelical and liberal theological formulation. 

Methodologically speaking, Harink tries to understand Paul in his contexts 
while recognizing faithful repetitions of that Word in our world today. The result is five 
essays tied together by a Barthian-Pauline dialogue. Douglas Harink is a theologian, and 
admittedly builds his understanding of Pauline studies upon a limited number of scholars 
within the NPP, particularly Stendahl, Sanders, Dunn, Donaldson, Hays, Schweitzer, 
Kasemann, Beker, and J. Louis Martyn. 

Following the Pauline logic of Barth, Hauerwas, and Yoder, in chapter 1 
Harink challenges the traditional Protestant view of justification that is currently being 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

reconfigured by the NPP. "Justification by faith in Christ" is a phrase that is 
inappropriately translated. "Faith," for Paul, represents the faithfulness of God in Christ. 
God's faithfulness is what is contrasted with human works, not an abstract inner 
justification that takes place within the individual having faith in an objectified Christ. 
Instead, justification is a community event that represents Paul's all-encompassing 
apocalyptic worldview in his mission to the nations. Harink demonstrates that the NPP is 
opening up new possibilities of understanding Paul, but probably goes to far in a critique 
of traditional Protestant readings. 

Harink argues that those who interpret Paul as apocalyptic are reading Paul 
correctly, a reality that is particularly strong in Galatians. Chapter 2 brings together 
Hauerwas's Pauline-styled struggle against ideological liberalism with a reading of 
Galatians by Martyn. Galatians is about Paul trying to enclose the listeners in the 
apocalyptic event of Jesus Christ and the decisive action of God in Christ which Paul 
himself experienced. Paul in his apocalyptic thought coherently integrates theology, 
politics, and ethics to free Gentiles from bondage. 

In chapter 3 Harink shows that Yoder's political reading of Paul — imitation of 
Jesus in pacifism, renunciation of coercive power, and submission to the cross — is 
essential for the church's contemporary paradigmatic life and mission. The church must 
be involved in the struggle against the enslaving religious and political principalities of 
this world in an ethic of body politic where God transforms these world powers in the 
context of the church and the work of the cross towards a new humanity. 

Harink asserts in chapter 4 that Jews continue to be occluded by liberals taking 
the pluralist option and Evangelicals taking the supersessionist option, both finding their 
root in Paul. Both of these options, however, are anti-Judaistic and un-Pauline. Harink 
offers a thoroughly critical reading of N.T. Wright; but an apocalyptic approach 
demonstrates that God's action in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ both encloses 
and sustains God's irrevocable election of Israel. 

In the final essay, Harink addresses the issue of pluralism. Basic to Harink's 
presentation is a critique of the understanding of religion itself in modem times. For Paul, 
what was key was that Christians become a people under the lordship of Jesus Christ, 
together with Jews in Rome, and within a pagan context in Corinth. 

Though not comprehensive in the genre of systematic theology, Harink's 
synopsis is an essential step for Pauline studies and, dare I say, for the theological 
disciplines. Outside of contributions to the Jewish-Christian dialogue, what has been 
lacking in the NPP has been an understanding of how these new developments will look 
in larger theological systems or in the life of the church. Harink provides for both with a 
book written for his peers, but with an eye to the student and the clergy. 

In so doing, Harink has also provided greater exegetical support for postliberal 
theology. Because of the limitations of the work, not every aspect of postliberal theology 
as he proposed it came across as either Pauline or helpful to church life today. Indeed, 
Harink also offers some critiques of his own Barthian theological movement against the 

Harink is largely uncritical of the NPP. As such, his work will be vulnerable to 
the rising critical counter-tide to the NPP. But some integration must be attempted, even 
if it is limited in scope. Paul among the Postliberals is a surprisingly refreshing synthesis 
of two fields in which there are obvious points of dialogue, and it is brought to us by a 
Canadian scholar who is certainly worthy of attention. 

Brenton Dickieson 


Book Reviews 

Scot McKnight and Grant R. Osborne, eds., The Face of New Testament Studies: A 
Survey of Recent Research. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004. 544 pp., paper, $32.99. 

This volume is a collection of essays by 22 scholars on a nearly comprehensive 
list of subjects in New Testament studies. It is divided into four parts, the first of which 
concerns the "Context of the New Testament." In it are essays on "Galilee and Judea: The 
Social World of Jesus" (pp. 21-35) by Sean Freyne and "The Roman Empire and Asia 
Minor" (pp. 36-56) by David A Fiensy. Part 2 addresses "New Testament Hermeneutics." 
Contributions include Eckhard J. Schnabel on "Textual Criticism: Recent Developments" 
(pp. 59-75), Stanley E. Porter, "Greek Grammar and Syntax" (pp. 76-103), David A. 
deSilva, "Embodying the Word: Social-Scientific Interpretation of the New Testament" 
(pp. 1 18-129), and Craig A. Evans, "The Old Testament in the New" (pp. 130-145). 

Part 3 is simply "Jesus." Scot McKnight writes on "Jesus of Nazareth" (pp. 
149-176), Klyne Snodgrass on "Modem Approaches to Parables" (pp. 177-190), Graham 
H. Twelftree on "The History of Miracles in the History of Jesus" (pp. 191-208), and 
Craig L. Blomberg on "John and Jesus" (pp. 209-226). 

Part 4, "Earliest Christianity," is the largest portion of the book. The 
contribution on Acts is by Steve Walton ("Acts: Many Questions, Many Answers, 229- 
250) who is writing the WBC on that book. The veteran Bruce Chilton lends his expertise 
to "James, Jesus' Brother" (pp. 251-263), while Donald A. Hagner addresses "Matthew: 
Christian Judaism or Jewish Christianity" (pp. 263-282). Paul is addressed by Bruce N. 
Fisk and James D. G. Dunn. The former wrote "Paul: Life and Letters" (pp. 283-325), the 
latter "Paul's Theology" (pp. 326-348). This is followed by Darrell L. Bock on "Luke" 
(pp. 349-372), Robert L. Webb on "The Petrine Epistles: Recent Developments and 
Trends" (pp. 373-390) and Peter G. Bolt on "Mark's Gospel" (pp. 391-413). 

George H. Guthrie provides an excellent essay on "Hebrews in Its First- 
Century Contexts: Recent Research" (pp. 414-443), followed by Klaus Scholtissek on 
"The Johannine Gospel in Recent Research" (pp. 444-472) and Grant R. Osborne, author 
of the recent BECNT on Revelation, contributes his experience in "Recent Trends in the 
Study of the Apocalypse" (pp. 473-504). The volume concludes with extensive indices of 
subjects (pp. 505-514), authors (pp. 515-532), and scripture (pp. 533-544). 

The book gives little or no attention to the Johannine epistles or that of Jude, 
and the order of chapters seems a bit odd. Nevertheless, this collection of essays provides 
valuable orientations to entire fields of study by experienced and capable scholars, 
offering insight into methodological and theological issues. For the busy student, pastor, 
or scholar, this book is a worthwhile investment to get up to speed on areas outside their 
expertise. In an age of ever increasing specialization, a book such as this that provides 
both breadth and depth is a welcome contribution. 

Daniel M. Gurtner, Tyndale House, Cambridge, England 

Francis J. Moloney, Mark: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist. Peabody: Hendrickson, 
2004. 224 pp., paper, $19.95. 

Francis J. Moloney occupies the Katherine Drexel Chair of Religious Studies at 
the Catholic University of America. His The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary was the 
2003 Reference Book of the Year according to the Academy of Parish Clergy. The 2004 
book is billed as a New Testament Commentary but it is not truly that. Only 55 pages of 
the 224 page text are devoted strictly to commentary. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

The book is organized in four parts. Part the first, is entitled "Mark." To the 
author, Mark is a "shadowy figure" and one cannot be certain as to the identity of this 
Mark. Nor can it be accurately determined when this story of Jesus first saw the light of 
day. However, he does posit that this Mark, whoever he is, is a "creative and original 
thinker." According the Maloney, Mark never appears as a character in the work or is 
named. He points out that this is a characteristic found throughout the book with 
numerous nameless persons as principle characters in the story. Papias' second century 
reference to Mark gets only passing recognition. Maloney views the work not as history 
but as a proclamation of the faith of the early church. The desire of the writer of Mark 
was to communicate a particular theological perspective. 

The second division of the book deals with "Mark: the Storyteller." The author 
views the many summaries in Mark as textual markers delineating the structure of the 
work. In this section the author sees the Gospel story unfolding in four parts: 

1 . The Gospel Begins 

2. Jesus' Ministry in GaHlee 

3. Jesus' Journey to Jerusalem, Death, Resurrection 

4. Women Discover the Empty Tomb 

The first half of the Gospel answers the question, "Who IS Jesus?" The second half of 
the Gospel presents "The Suffering, Vindicated Son of Man, the Christ, the Son of God." 

The commentary is found in Part Three of the work. The limited remarks are 
helpful and at times provocative. The author asserts that, "Mark, the storyteller has 
consciously taken material from traditions about Jesus that come to him and shapes them 
in a way that is referred to as 'chiastic.'" He accepts the fact that Mark concludes at verse 
eight of chapter six. 

In the third section of the book, the author deals first with "Mark, the 
Interpreter of Jesus of Nazareth" including "Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Son of God, 
and Jesus the Son of Man." Next in this section are the author's assertions on "Mark the 
Interpreter of Christian Community" including "The Disciples," and "At the Table of the 

The fourth part of Maloney's work is entitled, "The Good News of the Gospel 
of Mark." In this section, he sees Mark looking back to the biblical traditions and the 
events in the life of Jesus to revive the flagging spirits of the struggling Christian 

At the conclusion of each of the four sections are helpful and extensive 
footnotes. The work concludes with a thorough fifteen page bibliography, a three page 
index to modem authors and a five page index to ancient sources. The work is certainly 

Richard E. Allison 

Stephen Pattemore, The People of God in the Apocalypse: Discourse, Structure, and 
Exegesis. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series, 128. Cambridge: 
Cambridge University Press. Pp. xv, 256. $75.00. 

In an important contribution to the study of Revelation 4-22, Pattemore 
examines the structure and message of main part of Revelation through the aid of 
relevance theory, an approach more commonly utilized in the context of theoretical 
linguistics than in biblical studies. The methodological foundation is laid in chs. 1-3 (pp. 
1-67). Relevance theory provides an overarching structure to all other theories, where 


Book Reviews 

seeking "relevance is thus a criterion at all levels of language analysis, including the 
interpretation of literary texts" (p. 22). Relevance theory operates with the assumptions 
that: (1) the text is a real communication event; (2) relevance theory provides a precise 
definition of the text; and, (3) relevance theory recognizes there is a "trade off between 
processing effect and contextual effects [that] can be used to prioritize cognitive 
environments and thus becomes a criterion for analyzing text" (pp. 47-48). 

With regard to Revelation, relevance theory is understands both the text- 
external factors and text-internal features of a text that influence reading. Pattemore is 
specifically concerned to discuss the structure, understood as a chiasm, as well as how the 
Apocalypse views the people of God (pp. 62-67). The structure of Revelation is 
understood as a chiasm, in the tradition of Lund and others (see pp. 62-64). The people of 
God represent three groups. First, there are the addressees, those Christians who are 
addressed in 1:1-11 and 22:10-21. Second, there is the audience, the seven churches 
addressed in 1:12-3:22. Finally there are the actors, those featured in 4:1-22:9. These 
those figures featured in the opening throne vision of Rev 4-5. These include the one 
upon the throne, the heavenly creatures and the Lamb. The saints of God figure 
prominently in 7:1-8; 9:4; 11:18; 12:1-11; 17:4), the witnesses of Rev 11; as well as the 
enemies of God including the serpent (Rev 12) the two beasts (Rev 13) and the prostitute 
Babylon (Rev 17) (pp. 64-67). 

Chapters 4-6 build on the theoretical foundation to interpret important 
passages, including the martyred souls under the altar (Rev. 6:9-11); the 144,000 of Rev 
7 and 14 and the New Jerusalem. In the application of relevance theory, the reader 
sometimes encounters less radically new interpretation than further confirmation of 
findings derived from other methods. For example, Pattemore's conclusions reinforce 
Johns's findings that John does not envisage active military resistance against the forces 
of evil, but that conquest belongs to God alone (pp. 192-93). 

More intriguing is Pattemore's analysis of the structure of Revelation 4-22. 
Pattemore understands the fifth seal of Rev 6:9-11 as providing the structural themes for 
what follows. Thus, pp. 92-1 13 focus on how the vision of the martyrs plays out in the 
rest of Revelation. The story culminates in Rev 20:4-6, with the triumph of the martyrs 
over their enemies, the serpent, beast and false prophet. It is as the martyrs follow their 
Lord in sacrificial death (Rev. 5:9-10), that they inherit the promised kingdom (p. 1 12). 

Pattemore concludes with a discussion of the hermeneutical utility of relevance 
theory. In short, it provides a balance between the excessive claims of historical 
methodology in the past, and the tendency of some scholars to reject it today. Rather, 
relevance theory gives 

a theoretical basis for the prioritization of the original communication 

situation and the importance of historical-critical research. RT has 

helped to avoid the extremes of, on the one hand, a pursuit of 

"authorial intent" on the mistaken assumption that we have an 

objective means of discovering it and, on the other hand, abandoning 

all interest in intentionality in favour of an ideologically driven 

imposition of meaning (p. 214). 

It is, perhaps, in providing such a balanced approach that relevance theory is most useftil. 

It is certainly not a replacement for serious historical critical analysis, as Pattemore would 

be first to assert. What it does provide is an additional paradigm for understanding the 

sometimes obscure text of the Apocalypse. 

Russell Morton 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Stanley E. Porter and Jeffrey T. Reed, Discourse Analysis and the New Testament: 
Approaches and Results. JSNTSS 170; Studies in New Testament Greek 4. Sheffield: 
Sheffield Academic Press, 1999. Cloth. $85.00. 

This collection of essays explores the theory and practice of discourse analysis, 
demonstrating its range of applicability and fruitfulness across the New Testament canon 
in regard to questions of structure, linguistics, narrative criticism, and meaning. Written 
by established scholars in the field of discourse analysis, it is an excellent introduction to 
this emerging exegetical discipline. 

Contributions include: S. E. Porter and J. T. Reed, "Discourse Analysis and the 
New Testament: An Introduction"; Eugene Nida, "The Role of Context in the 
Understanding of Discourse"; J. T. Reed, "The Cohesiveness of Discourse: Towards a 
Model of Linguistic Criteria for Analyzing New Testament Discourse"; S. E. Porter, "Is 
Critical Discourse Analysis Critical? An Evaluation Using Philemon as a Test Case"; M. 
B. O'Donnell, "The Use of Annotated Corpora for New Testament Discourse Analysis: A 
Survey of Current Practice and Future Prospects"; S. L. Black, "The Historic Present in 
Matthew: Beyond Speech Margins"; R. E. Longacre, "A Top-Down, Template-Driven 
Narrative Analysis, Illustrated by Application to Mark's Gospel"; ibid., "Mark 5.1-43: 
Generating the Complexity of a Narrative from its Most Basic Elements"; W. Schenk, 
"The Testamental Disciple-Instruction of the Markan Jesus (Mark 13): Its Levels of 
Communication and its Rhetorical Structures"; J. M. Watt, "Pronouns of Shame and 
Disgrace in Luke 22.63-64"; G. Martin-Asensio, "Participant Reference and 
Foregrounded Syntax in the Stephen Episode"; T. Klutz, "Naked and Wounded: 
Foregrounding, Relevance and Situation in Acts 19.13-20"; R. J. Erickson, "The Damned 
and the Justified in Romans 5.12-21: An Analysis of Semantic Structure"; J. P. Louw, "A 
Discourse Reading of Ephesians 1.3-14"; S. H. Levinsohn, "Some Constraints on 
Discourse Development in the Pastoral Epistles"; E. R. Wendland, "'Let No One 
Disregard You!" (Titus 2.15): Church Discipline and the Construction of Discourse in a 
Personal, 'Pastoral' Epistle"; A. H. Snyman, "Hebrews 6.4-6: From a Semiotic Discourse 
Perspective"; B. Olsson, "First John: Discourse Analyses and Interpretations"; J. Callow, 
"Where Does 1 John 1 End?" 

David A. deSilva 

Robert M. Price, Deconstructing Jesus. Prometheus Books, 2000. 284 pp., cloth, 

Who was Jesus of Nazareth? A Galilean eschatological prophet? An itinerant 
Cynic? A Jewish rebel? An Essene hermit? Or, pure myth? Just as the Christian faith 
has splintered into many sects due to a lack of exegetical unity, the enlightenment 
tradition of higher criticism has birthed flocks of divergent schools, each with its own 
interpretation of the "historical Jesus." Scholars have been incessantly remaking the man 
within the text to the point at which there are now myriad Jesus-models. There are "too 
many plausible portraits, each centering on a different selection of gospel data" (p. 265). 
Jesus Seminar member Robert Price boldly stands up in criticism of his colleagues, 
embarking not to give another trite liberal reconstruction, but instead to deconstruct the 
fabled figure of first-century Palestine. 


Book Reviews 

Price's initial task is to usher his audience into the dialectic eddies of today's 
liberal scholars. He masterfially maneuvers through their work, always taking routes that 
lead to the greatest skepticism about whether the Jesus of history can be known. This is 
consistent with his deconstructionist agenda (in the true spirit of Jacques Derrida), and 
consequently Price's primary affirmation is that the finished versions of the canonical 
gospels are actually pastiches of clippings from sources carefully selected by the 
redactors we know as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. To add thrust to his case he back- 
dates some of the Nag Hammadi gospels into the first century so that they become 
contemporary - and in some instances anterior - to the New Testament documents (p. 
33), thereby releasing their influence on the early church so that any and all views 
concerning Jesus are players in the evolution of Christian theology. Price interacts with 
scholars such as Koester, Robinson, Crossan, and especially Mack, to unfiirl a panoply of 
Jesus movements and Christ cults, each with its own kerygma and theological bent, that 
together manifest the ineffability of any real, historical Jesus. 

Price peels back stratum after stratum, untwining variegated styles of 
mythology (as identified by dogmatic background) from the gospels. This includes an 
examination of the gradual fabrication of the "cruci-fiction" myth, since it may have been 
woven into the story during redaction. What we end up with is a wildly synchretic 
systematization of viewpoints. Price reasons that the gospel-writers realized the necessity 
to dock their version of Jesus in history in order to make it viable; "the need to concretize 
and thus to define and control Christian thinking and practice had earlier led to the 
historicizing of the Jesus figure itself, the result being an earthly 'life of Jesus'" (p. 251). 

While Price displays a broad wealth of awareness about Judaism in the ancient 
Greco-Roman world, he seems eager to theorize the first century into an unlikely zoo of 
cults and philosophies that all happened to be complicit in the permeation of the Jesus 
story using mythic interpolation via written sources. Lately, it has become fashionable to 
vilify traditional Christians and their beliefs while glossing their contraries, and with 
Deconstructing Jesus one suspects that Price truly enjoys pinning subterfuge on 
orthodoxy's origins. He demonstrably knows how to stir up controversy and entertain the 
skeptics. His expressions and side notes regularly demean the conservative bloc of 
scholars; he suggests that the more concrete gospels won out because "simple-minded 
dogmatism is always more popular" (p. 28). He is also sure to give N.T. Wright a poke 
in the eye along the way as he jovially tramples on orthodoxy. Price's quasi- 
sensationalist headings are also redolent of tabloid headlines. He, like many other 
members of the Jesus Seminar, knows how to attract attention with scandalous revisions 
of old ideas. He writes new gossip, guaranteed to sell - though it is granted that this is 
precisely his indictment of the canonical gospels! 

Deconstructing Jesus can help scholars build more knowledge of the mystery 
cults and movements surrounding the locale of Jesus' ministry, and can facilitate the 
integration of these notions into one's ever widening view of the New Testament. 
However, it delivers unduly vitriolic blows to alternatives of Price's thought, 
undermining the overall integrity and objectivity of his scholarship and, consequently, 
minimizing his impact on the perennial dialogue about the Galilean Jew, Jesus of 

Jacob Louis Waldenmaier 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Robert H. Stein, Studying the Synoptic Gospels: Origin and Interpretation. Second 
edition; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001. 

This updated and expanded version of the 1987 edition remains the best 
introduction to the modem state of the question regarding the Synoptic Problem and its 
solution. Stein begins with an exploration of the commonly observed similarities and 
differences between the Syntopic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) that have made 
literary interdependence the preferred explanation, and then lays out the cases for Markan 
priority and the existence of the sayings collection Q, although he remains sensibly 
flexible regarding the exact nature of this hypothetical text (whether oral or written, 
whether a single collection or multiple collections). He then addresses most sensibly the 
problem of Matthew-Luke agreements against Mark, which have been put forward as the 
major objection to Markan priority, and concludes with a review of the value of source 
criticism (the discipline that largely drives this conversation) ands its relationship to the 
larger program of historical-critical interpretation. 

In a second part. Stein presents the discipline of form criticism and the 
operating philosophy that has tended to guide its application. This opens up a fine 
discussion of the history of the Jesus tradition from oral to written form, and a conclusion 
about what we can learn from form criticism. A third part presents a clear and amply 
illustrated introduction to the theory and practice of redaction criticism, which remains an 
essential critical skill for analyzing the voice, theological convictions, and pastoral 
concerns of each evangelist. 

This book is highly recommended for all students of the Gospels, but especially 
for those entrusted with the exposition and proclamation of the Word. 

David A. deSilva 

Stephen Westerholm, Perspectives Old and New on Paid: The "Lutheran" Paul and His 
Critics. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004. Pp. xix + 488, paper, $35.00. 

Westerholm has set out to update his 1988 Israel's Law and the Church's 
Faith, which was a review and refutation of the New Perspective on Paul. This second 
edition soon took on a life of its own, and has grown by about 250 pages. Those who read 
Israel 's Law will recognize the main intent. Nevertheless, unlike the original, this book is 
divided into three parts. 

First there is the new, detailed description of the views of Augustine, Luther, 
Calvin and Wesley. He lumps these into the general category of the "Lutheran" view. 
Although this is anachronistic, he has a point: that what is criticized as Luther's invention 
is the product of centuries of reading Paul through Augustinian eyes. The section is 
excellent, and from the first pages one notes that Westerholm is the master of articulating 
the fine distinctions between one thinker and another. He will enter part two as their 
champion. One omission, in the summary of the often-neglected theology of Wesley, was 
the crucial doctrine of universal prevenient grace. This is one of the main differences 
between Wesley and the Reformers with regard to depravity, and it thus forms a 
cornerstone for his views on election and justification. 

The second section corresponds to Part One of the older volume. Here 
Westerholm applies the same methodology, to try to explain in detailed yet plain terms 
what are the viewpoints of the proponents and then the opponents of the New 
Perspective. Originally he had gone from Wrede to Heikki Raisanen. In this new volume, 


Book Reviews 

he shows how the discussion has been able to move past the skepticism of the latter, with 
some rich developments from roughly 1986-2002. Within this period falls the bulk of the 
contribution by James Dunn and N. T. Wright for the New Perspective; it has also given 
the opposition plenty of time to mount a counterattack (Cranfield, Schreiner, Thielman 
and others). All have had time to evolve in their thinking, and scholars such as Dunn have 
produced disciples (Bruce Longenecker). Plus there are many other studies that are not 
aimed at this particular debate but which are of use in the discussion. Westerholm shows 
a remarkable amount of awareness and erudition. His bibliography by itself is an account 
of the New Perspective debate, although I noticed one or two small omissions. 

Westerholm is gifted at taking in mountains of secondary materials and then 
digesting them into clear prose. Take as an example the summary of the New 
Perspective's reading of the "Lutheran" position on p. 117: "From his own experience, 
and with considerable acumen, Luther had described a religion of works; the pattern, it 
was supposed, would surely serve for Judaism as well. And in fact, the correctness of the 
model was thought to be established by the efforts of one or two intrepid souls who 
culled from rabbinic writings quotations to illustrate each of its aspects. The 
hermeneutical circle was then made complete when these quotations were taken to 
provide background material for understanding Paul. The apostle was thus interpreted in 
contrast with Judaism, which itself was interpreted in the light of the Catholicism of 
Luther's day, which in turn was interpreted by Luther's reading of Paul. Until recently 
the cycle showed every sign of being self-perpetuating." I have not seen a more succinct 
description anywhere. 

At the end of Part Two the reader stumbles into the only very slightly tongue- 
in-cheek "The Quotable Anti-' Lutheran' Paul". Here he lets the various proponents of the 
New Perspective speak for themselves on some key issues of Paul, grace, the Law, 
Judaism, and justification. 

Part Three is Westerholm's own synthesis and presentation of his ideas. He 
develops some of the key concepts and terms (righteousness, works of the Law). He 
offers a fine discussion on the meaning of "legalism," a word that one finds almost 
universally used without definition. A very useful section is the new Chapter 1 7 - Grace 
in Sanders' Judaism. He also goes through the individual epistles to test his model. 
Finally, Westerholm's conclusion, wonderfully titled "Grace Abounding to Sinners or 
Erasing Ethnic Boundaries?" is much more nuanced in this version and shows some 
careful interaction with the insights of his opponents. 

Nevertheless, the genius of the book - as with the 1988 version - lies not with 
the positive contributions of the last part. He is a good exegete, but pedestrian at handling 
other ancient sources - ironically enough, incarnating a regular criticism directed toward 
those who reject the New Perspective. Westerholm chooses instead to interact with, for 
example, the rabbis as the secondary literature touches on them. He merely touches on 
the Sanders' observation too often neglected in discussions of Paul and the Law - that 
the Jews had no doctrine of depravity in the Augustinian sense. This could go a long way 
to explaining why Paul was relatively so pessimistic about the Law's power to lift up 
humanity. It is a point developed by Timo Laato (Paul and Judaism: an anthropological 
approach. Scholars, 1995) and others (Westerholm, Chapter 13). Yet Westerholm 
himself does little to avail himself of these insights which should bolster his own case. 

Not everyone will enjoy Westerholm's off-beat sense of humor, but I certainly 
do. At one point he goes off on a rant about how exegetes imagine they can understand 
Paul when they can't even understand their own spouses. He can also tell a fine anecdote 
or story with just the right sense of aptness. The "Whimsical Introduction" is unlike 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

anything you'll have read in a serious book for a long while. I found this helpful in 
keeping up the spirits when the data came in so densely. 

We must point out that the volume has no topical index, which is a scandal in a 
work with this amount of detail; I wanted to search for "prevenient grace," simul iustus, 
and Qumran theology, but had to skim the book to find them. 

If you can't tell the players without a program, that program is Westerholm's 
Perspectives. No student of Paul can pass this one by, even if it is used as a guide to what 
others are saying. 

Gary S. Shogren 

Stephen Westerholm, Understanding Paul: The Early Christian Worldview of the Letter 
to the Romans. 2"'* edition; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004. 176 pp., paper, $14.99. 

This is the revised edition of his Preface to the study of Paul (Eerdmans, 1977). 
The subtitle tells the story: Westerholm introduces the reader to Paul's worldview, using 
the text of Romans as a guide to its major facets. He wants to be able to answer an 
outsider's question, "what is so big about Paul?" The major impediment lies in 
worldview: "Contemporary readers of Paul... soon encounter difficulties. Many do not 
share the assumptions that underlie Paul's vision of life; and to make sense of his train of 
thought without grasping its premises is no easy matter" (p. 1 1). Thus the author starts off 
with some questions that might strike a first-time reader: why does Paul sound so self- 
important? Why isn't Paul as concerned as we are about feelings of guilt? Why is 
homosexual activity an offense against God? 

The basic "Jewish-Christian worldview" that Paul accepts is that "God is good, 
and so is his creation; evil represents an inappropriate and disruptive response on the part 
of moral beings to what is good; the triumph of the Good is ultimately assured by the 
character of God" (p. 24 note 7). 

Westerholm's chapters follow a standard outline of Romans. In each, he begins 
by asking modem and post-modem questions about tmth, reality, responsibility and 
freedom, and God. He then typically moves on to a description of the Jewish-Christian 
worldview, usually with reference to the Old Testament. He ends with the specific 
development of that view as found in Romans. 

An outstanding chapter is "3. War against goodness". Here Westerholm delves 
briefly but carefully into questions of determinism vs. freedom, the language of right and 
wrong, and the nature of freedom and restraint in a pluralistic society. In the following 
chapter, he captures the nature of sin and judgment well with "Paul allows that human 
beings (even Gentiles!) may do good... [but] the very selectivity with which humans 
sometimes choose to do the right, sometimes the wrong, may itself be seen as an 
expression of their setting themselves up as moral arbiters independent of God" (p. 62). 

At every point, the author takes great care to distinguish a Westem worldview 
from the Pauline one; for example, in his conclusion he shows that Paul's image of 
sacrificing ourselves to God (Rom. 12:1-2) is one of the hardest concepts for us to 
swallow, given our obsession with personal freedom and autonomy. 

Westerholm writes with his customary humor and parabolic style. He 
particularly tickles the fancy with stories about an albatross couple (yes, as in birds!) 
named Jack and Jill, and later about giggly teenaged pals Ashley and Chrystal. The 
albatrosses help to illustrate what we mean by human freedom, the girls what we mean by 
sin. His book is fantastic for someone with a college course in philosophy but with little 


Book Reviews 

to no understanding of the Bible or Christianity. It's also of great use for Christians of 
whatever stage, particularly in helping them to articulate their faith today. 

Gary S. Shogren 

Bruce W. Winter, Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and 
the Pauline Communities, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003, 211pp. + bibliography 
and indexes, $26.00. 

Bruce W. Winter offers a new perspective that is well worth the time for New 
Testament scholars to consider. He provides access to many ancient sources that present 
a different picture of first century Roman women than is offered in most New Testament 
background material. His aim was, "to place before the reader new material, regarded as 
apposite to the texts, for the consideration of those in the academy as well as those in the 
church" (13). 

This book is a result of research produced in conjunction with the Institute of 
Early Christianity in the Greco-Roman World, Cambridge. Winter uses extant literary 
and non-literary sources to illuminate New Testament texts, quoting verbatim ancient 
historians, epigraphists, papyrologists, and archaeologists who are not normally 
accessible to New Testament scholars. In his attempt to provide a picture of the ancient 
world. Winter incorporates information from Roman, Greek, and Near Eastern cultural 
studies as well as from New Testament studies. 

Chapter one lays the groundwork for the rest of the book by defining terms and 
outlining what he intended to accomplish, sketching a clearer picture of the Sitz im Leben 
of the recipients of the Pauline letters. He divided the remaining chapters into three parts. 
Part one gives evidence for the emergence of a new breed of wife, one whose lifestyle is 
considerably different than the traditional ideal, thus the appearance of 'new women". 
His fundamental premise is that "new women" appeared in Greco-Roman society first in 
the imperial household, then through their influence in the rest of the Empire. These 
flaunted the traditional mores and roles of women, rivaling men in sexual promiscuity. 
Material from contemporary writers, playwrights, and poets shows some actually 
endorsed infidelity of married women. Next, he examines legislation by Augustus on 
sexuality and marriage as evidence of attempts to promote traditional Roman values 
against a perceived threat to Roman society by the mores of the new emancipated women 
(57). Concluding part one. Winter examines the philosophical schools' rejection of 
sexual promiscuity and the counter-cultural teaching of abstinence outside of marriage 
and fidelity inside of marriage, and that men ought not be less moral than women. They 
encouraged both men and women to study philosophy since it teaches the cardinal 
virtues. Their comments in defense of philosophy make it clear that some had charged 
that philosophy education promoted the headstrong and arrogant women to leave the 
responsibilities of the home. 

Based upon the above information, part two deals with New Testament texts 
concerning women in the Pauline communities. He discusses the symbolism of removing 
the marriage veil and its implication in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. The discussion of the 
proper woman's appearance in 1 Timothy 2:9-15, appears to have been preventative 
(120). It proscribes apparel that would signal lack of moral respectability and sexual 
availability, and prescribes adornment with the female virtues of modesty, self-control, 
and good deeds. While financial problems led to instructions limiting "honoring" of 
widows to the old, other instructions dealt with concerns of lifestyle that would discredit 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

the church in 1 Timothy 5:11-15. The search for the Sitz im Leben of Titus 2:3-5 deals 
with the uniqueness of culture on the Isle of Crete where women enjoyed legal privileges 
that gave them financial independence and some protection against sexual predators. 
These verses imply that the young wives had abandoned their responsibilities toward 
their spouses, children, and households for a lifestyle like the "new women", so now they 
were being called back to their senses and a resumption of their responsibilities. 

Part three concentrates on the new roles of women in public life by examining 
the crucial epigraphic material and then discusses their possible influence on the 
opportunities for Christian women in the Pauline mission. He concludes that the 
evidence, though limited, supports an enabling of Christian women to contribute to a 
wider sphere of service, (204). 

I only had two complaints with this book. I was disappointed that Winter 
didn't address the implications of 'new women" on the discussion of authentein in 1 
Timothy 2. I also would have liked for him to delve more deeply into the verses on older 
widows. He was content to link the stringent requirements for them with financial 
limitations, and give just a passing comment about the similarity with the requirements of 
elders. In spite of these defects, I would highly recommend this book. It contains a 
treasure trove of ancient sources that shed new light upon the Sitz im Leben of the Pauline 
communities. Any serious New Testament scholar would do well to consider their 
implications upon the standard interpretations of these texts. 

Lynne McVay 

Ben Witherington III, The New Testament Stoty. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004. x + 
283 pp., paper, $18.00. 

The New Testament Story is organized into two parts of five chapters each. 
Part One explains the development of the NT, while Part Two examines the stories within 
the NT. End material includes a "Basic Acts Timeline," a "Chronology of Paul's Life 
and Letters," a chart translating biblical weights and measures into their English and 
metric equivalents, and maps of the Roman Empire, Palestine, and Paul's Journeys. 
"Exercises and Questions for Study and Reflection" conclude each chapter. 

Chapter One presents the ancient world's preference for the spoken word over 
the written word, and then discusses the tools and methods used to produce, publish and 
distribute literary documents in the first century CE. Witherington also argues against the 
evolution of orthodox Christianity from many competing, equally acceptable varieties of 

Chapter 2 is a model of clarity and brevity. Witherington outlines the Synoptic 
Problem in two and one-half pages, distinguishes Q from the Gospel of Thomas in a 
single page, and then provides a three-page outline of Q's contents and main themes. 
Readers unfamiliar with Q should appreciate this material. Witherington then discusses 
the Passion narratives and briefly suggests reasons to believe that Paul was familiar with 
both Q and the Passion material. 

Chapters 3 and 4 discuss the authorship, dating and main themes of the 
individual NT books. Chapter 3 covers the "Letters and Homilies" while chapter 4 treats 
the gospels. Acts, Rev, and the Johannine letters. The general organization is by 
chronology rather than author, or canon. Thus, Witherington begins with Gal (seen as an 
early letter to south Galatia), then Jas, Jude, 1-2 Thess, and so on. Some readers may be 
surprised by the early dates for Jas and Jude, or by the late date for 2 Pet ("near the end of 


Book Reviews 

the first century," 67), but none are irresponsible. 

Chapter 5 ends Part One discussing the canon's formation. Witherington 
concludes that widespread recognition established the NT canon, rather than formal 
decisions or decrees. The discussion is basic without being simplistic. 

Chapter 6 begins Part Two by examining the NT's use of several OT stories, 
finding that the NT authors have an eschatological and usually a Christological approach 
to the OT. 

Chapter 7 examines NT stories about Paul and Peter, beginning with Paul's life 
as revealed in the letters (depending most heavily on Gal and 1 & 2 Cor, with less 
material from 1 & 2 Thess, Phil, and a very few citations from Rom). Witherington then 
treats Paul as presented in Acts, focusing on the Damascus Road story found in chapters 
9, 22, and 26. This chapter includes a helpful chronology of Paul's life. The discussions 
of stories about Peter and the "Tales of the Holy Family" (Chapter 8) are sensitive to 
subtle differences between parallel gospel accounts, as Witherington is throughout the 

The final two chapters turn to stories about Jesus. First, "Stories of Jesus 
Outside the Gospels," starts with Paul, especially the hymn in Phil 2. Then, Witherington 
draws out subtle differences in the public's understanding of Jesus between Luke and 
Acts. From Hebrews, Witherington discusses material related to Jesus' death, and finally 
Jesus as seen in Rev chapters 12, 5, and 19. 

Chapter 10 covers the gospels' treatment of Jesus. The discussion of Mark sees 
that gospel raising, then answering questions about Jesus' identity and mission. 
Witherington ties the presentation of Jesus in Matt to Jewish Wisdom traditions, and 
stressed the full, universal picture in Luke. Finally, Witherington emphasizes the 
presentation of Jesus as divine in John. 

The book is accessible to a wide audience. The few notes appear at the bottom 
of the appropriate pages. Witherington frequently refers to his own work, but this 
indicates the substantial time and thought behind The New Testament Story. 
Occasionally, Witherington seems too confident of things merely possible or probable, 
e.g., at least four letters to Corinth from Ephesus (60). The New Testament Story is a 
cross between a NT introduction and a NT survey, without being fully either. For this 
reason while many readers will find the book informative and interesting, it is not a likely 

James R. Blankenship, John Brown University 

David E. Aune, ed., The Gospel of Matthew in Current Study: Studies in the Memory oj 
William G. Thompson, S. J. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001. Xii + 191 pp., paper, $25.00 

Originally presented at a 1998 colloquium held at Loyola University, Chicago, 
the essays in this volume are a tribute to an influential Matthean scholar, William G. 
Thompson. Fr. Thompson, who passed away in 1998, was an energetic scholar, teacher, 
and pastor, interested in the Gospel of Matthew not only as an academic, but also as a 
servant of the church. This volume is a tribute, with essays representing various scholarly 
methodologies. There is also recognition of the church's need to communicate the 
message of Matthew in a sensitive manner to previously overlooked groups, particularly 
Jews and women. 

The first essay, by T. H. Tobin (pp. 1-4) is a brief biographical sketch of 
William Thompson's life and ministry. It is followed by: D. Senior, "Directions in 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Matthean Studies" pp. 5-21; A-J Levine, "Matthew's Advice to a Divided Readership," 
pp. 22-41; G. N. Stanton, "The Early Reception of Mathew's Gospel: New Evidence 
From the Papyrii?" pp. 42-61; "D. J. Harrington, "Matthew's Gospel: Pastoral Problems 
and Possibilities," pp. 62-72; E. Wainwright, "The Matthean Jesus and the Healing of 
Women," pp. 74-95; R. S. Ascough, "Matthew and Community Formation," pp. 96-126; 
W. Cotter, "Greco-Roman Apotheosis Traditions and the Resurrection Appearances in 
Matthew." pp. 127-153; J. D Kingsbury, "The Birth Narrative of Matthew," pp. 154-165; 
and A. J. Saldarini, "Reading Matthew Without Anti-Semitism," pp. 166-184. 

While all the essays are of high quality, three deserve special mention 
Levine's essay was particularly stimulating. On the one hand, it is a call for traditional 
scholars not to neglect feminist contributions to Matthew. On the other hand, it reminds 
feminists not to misrepresent Judaism so that Matthew continues to be used as an anti- 
Semitic tract. Kingsbury points to the importance of the genealogy of Mt. 1:1-17, that 
ties Jesus, Mary's son, who is adopted by Joseph, into Israel's history. Here the reader 
finds a consciousness of Jesus' ultimate origin in God (pp. 164-65). At the same time, 
Matthew informs the reader of Jesus' origin, ancestry, and ultimate eschatological 
importance (p. 165). Finally, Saldarini provides an agenda for reading that allows the 
interpreter to be aware of the unfortunate use of Matthew's gospel in the past. He reminds 
us that Matthew's polemic was against the Jewish leadership and not the Jewish people. 
He also provides a program for blunting that polemic for contemporary readers. This 
essay should be considered by any minister who wishes to preach or teach from Matthew 
in a manner that is both true to the gospel's message, and also sensitive to Jewish 

In conclusion, this collection of essays is a worthy memorial to Fr. Thompson. 
It provides stimulating intellectual fodder, but not at the expense of isolating the 
academic pursuit of truth from the church's proclamation. The collection of essays is a 
useful tool both for scholarly research and pastoral reflection. Fr. Thompson would have 

Russell Morton 

Craig S. Keener, The Gospel According to John: A Commentaiy, 2 vol. Peabody, MA: 
Hendrickson, 2003. xlviii + 1636 pp., cloth, $79.95. 

Keener' s massive commentary, perhaps the most comprehensive since 
Schnackenburg's, presents the reader with a formidable task. The bibliography is 
enormous, consisting of 167 pages in itself (pp. 1243-1409). The introduction, likewise, 
is a monograph in itself, consisting of 330 pages. Yet, despite the length, Keener's work 
demonstrates a remarkable amount of methodological unity. The limitations of scope, as 
outlined in the preface (pp. xxv-xxxi), are followed through the entire commentary. The 
method followed is to examine the Gospel of John in its broadest possible context. The 
emphasis is upon the Gospel in its final form. As a result, source theories are rejected, 
and the unity of the final form, with the exception of 7:53-8:11, which is acknowledged 
as an interpolation (pp. 735-38), is affirmed. This judgment includes John 21, which 
Keener affirms as belonging to the original gospel (pp. 1219-22), and reflects a historical 
incident (1222-24), as opposed to many scholars who consider it to be an appendix by a 
later hand. 

Keener sets the Gospel of John in its Mediterranean context. In the course of 
his discussion, two specific contexts are considered: the Hellenistic/Roman environment 


Book Reviews 

and the Jewish or Jewish/Christian setting. Major themes, such as "Son of God," the 
"Spirit," the Paraclete, etc., are examined in terms of how the language would have been 
understood in both a Gentile and Jewish environment. To fulfill this purpose, Keener 
engages in a skillful and thorough employment of the ancient sources. His familiarity 
with the primary materials enables Keener to avoid the pitfalls of reliance on standard 
works such as the TDNT and Strack-Billerbeck, in view of these sources' problematic 
character, especially with regard to Judaism. The citations pointing readers to original 
sources alone make the commentary worthy of scholarly attention. 

Keener does not avoid controversy. In rejecting source critical conclusions as 
unreliable. Keener also concludes that complicated theories of authorship, such as 
Brown's, are not helpful. Rather, the Gospel of John could very well contain eyewitness 
reminiscence. This witness is not a simple reporting of the "facts." "The eyewitness has 
clearly taken liberties in the telling of the story, probably developed over years of 
sermonic use; but a strong case can be made for Johannine authorship and therefore that 
the Gospel contains substantial reminiscences, as well as theological interpretations, of 
Jesus" (p. 115). While other scholars conclude that the Gospel of John represents the 
reflection of a Johannine community that originates with a disciple of Jesus, Brown's 
"Beloved Disciple," few will be so bold as to state that the Gospel was actually written 
by an eyewitness to Jesus' ministry. Indeed, in consideration of the difficulties in 
reconciling the Johannine Jesus with the Synoptic portrait, most scholars would affirm 
the opposite. In light of J.P. Myer's reconsideration of the value of the Gospel of John for 
the historian of the life of Jesus, especially its portrayal of Jesus as a disciple of John, 
perhaps Keener's reconsideration of this staple of critical orthodoxy is timely. 

Keener also gives more credence to the accounts of the miraculous in John than 
scholars who are still bound by the enlightenment view of reality. "As a former atheist 
who has personally witnessed, occasionally experienced, and is regularly exposed to 
reliable testimonies of instantaneous supernatural phenomena within circles where such 
phenomena regularly occur . . . often through my work in Africa or among Pentecostals, I 
confess my own skepticism toward the prevailing anti-miraculous skepticism of Western 
culture" (p. 267). Thus, Keener is able to exercise a critical sympathy, rather than critical 
distance with the text. 

Such critical sympathy enables Keener to write a work that is not only rigorous 
in its historical method, but also offers theological insight to the reader. The work is 
certainly not a devotional commentary, but does represent an empathy with the author 
and theological sensitivity not always present among commentators. The work, thus, is 
helpful not only on an academic level, but also to pastors who are willing to wade 
through the detail of the commentary to plumb the depths of John's Gospel. This labor is 
only appropriate for a gospel, which, as one of the great church fathers is reported to have 
said, can be waded into by the simplest child, but contains more depth than the deepest 

Russell Morton 

Ben Witherington III, 77?^ Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998. 874 pp., $54.00 

Witherington' s book does not represent the traditional, verse-by-verse 
commentary typical of modem scholarship, but instead is written as a running exposition. 
As such the writing style flows nicely and is very readable. The difficulty is that the lack 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

of chapter and verse markings from section to section make it difficult to find a particular 
discussion on a specific verse or verses. Since a commentary is inevitably used as a 
reference, this makes it more difficult to use it as such. The text itself is typical of 
Witherington's thorough style, while footnotes are reserved for more technical points. In 
addition, he frequently offers excursuses throughout the text entitled, "A Closer Look," in 
which he delves in more detail on a particular subject germane to the discussion at hand. 
For example, following his discussion of the Jerusalem church's early experiment in 
communal sharing, Witherington takes "a closer look" at the social status of the first 
Christians (pp. 210-213). 

The technical discussion of Greek is reserved for the footnotes, and is helpful 
for those familiar with Greek. Yet, those not versed in the biblical language will not be 
hindered by such discussion in the body of the work. Also helpful for those who do not 
have access to ancient works are the rather long quotations from ancient sources, where 
necessary (e.g. Ovid's Metamorphoses, 8.626ff. on pages 421-422). The one 
disadvantage to this format, of course, is that it can make for a confusing read as one 
moves from text to footnotes to excursuses and back to text. Also of interest are black 
and white photos of various landmarks, sculptures and artifacts. 

Witherington views the author of the Gospel of Luke and the author of Acts as 
one and the same person, a point not much debated today (p. 5). He also takes the view 
that Luke-Acts are meant to be two volumes of one work as opposed to two separate 
writings. Also, it is likely that Luke did not have a third volume in mind (pp. 807-810). 
The author wrote "the first volume... with at least one eye already on the sequel" (p. 8). 
Acts (along with the Gospel) is primarily an example of ancient historiography 
(particularly earlier Greek historiography with similarities to Hellenized Jewish 
historiography; p. 39). As far as date is concerned. Acts may have been written in the 70s, 
but the early 80s is a stronger possibility. Witherington is not persuaded by arguments 
that Theophilus, to whom Luke and Acts are addressed, is a kind of Lukan community. 
That Theophilus is an individual seems clear. He could likely have come out of the 
synagogue and have been a recent convert to Christianity (p. 64). 

As is typical for Witherington, he employs and dialogues with a large number 
of varied resources, so the book is a bibliographic treasure-trove. Witherington's 
commentary is a fine piece of work and will aid anyone in a closer study of Acts. 

Allan R. Severe 

Douglas J. Moo, Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Exposition. Grand 
Rapids, ML Baker Academic, 2002. 203 pp., paperback, $21.99. 

Douglas Moo's theological exposition of Romans is aimed at upper level 
college students. It exhibits excellent, contemporary and evangelical scholarship. While 
presenting factual content the work also introduces historical, geographical and cultural 
background material. Dealing with critical issues it substantiates the Christian faith. The 
work features illustrations, photographs, maps, figures, tables, charts sidebars, excurses, 
chapter outlines, chapter questions and objectives, a glossary and a bibliography. 

Pictures include a model of Rome, Jerusalem, a Torah scroll, Sinai, a model of 
the temple platform and many others. Examples available of diagrams are "Paul's Target 
in Romans," "Following the Argument of Romans," and "The Two Israel in Romans." 
Sidebars include "Paul's Situation in Rome," "The Righteousness of God," "The Ring 
Composition of Romans 508," Jews and Gentiles," and "The Weaker Brother." Excurses 


Book Reviews 

include "Jewish Condemnation of Gentiles," "Salvation Through Works," " Modem 
Answers to the Human Dilemma," " Keys to the Christian Life," "Old Self, New Self," 
"Realm Transfer," "Law and the Christian," "Applying Romans 7," "Sinful Nature," 
God's Decision and Ours," "Romans and Capital Punishment." 

The sidebars identify issues and apply material in Romans to the issues. 
Chapter outlines begin each chapter of the text and provide the author's overview for the 
reader. The brief list of objectives at the beginning of the chapter tends to focus the 
reader's attention. The study questions provide further study suggestions. The glossary is 
a very helpful definition of otherwise more technical terms. 

The study of Romans is similar to taking a long excursion. For both, a person 
needs adequate preparation. The author helpfully provides introductory material. He 
begins by identifying Romans as a letter to a particular people (Gentile Christians and 
Jewish Christians residing in Rome) but a particular author, (Paul). He carefully explains 
the difference between ancient and modem letters. There is an extended discussion on 
the current debate about Romans as to the Reformation Approach (a focus on individual 
salvation) and the New Perspective Approach stating that the real concern in Romans is 
that of adding Gentiles to God's people without disenfranchising the Jews. 

Dr. Moo, Professor of New Testament at Wheaton Graduate School is the 
author of a number of books. A major accomplishment is his volume in the New 
International Commentary on the New Testament entitled Epistle to the Romans. His 
Ph.D. is from the University of St. Andrews. This is an exceptionally helpful and 
readable commentary for use by anyone looking to enhance their knowledge on the New 
Testament book of Romans. 

Richard E. Allison 

Ben Witherington, III with Darlene Hyatt, Paul's Letter to the Romans: A Socio- 
Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 
2004. 421pp, paper, $36.00. 

Dr. Ben Witherington is professor of New Testament at Asbury Seminary, 
Wilmore, Kentucky. He has written numerous books some of which are socio-rhetorical 
commentaries on Mark, Acts, Corinthians and Galatians. 

The inimitable Witherington has done it again. He has authored a readable 
commentary that contributes great socio-rhetorical insights. This work displays a vast 
knowledge of early Jewish theology, the historical situation of the first century and the 
rhetorical forms of the era. He draws heavily on Quintilian for the latter. The book of 
Romans, according to Witherington, opens with a common epistolary opening and 
greeting followed by Exordium, Narratio, Propositio, Probatio with Arguments I and II, a 
Recapitulation, Arguments IV-VIII, Refutatio with Arguments IX-XII, Peroratio 
concluding epistolary greetings and Final Benediction. 

Witherington focuses on the contribution that social and rhetorical devices 
make in interpretation. Rhetorical devices identified include among others insinuation, 
diatribe and impersonation. He maintains that the last one is the key to understanding 
Romans chapter seven. All of this is an attempt to hear Paul on his own terms. 

The various sections of the commentary contain a new clear translation of the 
text, an extensive commentary, copious explanatory notes of technical and controversial 
topics and a part entitled "Bridging the Horizon." This is filled with suggestions for 
contemporary application of the text. A twenty-three page comprehensive bibliography 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

appears in the frontal material. This is followed by a twenty-five page introduction 
dealing with language and style, audience, social level of Roman Christianity, Rome and 
its Christians, structure and rhetoric. Witherington quotes 179 modem authors, 98 ancient 
writers and writings along with seven pages of index to Old Testament and New 
Testament scriptures plus Apocryphal references. Thus Witherington exhibits his vast 
knowledge of Jewish and Greco-Roman literary works as well as secular and ancient 
church scholars and modem exegetes. 

Professor Witherington describes Romans as a "deliberative discourse which 
uses an epistolary framework." His outline of the book is as follows: 
Chapters 1 -4 The Gospel to the Jew First 
5-8 The Gospel to the Gentiles 
9-11 Rejection of the Message by Most Jews 
12-5 Correction of Theological Assumptions 
16 Opposition to Those Creating Division 
The overall theme is that God is impartial, caring about justice and redemption for all. 
This is a major exegetical study that takes seriously the Wesleyan and Arminian readings 
of the text. The author contends that far too long the Augustinian, Lutheran and 
Calvinistic readings have prevailed. This is especially true in chapters 8-11 where 
Witherington takes his cues instead from early Jewish discussions affirming both divine 
sovereignty and human freedom. 

Richard E. Allison 

Mark J. Edwards, ed.. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. New Testament VIII: 
Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians . Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999. Cloth. 

Peter Gorday, ed.. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. New Testament IX: 
Colossians, 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon. Downers Grove, IL: 
InterVarsity Press, 2000. Cloth. $40.00. 

Gerald Bray, ed.. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. New Testament XI: 
James, 1-2 Peter. 1-3 John, Jude. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000. Cloth. 

Thomas C. Oden serves as the general editor for a tmly new and needed series 
of commentaries on the Bible, bringing together relevant samplings of comments and 
reflections on Scripture made by early church leaders of the first through the eighth 
centuries CE. Ecurhenical in scope, this series anticipates covering the Old Testament in 
thirteen volumes, the Apocrypha in two, and the New Testament in twelve. In an age in 
which scholars stress the importance of "hearing" the Scriptures not only from within 
one's own social location (e.g., interpretation within the Western tradition of more or less 
elite male readers), but from other social and ideological locations as well (e.g., Asian 
Christianity, Latin-American Christianity, feminist interpretation, and other post-colonial 
interpretations), this series provides an often-overlooked dimension, enabling a far more 
global approach to interpretation insofar as it makes the readings of interpreters from 
other times and from the varying cultures of the circum-Mediterranean available and 


Book Reviews 

The volumes are organized much like standard commentaries, with the 
Scripture text broken down into manageable sections (pericopes), followed by the 
editor's overview of the kinds of questions that guided patristic interpretation. Short 
selections from the works of such fathers as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Epiphanius, 
Tertullian, Cyprian, Victorinus, Ambrose, John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Jerome, 
Augustine, and many others follow, each with a brief subheading that provides the focal 
point of the selection. Using this resource alongside modem critical commentaries helps 
balance the important, yet often atomistic, insights from exegetical study of the Scriptures 
with the theological, ethical, and ecclesiastical reflection on the same texts that occupied 
the minds of those who forged the Great Church. This kind of resource is also a helpful 
balance to the reading of the texts from a particular, narrow, and often rather "recent" 
theological perspective, providing the truly ecumenical perspective of those who, in the 
main, reflected on Scripture before Orthodox and Roman Catholicism split, and long 
before Protestant movements separated from the Roman Catholic Church. 

David A. deSilva 

Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld, Believers Church Bible Commentary: Ephesians. Scottdale, 
PA: Herald Press, 2002. 400pp., paper. 

The author graduated from Mennonite Brethren Colleges, the University of 
Manitoba and received his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Harvard Divinity School. His 
dissertation was on Ephesians. He has pastored and is currently director of Graduate 
Theological Studies as Conrad Grebel College in Canada, The commentary is the result 
of "reflecting on, analyzing, dissecting, preaching and teaching" the book of Ephesians. 

Following development of the address and opening greeting, the author moves 
to a hymnic and poetic passage that is worshipful in character and capped by a great 
prayer. Next comes the description of sinners and oppressive evil and an exposition of 
the two ways. Chapter two concludes with the definition of peace as a radical 
relationship to Christ. The author believes Ephesians views the church as a community 
of holy ones whose thrust is ministry. The second half of Ephesians "anticipates the 
believers response to God's grace." The armor of chapter six receives a proper 
application to the church as opposed to the general view of applying it to the individual 

A number of excellent essays on such title as "Apocalypticism," "Cosmology," 
and "Gnosticism" plus seven others add much to the content of the work. In addition, 
there are twenty one pages of bibliography plus references to Old Testament, 
Apocryphal and New Testament cited in the work. 

The author's love for Ephesians is apparent and challenges the reader to 
encounter the book. 

Richard E. Allison 

Gene L. Green, The Letters to the Thessalonians. The Pillar New Testament 
Commentary. Grand Rapids / Cambridge: Eerdmans , 2002. 400 pp., cloth, $42.00 

Green's work is a full commentary, both up-to-date and well documented. He 
has a firm grasp on issues relating to the church at Thessalonica and its context. Without 
a doubt, the longish and fascinating Introduction is the equal to that of any commentary 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

on these letters. He enters into the details of historical, archaeological and sociological 
research in a winning fashion, presenting fresh conclusions even with the customary 
caveat that these letters are already much commented on. 

As can be seen at a glance, his study of the Greco-Roman world occupies a 
dominant place in the development of the letters. For example, what was the nature of the 
Thessalonians' refusal to work? Traditionally it has been regarded as an outgrowth of 
their eschatological perspective. Green, in agreement with scholars such as Wanamaker, 
rejects the supposed link between the "laziness" of the Thessalonians and their false 
expectation of the last days. Yet Green is not simply going along with the new trend. The 
complete and updated Bibliography reveals that he spared no effort to carry out extensive 
research of his own and to extend the application further than did Wanamaker. He 
concludes that the believers' dependence on the system of "clientalism" was why the 
authors pressed the believers to honest work. In this institution, individuals would 
associate with a patron of relatively higher social position and better financial solvency, 
expecting from him benefits such as food and representation; meanwhile, they would 
give to the patrons honor and augment their social level by greeting them each morning 
and lending them their allegiance (208). With this background Green denies that the 
uncertainty of the members of the church of Thessalonica with respect to the Day of the 
Lord motivated them to abandon their work responsibilities. In fact, the authors never 
associate the work issue with eschatology. Therefore, the apostles were attacking directly 
this economic and social dependence that characterized the relations between clients and 
patrons (341). 

Although it is clear that Green has done his exegetical homework, there is not 
much emphasis on the analysis of grammar and syntax. Greek terms have been 
transliterated into English. Nevertheless, he provides a highly-detailed, fresh, clear 
exposition that will prove useful to pastors, students and exegetes. 

For those who wish to go deeper in the Greco-Roman background, specifically 
that which relates to Macedonia, this is the work to consult. If in addition to this strength 
there were a more detailed analysis of the Greek text, it would have been a monumental 

Pablo Roberto Calderon Romero, ESEPA International Christian University, 

San Jose, Costa Rica 

Eriand Waltner and J Daryl Charles, The Believers Church Commentary: 1-2 Peter and 
Jude. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1999. 352 pp., paper, $19.99. 

Eriand Waltner is the author of the commentary on I Peter. He has served in 
ministry as a pastor, Bible teacher, president of the General Conference Mennonite 
Church, professor of New Testament at Mennonite Biblical Seminary and president of 
the Mennonite World Conference. 

Waltner views I Peter as a letter of encouragement to persons experiencing 
painful encounters. He correctly views the suffering of Christians in Asia Minor not as 
the result of a wide ranging political persecution but resulting from living in a hostile 
environment. They were being falsely accused, mistreated and abused for no other 
reason than that they were Christians. The author views the book as a call for hope in 
such a situation and based on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The call is 
to be triumphant in trouble by responding properly to experiences of suffering foregoing 


Book Reviews 

J. Daryl Charles is the author of the commentary on II Peter and Jude. He 
teaches religion, culture and Christian Though at Taylor University. His doctoral work 
was done at Catholic University of America and Westminster Theological Seminary. 
Charles believes the often neglected books of II Peter and Jude have much to say to 
contemporary "confusion in matters of faith and morality." The author calls for the 
church to rediscover and reexamine these epistles. His reasons are threefold. First is their 
relative obscurity. Little time is spent in the literature sorting out their "cryptic 
references." Secondly, historical-critical scholarship has relegated the two letters to the 
second century and therefore not authentic. Thirdly, their emphasis on eschatology 
relates them to ethics where in the literature they have been overlooked. Interpreting 
these letters requires an understanding of their respective backgrounds. Jude is to be 
understood against a background of "Palestinian Jewish-Christianity." II Peter is written 
to persons living in a "pagan Gentile environment." Thus it deals with ethics rather than 
doctrine. Presented also are pastoral insights on how to live in a " pagan society, 
communal accountability and discipline, spiritual authority, moral formation and the 
relation ship between doctrine and ethics." Unfortunately Jude is the neglected epistle 
while II Peter is the misunderstood epistle. The commentary is a reader-friendly 
approach exhorting Christians struggling in a pagan social environment. 

Both of these works are accompanied with insightful essays on pertinent 
subjects, an expanded bibliography and finished off with an extensive eleven page index 
to Ancient Sources. 

f Richard E. Allison 

Simon J. Kistemaker, Revelation. New Testament Commentary Series. Grand Rapids: 
Baker Academic Press, 2001 . x, 635 Pp. $39.99. 

Kistemaker' s commentary can best be described as a "traditional" analysis of 
John's Apocalypse. Authorship is ascribed to the Apostle John (pp. 18-26, 91). Likewise, 
use of Greco-Roman or Babylonian mythology, even in Rev. 12-13, is rejected (pp. 353- 
54). Furthermore, Kistemaker expresses a reserve, if not discomfort, with the "preterist" 
interpretation of Revelation, that understands John's vision as exclusively addressing the 
events of the Seer's own time (pp. 38-40). This judgment differentiates Kistemaker from 
some of the more critical scholars on Revelation, although they would not use the term 

Nevertheless, Kistemaker is no fundamentalist. If he rejects a Neronic allusion 
in the mark of the beast in Rev. 13:16-18, he also rejects a literalism that says in the end 
all unbelievers will receive a literal mark on their hands or foreheads. Rather, the mark is 
understood as symbolic (see pp. 30-32; 392-96). Similarly, the millennium of Rev. 20 is 
viewed as symbolic, in accordance with traditional amillennialism (see pp. 45-48; 533). 
Thus, if Kistemaker is uncomfortable with the "preterist" view of Revelation, he is also 
has some discomfort with the "historicist" interpretation, that sees Revelation as an 
outline of church history (pp. 40-41), as well as the extremes of the "futurist" view (pp. 
41-42), so common in popular theology. Rather, Kistemaker accepts a reserved form of 
"idealistic" interpretation. He interprets John's vision symbolically, portraying the 
heavenly reality behind earthly events (pp. 42-44). Yet, while visions of Revelation are 
symbolic, they nevertheless portray important truths. 

While Kistemaker' s understanding of Revelation as a symbolic vision is 
correct, his rejection of John's employment non- Jewish traditions in formatting his vision 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

is unfortunate. John is very likely utilizes imagery from all the comers of his cultural 
environment, particularly ruler cult and some astrological allusions in Rev. 4-5 and 
combat myth in Rev. 12-13. The result provides even greater impact upon readers 
intimately acquainted with these themes. While John's primary source is the Hebrew 
Bible, particularly Daniel, Ezekiel and Isaiah. The Seer is also a creative artist who 
utilizes not only biblical themes, but extra biblical imagery and invests it with new 

Yet, Kistemaker's commentary has positive value. Although it is highly 
traditional, it does not fall into the trap of pseudo-literalism or fantastic prediction so 
common among some popular writers, particularly those of dispensational leanings. 
Kistemaker is no Tim LeHaye, and his commentary will surprise readers of the "Left 
Behind" series. Kistemaker also provides useful analysis of Greek terms at the conclusion 
of each discussion. This feature is particularly helpful to those readers lacking access to 
some of the helpfial exegetical tools. 

In conclusion, Kistemaker's commentary possesses serious weaknesses, in part 
driven by its ideology. Nevertheless, it provides a necessary corrective to some of the 
more extreme interpretations of Revelation. Its perspectives would make it more 
acceptable to some of those hitherto inclined to a literalist reading, perhaps opening 
perspectives to a more helpfiil understanding of John's Apocalypse. 

Russell Morton 

Grant Osborne, Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand 
Rapids: Baker Academic Press, 2002. Xx + 869 pp., cloth, $49.99. 

Osborne's commentary is the third massive work on Revelation that has 
appeared since 1997. From 1997-1998, Word published David Aune's massive 3 v. 
commentary in the Word Biblical Series. In 1999, Beale's commentary was issued in the 
New International Greek Testament series. In 2002, Osborne's book on Revelation 
appeared. All of these commentaries have their strengths and weaknesses. Osborne's 
work, as the most recent commentary, reflects the contributions of both Aune and Beale, 
yet with his own perspectives. 

Perhaps the most interesting feature of Osborne's work is his eclectic 
methodology. He accepts certain features of historical critical analysis of Revelation. He 
recognizes that Revelation was written in the first century, in opposition to the imperial 
cult. Yet, at the same time he employs the "futurist" exegesis (pp. 21-22) characteristic of 
both dispensational and classical premillennial interpreters. In making this 
methodological combination, he continues in the tradition of G.E. Ladd, whose 
commentary likewise represented a combination of classical premillennial and historical 
critical method. Like Ladd, Beale attempts to reach a broad, evangelical audience. Yet, 
one wonders if, in the end, also like Ladd, he has produced a commentary that in its 
acceptance of multiple methods, does result in confusing inconsistency for the reader. 

This methodological confusion is most evident in the discussion of Rev. 12-13 
(pp. 454-522) and ch. 20 (pp. 696-725). In both cases Osborne recognizes that John 
addresses Christians of the first century. Thus, the beasts of Rev. 1 3 represent Rome and 
the emperor cult. Yet, Osborne also ascribes a double meaning to the texts to preserve a 
literalistic future reading. Thus, he accepts the theory that Rev. 13 predicts a personal 
antichrist, and that Rev. 20 predicts a literal millennium. Both of these assertions place 
him in a distinct minority among academic interpreters of the Apocalypse 


Book Reviews 

One of Osborne's most helpful contributions is his analysis of the text, where 
he attempts to avoid imposing a structure, but lets it arise from his reading of the text. 
Rather than imposing a seven fold structure on the book, Osborne sees Revelation as 
consisting of five units: 1. Prologue (1:1-8); 2. Churches addressed (1:9-3:22); 3. God in 
majesty and judgment (4:1-16:21); 4. Final judgment at the arrival of the eschaton (17:1- 
20:15); and 5. Epilogue (22:6-21) (pp. 30-31). The outline has the advantage of 
recognizing the transitional character of Rev. 4-5. Nevertheless, it fails to recognize that 
17:1-19:10 also describe God's judgment, with the eschaton beginning in 19:11 rather 
than in 17:1. 

Likewise, despite a tendency to embrace some of the more questionable 
features of "futurist" exegesis, Osborne maintains a focus on the central message of 
Revelation, which is a call to God's people to endure impending persecution in holiness, 
and that "holiness is the antithesis of political compromise and demands unswerving 
allegiance and faithfulness to God alone" (p. 43). This feature is a regular theme of the 
"summary and contextualization" sections that conclude the discussion of each passage. 
Here readers from evangelical or fundamentalist communities are especially well served 
and challenged to think of Revelation in new ways. 

In conclusion, it must be remembered that Osborne's commentary is addressing 
a specific audience that may not be familiar with the critical approach to John's 
Apocalypse. Osborne introduces critical themes, especially Revelation's focus upon the 
demand for uncompromising loyalty to God in the face of a hostile society, in a manner 
that will be congenial to these readers. He thereby entices them to think of Revelation in 
a manner that does justice to John's text. In the process he may be opening the true riches 
of John's vision to those who have not previously seen them. 

Russell Morton 

James P. Mackey, The Critique of Theological Reason. Cambridge University Press, 
2000. 333 pp., hardback, $59.95. 

As scientific progress soars over horizons of human ingenuity and discovery, 
postmodernism has emerged as the vanguard philosophical framework through which 
much of the secular world sees reality (or the lack thereof). Consequently, the modus 
operandi for intellectual thought has become the deconstruction of language - and of 
thought itself- culminating in the very death of the subject. God, then, who was once the 
cornerstone of metaphysics, has been dismissed along with all the other outmoded 
infatuations of the West. 

But James P. Mackey suggests that theology has dwelt within the postmodern 
formulation all along. God has actually never fallen by the wayside; in fact God has 
thrived through it. The dichotomy between philosophy and theology is erroneous. To 
demonstrate this, Mackey provides this tour de force in which he attempts not to work 
around postmodernism, but rather through it, to construct a new theological 
methodology. The synthesis of philosophy and theology is quite akin to the incarnation 
of Word into flesh. 

The book's two sections are first "historical-critical" and then "critical- 
constructive." The historical-critical part is an intriguing account of postmodemism's 
evolution that traces the subject in its trajectory through the modem era's philosophical 
gauntlets from Descartes to Sartre. Mackey highlights some functional motifs which 
have shifted our conception of the subject such as Cartesian dualism, Kantian and 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Hegelian phenomenology, and existentialism. He then explores the ramifications of 
David Deutsch's psychobiological analysis of the human consciousness. 

In the critical-constructive part Mackey dons the postmodern cloak to 
reconstruct theology, of which he successftilly argues philosophy was never actually rid. 
The book's title takes a cue from Immanuel Kant's The Critique of Pure Reason, in 
which Kant examines a priori knowledge derived by reasoning alongside (yet distinct 
from) empirical experience. Kant put faith in the human ability to reason through 
emotional subjects such as morality, and now Mackey cautions that we have in Western 
thought removed such humanity from theology. Hence he advocates the theological use 
of human creativity in expressions like the arts. Art is after all a mode of reason which 
can reveal the morals and mysteries concomitant with allegiance to God. Mackey in this 
way moves toward an experiential theology encapsulating the reality that what it means 
to be made in the likeness of the Creator is to be creative. Even the classical Western 
philosophical proofs for God's existence are not proofs, but aesthetic expressions borne 
of human artistic (linguistic) inspiration. Theological reason is therefore essentially 
postmodern. Mackey asserts that 21 ^'-century theology should integrate "the best" of 
what philosophy, science, and art bring to humanity's table. 

This is a sophisticated essay that employs ideas and terminology with which 
only readers of philosophy would be familiar. However, Mackey does well to articulate 
the concepts in such a way that any novice philosopher or theologian may grasp them as 
the book moves along. Insightful, relevant, penetrating, and at times refreshingly witty. 
The Critique of Theological Reason is an availing addition to any theological repertoire. 

Jacob Louis Waldenmaier 

Gerhard Sauter, Gateway to Dogmatics: Reasoning Theologically for the Life of the 
Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. 310 pp., paper, $27.00. 

The introductory sentence of Gerhard Sauter' s book invites the reader to a 
"workshop in dogmatics", a workshop that is "not for instruction but for gaining 
experience". Most educators wrestle mightily with putting our best teaching on paper for 
others to use, but Gerhard's effort is notable, not so much for how its success might be 
judged, but for the sheer joy and scope of the effort itself. I might be hard-pressed to 
decide how to use this book, but it sure whets the appetite for gaining the experience 
Sauter celebrates in its pages. 

Sauter invites the reader to use the book in a variety of ways, and it would be 
my recommendation that the reader start with the second section, "Dogmatics in the 
Church". This section follows the first section "Dogmatics as a Phenomenon" which I 
found laborious to read as well as refreshingly insightful. Sauter makes a case in this first 
section for dogmatics as a child of the canon, the "fruit of the confession of Christ". In 
this, and throughout the book, Sauter is certainly Barthian, Christocentric, generously 
orthodox, and ecumenical within the guardrails of Xxi-sola Lutheran expression of the 
faith. He makes a careful, respectful, and hopeful argument that dogmatics will be 
experienced in the church and the academy as a source of freedom to ask better questions, 
offer better ideas, and engage the world more wisely because of the limitations rendered 
by sound theological thinking. The historical texture of this first section is daunting in 
scope, but Sauter does a masterful job of avoiding oversimplification or cause-effect 
reductionism that robs God's history with his people of its dynamic messiness. 


Book Reviews 

Sauter takes this sense of messiness to new heights of both insight and humility 
in the second section of the book which focuses on the Church. Sauter organizes his tour 
deforce by outlining Luther's "marks of the Church": 

baptism, the Lord's Supper, the gospel, the forgiveness of sins, 

mutual conversation and the comfort it gives, the office of preaching, 

prayer and confession, the cross and suffering, the acknowledgement 

of marriage and of the political order, the sufferings of the church in 

the world, and the renunciation of retaliation (98). 

He then deals with each of these in turn and with varying degrees of depth, but in this 

section, the usefulness of the book was made clear. This is a solid textbook for use in a 

variety of practical theology or pastoral theology classes. His resistance to marketing in 

the church from worship erosion to theological laziness to need-based church 

programming is passionate without lapsing into ax-grinding judgementalism. 

A few pithy examples will have to suffice from this eloquent section: "An 
orientation to needs makes for lasting alienation from the question of the inner basis of 
the church's being"(97). "The inner grounding of all proclamation is surprise, surprise at 
the interjection of God that is so full of promise" (121). "Proclamation is admonished by 
dogmatics to let the answer given by God be heard clearly and not to lose sight of its 
ramifications" (128). "...the aim of pastoral care is not simply to heal and purify a 
subjectivity that has regained control. Pastoral counseling takes place with the hope that 
the no longer disintegrated and divided individuals belong in their wholeness to God's 
kingdom (146-7). 

Sauter obliquely addresses some of the more evangelical complaints that arise 
from Earth's work, the epistemology of Scripture and soteriological universalism. 
Although much mistrust on these points comes from forgetting Barth's much-needed 
historical corrective, Sauter contributes to a careful dialogue with his historical 
predecessor at Bonn and works hard to preserve the essential paradox of revelation while 
adding a clarifying apologetic for the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel as 
the mission of the Church. An example of Sauter' s skill is affirming that "though God 
has reconciled the world in Christ, not all are included in this reconciliation... an all- 
inclusiveness of this kind would be a fundamental mistake. Why? would make 
'others' an element in defining my own position... communication means primarily 
perceiving others as truly others. It means seeing them as they are..." (178-179). 

Sauter' s third section is ""Dogmatics Put in Motion" and he focuses on three 
areas where he finds historical dogmatics wanting in a variety of ways: pneumatology, 
anthropology, and "giving an account for the hope that is in us". Sauter sees the latter 
with soteriological implications grounded in hopeful kingdom eschatology. 

The penuhimate section of the book is titled "Dogmatics in Crisis: False Trails 
and Dead Ends" and focuses on the idea that 

Theological integrity means not promising more than we can 
perform, not feigning an insight that cannot properly be attained, not 
allowing for errors and confusion in thinking or discourse even for 
the best of purposes (239). 

The last section is "Dogmatics as Vocation," and Sauter makes a warm and 
inviting case for academic theologians to serve the church as those who equip pastoral 
ministers to be good diagnosticians for the work, witness, mission, thinking, and 
leadership that are all a part of equipping the saints for redemptive ministry in the world. 
This section is followed by informative appendixes and indexes. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Throughout the book, Sauter centers on the sovereignty of God and God's 
unrivaled providential grace. Reformed theologians like myself find much to celebrate, 
but Sauter doesn't forget to remind us at every turn that these very attributes of God are 
the grounding for much needed humility, too. 

The only thing that bothered me throughout much of the book, however, was 
what I consider a bit of sloppiness in his trinitarian language. More than a few times the 
Trinity was described in functional terms such as "creator, as redeeming reconciler, and 
as life-giver". I came away with the impression that Sauter' s efforts at inclusive 
language did marginalize the scriptural revelation of God, particularly regarding Father 
and Son language. I forthrightly admit that, as a woman whose doctoral work was in 
trinitarian theology, I am attentive to this dynamic, but Sauter' s evasion of this language 
is so pervasive (with rare exception) that 1 must register this deference to an otherwise 
very fine and compelling "workshop" experience! 

Robbie F. Castleman, John Brown University, Siloam Springs AR 

N. T. Wright. The Resurrection of the Son of God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003. 
Xxi, 817 pp., cloth $49.00 

The third volume of N.T. Wright's Christian Origins and the Question of God, 
this volume is both the most readable in the series as well as the most stimulating. 
Originating out of a series of lectures at Harvard, and at first expected to be only a short 
volume (see the preface, pp. xv-xxi), the present magisterial work presents a 
comprehensive analysis of the meaning of resurrection in the early Judaism and 
Christianity in general, as well as a comprehensive analysis of the meaning of the 
resurrection of Jesus in particular. In the process, Wright gives a full analysis of what 
resurrection meant and what it means. 

Wright begins his analysis with a detailed discussion of death in the ancient 
world (pp. 1-81). He points out that the ancients, far from possessing a naive belief that 
death could be overcome, were fully cognizant of the fact that death is a "one way street." 
Indeed, in ancient literature, there is no place for resurrection outside of the Old 
Testament, particularly in the later material of Daniel, and in Second Temple Judaism 
(see pp. 85-206). Thus, the commonly held assumption of many New Testament scholars 
since the Enlightenment, that the resurrection is a reflection of an ancient world view that 
did not understand the permanence of death, is incorrect. 

In Part 2 (pp. 207-398), Wright discusses the resurrection in Paul. This is the 
natural place to begin, since many scholars understand Paul's teaching on the 
resurrection, particularly in 1 Cor. 15 as meaning that the resurrection was a spiritual 
manifestation or appearance, and that it is not physical. Wright goes into great detail to 
show that such an interpretation is precisely what Paul did not mean, and that such an 
analysis is a misreading of the apostle's language, and a misunderstanding of Paul as a 
Jewish writer. Rather, Paul's understanding of the resurrection is intimately connected 
with his view of God as Creator. Furthermore, the whole thrust of 1 Cor. 15 looses its 
strength if Paul is speaking about a "spiritual" rather than physical resurrection. The view 
presented by Paul, while thoroughly monotheistic, is also connected with Jewish ideas of 
Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. In fact, the only reason these titles can be applied to 
Jesus in Paul's thought is because God has acted and raised Jesus from the dead. 

Part three (pp. 399-584) discuss the resurrection outside of Paul, both in the 
New Testament and the early Christian fathers. Again, the scholarly consensus that the 


Book Reviews 

resurrection was not originally understood as being a physical act, but a "spiritual" one 
that only later was understood as physical is not upheld by the evidence. This point is 
made especially clear in part 4, the story of Easter (pp. 585-684). In the analysis of the 
"strange stories" of the resurrection, Wright points out that no one in the ancient world 
would have made up stories like the resurrection accounts to justify the later doctrine of 
the physical resurrection of Jesus. While each story reflects each gospel author's 
interests, they, nevertheless, point to some original event that occurred, contrary to the 
expectations of the first disciples, to propel them into proclamation of the message of 
God's resurrection of Jesus from the dead. 

Finally, Wright recognizes that an attempt to reproduce the events of the past is 

not the sole concern of the historian. Events have significance only if they have meaning, 

and it is the meaning of the resurrection that Wright examines in part 5 (pp. 685-738). 

The resurrection is not a safe doctrine for private devotion. Nor is it a comforting belief 

in an afterlife in heaven. Rather, the resurrection matters because creation matters, and 

creation matters because the creator matters (p. 737). The resurrection represents God's 

dynamic act. After the resurrection, it is impossible to say that Caesar, or the state, or any 

human organization or pretension is Lord. Only God is Lord, and loyalty is due only to 

his son, the Messiah, Jesus. Such a proclamation flies in the face of all human arrogance. 

No wonder the Herods, the Caesars and the Sadducees of this world, 

ancient and modem, were and are eager to rule about all possibility of 

actual resurrection. They are, after all, staking a counter-claim on the 

real world. It is the real world that tyrants and bullies (including 

intellectual and cultural tyrants and bullies) try to rule by force, only 

to discover that in order to do so they have to quash all rumours of 

resurrection, rumours that would imply that their greatest weapons, 

death and deconstruction are not, after all, omnipotent, (p. 737) 

Thus, the resurrection not only provides assurance of what God has done in Christ, but 
also presents a challenge to Christians today to live in absolute loyalty only to God and 
Christ, and not to allow themselves to be compromised by the counter-claims of state or 
class or comfortable Christianity. It is this claim that provides a bridge between 
traditional affirmation that God raised Jesus from the dead and the challenge to a post- 
colonial church to live according to the demands of that proclamation. 

Russell Morton 

Jeff Astley, David Brown and Ann Loades, eds.. Problems in Theology: Creation. New 
York: T&T Clark, Ltd., 2003. 1 19 pp., paper, $19.95. 

Problems in Theology: Creation is a reader with articles from many 
theologians. The selections reflect a broad spectrum of the different theologies on 
creation that have presented themselves over the years. This reader contains 
approximately thirty-five excerpts from biblical passages and a range of Christian 
thinkers through the centuries. 

This book has been divided into four chapters, all dealing with separate issues 
that are currently debated. The articles deal with ideas such as the meaning of creation, 
the Gaia theory, process theology and creation in the New Testament and in Christian 
thought. Some voices heard in this book are John Macquarrie, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and 
Karl Barth, to name just a few. The general layout of each chapter is an overview of the 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

topic, then articles from authors supporting the idea, and finally those in contention with 
each idea and articles containing tensions and criticisms of the ideas. 

The articles in this reader flow well when read as a whole, but would also be 
very useful and easily accessible if used individually. This reader, though eclectic, has a 
definite Christian undertone throughout, as can be seen in the introduction and especially 
with the placement of the problems and critiques at the latter part of the chapters. 

Problems in Theology: Creation is a great book for teachers and students who 
wish to look at current issues concerning the theology of creation. The discussion 
questions at the end of each chapter are appropriate for educational settings. This book as 
a reader will facilitate conversation among pastors, teachers and serious students 
interested in creation theology. 

Amy Kinder 

Philip F. Ester, ed.. The Early Christian World. 2 volumes. London: Routledge, 2000. 
1342 pages. Cloth. 

The Early Christian World is a compendious introduction to the first four 
centuries of the Christian movement and the social, cultural, and political world that 
surrounded it. It has pride of place as the standard reference work to the topics it treats, 
and draws from the ranks of contributors who are well versed in social-scientific, 
cultural-anthropological, and ideological criticism, thus bringing new interdisciplinary 
paradigms to the study of early Christian history in addition to the foundations of 
historical-critical, tradition-critical, and other more established avenues of inquiry. 

The volume is divided into nine parts. The first sets the Christian movement 
solidly in the context of the Mediterranean world of late antiquity, including the 
following contributions: "The Mediterranean context of early Christianity" (Philip Esler); 
"Armies, emperors and bureaucrats" (Jill Harries); "Graeco-Roman philosophy and 
religion" (Luther Martin); "Jewish tradition and culture" (James Aitken). The second 
part examines topics relevant to the development of early Christianity, with essays on 
"The Galilean world of Jesus" (Sean Freyne); "Early Jewish Christianity" (David 
Horrell); "Paul and the development of gentile Christianity" (Todd Klutz); "The Jesus 
tradition: The gospel writers' strategies of persuasion" (Richard Rohrbaugh); 
"Christianity in the second and third centuries" (Jeffrey Siker); "From Constantine to 
Theodosius (and beyond)" (Bill Leadbetter). Part three looks more closely at the 
institutional expansion of Christianity through "Mission and expansion" (Thomas Finn), 
"The development of office in the early church" (Mark Edwards), "Christian regional 
diversity" (David Taylor), and "Monasticism" (Columba Stewart, OSB). Part four 
attempts to balance the more diachronic approaches of parts two and three with topical 
explorations related to "everyday Christian experience." Here one finds essays on 
"Social levels, morals and daily life" (Bruce Malina), "Sex and sexual renunciation" 
(Teresa Shaw), "Women, worship and mission: the church in the household" (Gillian 
Cloke), "Communication and travel" (Blake Leyerle), and "Worship, practice and belief 
(Maxwell Johnson). 

Parts five and six examine the intellectual and artistic heritage of the early 
church, the latter section representing a truly innovative balance to the typical interest 
only in the "ideas" of the patristic period. Contributions to Part Five include "The 
Apostolic Fathers" (Carolyn Osiek), "The Apologists" (Eric Osborn), "The early 
theologians" (Gerald Bray), "later theologians of the Greek East" (Andrew Louth), "Later 


Book Reviews 

theologians of the West" (Ivor Davidson), "Creeds, councils and doctrinal development" 
(Trevor Hart), and "Biblical interpretation" (Oskar Skarsaune). Part Six explores 
"Architecture: the first five centuries" (L. Michael White), "Art" (Robin Jensen), 
"Music" (James McKinnon), and "Imaginative Literature" (Richard Bauckham). 

The seventh and eighth sections offer analyses of challenges to the emerging 
Christian movement from outside (with essays on "Martyrdom and political oppression" 
by W. H. C. Frend, "Graeco-Roman philosophical opposition" by Michael Simmons, and 
"Popular Graeco-Roman responses to Christianity" by Craig de Vos) and within (with 
essays on "Internal renewal and dissent in the early Christian world" by Sheila McGinn, 
"Gnosticism" by Alastair Logan, "Montanism" by Christine Trevett, "Donatism" by 
James Alexander, and "Arianism" by David Rankin). 

The final section offers profiles of leading Christians from the second through 
the fourth centuries, including Origen (Fred Norris), Tertullian (David Wright), Perpetua 
and Felicitas (Ross Kraemet and Shira Lander), Constantine (Bill Leadbetter), Anthony 
of the Desert (Columba Stewart, OSB), Athanasius (David Brakke), John Chrysostom 
(Pauline Allen and Wendy Mayer), Jerome (Dennis Brown), Ambrose (Ivor Davidson), 
Augustine (Carol Harrison), and Ephrem the Syrian (Kathleen McVey), closing, perhaps 
a bit subversively, with Julian the Apostate (Michael Simmons). 

Written by acknowledged experts in each field, this work is a necessary 
resource for every institutional library. 

David A. deSilva 

Richard L. Crocker, An Introduction to Gregorian Chant. New Haven, CT: Yale 
University Press, 2000. 256 pp., hardcover + compact disc, $37.50. 

In recent years, modem listeners have been attracted to ethereal and tranquil 
sounds of chant. Several recordings of chant, in fact, have been listed on best-sellei 
charts. This introduction to Gregorian chant will engage both casual listeners anc 
students of the style. Richard L. Crocker, professor emeritus at the University o] 
California at Berkeley, is one of the foremost scholars in the area of chant, having spem 
more than forty years in the study of this genre of music. In this well-written volume, he 
offers an excellent introduction to the history of chant and its meaning and function m the 
liturgy. His long career of teaching and writing enables him to explain with clarity and 
authority how chant developed, how it was written down, and its past and present usage ir 
worship. He does not shy away from technical information and subtleties of style, but the 
author brings the novice along with graceful definitions of the terms needed in the 
discussion. Crocker makes it clear that he assumes the reader will be listening to chani 
alongside the reading of this text. Accompanying the book is a compact disc containing 
26 tracks of chant recorded by Crocker, Markika Kuzma and The Orlando Consort. Foi 
each of the tracks, Crocker provides a succinct commentary on both the melody of the 
chant and the text, providing both the Latin and English translation and situating the texi 
in its liturgical context. Occasionally in the historical discussion and in the commentary. 
Crocker shows the melodic contours of the chant. Instead of traditional musical notation, 
however, he uses graph-like charts that illustrate well musical contours while being more 
accessible to readers who are not musicians. 

A glossary and index are useful tools for the reader searching for particulai 
information, and Crocker provides a brief bibliography. Carefully chosen plates oj 
manuscript pages illustrate the discussion. He states in his Acknowledgments, however 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

that he depends in large measure on long held tradition in the performance styles of the 
music; readers who wish to explore fuller documentation of those performance traditions 
may consult David Hiley's Western Plainchant, a recognized standard in the field. The 
gift of this book is Crocker's ability to discuss the complex matters of musical style anc 
notation, liturgy and worship, and monastic traditions in ways that are more like listening 
to an engaging conversation rather than reading a scholarly tome. This introduction wil 
be appreciated by those who simply enjoy listening to chant as well as those who are 
engaged in formal study. It will be a valuable addition to both undergraduate and 
graduate studies in music history, liturgy, and church history. 

Deborah Carlton Loftis, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Virginia 

Columba Stewart, Cassain the Monk. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1998, 
pp. 286, $25.00. 

William H. Shannon, Anselm: The Joy of Faith. New York: The Crossroad Publishing 
Company, 1999, pp. 189, $15.95. 

Karin Maag, ed., Melanchthon in Europe: His Work and Influence Beyond Wittenberg. 
Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999, pp. 191, $17.99. 

A frequent problem in book reviewing is an over-supply of books by publishers 
to institutions who publish academic journals. Many worthy books accumulate on 
shelves unreviewed long after the date that they should have come to public notice. 
Having located several of these books on our journal shelf, I have decided to give them 
brief attention in the hope that some will want access to them for their own study or 
purchase. Fortunately, all three are still readily available, either from the publishers or 
through internet sources. 

Cassain the Monk gives justifiable notice to one of the more prominent 
monastic figures of the late fourth and early fifth century. He served as a bridge between 
the Eastern monastic tradition and the developing Western establishment of monasticism. 
He and Germanus had come to Rome bearing a letter from John Chrysostom, which 
asked for the pope's help in his battle with the imperial and ecclesiastical powers that 
were trying to depose him. Cassain remained in Rome for some time and then became 
prominent in the monastic structures in Gaul, where he drew upon his monastic life in 
Egypt and the teaching of his mentor, Evagrius Ponticus, in developing a theology and a 
pattern of monastic life for the monks under his influence. 

Stewart portrays the tensions that affected Cassain at this time. Origen, from 
whom he borrowed much, had fallen from favor in both East and West. And Augustine 
had repelled Pelagianism with his strong views of sovereign grace. Cassian's views can 
best be described as semi-Pelagian, so he had to do his work as one who had limits placed 
upon his theological utterances. 

The major contribution of the book is its use of Cassain's two major treatises 
for the monks under his instruction: his Institutes and his Conferences . Stewarts's 
knowledge of these texts, the details of monastic life, and the theological themes of the 
time are outstanding. He helps his readers see the connections between Cassain's 
theology and the regular features of monastic life. Cassain the Monk becomes a lens 
through which to see the monastic institution of the time as well as the traditions that 
grew out of those begiimings. 


Book Reviews 

It is not an easy book to read since it aims to elucidate detailed teachings in 
Cassain's texts. It will have its greatest appeal to students and scholars (the book has 89 
pages of reference notes and another 30 pages of bibliography). But it will appeal to 
those who have an appreciation for the monastic tradition. Here contemplative Christians 
can uncover their roots in Christian antiquity. 

Anselm: The Joy of Faith also reflects the monastic tradition through another of 
its great leaders. Anselm followed Cassain by seven centuries, and, though bom in Italy, 
his career became notable in northern France and then England, where he became the 
Archbishop of Canterbury. Shannon's object in writing the book is to demonstrate 
Anselm's place in history, as he lived at a time when new thinking was about to flower in 
the church and the culture. He also wants to highlight Anselm's contributions to 
Christian thought (p. 13). Specifically, the author wants to highlight Anselm's 
spirituality as that which can transcend time and speak forcefully to a modem readership 
(p. 34). By spirituality the author means a consciousness of God that infuses all of life 
with meaning and purpose (pp. 35-36) and not just certain devotional practices. 

Anselm's career is set in the context of three great movements of the eleventh 
century. The first is the monastic reform that began at Cluny and spread throughout the 
church. Anselm's spirituality is both a result of that movement and a cause of its 
enhancement. Secondly, he supports the vision of the papacy as the supreme office of 
God's kingdom upon earth. It is because he represented allegiance to the pope as the 
universal shepherd of the people of God that he experienced difficulty with the Norman 
kings of England. This highlights the third tension of his time: the investiture 
controversy. Because he defended the church's right to appoint bishops against the kings 
who claimed it as their traditional feudal right, he had to twice flee from his duties at 
Canterbury and take refuge in monastic and papal support on the continent. 

Entwined as he was with these movements and events, he lived his life as 
service to God and helped others (monks above all) to experience a life infused by God. 
What he left through his writing helps us appreciate his contribution to his age. On the 
one hand, we have his Proslogion , where he developed the classic proof for God's 
existence (which Kant later called the "ontological argument"), and his Cur Deus Homo, 
in which he approached the mystery of atonement through the concept of the "satisfaction 
theory" (Christ alone met both the human and the divine requirements for salvation). 
Shannon's explorations of these theological concepts are very helpful, especially for 
those whose background in theology is limited. On the other hand, the author also wants 
us to see Anselm at prayer, as a letter writer, and as a person who highly prized religious 

Shannon maintains that both these contributions reflect the "joy of faith" for 
Anselm. In the first he is an early example of a new rational approach to theology. Yet, 
for Anselm (as also Augustine) it is reason at the service of faith, understanding what one 
already believes. His prayers, letters, and friendships also explore the "joy of faith" as 
they show the soul in communion with God and with fellow pilgrims of the religious 
joumey. These two elements, so often polar opposites in many lives, are bound together 
in Anselm. That is why the author feels he is such a good exemplar for those who today 
seek to find a unifying approach to life. 

Shannon's book will appeal to a larger audience than Stewart's for a number of 
reasons. It is more brief; it appeals to those outside the monastic lifestyle; and it is 
written in a more reader-friendly style. The book pulls the reader along; one does not 
need to push through dense thickets in order to make new discoveries. The piety of both 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

these monastic leaders is equally genuine; but the Anselm of Shannon's book is more 

The book on Melanchthon moves time on by five more centuries. It is 
definitely not monastic in outlook. Melanchthon was immersed in the new humanist 
approach to Christianity. He was schooled in the university, not the monastery. He 
served a long career as a writer and teacher at Wittenburg, the seat of the Protestant 
reformation and a decided foe of the monastic system. 

Melanchthon 's role as Luther's subordinate and as a chief architect of 
Lutheranism after Luther's death is generally recognized in the scholarly world. The 
purpose of this book is to appreciate Melanchthon 's interaction with and his influence 
upon the wider Protestant reform in Europe, particularly in his interaction with leaders of 
the Reformed tradition of Protestantism. 

The eight essays that comprise the book were delivered at two lecture events in 
1997 to celebrate the 500* year of Melanchthon's birth. Four were given at the Meeter 
Center for Calvm Studies in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the remainder at the Sixteenth 
Century Studies Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Karin Maag is to be congratulated for 
bringing these papers together in their present form, as the fifth book published in the 
series of Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought (for which Dr. 
Richard A. Muller of Calvin Theological Seminary is the series editor). 

Each of the essays concerning Melanchthon is of considerable interest and 
reflects profound scholarship. A student of the Reformation could be well-served by 
noting the sources referenced in the various studies. The chapters in general cover three 
areas of interest. First, they note where Malanchthon was willing to take a path separate 
from Martin Luther and the conflicts and tensions this created within the Lutheran 
movement, particularly after Luther's death. Secondly, and more importantly, they probe 
the limit of Melanchthon's compatibility with the Calvinistic Reformation and the 
notable people within it, like John Calvin, Heinrich BuUinger, and Martin Bucer (whose 
moderate stance and ecumenical spirit were attractive to Melanchthon). Finally, they try 
to explain the uniqueness of Melanchthon's theological methods. His commitments to 
Renaissance humanism and to rhetorical analysis, in particular, are noted as factors that 
shaped his person and his scholarship. 

As Karin Maag notes in her introductory chapter, Melanchthon suffers - like 
the other second generation leaders of the Refonnation - from being critiqued for his 
agreement with or divergence from the founder. This often means that he is not 
appreciated in his own right as a leading figure of the Reformation (pp. 15-16). This 
book goes a long way in helping to correct this defect. 

Luke L. Keefer, Jr. 

Peter Day, A Dictionary of Christian Denominations. London: Continuum, 2003. 516 
pp., cloth, $75.00. 

The one volume dictionary by Australian-bom Peter Day, a member of the 
Russian Orthodox Church, contains information on over one thousand Christian 
denominations and movements. These begin with articles on the "Aaronic Order" and 
continue through to "Zwinglians." Included are mainstream historical churches, heretical 
sects, cults and groups that sprung up around charismatic leaders. An Appendix contains 
alternate names of the groups treated in the main body of the work. 


Book Reviews ♦ 

The carefully written, informative articles include readily recognized groups as 
well as the following lesser known groups: Agapemites, Manazarites, Angel Dancers, 
Body-Felt Salvation Church, seven different Churches of Christ, twenty one different 
Churches of God, Doukhabors, Ephrata Society, Familists, Grant Brethren, Henricians, 
Illuminati, Jumper, Koinonia Partners, Lehrerheut, Madaeans, eight Methodist groups, 
Navigators, Old Order Dunkers, Priscillianists, twenty two Reformed groups, Stundists, 
Today Church, fifteen United Church groups, and Voice of Elijah. 

Richard E. Allison 

Renate Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Brief Life. Translated from the German by K. C. 
Hanson. Minneapohs: Fortress Press, 2004. 88 pp., cloth, $12. 

Renate Bethge, author and editor of this work, is the niece of Dietrich 
Bonhoeffer and the widow of Bonhoeffer' s close friend, the late Eberhard Bethge, expert 
on Bonhoeffer. In this volume, Bethge sensitively sketches Bonhoeffer' s dramatic life 
and his personal witness against Nazism during World War II. She portrays Bonhoeffer's 
life as a symbol of Christian resistance against Hitler. Bethge offers sympathy for and 
deep understanding of Bonhoeffer's authentic struggle. 

Bethge chronicles Bonhoeffer's life in this brief volume. She focuses on his 
major life movements from childhood and youth to the beginning of the Nazi era. Then 
she details the period of the Preacher's Seminary in Finkenwalde and his trips to 
America. She concludes with his conspiratorial trips, resistance activities, imprisonment 
and execution. 

Bethge describes Bonhoeffer's life events with pictures, personal letters, and 
autobiographical notes on nearly every page of this short work. This material makes the 
book a valuable treasure in Bonhoeffer studies and biographies. The reader enjoys 
personal glimpses into the actual life of Bonhoeffer in a clear, accessible way. 

This work is a beautiful treasure only a family member could produce. It is a 
gift of Bonhoeffer's great witness to Jesus Christ. The work is accessible for clergy, laity, 
professors and students of Bonhoeffer. The book offers gems of insight into the life of 

JoArin Ford Watson 

Stanley Hauerwas, Prayers Plainly Spoken. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1999. 
132 pp., paper, $17.00. 

This book was pubhshed because of Hauerwas's students who initially began 
asking him for copies of his written prayers given at the start of each class, and who then 
encouraged him to publish his prayers. Initially, Hauerwas resisted the suggestion, chiefly 
because he did not want to appear pious (which, quite frankly, has never truly been a 
problem for Hauerwas); his concern being that "in our time 'holiness' is too often one of 
the ways the truthfixlness of religious claims is lost" (p. 13). 

Hauerwas suggests that the lack of "holy" language in these prayers (i.e. pious 
tones and set formulas often associated with saying a prayer) is one of the reasons 
students wanted them. He states, "If anything, these prayers are plain. They are so 
because I discovered I could not pray differently than I speak. In other words I thought it 
would be a mistake to try to assume a different identity when I prayed" (p. 14). 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Hauerwas lays a theological foundation for prayer in his introduction (pp. 11- 
18). The aspects of that foundation are that prayer is taught, that any theology that does 
not help Christians to pray cannot be Christian, that "God wants our prayers and the 
prayers God wants are our prayers" (p. 17), and the language of prayer enhances our 
lives, because our very lives are indeed prayers to God. 

The prayers in this book were written with reference to specific occasions, 
sometimes with attention to the specific topic being studied in class, and other times in 
response to world and community events, as well as happenings at Duke Divinity School 
and the University. In other words these prayers involve "simply the stuff of life" (p. 16). 
Accordingly, after the introduction, the prayers are categorized into three sections: 
Beginnings (pp. 21-35), Living In Between (pp. 39-114), and Endings (pp. 117-132). A 
few examples of prayers from the book highlight the different occasions for which these 
prayers were written. 

In a prayer entitled. Save Us from Dullness, written at the start of a new class, 
Hauerwas writes. 

Our Only Father, humble us Mary-like before the cross of your Son, 
our Lord, Jesus of Nazareth, so that through the Spirit we may be 
joined in the one body, the church, thus becoming your one mighty 
prayer for the world. Gracious God, whose grace terrorizes us and 
sustains us, we pray for courage as we begin this course. Invade our 
lives, robbing us of fear and envy so we might begin to trust one 
another and in the process discover a bit of truth. In this serious 
business grant us the joy and humor that comes from your presence. 
And for your sake, save us from being dull. Amen (p. 26). 

Several prayers for peace are contained in the book. A particularly interesting 
one is A Plea for Peace with Chickens. 

Sovereign of All Life, we pray that you will give us the patience to 
stay still long enough to witness the beauty of your creation. Help us 
to live at peace with your world, especially with our brothers and 
sisters in and without your church. Help us to live at peace with those 
creatures not like us — that is, dogs, pigs, and even, God help us, 
chickens. And help us live in peace with ourselves. Amen (p. 57). 

One prayer in the book is offered in reference to what Hauerwas describes as "a 
particularly egregious act by a member of the divinity school community that brought 
shame on the school (p. 84). 

Weird Lord, you never promised us a rose garden, but right now we 
could use a few daisies or zinnias. We feel confused, unsure of where 
we are, angry because a wrong has been done, and we are unsure who 
(sic) to blame. It ought to be somebody's fault, but even the one who 
is to blame is so pathetic it hardly seems worth the effort. So we are 
left with ourselves. Work on us to make us a community of 
truthfulness, a community where friendships flourish, a community 
of joy in the good work you have given us. Help us to know how to 
go on, confident that you have made us characters in the best story 
since creation, since it is (Hauerwas' emphasis) the story of creation. 
It is good to be your people. Amen (pp. 84-85). 


Book Reviews 

Not one to avoid controversy, Hauerwas writes several blunt prayers on various 
issues. One was given "during the celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of 
Columbus's 'discovery' of America" (p. 25). 

Dear God, our lives are made possible by the murders of the 
past — civilization is built on slaughters. Acknowledging our debt to 
killers frightens and depresses us. We fear judging, so we say, 
"That's in the past." We fear to judge because in so judging we are 
judged. Help us, however, to learn to say no, to say, "Siimers though 
we are, that was and is wrong." May we do so with love. Amen (p. 

Hauerwas employs stark language in his theological reflections. This is seen in 
particular in one prayer entitled, Stuck with a God Who Bleeds. 

Bloody Lord, you are just too real. Blood is sticky, repulsive, 
frightening. We do not want to be stuck with a sacrificial God who 
bleeds. We want a spiritual faith about spiritual things, things 
bloodless and abstract. We want sacrificial spirits, not sacrificed 
bodies. But you have bloodied us with your people Israel and your 
Son, Jesus. We fear that by being Jesus' people we too might have to 
bleed. If such is our destiny, we pray that your will, not ours, be 
done. Amen (p. 90). "^ 

In his last section on endings, Hauerwas writes several prayers on the occasion 
of the deaths of different individuals, including that of Henri Nouwen in 1996, who at the 
time of his death was the chaplain at Daybreak, a home for the mentally handicapped in 

Lord of Life, Lord of Death, we give you thanks for the life, the 
ministry, the witness of Father Henri M. Nouwen. His life was 
constituted by words, but he longed for silence. You have now 
constituted him by your eloquent silence, by naming him a member 
of that chorus called the communion of saints. We pray for his 
friends at Daybreak, who will rightly feel the silence of his death as 
loss. May they look into one another's faces and see your unfailing 
presence. So seeing, may they rejoice in the life of this strange man, 
who so willingly exposed his life so that we might rejoice in the life 
you have given us. Amen (p. 124). 

There will be some who find Hauerwas' clear and blunt prayer language 
offensive, particularly his addressing of God as "weird," "strange," and "terrifying." 
Others will no doubt also find some of his prayers quite controversial, particularly in 
reference to war and violence. Perhaps what Hauerwas has written on page 1 7 of the 
introduction may be offered as a response. "We do not need to hide anything from God, 
which is a good thing given the fact that any attempt to hide from God will not work. 
God wants us to cry, to shout, to say what we think we understand and what we do not." 

Prayers Plainly Spoken is a book worth reading. It is to be added to that great 
company of prayers offered by the saints throughout history, those prayers that improve 
the praying of all believers. 

Allan R. Bevere 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Bradley P. Holt, Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality. 2nd ed. 
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005. 226 pp., paper, $18.00. 

The original 1993 edition of Thirsty for Gcxi received a brief notice in this 
journal which said in part, "This is an ideal short survey, the best of its kind in print" 
{ATJ 33 [2001]: 83). The second edition is even better in almost every way. The 
author's preface singles out for attention new material, the introduction of maps, and 
more suggestions for spiritual practice. 

After an initial chapter on spirituality and Christianity, two new chapters 
appear. The first discusses what spiritual formation is — being, relating, and doing - 
while the other concerns Jesus Christ and the Bible. Both of these strengthen the 
foundation for what follows. They open up what Christian spirituality (description and 
analysis) and spiritual formation (process and experience) are about, and the canonical 
material which underlies them. At the end of the book, the discussion of the twentieth 
century has now become two chapters: "The West since 1900" and "The Non-Western 
World since 1900." This gives more opportunity for Dr. Holt to develop one of his 
strong points: Christianity beyond the English-speaking world. A former missionary 
educator in Nigeria, he is biblically, historically, and theologically convinced that the 
Christian faith must be international, with all the diversity that entails. 

The structure of the central part remains as it was: "The Beginnings of a 
Global Community" [the ancient church], "The European Era" [the medieval church], 
"Protestant and Catholic Reform," and "The 'Modem' Era." There is enough new 
material to increase the book from 150 pages to 226, with slightly larger page size. The 
author highlights new or expanded discussions of "Celtic spirituality, medieval women 
mystics, J. S. Bach, the holiness movement, Oswald Chambers, Therese of Lisieux, C. S. 
Lewis, Henry Nouwen, Rosemary Radford Reuther [sic]. Pope Shenoudah III, and 
Desmond Tutu, among many others" (p. vii). Dr. Holt also includes more of his own 
personal comments and opinions throughout the book. 

Another significant improvement is that ten maps appear in the opening pages. 
Each map is keyed to one of the chapters and identifies significant places mentioned in 
the discussion. For example, the map of modem Europe shows the location of Dietrich 
Bonhoeffer's secret seminary in Germany (Finkewalde), the ecumenical monastic 
community at Taize, France, and sites where the Holy Mother has been said to appear in 
France (Lourdes), Portugal (Fatima), and Croatia (Medjugorje). This new feature is 
extremely helpful and will be welcomed by all readers. 

The third improvement to which the author calls attention is the more extensive 
descriptions of spiritual practice. These come at the end of each chapter, making this 
more than just a brief history of Christian spirituality. It can function as a first text for 
leaming the spiritual disciplines which historically have nurtured believers. A larger 
variety is introduced beyond the first edition - not only corporate worship and meditative 
reading, but also writing letters for social justice and going on a pilgrimage. 

But Holt's first purpose remains: to provide an introductory survey of the rich 
history of Christian spirituality, and to do it broadly and inclusively. This he has 
accomplished better than any author I know. The only exception worth mentioning is 
that some dates - in both editions — are wrong. They show up in the text's discussion 
and also in the helpful timeline at the back of the book. For example, it is generally 
agreed that Ignatius of Antioch died in the decade A.D. 1 10-120, but the dates suggested 
for him (1607-220?) are very near those given for Tertullian (1607-225). Hildegard of 
Bingen was bom in 1098, not 1 109; Julian of Norwich was almost certainly bom in 1342, 


Book Reviews 

not 1353; Ignatius of Loyola died in 1556, not 1531; and Richard Foster is not nearing 
eighty (he was bom in 1942, not 1928). Inexplicably, Augustine, who was included in 
the first edition's timeline, is omitted in the revision. Hopefully such uncorrected errors 
will not detract from the otherwise excellent changes in this second edition. 

Bradley Holt has performed an outstanding service for both church and 
academy in producing this revision of Thirsty for God. Now more than ever it is "an 
ideal short survey, the best of its kind in print." 

Jerry R. Flora 

Henri Nouwen, Turn My Mourning into Dancing: Finding Hope in Hard Times. Ed. 
Timothy Jones. Nashville: Word Publishing, 2001. Xvi + 1 1 1 pp. Hardcover, $16.99. 

This wonderful book of Henri Nowen's collected writings was compiled 
posthumously by Timothy Jones. It is a gift on the subject of hope in a hurting world. To 
compile these thoughts of Nouwen, Jones gleaned the archival holdings at the Henri 
Nouwen Literary Center and the Henri J. M. Nouwen Archives and Research Collection 
at the John M. Kelly Library, University of St. Michael's College in Toronto. 

Nouwen's thoughts are gathered as treasures of a life lived in the compassion 
of God in service to humanity. Jones states that after Nouwen's death in 1996, interest in 
Nouwen's work has grown immensely. In the preface, Jones states, "More than anything, 
1 believe, the continued interest grows out of who he was: a heart broken before God and 
opened for his fellow friends and readers" (p. xi). Jones writes that Nouwen was "a man 
with a heart that constantly reached out to hurting souls" (p. x.). Jones describes him this 
way: "Henri was complex and unfinished; he knew it well and did not pretend otherwise. 
But still, he also knew, there was ministering to be done. Suffering to care for. Hope to 
bring to bear in life's dark places" (p. xi). 

Jones learned that digging through Nouwen's notes in the archives provides 
glimpses from his pen and life (p. xii.). He writes, "As we learn from this chronicler of 
the possibilities of a human life lived vibrantly with God, may our sorrows also turn to 
expectancy and even joy" (p. xii). 

Jones arranges Nouwen's thoughts in the book in five movements through hard 
times entitled, "From Our Little Selves to a Larger World, From Holding Tight to Letting 
Go, From Fatalism to Hope, From Manipulation to Love, From a Fearful Death to a 
Joyous Life" (p. v). In the introduction, Nouwen describes the meaning of these 
movements. He writes, "But these steps in the dance of God's healing choreography let 
us move gracefully amid what would harm us, and find healing as we endure what could 
make us despair" (p. xvi). Nouwen continues, "We can ultimately find a healing that lets 
our wounded spirits dance again, that lets them dance unafraid of suffering and even 
death because we learn to live with lasting hope" (p. xvi). 

The strength of the book is Nouwen's call to hope throughout life's ups and 
downs. Growing up, Nouwen was captivated by the trapeze artists at the circus. Nouwen 
writes of the trapeze, "But the real hero is the catcher. The only thing I have to do is 
stretch out my hands and trust, trust that he will be there to pull me back up" (p. 43). 
Nouwen's thoughts here turn to God as he writes, "We can say no less about the God 
who encircles our little lives and waits to catch us and hold us — in the hard junctures and 
the good, in the precarious moments and the times we soar" (p. 43). 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Throughout the work, Nouwen resounds his theme of hope. He tells us that 
memory speaks of God's faithfulness in the past and gives us courage for the present and 
the future. Nouwen writes, "Memory also reminds us of the faithfulness of God in the 
hard places and joyous moments. It lets us see how God has brought good from even the 
impossible situations. Remembering in this way allows us to live in the present" (p. 59). 

Nouwen also focuses on the power of hope. He continues, "Hope makes you 
see God's guiding hand not only in the gentle and pleasant moments but also in the 
shadows of disappointment and darkness"(p. 60). Nouwen promises everlasting hope in 
the Risen Christ. He states, "For the journey of Christ did not end on the cross. On the 
road to Emmaus we see the picture changed from despair to hope... That allows us to 
hope that the journey from life to death leads finally from death to life" (pp. 103-104). 

Nouwen beautifully concludes this wonderful collection of thoughts on hope 
with the movement from death to eternal life. He states, "Confronting our death 
ultimately allows us better to live. And better to dance with God's joy amid the 
sorrowing nights and the hopeful mornings" (p. 1 10). 

This book is a precious gift of Nouwen's works on spirituality that is accessible 
to clergy and laity interested in Nouwen's spirituality. This book is a treasure of the 
great legacy and contribution that this extraordinary man of God left for us. As Jones 
gleaned this work from Nouwen's unpublished writings, what a beloved gift of hope he 
discovered from this legendary spiritual guide. 

JoAnn Ford Watson 

Dallas Willard, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God. 
Dovraers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1983. 228 pp, paper. 

More than anything else, it was the title that prompted me to read this book. 
Now, I am glad that I did. I have often wondered if everyone "hears" God in the same 
way. What does God's voice sound like? How do we hear God? 

Dallas Willard attacks these and many other questions Christians may ask in his 
book Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God. This book was 
previously published under the classic title, In Search of Guidance. The former title, the 
one it is currently being published with, is a great title for the material included in the 

Willard does not shy away from the difficult questions that people of faith often 
ask when we think of developing a conversational, intimate relationship with God. He 
states that they key to hearing God is building a close and personal relationship with God. 
It is not surprising to find that Christians live in the tension of knowing that hearing from 
God is crucial to a personal relationship with God and yet not clearly knowing how to 
develop that personal relationship with God through hearing and listening to God. What 
does hearing from God sound like? Willard is keenly aware that this tension exists and 
he does not try to diminish this fact rather he addresses it head-on. Willard then moves 
us to a deeper understanding of what hearing from God is not to encouraging the reader 
that everyone can have a full, satisfying, and glorifying relationship with God when we 
understand what it means to communicate with God and not to God. He states, "We must 
never forget that God's speaking to use, however we experience it in our initial 
encounter, is intended to develop into an intelligent, freely cooperative relationship 
between mature people who love each other with the richness of genuine agape love" 
(pg. 31). It is this relationship with God that Willard helps us develop through this book. 


Book Reviews 

The book has nine powerful chapters dealing with everything from using 
Scripture to hear God, from understanding our redemption, to recognizing the voice of 
God. He especially does a great job dealing with the issue of silence from God in chapter 
nine. Each chapter is followed by a set of questions to help us process the material and to 
examine our own personal relationship with God. This makes Hearing God a great book 
to use for small groups or Bible studies as well as a personal spiritual formation tool. 
There is no question that after reading this book, you will have a more spiritual walk with 
God what will be gratifying to you and glorifying of God. I highly recommend this book 
for pastors or for anyone who wants to develop a more formative relationship with God 
through prayer and silent times. 

Vickie Taylor 

Rowan Williams, The Dwelling of the Light: Praying with Icons of Christ. Grand 
Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 2003. 84pp., cloth, $16.00. 

Like the icons it studies, this little book opens succinct yet inviting gateways 
into the depths of God. While many books on icons explain conventions and symbols or 
offer personal reflection, this one brings the reader into an encounter with the profound 
theological and spiritual beauty of its subjects. This is a book that explains both icons 
and the incarnation of Christ with a simple and engaging style that provokes, prods, and 
suggests but never fully elaborates. Williams begins with an introduction that reflects on 
the Incarnation as it reviews the early arguments for and against representing divine 
images. Put simply, icons do not attempt to depict God through pictures and images. 
Rather, they depict humanity saturated with God and transformed by divine life. With 
this in mind, Williams undertakes conversations with four icons, each of which brings out 
treasures both old and new. A meditation on an icon of the Transfiguration confronts the 
reader/viewer with a glimpse of God's glory in Christ, a glimpse of "violent force" that 
interrupts and overthrows our assumptions about God and humanity. An icon of the 
Resurrection shows us a Savior who comes out of the depths of the divine life and 
overcomes humanity's frozen divisiveness and hostility. Rublev's icon of the Hospitality 
of Abraham brings us into the dynamic circle of the divine life, in which we are drawn by 
the Son to the Father and into the Father's breathing out of the Spirit. Finally, an icon of 
Christ as Pantocrator (Ruler of All) confronts us with the Truth that longs to be known, 
the love that welcomes, and the gaze that helps us to see who we really are. 

This is a book for contemplative readers. Williams' comments, like the icon 
reproductions that introduce them, nourish when savored. Regrettably, the small size of 
the book blurs and condenses the icons to such an extent that their beauty cannot be fully 
apprehended. Williams' reflections, however, will certainly encourage readers to seek, 
appreciate, and encounter for themselves the spiritual splendor of icons of Christ. 

L. Daniel Hawk 

Robert Wuthnow, Creative Spirituality. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 
2001.297 pp., $45.00. 

While much study has been done on the relationship of religion and the arts, 
there is very little that explores the spiritual journey of the artist. A more apt title for this 
book would be the spirituality of creative people, for it does not describe an innovative 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

approach to spirituality, but rather the varied spiritual paths of artists. What makes this 
book most interesting is its energy. Based on material from interviews with at least fifty 
living artists, Wuthnow weaves together a series of mini-biographies of a wider than 
expected range of artists. From dancers to musicians, poets and painters, sculptors, 
woodcarvers, actors and more, he engages the reader by reporting the story of their lives, 
their spiritual turning points, and dilemmas they have faced or face now. This is not 
simply a book for artists; it is for all who are on a spiritual search. By reflecting on the 
discoveries of artists, one can find direction, confirmation and insight for one's own 
spiritual walk. 

In each chapter, some of the personal searching of each creative person is 
explored. More than just a glimpse into a creative life, one begins to get a feel for their 
art and how it defines them as persons. The book is an endeavor to show how human 
giftedness reflects upon one's pursuit of God, faith, and spirituality in general. Wuthnow 
masterfully weaves together the particulars from each artist's journey, making 
comparisons and showing parallels. He seems to glean insight in order to create a 
tapestry of spiritual understanding. One example is that several of the artists the reader is 
introduced to promote some element of mystery in their spiritual journey. 

The strength of this book is that it draws you in. One finds himself/herself 
caring about the individuals whose lives are being told. Each person's journey is 
different, and many were quite compelling. The compiler is unbiased. This does not 
come off as a "Christian" book about art. The descriptions of peoples' faiths are given 
enigmatically, but not to sway the reader as to their legitimacy. Wuthnow is fair to the 
faiths, and describes both those who are disenchanted with the religion of their 
upbringing and those who remain faithful to it. In this sense he deals honestly with his 
subjects, not avoiding or denying pain, struggle or injustice. As a result, a shared 
learning occurs. 

Outside of a few writing excerpts, the only thing absent from this work was 
anything visual. It is difficult to describe the work of creative artists without being able 
to see or hear or sample their work in some way. 

Reading Creative Spirituality was alluring and captivating. Anyone interested 
in the arts and aware of how the study and pursuit of the creative affects the human spirit, 
or simply concerned about the development of faith and spirituality, will certainly find 
this a stimulating gem. 

Jonathan Mathewson 

Herbert Lockyer, Jr., All the Music of the Bible. Peabody, MS: Hendrickson Publishers, 
Inc., 2004. 209 pp., paper, $ 14.95. 

This is a rare find in a book, a functional and purposeful survey of almost all 
the music in the Bible. Herbert Lockyer, Jr. offers this useful tool in the tradition of his 
father's "All Series" books. Arguably, the book covers at least the most important music 
of the Bible, fi-om Moses' Song of the Sea to John's Hymn of Victory in Revelafion. He 
opens with a brief history of ancient music that will allow all readers, musician or not, to 
grasp the context and importance of the Biblical passages to come. Also included is a 
chapter on hymnody in the church. While this is one of the lengthiest chapters in the book 
it is a straightforward presentation of several centuries of Christian music that is brief by 
contrast to other books on the subject. 


Book Reviews 

Lockyer's style is simple and succinct yet delivers a tremendous amount of 
practical information. The comparison between this book and other histories of church 
music is tantamount to comparing Tchaikovsky's popular "Nutcracker Suite" to his 
Symphony No. 2~both are amazing works of art that can be enjoyed by all. However, 
while most people may never have heard the latter, nearly everyone has at least heard the 
"Nutcracker Suite" while roaming the mall at Christmas. Other histories are laden with 
lists, dates, exegeses, politics, and doctrine; Lockyer's treatment is one that will be 
equally useful to the lay reader or the pastor seeking illustrations for Sunday's sermon. 
Music directors will want to refer to this book over and over again as a foundational 
source on musical passages. Songwriters will want to flip through the pages to find 
references to dozens of inspirational songs and hymns. Each passage covered also 
includes some historical and theological essentials, but just enough to be easily digested 
in a sitting. It would be an excellent study for church music groups or choirs, and equally 
engaging for non-musicians desiring a better understanding of the musical/poetic 
passages of the Bible that are often overlooked. 

All the Music also contains a chapter on musical instruments in the Bible, 
complete with Bible references and known facts about each. The author includes chapters 
on the Song of Isaiah, the Song of Songs, and Songs of the New Testament. Students and 
teachers of sacred music will find great interest in the five comprehensive 
appendices — Psalms That Mention Song or Singing; Weil-Known Songs and Hymns of 
the Bible; Songs of the Bible Mentioned Only by Name; References in the Bible to 
Instruments; and Great Hymns and Songs of the Church. Also enjoyable are three 
sections from Herbert Lockyer, Sr.'s notes on musical topics, including a chapter entitled, 
"Beethoven and the Blind Girl." 

This is a melodious offering that should find its way on to the shelves of every 
church library. It will be music to the ears of students and pastors for its straightforward 
and unpretentious style. It is the everyperson's comprehensive source on Biblical music, 
leaving the minutiae to other sources and providing a well-rounded and inclusive 
foundation that will inspire readers to spend more time making music than reading about 

Christine M. Martin 

Milton C. Moreland, ed.. Between Text and Artifact: Integrating Archaeology in Biblical 
Studies Teaching. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003. 243 pp., paper, $34.95. 

The archaeology of the land of the Bible has always held a soft spot in the heart 
of biblical studies. Ever since the birth of "biblical archaeology" (the archaeology of a 
specific region - Syro-Palestine - during a wide range of periods of time - Late Bronze 
through the Roman Era) in the first half of the twentieth century, biblical scholars, 
students, and church members alike have taken a special interest in this field and have 
attempted to utilize it in their lectures, papers, sennons, and Sunday school lessons. 
However, the well of biblical archaeological information has not been fully taken 
advantage of in most biblical studies classroom settings. Why? Perhaps the quest of 
integrating the two fields appears too daunting. Or perhaps the instructor is fearful of 
conflicting information? Or maybe it is the instructor's lack of personal archaeological 
experience that keeps him / her at bay? 

Cast your fears aside, whatever they may be, for the Society of Biblical 
Literature has added a new volume to their repertoire. Between Text and Artifact: 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

Integrating Archaeology in Biblical Studies Teaching is a collection of thirteen essays 
written by biblical archaeologists and biblical scholars of both testaments on how to 
incorporate archaeology into the biblical studies classroom. These essays range in scope 
through the Hebrew Bible, gender, the Christian New Testament, and the Dead Sea 
Scrolls. A few essays from Between Text and Artifact are worthy of noting. 

Anne Killebrew's essay "Between Heaven and Earth: Educational Perspectives 
on the Archaeology and Material Culture of the Bible" provides a necessary background 
into the emergence of biblical archaeology and how it evolved into the discipline that it is 
today through an examination of its "classical publications". 

The contribution of Carol Meyers focuses on a hot topic - gender. Entitled 
"Where the Girls Are: Archaeology and Women's Lives in Ancient Israel", Meyers 
writes about how archaeological evidence can provide information on the daily life of the 
ordinary women, and men, of ancient Israel. In order to listen to the voices of the not-so 
visible women of the Hebrew Bible, archaeological data provides necessary tools to do so 
and to communicate it to biblical study students. 

J. P. Dessel provides a sort of top-10 of biblical archaeology text books of the 
past, present, and the future in "In Search of the Good Book: A Critical Survey of 
Handbooks on Biblical Archaeology". Each book is given an overview of their content, 
pros and cons. This essay should prove to be helpful to any biblical studies instructor 
searching for some reliable archaeological material. 

Of particular interest to biblical scholars who teach in faith-based colleges, 
universities, and seminaries is Scott Starbuck's essay "Why Declare the Things 
Forbidden? Classroom Integration of Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology with Biblical 
Studies in Theological Context". Starbuck addresses a more specific issue than most of 
the other contributions: the relationship between biblical studies, biblical archaeology, 
and faith. He is honest is his opinion that incorporating archaeology into biblical study 
classrooms that are of a faith tradition can be difficult. Starbuck writes, "This article 
offers empathetic and practical reflection for biblical studies instructors who recognize 
the integral relationship between theological reflection and the assessment of 
archaeological realia but are perplexed if not beleaguered by student resistance to the task 
(99)." Starbuck provides observations from his experience, with four primary outcomes 
to this merger and attempts to provide a possible answer to these dilemmas. 

For those of us attempting to bring together biblical archaeology with New 
Testament studies, Milton C. Moreland presents the reader with highlights of topics of 
interest and daily life in his essay "Archaeology in New Testament Courses". Morland is 
especially interested in the archaeological data that illuminate the daily life of the Galilee 
Region during the time of Jesus of Nazareth. Moreland gives hope to New Testament 
instructors by stating, "In the classroom, I have found that the more I am able to integrate 
this material into my teaching, the more students are able fully to grasp the settings and 
meanings of the New Testament texts..." (149). 

This is just a taste of the rich information, resources, and advice that these 
essays hold. As a biblical studies instructor and archaeologist, I genuinely appreciate the 
insight and care that was put into this volume. I highly recommend integrating biblical 
archaeology into any biblical studies classroom and this is just the book to help you get 

Cynthia Shafer-EUiott 


Book Reviews 

Suzanne Richard, ed.. Near Eastern Archaeology: A Reader. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 
2003. xviii + 486 pp., hardcover, $45.00. 

One could argue that the work under review has not been correctly named. 
This 'reader' of Near Eastern archaeology is more appropriately called a 'handbook' of 
Syro-Palestinian archaeology (from the Palaeolithic to the Byzantine Periods), as it has 
over sixty brief articles on a myriad of subjects that are focused around the archaeology 
of Syro-Palestine (but not Mesopotamia and Egypt, for instance). However, one will 
become immediately sympathetic to Richard when one understands the long and arduous 
process that was undertaken along the road to publication. The project actually began 
over a decade ago with another editor as a one volume encyclopedia of Syro-Palestinian 
archaeology. Inherited by Richard, the original project folded and she was left with over 
400 entries, but no publisher. However, the project was salvaged when it was recast "as a 
reader (or better, "handbook")' and was significantly reduced in size. In essence, it is a 
classical 'rags to riches' story, as the work has been recognized by the American Library 
Association's "Choice" magazine as an "Outstanding Academic Title". 

As stated. Near Eastern Archaeology: A Reader is a collection of articles under 
two extremely broad and somewhat vague sub-headings, 'Theory, Method and Context', 
and 'Cultural Phases and Associated Topics'. In essence, the subjects range from 
archaeological theory and methods, descriptions of selected peoples groups (e.g., 
Samaritans and Nabateans), and discussions of archaeological periods. In addition, there 
are numerous entries on specialized topics, such as archaeozoology, paleoethnobotany, 
scarabs, epigraphy, languages, weaponry, and religion. However, the organization of 
the volume leaves something to be desired, as topics such as jewelry, mosaics, and 
numismatics are in the 'Theory' section, while 'Theory in Archaeology: Cultural Change 
at the End of the Early Bronze Age' is in the 'Cultural Phases Section'. Moreover, the 
articles appear to be grouped somewhat haphazardly (unless, of course, this reviewer has 
missed the rationale for the organization of the book), as 'Archaeological Survey in the 
Southern Levant' is sandwiched in-between 'Everyday Life' and 'Restoration of Ancient 
Monuments: Theory and Practice'. In addition, some articles do not appear to adequately 
reflect the contents therein (e.g., 'Levantine Archaeology' and 'Everyday Life'), thereby 
making the volume less useful for handy reference. The articles also vary somewhat in 
size, from about three to nearly twenty pages. Though there are some illustrations and 
maps, although the articles on 'Geography of the Levant' and 'Roads and Highways' 
oddly contain none. 

Despite the organizational deficiencies, this is a good single-volume reference 
for Syro-Palestinian archaeology, appropriate for both student and specialist. 
Richard has recruited many of the top people in the field (e.g., Dever, Rast, Hopkins, 
RoUefson, Leonard, Younker, and Berlin), and has noteworthy articles on 
'Paleoenvironments of the Levant', 'Archaeozoology', and 'Palaeoethnobotany'. Each 
entry has a basic overview of the subject in question, as well as a detailed bibliography 
which provides a reference • point for further study (although annotations for the 
bibliographic entries would have made them more usable). This volume is not, 
however, appropriate for a textbook on Syro-Palestinian (or Biblical) archaeology, but as 
a resource for students and teachers alike. For all practical purposes, this reviewer 
expects to employ this handy reference tool in courses on ancient Israel. 

Mark W. Chavalas, University of Wisconsin- LaCrosse 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

John MacArthur, ed., Think Biblically! Recovering a Christian Worldview. Wheaton: 
Crossway Books, 2003. 368 pp., $19.99. 

This series of essays written by faculty members of the Master's College, and 
edited by John MacArthur, attempts to engage and motivate readers to adapt a worldview 
based on scripture. The book covers a very wide range of topics from creationism to 
worship and music to how Christians should view history. In an age of ever-changing 
philosophies and worldviews, the attempt to establish a Christian worldview is a noble 

This book should keep a reader engaged and thinking throughout the entirety of 
its reading. Several of the essays are really quite excellent, particularly those about 
Church and State, Biblical Approaches to Economics, and the essays on Christian 
femininity and masculinity. The church and state essay, for example, poses this question: 
"The view that God has some kind of covenant relationship with America, a predominant 
view in the nineteenth century along with postmillennialism, still lingers today. But is 
this road to political power clearly marked out biblically"? (291) 

The essays are written from a very conservative Christian point of view, which 
will help the reader to understand where the writers are coming from, particularly if they 
do not share so conservative a point of view. This may mean, however, that rather than 
being in constant agreement with the authors, readers may find the need to be forming 
their own stances on the issues addressed. Stances taken within the book of a literal six 
day creation and an almost complete rejection of any theories of modem psychology will 
likely differ from the perspectives of many others within the faith. 

Generally it is a very engaging and interesting book; however, there are some 
positions taken that may annoy some readers. Statements such as "rampant crime, drug 
abuse, sexual perversion, rising suicide rates, and the abortion epidemic... These trends 
are directly traceable to the ascent of evolutionary theory...," (73) are made but not well 
defended. A reader might wonder if the world was perfect until Charles Darwin came 
along. At times certain scriptural interpretations are made and not well defended, while 
any opposing views are treated in an unapologetic manner. 

There is certainly a need for a Christian worldview and the book makes a 
valiant effort at doing so. Its conservative stance will offend some potential readers. A 
person with a sound grounding in the Scriptures would benefit from a reading of the 
book, whether to stimulate thinking through certain issues or to gain a better 
understanding of the positions of other Christians. 

Michael Bertsch 

Stanley Grenz, The Moral Quest: Foundations of Christian Ethics. Downers Grove: 
InterVarsity Press, 1997. 379 pp., cloth, $24.99. 

This is a book for the intellectually minded, but carefully enough written for 
anyone who is open to mending heart and mind together in living an authentic Christian 
life of virtue. The Moral Quest will enhance, inform, and challenge any reader's 
understanding of the deep foundations of ethics, or more particularly, the foundations of a 
post-modernist moral theology. The book is the "comprehensive statement of a Christian 
ethic," a "vision" of Christian morality as a community-based ethic (228). It is, to be 
sure, easy to agree with Grenz that the deepest problems of the modem mind and 
contemporary life are cormected with the collapse of the objective, traditional foundation 


Book Reviews 

of ethical value. However, Grenz does not describe the historical collapse of the 
objective foundation of ethics as clearly as he might. 

Briefly, the objective foundation of ethical value and the intrinsic value of 
persons has, for 2,000 years, been grounded in the substantial, immaterial soul, made in 
the image of God. The substantial soul has an essential ethical nature, an innate moral 
power, capacity, and teleology, which makes moral experience, moral knowledge, and 
moral development possible — not to mention communion and a relationship with God. 
The immaterial soul is one's person, an enduring subject and owner of experiences, 
knowledge, character, and virtue. Post-Dai"win, substance dualism was largely given up 
by the academic intelligentsia — either because it was deemed a non-natural substance and 
not accessible by "the scientific method," or because it did not fit into either a 
methodologically naturalistic, or atheistic, worldview. Post-Bultmann and John A.T. 
Robinson, academic theologians quickly gave up dualism and adopted the now 
fashionable view of holism (Physicalism in various forms). Only in the past few decades 
has the intelligentsia, including theologians, started to realize that the death of the soul 
entails the death of the intrinsic value of persons. Thus, we now find ourselves in the 
midst of the modem crisis of the collapse of the foundation of value, wherein Grenz 
offers a communitarian foundation of ethics. 

Also, be advised, this is not a book in applied ethics. There are no refined 
arguments offered on any particular ethical issue. In fact, this feature reflects Grenz 's 
sense of our historical place and contemporary needs, as he joins the "growing number of 
ethicists [who] no longer see the task of ethical discourse as determining the proper 
response to ethical quandaries the moral agent faces in the here and now. Instead they 
see their task as drawing from a vision of who we are to become..." (203). Here a critic 
might reply, for example, that instructing someone in the midst of an ethical quandary 
over adultery or euthanasia about your eschatological vision of their future, is unhelpftil if 
not the recipe for a temporal moral disaster. 

Grenz's moral quest is "to discover what a truly biblical vision of the ethical 
life entails within the contemporary context... to develop a community-based ethic of 
being" (205). He is attracted to "the newer voices" which instruct us to give up "the 
quest for the one true ethical theory" and adopt "a new focus on the community" (209). 
Why should we be enticed to adopt the latest fashion in ethics? Grenz co-ops the answer 
of Wayne Meeks here: "individuals do not become moral agents except in the 
relationships, the transactions, the habits and reinforcements... that together constitute life 
in community" (209). Later, in his own words, he tells us that post-modern 
communitarianism has discovered the foundations of ethics: "Ultimately we derive our 
personal convictions from the community from which we gain our understanding of 
virtue and goodness... the principles or worldview of that community reference" (230). 
This is a positive, if vague, way of asserting the doctrine of the Blank Slate (tabula rasa), 
a fully naturalized theory dominant in psychology and sociology. It is the theory that the 
human mind is the functioning brain, which has no essential rational nature, no innate 
ethical structure, no inherent moral content, and no innate knowledge of God. Put 
another way, if the Blank Slate theory is true, then the traditional doctrine of being 
created in the image of God is false. According to Meeks, Tillich, post-modernism, and 
Grenz, we are Silly Putty at birth (a morally blank, unstructured biological organism) that 
will likely get ethically imprinted and molded by culture, i.e., by a tradition, a story, or a 
community. This is, of course, the foundational axiom of Cultural Relativism as taught 
by Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead, i.e., that our moral nature is ultimately a cultural 
product. The ultimate moral agent is not the individual but the amorphous thing called 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

society, culture, or community. Enculturation imprints our blankness. It gradually turns 
us into moral beings, i.e., communitarian beings. On this theory, we are bom as 0% 
moral beings, and we gradually become a moral being by degrees, as we become 
enculturated. {For a refutation of this now out of date [?] theory, see Steven Pinker, The 
Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature [Viking, 2002]). 

The overall argument Grenz offers is historically organized — from ancient 
Greek philosophers to the moral theologies of Augustine, Aquinas, and Luther, to 
contemporary post-modem philosophers and theological ethicists. Throughout the 
various chapters, Grenz argues subtly against all the elements of the traditional 
foundation of ethics and for his post-modemist replacement theory. He does not, 
however, refer to his view as a theory of ethics; rather he presents it as "the biblical" and 
"the Christian" view throughout the book. Since he could be more forthcoming to help 
the non-professional academic reader understand just when and where he is standing 
inside and outside of orthodoxy, the following short list of his post-modem doctrines 
might be helpful to the typical reader. Grenz either asserts or argues: that we are not 
created in the image of God (194-195, 258, 265) but only become imago Dei after we 
encounter a community, a "narrative," or a "story" (261-262, 264, 268, 275, 345 note 79); 
that there is no substantial soul (263-264); that we have no innate ethical nature (258); 
that there is no universal human ethic (294); that we do not have intrinsic ethical value 
(252, 258); that we are bom moral blank slates (230-231); that we may be humans at 
birth but only subsequently do we become persons because personal identity is only 
constmcted "through our participation in communities of reference" (272); and, if we 
assume his theory is correct, then a newbom child gradually becomes a person as the 
external, contingent, relative, communitarian environmental "chemical" (my word) 
somehow morphs the amoral, non-person into a moral agent, enculturating us into "our 
fundamental existence as persons-in-relationship," as per Tillich (264, 345 note 79; but 
also 194-196, 203, 209, 228, 251-253, 265, 298). (For a critique of holism, Physicalism, 
and the psychosomatic unity theory, see Howard M. Ducharme, "The Image of God and 
the Moral Identity of Persons: An Evaluation of the Holistic Theology of Persons," in 
Law and Religion, edited by Richard O'Dair and Andrew Lewis [Oxford University 
Press, 2001], pp. 1-25). 

Howard M. Ducharme, University of Akron 

Christopher J. H. Wright, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God. Downers Grove: 
InterVarsity Press, 2004. 520 pp. hardback, $19.95. 

After thirty years of research and writing on Old Testament ethics, the author 
has drawn together his life-work in a single volume. More than a revision of his ground- 
breaking Eye for an Eye (British title: Living as the People of God, 1983), OTE includes 
five revised chapters from Walking in the Ways of the Lord: the ethical authority of the 
Old Testament (1995) and a valuable expanded review of literature (ch. 13). Two 
important chapters, "Ecology and the earth" (ch. 4) and "Hermeneutics and authority in 
Old Testament ethics" (ch. 14) are also new. "Further reading" sections conclude each 
chapter. All this is done in a lucid, flowing style with a well constmcted outline. 

While researching his Cambridge dissertation (1977) the author was told, "the 
subject [of Old Testament ethics] doesn't exist." Since then Wright has helped to lead the 
renewed interest in Christian ethics and the Old Testament. More than seventy percent (as 
he notes in the preface) of the hundreds of titles in his valuable bibliography have been 


Book Reviews 

published since that time. The many emendations and the final chapter engage this 
ongoing scholarly discussion. 

Wright sets out "to provide a comprehensive fi^amework within which Old 
Testament ethics can be organized and understood" (p. 11). He accomplishes this goal in 
three parts. Part one, "A Structure for Old Testament ethics" describes the social shape oj 
Israel as the paradigm by which Old Testament ethics may be organized. This social 
shape is a triangle of relationships that emerges from biblical theology: the theological 
(God), social (Israel), and economic (land) angles. At the comers of the theological- 
social-economic triangle stand God-Israel-Land. God is the creator-redeemer, to whom 
the land and all in it belonged and belong. Israel was made in God's image for 
relationship, but rebelled and brought evil consequences into their life and land. These 
relationships, good and bad, form the foundation for ethical discussion today. 

Part two, "Themes in Old Testament ethics," develops themes of Old 
Testament theology as ethical resources for today by means of his paradigmatic relational 
framework. The God-Israel-Land relationships are described under the following titles: 
"Ecology and the Earth" (ch. 4), "Economics and the poor" (ch. 5), "The land and 
Christian ethics" (ch. 6), "Politics and the nations" (ch. 7), "Justice and righteousness" 
(ch. 8), "Law and the legal system" (ch. 9), "Culture and family" (ch. 10), and "The way 
of the individual" (ch. 11). In order to make this paradigm useful beyond the Old 
Testament, the triangle is enlarged by degrees to include thee larger sets of relationships: 
1) a New Testament typology (God-Church-koinonia), 2) the inclusive paradigm (God- 
fallen humanity-Earth), and 3) the eschatological (God-redeemed humanity-New 

Part three, "Studying Old Testament ethics," surveys other Christian 
approaches to the Old Testament and ethics. He surveys confessional approaches from 
the early Church, the Reformation, and the present day (ch.l2). Chapter thirteen is an up- 
to-date survey of literature that Wright has found helpful in his own work. The final 
chapter is entirely new, engaging critical issues of methodology, ideology, hermeneutics, 
and authority. It will be of interest to scholars, but the section on authority will be more 
widely appreciated for its cogent argumentation. 

Does the subject of Old Testament ethics exist? Wright has made a persuasive 
argument for "an organic unity, a broad harmony that holds the vast and varied edifice 
together" (p. 445). His book title, however, continues to belie the complexity of the task 
he has engaged so well. The Old Testament is a witness about God and his people and not 
primarily a text on ethics. The academic discipline of ethics does not usually use ancient 
theological texts as primary sources. Wright uses the Old Testament as a resource and 
witness for the constructive task of ethics yet retains the descriptive moniker "Old 
Testament ethics." Some shift in his self-understanding is clear in the subtle but 
important refinement of the subtitle in part one from '''The Framework o/Old Testament 
ethics" (1983) to "^ Structure /or Old Testament ethics" (2004). 

The title's phrase Old Testament Ethics also suggests that the gap between the 
competing and developing ethics of Old Testament peoples and present Christians has 
been systematically bridged. I wish that more of the diversity of the ancient voices, 
contexts, and genres could be carried over the historical distance. The competing biblical 
voices of the "protest groups jamming in the wings" (Goldingay) are not so evident. If 
Christian character is to be formed and built up by means of the Old Testament, these 
also must be heard. Wright has intentionally chosen the clear and major voices of 
Scripture. The most difficult texts and genres are left untouched. Even his appendix, 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

"What about the Canaanites" really defers the theodicy question. He hints at a new book 
to deal with difficult texts. I hope he writes it. 

This significant book will serve well as a textbook for theological colleges and 
clarifies the scholarly discussion. Buy this book (and his next one). 

J. K. Bruckner, North Park Theological Seminary 

Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Boundaries Face to Face: how to have that difficult 
conversation you 've been avoiding. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. 266 PP, hardcover, 

Boundaries Face to Face takes the principals established in Cloud and 
Townsend' s Boundaries to a level in which one can begin to feel comfortable having 
difficult conversations with others as Jesus would have had them. Cloud and Townsend 
build upon their belief that when you decide to have a confrontation, you decide to face 
issues in the relationship and deal with a portion of the relationship that needs to be 
addressed, with the specific purposes of improving the relationship, intensifying intimacy 
and developing more love and respect between two people. 

This book goes into depth when describing how to handle the conversation and 
offers specific tips and examples. It is also helpful that they explore reasons behind the 
desire for a confrontation and speak about pitfalls to avoid. The information in this book 
is backed by scripture and the authors relate the information and the scripture well. This 
book takes the time to adequately define the needed components of a good conversation 
and how to develop those components. The book defines the difference between 
forgiving and trusting others, something so many Christians struggle with. Christians 
have often been taught that forgiving means forgetting, and Cloud and Townsend make it 
clear that this is not the case. This is a common sense how-to book that would benefit 
both professionals and lay persons. 

In a time where a lot of people struggle with holding other's accountable for 
their actions and are timid about confrontation, this book gives you the sense of how 
Jesus would have handled needed confrontation. The book reminds us that there is 
nothing loving about avoiding confrontation or not holding others accountable. As 
Christians, this is our duty, when done in love and for the right reasons. It is our duty and 
responsibility to hold others accountable to live a Christ-like life. I would recommend 
this book to those who want to learn how to do just that, coniront with love and respect. 

Elaine Bednar 

Junietta Baker McCall, Bereavement Counseling: pastoral care for complicated grieving. 
New York, London and Oxford: The Haworth Pastoral Press, 2004. 306 pp., paper. 

This book proves to be an important tool for anyone who will have the 
opportunity to work with the bereaved in a pastoral setting. Understanding that loss is 
part of the human experience. Dr. McCall is kind and insightful as she addresses difficult 
types of grieving with suggestions as to best help those grieving loss. The book is a hope 
filled book to assist the bereaved through the stages of grief and on to recovery. I 
particularly was encouraged with Dr. McCall' s ability to intertwine clinical suggestions, 
spiritual direction and hope. 


Book Reviews * 

Dr. McCall is aware that when one's grief becomes "complicated and 
dysfiinctionar', help becomes even more necessary to assist one to get disentangled from 
a challenging grief process. This process entails disengaging one's self from 
dysfunctional coping behaviors, problem causing coping behaviors, dysfunctional 
thoughts and those thought related feelings. Dr. McCall is emphatic about the need to 
work through the above barriers to prevent permanent damage, distress and disease. 

This book is founded on four basic assumptions: 

1) Grief is natural but not simple, can be painful and 
upsetting, hard to recover from, and that some never 
recover from this grief 

2) Many times, help is essential to recover from significant 
loss and should be timely and offer variety of means of 

3) All health care providers should maintain continuing 
education in this area to further understand grief, helpful 
interventions and proper timing. 

4) That there could be a benefit for advanced training on grief 
and loss for clergy and spiritual care providers, the people 
that are most often turned to in a time of crisis and grief 

The ability to discern between normal grief, complicated grief, and 
dysfunctional grief precludes the ability to provide helpful and specific interventions. Dr. 
McCall uses an ample amount of examples/vignettes to help increase the care givers 
discernment. This book offers a no nonsense guide to assessment, treatment strategies, 
standard interventions, and increased technical skills. With a person-centered position 
that promotes meaningful interactions to facilitate positive outcomes, I believe this book 
would be usefiil to all who interact with difficult grief 

Elaine Bednar 

Thomas P. O'Connor and Nathaniel J. Pallone, eds.. Religion, the Community, and the 
Rehabilitation of Criminal Offenders. New York, London and Oxford: The Haworth 
Press, Inc., 2002. 283 pp., paper. 

This book is a composite of fourteen articles, many that contain research 
backed by studies, on the interaction of religion and corrections in regards to the White 
House's faith-based initiatives and a number of religious groups that have an effect on the 
criminal justice system. The collection has the specific purpose to look at the 
relationship between religion, the community and offender rehabilitation and then answer 
four questions 1) What is it?, 2) Is it so?, 3) Is it loving? and 4) is it good?. In other 
words, is the relationship intelligible, truthful, ethical and religious? 

The collection begins with an accurate historical essay as to how the penal 
system developed and how it was religiously based. One article found that religion in the 
penal system is varied albeit extensive. Another article found that there is a continuum of 
sincerity as to why inmates attend services, possibly because religion helps to alleviate 
deprivations found in the penal system. Another article found that prison Chaplains, 
through their work, cut down on recidivism. There is also a discussion in two articles 
about the role that Islam has played in the prisons as well as comparing male to female 
participation. There are three articles that debate whether or not religion influences 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

rehabilitation and the results vary from a substantial yes, to a position of maybe, but only 
with certain classes of crime. The two articles concerning how the studies should be 
done give advice as to which research methods to use and the validity/reliability of study 
data collected. The remaining articles discuss how rehabilitation must be based on love 
and building community. 

This collection of articles, while being thought provoking, do not answer the 
questions that they have set out to answer. Methodologically, the majority of studies had 
good sample size however the sample size dwindled in the articles on how rehabilitation 
affects recidivism. There is a danger of losing support for religious activities in the penal 
system when one begins to use words such as love, without explaining the meaning of its 
use. The penal system needs to understand the difference between the person and the 
behavior, a concept that is often struggled with. One conclusion is that recidivism is 
directly correlated to the internalization of religion, and perhaps that is the research in 
which the penal system has a need to evaluate to further "allow" religious activities for 
it's inmates. 

Elaine Bednar 

Todd E. Johnson, ed.. The Conviction of Things Not Seen: Worship and Ministry in the 
2r' Century, Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2002. 236 pp., $22.99. 

Ask anyone who attends church on a regular basis about worship, and they will 
almost certainly have an opinion on how they think worship should, or more commonly, 
should not be done. Those involved in ministry will be more familiar than they might like 
to admit with the various worship debates and arguments, and they will surely have a few 
war stories to share from their own church. Worship is perhaps the most widely disputed 
topic in the church today, making this book an incredibly timely and useful resource for 
pastors, worship leaders, seminarians, and lay leaders. 

This provocative and enlightening volume is a compilation of essays written as 
a tribute to Robert Webber, a leader in worship studies and renewal. Johnson calls it a 
festschrift; it is indeed a celebration, not only of Webber's work and inspiration, but also 
of what has been and what is to come in the worshipping church. Voiced by a collection 
of writers with varied voices and experiences, this book is an invaluable resource for 
anyone who "does" worship. 

While each of the offerings in this book can easily stand alone, the flow of the 
book from beginning to end offers the reader an edifying journey through the worship 
spectrum. The chapters cover a wide range of information: evaluation of the culture and 
times we are worshipping in, the need for discernment rather than debate, the importance 
of rituals, worship as pastoral care, and our visual culture, to name a few. Yet each topic 
flows seamlessly into the next, allowing every reader, regardless of prior knowledge to 
understand the dynamics of the many-faceted debate. Each author has artfully followed 
Webber's approach of engaging the history of the church in every discussion, 
encouraging the reader to learn from history rather than simply trying to rewrite it. 

This book presents a means to enter into the dialogue of worship with greater 
understanding and vocabulary. Constance Cherry's essay on culture and tradition offers 
an enlightening explanation of post-modernism that sets the stage for her colleagues to 
follow. John Witvliet's offering on music in worship argues that "music is not God," but 
acknowledges its great importance in worship and enccu-ages church musicians to think, 
question, and imagine greater purpose for their art in the worship setting. Worship as 


Book Reviews 

pastoral care is ttie subject that William Willimon employs to engage his students in the 
worship debate, and he shares his ideas on the importance of ritual in personal growth 
and spiritual formation. These represent just a few of the brightest spots in a book that 
offers constant enlightenment. 

What some will find to be the greatest strengths of this book, others will 
consider its major weaknesses. The authors have a clear motive in encouraging a change 
in worship that better reflects the rapidly changing culture. They encourage readers not 
only to engage in the debate, but to lead the movement towards worship renewal and 
revival. The book offers few answers, but presents a plethora of hard questions. It 
challenges us to move beyond the controversy we find ourselves buried in over music and 
media, hymnals and "high church," and to enter into the deeper issues that are at the heart 
of the matter. The warning label on the book might read: "The contents of this book may 
be a choking hazard. Prophetic voices will cause spiritual discomfort." 

This approach will not seem so radical to those who recognize that the church 
is already in a state of discomfort that requires attention. Readers will find that Webber's 
approach to worship renewal is no more radical than the early church was. In fact, his 
theory of "an ancient-future worship" calls us to learn from our past and return to our 
roots, not to discard the old for the new as many fear. The Conviction of Things Not Seen 
poses a challenge to question the status quo, but with humility and discernment. It pays a 
warranted tribute to a man who has inspired many, but even more so, moves us to 
dialogue with one another and to imagine ever greater ways to honor the God who alone 
is worthy of our worship. 

■^ Christine Martin 

Irving Hexham, Stephen Rost, & John W. Morehead III, gen. eds.. Encountering New 
Religious Movements: A Holistic Evangelical Approach. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel 
Publications, 2004. 322 pp. paper, $18.99. 

In an increasingly pluralistic world, confrontational evangelism is often 
considered distasteful if not wrong. Within Christian circles deeply committed to 
evangelism and world missions, there are increasing questions about the effectiveness of 
aggressive apologetic witness. On both accounts readers will welcome the tone and the 
message of this book. Its central concern is effective evangelism, with the conviction that 
a missiological commitment to incarnational ministry gets better results than an 
apologetic approach that frequently antagonizes the people it wants to convert. 

The book is arranged in three sections which investigate evangelism in terms of 
its history, its methods, and its applications. The basic thrust of the first two sections is 
that contextualization is a better approach to evangelism than confrontation is. However, 
chapters five and six are a cautious challenge to this thesis. Sin is embedded in every 
particular culture. Some elements of a pre-Christian religious culture are barriers to 
evangelism rather than bridges for the gospel message. Contextualization has limits; 
some fear that accommodation can result in syncretism. 

The third section of the book, which is the largest, uses case studies of how one 
might approach a Christadelphian or a follower of La Veyan Satanism. Other chapters 
are narrative in nature as they relate strategies that have been useful for Mormons and 
various types of New Age groups. 

The book is provocative because it is calling Christians to consider whether 
their methods of evangelism are effective, especially when confronting certain people 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

whose religious convictions are deep. This is a legitimate concern, since evangelism and 
mission occupy the borderland between theory and practice. The writers and editors are 
not pushing an esoteric agenda. Several of them belong to the Issue group on new 
Religious Movements that is part of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism. 
They are mapping out new evangelistic territory for many evangelical Christians around 
the world. The book is a "trip-pic" for the journey ahead of us; it is not, and does not 
claim to be, a travelogue of a mission successfully completed. 

Encountering New Religious Movements should be read by Christians who 
have a keen interest in sharing their faith with neighbors near and far. Having used it in a 
seminary course on New Religious Movements, I can report that students responded 
positively to its tone and its contents. Hopefully it will receive a wide readership, for it 
raises vital questions that Christians must be addressing. 

Luke L. Keefer, Jr. 

Robert E Weber, Ancient-Future Evangelism: Making Your Church a Faith-Forming 
Community. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003. 218pp., paper, $14.99. 

Webber, a noted author and lecturer has written this book, second in the 
Ancient-Future Series, as a response to questions posed at the 1999 meeting of The 
International Consultation on Discipleship. Two questions that he addresses in this book 
are the large number of converts to Christianity that fall away and the "paradox of growth 
without depth." 

In setting the stage for his premise, he compares the post-Christian culture of 
today with the culture in the first, second and third centuries, in that they both are non- 
Christian, culturally diverse, and relativistic. During the first centuries the culture was 
pagan, and Christians were part of an alternative culture that evangelized the world in 
unparalleled numbers. Most of these converts remained in the faith. He asserts the need 
to draw on the past to learn for the future. 

His approach to evangelism is based on a second century model from 
Hippolytus' work, 77?^ Apostolic Tradition. It is a process that begins with conversion, 
continues with instruction in discipleship, and leads to a mature faith formation. The 
final step in the process is for one to come to a vocation within the church and beyond the 
church. The transition from one step to another is marked by a rite of passage, the final 
one being baptism. His model is a return to the unitive process of the Hebraic tradition 
and teaching of the early church that follows the pattern of "believing, belonging and 
behaving." It is a process that takes time. 

Weber then focuses on the content of teaching. As in the first book in this 
series, Ancient-Future Faith, he calls for a return to proclaiming the story of God's 
mission to rescue humanity and Jesus' death, resurrection, and second coming as the core 
of all teaching and worship. His passion for worship is evident as he admonishes 
churches to "pay attention to worship" in telling the story each week. Participating in this 
kind of worship leads to greater depth of faith and commitment within the congregation. 
At this point the church is ready to reach outward to bring this process to its own 
indigenous culture. 

Weber uses charts to concisely reiterate his points on theology or process. 
Each chapter concludes with questions that challenge honest reflection of one's own 
church, and which help to point in the direction of intentional evangelism. It is a helpfial 


Book Reviews • 

guide for church leaders and pastors who desire to re-form their church into a community 
committed to faith building from within in order to reach out with lasting impact. 

Mary Elizabeth Nau 

Terry W. York, America's Worship Wars. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003. 
138 pp., paper, $16.95. , 

In recent decades, the conflict within congregations over differing preferences 
in the style of worship has escalated to the point that the conflict is often described as 
"war." The upheaval resulting from this conflict has polarized Christians and divided 
congregations. For ministers and congregations who find themselves in the midst of this 
conflict, Terry W. York draws on his knowledge as musician, minister, and educator to 
offer a thought-provoking examination of the threads of influence that escalated into war. 
Though the discussion of the historical developments of the conflict is written mainly 
from the perspective of the free church tradition, and Southern Baptists, in particular, 
York does draw on the experiences of other Christian communions at salient points, most 
notably Roman Catholic and Lutheran struggles. 

York rightly identifies the struggle in terms of the pressures that cultural 
changes exert on our understanding of worship and theology. Using the language of 
warfare throughout the book, York identifies the two sides of the conflict as "veterans of 
the fort" (those who are comfortable within the sanctuary and traditional forms) and 
"veterans of the front" (those who want to take the central biblical message to the streets, 
embracing cultural changes). He points out the influences of large non-denominational 
evangelical movements such as the Billy Graham Crusades, the radical nature of the 
Jesus Movement, and the attraction of para-church youth ministries. York argues that in 
the 1970's and 1980's theo-political shifts within denominations were reflected by shifts 
in worship style by congregations. That on occasion those shifts were imposed by the 
minister without consensus from the congregation increased tension levels. Other 
significant influences discussed are Contemporary Christian Music, the church growth 
movement, the impact of televangelism, and shifting patterns of language. 

In looking toward a "negotiated peace" York emphasizes that the leaders of the 
Church must effect the coming together. He points out the work of several leaders who, 
in his opinion, are working toward that peace: Graham Kendrick, Sally Morgenthaler, 
Donald Hustad, Harold M. Best, Marva Dawn and Robert Webber. For those who are 
just now beginning to explore the field of worship studies, his brief discussion will point 
the reader to a wide range of further reading. 

York is most insightful as he discusses the status of Christianity within 
American culture. In past decades, the Church enjoyed a highly respected position at the 
center of American culture. Increasingly in recent decades, however, Christianity has 
been pushed to the margins of our culture, no longer enjoying the same position of status. 
York reminds us, however, that this is not necessarily bad. He suggests that historically 
Christianity has been more effective in its mission when it was at the edges of society. 
Worship practice, though, is in transition and this process is far from over. It is in the 
transition that conflicts arise. Though he asserts that the worship wars were inevitable, 
York is convinced that there are ways to end the wars and offers a theological vision for 
resolution. Perhaps rightly, he leaves the practical application of his theological vision up 
to individual congregations to implement. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

This slender volume is accessible to both clergy and laypersons interested in 
the conflict over worship. It could form the basis of congregational study groups and 
would be enlightening reading for worship committees. York's work will also be useful 
in college religion classes that discuss the intersection of Christianity and culture and 
seminary classrooms engaged in the study of worship in the free church tradition. 

Deborah Carlton Loftis 

Jerome Berryman, Godly Play. Minneapohs: Augsburg Press, 1995. 158 pp., $1 1.00. 

Religious education begins in the Sunday School classroom. Whether children 
annoy us or delight us, they are the church of today. How we teach and engage them 
spiritually will determine the plight of the church and, most importantly, the future of our 
students' faith. For this reason, I was drawn to this slightly older book about religious 
education. Children have changed over the years. Problems such as Attention Deficit 
Disorder are much more common. Teaching methods in schools have gradually changed 
along with them. It seems clear then, that our approach to Sunday School must also 
adjust to the needs of children. 

Godly Play takes a new and innovative approach to this long enduring practice 
of Christian Education. Berryman relates learning to games. We play games from the 
time we are children, and we adapt to them quickly. The rules are often gathered simply 
by experiencing the game. We are constantly acquiring new games: the math game, the 
science game, the music game, the religious game, and the ministry game. Berryman 
calls us to uphold one game differently: the godly game. The acquisition of spiritual 
understanding will determine the type of spiritual faith-walk we will have throughout life. 
He invites us to join in the play as an adult, allowing the children to witness how we play 
and to play along with us. The book contains significant material on how one learns and 
applies religious language. The book is sub-titled "An Imaginative Approach to 
Religious Education," and he gives both practical and theoretical tools for engaging both 
the teacher and the students' imagination. While his writing and the life history he 
includes is not limited to one type of congregation or denomination, Berryman definitely 
falls in a mainline and liturgical category. 

For the most part, the book is a practical philosophy of Christian education. 
The author writes autobiographically, giving insights into how he created this and the 
companion curriculum. Largely borrowing from the Montessori Method, which involves 
more individualized learning, he draws you into the thinking behind the lesson. The book 
is fascinating in that it helps the Sunday school teacher realize and recognize what is 
going on inside children's minds. It shows how to interpret their response to the lesson, 
combining philosophy, psychology and biblical truths. What makes this book appealing 
is its depth. It helps the teacher or Christian educator understand the why behind the how 
and what of the lesson. In effect, it teaches the teacher how to be creative and how to 
better involve students in the learning process. Surprisingly, Berryman includes a great 
variety from church history, theology and ecclesiastical material. 

This is no simple Sunday School manual, although it was not a difficult read 
either. I would recommend this book as an excellent resource to pass on to that tired or 
discouraged Sunday School teacher. A slightly different approach to the preparation of 
the material might revive what has become a tedious practice. In addition, it might help 


Book Reviews * 

them regain the interest of students who have come to expect a certain approach to the 
lesson each week. Let's face it, kids play the game too. 

Jonathan Mathewson 

Richard & Renee Durfield, Raising Pure Kids in an Impure World. Bloomington, 
Minnesota, Bethany House Publishers, 2004. 188 pp, paper, $12.99. 

Raising Pure Kids in an Impure World is an updated version of an earlier book 
by the Durfields titled Raising Them Chaste (1991). The title implies that the book is a 
broad collection of strategies for child rearing in a fallen world, but instead it is the 
description of the authors' particular strategy of using "Key Talks." The "Key Talk" 
strategy is designed to approach young people as they transition from childhood into the 
teenage years and all of the sexual pressures, internal and external, that they face at that 
time. Parents, or other persons of influence in the lives of young people, are instructed to 
prepare a time of frank, one on one discussion in a formal and public environment, often 
a restaurant, in order to emphasize the seriousness of the topic to be discussed. The 
authors outline such a discussion and list several basic elements that form a nexus of 
discussion and a number of optional elements that may be included, depending on the 
young person's personality and specific questions. Central to the "Key Talk" strategy, is 
a fairly in-depth discussion on the nature and meaning of covenant making, and the 
presentation of a key shaped ring sealing the young person's covenant with God. 

The particular strategy laid out in Raising Pure Kids might strike some parents 
as over the top and may not appeal to everyone, but within it is valuable, practical advice 
on many subjects of interest to the parents of children approaching, or within, this 
difficult time of transition. Addressed are issues such as when and how to have "that 
talk" with your child, discussions on prayer and advocacy for your child, as well as 
dating guidelines. 

Despite the title, and what seemed to be the outline of a specific strategy, I 
found this book to have considerable value for its advice and encouragement. This would 
be a useful addition to the library of any parent struggling to help their children make the 
transition to adulthood. 

John Partridge 

Anne B. Keating, The Wired Professor: A Guide to Incorporating the World Wide Web 
in College Instruction. NY: New York University Press, 1999, 256 pp. 

The web has been used in teaching for a few years now. The question 
surrounding this use of the web is this: is it being used well? The Wired Professor is a 
great book detailing how the web can effectively be used in higher education. As the 
Director of Technology Resources for Ashland Theological Seminary, I was immediately 
interested m what this book could offer me and the faculty in regards to using the web to 
enhance our classroom instruction. 

I found the book to be written for people like me as well as people with limited 
understanding or experience with the Internet. Chapters one and two focus on the history 
of the Internet, and the so-called information highway as well as a guide to how the 
internet works. Chapters three through six focus on issues of curriculum, web-site 
development, instructional design and conclude with a great chapter of tips and tricks. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2005 

The book even has a companion website which gives information at your fingertips when 
creating or updating a website. The site even includes examples of faculty websites they 
consider outstanding that one can view. However, it is apparent that this site is not 
updated regularly if at all. 

A good web-page for higher education would help students find the 
information on the web that is useful and accurate as well as provide forums for 
communication, tutorials for added instruction, and research tools. The Wired Professor 
guides one through the different tools and gives instruction on how to use these tools 
effectively in the classroom as well as outside. 

I would recommend this book to educators who want to enhance their teaching 
by using tools that speak to the current generation and will assist other generations in 
developing their understanding of the power of technology tools as well as giving them 
some much-needed hands-on experience. I would recommend, however, that the reader 
be patient while getting through the mounds of information provided by this book. It is 
thorough and detailed and for those not accustomed to reading technical material it may 
seem overwhelming. 

Vickie Taylor 


Dictionary >r 

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Dictionary for Theological 
Interpretation of the Bible 

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, editor 

0801026946 • 896 pp. • $49.99c 

"This dictionary is a must 
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Columbia Theological Seminary 

"The Dictionary for Theological 
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"In this remarkable dictionary the Bible is reclaimed as a book 
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both church and academy." — David Ford, University of Cambridge 

1^ Baker Academic 

'/ Extending the Com>erMtLon 

Available at your local bookstore,, or by calling 1-800-877-2665 
Subscribe to Baker Academic's electronic newsletter (E-Notes) at 

NEW from Baker Academic 

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this book makes me, as a Catholic committed to the ecumenical 
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The American Evangelical Story 

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Christian congregations — even if they flourish in the springtime 
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^ Baker Academic 

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ISSN: 1044-6494 
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2006 _^_ 


Celebrating the Centennial of Ashland Theological Seminary 1 

Dale Stoffer 

The Rhetoric of Political Discourse in the Labor Movement: Dr. H, Frank 
Hixon's Rhetoric of Reform in Wisconsin in the Nineteenth Century 5 

D. Ray Heisey 

Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism 
Randall Balmer 

The Age of Revivals and the First Amendment 43 

The Transition from Postmillennialism to Premillennialism 51 

The Construction of a Subculture 59 

The Rise of the Religious Right 67 

Never Without a Witness: The Apocrypha and Spiritual Formation 77 

David DeSilva 

English Spirituality: A Review Article 91 

Jerry R. Flora 

Pentecostal Hermeneutics: A Review Article Ill 

Paul Elbert 

Book Reviews 117 

Journal articles are indexed in Elenchus of Biblica, New Testament Abstracts, Old 
Testament Abstracts, Religious and Theological Abstracts, and Religion Index One; 
reviews are indexed in Index to Book Reviews in Religion. The latter two indices, 
published by ATLA, 300 S Wacker Dr, Suite 2100, Chicago, IL 60606, are also 
available online through BRS Information Technologies, DIALOG Information 
Services and Wilsonline. Views of contributors are their own and do not necessarily 
express those endorsed by Ashland Theological Seminary. 


Published and copyright held by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio, 44805. 

Printed in the USA. 


Editorial Preface 

This issue of the Ashland Theological Journal honors the 100* anniversary 
of the founding of the Ashland Theological Seminary. The Academic Dean, Dr Dale 
Stoffer, provides perspective on the occasion, and the events which commemorated 
it. A significant figure in the history of the institution was Dr H. Frank Hixon, one 
of the first graduates of Ashland College and also one of its early presidents. His 
important place in the history of the institution and beyond is highlighted in a major 
article. We are also pleased to be able to publish the contents of the annual Fall 
Lecture Series, which this year was delivered by Dr Randall Balmer, an expert on 
American religious history. His analysis of Evangelicalism, its past, present, and 
future, is a welcome addition to an ongoing dialog at the Seminary concerning our 
own identity as an Evangelical institution. 

We also include other important material by and about Seminary 
colleagues, past and present. Dr David deSilva, the Trustees' Professor of New 
Testament and Greek at ATS, presents in written form a presentation made at a 
conference marking the inauguration of the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible. Dr 
Jerry Flora, Professor Emeritus of Theology and Spiritual Formation at ATS, directs 
attention to helpful resources in his area of specialty which derive from the British 
isles. We also include a review article on a volume authored by an ATS alumnus, 
Dr Kenneth Archer. This, plus a number of reviews, should provide at least some 
material of use to everyone. We pray God's richest blessings on us and you during 
this special. Advent season. .. 

St Nicolas Eve, 2006 
David W.Baker 

Ashland Theological Journal 

Celebrating the Centennial of Ashland Theological Seminary 

By Dale R. Staffer* 

On September 11, 1906, a new chapter began in the story of theological 
education at Ashland Theological Seminary. Though occasional courses had been 
offered in theology since the latter 1880s and a theological course of study had 
appeared in 1895, the beginning of the seminary is generally dated as 1906. The 
reasons for this are that prior to 1 906 there were very few resources, either financial 
or personnel, that were dedicated to theological training and there were relatively 
few students in the theological department. In 1906 J. Allen Miller, who had served 
as the president of Ashland College since 1899, resigned in order to turn his fiill 
attention to his first academic love: theological education. He was the dean of the 
Theological Department from 1906 until 1933. In 1913 the theological program at 
Ashland College was for the first time designated a seminary. Until 1930 the 
seminary remained essentially a Bible Department of the college. However, in 1930 
the seminary became the first graduate division of the college. 

The fortunes of the Brethren Church and of Ashland College and Seminary 
were closely tied from the 1880s through the 1940s. For both, these years included 
financial and leadership crises during the late 1800s, a period of growth under 
capable leadership between 1900 and the late 1920s, and then controversy during 
the 1930s that resulted in a division in 1939 between the "Ashland" Brethren, the 
supporters of Ashland College and Seminary, and the "Grace" Brethren, the 
supporters of Grace Theological Seminary, founded in 1937. A key figure in this 
controversy from the Grace Brethren side was Alva J. McClain, who had replaced J. 
Allen Miller as the dean of the seminary in 1933. He was eventually dismissed by 
the Ashland College trustees in 1937 and then helped form Grace Theological 

Ashland Theological Seminary, as a result of this division and other 
factors, struggled to survive throughout the 1940s and 50s. The deans of the 
seminary during these difficult years were Willis Ronk, Melvin Stuckey, and 
Delbert Flora. Throughout most of this period there were only three or four faculty 
members and less than twenty students. There were frank discussions at the college 
and in the Brethren Church about the closure of the seminary. However, college 
[president Glenn L. Clayton and seminary dean Delbert Flora felt that the seminary 
jwas needed in order to provide trained leadership for the Brethren Church. But this 
jmeant that significant advances needed to occur in all areas of the seminary's life. 
Under the leadership of Joseph R. Shultz, who became dean in 1963, the seminary 
began a bold venture of expansion that included accreditation by the Association of 
Theological Schools in 1969. This dramatic transformation featured the opening of 
extensions, the development of counseling programs, the recruitment of students 
from a wide variety of denominations, and catering to non-traditional students. 

* Dale Stoffer (Ph.D., Fuller) is Professor of Historical Theology and Academic 
Dean of ATS. 


Celebrating the Centennial of Ashland Theological Seminary 

These initiatives enabled the seminary to grow from 22 students in 1963, to ovei 
100 students in the early 1970s, and over 400 students by the early 1980s. 

In 1982 Fred Finks followed Shultz as vice-president and later president oi 
the seminary. He guided the school to continued growth; in the 2006 academic yeai 
the seminary reached 894 students. The number of faculty has grown apace, from 
five faculty in 1964 to twenty-one full-time faculty in 2006. Over half of the 
student body is now women; about one-third is African-American; and about one- 
third is found in extensions in Cleveland, Columbus, and Detroit. Since the 1960s 
international students have added to the diversity and enrichment of the seminary 
community. The seminary has also partnered with the Brethren Church in bringing 
theological training to the Argentine Brethren Church and other mission sites ir 
South America through the South American Theological Seminary in Colon, 
Argentina. In 2006 Finks transitioned to the presidency of Ashland University and 
John Shultz became the eighth president of Ashland Theological Seminary. 

From 1922 until 1958 Ashland Theological Seminary met on the campus 
of Ashland College (now designated Ashland University) in Miller Hall. In 1958 
the seminary moved to the former John C. Myers estate on Center Street in Ashland. 
Since then a number of additional properties have been acquired and new facilities 
have been built: the library was expanded in 1965, with further additions in 1976 
and 1991; seminary student housing was built in 1970; the Ronk Memorial Chapel 
in 1975; the Shultz Academic Center in 1989; the Gerber Academic Center in 1997; 
and the Sandberg Leadership Center in 200 1 . 

The centennial year has offered the seminary community the opportunity tc 
celebrate its remarkable history in a number of ways. During the centennial year oi 
2006 the following festivities have occurred: a Centennial Dinner on January 20, 
with guest speaker Charles Munson and the viewing of a historical video; Great 
Commission Week, February 6-10, featuring two outstanding international 
graduates of the seminary, Prasanth Kumar and Radu Tirle; two trips to Israel in 
March; the Spring Ministries Conference, April 3-5, with Tony Evans, Bill Hybels, 
and Knute Larson as the special speakers; the commencement service on June 3 a1 
which Fred Finks spoke; a concert by New Song on July 19 during the week of the 
Brethren General Conference; a Founders' Day Weekend, September 9-10 (classes 
began on September 11, 1906) including a Saturday picnic and Sunday worship 
with Detroit alumnus Ed Branch; and the Fall Lecture Series with Randall Balmei 
as the special speaker (his lectures are featured in this journal). Two other features 
of the centennial year were the publication of an Ashland Theological Seminary 
Centennial Cookbook and the preparation of a history of the seminary. 

As part of the celebrations on Founders' Day Weekend, the seminary 
community dedicated a Wall of Remembrance on September 10, 2006. The granite 
wall featured the names of all the faculty and administrators at the seminary during 
the century of its existence; a separate plaque also listed all the present employees 
of the seminary. The dedication service offered an exceptional opportunity to look 
backward with gratitude to the Lord for his grace and to the many who have served 
so faithfiilly and so sacrificially; to look at the present with wonder at the personal, 
physical, and financial resources with which God has blessed the seminary; and tc 

Ashland Theological Journal 

ook to the future with renewed dedication to serve the Lord through our mission to 
'equip men and women for ministry as servant leaders in the body of Christ and the 
NorXd at large . . ." 


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Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

The Rhetoric Of Political Discourse In The Labor Movement: Dr. H. Frank 
! Hixson's Rhetoric Of Reform In Wisconsin In The Nineteenth Century 

' By D. Ray Heisey' 

I. Biographical Background of H. Frank Hixson, 1858-1894 
Hixson's Education at Ashland College 

JHixson's Early Life 

Hixson was bom in southern Ohio on August 8, 1858, the same year as 
Teddy Rooseveh. In fact, they were similar in personality, in temperament, and in 
[political views. If Hixson had not died so young, he might have aspired to some of 
jthe same heights of political office that the young Roosevelt did. Frank Hixson was 
jthe second of eight children (the first one and the two immediately following Frank 
jail died in infancy). His parents were Rev. Armanus J. and Martha McClure Hixson 
jof Highland County, Ohio, members of the Dunkard Church. Rev. Armanus Hixson 
ihad been one of the early supporters of the new college at Ashland from the 
beginning which led to Frank's attendance there. 

Frank Hixson had attended the National Normal School in Lebanon, Ohio, 
I which awarded him an M.A. degree prior to coming to Ashland in 1879. Hixson 
[was the instructor in mathematics for the first several years. His friend, David 
j Bailey, who was also a teacher of mathematics and who also attended lectures and 
! later elected a trustee, writes in his journal for September 19 of that first year, 
("carpenters are making a lot of noise. "^ The new building was obviously in the 
! finishing stages as the new students arrived on the new campus. Bailey records that 
I there were 55 students enrolled in the fall of 1879 but the following fall term the 
j number had increased to 75.^ 

I Being the oldest son and the first to go to college, Frank was given special 

! opportunity to go to the new Ashland College sponsored by the Brethren Church. 
His father, as an early supporter of the college, personally was involved and present 
[ at the opening of the college. Hixson was enrolled as one of the first students in 
; 1879 and was a member of the first graduating class in 1881. 

Ashland College was chartered in 1878 by the Brethren Church and 
opened its doors as a new college in September 1879. The new students who 

D. Ray Heisey (Ph.D., Northwestern University), is Professor and Director Emeritus, School 
of Communication Studies, Kent State University. Revision of a paper presented at the 
Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric, Dalhousie University, Hahfax, 
Nova Scotia, May 29-31, 2003. 

This paper is an elaboration on part of a chapter on Anna Elizabeth Baker Hixson (1861- 
1945) and Dr. Hiram Frank Hixson (1858-1894) in a biography of Dr. Hixson's father-in- 
law, Dr. W. O. Baker of Louisville, Ohio. See D. Ray Heisey, Healing Body and Soul: The 
Life and Times of Dr. W. O. Baker, 1827-1916. Grantham, PA: The Brethren In Christ 
Historical Society, 2004. In preparing Baker's biography, I discovered Hixson as an 
unknown labor leader, deserving of attention, and falling within the populist reform stream of 
Robert Schilling, Robert La Toilette, and Ralph Nader. 

The Rhetoric of Political Discourse in the Labor Movement 

enrolled and who arrived, were looking "forward with eagerness to the opening 
day." One of the histories describes what they saw. "The college building was at thf 
southern edge of town and stood, as it must have appeared, rather lonely thougl 
majestically in a large twenty-eight acre field. There were no trees, no lawns, nc 
artistic landscape to appeal to the eye of the student."^ 

Ashland College was opened as a coed school with an emphasis on the 
practical and useful "in the line of a chosen vocation.""* It consisted of a 
"commodious and new" main building and a dormitory that would hold 12C 
students. The college claimed for itself five "distinguishing features": "1. It is 
thoroughly Christian, but not sectarian. 2. Its location affords an unusual number oi 
advantages. 3. It combines the most liberal course of instruction at the least expense 
to the student. 4. It inculcates the spirit of plaiimess and economy in dress and 
manner of living and aims to adorn the mind rather than the body. 5. It aims to teach 
self-government on the principles of love and respect." Tuition for a year, in 
advance, was $30.00 and a furnished room with board was $3.00 per week.^ 

Ashland's Course of Study 

A statement by another student who attended Ashland at the same timci 
perhaps gives an insight into the thinking of parents at the time. C. F. Brown writes' 
that his father consented to his going to Ashland in 1879 because it was "Christian 
from the foundation, and has carried Brethren Ideals from the beginning" where "it 
was required of every student to attend this Bible study" "in Chappel [sic] where the 
Bible was read and prayer offered."'' 

The English course was two years, the scientific course three years, and the 
classical course four years in length. The classic classes included a heavy schedule 
of mathematics, Latin, Greek, rhetoric, physics, chemistry, U.S., English, French, 
and Roman history, and Bible. ^ 

The Literary Society 

Hixson was a very active participant in the Pierian Literary Society that 
emphasized the development of public performance, oratory, and elocutionary skills 
in presenting declamations, reading essays, and in debating controversial issues, 
such as "foreign immigration ought not be encouraged," or "The immortality of the 
soul caimot be proven without the Bible." Another debate was on whether women 
should have the right to vote, which was reported in the local newspaper with the 
comment, "and as it always should be, it was decided that women should not vote."^ 

In the Literary Society, Hixson met a young woman, Anna Baker, with 
whom he fell in love. There is evidence that Frank was a dashing, colorful young 
man who knew his way around. As one of the teachers, he held a special place in 
the life of the college and would have been one of the leaders of the graduating 
class. Here was a case of one of the highly regarded young ladies, the oldest 
daughter of a physician and a clergyman, being sought and won by one of the young 
teachers, himself the son of a clergyman and a highly respected leader in the 
Brethren Church. 

Anna Baker was a very visible young lady at the college. Her reputation 
for effective public performance was noted in the local newspaper on more than one 
occasion. In March of 1880, in her first year of college, she was singled out by the 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

reporter of the Pierian Society, "Miss Baker, with her usual skill, read a fine essay." 
The next month, in April, Anna was highlighted again for her performance. The 
reporter wrote: "Last Friday evening the Pierian Society held the first session of this 
term. The performers acquitted themselves nobly. Among the declamations the 
choicest and best rendered selection was given by Miss Baker. The piece was a 
difficult one, consisting of intermingled narrative and descriptive style. The well- 
controlled voice and beautiftil cadence of the declamation held the audience 
spellbound. The effect was indeed remarkable, for the closet critic could find but 
jfew objections to it."^ 

i At this same program, Anna was elected secretary of the Society when 

Miss Wiley, the previous secretary, "declined in favor of Miss Baker." The previous 
slate of officers had been re-elected. Declining in favor of Anna could have been 
because of her obvious talent or perhaps because of her relationship with the man 
who was elected president of the society, H. Frank Hixson. 

Hixson, as one of the teachers of the College and also working on his own 
degree, participated with the students in the activities of the societies. Hixson had 
previously made an impressive speech in which he "laid before the society its 
duties, pointing out the faults which demanded correction, and the virtues that 
should be continually cultivated." On this occasion, the reporter commented on his 
talents as follows: "Mr. Hixon [sic], one of the founders of the society, is just the 
right man to occupy the chair at this phase of the society; he will conduct it safely 
through this critical period. His knowledge of parliamentary rule will lend to the 
chair a power it has not feh for awhile."'° i 

Frank Hixson's Graduation 

Frank Hixson graduated from Ashland in the spring of 1881. The program 
for the 1881 commencement exercises lasted five days. Saturday, June 18 was 
examinations; Sunday, June 19 was the baccalaureate sermon by President R. H. 
Miller; Monday was the annual address before the Literary Societies; Tuesday was 

the close of examinations, the closing chapel and 
class day exercises, concluding with Literary 
Entertainment; Wednesday, June 22 was the 
educational anniversary with several addresses, 
one by Elder A. J. Hixson, Frank's father, and the 
commencement at 8 P.M.'' 
To show that the new college was not all too 
serious, the Entertainment Program on 
Wednesday evening bears noticing. The flyer 
announcing the program is headed by the words, 
"Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye. Grand Blow-Off of 
the New Bom Alumni! Spectacular Presentation 
of Chromos." The selections include prayer, four 
music presentations of popular songs, humorous 
orations by the graduates, followed by the 
presentation of spoof "degrees" by the president. 
The titles of the orations were, "How to board 
myself," "How to wait on the wash girl," "What I 


Ashland College 's First 
Graduating Class (left to right: 
F.M. Plank, S.H. Yeater, E. 
Wigton, H.F. Hixson) 

The Rhetoric of Pohtical Discourse in the Labor Movement 

know about pulling up trees," and Frank Hixson's First was, "The beneficial effecil 
of beans." The description of his oration is, "We have an example of the effects o1 
College fare. This Lilliputan was purchased as at great expense. He has spent thet 
last three months on this oration, and will begin to torture you by saying, "Honor tq 
the memory of our Fathers"(who first planted beans.) On account of his smallnesss 
of stature, Stubbs [one of the professors] will hold him in his hand during the 
performance. After he has finished. Hale and Huber (walking bean poles) will wrapi 
him in his flannels."'^ 

The spoof degrees that were presented to the four graduates were N.B.F to 
Yeater for "Natural Bom Fool," D.C.L. to Plank for Darwin Connecting Link, 
P.J.B. to Wigton for "St. Croix— 1860— X," and C.P.A.B.E. to Hixson for 
"Champion Pork and Bean Eater."'^ 

The serious commencement program the next evening again had orations 
by the graduates entitled, "Lessons from Life," "The Tendency of the Age," "Worth 
Makes the Man," and Hixson was the final speaker again of the program with, "The 
Honor of Nations." The program concluded with the conferring of the degrees by 
President Miller. 

Frank Hixson and Anna Baker Get Married 

The relationship between Anna Baker and Frank Hixson developed 
seriously during the first year and continued into the second. Their relationship, 
suggested by the connection they had within the Pierian Society leadership, is 
further noted by the fact that she is listed as the first of four ushers at the 
commencement exercises in June 1881 at Hixson's graduation.''* This was at the end 
of their second year studying together. At the literary societies' combined program 
of entertainment for the first commencement in 1881, Frances Davidson, friend of 
the Baker family, presented an essay called, "Silent Forces." She was in the class 
one year behind Anna Baker. '^ During this same spring session, Frances Davidson 
had a talk with Frank Hixson "on the difference of our church [Brethren in Christ] 
and theirs, the Dunkards. He cannot see the difference as I do. The subject is to be 
continued at some future time."'^ Frances returned to the college one more year but 
later transferred to Kalamazoo College in Michigan to graduate in 1884, which was 
near where her parents had moved in 1881.''' 

The two-year relationship between Frank Hixson and Anna Baker brought 
them together in marriage on September 1, 1881. The local newspaper announced in 
its September 1 issue, "Professor H. F. Hixson left for Louisville, Ohio, yesterday 
morning. Rumor has it that he will not return alone."'^ The marriage certificate 
indicates that they were married on September 1, 1881, by Rev. Robert H. Miller, 
who was the president of Ashland College during the 1880-82 period, which was 
the final two years of Anna's study there for her degree, signed by the local probate 
judge, most likely in Anna's hometown, Louisville, Ohio.'^ 

Anna's Graduation from Ashland in 1882 

Thus, Anna returned to Ashland College as Mrs. Frank Hixson for her third 
and final year in 1881-82 and Hixson returned as a professor of the college. Perhaps 
their relationship was a factor in her somehow moving fi-om the sophomore class to 
the senior class. 

Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

The first year had been somewhat stormy as the trustees tried to remove 
President Sharp. He submitted his resignation but later a committee ruled in his 
favor and the case dragged on for almost a year. 

Hixson Elected President of Ashland College 

Frank graduated in June 1881. Anna married him in September of the same 
year and graduated in June 1882 and gave birth to their daughter, Methyl, in the fall 
of 1882. The next spring Hixson was elected President of Ashland College during a 
stormy transition period in which the progressive wing of the Brethren church was 
coming out on top of a conflict with the conservative wing. The turmoil in the 
college administration had begun before when R. H. Miller was elected the new 
president after Sharp (the first president), whose election was interpreted by one 
denominational paper as the "last bid to keep the college conservative."^*^ But 
Robert Miller lasted only two years as he resigned in the spring of 1882. After 
Miller, Rev. Joseph E. Stubbs served only one year as president during 1882-83.^' It 
was during this period that "the last of conservative-minded trustees disappeared 
from the board."^^ The conflict between the conservatives and the so-called 
Progressives of the Brethren Church caused considerable turmoil at the college, 
particularly in its administration. 

Hixson, one of the Progressives, and who had been an active leader in the 
debating societies and a popular professor at the college from the begirming, was 
elected the new president on June 14, 1883.^^ He served for two years, 1883-1885, 
and then resigned.^"^ What is known about his presidency comes not from the history 
of the college but from the local newspaper reports of the college activities for these 
two years he served. His daughter. Methyl, bom in the fall of 1882, would have 
been one and two years old during this time period of his presidency and would 
have been the delight of faculty and students alike. 

In one of the newspaper accounts of the college activities in May 1882 
mention is made of the vice president of the college. Professor Burgess, getting 
married to Julia Leonard of Ashland. With a clear 
reference to the Hixsons who had gotten married 
the previous fall, the reporter writes, "Our College 
is famed for such surprises, comprising cases both 
of professors and students, so that the fixture is 
clouded in uncertainty; hence we can only say: 
Who's next?"^^ 

An Honorary Ph.D. for Hixson 

There is strong reason to believe that 
Ashland College bestowed on Hixson a Ph.D. or 
an honorary Ph.D. degree in 1883 after two more 
years of study there following his graduation in 
1881, or when he was elected president and began 
his presidency. There are five reasons for this 
conclusion. (1) Hixson claims on his application 
for admission to Johns Hopkins University for graduate study dated October 1, 

The Rhetoric of Political Discourse in the Labor Movement 

1885, in his handwriting, that he had received a Ph.D. from Ashland College in 
1883 and "can present" the diploma to prove it.^*' 

(2) The Johns Hopkins University Directory published in 1926 lists Hixson 
as a former graduate student in philosophy during 1885-86 and as holding a Ph.B. 
degree in 1881 and a Ph.D. degree in 1883, both from Ashland College. He is also 
listed as President of Ashland College from 1883-85, which has been established 
independently of his own claim.^'' (3) Many colleges during this time awarded 
honorary Ph.D. degrees to faculty members, to alumni, to clergymen, and especially 
to college presidents "after they had taken office" or "were conferred the same year 
or the year following the inauguration.""^^ (4) While all the Midwest newspapers 
who reported on Hixson used the title. Dr. Hixson, two of them specifically claim in 
their biographical sketches of him at his death that he "received the degree of doctor 
of philosophy."^^ These two do not mention the institution that awarded him the 

(5) A check with the Ashland University Archives resulted in the finding 
that the above fact cannot be proven one way or the other, first, because "Ashland 
College did not keep good records on its early students," and second, "in 1952 the 
fire in Founders Hall destroyed all of the alumni information."^^ The Archives does 
reveal that "an employee card" for Hixson says he "Received his Ph.D. at J.H." 
Perhaps in the reconstructing of the records after the fire, someone remembered that 
he had a Ph.D. but assumed it was from Johns Hopkins since he had gone there, 
instead of from Ashland. The Archivist reported that "Ashland did not offer 
honorary Ph.D.'s until 1932."^' One of the histories of the College claims, however, 
that Ashland College during the 1880s "conferred upon [John H. Worst, one of the 
first students at the college, but did not graduate] the Honorary Degree of Doctor of 
Laws" for his work in North Dakota in education, including being President of 
North Dakota Agricultural College.^^ Maybe Hixson' s honorary Ph.D. for becoming 
president, or an awarded Ph.D. for "advanced study and research" while teaching, 
was a casualty of the fire in 1952.^^ 

Getting the College Back on Track 

During the first year of his presidency, Hixson made a sfrong effort to get 
the college back on its original track of offering a solid college course. In the years 
1881 and 1882 when the Brethren Church was breaking into the Progressive and the 
traditional branches, the division also affected the college administration. It was 
reported that some people viewed the college as offering "simply a normal course," 
and that "this was the design of certain members of the Board of Trustees, when two 
years ago the old course, against the unanimous protest of the faculty and the entire 
community, was abolished."^"^ 

Hixson wanted "to retain the advanced students" and thus promised to 
restore the old course of instruction, which was "a frill college course," as well as 
extend it.^^ Through the course of his two years he apparently was able to achieve 
this, for the report in the local newspaper commended him for his excellent work in 
saying, "Professor Hixson deserves great credit for his Herculean though silent 
efforts to place the College on a firm basis. For the past two years he has borne up 
bravely under the universal calumny heaped upon all cormected with the school, 
determined to let the work show for itself "^^ 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Hixson apparently placed a number of departments "on a firm foundation," 
including the Commercial Department, the Normal and the Musical Departments, 
the latter two "of which were [never] before on a firm basis." His efforts continued 
to be opposed by the Board of Trustees, even in the public columns of the Board's 
organ, the College Record. This no doubt was one of the reasons Hixson resigned 
from his office at the end of the two years.^^ 

At the graduating exercises in June of 1885, Hixson's final year as 
president, he presented to the graduates their diplomas and then addressed the class 
by "instructing them to place their mark high in whatever calling they chose to 
make their life work, and to ever press onward and upward, striving to gain and 
maintain higher heights."^^ 

That Hixson was successful as far as the students were concerned is seen in 
several ways. The graduating class in 1885 was reported as the largest in its history, 
with six in the Collegiate department and six in the Normal department. President 
and Mrs. Hixson entertained the graduating classes in their home on Monday 
evening of commencement week. The local newspaper editorialized that "in all 
cases the President has sustained the good will of the students and especially the 
present class on whom was always insisted the necessity of thoroughness of 

Finally, on the Thursday evening following the commencement 
ceremonies that had taken place Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, as the students 
were about to leave for home at the train depot, Professor Brumbaugh stepped 
forward and gave to the president a "thank you" speech, and presented to him on 
behalf of the students a handsome cane. The paper commented, "And nothing could 
speak in louder tones of praise for the excellent work done in the school by 
President Hixson, than the presentation to him by the class and students of a gold- 
headed ebony cane."'*'^ 

Hixson served only two years at Ashland College as president before 
taking up other endeavors. Following Hixson, Rev. W. C. Perry, a graduate in the 
class of 1885 who had been Principal of the Normal Department that Hixson had 
reestablished under his presidency, served for two years, 1885-87. He was followed 
by William W. Felger, also in the class of 1885, who served for 1887-88."*' During 
this time the college debt increased annually. Because of the mounting debt, in June 
1888 the college had to be sold and put into a receivership.'^^ It seems that the 
conservative ex-trustees who had received the property sold it back to the 
progressives who obtained a new charter and started a campaign to obtain a 
financial footing for the college.'*^ 

Hixson apparently had trouble with the trustees from time to time. He 
decided in April not to have a summer term for 1885 but the trustees a month later 
decided "to go ahead with summer term." A month after that the executive 
committee decided to take off $400 ft-om Hixson's salary.'*'* In the fall, after Hixson 
left, approximately 25 students were enrolled at the college."*^ 

Hixson to Johns Hopkins for Graduate Study 

In October 1885 Hixson went to Baltimore to enroll in graduate work at 
Johns Hopkins University. There is some controversy about what this involved 


The Rhetoric of PoHtical Discourse in the Labor Movement 

because his obituary says that he took "a post graduate course" at Johns Hopkins"^^ 
while another source claims that he went to Johns Hopkins as "dean of mathematics 
for a year."'''' One of the subjects Hixson had taught at Ashland was mathematics, 
but the archival records at Johns Hopkins indicate only that he was a graduate 
student in psychology in 1885-86 and is listed in the following classes: History of i 
Philosophy, Psychology, Education, Introductory to Psychology, and Elocution. ^ 

The Hixsons to Parsons, Kansas to set up a Normal School 

Following his year at Johns Hopkins, in the fall of 1886, Hixson and ai 
Prof. Crowle "organized a normal school at Parsons, Kansas,""*^ his former i 
residence, which was a fast-growing railroad town in the southeastern part of the 
state. The town had received some notoriety a few years earlier (in 1879 while 
Hixson was in his first year at Ashland) when President Rutherford B. Hayes and 
General W. T. Sherman stopped at the town on their way to Neosha Falls District 
Fair where the President took time to address the gathered crowd.^" 

The Hixson school, though well attended, apparently lasted only a few 
years. From 1870 to 1897 numerous normal institutes were established in Parsons 
with anywhere from 100 to 150 students in each, some of which had a lengthy 
existence and some short-lived.''' Hixson' s "Business school at Parsons closed 
about 1887," but the exact date is not known, and he "became identified with the 
Baptist church in 1887 and was ordained a minister of that church,"^^ thus severing 
his ties with the Dunkard church with which he and his family had been 
associated.^"* Hixson's name is not listed with the pastors who served the Baptist 
church in Parsons, but he is mentioned as being the president of the Young People's 
Society of Christian Workers in that church.^'' 

The 1886, 1887, and 1888 Ashland College catalogs, listing college 
alumni, show Arma and Frank as living in Parsons, Kansas where he is said to be 
conducting a nonnal school, so apparently he was directing the school for three 
years. Their second child, Raymond, was bom June 6, 1887, in Parsons while Frank 
was running the normal school there. 

Hixson to the Midwest for the Labor Movement 

Frank Hixson gave up his calling in formal education about 1888, at the 
time of the formation of the "National Farmers' Alliance and Co-operative Union of 
America" in the south and north^^ and began studying "the industrial problem with 
direct reference to the labor movement, and devoted himself to a championship of 
organized labor principally as editor of labor publications and lecturer and organizer 
of unions and trade councils. "^^ His motivation for getting involved in the labor 
movement can be speculated by his living in southeastern Kansas for three years, 
working in an educational endeavor that may have been dwindling and by the 
raising of the consciousness of the farmers in that area for what was happening to 
them. His hometown of Parsons was a railroad town. He had seen the consequences 
of what happened to the farmers when exploited by the railroad tycoons and 
lobbyists supporting them.^^ 

In the late 1880s "the hard times" enabled the Farmers' Alliance to 
increase its membership "enormously," making it "a power to be reckoned with in 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

the whole Northwest."^^ Hixson, ever the opportunist, seized on the chance to use 
his leadership ability and his speaking talent to help organize the farmers to change 
their lot by supporting a new party. The next year he became involved in local 
politics farther west when he "spent four months in the state of Iowa lecturing to 
farmers and in 1889 organized the Farmers Alliance which soon became a 
flourishing organization in that state. "^^ General James B. Weaver, a member of the 
Iowa Farmers Alliance, later became the nominee for president of the People's 
Party. ^^ Hixson reportedly worked for the People's Party in Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, 
Indiana, Illinois, and Kansas before going to Wisconsin.^ 

When Hixson moved to Wisconsin he continued his leadership of the labor 
movement and the People's Party. As "a persistent, constant advocate of the 
principles of that party and in order to propound them in a manner which would 
make itself felt in 1 890, he purchased the Racine Advance," giving that paper a 
larger stature throughout Wisconsin.^^ His paper was one of "perhaps two hundred 
or more, that championed the movement," including the Advocate that Stephen 
McLallin launched in 1889 in Meriden, Kansas before he moved it to Topeka in 
1890, which became "easily the most important Populist newspaper in America," 
along with William Peffer's Kansas Farmer. ^^ 

Death of the Hixson Son 

While Anna and her two children were visiting friends in Ashland in 1891, 
Raymond became ill with measles and then suffered further complications with a 
more serious illness. Hixson was summoned to be with him but Raymond soon 
rallied, so he shortly returned to his work in Wisconsin. However, the boy suddenly 
grew worse on a Tuesday night and died the next morning, on February 12, just 
under four years of age. The body was shipped to Louisville, Ohio, not back to 
Kansas, and the funeral was held in the home of the Bakers and the body buried in 
the Baker Family lot in the Valley Chapel cemetery.^"^ 

Hixson "was one of the original organizers of the people's party, having 
taken a prominent part in their Omaha convention," which was held on July 4, 
1892.^^ He edited labor papers in Kansas, Indiana, and Ohio, where he edited a 
paper in Canton called the Forum, and finally went to Milwaukee where he was 
associate editor of the Advance.^^ In 1893 he went to Oshkosh, Wisconsin where he 
became editor of the Labor Advocate in that city and developed into a very 
prominent labor leader in that state. 

After leaving the field of education, in all of his political activities as 
reported in the newspapers, he is always referred to as "Dr. Hixson." He was 
perceived in the Midwest as "The Doctor." His Ph.D. degree from Ashland, his 
serving for two years as a college president, his doing post graduate work in 
psychology at a famous eastern university, his establishing a normal school in 
Kansas, all contributed to his reputation for being educated and learned, giving him 
a proper ethos to assume editorial control of labor papers and political leadership in 
the People's Party. He apparently was a powerful speaker and debater and was well- 
informed on labor issues. His speeches were well supported with facts and had 
tightly developed arguments. He was an agitator, an organizer, and a tireless 
speaker throughout the state and the region. 


The Rhetoric of PoUtical Discourse in the Labor Movement 

II. Hixson's Leadership in the Populist Party in Wisconsin ' 

To illustrate the degree to which he was involved in Populist Party politics j 
a list of his speaking engagements during the political campaign of 1894 isi 
provided. It shows the intensity and variety of his efforts at improving the conditior 
of the working people of his time. It is interesting to observe that during the timet 
Hixson is writing and speaking on behalf of labor in the upper Midwest, his father-ij 
in-law is preaching in the pulpit in Ohio on Christian life issues and writing onl 
church doctrine, resulting in his book that his church asked him to publish. Theyj 
both liked to write. 

Hixson's Spealdng in the 1894 Political Campaign 

The Hixson list is taken from the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Daily] 
January 10, 1894 — Dr. H. F. Hixson will address the Carpenters union No. 634 atl 

the Trades and Labor Council hall on January 1 8, open to the public. 
January 25 — Dr. H. F. Hixson offered the free use of 500 choice books in his own 

library for the benefit of the workingmen at the Trades and Labor Council 

meeting last evening. 
January 27 — Dr. Hixson endorsed the speech at city hall by Rev. G. H. Trever oni 

the duty of clergy to speak against the social ills of society caused by| 

capitalism. He got into "a lively tilt" with Mr. Houghton in arguing thati 

corporations not saloons caused pauperism. 
February 3 — Following an address by Mr. Houghton on the needs of thei 

workingman, "loud calls" were made for Dr. Hixson to address the packed city ' 

hall. He spoke against child labor in the factories and "taunted" Mr. Houghton i 

to give his views on the causes of the current national depression. 
February 17 — Dr. Hixson addressed the Workingman' s Club at the "completely 

filled" city hall Friday night on the subject, "How to Prevent Panics." His 

remedy for panics was for national banks to be established instead of state 

banks so that the banking system could be run like the postal system where no 

capitalists were made from the profits. 
February 23 — Dr. Hixson followed up an address on the role of wages in social 

development by Prof. White by disagreeing with his assumptions, because 

"men had not been honest, competition had not been free, opportunities had not 

remained equal and law had defeated natural development." 
March 9 — Dr. Hixson spoke at the Workingman' s Club last evening following an 

address by Prof. Reilly on the municipal ownership of the electric light plant. 

He believes in the municipal ownership of every public utility and the 

government ownership of railroads. 
March 23 — Dr. Hixson spoke following an address by C. Hanson at the 

Workingman' s 

Club that in union there is strength and that the consumers of products are the 

real employers. 
March 30 — Dr. H. F. Hixson spoke following an address on the good results of 

unions at the Workingman' s Club by endorsing the view that "the union of 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

laboring men is a matter of necessity for their own protection." A resolution 

was passed at the 
meeting that all Oshkosh clergymen should preach a sermon during April on "The 

Abolition of Child Labor in Factories" as part of their obligation to preach the 

April 5 — Dr. H.F. Hixson will speak before the Workingman's Club this evening on 

"Government Ownership of Railroads." He is strongly in favor of government 

ownership, because "Either the people must own the railroads or the railroads 

will own the people." 
April 19 — Dr. H. F. Hixson spoke at length against the private ownership of 

railroads and quoted many authorities to prove his theory. 
April 20 — Dr. Hixson of Oshkosh will speak at the city hall [in Menasha] tomorrow 

night on the labor question. 
April 23 — Dr. Hixson was appointed to a committee of leading citizens by Mayor 

Oelierich to establish a free public library for the city of Oshkosh. 
May 18 — Dr. Hixson will lecture at Green Bay on May 31, on "The Future of 

June 7 — Mayor Oelierich announced committees for the July Fourth celebration 

with the Printing and Advertising Committee consisting of five persons, 

including Dr. Hixson. 
June 8 — Hixson was elected president of the new Federal Union organization and 

will represent the union at the Wisconsin Federation of Labor annual 

convention on July 4. 
June 12 — Hixson gave the welcome address at the 2"'^ annual convention of the 

Wisconsin Federation of Labor. 
June 12 — The president of the Farmer's Alliance announced that the Law 

Committee consists of three persons, including H. F. Hixson and Dr. H. F. 

Hixson is announced as the state lecturer for the Farmer's Alliance. 
June 20 — editorial in the paper published against Hixson' s The Labor Advocate. 
July 9 — Hixson is quoted as saying, "There will be no trouble here [by the 

American Railway Union]" for "the men have received no orders from 

President Debs to strike," when asked by reporters whether there will be a 

strike in Oshkosh in support of the famous Pullman railway strike in Chicago 

that had begun on May 11. Two days earlier than Hixson' s statement Eugene 

Debs had been arrested. 
July 31 — Hixson addressed the County Convention of the Populist Party by urging a 

strong ticket. He was elected chairman of the county committee and was placed 

on the executive board. Nominations had to be submitted to Hixson for 

August 15 — The Populists have organized a club at Marinette and claim to have 100 

members. Many of them are ex-Democrats. 
August 21 — Hixson addressed the Populist meeting at city hall on the "present 

conditions based in legislation." He urged the passing of new legislation to help 

the workingman which means that people should support the People's Party 

which follows principles, not men. He urged people to subscribe in support of 

The Daily Advocate. 
August 22 — The paper reported the story, "Populists on the Gain." 


The Rhetoric of Pohtical Discourse in the Labor Movement 

September 3 — Dr. H. F. Hixson was the orator of the day at Eau Claire today. 
September 20 — Dr. Hixson speaks at Fond du Lac Friday in the interests of the 

People's Party. 
October 3 — The People's Party at Madison has decided to put Dr. Hixson, editor of 

The Labor Advocate of this city, against Gov. McKinley of Ohio in joint debate 

on the political issues of the day, October 9, at Madison. 
October 4— Dr. Hixson has gone to Kansas, called there by the serious illness of his 

October 6 — Prof H. F. Hixson, of Oshkosh, Wis., is in the city, called here by the 

probably fatal illness of his mother. {The Parsons Daily Sun, Kansas) This is 

the day that his mother died in Parsons, Kansas. 
October 9 — Gov. McKinley is in Madison in "A Blaze of Glory," but there is no 

debate with Hixson who is in Kansas where his mother has died. 
October 16 — Dr. H. F. Hixson has returned from Kansas, where he attended the 

funeral of his mother. 
November 1 — Hixson was obliged to give up speaking while at Chippewa Falls and 

had to go to bed from which he never left. 
November 3 — Dr. Powell, mayor of La Crosse and twice the People's Party 

candidate for governor, addressed the crowd, giving a great tribute to Hixson 

who "had worked earnestly and untiringly for the success of the People's Party 

and now at the last moment before the battle, the incessant campaigning of the 

past three or four weeks about the state had finally exhausted him" and was 

now too ill to be present. 
November 6 — Election Day. The People's Party did not win. The Republican Party 

won in a landslide nationally, in Wisconsin, and in Oshkosh. 
November 7 — An editorial stated that the Republican win was "a wonderful victory 

and land-slide without precedent in American history. ..." 
November 8 — In Hixson's hometown of Parsons, Kansas, the headlines said, "A 

Great Victory. Republicans and Good Citizens Rejoice. Populism Wiped Out 

Forever in Labette County." {The Parsons Daily Sun) 
November 9 — The official vote results indicated the expected success of the 

People's Party wasn't even close in Wisconsin (for governor in Winnebago 


Upham, Republican 6,538 

Peck, Democrat 3,964 (the incumbent was defeated) 

Powell, People's 1,056 

Cleghom, Prohibitionist 374 
It should be noted here that the source below indicates that Hixson was candidate 
for Lieutenant Governor of the People's Party, but the newspaper reports that 
Smock was the candidate and received about the same number of votes as did 
Powell for Governor. 

Hixson's Illness and Death 

November 16 — A letter was received today [at the newspaper] from Dr. Hixson, 
who is lying ill at Chippewa Falls, in which he stated that the sensational 
accounts of his condition are erroneous and that in a short time he hopes to be 
in this city. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

November 23 — Hixson succumbed to his illness and his body was accompanied by 
his father, A. J. Hixson, back to Parsons, Kansas, where the funeral was held in 
the Baptist church and he was buried in the Oakwood cemetery where his 
mother had been buried six weeks earlier. Sausaman (1977) provides a final 
paragraph that is instructive of how intense he was as a politician. 

At the time of his last illness. Dr. Hixson was a candidate for 
lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, and was stumping the state in 
the interest of this office. Following the death of his mother, ' 

which occurred at Parsons only six weeks before that of the noted 
labor leader. Dr. Hixson returned from her bedside to his arduous 
duties during the heat of the fall campaign. Soon afterward he 
developed a severe cold. Insteadof remaining indoors, the Doctor 
headed an immense procession marching through the streets in the 
sleet and mud, later delivering a ringing speech over two hours in 
length when he was scarcely able to stand. In all probability he 
would have been elected to office as he was carrying the platform 
of the state. On the train en route to the next place he became 
violently ill and was removed to St. Joseph's hospital at Chippewa 
Falls where he died ten days later. His fine library and handsome 
little yacht were willed to the trade and labor council of Oshkosh. 
His estate of $10,000 was bequeathed to his wife and daughter.^'' 
November 26 — Funeral services were held for Dr. H. F. Hixson at the Hibemia 
hall in Oshkosh where the Trades and Labor Council adopted a resolution 
mourning the loss of "an able, true and earnest worker in the cause of humanity 
and reform, and whom we have learned to love and esteem for his kind and 
cheering words and for his earnest work among the toiling masses of our city 
and state." 

Anna and Frank Hixson's Separation 

There is reason to believe that Anna and Methyl may very well not have 
been living with Frank during his political endeavors in rallying labor groups 
together and organizing for his campaigns. There are five pieces of evidence that 
suggest this. 

First, during all of the time that Hixson is reported speaking to labor 
groups, being elected to offices in labor organizations, and being mentioned as a 
leader of thought and action in the state of Wisconsin, there is never even a mention 
of Mrs. Hixson in either the "Short Notes," the "Social" columns, or the 
"Personalities" columns, when it was common practice for the paper to mention the 
wife of this notable or that leading person as having visited somewhere or 
entertained some guests. These columns were full of social items about the town's 
citizens, such as "Mr. and Mrs. Fred W. Spink of Milwaukee are visiting at the 
residence of City treasurer Spink,"^^ or "Mrs. Florence Smith is visiting with 
relatives in Waupaca" and "Mrs. M. Carney and daughter, Miss Mamie Carney, of 
Stockbridge have been the guests of Miss A. M. Gibson for the past few days."^ 

Mrs. Hixson is never mentioned. Her daughter, Methyl, was twelve years 
old. Did they never go to Ohio to visit her parents? Did her father. Dr. Baker, never 
visit her, yet he traveled to Canada, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois and other places? Did 


The Rhetoric of Political Discourse in the Labor Movement 

none of their mutual friends from Ashland days ever visit them, especially since 
Hixson was becoming a well-known politician? 

Second, in the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, which had reported so well on 
all of his activities as a politician and labor leader, the account of Hixson's death as- 
one of the leading news stories with a large headline on page one, right-hand 
column, does not mention Mrs. Hixson or his daughter. Hixson's own Labor 
Advocate does not mention his wife or daughter in its extensive coverage of 
Hixson's death or funeral. 

Third, the Resolution, passed by the Trades and Labor Council in memory 
of Hixson at their next formal meeting, in Oshkosh, does not mention Mrs. Hixson, 
his wife, or Methyl, his daughter, while it does extend "sincere sympathy to the 
relatives of the deceased."^*^ If they had been living with him in Oshkosh and had 
been part of his daily life and of all his activities, it seems strange that the organized 
group which he had led for years would not have at least mentioned them in a way 
other than merely being his "relatives." 

In similar fashion, the People's party club in Madison passed unanimous 
resolutions on his passing in which it praised Hixson's accomplishments and 
abilities as "the people's peerless champion"'^' and ordered that the resolutions "be 
published in Madison daily papers, the Oshkosh Labor Advocate, and the 
Milwaukee Advance" and that "a copy be sent to Dr. Hixson's father in Parsons, 
Kas [sic]." Nothing is mentioned about his wife and daughter.''^ 

Fourth, the obituary of Hixson that appears in the Louisville, Ohio, local 
paper, upon his death, reports. "He leaves a wife, Mrs. Anna Baker Hixson, and a 
daughter. Methyl, who reside at Louisville. "^^ It would hardly report their residence 
as Louisville, if they had been living with him during those years in Wisconsin. 

Fifth, the account of his death, frineral, and burial in the Oshkosh paper 
reports that his father, A. J. Hixson, not his wife and daughter, accompanied the 
body back to Kansas for burial.^"* It is understandable that burial would be in 
Parsons, his original home. But why would the paper not report that his body was 
being accompanied by his wife and daughter if they had been living with him? Also, 
at the time of his serious illness in Chippewa Falls, where he lay in bed for several 
weeks, his father was sent for and arrived in Chippewa Falls to be at his beside.^^ 
Why does it not mention that his wife and daughter were sent for or were at his side 
in his illness?''^ 

III. Hixson's Rhetoric in the Populist Party 

Hixson's rhetoric was a Populist message. He advocated the Populist Party 
arguments that both major political parties were guilty of supporting the 
monopolies, big business, and big government and that they were doing nothing to 
change legislation to stop the corruption. He argued for the government ownership 
of railroads and public utilities, the establishment of national banks, instead of state 
banks, that would control the making of money, and he pressed his listeners to get 
involved in politics because it was "their business" to do so in light of "the 
discontent of laboring people throughout the land."^^ 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 
Hixson's Message in His Speeches 

Hixson was a true Populist. Nugent' s characterization of the Populists as 
those who "were determined to see that these changes [from industrialization] 
should benefit all the people and not just a few"^^ fits Hixson precisely. Nugent 
continues, "The majority of them therefore accepted industrialization but 
condemned monopoly, accepted bank and finance but condemned usury and 
financial sleight of hand, welcomed accumulation but condemned economic 
feudalism, welcomed enterprise but condemned speculation. It was not industry and 
urbanism that oppressed them, they thought, but their abuse."^^ In short, the 
Populists attacked "landlordism, transportation monopoly, and money shortages."^" 

The message was one of identification with the interests of the people. The 
owners, the corporations, the banks, and the political parties indebted to them, were 
exploiting the common people. Hixson wanted to expose these evils on behalf of the 
people, to wake them up, and persuade them to do so something about it. "Burke 
contends," argues Mader, "that identification is possible because all of us have the 
same motives, or inherent needs, and that the terms for these motives name 
'relationships and developments that, mutatis mutandis, are likely to figure in all 
human association.'"^' Hixson became a voice for the people in his message of 
identifying the claims of the Populist party with their interests. "You persuade a 
[person]," says Burke, "only insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, 
tonality, order, image, attitude, idea, identifying your ways with his [sic]."^^ This 
form of persuasion Burk calls identification. 

The Evil of Landlordism 

Hixson attacked all three of these evils that the Populist party had 
identified. "Of all the exploitation," he said, "landlordism is perhaps the worst and 
most excessive. The earth equally belongs to all the people of all generations.... 
Society, the community, creates nearly all the value of land and to the community it 
belongs." Hixson complained that "the rents are out of all proportion to profits in 
business and, to say the very least, the rents ought to come down, and come down a 
good deal." "It is unfair," he wrote, "that the masses bear all the burdens for the 
benefit of landlords, usurers, and monopolists. The system is rotten and wrong and 
must be destroyed but in the mean time adjustments of this nature are in order. "^^ 

The Evil of Monopolies 

The second evil attacked by the Populists and by Hixson was monopolies. 
Regarding the railroad monopoly issue, Hixson argued the same line of reasoning, 
that owners were making all the money at the expense of the laborers. 
Transportation serves all the people and should therefore be owned by the people. 
Since the "railroad by fraudulent capitalization is a heavy tax upon the public," and 
the "railroads control congress, state legislature and courts," and "possess power 
antagonistic to republican principles of government," the solution must be 
government ownership. Hixson said, "The railroads should be taken possession of 
by the government in the interests of the whole people at their true cash value," so 
that the government would own and operate the railroads "at cost like the postal 


The Rhetoric of PoHtical Discourse in the Labor Movement 
system, but under civil service regulation to prevent the evils of the patronage 

- •.•>84 


The Evil of Controlling Money 

On the third issue, the money problem, in Hixson's speech on "How to 
Prevent Panics," given at the city hall in Oshkosh, on February 16, 1894, he 
acknowledged that the cause of panics "was hard to determine" but "one thing was 
certain, that there had never been a panic that was not caused by the manipulation of 
the volume of money." When wages decline, he said, the volume of money declines 
and then the capitalists hoard up their money. This has happened under both the 
Democratic and Republican parties. Hixson said that the panic of 1 873 was caused 
when "the demonetization of silver was attempted by the capitalists" "under cover 
and by fraud" which caused unemployment and "thousands of tramps roamed 
around the country." Capitalists, he said, like to make the volume of money less so 
that they can be "made rich by the workingmen's labor."^'' 

The remedy, according to Hixson, was to let the goverrmient "make all the 
money and there would be no liability of depositors losing money." Instead of 
allowing the creditors to make the financial laws, which means the "bankers were 
the only ones who derived any benefit from them," "the government should 
establish a system of national banks, in fact and not in name, backed by the people." 
"The interest on the money," claimed Hixson, "would pay the running expenses of 
the government, and would not make a few men rich. In this way all society would 
be bettered."^*' 

Getting Workers Involved in Politics 

The other issue that Hixson pushed hard in the political campaign was to 
encourage the workingmen to get involved in politics by joining the unions and the 
Populist party. At a meeting again at the city hall on August 20, 1894, Hixson 
addressed the Populist party audience by saying, "politics was a matter of business 
with laboring men, they were in politics for business, and this fall they would show 
the 'other fellows,' that they had been in business." Speaking of the labor discontent 
throughout the country, Hixson said he thought it "the duty of every true American 
citizen to investigate the cause of discontent. Politics ought to be a question not of 
men, but of the principles they represent instead."^'' 

Hixson went on to discuss his belief that the cause of the discontent was in 
legislation and the remedy must "be found in the same place." "If you are 
supporting a party which you know brings 'present conditions,'" he said, "you are a 
criminal if you continue it. You are supporting a party which brings the most 
heinous crime of all — anarchy."^^ 

Wherever Hixson spoke, and it was many times in many places, he kept 
the Populist message before the people and identified his party as the party of the 

Hixson's Message in His Editorials 

As the editor of the Labor Advocate, Hixson had access to a weekly 
audience in addition to the audiences of his platform speeches. The themes of his 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

editorials, his columns, and his comments on state and national events every week 
hammered home the same message — the people are suffering from the exploitation 
of the plutocrats and no one is speaking out for them but the People's party. 

Mass Starvation 

His editorials took the form of a major article at one time and the form of 
smaller pieces at other times. For example, in January 1894, the first month that he 
was in office, he wrote three small essays. One was on the issue of starvation in 
which he said that the "public school question, the tariff question, the temperance 
question and all grave questions of the day are relegated to insignificance in the face 
of starving men, women and children." He said the conditions that have resulted in 
this mass starvation are due to "the legislation of the last thirty years." The problem 
is not in production of food, he continued, but in an improper "system of 
distribution and exchange."^^ 

The Cut-Throat System 

In a second one, Hixson blasted the "cut-throat system" where, it is not the 
fittest that survives, but "the strongest and most unscrupulous." He said, "The 
manufacturer who desires to pay fair wages and provide sanitary conditions for his 
employes [sic] comes into competition with the unscrupulous man who grinds his 
employes [sic] down to starvation wages in cheap and unhealthy shops. "^° The third 
essay called attention to the "cheap goods, cheap labor" of those who come to town 
selling "a stock of old shopworn refiise or bankrupt goods purchased for a song and 
sold under the name of 'sacrifice.'" This bringing of "cheap pauper labor to 
compete with [legitimate labor] and reduce their wages to a starvation level" has 
rightly been objected to and should be taxed as "a means of protection."^' 

The Failure of the Major Parties 

An example of the longer article by Hixson is one appearing in Jan. 27, 
1894. The title, "Republicans — Democrats," discloses Hixson's major theme, that 
both major parties are guilty of the same abuse. When one party replaces the other, 
the policies remain the same. Hixson said, "The present conditions are the result of 
a system that has been directed by the republicans and abetted by the democrats 
since early in the days of the war."^^ He followed this with the publication of a list 
of business failures over a 14-year period from 1880-1893 and the huge liabilities 
resulting fi"om these failures. 

Hixson's editorial concluded that these figures "show the result of 
concentration of wealth in the hands of the few and the ruin of business to increase 
the value of cash.... The man must either be an ignoramus or a knave that can ask 
the masses to continue to support the gang of miserable traitors that have produced 
such results. "^^ 

Obstacles in the Labor Movement 

The next month, February, Hixson published a major editorial on page one, 
"The Labor Movement." In this article he described the "obstacles" that the labor 
movement must encounter and the "plain facts" that must be kept in mind "to ensure 
the success of the Labor Movement." He based his argument on one fundamental 


The Rhetoric of Pohtical Discourse in the Labor Movement 

truth — "the Universal Brotherhood of Man [sic], and the natural and logical 
deduction, the equal heir ship of all mankind [sic] of all generations to the earth and 
all its resources." Hixson then argued that two equally important conclusions must 
be accepted from this one fundamental truth. They are, one, that it "is inconsistent 
with natural or divine law that one man should be able to live upon the labor of 
another without rendering an equivalent, for, in the sweat of his own face shall man 
[sic] eat bread," which means that "monopoly" "is inconsistent with public 
welfare," and two, that since "the present system" is "entrenched in law," it "must 
be destroyed by the enactment of new laws in accordance with natural rights. "^"^ 

Hixson phrased the object of the labor movement as "the restoration of 
their natural rights to the people so that they may have the opportunity to work, to 
live and enjoy an equal share of the results of the progress of the ages past." This 
object, he continued, must not be diverted by the pursuit of other reforms, which 
can still be legitimate, but which must "keep straight in line for the goal of human 
freedom and natural rights. "^^ Only the People's party could be trusted to protect 
that freedom and preserve those natural rights. 

The Populist Party the Answer 

Further examples of Hixson' s shorter pieces in his editorial columns are 
"The Labor Agitator," and "Where Do You Stand?" In the former, he used the 
analogy of Christ who had little opposition so long as he healed the sick and fed the 
hungry, but as soon as he denounced "their rotten system of usury, extortions and 
oppression, those ancient prototypes of the modem republicans and democrats 
raised the cry of 'crucify him,' 'crucify him.'" "The history of every movement 
against tyranny and crime against the natural rights of the weak and unfortunate of 
the human race," he continued, " has been written in the abuse... and blood of the 
agitator, the fanatic and the crank. "^^ 

In the latter column, Hixson again referenced historical figures from 
Christ's time, the Revolutionary War period, and the Civil War period, to compare 
with "the advocates of justice today." He attacked the "present plutocratic system 
[as] nothing but confiscation. Confiscation of the life, virtue and happiness of the 
masses to feed the licentious pomp of the apes of foreign aristocracy."^^ Hixson's 
editorials were hard-hitting and direct in their attacks on the men of wealth, 
privilege, and corruption — in both parties. Thus he always came around to the 
conclusion that the Populist party was the answer because only it could advance 
new legislation to change the present system. 

Government Ownership of Communications 

Hixson's editorials in the March 1894 issues covered such topics as the 
government ownership of the telegraph and telephone, which "should be managed 
in the interests of the people instead of being used to enrich corporations,"^^ and 
restoring confidence by wresting "the affairs of govemmenf "from the hands of the 
political and financial free hooters who seem to have formed an alliance for the 
purpose of plunder" and putting them back in the hands of the people so that 
"hereafter they will have to conduct their own affairs in their own way if they 
secure protection for their own interests. "^^ 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

The Interests of the People 

In other columns Hixson reported on the "Wages in Oshkosh" which were 
lower "than is paid in any other city in the United States," causing employers to 
"have amassed millions in a few years out of the earnings of others."'°° In the 
column on "The Banking System" Hixson claimed that it was "destroying our 
prosperity" due to "the monopoly of money" [that] reduces the masses to poverty 
and makes the producers of wealth pay tribute to the rich."'^' Related to this was the 
column that summarized the losses during the year that he said were equal to "the 
expenses of the entire civil war." "Is it not time," asked Hixson, "that the plutocracy 
be overthrown by the ballot and a policy in the interests of the people instituted?" '° 

In April one of Hixson' s editorials covered the issue of "Municipal 
Ownership" of the utilities. He favored this, of course, and used it to attack the other 
newspaper in town by claiming that it had curried "favor with the wealthy 
corporations and combines that secure special advantages by law to tax and 
dominate the public to their own enrichment. These combinations are especially 
generous in contributions to campaign funds to secure the election of their parasites 
to make the law through which such special privileges are secured."'"^ Hixson's 
editorials were replete with accusations against the establishment of the main 
political parties and of the government. Only a fresh new party could be trusted to 
put the affairs of the people back into their own hands. 

Hixson's Rhetorical Strategies^*"* 

Hixson, an experienced persuader in constructing messages, used a variety 
of strategies to present the Populist party message of identification with the people 
of Wisconsin. His rhetoric may be seen at a number of levels — as an organizer, a 
speaker, as an editor, and as a leader of a rhetorical movement. Skillful in 
discerning what was needed to rally the workers and to motivate them to get 
involved in the political process, he attacked the problem of lethargy and ignorance 
from a number of fronts. As an educator, he realized the importance of informing 
people before he could change them. 

He wanted them to see their reality in the way that he saw it, so he constructed what 
Burke called a dramatistic view. Life is a drama with actors, motives, and 
consequences of choices. When a rhetor uses identification with an audience, the 
human drama is presented in ways that make sense to the people and that explain to 
them what is happening in their lives. The rhetor gives motives to them for 
believing and acting. 

As an Organizer 

Hixson was a very active organizer in encouraging the workers to form 
clubs for meeting together to discuss their common concerns and to join in their 
union activities. As a teacher he wanted the workers to learn information and be 
knowledgeable. One of the most successful efforts was Hixson's formation of the 
Workingmen's Club in Oshkosh which he proposed and started "for the discussion 
of economic subjects." It brought to the city important speakers to address the issues 
of the day."^^ He proposed this Club at the regular meeting of the Trades and Labor 
Council which the delegates "heartily" supported and requested the executive board 


The Rhetoric of Political Discourse in the Labor Movement 

to follow through with the matter. It became a very successful means of keeping the 
issues before the working people and of allowing them to hear articulate speakers 
define the evils of their day and propose solutions. 

The first meeting of the Club was January 19, 1894, at the Danish 
Brotherhood hall where Professor Hewitt of the State Normal School spoke on "The 
Teaching of the Present Industrial Depression." '''^ His main point was that though 
there were many causes of the depression, the most important lesson is that the 
workingman must organize because only "organized labor" can obtain an increase 
in wages and in improving conditions for work. 

The next month, on February 9, the Club met to hear F. W. Houghton talk 
on "The Essential Needs of the Laboring Man." The Club proved to be a popular 
idea as "Every seat in the city hall was occupied and many stood up in the rear of 
the room" to hear the speaker say that if "rich men are wrong, rebuke them with the 
ballot." He fiirther advocated that the working man should follow the cardinal 
principles of being "skilled in his work, faithfiil to his employer, honest and moral 
in his conduct, ambitious and aggressive in his ideas, and economical in his habits." 
He also "gave great praise to Dr. Hixson for organizing the club for the discussion 
of the important questions of the day."'*^'' 

Hixson went to other cities to organize, as well. In Fond du Lac, in the fall 
of 1893, he had organized a Populist Club that met every two weeks on Monday 
evening where they had "very interesting discussions at the club regarding the 
present hard times and the people are being educated to understand what is the 
matter and what must be done.""^^ This club was formed in addition to the fact that 
the city already had two Knights of Labor assemblies, one English and one German, 
and a cigar makers union. Hixson' s emphasis was on providing opportunities for the 
working man to hear discussions, debates, and speakers so that they would become 
informed in making decisions about political affairs. 

As a Speaker 

Hixson' s second strategy in building a dramatistic movement was to use 
his speaking ability, which was recognized as powerful. This rhetorical ability had 
several characteristics that he himself designed for specific ends. First, he 
employed an extensive and full speaking schedule for himself He was relentless in 
appearing before the public. He was in great demand as a speaker throughout the 
state. We have already seen the heavy speaking schedule that he had during the 
campaign. He was designated as the official state lecturer of the Wisconsin State 
Farmers' Alliance.'°^ Further, he was one of the most popular speakers and debaters 
for the Populist party throughout the state. The Labor Advocate fiilly reported 
whenever Hixson was to speak and usually claimed after the event that the hall was 
filled. An example is after he spoke at the Woodworkers union at the end of January 
1894. "A large number of woodworkers were present," reported the paper, "filling 
the hall to overflowing. Dr. Hixson delivered an address advocating the union of the 
workers of the trade to unite for their mutual advantages, showing the advantages of 
organization for the advancement of the interests of the members socially, 
educationally and for mutual protection.""" 

The second strategy of Hixson's rhetoric was using a highly visible format 
in arranging the speaking events. He often set up what amounted to a debate, or a 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

j equenced discussion in which both sides would be presented, or at least the giving 
)f an opportunity for other speakers to respond after a main speaker had made his 
)resentation. On one occasion the Workingmen's Club committee decided that the 
principal speaker should be limited to 45 minutes and then subsequent speakers 
Ibllowing would have ten minutes each. The intent was to give opportunity for other 
points of view.'" This most certainly was a rule that Hixson initiated. Very 
]Tequently the paper reported that Dr. Hixson also addressed the meeting if the 
'eatured speaker had been someone else, as was true when the Club was addressed 
py F. W. Houghton on "The Essential Needs of the Laboring.Man." Hixson 
'•esponded when the main speaker was finished."^ 

On a later occasion of the Club's meeting, when there was "standing room 
pnly" to hear Hixson address the group on the cause of panics and how to prevent 
^them, a Prof Hewitt and two other gentlemen "took part in the discussion and 
brought out new points but no one antagonized the speaker with arguments."''^ 
, Hixson eagerly accepted opportunities to debate the issues during the 1 894 

jpolitical campaign. One of the most important ones was his acceptance of a debate 
iwith Gov. William McKinley of Ohio that the People's party organized for the 
jcapital city, Madison. Unfortunately, the death of Hixson 's mother in Kansas 
prevented him from following through with the debate, but its scheduling shows the 
jVisibility of Hixson's stature in the state and the level of his competence in debating 
the issues. '''* 

A third characteristic of Hixson's speaking was his use of an appeal to the 
thinking process of his listeners. He was not primarily a rabble rouser or an 
emotional speaker, though he could rise to the occasion if the situation demanded, 
such as the time at the end when he gave that "ringing speech over two hours in 
length" even though he was ill and should have been in bed. For the most part, 
Hixson's method was to bring to the attention of the laboring class facts, statistics, 
and information that were in their interests to know and to have at hand in order to 
think through the issues. He wanted them to be informed first, and then be able to 
act. He gave "some five hundred choice books" from his own library to the Trades 
and Labor Council Library where the working men would have access to books, 
magazines, and periodicals of the day free of charge.''^ 

In his speech on preventing panics given in the city hall on February 16, 
1894, Hixson emphasized that these meetings were to be taken seriously and were 
"no place to indulge in personalities or to have petty squabbles." He also wanted to 
be criticized and claimed that the answer to the cause of panics "could only be 
determined after hard study."' '^ 

As a consequence of his stress on thinking about the issues, the fourth 
characteristic of Hixson's speaking was his substantial use of quotations, facts, 
figures, statistics, and information to advance his arguments and his self-designated 
rational conclusions. In his speech on preventing panics, Hixson quoted David 
Hume, Senator John P. Jones, and W. H. Crawford, one of the assistant secretaries 
of the treasury."^ The speech on government ownership of railroads included 
lengthy quotations from the New York Board of Trade and Transportation and a 
report from 1874, twenty years earlier, that the Senate had produced on the 
monopoly of the railroad tycoons. He named the eight senators names who wrote 
the report and included detailed statistics of the number of miles of railroads, the 


The Rhetoric of Political Discourse in the Labor Movement 

dollar amount of the capitalization, and the amount of rebates that the railroads gave 
to the oil company for shipping, thus ruining the competitors."^ 

A fifth characteristic of Hixson's speaking, showing that he was a 
moderate, was that he favored the changing of legislation as a solution, not the use 
of marches or any form of violence. He advocated the use of the ballot to change the 
legislation that was needed to protect the working people. This is why he was so 
active in organizing political rallies and speaking at so many forums and meetings. 
He wanted to get people involved in the political process and persuade them to vote 
for the People's party as thinking people. He believed that he had a better chance of 
persuasion if he approached the issues as a moderate. Thus when the railway strike 
was on he reassured his town that his unions would not be part of it. And when 
Coxey's Army marched on Washington, he criticized that approach as not the best 

As an Editor 

Hixson followed similar strategies in his editorial work as he did on the 
speaking circuit. In his major piece on the Republicans-Democrats, he offered what 
he called "some plain facts for the people to careftilly consider before they decide 
upon their future political action," and then gave a thirteen-year statistical summary 
he obtained from R. G. Dunn & Co. in New York on how many thousands ol 
business failures there had been each year and how many millions of dollars in 
liabilities resulted."^ 

The Hixson editorial on the cause of the panic includes the reprinting oi 
"three brief chapters in the history of the financial policy of the two old monopoly- 
ridden parties to destroy America," which explain his thesis that the "history of the 
development of present conditions is a long one, and embraces many phases, but 
each phase is intimately associated with legislation, special legislation, by which 
rights and powers belong to the whole have been devoted to the interests of the 
speculators, the financial pirates, that have possessed themselves of the legislative 
power in states and nation."'^" 

In addition to using facts and historical quotations to support his claims, 
Hixson made it a standard policy to expose what he called lies and falsehoods 
published by other papers. One of the classic cases was his editorial, "Some Lies 
Nailed," in which he wrote: "Among the monopoly papers there are liars and liars. 
Some lie guardedly, and in such a way as to make their statements look plausible. 
Others lie boldly and with perfect disregard of the truth. Among the latter class is 
the Globe-Democrat, a republican paper of St. Louis, with a democratic editor. 
After the recent elections it came out in an article which as a sample of falsehood is 
monumental." He then printed the article from that paper and concluded, "There are 
exactly twenty-two sentences in that article and they contain thirty-three distinct 
lies — more lies to the square inch of newspaper, perhaps, than was ever before 
printed." This is followed by giving six of the "lies" and answering them one by 
one. To give one example, "Lie No.l. 'The Collapse of the Populists.' The returns 
show that the populists gained in every state holding elections, unless, perhaps, it is 

In another editorial, titled, "The Lying Press," Hixson denounces "the old 
party press" for its labeling of the working men who were out of jobs as "tramps 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

ind vagabonds." Referring to Coxey's Army of workers who were marching on 
Washington to call attention to their plight of being jobless, Hixson quotes one 
■ailroad manager who refuted the press's description with the claim that they are 
'made up of sober, intelligent, determined men. They are nine-tenths American 
Dorn. They are respectable, honest, and remarkably well organized. There are no 
3ums among them." Hixson concludes with the call to have the workers all boycott 
he press of "the old parties" and "have nothing to do with their issues of lies and 

This approach in identifying the lies of his opponents suggests a third 
.strategy Hixson used as an editor. He often published the literal words, arguments, 
or article of his opponents in order to refute them point by point. In an editorial on 
whether the Cleveland administration was Republican or Democrat, Hixson quotes 
jat length from the Daily Northwestern in Oshkosh to show that it is in sharp contrast 
{to the Chicago Daily Times on this issue of the financial policy that Hixson believed 
jwas ruining the country. Hixson concluded the editorial by suggesting with tongue 
jin cheek that the Republicans ought to nominate Grover Cleveland at their next 
convention because he "has ruined the democratic party and it has no more use for 

In another case, Hixson printed an entire article from the Kansas City 
Journal about the how the "financial reformers" will cast their support with the 
iRepublican party in order to write one concluding paragraph in which he said that 
jthe article was "ludicrous comicality" because the facts demonstrate otherwise when 
[the voting in the House and Senate is examined for free coinage votes. Hixson then 
reported that vote in each case to disprove the conclusion of the Journal }^'^ 

In a further editorial, Hixson quoted at length from the Democratic party 
convention platform of 1892 in Chicago and then used it to show how the party had 
pledged certain things to do but which "it will not do." After quoting the 
Democratic party pledge to follow the principles formulated by Jefferson, Hixson 
wrote, "That is enough to make a cow laugh." 

Hixson then quoted from the historical record from Jefferson and from 
previous convention platforms to show how the party had deviated from those 
Jeffersonian principles. One example was the pledge to "practice the most rigid 
economy in conducting our public affairs." Hixson then wrote, "When the platform 
of 1840 was adopted the democratic party administered the affairs of this 
government at a cost of about 75 cents a head. But the last democratic congress 
considered the average cost of $7 a head was not enough and therefore voted to 
increase the salary of its members."'^^ 

A fourth strategy as editor was to keep his readers informed about other 
labor news, other union activities, and the writings of others on labor issues. He 
brought to their attention those items that would enhance the status of the labor 
organizations and encourage confidence in the labor leadership. For example, 
Hixson published in regular columns each week what he called "Labor Notes" in 
which he reported such pieces of information as "Four unions of cigarmakers were 
formed in December," "J. J. Ingalls is said to be getting a good ready to join the 
Populists," "Father McGlynn is speaking in the eastern cities on the labor problem 
and donating the receipts to the unemployed," and "The labor organizations of 
Chicago propose taking a hand in politics hereafter and have formed an 


The Rhetoric of Political Discourse in the Labor Movement 

organization, called the Union Labor League, to that end."^^^ He placed these Notes 
on page one of his paper to give them more prominence. 

After Hixson had been installed as editor for a couple months he 
inaugurated a nev^ feature to keep his readers informed about news in general. He 
began a large section on page two called "Pith of the Week's News," consisting oj 
"Important Events Reduced to Their Lowest Terms." He used six categories with 
the titles, "Congressional, Religious, Political, Foreign, Miscellaneous News, and 
Market Reports," with each topic having about a dozen different sentence news 
items in it. Examples of the first item in each of these from March 10, 1894, are: 
Congressional — "President Cleveland returned after a nine days' trip through 
Carolina... feeling greatly improved," Religious — "Members of Diversey Avenue 
German Evangelical society, Chicago, laid the comer stone of their new church,' 
Political — "Gov. Altgeld returned to Springfield from Hot Springs, Ark. He denied 
intending to snub Lieut.-Gov. Gill," Foreign — "In the treaty with Morocco Spair 
insists that the Riff tribes must go ftarther into the interior," Miscellaneous News— 
"Publishers and printers of St. Paul are in the midst of an animated dispute over the 
scale of wages," Market Reports — "Chicago-Common to prime. . .$1 .50 @5 10."'^^ 

As a way of raising the consciousness level of union members in theii 
everyday interactions, Hixson printed an article from the Eight-Hour Herald thai 
advocated union members informing merchants when they purchase goods that the) 
are union members. Following the article, Hixson wrote that this article "is right tc 
the point. In this city, the union men are largely the patrons of the merchants, 
druggists, butchers, bakers, dentists, doctors, milliners, etc., but those people do nol 
know it, simply because the union men and their families fail to make known the 

Hixson published the addresses of leading men in the Populist party, 
writers that were sympathetic to the Populist platform, and letters from person such 
as H. H. Livingston, described as "one of the brightest young democrats in 
Missouri" who had decided to leave the Democratic party he had longed hoped 
would bring democracy back to the people. Instead he wrote, "I propose to vote foi 
and support the Populist party with all my vigor. The appalling wrongs inflicted 
upon the common people is [sic] enough to drive any conscientious man to this 
course. "^^^ 

Finally, Hixson used ridicule, sarcasm, humor, and political cartoons as an 
appeal to gain supporters for his cause. In reporting of one the labor leaders in 
Oshkosh, F. J. Weber, he said of the man, "What he lacks in grammar he makes up 
in sincerity and earnestness. He deals in facts and logic and convinces the people 
and rouses them to act in the proper manner. This is what is wanted, not dudes with 
highly polished collars and cuffs and hands itching for corporate lucre. "'^° 

One of Hixson's attempts at ridicule was his publishing of W. S. Morgan's 
"Democratic Prayer" that became so popular that the National Reformer had tc 
reissue it. Hixson wrote that the seven prayers were so valuable that he decided to 
publish all seven of them in his paper, one a week. He hoped that doing this would 
help to increase his subscriptions at the same time. The first part of one of the 
prayers and its ending are as follows: 

Oh, thou great and mighty Cleveland! Thou art great beyond all 

others. Thou are wiser than two serpents. Thou art all powerful, 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

for in the hollow of thy hand thou holdest the offices. Oh, 
almighty master, thou art great beyond comprehension. Before 
thee there was none other, neither shall there be any after thee, for 
thou shalt have a third term. Aye, thou shalt be our king, and John 
Sherman shall be our priest at the gold altar. ...Lead us not into 
temptation of the Populists, but deliver us from the evils of more 
money, better prices and less debts. Give us bonds; give us gold; 
give us debts; give us state banks; give us Chinamen; give us 
more Greshams; give us low prices; give us hard times; give us 
our political creed; give us office; and we will ever sing thy 
praises and thine shall be the power as long as we have a 'chance' 
to vote for thee. Amen." 

One of the poems Hixson published was called "Grover's Hymn." 

My country, 'tis of me, 

Land of monopoly. 

Of me I sing: 

Land of the goldbug rule. 

Land of the tariff fool. 

The daily press my tool — 

Great God! I'm king!— Ex.'^^ 

As a Rhetorical Movement Leader 

In being an organizer, a rhetorical advocate, and an editor, Hixson became 
a rhetorical movement leader. The political movement he engaged in was reformist. 
He wanted change in the political leadership by throwing out the two main political 
parties and installing the People's party. In this attempt he used his voice and his 
pen. In this sense he was what Eric Hoffer calls a "Man of Words,"^^^ and what 
Golden et al call a rhetor of "social protesf who uses "a demanding and urgent 
rhetoric aimed at (a) unifying and molding an organized effort from the powerless 
disciples and (b) concerned with symbolically destroying the establishment in an 
effort to initiate the desired change."'^^ 

A rhetorical movement is a pattern of verbal behavior by an organized 
collective of individuals using a variety of means of agitation and mobilization that 
employs a sequence of phases of activity toward a common end — ^the use of 
language for social change. The antislavery movement and the civil rights 
movement were rhetorical movements. The nineteenth century reformist movement 
represented by the People's party was a rhetorical movement. As previously 
suggested, one of the methods of studying rhetorical movements is the dramatistic 
perspective of Kenneth Burke. This includes the concept of the speaker's message 
as an identification with the interests of the audience and the use of universal 
motives of establishing hierarchy, guilt, victimage and redemption through verbal 

Humans are symbol-using animals who use language and covenants to 
establish a hierarchy of order. This hierarchy can result in oppression that in turn 
can cause some to become disenchanted with it and want to say No to it. The denial 
eventually produces a feeling of guilt in bringing about an alienation, so there must 


The Rhetoric of Political Discourse in the Labor Movement 

be a process of mortification, which is the symbolic killing of oneself, or 
scapegoating, the process of symbolically killing some one else. Following the 
sacrifice comes the redemption process of building a new order, which brings new 

In Hixson's rhetorical movement of reform, and in particular the People's 
party, can be seen his disenchantment with and attack on the political establishment 
for its corruption, its support of monopolies and business corporations, and its 
making of policies that suppress the working class people. His symbolic saying of 
No to monied interests and major political parties created the guilt for rejecting the 
establishment. The sacrifice had to be the killing politically of the two parties which 
in turn made them into the scapegoat in Hixson's eyes. If this were to occur, this 
would enable the process of redemption to bring into the political arena new life and 
a new order. Hixson's insistent call for protecting the human fi"eedom and natural 
rights of the common people by removing the monopolies that the two political 
parties supported and that the government legislated into being was the vision for 
the new order. 

The Impact of Hixson's Rhetoric of Reform 

Losing the 1894 Campaign 

The election of 1 894 in which Hixson worked hard for the success of the 
People's party did not come out the way he had hoped. The official figures 
published for Wisconsin were as follows: 


Upham, Republican 6,538 

Peck, Democrat 3,964 

Powell, Populist 1,056 , w„ 

Cleghom, Prohibition 374 
The results for the other state offices were at the same ratio. '^^ The news headline 
in the Daily Northwestern was that the "Republicans Sweep the State."'^^ Hixson's 
own paper featured the Democratic viewpoint on the election when it published the 
headline, "The New York World's Opinion of the People's Party Says That in the 
West and South the People are Dissatisfied With Both Old Parties - Calls Populism 
a Serious Factor in American Politics."'^'' A month later it published a political 
cartoon showing the gains the People's Party had made compared to 1892. It 
showed a figure similar to the Statue of Liberty holding a banner with the following 

People's Republican Democrat 

1892 1,000,000 6,000,000 6,125,000 

1894 3,000,000 5,850,000 4,950,000'^^ 

The People's party was putting the best light that they could on their overall defeat. 

Winning the People 

Hixson's personal impact may be seen in the eulogies that came his way 
following his death, just a couple weeks after the election. Taking eulogies for what 
they are, it is still instructive to examine them for the points of emphasis that they 
make about the man. The editorial in the Labor Advocate said that Hixson was a 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

man "with master mind and noble heart, with unusual talent and a bright future." It 
called "the doctor one of the brightest minds and most capable workers in the 
movement for reform" and "a ripe scholar, a progressive thinker and an aggressive 
worker for the cause of humanity." Claiming him "a martyr to principle" because he 
"hastened his death by lecturing night after night when the beginning of the disease 
which caused his death had entirely unfitted him for the platform," the new editor 
concluded that "he loved humanity more than himself." 

"In the death of Dr. Hixson," he continued, "the people's [sic] party loses 
one of its brightest orators and most skilled debaters [sic]. His ability was known 
not only in Wisconsin but in a dozen states where he had championed the cause of 
the weak against the strong and taken sides with labor in its effort to secure better 

Hixson' s successor at the Labor Advocate gave him great praise also in 
terms of the status of the paper. He claimed that the past year, which was the year of 
Hixson' s editorship, "has been a very successful one" and "its standing among its 
subscribers and advertisers has never been so good as at present time." Further he 
boasted, "It is considered the leading populist and labor paper in the state, and its 
attitude on affairs of the industrial world has given it a welcome in the homes of the 

In Madison, the state capital, the People's party club passed resolutions on 
behalf of their friend and advocate, Dr. Hixson, on Sunday, December 1, saying that 
he was one of "the champions of the people's party principles" and "one of the most 
eloquent and potent advocates of humanity's cause in the state of Wisconsin." The 
resolution described him in Madison on one occasion as one "who created a great 
sensation in the capital city last August, by the logical, convincing and powerful 
arguments he gave fi-om the east steps of the capitol at that time." The resolution 
further stated that the club "deeply and sincerely deplore[d] the sudden departure" 
of "the people's peerless champion who so cheerfully sacrificed himself for the 
cause of humanity at all times by his impassioned tongue and trenchant pen."^"*' 

Winning the Issues 

Though Hixson and the People's party were not successftil in the campaign 
of 1894, he was part of a movement in Wisconsin that eventually emerged into a 
significant political force. Hixson had urged his party followers to change the 
conditions that were causing the depression, namely, to vote for the People's party, 
not the Republican or Democrat candidates who were cut out of the same cloth. He 
argued that both of those party officials simply wanted to have and maintain power, 
not change legislation that would help the workingman. 

Democratic political leaders "capitalized on Republican corruption," but 
they, too, "appeared willing to utilize questionable means to maintain power," and 
were seen as "deeply involved in their association with big business tycoons to 
become a reform party."'"^^ Except for the election of 1892 when Grover Cleveland 
won the White House, Wisconsin had voted Republican.'''^ The Republican win of 
1894 which swept the Democratic Governor Peck out of office was part of the 
movement to discredit the Democratic national administration. But the Republicans 
didn't have all the answers either. 


The Rhetoric of PoUtical Discourse in the Labor Movement 

Hixson was a regional reformer who assisted in the work while Robert 
Schilling "crafted the Wisconsin People's party" in the mid-1 880s where he had 
been arrested and jailed for leading peaceful boycotts that ended up in violence 
when state troops fired on and killed five demonstrators on May 5, 1886, at 
Milwaukee's eight-hour-day strikes. ^"^"^ Schilling was the leader of the Knights of 
Labor in Wisconsin before forming the People's party where he had "spearheaded 
the eight-hour-day movement" in 1886.''*^ He was elected national secretary of the 
People's party in 1891.^^^ 

The Rise of the Progressive Movement ^ 

The year that Hixson campaigned so vigorously throughout Wisconsin, 
1894, was the "peak year" for the People's party in Wisconsin, even though it "had 
little impact," for the labor movement "was to find its political outlet in a new 
socialist movement, built by Victor Berger, and in the support of Robert La 
Follette's progressive movement, which was to capture control of the Republican 
party. "'"^^ Perlman, in Commons (1966), says that this was the year that "was 
exceptional for labour disturbances" and the year that "the trade unions were active 
participants in politics," as Hixson' s story demonstrates.'"^^ 

The new circumstances and changing conditions helped to set the stage for 
the rise of the Progressive Movement that made Wisconsin come to the national 
attention of political observers. Robert La Follette is given the credit for being the 
Progressive leader as the twentieth century began,''* but the efforts of populist 
leaders like Schilling and Hixson must be taken into consideration in assessing the 
forming influences in that labor state. 

Wisconsin produced another leader of thought in the person of Frederick 
Jackson Turner of the University of Wisconsin who, in the months before Hixson, 
was ardently campaigning for the workingman, and presented his now famous paper 
to the American Historical Association in Chicago. In this paper he advocated his 
"Frontier Thesis" that argued the westward expansion was the heart of the American 
character. "Behind institutions," he said, "behind constitutional forms and 
modifications, lie the vital forces that call these organs into life, and shape them to 
meet changing conditions."'^" 

Hixson was one of these "vital forces" who 
helped call new life into the established forms by his pen 
in The Labor Advocate and by his voice on behalf of the 
People's party. He helped to bring to light the 
unacceptable working conditions of the laboring class and 
to make popular the rights of the workers and ordinary 
people in the face of the dominating big business and 
corporate greed. As Nesbit says of Schilling, it could be 
said of his colleague Hixson that though he had a "most 
persuasive voice arguing for a community of purpose and 
action," his career in the Wisconsin labor movement "may well stand as a metaphor 
for the trials of industrial labor in those tumultuous years."'^' In this way, Hixson 
was an identification with both the positive and the negative of the movement. 


I Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

iHixson on the Cutting Edge 

I Though the People's party that Hixson helped lead in Wisconsin did not 

win in the 1 894 election, Fink concludes that at the end of the Gilded Age "the 
workingmen's political movement had at least raised a critique of corporate power 
and an affirmation of popular rights that would play an abiding role in the political 
culture."'^^ Wages, working hours, unionization, and child labor laws were among 
the issues Hixson fought for, helping to make Wisconsin one of the leaders among 
jthe states. Non-union wages (15 cents an hour) were less than half that of union 
[wages (33 cents) in manufacturing occupations' ^ and the minimum age for children 
to work was 14 in only nine states, including Wisconsin.'^'* 

Reformers wanted laws covering more occupations, raising the minimum 
age for working, and decreasing the number of hours they could work. Brandeis 
says that "prior to 1900 the typical child labor law remained limited in scope to 
children employed in manufacturing; set a minimum of 12 years; fixed maximum 
hours at 19 per day; contained some sketchy requirements as to school attendance 
land literacy.... "'^^ Hixson was on the cutting edge in a state that became well- 
known for its reform movements. 

IHixson an Intellectual Turned Agitator 

I Though Hixson 's reform efforts may have lived on in the emerging 

'Progressive Movement in Wisconsin following his death, and in the larger labor 
reform movement, it is also true that at the heart of this labor "agitator," as he was 
called, and as he called himself, was the soul of an educator. He was a teacher, 
whether in a college, in a normal school, in the pulpit, in a labor hall, or in the 
columns of a labor paper. There are two of his books in the possession of the author 
from his voluminous hbrary.'^^ It was estimated to have held anywhere from 250 to 
500 volumes, which he loaned to the free library of the city of Oshkosh and later 
established for the Trades and Labor Council. The Hixson name plates are on the 
inside covers. 

One book shows his interest in the gospel and the humanities as a book to 
be used among his union members. '^^ It is the 670-page, The Life and Words of 
Christ, by Cunningham Geikie, 1880. The nameplate indicates that it is Number 
246 in "The Dr. H. F. Hixon [sic] Library. Trades and Labor Council Property." The 
other book is A Natural Philosophy by G. P. Quackenbos, 1872. It is No. 157 A in 
the "Private Library of H. F. Hixson." The preface of the philosophy book says, "It 
is in the hope of investing this subject with a lively interest and bringing it home to 
the student by exhibiting the application of scientific principles in every-day life, 
that the Natural Philosophy here presented to the public has been prepared."'^ Such 
a book underscores Hixson' s career of bringing ideas down to earth for practical 
application. He was an intellectual turned activist. 

Inside the front cover and the back cover are a number of handwritten 
notes, quotations, and poems that help to disclose the mind of Hixson himself In 
the back, he has inscribed from Horace Mann, "Education is to inspire truth as the 
supreme good and to clarify the vision of the intellect to discern it." This may well 
have been his motto for life as a teacher and reformer. 

Another verse on the inside front is, "It is not just as we take it. This 
mystical life of ours, Life's field will yield as we make it, A harvest of thorns or 


The Rhetoric of Political Discourse in the Labor Movement 

flowers." It is not just the intellect that he wants to clarify and change, but he wants 
to stir the emotions to take action to make life into the good and the beautiful. 
Another verse he has written that reveals his penchant for action is, "To have ideas 
is to gather flowers; to think is to weave them into garlands." His life's commitment 
to think, to inquire and to investigate is seen in this verse as well as his statement 
from the speech on how to prevent financial panics: "It was then through the efforts 
of labor agitators, (such men as myself) who want to know the why and wherefore 
of things" that legislation was passed to change the conditions that had enabled the 
"capitalists" to be "made rich by the workingmen's labor."' ^' 

Others perceived Hixson as being "a profound thinker always studying to 
elevate the condition of his fellowman, and though sometimes erratic in his maimer, 
it must be said of him that everything he undertook was begun with a sense of its 
righteousness and justice."'^*' His intensity and sincerity were highlighted in an 
editorial at the time of his death. 

With the death of Dr. Hiram F. Hixson, the people's [sic] party 
loses one of its hardest workers in the state of Wisconsin. He was 
really one of the originators of the movement having inculcated 
many of its principles while addressing Farmers Alliance 
gatherings in Ohio and other states.... He implicitly believed in 
the principles for which he fought, and he worked arduously for 
those principles regardless of wealth, honor or position, when he 
might have attained all three by simply training the batteries of his 
ability to their direction. The intense fanaticism of the man is 
readily seen, when, almost overcome by the disease that snuffed 
out his life, he persisted in walking at the head of a procession, 
through several inches of slush, and afterwards holding the 
attention of audience for two hours in a room where heavy 
clothing failed to keep the audience from being chilled.'^' 

It is interesting that Hixson had established his own credibility as a leader 
in the Wisconsin labor movement, when he had never been a laborer himself and 
had not come up through the workingmen's ranks, nor had he grown up in 
Wisconsin. He came into the state as a "doctor," as an intellectual, an editor of labor 
papers and as a reformer from here and there. His own power of writing and of 
speech must have been persuasive and effective, for he was always looked to for a 
response in those Workingmen's Club meetings that he attended regularly and at 
which he often had something controversial to say following the main address. 

He was recognized as a speaker who was well-informed and who had the 
facts on his side and used them. In this way he was similar to his father-in-law who 
was well known for his well-supported sermons and writings, with "facts," and 
"evidence," with scripture, with observations from life, and with sequential 
arguments. Hixson' s passing from the scene left a hole in Wisconsin politics and in 
the political rhetoric of reform but most certainly also in the life of his wife and 
daughter who met tragic ends, as well. 

For his wife, forty years in a state hospital was a sad end to a promising 
young woman who married a promising young man, both with many talents. In 
addition to all his educational and political accomplishments, Hixson was also a 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

talented flute player. '^^ If Anna's voice lessons at Ashland and at Berea had made 
her into a singer, perhaps for a few years they sang and played together before the 
tragedies struck. 

For his daughter, who became a graduate of Boston Latin School and 
Radcliffe College, forty-five years in a state hospital in Kentucky was another sad 
end to a young woman with great promise.'^"* Anna brought into the Baker family a 
man of great ambition, considerable talent, and uncommon promise. But with it all 
came tragedy and untimely deaths of body and mind. 

In a final sense, Hixson became a rhetorical sacrifice in Burke's concept of 
the death of the old order for bringing in the redemptive process of the new order. 
The rhetoric of reform in political discourse arises in every generation. Hixson was 
an interesting and colorful representative of his — an educator turned agitator. 

' John M. Bailey, "Notes on The Diaries of David Bailey," August 1999. Typed notes in the 
i Ashland University Archives. Chapter 2, p. 2 (9-19-79). 
I ' Ibid., (9-16-79) and p. 3 (9-9-80). 

i^ Clara Worst Miller & Edward Glenn Mason, The History of Ashland College, 1878-1953. 
i Ashland, OH: Brethren Publishing Co., 1953, p. 20. 

■* Annual Catalogue, Ashland College, 1884-85, p. 5. Available: 
Mbid., 1879 catalogue. 

^ Handwritten article [1919] by C. F. Brown, about his days at Ashland College, beginning in 
1879, in the Ashland University Archives. 
^ Annual Catalogue, Ashland College, ibid., 1884-85, p. 6. 
^ "College Items;' Ashland Press, March, 18, 1880, p. 3. 
■^Ibid., April 8, 1880, p. 3. 
"* Ibid., Jan. 15,1 880, p. 3, and Apr. 8, 1 880, p. 3. 

" Program of the "Commencement Exercises, Ashland College, Ashland, Ohio, for 1881," 
copy in the Ashland University Archives. 

'^ Program of the 1881 class tided, "Hear Ye! Hear Ye!! Hear Ye!!! Grand Blow-Off of the 
New Bom Alumni!," copy in the Ashland University Archives. 
'^ Ibid. 

''' Program for the "Graduating Exercises, Class of '81, Ashland College, June 22, 1881," 
copy in the Ashland University Archives. 

'^ For a biographical sketch of Frances Davidson, see E. Morris Sider, Nine Portraits: 
Brethren in Christ Biographical Sketches. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Press, 1978, pp. 157-212. 
'^ Frances Davidson Diaries, op. cit., Apr. 18 and May 6, 1881. 

'^ Sider, op. cit., p. 161. Sider notes that in 1884 she "appears to have been the first person in 
the denomination, man or woman, to have obtained a formal academic degree," p. 161. 

The Ashland Times, Sept. 1, 1881, p. 5. 
'^ Copy in the Stark County Courthouse, Marriage Records, Canton, Ohio. 
^° Ashland College Bulletin, 1886. Available: 
^' Professor Stubbs was vice president under Miller and taught Greek, Bible, and English. 
According to Frances Davidson, he was "the best and most respected Prof, in the college," 
but told Frances he was not going to stay at the college past that year. This was "the greatest 
blow" to her and caused her to reconsider whether she wanted to stay. See her Diaries, op. 
cit., for Dec. 18, 1881. As it happened, he must have changed his mind, because he stayed on 
as president the next year, 1882-83, but she did not stay. 
^^ Miller & Mason, op. cit., p. 29. 
^^ John M. Bailey, op. cit.. Chapter 2, pages 4 and 13, for June 14, 1883 and March 13, 1883. 


The Rhetoric of Political Discourse in the Labor Movement 

^'* Miller & Mason mention Hixson as one of the men who "directed the affairs of the 

college" from 1882 until 1888, more as "principals" than as "presidents," p. 29. The Ashland 

College Bulletin, p. 19, lists Rev. Elijah Burgess as acting president for 1883-84 but indicates 

that he was "not resident." "Frank Hixon" [sic] is listed as principal from 1884-85. Available: 1 7.html. The newspaper accounts for this period 

make very clear, however, that Frank Hixson was serving as president of the college from 

1883-85, in terms of the language used to describe him and in terms of the activities 

associated with his name. The Diary Notes by John M. Bailey of David Bailey's Diaries also 

makes it definite that Hixson was elected on June 14, 1883, as president of the college. He 

writes, "Trustees elect Hixson president." The Ashland University Archives holds an 

employee card that says he was "president." 

" Ashland Press, May 4, 1882, p. 3. 

^^ Johns Hopkins University Special Collections and Archives, Record Group 13.010, Office 

of Registrar, series 1, "Hixson, Hiram Franklin." Copy made available by James Stimpert, 


^^ W. Norman Brown, "Hixson, Hiram Franklin," Johns Hopkins Half-Century Directory, 

1876-1926. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University, 1926, p. 165. Copy made available by 

James Stimpert, Archivist. 

^^ Stephen E. Epler, Honorary Degrees: A Survey of Their Use and Abuse. Washington, D.C.: 

American Council on Public Affairs, 1943, p, 17. See chapter III on the opposition to the 

honorary Ph.D. The U.S. Bureau of Education reported that in 1881 49 honorary Ph.D. 

degrees were awarded, 30 in 1882, and 36 in 1883 (p. 62). It was noted that some of the big 

eastern universities engaged in the practice and that "the practice of conferring honorary 

Ph.D. degrees was spreading to the small colleges all over the country" (p. 64). Opposition to 

the practice began growing in the 1880s and 1890s when Michigan, Princeton, and 

Dartmouth stopped giving the honorary Ph.D. (p. 60). But as late as 1897 honorary Ph.D. 

degrees were still awarded by Hamilton College, St. John's College, Dartmouth College, and 

Union College (p. 67). In some cases the degree was conferred "for advanced study and 

research carried on in residence" (p. 65). There could have been two motivations for Ashland 

College to award such a degree to Hixson. He may have carried on advanced study while he 

continued teaching there for two years following his graduation in 1881 or to lend status to 

him as the new president as he began office and thereby to the college itself which was going 

through a difficult transition period following the church's division into the Progressives and 


^^ "Gone to His Last Rest," The Chippewa Herald, Nov. 23, 1894, p. 3. Copy made available 

through the kindness of Trent L. Nichols, Director, Wisconsin Historical Foundation. "To His 

Everlasfing Rest," The Labor Advocate, Nov. 30, 1 894, p. 1 . 

^° David Roepke, Ashland University Archivist, personal communication to the author, April 



^^ Miller & Mason, op. cit., p. 22. 

^^The present article on Hixson was completed in 2003. During the summer of 2006, Dale 

Stoffer, Academic Dean of Ashland Theological Seminary, discovered in his research a 

source that does positively claim Hixson was awarded a Ph.D. by Ashland College Board of 

Trustees at its board meeting on June 26, 1883, just days after he was elected the new 

president on June 14. The source is The Progressive Christian, V, p. 3 (June 20, 1883 and 

June 27, 1883). Communication to the author, August 30, 2006. 

^^ The Ashland Times, May 21, 1885, p. 1. 

^^ Ibid. 

^^Ibid. . , 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

^' Ibid. The following week the same newspaper reported, "On Tuesday evening were the 

graduating exercises of the Normal Class. The College had never before in its history sent out 

a single graduate from the Normal Department. But, when two years ago Professor Hixson 

was elected President this department was immediately set on a firm basis and the Normal 

Class organized. Six of those who entered have completed the course laid out, which is equal 

to the course of the best normal schools." The Ashland Times, June 4, 1885, p. 1. 

^^ The Ashland Press, June 4, 1885, p. 3. 

^'^ Ashland Times, May 21, 1885, p. 1. 

^'^ Ibid., June 4, 1885, p. 1. 

'" Miller & Mason, op. cit., p. 30; Annual Catalogue, Ashland College, 1884-85, op. cit., p. 

19. Page 19 states that Elijah Burgess was acting president for 1883-84 ("not residenf ) and 

that A. E. Winters was for 1885, but "never assumed office." Miller & Mason state that 

Hixson, Winters, Mykrantz, Perry and Felger "should be designated as principals" from 

1882, when Robert Miller resigned, until 1888, p. 29. They do not mention Stubbs or 

Burgess. The 1884-85 catalogue does not include Mykrantz, p. 19. The Miller & Mason 

history acknowledges that many of their facts about these leaders of the college "have been 

provided from manuscripts left by Dr. J. Allen Miller," p. 29, who was president of Ashland 

from 1899-1906, p. 20 of the 1884-85 catalogue, op. cit. In light of these inconsistent dates 

and names, the information from the two local newspapers during 1883-85, at the very time 

of Hixson' s presidency, as they used the title, would lend credence to their claim since it was 


"^^ Ashland College Bulletin, 1886, p. 9. Available: 

achi story/page07 . html 

^^ John M. Bailey, op. cit., 1888, Chapter 2, p. 4. 

^ Ibid., June 6, 1 885, Chapter 2, p. 4. 

^^ Ibid., Oct. 30, 1885, Chapter 2, p. 4 

^^ "Dr. H. F. Hixson Dead," The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI), Nov. 23, 1894, p. 1. 

'*'' William A. Sausaman, "Ten Generations of Hixsons in America (1686-1976)." Springfield, 

IL, 1977, p. 78. Typed manuscript in Special Collections, Wright State University. 

"^ Johns Hopkins University Circulars, Vol. 5, No. 44 (November 1885), pp. 16, 17, 26; 

James Stimpert, Archivist, The Milton S. Eisenhower Library, The Johns Hopkins 

University, personal communication to the author, March 28, 2002. Mr. Stimpert writes that 

there were no deans or other such administrative posts at Hopkins until the 20' century. 

"^^ Sausaman, op. cit. 

^'^ Nelson Case (Ed.), History of Labette County, Kansas and Its Representative Citizens. 

Chicago: Biographical Publishing, 1901, "Religious Organizations," pp. 321-334. Available: 

^' Ibid., "Educational," pp. 195-201. 

^^ "Faculty Record of H. T. [sic] Hixson," an employee card in the Ashland University 


" "Biographical [of 'Hiram F. Hixon']," The Labor Advocate, Nov. 30, 1894, p. 1. 

^"^ Case, "Religious Organizations," op. cit. 

^^ John R. Commons, David J. Saposs, Helen L. Sumner, E. B. Mittelman, H. E. Hoagland, 

John B. Andrews & Selig Perlman. History of Labour in the United States, Vol. II. New 

York: Augustus M. Kelley, Publishers, 1966, p. 489. 

^^ "Dr. H. F. Hixson Dead," op. cit. 

^^It should be noted, however, that Hixson was thinking about the labor problem much earlier 

than this, even while he was teaching at Ashland College. The Progressive Christian reports 

that his topic in the Free Lecture Course at the College on May 7, 1883, was "The Status of 

America." In this address he "he dwelt to some extent on the conflict between labor and 


The Rhetoric of PoHtical Discourse in the Labor Movement 

capital." See The Progressive Christian, V, p. 3 (May 16, 1883). Supplied by Dale Stoffer in 

a communication to the author, August 30, 2006. 

^^ John D. Hicks, The Populist Revolt: A History of the Farmers' Alliance and the People's 

Party. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1961, pp. 102, 103. 

^^ "Gone to His Last Rest," The Chippewa Herald (WI), Nov. 23, 1894, p. 3. Copy made 

available through the courtesy of Trent L. Nichols, Director, Wisconsin Historical 

Foundation, Madison, WL "To His Everlasting Rest" also indicates that he "organized the 

Farmers' Alliance in the state of Ohio," op. cit. 

^^ William A. Peffer, Populism, Its Rise and Fall. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 

1992, p. 44. 

^' Sausaman, op. cit. 

^^ "Gone to His Last Rest," op. cit. 

"Peffer, op. cit., pp. 60, 61. 

^'' The Ashland Press, Feb. 19, 1891, p. 1; "Local Matters," The Ashland Times, Feb. 19, 

1891, p. 5. 

^^ "Gone to His Last Rest," op. cit. 

^^ "Dr. H. F. Hixson Dead," op. cit.; "To His Everlasting Rest," op. cit. 

^^ Sausaman, op. cit. 

^^ The Daily Northwestern, Jan. 25, 1894, p. 4. 

^^ Ibid., Aug. 1, 1894, p. 4. 

™ "To His Everlasting Rest," The Labor Advocate, Nov. 30, 1894, p. 1. ~ 

^' "Madison Notes," The Labor Advocate, Dec. 14, 1894, p. 1. 

^2 Ibid. 

^^ "Death of Dr. H. E.[sic] Hixson," The Louisville Herald, Dec. 7, 1894, p. 5. 

''^ "Dr. Hixson's Funeral," The Daily Northwestern, Nov. 26, 1894, p. 4; "Gone to His Last 

Rest," op. cit. 

^^ The Daily Northwestern, Nov. 15, 1894, p. 4. The Labor Advocate reports that his" father 

had been telegraphed for and arrived in Chippewa Falls ten days prior to the death of his son, 

and during that time remained by his bedside," Nov. 30, 1894, p. 1. 

^^ There is also no mention of his wife accompanying him to Parsons, Kansas, when he went 

for the funeral of his mother six weeks earlier. In fact, in all of ten different accounts of 

Hixson's illness, death and fianeral arrangements in four different newspapers, there is not 

one mention of his wife or daughter being at his side or attending the funeral. The Chippewa 

Herald reports, "At his bedside when he expired was his father A. J. Hixon [sic], of Parsons, 

Kansas, M. P. Larrabee, of this city and other gentlemen of local prominence. His final 

moments were peaceful as a child's, and he retained consciousness to the last. He recognized 

the faces congregated around him and from time to time before the end came addressed a few 

remarks to his father mainly in the nature of an instruction regarding matters which he wished 

accomplished after he had gone," "Gone to His Last Rest," Nov. 23, 1894, p. 3. Copy made 

available through the kindness of Trent L. Nichols, Director, The Wisconsin Historical 

Foundation, Madison, WI. 

'''' "Populists Meet," The Daily Northwestern, Aug. 21, 1894, p. 4. See also "To Prevent 

Panics," The Daily Northwestern, Feb. 17, 1894, p. 5 and "Dr. Hixson Speaks," The Daily 

Northwestern, Apr. 6, 1894, p. 5. 

Walter T. K. Nugent, The Tolerant Populists: Kansas Populism and Nativism. Chicago: 
The University of Chicago Press, 1963, p. 238. 

^° Ibid., p. 239. 

*^' Thomas F. Mader, "Burkean Rites and the Gettysburg Address." In David Zarefsky (Ed.), 
Rhetorical Movement: Essays in Honor of Leland M. Griffin. Evanston: Northwestern 
University Press, 1993, p. 133. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

^^ Quoted in Marie Hochmuth Nichols, "Kenneth Burke and the 'New Rhetoric.'" In James 

L. Golden, Goodwin F. Berquist & William E. Coleman, The Rhetoric of Western Thought, 

Fifth Edition. Dubuque, lA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 1992, p. 218. 

^^ "Reduce the Rents," The Labor Advocate, Feb. 10, 1894, p. 1. 

^'* "Dr. Hixson Speaks: Government and Railroads," The Daily Advocate, Apr. 6, 1894, p. 5. 

^^ "How to Prevent Panics," The Dailv Northwestern, Feb. 17, 1894, p. 5. 

^^ Ibid. 

^^ "Populists Meet," The Daily Northwestern, Aug. 21, 1894, p. 4. 

^^ Ibid. 

"Problem for the Intelligent," The Labor Advocate, Jan. 20, 1894, p. 4. 
"A Cut Throat System," ibid. 

^' "Cheap Goods, Cheap Labor," ibid. 

^^ "Republicans-Democrats," The Labor Advocate, Jan. 27, 1894, p. 1. 


^"^ "The Labor Movement," r//e LaZ7or^Jvoca?e, Feb. 3, 1894, p. 1. i •"■' 

^^Ibid. ■ - 

^^ "The Labor Agitator," The Labor Advocate, Feb. 3, p. 4. .' . 

^^ "Where Do You Stand?", The Labor Advocate, Feb. 24, 1894, p. 4. 

^^ "Government Ownership," r/2eLaZ)or ^^vocate. Mar. 10, 1894, p. 1. 

^^ "Confidence," The Labor Advocate, Mar. 10, 1894, p. 3. 

^"° "Wages in Oshkosh," r/ze la&or^Jvocate, Mar. 17, 1894, p. 1. 

'°' "The Banking System," The Labor Advocate, Mar. 1 7, 1 894, p. 1 . ' 

^''^"Summary of Losses," 7%e LaZ^or^tivoca/e, Mar. 31, p. 1. ' 

'°^ "Municipal Ownership," The Labor Advocate, Apr. 7, 1 894, p. 4. 

**^^ Most of this section on Hixson's Rhetorical Strategies and half of the following section on 

The Impact of Hixson's Rhetoric of Reform have been published as an article under the title, 

"Wisconsin's Populist Leader: Dr. H. Frank Hixson's Rhetorical Strategies and Impact in the 

1894 Campaign," Journal of the Wisconsin Communication Association, XXV, 2005-2006 

[March 2006], [14-24]. 

'"-' The Labor Advocate, Jan. 13, 1894, p. 4. 

^°^ Ibid., Jan. 27, 1894, p. 5. 

'"' Ibid., Feb. 10, 1894, p. 5. 

^"^ Ibid., Feb. 3, 1894, p. 5. 


Ibid., Mar. 10, 1894, p. 5. 

Ibid., Feb. 3, 1894, p. 5. 


Ibid., Feb. 10, 1894, p. 5. 

Ibid., Feb. 24, 1894, p. 5. 

The Daily Northwestern, Oct. 3, 1894, p. 5. 

The Labor Advocate, Jan. 27, 1894, p. 4. 

Ibid., Feb. 17, 1894, p. 5. 
^ The Daily Northwestern, Feb. 17, 1894, p. 5. 
" Ibid., Apr. 6, 1894, p. 5. 

The Labor Advocate, Jan. 27, 1894, p. 1. 

Ibid., Feb. 3, 1894, p. 1. 
'"Ibid., Feb. 10, 1894, p. 3. 
'^^ Ibid., May 5, 1894, p. 4. 
'^Mbid., Feb. 3, 1894, p. 4. 
''' Ibid., p. 8. 

^^^ Ibid., Feb. 10, 1894, p. 3. 
'^^ Ibid., Jan. 13, p. 1 and Jan. 20, p. I. 


The Rhetoric of Political Discourse in the Labor Movement 

'^Mbid., Mar. 10, 1894, p. 2. 

'^* Ibid., Mar. 24, 1894, p. 4. 

'^''ibid.. Mar. 31, 1894, p. 3. 

'^^ Ibid., Mar. 10, 1894, p. 5. 

'^1 Ibid., Feb. 3, p. 4. 

'^' James L. Golden, Goodwin F. Berquist & William E. Coleman, The Rhetoric of Western 

Thought, 5"" Edition. Dubuque, lA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1992, p. 423. 

'^^ Ibid., p. 424. 

'^^ Thomas F. Mader, op. cit., pp. 132, 134-137. 

^^^ TheDailyNorthw'estern,no\.9,\%9A,^.\. a. ,--^ 

'^^ Ibid., Nov. 7, 1894, p. 1. 

^^^ The Labor Advocate,T>QC.lA^9A,^.\. 

'^^Ibid., Jan. 4, 1895,p. 2. 

'^''lbid.,Nov. 30, 1894,p. 4. 

'^"ibid., Dec. 7, 1894,p. 4. 

'^' Ibid., Dec. 14, 1894, p. 1. 

'"^^ Larry Gara, A Short History of Wisconsin. Madison: The State Historical Society of 

Wisconsin, 1962, p. 173. 

'^Mbid.,p. 171 

^'^ Leon Fink, Workingmen 's Democracy: The Knights of Labor and American Politics. 

Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1983, pp. 194, 196. 

'^^Ibid., p. 161. 

'""^ Robert C. Nesbit, Wisconsin: A History. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 

1973, p. 394. 


''^^ John R. Commons, et al, op. cit, pp. 501, 51 1. 

'"^^ See Gara, op. cit., chapter six. 

'^'' Quoted in Gara, op. cit., pp. 176, 177. 

'^' Nesbit, op. cit., p. 384. 

'^^ Leon Fink, op. cit., p. 227. 

'" Don D. Lescohier, History of Labor in the United States, 1896-1932, Vol. III. New York: 

The Macmillan Co., 1935, p. 56. 

'^'^ Elizabeth Brandeis, "Labor Legislation," in Lescohier, op. cit., p. 405. 

''' Ibid. 

'^^ These were among the books from Dr. Baker and his daughters that were given to the 

author's parents at the time of the daughters' deaths in the 1940s: Cunningham Geikie, The 

Life and Words of Christ. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1880 and G. P. Quackenbos, A 

Natural Philosophy: Embracing the Most Recent Discoveries in the Various Branches of 

Physics, and Exhibiting the Application of Scientific Principles in Every-Day Life. New 

York: D. Appleton & Co., 1 872. 450 pp. 

'^^ Though he was an ordained Baptist minister, he apparently never had a charge. 

'^^ Quackenbos, op, cit, p. 3. 

159 44Jq Prevent Panics," The Daily Northwestern, Feb. 17, 1894, p. 5. 

'^"^ "Gone to His Last Rest," op. cit. 

'^' "[Editorial]," The Chippewa Herald, Nov. 23, 1894, p. 2. Copy made available through 

the courtesy of Trent L. Nichols, Director, Wisconsin Historical Foundation, Madison, WI. 

'^^ Ten years following the death of Hixson, Anna suffered mental illness in the form of 

schizophrenia and was institutionalized in the Massillon (Ohio) State Hospital where she 

remained until her death in 1945. 

'^^ Sausaman, op. cit. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

^^ His daughter. Methyl Hixson Bradbury, likewise suffered from schizophrenia and was 
institutionalized in a state hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, about ten years following her 
mother's commitment, and remained there until her death in 1963. She left her three small 
boys for her husband, William F. Bradbury, a Harvard graduate and a successful high school 
teacher, to bring up with the help of a German housekeeper. For the full account of these 
stories of Hixson' s wife and daughter and family, see D. Ray Heisey, Healing Body and 
Soul: The Life and Times of Dr. W. O. Baker, 1827-1916. Grantham, PA: The Brethren in 
Christ Historical Society, 2004. 


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Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: I 
The Age of Revivals and the First Amendment 

By Randall Balmer* 

With the possible exception of the Second Great Awakening, no event in 
American religious history was more formative than the First Great Awakening, a 
massive revival of religion that swept through the Atlantic colonies in the middle 
decades of the eighteenth century. The Great Awakening reconfigured religious life 
in the colonies, and it introduced to American society a peculiar strain of 
evangelicalism that remains America's folk religion to this day. The Great 
Awakening featured such itinerant preachers as James Davenport, Gilbert Tennent, 
George Whitefield, and Andrew Crosswell, who articulated their evangelical 
message to receptive audiences, and it also showcased the intellectual gifts of 
Jonathan Edwards, who emerged as the principal theologian and apologist for the 

Edwards was a grandson of the estimable Solomon Stoddard, known (not 
affectionately) to Puritans in Boston as the "pope of the Connecticut Valley." 
Edwards's father, Timothy Edwards, was also a Congregational minister, and young 
Jonathan, a precocious and intellectually curious child, prepared to take up the 
family business. He graduated from Yale College at the age of seventeen and 
studied an additional two years to study theology. After a brief and unremarkable 
stint as pastor of a Presbyterian congregation in New York City, Edwards returned 
to Yale as tutor in 1723, serving effectively as head of the institution in the 
confusing aftermath of the Anglican Apostasy, when the rector of the 
Congregationalist school, Timothy Cutler, and several tutors converted to the 
Church of England. 

Edwards stayed at Yale for two years before accepting a call as assistant 
pastor to Stoddard, his grandfather, in Northampton, Massachusetts, and then 
succeeded to the pulpit at Stoddard's death in 1729. As early as the 1690s, 
contemporaneous with accounts from Gulliam Bertholf, a Pietist preacher in New 
Jersey, Stoddard had been reporting "harvests" among his congregations, by which 
he meant stirrings of religious revival. Stoddard's detractors in Boston were 
skeptical, in part because they didn't care for Stoddard's theological innovations 
regarding the Lord's Supper, which he treated as a converting ordinance and not one 
reserved to those who were demonstrably regenerate. 

During the winter of 1734-1735, a revival of religion swept through 
Northampton, during Edwards's tenure as pastor. Three hundred people were added 
to the congregation, and religion, according to Edwards, became the dominant topic 
of conversation among the townspeople. After the revival waned somewhat, the 
fires were rekindled with the visit of George Whitefield in 1740, during his tour of 
the Atlantic colonies. By this time the revival was widespread, a phenomenon 

* Randall Balmer (Ph.D., Princeton) is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of American 
Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University. He was the ATS Fall Lecture 
series speaker in 2006, and his presentations on that occasion are presented here. 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: I 

known to contemporaries as a "great and general awakening" and to historians as 
the Great Awakening. 

The Great Awakening reshaped American society in important ways. In 
New England especially, and to a lesser degree in the Middle Colonies and in the 
Chesapeake, the revival fractured the unity of colonial society. Countless New 
England towns bear witness to the effects of the revival. The village green in New 
Haven, Cormecticut, for instance, has the Old Light Congregational church at the 
center, flanked by the New Light congregation on one side and the Episcopal church 
on the other. The revival divided congregations and communities, but it also 
disrupted the social fabric of colonial America, the halcyon vision of the Puritans 
where church and state were both coterminous and mutually reinforcing. 

The Awakening also introduced evangelicalism into American society; 
more accurately, it created a strain of evangelicalism unique to North America, 
unlike previous iterations coming out of the Protestant Reformation. I generally 
refer to the ingredients in this mixture the three Ps: the remnants of New England 
Puritanism, Pietism from the Continent, and Scots-Irish Presbyterianism. The 
confluence of these streams during the years of the Great Awakening produced 
evangelicalism in America, and to this day evangelicalism retains some of the 
characteristics of each: the obsessive introspection of Puritanism, the doctrinal 
precisionism of the Presbyterians, and the warm-hearted spiritual ardor of the 
Pietists. Although, as we will see, the Second Great Awakening utterly recast 
evangelical theology, the essential elements of the three Ps can be discerned to the 
present day. 

Other forces were at work that abetted the success of the Great Awakening, 
factors that would have a profound impact on evangelicalism throughout American 
history. The arrival of Whitefield signaled an important shift in the tactics of 
revivalism. Whitefield, an Anglican clergyman, had been trained in the London 
theater, so he understood how to modulate his voice and pause for dramatic effect. 
In the context of colonial America, in a society that had no theatrical tradition, 
Whitefield' s stentorian preaching was inordinately successful. Contemporaries said 
that he could bring tears to your eyes simply by saying "Mesopotamia," and as even 
the hardened religious skeptic Benjamin Franklin could attest, Whitefield was a 
persuasive orator. Franklin's famous account of Whitefield' s visit to Society Hill in 
Philadelphia stands as a monument to Whitefield' s effectiveness. Franklin admired 
Whitefield as a friend, though he had no time for his religion or for Whitefield' s pet 
project, an orphanage in Georgia, which Franklin regarded as too remote to do 
much good. Early on in Whitefield' s oration, Franklin recognized that he was 
heading toward an appeal for fimds. He resolved not to give anything, then, after a 
time, decided to surrender the coppers in his pocket. Another rhetorical flourish and 
Franklin consented to give the silver, and Whitefield concluded so gloriously that 
Franklin entirely emptied his pockets into the collection plate, gold and all. 

Franklin's account of Whitefield's visit to Society Hill also included his 
carefiil calculations that Whitefield's voice could be heard by ten thousand people. 
This brings us to another observation about evangelical innovations during the 
Great Awakening: popular appeal. As Whitefield perambulated along the Atlantic 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

seaboard, he would often ask to use the local meetinghouse. But as word of 
Whitefield's success began to circulate, many of the settled clergy, fearing for their 
livelihoods, denied him access. Undaunted, Whitefield took his message directly to 
the people, preaching in the open air in the fields or on the village greens or Society 
Hill. By circumventing the clergy and the established churches, Whitefield and his 
evangelical confreres displayed the knack for populist communications that would 
become characteristic of evangelicalism to the present day. From the open-air 
preaching of Whitefield and a passel of itinerant preachers to the circuit riders and 
the colporteurs of the nineteenth century to the urban evangelism of Billy Sunday 
and Billy Graham in the twentieth century, evangelicals have always understood the 
importance of communicating directly with the masses, absent the niceties of 
ecclesiastical and denominational forms or even sanctified venues. 

So influential was Whitefield's extemporaneous preaching that even 
Edwards struggled to keep pace with the changing times and circumstances of the 
Great Awakening. If you visit the Beineke Library at Yale and ask to see the 
originals of Edwards's sermons, you'll notice that they are palm-sized folios 
stitched into a booklet; Edwards scholars speculate, plausibly, that Edwards 
concealed the text of his sermons in his hand in order to convey the impression that 
he was preaching extemporaneously, when in fact he was not. Itinerant preachers 
like Whitefield, on the other hand, had the advantage of being able to repeat the 
same sermons time after time to changing audiences, thereby perfecting their styles 
of delivery - an advantage, as Franklin noted, denied to the settled clergy, who had 
to come up with fresh material every week. 

Aside from the rhetorical advantages enjoyed by Whitefield and others, 
itinerancy had an enormous effect on religion in the eighteenth century. It provided 
religious options for the populace, options other than the established 
Congregationalist churches in New England, the Church of England in the South, 
and the traditionalist Dutch Reformed and Anglican churches in the Middle 
Colonies. The presence of itinerants forced the settled clergy to compete in what 
was emerging as a religious marketplace. Clergy could no longer rely solely on 
their livings; they had to maintain a rapport with their congregants for the simple 
reason that their congregants had other ecclesiastical options, especially with the 
emergence of the Baptists in New England and the Chesapeake, the Pietists and the 
Presbyterians in the Middle Colonies, and various religious "entrepreneurs" in 
Pennsylvania and the South. 

A kind of religious populism emerged in the eighteenth century that 
obtains to this day and can be seen most clearly in the televangelists and the 
megachurches. The televangelists, moreover, have solved forever the great riddle of 
itinerancy throughout American history: Through the miracle of electronic 
communications, the itinerant preacher, always an insurgent presence, can now be 
everywhere at once. But the ubiquity of itinerant preachers and the emergence of 
religious options in the eighteenth century had another important effect: the absence 
of anticlericalism. The caricature of the besotted, overweight, indulgent vicar or 
parson - so common in British humor - has no real counterpart here in America. 
The reason, I believe, is simple. In a fi^ee marketplace of religion, clerics cannot 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: I 

afford to be complacent or negligent toward their congregants. They must always 
be conscious of popular sentiment - a two-edged sword, no doubt, because 
populism can always degenerate into demagoguery or into a theology of the lowest 
common denominator. But itinerancy and the religious marketplace ensure that 
religious leaders are always attentive to popular sentiment, and they ignore it at their 

Itinerancy and the free marketplace for religion also figured into the First 
Amendment proscriptions against religious establishment. Roger Williams, Puritan 
minister in Salem, Massachusetts, ran afoul of the Puritan authorities shortly after 
his arrival in the New World in 1631. Specifically, Williams feared the deleterious 
effects on the faith if church and state were too closely aligned. In his words, he 
sought to protect the "garden of the church" from the "wilderness of the world" by 
means of a "wall of separation." This notion challenged the orthodoxy of the 
Puritan experiment, and for his troubles Williams was banished from the colony. 
He proceeded to Rhode Island, which the Puritans came to regard as a cesspool of 
religious heresy, and founded there a haven of religious toleration, which 
guaranteed liberty of individual conscience and the separation of church and state. 

While in Rhode Island, Williams also founded the Baptist tradition in 
America, a tradition that, until very recently, enshrined two notions: adult or 
believer's baptism (as opposed to infant baptism) and the separation of church and 
state. Williams's ideas about disestablishment were picked up by such evangelical 
leaders as Isaac Backus and John Leland, and one of the great ironies of the 
eighteenth century is that the evangelicals allied themselves with Enlightenment 
types to press for religious disestablishment in the new nation. 

This alliance of strange bedfellows produced the First Amendment to the 
U.S. Constitution, which reads in part: "Congress shall make no law respecting an 
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" It codified the 
free marketplace of religion that had been the configuration by default in many of 
the colonies. It ensured that Americans would never have to deal with the miserable 
effects of religious establishment, effects that many of the founders knew all too 
well from their experience of Great Britain and the Continent. While it is probably 
true that Thomas Jefferson wanted to maintain that "line of separation" in order to 
protect the fragile new government from religious factionalism, whereas Williams 
wanted the "wall of separation" to preserve the integrity of the faith, the happy 
consequence of the First Amendment is that both sides benefited handsomely. 
Religious faith has flourished in America as nowhere else precisely because the 
government has (for the most part, at least) stayed out of the religion business. At 
the same time, allowing religious groups to function fi^eely in the marketplace of 
popular discourse has tended to dissipate voices of political dissent, just as James 
Madison predicted in Federalist Number 10. 

The First Amendment has allowed religious entrepreneurs, fi"om Mother 
Ann Lee and Joseph Smith to Mary Baker Eddy and Elijah Muhammad, to peddle 
their wares in the free marketplace of American religion. But no group has 
functioned more effectively in this marketplace than evangelicals themselves. 
Evangelicals understand almost instinctively how to speak the idiom of the culture, 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

whether it be Whitefield's extemporaneous, open-air preaching, the circuit riders 
blanketing the South in the antebellum period, or the curricula and the entertainment 
of the megachurches, exquisitely attuned to the tastes of suburbanites in the late 
twentieth century. No religious movement in American history has benefited more 
from religious disestablishment, which makes the persistent attempts on the part of 
the Religious Right to eviscerate the First Amendment utterly confounding. Why 
would any evangelical seek to compromise the very basis for the popularity of his 

Perhaps we can bring some clarity to the issue with a counterfactual 
proposal: Suppose the founders had followed the historical precedent of at least a 
dozen centuries and established a religion for the new nation. Suppose, in other 
words, that the First Amendment contained only the provisions of the second clause, 
guaranteeing freedom of speech and the press, and no proscription against religious 
establishment? What would religion in America look like today? 

We don't have to search very far. In Great Britain, the Church of England, 
the established religion, draws less than 3 percent of the population to its Sunday 
services. Several years back, the bishops of the state Lutheran church in Sweden, 
seeing the benefits of disestablishment, successftiUy petitioned the Swedish 
parliament to rescind the Lutherans' establishment status. The results were so 
overwhelming that the Lutheran bishops in Norway have now asked to be 

The First Amendment has ensured a salubrious religious culture in the 
United States, one unmatched anywhere in the world. If the founders had not stood 
up to those who wanted to designate Christianity as the religion of the new nation, 
the religious environment would most likely look very different, anemic in 
comparison with the religious vitality we see both today and throughout American 

If the First Great Awakening introduced evangelicalism into the American 
context, the Second Great Awakening in the decades surrounding the turn of the 
nineteenth century reshaped the movement in profound ways. Although some of 
the changes were tactical, the most dramatic shift was theological. 

One of the first things I learned in my study of American church history 
was the profound difference in the theological underpinnings of the First and the 
Second Great Awakenings, as reflected in the theological dispositions of their 
respective apologists, Jonathan Edwards and Charles Grandison Finney. Edwards's 
history of the revival, published in 1737, remains a classic statement of a Calvinist 
approach to revival. The title, in many ways, tells you all you need to know about 
Edwards's understanding of the remarkable events in Northampton: A Faithful 
Narrative of a Surprising Work of God. It was Edwards's clear understanding that 
the revival in Northampton was a gracious visitation of the divine; there was 
nothing that Edwards had done to prompt such a visitation, much less to merit it. 
God, in his wisdom and infinite mercy, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, had 
chosen to work his regenerative wonders among the people of Northampton without 
regard to the merit or the efforts of either the congregants or their minister. In so 
doing, God had demonstrated his unfathomable mercy for all to see. 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: I 

Charles Finney, on the other hand, had a very different understanding o: 
revival. Finney famously declared in his Lectures on Revivals of Religion tha 
revival was "the work of man." Finney, bom in Warren, Connecticut, and trained as 
a lawyer, had a religious conversion in 1821 and determined that he had been giver 
"a retainer from the Lord Jesus Christ to plead his cause." The St. Lawrence 
presbytery licensed him to preach in 1 823 and ordained him the following year. He 
began preaching in upstate New York under the auspices of the Female Missionary 
Society of the Western District in 1824. 

Early in his career, Finney harbored doubts about Calvinism, not so much 
on theological as on pragmatic grounds; Firmey was convinced that Calvinistic 
determinism simply did not lend itself to revival. Instead, he preached that by the 
mere exercise of volition anyone could repent of sin and thereby claim salvation. 
Contrary to the Calvinist and Edwardsean doctrine of election, the notion that God 
alone determined who was or was not part of the elect and thereby regenerate, 
Finney preached that salvation was available to all; it required merely an assent on 
the part of the individual. 

Finney's soteriology elevated persuasion to new heights of importance. If 
only the preacher could convince sinners to repent and to accept salvation for 
themselves, then the revival would be assured, no need any longer to wait for the 
mysterious movings of the Spirit or the even more elusive effectual "call" of 
Calvinist election. In order to help things along, Finney promoted what he called 
"new measures," a set of strategic initiatives to engender revivals: protracted 
meetings, the use of advertising, allowing women to testify at religious gatherings, 
and the "anxious bench" or "mourner's bench," where those deliberating their 
eternal fates could come for counseling. 

It doesn't take much imagination to recognize that these "new measures" 
have become part of the fabric of modem evangelism, as witnessed by Billy 
Graham cmsades in the twentieth century; Graham's call for his auditors to "make a 
decision for Chrisf comes straight from Finney's playbook. But the familiarity of 
these tactics tends to disguise their revolutionary character in the early decades of 
the nineteenth century. Whereas Jonathan Edwards had understood revival as "a 
surprising work of God," Finney described it as "the work of man." Therein lies an 
utter reconfiguration of evangelical theology, from the Calvinist orientation of the 
First Great Awakening to the Arminian theology of the Second Great Awakening, 
which also had strong affinities with Wesleyanism, the theology of John Wesley. 

Why did Finney's formulation take hold so rapidly in the early decades of 
the nineteenth century? Several reasons. First, Finney's new theology fit the 
temper of the times. Among a people who had only recently taken their political 
destiny into their own hands, Finney assured them that they controlled their 
religious destiny as well. At least as popularly understood, salvation was no longer 
an anxiety-laden process of waiting to determine whether or not you were among 
the elect; now, in Finney's scheme, an individual could initiate the process by 
means of volition. If you want to be saved, all you need to do is to decide to be 
saved. No need any longer to sweat through the elaborate Calvinist soteriology as 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

propagated in deadly detail by such Puritan divines as William Perkins and Jonathan 

Finney's formula had obvious appeal in the new nation, especially among a 
people inebriated with self-determinism. And to this day we Americans cherish this 
notion of rugged individualism and control of our own destinies. The Edwardsean 
theology of salvation and revival seems stilted and confining, whereas Finney's is 
supple and accommodating. 

Finney's formulaic approach to revival also fit the social and economic 
circumstances of the nineteenth century. In an age of nascent industrialization and 
scientific rationalism, Finney's notion that revival was available simply by 
following an ordered set of steps and observing certain conventions worked very 
well. To hear Finney tell it, all you needed to do was combine the elements - 
advertising, protracted meetings, women's testimony, anxious bench - like you 
would in a chemical formula, and revival would be assured. And in an age of 
nascent industrialization and one increasing enamored of technology, Finney's 
formulaic approach to revival fit the temper of the times. By the time that B. W. 
Gorham published his Camp Meeting Manual in 1854, the business of revivalism 
had been reduced to a science; Gorham, enlarging on Finney's prescriptions, 
dictated everything from locations to publicity strategies to instructions on how to 
construct the tents - all in the effort to guarantee a successful camp meeting. 

The twentieth-century iteration of Gorham' s Camp Meeting Manual is the 
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and especially its preparations for one of 
Graham's crusades. The well-oiled corporate machinery of the BGEA has been 
honed to utter perfection and a model of efficiency. Once a venue has been chosen 
for a revival (at least three years before the event itself), the organization sweeps 
into motion, calibrating everything fi"om site selection and religious alliances to 
music programs and press coverage. Nothing is left to chance, and all contingencies 
are accounted for down to the tiniest detail. Far from relying on "a surprising work 
of God," modem revivalism owes an incalculable debt to the formulaic strategies of 
Charles Finney and B. W. Gorham. 

The overriding genius of Finney and the theological innovations he 
introduced to American evangelicalism is that they suited perfectly the Zeitgeist and 
the emerging self-perception of Americans. Finney's Arminianism comported well 
with the storied rugged individualism that so shapes American identity, and his 
insistence that we control our own religious destiny was far more congenial to the 
American illusion of self-determinism than the arcane Calvinist doctrines of 
foreknowledge, predestination, and election. 

After the Second Great Awakening and the theological iimovations of 
Charles Finney, evangelical theology would never be the same. Reformed theology 
made one last, albeit sustained, stand in the person of Charles Hodge and his 
nineteenth-century colleagues at Princeton Theological Seminary. But theirs was a 
forlorn and hopeless battle, one fought increasingly on the ramparts of a hyper- 
rationalism that owed more to the Enlighteimient than it did to Calvin or even to 
historic Christianity. 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: I 

In recent years, Calvinists have tried to stage a comeback on two fronts,; 
both theological and historical. Various evangelical historians have tried to assert 
that the theological essence of evangelicalism is Reformed, not Wesleyan or' 
Arminian, and that the true progenitors of contemporary evangelicalism are thei 
Princetonians, not the Finneyites. Some denominations, such as the Southern! 
Baptist Convention and my own denomination, the Evangelical Free Church, havei 
even tried to recast themselves in the tradition of Reformed theology rather than^ 
Arminian theology. The Free Church, for instance, a denomination with deep roots 
in Pietism and strong affinities with Arminianism, has, through the agency of its 
flagship seminary. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, laid claims to be Calvinist. 
Among under consequences, a denomination that ordained women in its early years, 
now frowns on the ordination of women. 

What's the attraction of Calvinism to contemporary evangelicals? I think 
the attempt to recast themselves in the Reformed tradition is a reaction, at least in 
part, to the runaway success of pentecostalism in the twentieth century. That is, 
many evangelicals, especially those associated with seminaries, believe that 
Calvinism is more intellectually respectable and theologically rigorous than 
Wesleyanism or Arminianism, and so they have taken great pains to associate 
themselves with the Reformed tradition in an attempt to trade on what they perceive 
as its intellectual heft - even to the point of denying their own historical and 
theological roots. 

Such efforts come largely to naught, however, at the grass roots. Finney's 
pragmatism and his brand of Arminianism carried the day among evangelicals - in 
the antebellum period and ever since. At least as understood at the popular level, 
the revivalist's plea to come to Jesus or Billy Graham's invitation to "make a 
decision for Christ" make little sense in the Calvinist and Edwardsean scheme of 
revival, where the even the repentant sinner must await the visitation of grace. 
Finney assured all Americans that they controlled the mechanism of salvation, and 
the evangelical tradition has never been the same. 

But it still would have foundered without the underpinnings of the First 
Amendment. Freed itself from establishment status, and not compelled to compete 
against another religion that enjoyed establishment status, evangelicalism has 
competed freely in the American religious marketplace. And it has done so with 
intelligence, vigor, and savvy. From the open-air oratory of George Whitefield to 
the organizational efficiency of Billy Graham, evangelicals have understood better 
than anyone else how to communicate to the masses, how to speak the idiom of the 
culture. The message they propagate is simple, straightforward, and utterly 
indebted to Charles Finney. Come to Jesus. Make a decision for Christ. You 
control your own spiritual destiny. 

And somewhere, on president's row in the Princeton, New Jersey, 
cemetery, Jonathan Edwards, theologian of the First Great Awakening, is spiiming 
in his grave. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: 11 
The Transition from Postmillennialism to Premillennialism 

By Randall Balmer 

Charles Finney's theological revolution had repercussions for evangelicals 
far beyond the arcane arena of soteriology, the doctrine of salvation. At least as 
popularly understood, Finney's Arminianism assured Americans that they 
controlled their own religious destiny, that they could initiate the process of 
salvation simply by exercise of volition. Finney's declaration that revival was "the 
work of man" led to a codification and a routinization of evangelism. Beginning 
with Finney and extending to B. W. Gorham's Camp Meeting Manual and to Billy 
Graham and various revivalists of the twentieth century, the enterprise of revival 
became formulaic, almost mechanistic. As long as you followed certain 
conventions, Finney and others promised, revival would ensue. 

The social implications of Finney's ideas were even more profound. If 
individuals controlled their ultimate destinies, surely it didn't require much of a leap 
to suppose that their actions here on earth could affect the temporal realm as well. 
And the aggregate actions of believers could bring about monumental changes in 

Aside from the individual empowerment implicit in Arminian soteriology, 
another theological discipline figured into antebellum evangelicalism: 
postmillennialism. Throughout church history, generations of theologians have 
puzzled over the prophetic passages of the Bible, from Isaiah and Ezekiel and 
Daniel in the Hebrew Bible to Revelation and 2 Thessalonians in the New 
Testament. Jesus himself suggested some sort of apocalyptic development within a 
generation, and the book of Revelation contains all manner of images and events 
that should or should not be interpreted literally and should or should not be 
understood as prophetic. What do we make of the mark of the beast or the 
emergence of the antichrist? Revelation 20 talks about a millennium, one thousand 
years of godly rule. What does that mean? When will it occur, now or later? Aim 
Lee Stanley of the Shakers, for example, taught that the millennium was already in 
place and that this new age dictated that women and men should no longer engage 
in sexual relations, whereas John Humphrey Noyes of the Oneida Community 
believed that the millennial age loosened the bonds of exclusivity in marriage, 
thereby allowing for sexual license. 

Theologians over the centuries have disagreed, sometimes spectacularly, 
over the meaning of these apocalyptic passages, but by the nineteenth century two 
broad streams of interpretation had emerged: premillennialism and 
postmillennialism. Although the multitude of interpretations and the infinity of 
nuances make generalizations difficult, those who numbered themselves 
premillennialists believed that Jesus would return to earth to take his followers out 
of the world, an event known as the rapture. Those left behind would face hardship 
and judgment in a period known as the tribulation. Eventually, however, Jesus and 
his followers would return to earth for the millennium, one thousand years of 
righteousness, before the culmination of time in the last judgment. 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: II 

Postmillennialists, on the other hand, held that Jesus would return to earth after the 
millennium, that there would be no disruption between this temporal age and the 
onset of the millennium. 

The sequence here is crucial. Premillennialists believe that Jesus will! 
return before the millennium (hence /remillennialism), whereas po5'ftnillennialists! 
hold that Jesus will return after the millennium, the one thousand years oft 
righteousness. Although this may appear to be a recondite doctrinal debate, the( 
unfortunate detritus of people with too much time on their hands, the distinction! 
here has had enormous repercussions for the ways that evangelicals approachi 
society. If you believe that Jesus will return after the millennium with no disruption! 
in the advance of time, the corollary is that it is incumbent on believers to construct 
the righteous kingdom. If, on the other hand, your reading of scripture leads you to 
believe that Jesus will come for his followers before the millennial age, then the 
onset of the millennial kingdom will come later in the apocalyptic calendar, thereby 
absolving believers from responsibility for bringing about the millennial kingdom in 
this age. 

This is exactly what played out among evangelicals in the nineteenth 
century. Given the Arminian theology that dominated the Second Great 
Awakening, the doctrine that individuals could exercise their volition to initiate the 
salvation process, it should come as no surprise that the concomitant eschatology of 
the Second Awakening was postmillennialism, the notion that Jesus would return 
after the millennium. The corollary of postmillennialism was that believers bore the 
responsibility for bringing on the millennium by dint of their own efforts. Those 
who had appropriated salvation for themselves now looked to broaden their efforts 
and inaugurate the kingdom of God on earth, more particularly here in America. 

And that is precisely what they set about to do. The Second Great 
Awakening unleashed a reforming zeal unmatched in the annals of American 
history. Evangelical converts, convinced of their mandate to usher in the 
millennium, set about to purge society of its ills. They recognized that slavery was 
an abomination and inconsistent with a millennial society, so they organized to 
abolish it. They were part of the temperance crusade, which in the nineteenth 
century was a progressive cause. They joined with Horace Mann and others in 
support of public education, known as common schools in the nineteenth century. 
Part of the rationale for public schools was to advance the lot of children of the less 
fortunate and also provide a foundation for democracy by allowing children of 
different backgrounds to learn from one another in the classroom and on the 
playground and get along with one another with at least a measure of comity. 
Evangelicals opened female seminaries to raise the literacy rates among women to a 
level of parity with men by the middle of the century, and they sought to advance 
the rights of women generally, including the right to vote. 

All of these initiatives were directed (at least in part) toward the goal of 
constructing the kingdom of God on earth. To take another example, the 
redoubtable Lyman Beecher was horrified when Aaron Burr, vice president of the 
United States, killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey, on 
the morning of July 11, 1804. (Dick Cheney was not the first sitting vice president 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

in American history to shoot a man!) Beecher decided that the barbaric practice of 
duehng was not a fixture of the millennial kingdom, so he launched a campaign, 
ultimately successful, to outlaw dueling as part of his efforts to inaugurate the 
millennial age. 

Much of this reforming energy unleashed by the Second Awakening came 
from women. Finney had authorized women to participate more fully in religious 
gatherings than they ever had before (with the possible exception of the first 
century), and evangelical women, many of them freed by nascent industrialization 
and middle-class privilege from the drudgery of subsistent living, devoted their 
considerable energies to social activism. These evangelical women served as 
tireless foot soldiers in the campaign to usher in the millennial age. 

America would never be the same. Postmillennialist evangelicals in the 
antebellum period, convinced that they could bring about the millennium by dint of 
their own efforts, animated social reform and utterly reshaped American society. 
The power of their arguments and the urgency of their activism led Americans to 
the brink of irreparable schism and the Civil War. 

With the onset of war, however, the postmillennial optimism of antebellum 
evangelicals began to fade. The carnage of the war itself represented a 
disappointment; northern evangelicals hoped that the moral clarity of their case 
against slavery, combined with divine favor, would bring the conflict speedily to a 
conclusion. Victory, however, proved elusive. But there were other factors at work 
in American society as well, factors that called the entire postmillermial enterprise 
into question. 

The character of American society over the course of the nineteenth 
century was reshaped by both indusfrialization and urbanization. Industrialization, 
beginning with the textile mills of New England, changed forever the both the work 
and domestic patterns of Americans. Employment in the mills transported adults 
out of the home and into the workplace, thereby altering the dynamics of the family. 
Men, working now beyond the ken of church and home, began to socialize in 
networks with fellow workers; their wives increasingly socialized with one another 
and in circles defined by religious affiliations. Men came to be seen as "worldly," 
an impression that lent urgency to the Second Great Awakening in boom areas like 
Rochester, New York, but also fed what historians have called the "feminization" of 
American religion, the shift of spiritual responsibility from men to women. 

If industrialization altered American domestic life by changing patterns of 
socializing, the accompanying demographic phenomenon of urbanization similarly 
shook the theological understanding of America's evangelicals. The move to the 
cities exposed evangelicals to a different world from the relatively bucolic and 
small-town life that had prevailed in the earlier decades of the nineteenth century. 
Add to that the changing ethnic and religious composition of Americans, and 
evangelicals suddenly felt their hegemonic hold over American society slipping 

Put in its starkest terms, the teeming, squalid ghettoes of the lower east 
side of Manhattan, festering with labor unrest, no longer resembled the precincts of 
Zion that postmillermialist evangelicals had envisioned earlier in the century. 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: II 

Immigrants, including Jews and Roman Catholics, most of whom did not share 
evangelical scruples about temperance, represented a threat to the millennial i; 
aspirations of American evangelicals. The world, at least as seen through the lens ;' 
of the United States, was getting worse, not better. Righteousness, which was often i: 
conftised with white, middle-class, Victorian ideals, had given way to wickedness: 
unemployment, filth, drunkenness, disease, and the corruption of urban political I 

Faced with this wretchedness, American evangelicals looked to alter their r 
eschatology. Postmilleimial optimism about the advent of a millennial kingdom i 
here in America no longer seemed appropriate, so evangelicals cast about for • 
another interpretation of those biblical prophetic passages. They found an answer < 
from an unlikely source, a former barrister and Anglican priest named John Nelson i 
Darby, who had left the Church of England in 1831 for a small, Pietistic group 
called the Plymouth Brethren. Darby became enamored of a new hermeneutic of 
biblical interpretation called dispensationalism or dispensational premillennialism. 

Dispensationalism posited that all of human history could be divided into 
discrete ages (or dispensations) and that God had dealt differently with humanity in 
each of these dispensations. God had struck a particular deal, or covenant, with 
Adam, for instance, and another with Noah and Abraham and with the people of 
Israel. The present dispensation. Darby argued, called for the separation of true 
believers fi^om nonbelievers in anticipation of the imminQnt, premillennial return of 
Jesus. In other words, Jesus may return at any moment, before the millennium, and 
the corollary of Darby's teaching was that those left behind at the rapture would 
face the judgment and the wrath of God. Indeed, Darby even insisted that the social I 
degeneration evident everywhere should be taken as evidence that Jesus would soon i 
return to rescue believers out of this mess. 

Darby came to North America to propagate these ideas, making seven i 
visits between 1859 and 1874. He found there a receptive audience; his scheme 
eventually caught the attention of such evangelical figures as Dwight L. Moody, A. 
J. Gordon, and James H. Brooks. Just as Finney's Arminianism suited the temper of 
the new nation, the pessimism implicit in Darbyism took hold among American 
evangelicals. Premillennialism, with its assertion that Jesus would return at any 
time, effectively absolved evangelicals of any responsibility for social reform. 
Dispensationalism taught that such efforts ultimately were unavailing. 

For American evangelicals, part of the appeal of dispensationalism was its 
esoteric nature. Darby provided the Rosetta Stone for understanding the conftising 
and sometimes contradictory prophecies in the scriptures. Dispensationalism 
allowed evangelicals triumphantly to announce, in effect, that they had cracked the 
code. They understood the mind of God. Anyone who did not acknowledge this 
historic breakthrough was, by definition, benighted, and terrible judgment awaited I 
them at the return of Jesus. 

It is worth noting that not all nineteenth-century evangelicals fall into this 
tidy scheme of antebellum postmillennialists and postbellum premillennialists. 
William Miller, a farmer and biblical interpreter from Low Hampton, New York, 
believed that Jesus would return sometime in 1843 or 1844. Approximately fifty 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

thousand followers were persuaded by his arcane calculations, and as the date 
approached they whipped themselves into a frenzy of anticipation. When Jesus 
failed to materialize as predicted on October 22, 1844, Miller's followers returned 
home disappointed, and this passage is known to this day among Adventists as the 
Great Disappointment. 

If the Millerites represented the premillermial exception in antebellum 
evangelicalism, the most notable exception to premillennialism among evangelicals 
in the latter part of the nineteenth century was the Salvation Army. Known 
originally as the Christian Mission when it was established in the slums of London 
in 1865, the Salvation Army, part of the holiness movement, retained its emphasis 
on social reform and social amelioration even after it arrived in the United States in 
1880. The Salvation Army, with its slum brigades, its street-comer preaching, and 
its battles against the systemic ills of the ghettoes, managed to retain its twin 
emphases on evangelism and social reform. 

With their embrace of dispensationalism, however, evangelicals on the 
whole shifted their focus radically from social amelioration to individual 
regeneration. Having diverted their attention from the construction of the millennial 
realm, evangelicals concentrated on the salvation of souls and neglected reform 
efforts. "I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel," Moody famously declared. 
"God has given me a lifeboat and said, 'Moody, save all you can.'" 

The social and demographic upheavals of the late nineteenth century mark 
the beginning of a great divide in American Protestantism. As evangelicals 
retreated into a theology of despair, one that essentially ceded the temporal world to 
Satan and his minions, other Protestants allied with the Progressive movement 
assumed the task of social amelioration. Led by such pastor-theologians as 
Washington Gladden of Columbus, Ohio, and Waher Rauschenbusch in New York 
City, aided by such theorists as Richard T. Ely of the University of Wisconsin, and 
popularized by Charles Sheldon's novel In His Steps, the Social Gospel emerged to 
take up the cause of social reform. Although they seldom invoked the language of 
postmillennialism, the proponents of the Social Gospel, also known as Social 
Christianity or Christian Socialism, sought to make this world a better place, 
especially for the wretched of society. They believed that Jesus redeemed not 
merely sinful individuals but sinful social institutions as well. 

To that end, the Social Gospel, working arm in arm with political 
Progressives, pushed for child-labor laws and for the six-day work week. They 
sought to discredit and to destroy the urban political machines by exposing their 
corruption. They advocated the rights of workers to organize, and they sought to 
blunt the effects of predatory capitalism. At the same time that evangelicals were 
retreating into their otherworldy reverie, looking for the imminent return of Jesus, 
the more theologically liberal Social Gospel advocates sought to reform the present 
world to make it more nearly represent the norms of godliness. 

As the twentieth century progressed, these two streams of American 
Protestantism grew more divergent. Although the Social Gospel itself was 
popularly discredited by the Bolshevik Revolution of 1 9 1 7 and the attendant rise of 
Communism, the ideas of Rauschenbusch resurfaced in the thought of Martin 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: II 

Luther King Jr. in the 1950s after King had encountered the Social Gospel in 
graduate school. Though the Social Gospel label had lost its allure, liberal 
Protestants continued to align themselves with the ideals of the Social Gospel, the 
mandate that the followers of Jesus bore responsibility for redressing the evils of 
society. As evident in the civil rights struggle, opposition to the war in Vietnam, 
support for the rights of women, and a sympathetic disposition toward immigrants 
and the poor, liberal Protestants have tried to retain the principles of the Social 
Gospel, which in turn reflects, at least dimly, the principles of nineteenth-century 

And what about the evangelicals, the other stream of American 
Protestantism? Throughout most of the twentieth century, at least until the rise of 
the Religious Right in the late 1 970s, evangelicals clung to premillennialism and its 
emphasis on individual regeneration rather than social amelioration. They evinced 
little interest in social issues; this world, after all, was doomed and transitory. 
Politics itself was corrupt and corrupting, and many evangelicals did not even 
trouble themselves to vote. Jesus would appear at any moment to rescue them from 
the morass of the present world, so why invest any significant energies in making it 
a better place? With time so short, moreover, all resources - money, energy, 
personnel - should be deployed in the enterprise of evangelism and missions, 
bringing others into the kingdom of God in preparation for the end of time. 

Fueled by dispensationalist ideology, evangelism and missionary efforts 
flourished among evangelicals in the early decades of the twentieth century - at a 
time when mainline Protestants, fraught with misgivings, were throttling back on 
missionary activity, especially after the Re-Thinking Missions report of 1932. 
Evangelism took many forms, from the vaudeville antics of Billy Sunday and the 
corporate efficiency of Billy Graham to the "Four Spiritual Laws" of Campus 
Crusade for Christ and the come-to- Jesus appeals of the televangelists. But the 
overriding focus of their efforts was individual redemption, not social action. When 
asked about reforming society, Graham would routinely respond that the only way 
to change society was "to change men's hearts," by which he meant that only the 
aggregate effect of individual conversions would bring about real reform. 

Aside from the emphasis on personal evangelism and the neglect of social 
amelioration, what have been the effects of the evangelical shift from 
postmillennialism to premillennialism? I can think of two material consequences 
related to the evangelical penchant for dispensationalism. The first is lack of 
concern for the environment and the natural world. For much of the twentieth 
century, and even militantly so during the last several decades, evangelicals have 
been notoriously uninterested in environmental preservation. If Jesus is going to 
return soon to rescue the true believers and to unleash judgment on those left 
behind, why should we devote any attention whatsoever to care of the earth, which 
will soon be destroyed in the apocalypse? 

In recent decades, this premillennial disposition on the part of evangelicals 
combined with some blend of capitalism and libertarianism to produce a concoction 
even more hostile to environmental interests. This amalgam reached its apotheosis 
in the person of James G. Watt, an Assemblies of God layman and Ronald Reagan's 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

iecretary of the Interior. Watt had been associated with the so-called Sagebrush 
Rebellion, a coalition of western ranchers who wanted to open more wilderness 
ireas to development and who opposed any efforts to alter their favorable grazing 
ights on federal lands. After Reagan, who famously remarked that if you'd see one 
Redwood tree you'd seen them all, tapped Watt to be Interior secretary. Watt 
•emarked to stunned members of the House Interior Committee that, "I don't know 
low many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns." Watt 
nsisted in later years that he meant that environmental resources had to be 
lusbanded long enough to last until the rapture, but his remark was widely 
nterpreted as a justification for his lack of interest in environmental protection. 

The second twentieth-century legacy of evangelical premillennialism is 
iCSS pernicious but no less regrettable: bad religious architecture, sometime 
spectacularly bad architecture. If Jesus is coming at any moment, why waste 
3recious time and resources on fancy buildings? The unfortunate legacy of this 
ittitude can be seen in evangelical church buildings and on countless Bible institute 
ind Bible college campuses, where function doesn't merely triumph over form, it 
itterly obliterates it. Cinderblock and folding chairs will do just fine, and the 
Geological neglect of the sacraments, so common among evangelicals, only 
xacerbated this tendency to neglect aesthetics. 

To be fair, another factor contributed to the bad architecture, namely a lack 
3f resources. Following the fundamentalist-modernist controversies of the 1920s, 
many evangelicals felt duty-bound to secede from mainline Protestant institutions - 
churches, denominations, seminaries, mission boards - and strike out on their own, 
separated from what they reviled as godlessness. Such independence may have 
been noble, at least according the standards of fundamentalism, but it was also 
:ostly because it meant that the separatists left behind church and schools buildings, 
not to mention endowments. They started from scratch, at considerable expense, 
and they simply could not afford to be fancy. 

The combination of premillennialism and economic stringency may not 
ntirely excuse the architectural atrocities that evangelicals constructed in the 
twentieth century. It does help to explain them. 

The theological shift from postmillennial optimism to premillennial 
pessimism had ripple effects that shaped evangelicalism throughout most of the 
twentieth century. The evangelical embrace of American society that animated 
various antebellum reform movements gave way, in the face of profound social and 
demographic changes, to a deep and brooding suspicion and the expectation of 
imminent judgment. Evangelicals by the turn of the twentieth century no longer 
sought to construct a millennial kingdom; that would have to await divine 
intervention. Instead, they turned inward, tending to their own piety and seeking to 
lure others into a spiritualized kingdom in preparation for the imminent return of 

By adopting dispensational premillennialism, evangelicals ceded the arena 
!of social amelioration to Protestants who had been shaped by the teachings of the 
Social Gospel. Although they rarely used the language of postmillennialism, these 
more liberal Protestants took up the cause of advancing the kingdom of God on 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: II 

earth, even as evangelicals retreated ever more determinedly into their owe 

By 1900, the chasm between the liberal Social Gospel and evangelical 
dispensationalism was firmly established. The very people who had reshaped the 
nation in the early and middle decades of the nineteenth century now found 
themselves divided. American Protestantism would never be the same. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: III 
The Construction of a Subculture 

By Randall Balmer 

When talking about evangelical attitudes toward society, it is possible, with 
only modest contrivance, to divide the twentieth century into four equal twenty- 
five-year periods: 1900 to 1925, 1925 to 1950, 1950 to 1975, and 1975 to 2000. 
Within each of these quarters, evangelicals approached the broader culture in very 
different ways, moving from suspicion and separation during the first half of the 
twentieth century to engagement and something very close to capitulation in the 
latter half. Just as social and demographic changes in American society profoundly 
shaped evangelical theology in the nineteenth century, so too the historical 
circumstances in each of these eras had broad repercussions on evangelicals and 
vangelicalism in the twentieth century. 

At the dawn of the twentieth century, America's evangelicals were 
profoundly suspicious of the social changes that had buffeted the United States in 
the latter half of the nineteenth century. Evangelicals' adoption of dispensational 
premillennialism in the waning decades of the nineteenth century, with its assurance 
that Jesus would return at any moment, effectively absolved them from the task of 
social reform. The social needs of the cities, in any case, were overwhelming and 
jseemed to defy redress. Better to hunker down, seek the regeneration of other 
individuals, and scrutinize your own spiritual affairs in preparation for the rapture. 

In an odd and somewhat indirect way, evangelicals' embrace of Charles 
Finney's Arminian theology during the antebellum period exaggerated this 
jtendency. Whereas Wesleyanism and Arminianism empowered individuals to seize 
icontrol of the salvation process, the corollary was that salvation thus attained could 
|also be imperiled by the failure to live a godly life. Endless theological discussions 
labout "eternal security" among evangelicals (whether or not one's eternal fate had 
[been irreversibly secured at conversion) would have been, if not impossible, at least 
jsomewhat less probable among die-hard Calvinists, who taught the "perseverance of 
ithe saints," that those whom God had elected for salvation he would preserve to 
{ultimate glorification. Arminians could claim no such assurance of "eternal 
jsecurity," so the task of examining the state of one's soul and devising various 
devotional exercises to shore up one's spirituality became at least a minor 

With these characteristics - the emphasis on a personalized, introspective 
faith combined with a general disregard for social reform - evangelicals entered the 
jtwentieth century. 

! Although no one could have suspected it at the time, nothing reshaped the 

jintemal dimensions of evangelicalism in the twentieth century more than the events 
'in Topeka, Kansas, on January 1, 1901, the first day of the new century. Agnes 
Ozman, a student at Charles Fox Parham's Bethel Bible College, began speaking in 
jtongues after the manner of the early Christians in the second chapter of the Acts of 
!the Apostles. News of this phenomenon spread to other students and, by means of 
Parham's itinerations, throughout the lower Midwest. William J. Seymour, an 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: III 

African American hotel waiter, carried this pentecostal gospel with him to Loi 
Angeles early in 1906, and glossolalia (speaking in tongues) broke out again or 
April 9 at a house on Bonnie Brae Street, where Parham was staying. Within i 
week, the fledgling movement relocated to a former warehouse at 312 Azusa Street 
and for the next several years the Azusa Street Mission became synonymous wit! 
divine healing, pentecostal enthusiasm, and the preparation of missionaries, whc 
farmed out across North America and the world with their pentecostal gospel. 

One of the traits of the early years of pentecostalism was its interracia 
character; Seymour himself was black, and contemporaries noted the absence o 
racial barriers on Azusa Street. The second notable characteristic was that, like 
Finney's gatherings in the Second Great Awakening, women were allowed tc 
participate, and some assumed important leadership roles in the early years o 
pentecostalism. Sadly, those distinctive elements dissipated. As pentecostalisn 
began to organize into institutional forms - the Church of God in Christ, fo: 
example, or the Assemblies of God - the denominations were racialh 
homogeneous, even exclusive. Although women were ordained as missionaries am 
pastors in pentecostal circles in the early decades of pentecostalism, that practice 
declined over the course of the twentieth century. 

Among evangelicals elsewhere, a deepening suspicion began to infect thei 
attitudes toward society. American culture, increasingly urbanized and overrun b^ 
immigrants, looked increasingly alien. Billy Sunday, a former baseball player fo 
the Chicago White Stockings, railed against the evils of the cities and taunted hi; 
auditors to "hit the sawdust trail" and give their lives to Jesus. Another irritant t( 
evangelicals was their uneasy relationship with mainline Protestant denominations 
as evidenced by the fundamentalist-modernist controversy. The leaders o 
Protestantism were departing from Christian orthodoxy, evangelicals charged, b 
countenancing Charles Darwin's ideas and by compromising on the integrity am 
the inerrancy of the scriptures. The German discipline of higher criticism, whicl 
cast doubts on the authorship of several books of the Bible, had won acceptance ii 
many Protestant seminaries and among too many leaders of mainline Protestan 

Evangelicals issued a full-fledged declaration of war against what the} 
called "modernism" with the publication of a series of pamphlets called Th 
Fundamentals. Written by conservative theologians and financed by Lyman am 
Milton Stewart of Union Oil Company of Califomian, these twelve pamphlets 
published between 1910 and 1915, contained conservative defenses of such issuei 
as the virgin birth of Christ, the authenticity of miracles, the inerrancy of the Bible 
and the premillennial return of Jesus. Those who subscribed to the doctrinei 
contained therein came to be known as "fundamentalists." 

In 1923, J. Gresham Machen, a theologian at Princeton Theologica 
Seminary, published a book entitled Christianity and Liberalism. The two, h( 
argued, are fundamentally different, and liberal - or modernist - Protestants shouk 
take the honorable course and withdraw from Protestant seminaries anc 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

denominations, leaving them to conservatives, the rightful heirs of Protestant 

Liberal Protestants refused to heed Machen's directive, of course, and the 
era of suspicion that marked evangelicalism in the first quarter of the twentieth 
century gave way to an era characterized by separation. The career of Machen 
himself illustrates this transition. Machen became increasingly estranged from his 
colleagues at Princeton, and his agitation against modernism also angered leaders of 
the Presbyterian Church. A reorganization of the seminary forced his ouster in 
1929, and Machen went on to form an independent missions board, Westminster 
Theological Seminary, and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Similar struggles 
beset other denominations. Although many conservative evangelicals remained 
affiliated with mainline congregations and denominations, struggling to effect 
change or a kind of reclamation, many others bolted to form their own 
congregations, denominations, and affiliated institutions. 

Symbolically, at least, the precipitating event was the famous Scopes trial 
of 1925. After the Tennessee legislature passed the Butler Act, which forbade the 
teaching of evolution in the state's public schools, Austin Peay, the governor, 
signed the measure with the explicit understanding that it would not be enforced. 
The American Civil Liberties Union had other ideas, placing advertisements in 
Tennessee newspapers in search of someone to test the constitutionality of such a 
law. Civic boosters in Dayton, Tennessee, saw an opportunity. They summoned 
John T. Scopes, a teacher in the local high school, to their gathering at Fred 
Robinson's drug store, plied him with a fountain drink, and secured his cooperation, 
even though he couldn't recall whether or not he had taught evolution when he 
filled in for the regular biology teacher. 

That technicality mattered little, and by the time the combatants assembled 
in the second storey of the Rhea County courthouse for the trial itself, the attention 
of the entire nation was focused on Dayton, Tennessee. The event drew three of the 
nation's most illustrious men: William Jennings Bryan, the "Great Commoner" and 
three-time Democratic nominee for president; Clarence Darrow, who had often 
fought along side of Bryan in various Progressive causes; and H. L. Mencken of the 
Baltimore Sun. Bryan, who assisted in the prosecution of Scopes, had few concerns 
about Darwinism as a scientific theory; he worried more about the effects of social 
Darwinism. As the trial unfolded, broadcast live over Chicago radio station WGN, 
and under the scrutiny of the phalanx of journalists, led by Mencken, Bryan 
acquitted himself poorly, even though he won his case. 

He, and by extension all evangelicals, lost decisively in the larger 
courtroom of public opinion. Mencken mercilessly lampooned evangelicals and 
especially Bryan himself, who died suddenly in Dayton five days after the trial. The 
ignominy surrounding the Scopes trial convinced evangelicals that the larger culture 
had turned against them. They responded by withdrawing fi-om the culture, which 
they came to regard as both corrupt and corrupting, to construct an alternative 
universe, an evangelical subculture. 

The building that took place among evangelicals in the second quarter of 
the twentieth century was truly astonishing. They set about forming their own 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: III 

congregations, denominations, missionary societies, publishing houses, Bible 
institutes, Bible colleges, Bible camps, and seminaries - all in an effort to insulate 
themselves from the larger world. The project was ambitious and Herculean and 
costly, but evangelicals believed that the integrity of the faith was at stake. In this 
era of separation, evangelicals sought to remain unsullied by liberalism, by 
modernism, or by the world. They withdrew from politics and from any culture 
outside of their own subculture. That was dictated in part by necessity, by the 
financial and logistical demands of creating a whole new infrastructure, but it also 
represented a choice to remain pure. 

By the end of the second quarter of the twentieth century, evangelicals had 
burrowed into their own subculture. They socialized almost entirely within that 
world, and so comprehensive was this alternative universe that it was possible in the 
middle decades of the twentieth century (as I can attest personally) to ftmction with 
virtual autonomy from the larger culture and have, in fact, very little commerce with 
anyone outside of the evangelical subculture. 

By mid-century, a few evangelicals thought that the separatist impulse, 
especially as embodied by such hard-core fundamentalists as Bob Jones and Carl 
Mclntire, had gone too far. Carl F. H. Henry provided a kind of manifesto for the 
renewed engagement of evangelicals with the larger culture with the publication in 
1947 of The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, which argued against 
the separatism that had become the overriding characteristic of evangelicalism in 
the second quarter of the twentieth century. The formation of Fuller Theological 
Seminary the same year that Henry's book appeared provided the so-called 
neoevangelicals with institutional ballast for their re-engagement, albeit cautious 
engagement, with American society in the third quarter of the twentieth century. 

As evangelicals tentatively began to emerge from the subculture, they also 
reclaimed one of the elements of their heritage that had served evangelicalism so 
well throughout American history: the ability to speak the idiom of the culture and 
to exploit new and emerging communications technologies. No one illustrated this 
better than Billy Graham, son of a dairy farmer in North Carolina who became 
America's first religious celebrity. 

Like many evangelicals, Graham had been reared in a fundamentalist 
household, which is to say that he had imbibed the notion that separatism was 
somehow akin to orthodoxy itself Graham's one semester at the ultra- 
fundamentalist Bob Jones University apparently soured him somewhat on 
fundamentalism; he transferred to a Baptist school in Florida and eventually to 
Wheaton College in Illinois. Graham's considerable gifts as a preacher began to 
emerge, and early in his career he made a self-conscious decision to reject 
fundamentalism in favor of a broader, more inclusive evangelicalism. 

The contours of this new understanding of the faith emerged during his 
revival campaign (which he called a "crusade") in Portland, Oregon, in 1950. In the 
course of that crusade, Graham made several crucial decisions. First, he decided to 
incorporate his operation as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, thereby 
adopting a corporate model, which was all the rage at mid-century, and holding 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

himself accountable to a board of directors. In so doing, Graham was able to avoid 
any hint of financial impropriety - or any other kind of impropriety - throughout a 
career that extended well beyond a half a century. Graham also decided in Portland 
to start the Hour of Decision radio broadcast, thereby using mass media to advance 
his message. 

The rest is history. Graham's "team" exploited new media technologies 
brilliantly, and his anti-communist rhetoric in the 1950s drew the attention of 
several important people, including newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst 
and Richard Nixon. Graham's final break with the fundamentalists occurred during 
his storied nine-week Madison Square Garden crusade in 1957, in the course of 
which Graham committed the unpardonable sin of enlisting the cooperation of New 
York City's ministerial alliance, which included some theologically liberal 
Protestants. The fundamentalists never forgave him. 

Graham's willingness to engage the world outside of evangelicalism and 
his uncanny ability to speak the language of the larger culture set the tone for the 
third quarter of the twentieth century. His regular appearances on the Tonight Show 
and the Dick Cavett Show coupled with his very public friendships with a 
succession of U.S. presidents was enormously, if incalculably, important to 
evangelicals. Among a beleaguered people, who saw themselves as utterly 
^marginal in society, Graham's celebrity allowed them the vicarious satisfaction of 
jfeeling somehow less marginal. 

I Graham's eagerness to engage the culture affected others. Consider the 

lease of a Reformed Church in America pastor from Alton, Iowa, who was pastor of 
the Ivanhoe Reformed Church in Riverside, Illinois. In 1955 Robert Schuller 
accepted what was essentially a missionary posting to Orange County, California. 
iVery quickly he discerned that this was an automobile culture, so he rented the 
iOrange Drive-in Theater and distributed leaflets throughout the area inviting the 
ipeople of southern California to "Come as you are ... in the family car." Schuller 
jperched him atop the concession stand and preached to the headlights. 

Or consider Chuck Smith in nearby Costa Mesa. In 1 965 Smith, a pastor 
in the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, accepted the pulpit of a small 
icongregation of contentious people on the verge of disbanding. He tapped into the 
jhippie culture of Huntington Beach and turned Calvary Chapel into the beachhead 
|of the Jesus Movement of the early 1970s and, in so doing, recast both the music 
and the worship styles of evangelicalism. On other fronts, several evangelical 
preachers exploited changes in the regulations of the Federal Communications 
Commission to launch their own media empires: Pat Robertson's Christian 
Broadcasting Network, Jim Bakker's PTL Network, Paul and Jan Crouch's Trinity 
Broadcasting Network, as well as countless radio and television programs. The 
istage (quite literally) was set for the further emergence of evangelicals into the 
broader culture in the final quarter of the twenfieth century. 

The evangelical strategy of engagement with the larger culture in the third 
iquarter of the twentieth century prepared evangelicals for a fuller engagement 
beginning in the mid-1970s. By then the so-called evangehcal resurgence was well 
under way, a resurgence that both was both real and illusory. The reemergence of 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: III 

evangelicalism was illusory in part because of the mainline mirage, the 
misperception that mainline Protestant denominations were more powerful and 
influential in the middle decades of the twentieth century than they actually were. 

When evangelicals exited mainline denominations beginning in the 1920s, 
they had formed their own congregations and, to a lesser extent, denominations. 
Many of the congregations, however, remained independent, unaffiliated with a 
denomination, a pattern that has been exaggerated with the rise of the 
megachurches, most of which are not part of any denomination. These 
circumstances skewed the reporting of membership statistics. Put simply, 
evangelicals in nondenominational congregations did not show up in aggregate 
statistics; no denominational agency was reporting their presence. Add to that 
another peculiarity of theology: Like the Puritans of the seventeenth century, man^' 
evangelicals demand a public profession of faith before the entire congregation 
before admitting that person to church membership, whereas the criterion for 
membership in many mainline churches is baptism, often done in infancy. In other 
words, the real challenge in many mainline churches is getting your name off of the 
membership rolls, while the spiritual standards for evangelical church membership 
can be intimidating. It's not unusual, then, for a mainline congregation to list a 
membership of, say, a thousand and have only two hundred show up on a given 
Sunday, whereas the situation may be exactly the opposite in an evangelical 
congregation: one thousand on a Sunday, but a membership of only two hundred, 
(For many years, in fact. Calvary Chapel had no category for membership at all.) 

The mainline mirage, then, suggested that mainline Protestants were more 
numerous and influential than they really were. Beginning in the mid-1960s, 
however, and continuing more or less to the present, the trajectory of mainline 
membership, attendance, and giving has been in steady decline. At the same time, 
evangelicalism has been growing - in numbers, certainly, but more important in 
cultural visibility and influence. 

Why did evangelicals emerge so emphatically in the 1970s? The short 
answer is that the time was ripe. The infrastructure that evangelicals constructed in 
earnest following the Scopes trial - colleges, seminaries, publishing houses, media 
concerns - was now sufficiently established so that it could provide a foundation foi 
evangelicals' return to the public square. More important, American society 
seemed ready to hear evangelical voices once again. After the Watergate scandal, 
the ignominy of Vietnam, and the implosion of the counterculture, Americans were 
ready to hear a new message, a message that cloaked itself in a very simple 
morality, one that appropriated the language of Christian values. 

No politician understood this better than a Southern Baptist Sunday-school 
teacher from Georgia. Jimmy Carter had failed in his first bid for governor, losing 
to an arch-segregationist, Lester Maddox, in 1966. Carter's defeat prompted a 
spiritual renewal and then a second gubernatorial run in 1970, this one successfiil. 
Almost immediately. Carter began to plot an improbable course that would lead to 
the Democratic presidential nomination six years later. One of the keynotes of his 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

successful campaign for the White House was that he would "never knowingly lie 
to the American people." 

On the heels of Carter's political success as well as the popularity of Born 
Again, the memoir of Charles Colson, one of the Watergate felons who converted to 
evangelical Christianity, Newsweek magazine declared 1976 "The Year of the 
Evangelical." That designation turned out to be four years premature; in 1980 all 
three of the major candidates for president claimed to be bom again Christians: 
Carter; Ronald Reagan, the Republican nominee; and John B. Anderson, the 
Republican-tumed-independent who was a member of the Evangelical Free Church 
of America. 

By 1980, however, the evangelical landscape had changed entirely. Carter 
had lured evangelicals, southerners especially, away from their subculture and out 
|of their apolitical torpor. He did so by speaking the language of evangelicalism; 
although his declaration that he was a bom again Christian sent every joumalist in 
[New York to his rolodex to figure out what he meant, evangelicals themselves 
(understood perfectly well. He was speaking their language. He was one of them 
land, more important, unafraid to say so. 

One of the greatest ironies of the twentieth century is that the very people 
jwho emerged to help elect Carter in 1976 turned against him four years later. The 
'rise of the Religious Right as a political entity is something I will address later, but 
ithe effects of this political activism have been seismic. Without question, 
jevangelicals have definitely shed their indifference toward temporal matters, 
jplunging into the political process with a vengeance. The ripple effects have been 
jsignificant. According to pollster Louis Field, had it not been for the participation 
jof politically conservative evangelicals in 1980, many of whom were voting for the 
first time, Jimmy Carter would have beat Reagan and Anderson by 1 percent of the 
popular vote. Since then, in elections from the presidency to the local school board, 
ipolitically conservative evangelicals have made their presence felt. They have 
iprovided for the Republican Party the volunteer efforts that labor unions once 
jsupplied for the Democratic Party, thereby altering the American political landscape 
lin the final decades of the twentieth century. 

I With political success, however, has come compromise, which of course is 

Ithe way of politics, and this is why I characterize the final quarter of the twentieth 
(Century as the era of capitulation on the part of evangelicals to the larger culture. 
jConsider the Reagan years. The televangelist scandals broke in the mid-1980s, and 
{television preachers peddled the so-called prosperity gospel, the notion that the 
jAlmighty was itching to bestow the emoluments of middle- and upper-middle-class 
llife on the faithful - so long as the faithful followed the principles of trickle-down 
iprosperity: send checks to the televangelist and the showers of blessings will rain 
down on the faithful - after the blessings had first cycled through the rain barrel of 
the televangelist. The "name it and claim if doctrine had been present in some 
|evangelical circles as early as the 1 940s, but this spiritualized Reaganism flourished 
las never before in the 1980s. 

One of the characteristics of evangelicalism in the middle decades of the 
^twentieth century had been a suspicion of "worldliness." The most damning thing 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: III 

an evangelical could say about a fellow believer was that she was "worldly," anc 
"worldliness" included a strong suspicion of affluence. I heard a lot of sermons ir 
my youth about the perils of wealth and about camels trying to negotiate the eyes oi 
needles. Those sermons all but disappeared in the 1980s as evangelicals became 
quite comfortable indeed with their niche in the suburbs. 

The premillennial rhetoric of decades past persisted, but no longer with the 
same enthusiasm or conviction, as upwardly mobile evangelicals settled intc 
middle-class comfort. Yes, Jesus come again. But take your time; we're doing jusi 

And indeed they were. Megachurches dotted the suburbs. Christian radic 
and television flooded the airwaves. Political success had bought access to the 
councils of power. Evangelicalism during the final quarter of the twentieth centur> 
was still a subculture - with its distinctive jargon, mores, and celebrities. 

But after 1980 or so it was no longer a counterculture. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: IV 
The Rise of the Religious Right 

By Randall Balmer 

By now, well into the twenty-first century, the story of the rise of the 
Religious Right, the loose coalition of politically conservative individuals, 
congregations, and organizations, is well known. On January 22, 1973, the U.S. 
Supreme Court handed down its landmark Roe v. JVade decision that effectively 
struck down all laws banning abortion until "viability," the point at which a fetus 
could survive outside the womb. The Roman Catholic Church had been arguing 
against legalized abortion for a very long time, but sheer outrage at the Roe decision 
had the effect of rallying evangelicals to the antiabortion cause. 

For most of the twentieth century, evangelicals had been content to exist 
within the safety of their subculture, this network of institutions they had 
constructed in earnest following the Scopes trial of 1925. The subculture 
functioned as a kind of bulwark against the corruptions of the larger world, and 
evangelicals' wholesale adoption of dispensational premillennialism late in the 
previous century effectively absolved them from concerns about social 
amelioration. Although many evangelicals, including Billy Graham, railed against 
"godless Communism" during the cold war, their fixation with the imminent return 
of Jesus rationalized their lack of interest in the present world. "Believing the Bible 
as I do," Jerry Falwell declared in 1965, "I would find it impossible to stop 
preaching the pure saving gospel of Jesus Christ, and begin doing anything else - 
including fighting Communism, or participating in civil-rights reforms." 

Dealing with the victims of systemic discrimination and racist violence 
was one thing, however, but the defense of those poor, defenseless babies was 
another. The Roe decision of 1973 shook evangelical leaders out of their 
complacency; even though their own congregants did not want them involved in 
political matters, the urgency of the Roe ruling compelled them to action. They 
were willing to take on the risk of alienating their own constituencies because of the 
greater moral imperative of fighting the scourge of abortion. 

These leaders of the Religious Right looked for ways to justify their 
sudden, albeit reluctant, plunge into politics, so they began to refer to themselves as 
the "new abolitionists," an effort to align themselves with the nineteenth-century 
opponents of slavery. The political activism on the part of these evangelical leaders 
was initially viewed with suspicion by rank-and-file evangelicals, but they quickly 
were persuaded of the moral urgency of fighting abortion. 

The scenario about the rise of the Religious Right I've just rehearsed is 
compelling and familiar. It's also a work of fiction. The only factual elements of 
the preceding story are the 1965 quotation from Jerry Falwell, the self-designated 
use of the term "new abolitionists," and the Roman Catholic Church's longstanding 
arguments against abortion. As early as the Iowa precinct caucuses in 1972, the 
bishops were urging their communicants to support candidates opposed to abortion. 

Evangelicals, however, took a very different view of the matter in the early 
1970s. Meeting in St. Louis during the summer of 1971, the messengers (delegates) 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: IV 

to the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution that stated, "we call upon 
Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion 
under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and 
carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, 
and physical health of the mother." After the Roe decision was handed down on 
January 22, 1973, W. A. Criswell, former president of the Southern Baptist 
Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, expressed his 
satisfaction with the ruling. "I have always felt that it was only after a child was 
bom and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person," 
one of the most famous fundamentalists of the twentieth century declared, "and it 
has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the 
fiiture should be allowed." 

While a few evangelical voices, including Christianity Today magazine, 
mildly questioned the ruling, the overwhelming response on the part of evangelicals 
was silence, even approval; Baptists, in particular, applauded the decision as an 
appropriate articulation of the line of division between church and state, between 
personal morality and state regulation of individual behavior. "Religious liberty, 
human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision," 
W. Barry Garrett oi Baptist Press wrote. 

If the Roe decision was not the precipitating cause for the rise of the 
Religious Right, however, what was? The catalyst for the Religious Right was 
indeed a court decision, but it was a lower court decision. Green v. Connally, not 
Roe V. Wade. In the early 1970s, the federal government was looking for ways to 
extend the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1 964, the landmark legislation that 
Lyndon Johnson pushed tlirough Congress and signed into law during the summer 
of 1964. The Civil Rights Act forbade racial segregation and discrimination, and in 
looking for ways to enforce that law the Internal Revenue Service ruled that any 
organization that engaged in racial discrimination was not, by definition, a 
charitable organization and therefore should be denied tax-exempt status and, 
furthermore, that contributions to such institutions no longer qualified for tax- 

On June 30, 1971, the three-judge District Court for the District of 
Columbia affirmed the IRS in its Green v. Connally decision. Although Green v. 
Connally addressed the case of a segregated school in Mississippi, the ramifications 
of the ruling were widespread. Institutions that engaged in racial discrimination, be 
they churches, clubs, or schools, were no longer tax-exempt. As the IRS prepared 
to apply the ruling, one of the schools directly in its crosshairs was a fiandamentalist 
institution in Greenville, South Carolina: Bob Jones University. Founded in Florida 
by arch-fiindamentalist Bob Jones in 1 926, the school had been located for a time in 
Cleveland, Tennessee, before moving to South Carolina in 1947. In response to 
Green v. Connally, Bob Jones University decided to admit students of color in 1971, 
but the school maintained its restrictions against admitting urmiarried African 
Americans until 1975. Even then, however, the school stipulated that interracial 
dating would be grounds for expulsion, and the school also promised that any 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

students who "espouse, promote, or encourage others to violate the University's 
dating rules and regulations will be expelled." 

The Internal Revenue Service pressed its case against Bob Jones 
University and on April 16, 1975, notified the school of the proposed revocation of 
its tax-exempt status. On January 19, 1976, the IRS officially revoked Bob Jones 
University's tax-exempt status, effective retroactively to 1970, when the school had 
first been formally notified of the IRS policy. 

Bob Jones University sued to retain its tax exemption, and conservative 
activist Paul Weyrich saw an opening. Weyrich had been fighting for conservative 
causes going back to Barry Goldwater's failed bid for the presidency in 1964. He 
sensed the electoral potential of enlisting evangelical voters in conservative causes, 
and he had been trying throughout the early 1970s to generate some interest from 
evangelical leaders on matters like abortion, school prayer, and the proposed equal 
rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution. "I was trying to get those people 
interested in those issues and I utterly failed," Weyrich recalled in the 1990s. 
"What changed their mind was Jimmy Carter's intervention against Christian 
schools, trying to deny them tax-exempt status on the basis of so-called de facto 

The Bob Jones case caught the attention of evangelical leaders, although I 
do not believe that the primary motivation for the galvanization of evangelicals was 
racism. Rather, they saw themselves as defending what they considered the sanctity 
of the evangelical subculture from outside interference. As I was growing up in 
evangelicalism in the 1950s and 1960s, I recall the visits of a succession of 
presidents of various Bible colleges and Bible institutes. They were raising money 
and recruiting students, and one of their mantras was that their institutions did not 
accept federal money; therefore, the government couldn't tell them how to run their 
shops, who they admitted or not, who they hired or fired. 

Green v. Connally changed that. Evangelical leaders, prodded by Weyrich, 
chose to interpret the IRS ruling against segregationist schools as an assault on the 
integrity and the sanctity of the evangelical subculture. And that is what prompted 
them to action and to organize into a political movement. "What cause the 
movement to surface," Weyrich reiterated, "was the federal government's moves 
against Christian schools," which, he added, "enraged the Christian community." 
Ed Dobson, formerly Falwell's assistant at Moral Majority, has corroborated 
Weyrich' s account. "The Religious New Right did not start because of a concern 
about abortion," he said in 1990. "I sat in the non-smoke-filled back room with the 
Moral Majority, and I frankly do not remember abortion being mentioned as a 
reason why we ought to do something." 

The Bob Jones case found its way all the way to the Supreme Court in 
1982, when the Reagan administration argued on behalf of Bob Jones University. 
On May 24, 1983, however, the Court ruled against Bob Jones. The evangelical 
defense of Bob Jones University and its racially discriminatory policies may not 
have been motivated primarily by racism. Still, it's fair to point out the paradox that 
the very people who style themselves the "new abolitionists" to emphasize their 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: IV 

moral kinship with the nineteenth-century opponents of slavery actually coalesced 
as a political movement effectively to defend racial discrimination. 

And how did opposition to abortion become part of the Religious Right's 
program? According to Weyrich, once these evangelical leaders had mobilized in 
defense of Bob Jones University, they held a conference call to discuss the 
possibility of other political activities. Several people suggested possible issues, 
and finally a voice on the end of one of the lines said "How about abortion?" And 
that, according to Weyrich, was how abortion was cobbled into the agenda of the 
Religious Right - in the late 1 970s, not as a direct response to the January 1 973 Roe 
V. Wade decision. 

Another element of Paul Weyrich 's statement merits closer examination. 
Looking back on the formation of the Religious Right, Weyrich insisted that 
opposition to abortion was not the precipitating cause behind evangelical political 
activism. His alternate explanation reads as follows: "What changed their mind was 
Jimmy Carter's intervention against Christian schools, trying to deny them tax- 
exempt status on the basis of so-called de facto segregation." 

Here, Weyrich displays his genius for political maneuvering and chicanery. 
The Internal Revenue Service had initiated its action against Bob Jones University 
in 1970, and they informed the school in 1975 that it would revoke its tax 
exemption. Jimmy Carter was still running for the Democratic nomination when 
Bob Jones University received that news, and he was inaugurated president on 
January 20, 1977, precisely one full year and a day after the IRS finally rescinded 
the school's tax-exempt status. And yet, according to Weyrich, it was "Jimmy 
Carter's intervention against Christian schools" that precipitated the rise of the 
Religious Right. 

As president of the United States in the final years of the 1970s, Carter was 
dealt a bad hand - the Arab Oil Embargo and the concomitant energy crisis, high 
interest rates, the Iranian hostage situation - and it is a hand that, in many respects, 
he played badly. But he also fought against some lavishly funded, highly organized, 
and fiendishly deceptive opponents who would do almost anything to undermine 
him. Weyrich' s attribution to Carter of the IRS action against Bob Jones University 
provides a case in point. Even though the action was consummated a fiill year 
before Carter even took office, when Gerald Ford was still president, Weyrich 
succeeded in pinning this unpopular action on the Democratic president and using it 
to organize a movement to deny him reelection in 1980. 

One of the many ironies surrounding the Religious Right, of course, is that 
evangelicals had helped sweep Carter to victory in the presidential election of 1976. 
His rhetoric about being a "bom again Christian" had energized evangelicals, many 
of whom had been resolutely apolitical until the mid-1970s. His improbable run for 
the presidency, his candor about his religious convictions, and his promise to restore 
probity to the White House resonated with many Americans, especially after having 
endured Richard Nixon's endless prevarications. But no group responded more 
enthusiastically than evangelicals themselves. Many of them registered to vote for 
the first time in order to cast their ballots for the Sunday-school teacher from Plains, 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Georgia, and even televangelist Pat Robertson later boasted that he had done 
everything short of violating FCC regulations to ensure Carter's election. 

Not all evangelicals were enthusiastic about Carter, however. Tim LaHaye 
insisted that he had been suspicious from the beginning. Once they had galvanized 
as a political movement, leaders of the Religious Right claimed that Carter's 
unwillingness to outlaw abortion provided a compelling reason to work against him 
- Carter had taken the position during the 1976 campaign that he was "personally 
opposed" to abortion but that he did not want to make it illegal - but that was a 
retrospective judgment because evangelicals did not embrace abortion as an issue 
until the 1980 campaign. 

What about other issues that fed the rise of the Religious Right? Phyllis 
Schlafly, a Roman Catholic, had been opposing the proposed equal rights 
amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but the issue had little traction among 
evangelicals in the early 1970s. As the Religious Right was gearing up in 
preparation for the 1980 election, however, Beverly LaHaye started a new 
organization. Concerned Women for America, in 1979, claiming that she resented 
the assumption on the part of feminist leaders that they spoke for all women. 

The decision on the part of the Religious Right to oppose feminism as part 
of their agenda was a curious one. Following the lead of Charles Finney and 
Phoebe Palmer and Sarah Lankford and countless Quaker women, evangelicals had 
been in the forefront of the women's rights movement throughout the nineteenth 
century and into the twentieth century. An essential part of the argument for 
women's suffrage was that women could bring moral arguments to bear on social 
issues, especially temperance. Given their own legacy, evangelical women should 
have been marching beside people like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan in the 
women's movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and one can only speculate about the 
ways in which America might have looked different in the final decades of the 
twentieth century had they done so. At the very least, it seems likely that an 
evangelical presence in the women's movement might have curbed some of the 
more radical elements of feminism. But that, of course, is speculation. Instead, the 
leaders of the Religious Right, who were and are overwhelmingly male, opposed the 
women's movement, thereby betraying evangelicalism's own heritage as 
nineteenth-century feminists. 

In their search for a comprehensive political agenda, the leaders of the 
Religious Right grabbed onto such issues as support for Israel, derived from their 
chiliastic reading of biblical prophecies, and the abolition of the Department of 
Education. But in establishing a social agenda, which they insisted was based 
directly on the teachings of scripture, they ignored the issue of divorce in favor of 
opposition to abortion and, later, homosexuality. 

On the face of it, this was a curious move. The Bible, not to mention Jesus 
himself, says a great deal about divorce - and none of it good. The Bible says 
relatively little about homosexuality and probably nothing at all about abortion, 
though pro-life advocates routinely cite a couple of verses. Jesus himself said 
nothing whatsoever about sexuality, though he did talk a good bit about money. 
Still, the preponderance of the biblical witness, which the Religious Right claims as 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: IV 

formative, is directed toward the believer's responsibility to those Jesus calls "the 
least of these," toward an honoring of the meek and peacemakers, and, on social 
matters, against divorce. Yet the Religious Right made no attempt to outlaw 

Why is that? First, the divorce rate among evangelicals by the late 1970s, 
when the Religious Right was gearing up, was roughly the same as that of the larger 
population. Second, the person that the Religious Right exalted as their political 
savior in 1980 was Ronald Reagan, a divorced and remarried man who, as governor 
of California, had signed a bill into law legalizing abortion. The Religious Right's 
designation of abortion and homosexuality as the central issues of their social 
agenda allowed them to divert attention from their embrace of Reagan but also to 
locate "sin" outside of the evangelical subculture (or so they thought). 

This attempt to externalize the enemy proved effective. By the logic of 
their own professed fidelity to the scriptures, the leaders of the Religious Right 
should have been working to make divorce illegal, except in cases of infidelity. Not 
more difficult, but illegal, because they seek to outlaw abortion. Instead, they have 
chosen to be draconian on abortion and homosexuality, even though the biblical 
mandate on those matters is considerably more ambiguous. The Religious Right's 
opposition to abortion has been weakened, moreover, by its insistent refusal to be 
consistently "pro-life." Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, which, following the 
lead of the late Joseph Bemardin, archbishop of Chicago, has talked about a 
"consistent life ethic," the leaders of the Religious Right have failed to condemn 
capital punishment or even the use of torture by the Bush administration. The 
failure to oppose capital punishment and torture leaves the Religious Right open to 
the charge that their agenda is driven by hard-right ideologues rather than by moral 
conviction. And what do we make of the fact that the Republican-Religious Right 
coalition has controlled all three branches of the federal government since Samuel 
Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court on February 1, 2006, and yet this 
coalition has made no effort to outlaw abortion? 

Despite the internal contradictions and ironies surrounding the Religious 
Right, no one can deny its political effectiveness. The Religious Right more than 
likely provided the margin of victory for Reagan in 1980 over two evangelical 
opponents: Carter, the incumbent, and John B. Anderson, Republican member of 
Congress from Illinois who was running as an independent. The Religious Right 
help to reelect Reagan four years later and to elect Reagan's vice president, George 
H. W. Bush, in 1988, even though the support fi"om politically conservative 
evangelicals was considerably more tepid. The Religious Right viewed the Clinton 
years as something of an interregnum; as someone shaped by the Baptist tradition in 
the South and as someone clearly at ease behind the pulpit of an African American 
congregation, Clinton was able to siphon enough evangelical votes away fi-om the 
Republicans to win election in 1992 and reelection four years later. 

The Religious Right never forgave Clinton for interrupting their 
ascendancy. With the emergence of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, they pounced 
with a vengeance, and their failure to remove him from office by impeachment was 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

a source of unmitigated disappointment. They finally had Clinton in their sights, 
but the Senate failed to pull the trigger, despite the Republican majority. Ed 
Dobson and Cal Thomas, both of them former assistants to Jerry Falwell, published 
a bitter lamentation about the betrayal of the Religious Right by the political 
process. Their book. Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save America?, 
answered the subtitle with an emphatic no. Politics, they argued, was an arena of 
compromise, not suited to religious convictions. Besides, what had the Republican 
Party actually delivered to politically conservative evangelicals? 

A fair question. No one can deny the political influence of the Religious 
Right or the leaders' proximity to powerful politicians. Since the 1980s, politically 
conservative evangelicals have supplied the Republican Party with the foot soldiers 
that labor unions once provided for the Democratic Party. But what have 
evangelicals received in return? 

Both Reagan and George H. W. Bush (who had run for the Republican 
presidential nomination in 1980 as a pro-choice Republican) promised a 
constitutional amendment banning abortion, but neither made a serious effort to 
amend the Constitution. Reagan appointed C. Everett Koop, an evangelical and an 
abortion opponent, to the position of surgeon-general, and Gary Bauer held a policy 
position in the Reagan White House. But the legislative accomplishments of the 
Religious Right, despite the putative allegiance of a majority of Congress to the 
agenda of the Religious Right, is negligible. Even George W. Bush's much- 
trumpeted faith-based initiatives program has fallen far short of his promises; 
according to Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, by David Kuo, 
formerly the assistant in Bush's office of faith-based initiatives. Bush had delivered 
only $80 million of the $8 billion dollars he promised to the program, less than 1 
percent. "In 2004 we really did break our necks to turn out the vote, James Dobson 
complained in September 2004. "For the two years since then, I have been 
extremely disappointed with what the Republicans have done with the power they 
were given." 

The Rise of the Religious Right in the late 1970s and its pandering after 
power provides an important lesson about evangelicalism. The widespread attempt 
on the part of the Religious Right to compromise the First Amendment - by means 
of faith-based initiatives, public prayer in public schools, the use of taxpayer 
vouchers for religious schools, emblazoning the Ten Commandments and other 
religious sentiments on public places - all of these efforts ultimately undermine the 
faith by identifying it with the state and by suggesting that the faith needs the 
imprimatur of the government for legitimacy. After Judge Myron Thompson ruled 
(correctly) that the granite monument placed by Roy Moore in the lobby of the 
Alabama Judicial Building represented a violation of the First Amendment's 
establishment clause, one of the protesters screamed, "Get your hands off my God!" 
This protester may have forgotten that one of the commandments etched into that 
block of granite said something about graven images, but the entire incident 
illustrated the dangers of trivializing or fetishizing the faith by associating it with 
the state. The overwhelming lesson of American religious history is that religion, 
especially evangelicalism, has flourished here as nowhere else precisely because we 


Critical Junctures in American Evangelicalism: IV 

have followed Roger Williams's dictum that the church should remain separate 
from the state, lest the "garden of the church" be overcome by the "wilderness of 
the world." 

The other lesson for evangelicals in American religious history is that 
religion always functions best at the margins of society and not in the councils of 
power. Methodism of the nineteenth century comes to mind, as does Mormonism 
and the holiness movement. In the twentieth century, pentecostalism provides the 
best example of a religious movement operating at the fringes of society - and 
flourishing. When the faith panders after political power or cultural respectability, 
however, it loses its prophetic edge. The failure of the Religious Right to condemn 
the Bush administration's policies on torture provides perhaps the most egregious 
example. But twentieth-century American history provides another example as 
well: the white-middle-class aspirations of mainline Protestants and the ecumenical 
movement in the cold war era that led to an enervation of mainline Protestantism. 
Paradoxically, it was the resurgence of evangelicalism, coming from the margins, 
that re-energized Protestantism. Now, because of the Religious Right's dalliance 
with the Republican Party in the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth 
century, it is evangelicalism itself that stands in need of renewal. 

And there is evidence that this is already taking place. Midway through 
George W. Bush's second term in office, in the face of economic stagnation, 
policies that overwhelmingly favor the affluent, indifference toward the poor and 
the environment, and moral malpractice in the use of torture and the conduct of the 
war in fraq, evangelical voices have begun to rise in opposition, calling 
evangelicalism to its better self Evangelicals like Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo 
are beginning to be heard, and a new group calling itself "Red Letter Christians," a 
reference to the words of Jesus in many editions of the New Testament, organized 
in September 2006 to offer an alternative evangelical voice. Indeed, history may 
very well judge the ascendancy of the Religious Right in the final decades of the 
twentieth century as an aberration because of its distortion of the New Testament 
and its failure to honor the legacy of nineteenth-century evangelical activists. 

Because of its malleability, its populism, and its uncanny knack to speak 
the idiom of the culture, evangelicalism will continue to be America's folk religion 
well into the twenty-first century. The mechanisms for course corrections are 
inherent to evangelicalism, which has always remained remarkably free of the 
institutional machinery of episcopacy, creed, tradition, or denominational 
bureaucracy. And the unparalleled ability to communicate to the masses, from the 
open-air preaching of George Whitefield in the eighteenth century to the stadium 
crusades of Billy Graham in the twentieth century, has always ensured that 
evangelicalism remains accessible to all Americans. 

The history of evangelicalism in America reveals its suppleness, its infinite 
adaptability to cultural circumstances. The adoption of a novel configuration of 
church and state in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries provides one example, 
and the theological shift from Calvinism to Arminianism in the new nation provides 
another. The move from postmillennialism to premillermialism may have had the 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

unfortunate effect of removing evangelicals from the arena of social amelioration, 
but it was an understandable response to the seismic social and demographic shifts 
of the nineteenth century. Evangelicals responded to the fundamentalist-modernist 
controversy and to the Scopes frial by constructing and burrowing into their own 
subculture, and the rise of the Religious Right in the late 1970s represented a 
response to the perceived attacks on the sanctity of the subculture. The attempt on 
the part of the leaders of the Religious Right to obfuscate the real origins of the 
movement suggests a level of deception that should be disturbing to any believer. 
The effect of the Religious Right has been to deliver the faith into the captivity of 
right-wing politics. 

Evangelicalism has profoundly shaped American history and culture. The 
challenge facing evangelicals now in the early years of the twenty-first century lies 
in finding a way to reclaim the faith from the depredations and distortions of the 
Religious Right. 


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Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Never Without a Witness: The Apocrypha and Spiritual Formation 

By David A. deSilva* 

The Protestant Christian who reads her Old and New Testaments hstening 
for God's Word might suppose that God fell silent between his people's return from 
the Babylonian exile until the Word-made-Flesh began to speak anew. But, in fact, 
we serve the God who was never without a witness, who never left God's people 
without the knowledge of God's counsels. This is good news for us who count on 
God to speak not just in the fixed forms and limited time of the Scriptures, but 
rather to make his living voice known in every age — including the present 

The intertestamental period was far from silent. It was a fertile period in 
which the faith of the ancestors was being re-imagined and re-appropriated for the 
rapidly-changing circumstances of life under the shadow first of Greece and then of 
Rome, both at home in Israel and abroad in the Diaspora. The absence of prophets 
did not mean the absence of the voice of God, as spiritual teachers listened for 
God's word in their sacred texts, experienced God's presence through their spiritual 
disciplines, and called one another to continue to order their lives around the God 
who was the source of all life. It was a period full of witnesses to life with God, 
whether they gave that witness in their lives and deaths, or recorded that witness in 
writing to nurture future generations of disciples. 

Now these witnesses, you might argue, were not perfect. You might say 
that they were merely human writers. But if that is so, even then we must give ear 
to them, at least with the same earnest attention that we give to the most popular 
human authors whose spiritual advice we cherish today. But there is still an 
important difference. There is no doubt that the works of a Max Lucado or Rick 
Warren represent the finest devotional fruit that blossoms on the tree that is the 
church, and many are nourished and delighted by this fruit. But the authors of the 
Apocrypha are located deeper down among the roots of that tree. The apostles 
themselves drew their nourishment from these roots as the tree began to sprout 
when it was but a young sapling. In the most formative centuries of our faith. 
Christian teachers mined these books as rich treasure troves on the life lived with 
God, and the life of responding to God. The whole tree has continued to be 
nourished by them, even though some of its branches do not seem to know it. 

We can derive much wisdom from our spiritual forebears who left us the 
books that Protestants call the Apocrypha, that Catholic and Orthodox Christians 
intersperse throughout their Old Testaments as part of their Scriptures. As the 
apostles discovered, we too will find that these pious Jews offer valuable spiritual 
direction for our journey toward Christ-likeness and for our growth in our life with 

* David A. deSilva (Ph.D., Emory University) in Trustees' Professor of New 
Testament and Greek at ATS. 


Never Without a Witness: The Apocrypha and Spiritual Formation 

Their first word to us would be that life with God requires awareness. It I 
requires that we give our attention to God and God's provisions for hfe in his 
presence, which is itself a discipline when we are surrounded by so many other 
focal points competing for that attention. Life with God requires awareness of\ 
God's gifts. For all its variety, the literature contained in the Apocrypha is 
dominated by a central theme — the challenge of holding onto the awareness of the 
value of the covenant way of life in the midst of a dominant Gentile society whose 
own way of life promises more immediate and impressive enjoyment of this world's 
goods. During this period the high priests themselves would lead the Jerusalem 
aristocracy toward seeking out Greek learning, Greek customs, Greek forms of 
government. Jewish elites in every land would be drawn to look away from their 
own heritage toward becoming sufficiently acculturated to the Greek way of life to 
become "players" in the larger economical, political, and cultural spheres. 

In this environment, on the eve of the most extreme attempts to re-make 
Jerusalem after the model of the Greek city, a Jewish sage named Ben Sira set up 
his school in Jerusalem, teaching the young elites of the city about the way to live 
wisely and make their way profitably in the world. At a time when many such 
teachers might have been emphasizing the importance of learning how to adapt to 
the Greek way of life, Ben Sira sprinkles his teachings with reminders of the 
distinctive gifts that God has given Israel, especially the gift of the covenant, the 
gift of the Law. To those seeking Wisdom, Ben Sira directed them first toward the 
Wisdom that God provided them, a wisdom that was far more valuable than all the 
wisdom of the Gentiles: 

"I came forth from the mouth of the Most High... 

I dwelt in the highest heavens... 

Over every people and nation I have held sway. 

Among these I sought a resting place; ' 

in whose territory should I abide? 

Then the Creator of all things gave me a command, 

He said, 'Make your dwelling in Jacob.' 

Wisdom continues: 

"... Come to me, you who desire me, 

and eat your fill of my fruits. 

Whoever obeys me will not be put to shame, 

and those who work with me will not sin." 

All this is the book of the covenant of the Most High God, 

the Law that Moses commanded us. (Ben Sira 24, passim) 

Ben Sira points his students to the rich spiritual resource that God has already given 
them, namely the Torah. Many of their peers had forgotten its value in their desire 
to get "more" of what the Greek world has to offer. They had lost their awareness 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

of the value of God's provisions as the foundation for a life lived with honor, 
success, integrity, wholeness, and security. Because of this lack of mindfulness, 
Ben Sira's contemporaries have begun to be seduced to seek the satisfaction of their 
core longings apart from God and God's covenant, a path that put the nation in 
considerable jeopardy in the decade following Ben Sira's death. 

Ben Sira, then, would counsel us to center our hearts and our minds in a 
deepening awareness of God's gifts to us. Foremost among these is the gift of 
God's presence and oversight of our lives, God's nearness to hear, to guide, to 
deliver. This is something to which the other authors of the Apocryphal books 
would also repeatedly draw our attention, as would the author of the Letter to the 
Hebrews: "let us approach the throne of favor with boldness, so that we may 
receive mercy and find favor for timely help" (Heb 4:16), whether that help takes 
the form of comfort, guidance, strength in temptation, deep healing or 
transformation. God's presence and guidance comes alive for the Christian disciple 
especially through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is, indeed, that 
promised inheritance that Christ has secured for all who join themselves to 
Abraham and the people of promise through him (Gal 3:14). The Spirit writes the 
Law upon our hearts and enables us to live in line with God's just decrees more 
completely than the Law with which God graced God's historic people Israel, to 
which Ben Sira points. 

In our hunger for "more" in this world, we are put in jeopardy of becoming 
forgetful of God's many gifts already bestowed upon us, forgetful of the fact that 
"his divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness through the 
knowledge of him who called us" (2 Peter 1:3), a provision that leads us to share in 
God's very nature. Life with God begins as we keep our minds focused on God's 
gifts to us. These gifts include: redemption, the Holy Spirit, the spiritual guidance 
of Scripture and of the cloud of witnesses that have devoted themselves to growing 
in awareness of God's gifts and paths (the conversation of the sages, for Ben Sira), 
God's coming to us in the sacraments, including the sacrament of the present 
moment whenever we open up the moment to God's intervention. Such a centering 
on God's gifts opens us up to the awareness of how rich we truly are in God, and 
how full life becomes when we live out of this center. 

Their second counsel to us might be that life with God requires humility. 
Among the Apocrypha are two confessions of sin and prayers for forgiveness and 
deliverance — the Prayer of Azariah and the Prayer of Manasseh. Like the biblical 
psalms, these two beautiftil prayers model for us the honesty that we are to have 
before God about our own failings, and our utter dependence on God both for 
forgiveness where we have gone astray and for any progress that we make in 
growth as disciples. Our successes in the journey of discipleship come from God's 
investment in us, for his name's sake and for the manifestation of his character as 
the God of those who repent. 

Manasseh was the most wicked king of Judah. It was on account of him 
that God's decree of devastation and exile would not be reversed. Unlike the story 
in 1 Kings 21, however, the story in 2 Chronicles 33 speaks of Manasseh himself 


Never Without a Witness: The Apocrypha and Spiritual Formation 

going into exile and repenting of his deeds, and of God accepting his prayer and 
restoring him. We even find a reference to the text of his prayer being preserved in 
the Annals of the Kings (2 Chron 33:18-20). This provided an opportunity for a 
pious author to re-create, as it were, that prayer of repentance as a testimony both to 
the limitless mercy of God and to the place of repentance in the process of 
transformation. In so doing, he did not merely create a piece of historical fiction. 
Early Christians recognized that the Prayer of Manasseh was also the prayer of 
every soul before the Holy God, and therefore did not preserve the prayer as a piece 
of history in connection with 2 Chronicles 33. Rather, they preserved it within the 
liturgical context of biblical prayers gathered together in the "Odes," a supplement 
to the Psalter found in fifth, sixth, and seventh century copies of the Greek Bible. 

O Lord, according to your great goodness you have promised 
repentance and forgiveness to those who have sinned against you, 
and in the multitude of your mercies you have appointed 
repentance for sinners, so that they may be saved. Therefore you, 
O Lord, God of the righteous, have not appointed repentance for 
the righteous, for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, who did not sin 
against you, but you have appointed repentance for me, who am a 
sinner. (Prayer of Manasseh 1:7-8) 

The author calls us to approach God with the humility to recognize that we stand 
not among the righteous who need no repentance, but that God has appointed 
repentance for us, for me. 

And now I bend the knee of my heart, imploring you for your 
kindness. I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, and I 
acknowledge my transgressions. I earnestly implore you, forgive 
me, O Lord, forgive me! (Prayer of Manasseh 1:1 1-13) 

The example of this prayer summons us to allow God's searching eye, and our own 
gaze, to look deeply within ourselves, and to allow that gaze to expose us as sinners 
and to have the humility of spirit to accept that designation, so that we may also 
receive the deep forgiveness and rehabilitation that God longs to provide. 

It's not necessarily that we're all that bad, that we need to beat ourselves 
up for some sin, or magnify some trifling offense. Nor is it the case that we need to 
motivate ourselves to do more and more so as to avoid any "sins of omission" by 
more effort. It may far more often be the case — I would venture to say for 
conscientious disciples like those who make room in their lives for spiritual 
formation conferences — that we rather need to keep bringing before God those 
parts of ourselves, our lives, our secret hopes that have not been established by 
God. This author counsels us to allow God's examination to break down all that is 
untransformed in our lives, all that we have erected to keep Christ out of those 
places, to hold onto our old selves in those places. He urges us to "bend the knees 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

of our hearts" more and more fully, yielding those poorly built strongholds to him, 
so that God may raise us up, build us up anew in those places in ways that reflect 
Christ alive in us now in those places as well. 

For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent, and in me you 

will manifest your goodness; for, unworthy as I am, you will save 

me according to your great mercy, and I will praise you 

continually all the days of my life. For all the host of heaven sings 

your praise, and yours is the glory forever. (Prayer of Manasseh 


The result of this process of examination, repentance, and humbling ourselves 

before God for the transformation of our lives is also one that teaches humility. The 

process does not serve our own aggrandizement, but the glorification of God, the 

ultimate purpose for our lives as God's creatures. As we are redeemed by God 

from death-bound drives and behaviors, God's character as "the Lord Most High, 

of great compassion, long-suffering, and merciful" (Prayer of Manasseh 7) is 

revealed by the results in us and our lives. 

The second prayer, the Prayer of Azariah, counsels humility from another 
important angle. What do we do when the circumstances around us move us to cry 
out for deliverance? What happens when we find ourselves in the furnace? The 
story of Daniel's three companions becomes the occasion for the composition of 
another prayer. When Azariah, Mishael, and Hananiah were cast into the furnace 
having just made their bold declaration of loyalty to the One God, with what words 
did they address themselves to God? Again, a pious Jew of the post-prophetic 
period supplied them with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of thanksgiving, 
both of which continue to be used in the worship life of the Christian church. 

Reflecting on all the ills that have befallen wayward Israel, and thus 
including himself, Azariah prays: 

Blessed are you, O Lord, God of our ancestors, and worthy of 
praise; and glorious is your name forever! For you are just in all 
you have done; all your works are true and your ways right, and 
all your judgments are true. You have executed true judgments in 
all you have brought upon us and upon Jerusalem, the holy city of 
our ancestors; by a true judgment you have brought all this upon 
us because of our sins. For we have sinned and broken your law 
in turning away from you; in all matters we have sinned 
grievously. (Prayer of Azariah 3-5) 

It belongs here to humility to acknowledge God's justice, to hold fast to the 
conviction that God is in the right. / may not be in the right, and may therefore 
need to submit myself to God's righteousness, seeking what God's justness means 
in my circumstances, conforming my perception to God's. My people may not be 
in the right, and indeed sometimes the sins which we must confess are not our own 


Never Without a Witness: The Apocrypha and Spiritual Formation 

individually, but those of our congregation, our denomination, our nation, or ouri 
race. My circumstances may not be right, such that I need to look for God's^ 
conforming these circumstances to his justice, the basis for the hope of the( 
oppressed being that God is just and brings about justice. But God is always in thei 
right. Once again, it requires humility to acknowledge God's rightness, to search] 
out the meaning of God's rightness for my situation, and to look assuredly for the 
manifestation of God's righteousness in the future. 

The author lays out the ultimate basis for his plea for deliverance for his 

For your name's sake do not give us up forever, and do not annul 
your covenant. '^ Do not withdraw your mercy from us, for the 
sake of Abraham your beloved and for the sake of your servant 
Isaac and Israel your holy one, to whom you promised to 
multiply their descendants like the stars of heaven and like the 
sand on the shore of the sea. Do not put us to shame, but deal with 
us in your patience and in your abundant mercy. (Prayer of 
Azariah 13-14, 19) 

We are led by his example not to expect God to deliver us on the basis of our 
former service, our dedication to God, or anything else that is our own. Rather, in 
humility we are led to place all our expectation for deliverance first on the basis of 
God's name being associated with us, that earlier act of God's grace by which God 
named us his own and pledged himself to us, and next on the basis of God's 
commitment to those spiritual ancestors to whom God has pledged himself or taken 
delight, under whose spiritual aegis we gather. For the author of this prayer, this 
means Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for those who have joined themselves to God in 
the new covenant, this means Christ. Finally, we ground our hope for God's 
response to us once again in God's own character as generous of spirit toward the 

At no point does this spiritual guide allow us to find our own acts of piety 
to be a source of pride before God: 

In our day we have no ruler, or prophet, or leader, no burnt 
offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, no place to make an 
offering before you and to find mercy. Yet with a contrite heart 
and a humble spirit may we be accepted, as though it were with 
burnt offerings of rams and bulls, or with tens of thousands of fat 
lambs; such may our sacrifice be in your sight today. (Prayer of 
Azariah 15-17) 

There is no trace of this author presuming to do God a service by taking the time to 
pray, or by giving God attention. Rather, he is painfiiUy aware that he cannot offer 
God the holy and perfect service that is God's due (here, under the historical 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

circumstances of being unable to offer the prescribed sacrifices in the prescribed 
sanctuary with the prescribed staff). He acknowledges humbly that it is an act of 
kindness and favor on God's part to receive our acts of prayer, praise, and 
confession, modeling this as the appropriate spirit in which to approach God. 
Finally, the author points us to the proper goal for all our prayers: 

Deliver us in accordance with your marvelous works, and bring 
glory to your name, O Lord. Let all who do harm to your 
servants be put to shame; let them be disgraced and deprived of 
all power, and let their strength be broken. Let them know that 
you alone are the Lord God, glorious over the whole world. 
(Prayer of Azariah 20-22) 

Humility manifests itself in acknowledging that the primary objective is the 
manifestation of God's honor in our lives and circumstances. Our vindication is not 
the final issue. The vindication of God's honor — God's name, that God has 
caused to dwell with us — is the final issue both in our deliverance and our 
enemies' discomfiture. This is a mark of humility in that it maintains the proper 
order of things: as dependent beings, our lives are a means to an end; as the infinite 
Creator, God's honor is that end. It is in this spirit that spiritual giants of the 
Christian tradition have always prayed, beginning with Jesus: "Hallowed be thy 

Several of these authors would surely counsel us that life with God 
requires discipline and investment. 4 Maccabees would probably be the first- 
century equivalent of Richard Foster's The Celebration of Discipline. Its author 
writes in order to remind his audience of the immense value of the Law of Moses 
and the life lived in accordance with that Law. To do so, he presents the Jewish 
way of life — the Torah-driven life, if you will — as the path by which people 
could achieve the Greco-Roman ideal of the virtuous person, the person who had 
completely mastered his or her passions. Greek and Roman philosophers targeted 
the passions, by which they meant the emotions, the drives, and the physical 
sensations to which people were prone, as the principle obstacle to a consistent life 
of virtue. A person could exhibit courage or fortitude only if he mastered the 
emotions of fear or the physical sensations of pain that he would encounter in the 
midst of the challenges that called for courage. A person could exhibit justice only 
if she mastered the drive of greed that might cause her to withhold generosity from 
the poor, or the emotion of anger that might cause one not to honor an alliance, or 
the drive of lust that might drive one to violate a neighbor's marriage. A person 
could exhibit wisdom if he did not allow the prospect of short-term pain to deprive 
him of long-term gains to be won by perseverance. Keeping the passions in check, 
therefore, became an important focal point of Greco-Roman ethics. 

The author of 4 Maccabees regards the Torah as God's provision for the 
mastery of the passions, for keeping the passions in check and keeping the rational 
faculty — the faculty that knew the virtuous course of action — operating without 


Never Without a Witness: The Apocrypha and Spiritual Formation j 

impediments. All of the laws of Torah, even those we might consider obscure andi 
meaningless, find meaning in terms of how they train people to master their) 
passions and come more and more alive to the life of virtue. By prohibiting thei 
eating of pork or lobster, the Torah trained the pious Jew to curb her desire fori 
certain foods, teaching her to exercise self-control in small ways that would prepare 
for self-control in greater ways. By commanding the lending of money without 
interest and the cancellation of debts in the seventh year, the Torah trained the 
pious Jew to curb his greed and love for money, learning to make room for his 
neighbor's financial needs against his own inclinations to acquire more for himself. 
Exemplary stories like Joseph resisting the advances of Pharaoh's wife or Moses's 
restraint in dealing with his rivals taught the pious Jew to resist giving in to lust or 

The author builds up to his climax by showing how the disciplined life of 
Torah lay behind the remarkable achievements of certain Jewish martyrs, who 
allowed themselves to be tortured to death rather than breaking faith with the 
covenant. Defending the nobility of the Jewish way of life against the arguments of 
the tyrant Antiochus IV, the martyr Eleazar says "you scoff at our way of life as if 
living by it were irrational, but it teaches us self-control, so that we master all 
pleasures and desires, and it trains us in courage, so that we endure any suffering 
willingly; it instructs us in justice, so that in all our dealings we act impartially, and 
it teaches us piety, so that with proper reverence we worship the only living God" 
(4 Maccabees 5:22-24). It is this training that allows Eleazar, along with seven 
brothers and their mother, to remain true to their commitment to honor God and 
walk in God's ways rather than be defeated in their purpose by the tyrant's coercive 

The path to moral consistency — even in the face of seemingly 
insurmountable pressures to act contrary to one's religious commitments and 
personal integrity — is laid through the disciplined life. The author values Torah 
observance as promoting that disciplined life that exercises one in ways that enable 
one to achieve mastery of the passions, to make progress in virtue in both small and 
great ways. The example of the martyrs provides the extreme case that proves that 
Torah observance leads to the mastery of the passions. Their example, however, 
also demonstrates the value of all the smaller victories over the passions — the 
regular, disciplined occasions for learning to master the passions — that the Torah- 
led life inculcates. He articulates an approach to Torah-obedience that is not 
legalistic, but that is intent on discovering the fi*eedom that the law-filled life can 

He would ask us, then: "where do you find those disciplines that enable 
you, through constant exercise, to master the drives and experiences of your 
untransformed nature, so that you can experience greater freedom and growth in the 
life with God?" While we live no longer under the Torah, the Holy Spirit still leads 
us forward in the same contest to master the passions. Paul writes to the Christians 
in Galatia: "Live by the spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what 
the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

the flesh.... And those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the flesh with its 
passions and desires" (Gal 5:16-17, 24). Paul and the author of 4 Maccabees share 
a fundamental conviction — to be most fully alive to God, we need to be most fully 
available to the virtuous inclinations and desires that God's Spirit plants within us. 
And we need to make room for these inclinations and desires by dying to the 
inclinations and desires that our untransformed self continues to cast up into our 
minds. Moreover, they share the conviction that the stakes involved here are very 
high. The martyrs understand that yielding to the passions (for example, of fear and 
pain) leads to alienation from God, whereas mastery of the passions for the sake of 
remaining faithful unto death leads to eternal life in God's presence. Paul puts it in 
the familiar words: "If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap decay from the 
flesh; if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirif (Gal 6:8). 

The Holy Spirit has, through the history of spiritual formation and spiritual 
direction in the Christian church, implanted disciplined practices that fulfill much 
the same function as the Torah-led life fulfilled for the author of 4 Maccabees. 
Fasting in various forms, prayer vigils, or seeking simplicity of life are all practices 
deeply rooted in the Christian tradition that train us in little ways to master our 
drives and impulses so as to better equip us to master them in larger ways as well, 
when the pressures to yield the mastery are greatest. Practicing these spiritual 
disciplines is not a matter of legalism, of fasting only in a certain way, or feeling 
guilty when we begin a night in a prayer vigil and end up sleeping in the presence 
of the Lord. It is a matter of training ourselves continuously to prioritize the life 
with God over the life of our natural inclinations, so that we discover ever greater 
degrees of freedom in Christ fi*om the passions and desires of the flesh, trusting that 
every small exercise trains us for faithful outcomes in greater trials. Our culture 
elevates self-gratification to the level of a core value or non-negotiable good. The 
disciple who would grow in the knowledge and love of God must embrace all the 
more the counter-cultural heritage of the church, ordering her life around the 
spiritual disciplines that train our desires on God rather than toward the world's 
addictive, short-term painkillers. 

Among the authors of the Apocrypha, we find another writer coming at the 
importance of investment and discipline for growth in the life with God from a 
quite different angle. 2 Esdras 3-14 is a Jewish apocalypse written toward the end 
of the first century AD. To read this book is to immerse oneself in the same 
thought world that one finds in Daniel and Revelation, placing oneself in the 
company of angels, of symbolic figures, of monstrous beasts, of series of 
disruptions of the natural order, and of mighty deliverers. 

The author of 2 Esdras goes there to wrestle with some very difficult 
questions. Jerusalem had been destroyed again by a Gentile power, this time the 
armies of the Roman Empire in 70 CE. Thirty years later, contrary to all 
expectation, God still hasn't done anything to punish the Romans for their violence 
and bloodshed. Instead, the people who never gave a thought about worshiping the 
One God continue to flourish, while the people who at least tried to follow God's 
commandments are scattered and demoralized. Where was God's justice in all this? 


Never Without a Witness: The Apocrypha and Spiritual Formation 1 

How could the author make sense of his traditional beliefs — for example, that GodI 
indeed chose Israel for God's self and even made the world for the sake of! 
Abraham's offspring? What good was there in trying to keep the commandments; 
when it was so difficult, when the evil inclination within the human being kept! 
undermining his or her best efforts to attain God's promises through obedience? 

The author tries to see his situation from the perspective of Ezra, the 
Jewish elder also faced with the problems of "reconstruction" after the first 
destruction of Jerusalem six centuries before. The final answers at which the author 
arrives are not our chief interest. Rather, it is in the example he sets for us, who 
also have to wrestle with our own tough, heart-wrenching, world-view-shaking 
questions along the journey with God. First, we see a person willing to invest his 
emotional and intellectual energies in honest, open, no-holds-barred conversation 
with God in prayer. The author has learned from the Psalmists and from Jeremiah 
the art of being transparent before God, of allowing himself that level of intimacy 
with God that is willing to bare all thoughts, questions, feelings, frustrations, pain 
— even accusation. No question, no topic is "off limits" in his prayer life, which is 
finally the only way in which he can open up those deep, sealed-off areas to God's 
restorative word and presence. 

Second, we see a person willing to invest enormous amounts of time in 
this process of wrestling with God. Receiving answers from God is easy. Getting 
to the place where we can receive God's answers, where we have arrived at the core 
issues that God needs to address in our life with him — that takes real work. The 
author begins at a place familiar, I would venture to suggest, to everyone here — 
being unable to sleep because of the thoughts that trouble him. These are not just 
the anxious thoughts that beset us, say, the night before giving an address to a 
thousand people, but the kinds of thoughts that gnaw at the core of our being, that 
deeply unsettle our spirits. How the author responds is instructive. This becomes a 
point of entry into extended prayer, taking those thoughts to God and following 
them wherever they lead, pouring out his whole self to God and looking expectantly 
for how God will move. This leads him to the presence of a messenger of God, 
whose first task is to remind the author of who the author is and, by contrast, who 
God is — often a sufficient response in and of itself But the author keeps pressing 
forward to push through to the other side of this spiritual crisis. 

He follows the prompting of God's messenger, devoting himself to fasting, 
prayer, and completely honest self-disclosure before God for weeks at a time, at the 
end of each week being able to pull back another layer of the problem and to 
discover another dimension of God's answer. He puts business as usual on hold, 
despite the clamoring of the Jewish elders who try to call him back to his pastoral 
responsibilities — not realizing that the author is engaged most fully in those 
responsibilities when he is most fully seeking and listening to God. He takes 
significant time to be alone and seek God's face, and this brings him to the place 
where God can fully reveal God's counsels to him — not only for his resolution of 
his personal crisis, but for the equipping of the whole community of faith to deal 
with such challenges and discover the paths of God through their difficult times. It 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

would be too easy to overlook the final stage of his journey, where, having met God 
at his place of deepest questioning and need, he praises God continually for a final 
three days. 

If our own experience of God's ability to convey God's perspective on, 
and vision for, our situation — to give us an "apocalyptic adjustmenf — is 
somewhat less vivid than this author's, he would ask us how much of ourselves, our 
energies, our time we were committing to seeking that "apocalyptic adjustment." 
This is not to suggest that if you go out and fast for a month you'll see visions of 
heaven opened, but to suggest that if you devote ten minutes to prayer looking for 
God to resolve an issue that has taken deep hold in your life, and may indeed have 
taken years to develop, you're probably setting up unrealistic expectations. 
Someone has said that "our focus determines our reality," and focus develops 
through discipline over time. When the reality that we are seeking as our focus is 
the invisible God in the midst of a very present, imposing, visible world with its set 
of expectations and drives, our goal requires a lot of discipline and a lot of well- 
invested time. 

Life with God is, for us, like any other relationship: we have to protect our 
time that might be eaten up by professional duties, competing drives, empty 
entertainments, and pure waste, so that we can invest appropriately in that 
relationship. And if we really want to grow in that relationship, or break through 
some impasse in our relationship, or move to the next level in intimate 
communication, we need to set apart special time — often extended time — and 
order our lives around the relationships that are centrally important rather than try 
to fit those relationships into the leftovers of our lives. The author of 2 Esdras 
challenges us to sanctify hours of our days, days of our weeks, weeks of our years 
to God, offering what is, for mortal beings, perhaps the costliest sacrifice of all — 

If our spiritual directors from the intertestamental period could give us 
only one more word of spiritual counsel — and they certainly could give us many 
more such words — it would be that life with God requires eternity. We find 
especially the authors of 2 Maccabees and Wisdom of Solomon — the two books 
among the Apocrypha that probably exercised the greatest theological influence 
upon the early church — raising their voices to interject this point into our 
conversation. Life with God requires eternity first in the sense of requiring a belief 
in our own eternity. It requires that we be able to live life now with a view to a 
never-ending future with God, a long view that enables sacrificial discipleship and 
radical obedience in the here and now. Second Maccabees tells the story of the 
Hellenizing reforms that led to the all-out suppression of the practice of the Jewish 
way of life, then going on to tell of the first few years of the Maccabean revolution. 
In this text we again encounter the old priest Eleazar, the seven young brothers, and 
the mother of the seven faced with the choice: break faith with God by disobeying 
his commandments, or die wretchedly by being flayed and torn limb from limb. 
Convinced of God's power to raise God's faithful ones from the dead, and of God's 
commitment to deal justly with his faithful ones by doing so, they choose the latter. 


Never Without a Witness: The Apocrypha and Spiritual Formation 

They are remembered to have offered their bodies to God — giving their hves back i 
to the God who gave them hfe in the first — confident that God would respond to i 
his faithful clients' loyalty by renewing their lives beyond death. 

We truly hope never to be in their position, but we are similarly called to 
offer our lives and our bodies to God, to give back to him the life he gave us. "No 
longer offer your bodies to sin as instruments of wickedness, but offer yourselves to 
God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your bodies as 
instruments devoted to God's righteousness" (Rom 6:13); "I appeal to you, brothers 
and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy 
and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship" (Rom 12:1); "He died for 
all so that we might live no longer for ourselves, but for him who died and was 
raised on our behalf (2 Cor 5:15). We make this offering not in our death, as did 
the martyrs, but in our lives, as we die to our own agenda and come alive to serve 
God's desires for our lives, our families, our churches, our world. We make this 
ongoing offering knowing that our own hope for life beyond death is bound to our 
commitment to be conformed to the pattern of Jesus, the One who gave away his 
life his whole life long for the sake of God's redemption of God's creatures. 

Life with God requires eternity, finally, in the sense that the journey of 
discipleship keeps drawing us forward in a never-ending relationship with God. It 
is one in which the shadowy hints of life with God in the present eventually yield 
to the consummation of life with God in his real presence forever. The author of 
the Wisdom of Solomon identifies the failure to recognize "the secret purposes of 
God," namely that "God created us for incorruption, and made us in the image of 
God's own eternity" (Wis 2:22-23), as the fundamental mistake that so many people 
make. Instead, they attribute their existence to "mere chance" and death to be the 
final period on that existence. In the absence of discerning God's purposes and the 
full scope of what God plans for them, they fill their lives with counterfeit purposes 
— chiefly the acquisition of goods, the painkillers of pleasure, and the replacement 
of genuine purpose with the aimless exercise of power — that leave them empty 
and, ultimately, opposed to those who live for God. 

Those who set their hearts on discovering God's purposes and their minds 
on walking in God's paths, however, find their whole experience to be bathed in 
significance. Even adverse circumstances become a "trial" of their virtue, an 
opportunity to stretch and grow in their disciplined lives, a process of refinement: 
"having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested 
them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the fiimace he tried them, and 
like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them" (Wis 3:5-6). Rather than turning 
to numbing painkillers, they are able to face the difficult circumstances openly and 
triumph through them, discerning God's greater purposes — purposes leading to 
eternity. Wisdom, the "image of God's goodness," enters their souls and "makes 
them friends of God, and prophets" (Wis 7:27). Life with God deepens as we 
become more aware of these moments where eternity breaks into our time -bound 
existence, these traces of God's presence in and hand upon our everyday lives. 
Attending to those moments, creating space for them, living in response to them, 

Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

treasuring them — these things characterize people who hve now as those who will 
live forever, who grasp for more and more of God rather than more and more of this 
world's goods. And this points us to what is perhaps the most basic and necessary 
step of faith that we will take — to tiiist that God is indeed refashioning us in the 
image of God's own eternity, and to arrange our lives around facilitating that 
process as the first priority of each day of our existence. 


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Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

English Spirituality: A Review Article 

By Jerry R. Flora 

Gordon Mursell, English Spirituality. 2001. 2 vols. Louisville: Westminster 
John Knox Press. 548,580 pp. $39.95 ea. 

Imposing. Impressive. Intimidating. Such feelings must be normal 
when one first approaches Gordon Mursell 's history of Christian spirituality in 
England. In bulk the two blue volumes resemble the black tomes of Karl 
Earth's Church Dogmatics. With 1128 pages and more than 6000 fine-print 
notes, this is a work to be reckoned with. But it is also interesting and inviting. 
Mursell's clear style and pastoral approach make it a journey worth taking as he 
surveys almost two milleimia of faith. The massive documentation reveals that 
the author has read widely, deeply, and carefully. This is no quick overview, but 
a refined, nuanced discussion abounding in detail. From Regent College in 
Vancouver, veteran teacher and author James Houston writes, "This is the most 
comprehensive, scholarly, and up-to-date survey ... an essential guide and 
standard history of the subject" (dust jacket). 

Not yet sixty years of age, the Very Reverend Gordon Mursell is Area 
Bishop of Stafford in the Diocese of Lichfield. Bom in Surrey, he initially 
studied at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome. While there he lived 
with a family whose genuine faith caused him to begin taking Christianity 
seriously. Returning to England, he joined the Anglican Church, attended 
Oxford University's Brasenose College, and trained for ordination. Since then 
he has been a parish priest, an instructor in pastoral studies and spirituality, and 
provost and dean of Birmingham Cathedral. For much of the 1990s he was 
rector of St. Mary's Church, Stafford, where he did most of the research and 
writing for English Spirituality. He is in fi^equent demand as a speaker and 
teacher noted for his clarity, enthusiasm, and infectious humor. His interests 
include music and hill walking ~ not to mention his wife Anne, who is a 

Mursell was the editor of an earlier volume. The Story of Christian 
Spirituality: Two Thousand Years, from East to West (Fortress Press 2001). 
That collaborative effort surveyed the entire Christian spectrum, each chapter 
written by an expert in its area. Contributors included well-known authors such 
as Richard Burridge (Jesus and the origins of Christian spirituality), John 
McGuckin (the early fathers and the Eastern tradition), and Bradley Holt (the 
twentieth century). Mursell himself contributed the chapter on the Anglican 
spirit. Lavishly illustrated in color, the book is a visual feast. English 


English Spirituality: A Review Article 

Spirituality, by contrast, is a typical black-on-white production but made 
attractive by its orderly arrangement, clear writing, outstanding documentation, 
and error-free printing. With the United States being the child of England, it is 
both right and important for Americans to familiarize themselves with the 
contributions of English spirituality to our Christian heritage. This book offers 
just what is needed. The purpose of this article is to offer a rather full summary 
of its contents and briefly evaluate it. 

Mursell divides his history into eight major chapters as follows: 

1 . Context and background 

2. Anglo-Saxon spirituality 

3. Medieval spirituality (1066-1300) 

4. Late medieval spirituality ( 1 300- 1 500) 

5. "Spirituality, reformation and revolution" (1500-1700) 

6. English spirituality in the is"' century 

7. Spirituality and the Victorian age 

8. Spirituality in the 20* century 

Each chapter begins and ends with Mursell commenting on some piece of art or 
music, architecture or literature that encapsulates for him the spirituality of that 
period. Each chapter has its own bibliography and notes, and the volumes are 
separately indexed. 

Until now, the most nearly standard history in this area has probably 
been Martin Thornton's work of the same title: English Spirituality (1963, 
reissued 1986). That book, acknowledged by Mursell, is a generation old, much 
briefer (330 pages), and more narrowly focused. Its subtitle discloses the focus: 
An Outline of Ascetical Theology According to the English Pastoral Tradition. 
Thornton described his work as "essentially a pastoral book, aiming only at the 
needs of parish priests" (Thornton 1986, 19). In addition to his valuable, helpful 
treatment we now have the broadly conceived research, original writing, and 
massive documentation of Bishop Mursell. 

Volume I: From Earliest Times to 1700 
In chapter 1, "A Hard and Realistic Devotion," Mursell sets out the 
context and background of English spirituality. He acknowledges that both 
"spirituality" and "English" are concepts hard to define with precision. (He 
investigates only English spirituality. Scotland, Wales, and Ireland are not 
directly considered.) His choice is for an aspectival approach that cuts a broader 
swathe than Martin Thornton attempted. He moves quickly to delve into the 
spirituality of the Bible, noting that it is rich and complex because it contains 
Hebrew, Greek, and Roman cultures in its seedbed. What emerged in the early 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

centuries from such a background was sure to be variegated. In one valuable, 
compact paragraph the author describes important aspects of that variety: 
The eastern Christian tradition tended to take a more 
optimistic view of human nature and its capacity to be 
divinized, transformed into the very life of God; the western 
tradition, with a more negative view of humanity and a larger 
emphasis on the consequences of the Fall, emphasized this 
less, and tended to be more introspective. Furthermore, there 
existed in both east and west two different kinds of theology: 
apophatic theology held that God, always strictly unknowable, 
could be approached only through the mystery of love, and 
that the closer we come to God, the less we have to say about 
it. Cataphatic theology took a more affirmative view of 
human capacity to apprehend the reality of God. Both these 
exerted immense influence on the western Christian tradition 

The specifically Roman form of that tradition may have ended with the 
death of St. Augustine in A.D. 430, but his influence reigned supreme in Europe 
for the next thousand years. It was a conflation of Platonism and biblical 
thought which impacted all of western Christian spirituality. England, so close 
to Europe, would always be affected by what was happening in church and 
society across the Charmel. 

The methodology employed to investigate this, says Mursell, must 
consider not merely private experience, but social and political contexts; not 
merely power and domination, but intimacy and love. It must maintain the 
biblical tension "between structure and spontaneity, between priest and prophet, 
between the institutional and the charismatic" (1:20). Biblical spirituality sees 
this life as a journey toward a home which is always ahead, always in the ftiture. 
That means the spiritual life is an adventure - "the surest mark of its 
authenticity, and the best possible reason for studying it" (1:21). At numerous 
points in the two volumes the author will return to this conviction that Christian 
life and its spirituality is an adventure. 

Chapter 2, "The Seafarer: Anglo-Saxon Spirituality," surveys the 
greatest extent of time, moving from unknown beginnings into the 1 1"' century. 
How or when Christianity first came to England no one knows. Tertullian, 
writing ca. A.D. 208, mentioned Britons who were Christians, and three English 
bishops attended the Council of Aries in 314. Roman missionaries arrived at 
Canterbury in southern England in 597 to follow up earlier informal evangelistic 


English Spirituality: A Review Article 

efforts. At roughly the same time Celtic monk-evangelists from Ireland were 
penetrating western Scotland from lona and northeastern England from 
Lindisfame. But whether the faith in any given place tilted toward Rome or 
Ireland, it was always dominated by the monasteries. 

The monks did much to preserve the culture that preceded them, 
assimilating it or redirecting it to new ends. For instance, they took the popular 
Anglo-Saxon virtue of warfare and internalized it as spiritual combat with the 
Cross its weapon rather than the sword. Along with prayers for protection, 
asceticism and penance become important. However, as Mursell cautions, 
"monastic texts, religious art and penitentials tell us a great deal about how lay 
people were expected to pray, but very little about how they actually did" (1:45). 
This conmient might also apply to many of the following centuries. What is 
known is that there was emphasis on the communion of saints, and the church 
was seen as a symbol of the heavenly city. 

In the latter part of the chapter, as in every chapter, Mursell offers 
"individual studies" of persons who exemplify what he has discovered. For the 
period of Anglo-Saxon spirituality he highlights three: (1) St. Cuthbert of 
Lindisfame (d. 687), the monastic leader who exemplified holiness as then 
conceived; (2) the Venerable Bede, (d. 735), author of the first history of 
Christianity in England, whose spirituality called for a lived wisdom; and (3) 
Alcuin (d. 804), "one of the most attractive figures in the English spiritual 
tradition" (1:61), who taught for many years in Europe at the court of 
Charlemagne, who founded the Holy Roman Empire in A.D. 800. 

Throughout his two volumes Mursell attempts to credit leading women 
in the history as well as men. In the present chapter, for example, he singles out 
St. Leoba (ca. 700-780), a nun from a double monastery in Dorset. "She was a 
person of formidable intellectual power ... the equal of any Anglo-Saxon holy 
man.... Indeed in many respects Leoba could be taken as the classic exemplar 
of Anglo-Saxon monastic spirituality" (1:35). Might she then merit a full 
"individual study" rather than mere mention in passing? 

The influence of Europe continued strong in the 10*11* centuries, 
especially in reform movements among the monasteries. What remained as 
essential in Anglo-Saxon spirituality was "its vigorous eclecticism" which 
managed to blend "vernacular imagery and patristic sophistication, Irish 
exuberance and Roman sobriety, hero and holy man, with extraordinary 
success" (1:66). 

With chapter 3, "St. Godric and the Deer: Medieval Spirituality 
(1066-1300)," Mursell's survey enters a period of great transition. Although 
England had been assaulted in earlier Viking raids, defeat by the Normans at the 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 ■ >■ 

battle of Hastings (1066) bound the island more closely to western Europe than 
to Scandinavia. Reform movements occurring on the Continent had definite 
bearing on England, and the prevailing motif of the 12*-13"' centuries was one 
of "inexorable and fundamental change" (1:90). 

The earlier uncertain, even chaotic times were past, and a new social 
system was in place. Feudalism's hierarchical order pervaded every aspect of 
medieval society. In religion it meant 

God was the king's liege lord, the ruler of the world, the fount 

of all ordo, the ultimate protection against chaos. The angels 

were his principal vassals, the monks his elite troops, the true 

Christian his faithful follower doing homage to his heavenly 

lord (1:91). 

Along with this came a revival of classical learning as scholarship moved 

beyond the monasteries into the newly founded universities. Still, it was the 

time of "the last and greatest flowering of western Christian monasticism" 

(1:92). The Benedictine order, dominant for more than 500 years, was now 

joined by Cistercians (reformed Benedictines) and Carthusians. In addition, 

houses of canons were springing up - communities of persons who followed a 

religious rule but lived within a town rather than in an isolated area. One further 

trend caught on rapidly; namely, hermits or recluses dwelling alone on the edges 

of society in order to give themselves to prayer, fasting, the pursuit of 

perfection, and spiritual counsel. Earlier persons who answered this call had 

exemplified power and inspired fear. Now Godric, typical of the later time, 

saved the life of a deer and so demonstrated a holiness of beauty, compassion, 

and reverence more than force or fear. It was indeed a time of change. 

In each chapter of English Spirituality Mursell sets out a series of 
themes which he believes are specific to the period under discussion. In the 
medieval period, for example, discovery of individual selfhood and devotion to 
the humanity of Christ become prominent. Some might connect these to the 
slow, certain shift that was occurring among intellectuals away from exclusive 
dependence on Plato's eternal realities toward a more ready acceptance of 
Aristotle's this-worldly interest. The latter's devaluing of the feminine did not 
stop numbers of women from embracing the emerging spirituality. The 
suffering of Jesus, his noble manhood, and union with him in spiritual marriage 
emerge as important to devout women. "The celibate woman becomes not only 
a queen but a mother; and Christ is both lord, lover, and child" ( 1 : 102). 

From the 11* century on, parish clergy gradually replaced monastic 
clerics as guides for the laity. Preaching and the sacrament of penance came 
under their jurisdiction, the latter increasingly seen as substitute for pilgrimage 


English Spirituality: A Review Article 

to a holy site. With the growth of the new middle class, a number of lay-led 
organizations for spirituality arose. This was fueled by the arrival in England of 
European friars (Dominicans in 1221, Franciscans in 1224) committed to the 
religious life but free to move about from place to place. "As confessors, 
educators, and above all as preachers, the friars were able to address themselves 
to a range of issues which had never much troubled the monks: private 
property, money, usury, and much else besides" (1:109). 

Finally, illness and death were definitely to the fore in medieval 
English spirituality. Miracles of power tended to recede in reporting, and 
healing stories took on new prominence. Saints and angels (especially guardian 
angels) rose in importance as members of God's feudal court, "putting in a word 
for lesser mortals" (1:110). And hell, purgatory, and prayers for the dead all 
increased in size. 

Mursell concludes the chapter by offering individual studies of two 
figures influential in medieval English spirituality. Anselm of Canterbury (d. 
1109), sometimes called the second Augustine, differed fi"om his master in 
contending with doubt and anxiety more than heresy and unbelief His 
introspective Prayers and Meditations led him to picture Jesus and Paul as those 
who suffer and give birth - mother figures offering life and hope to the world. 
And, as is well known, Anselm assumed and incorporated the structures of 
feudal society in his approach to the atonement. 

Aelred of Rievaulx (d. 1 1 67) was largely responsible for the 
"astonishing spread of Cistercian influence and spirituality at the time" in 
England (1:123). His lifelong interest in the inner workings of the human 
psyche led him to think deeply about reason, friendship, love, and Jesus' 
motherhood as well as his Lordship. 

Chapter 4, "The Quest for the Suffering Jesus: Late Medieval 
Spirituality (1300-1500)," is nearly double the length of chapter 3 because so 
much more material is available. The 14* century in England was one of human 
unrest, natural disaster, and chaotic despair which historian Barbara Tuchman 
described in her bestseller A Distant Mirror (1978). In 1337 the Hundred Years 
War with France began. In 1378 a rival papacy was established at Avignon. In 
1381 the Peasants' Revolt broke out, in which city and country dwellers alike 
rebelled against government attempts to force them back into feudal serfdom. 
And at mid-century the so-called Black Death jumped fi-om Europe to England, 
ravaging the island and killing nearly half the population in eighteen months. 
Today many authorities believe it to be the greatest natural disaster in recorded 
history, some placing the death toll in Europe and Britain as high as 75 million 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Impacted by all these outward events, the English church was 
experiencing a crisis of faith. Rising individualism, fueled by many factors, 
challenged age-old assumptions in the career of Oxford's John Wyclif (d. 1384) 
and the resuhing Lollard movement. Although much still remains uncertain, 
Mursell is able to write, "What made Wyclif in particular, and Lollardy in 
general, so suspect in the eyes of contemporary churchmen was their shared 
emphasis on the importance and integrity of the individual over against the 
church" (1:171). While that movement was fostering family spirituality, the 
monastic orders were stagnating. No outstanding figure of the period was a nun 
or monk, and the expansion of the Carthusian order was due mainly to their 
favor among the royal court. Those living as solitaries (hermits, recluses) also 
grew in number, increasingly consulted as sources of spiritual guidance. 

Mursell identifies more diverse themes for the late medieval period 
than for any comparable time. One of the most important was the practice of 
penance, which now saw a flood of literature and devotion. More and more 
churches were built, and cathedrals multiplied their daily services. The dogma 
of transubstantiation had been officially promulgated in 1215. With Christ now 
believed to be physically present in the eucharistic bread, a related trend led to 
enclosing the high altars. 

The arduous journey of life required companions and protectors, and 
their number grew in size and significance. The cult of saints, prayers to 
guardian angels, the cult of the Virgin, devotion to the name of Jesus, to the 
Christ child, and ~ above all ~ to the wounds of Jesus marked the time. The 
earlier Anglo-Saxon preference for Christ as victor over death, the one who 
harrows hell, was now replaced by the tortured one vividly and viscerally 
portrayed. There was great emphasis on the universal reality of human death. 
Contemplating one's own demise, prayers for the dead, and the establishment of 
chantries multiplied. (The latter were endowments providing for priests to chant 
daily masses for the soul(s) of the departed. Sometimes altars or chapels for this 
purpose were constructed inside large churches.) 

With the benefit of hindsight Mursell can detect one final important 
trend of that time: 

Knowledge and love, intellect and emotion, theology and 
spirituality, began, slowly but surely, to be prised [sic] 
apart.... Where Anselm had held theology and spirituality 
together to the advantage of both, late medieval writers 
allowed them to diverge, so that theology became an arcane 
scholastic discipline, and spirituality a perilously subjective 
affair (l:195f.). 


English Spirituality: A Review Article 

It is almost a given that anyone describing English spirituality of the 
14* century must treat four specific writers. Bishop Mursell does so, but with 
an added surprise. As expected, he presents individual studies of Richard Rolle, 
"the solitary lover"; Walter Hihon, who stressed interior re-formation; the 
anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing, who wrote of God in the 
darkness; and the woman history calls Julian of Norwich, whose Showings 
(Revelations of Divine Love) expound God's compassion. Mursell' s surprise is 
that, to this quartet, he adds one more voice: Margery Kempe. After bearing 
fourteen children, Kempe took a vow of chastity within her marriage, later left 
her family and spent the remainder of her life in unending pilgrimage. She was 
noted for her outbursts of loud weeping. Thus some writers have described her 
as histrionic or even psychotic. But, like Martin Thornton before him, Mursell 
sees her in a positive light and treats her with empathy, respect, and 
appreciation. "Margery Kempe," he writes, "lays bare the cost and implications 
of seeking God in the midst of the world. And that is precisely her enduring 
value" (1:237). 

"The Fellowship of St. Antony: Spirituality, Reformation and 
Revolution (1500-1700)," brings the author to the fifth and largest chapter in 
his two volumes. This discussion could almost stand alone as a book. The 
chapter uses 176 pages of text and bibliography, buttressed by a staggering 1483 
endnotes (some nearly a page long), to survey these two centuries so crucial for 
English spirituality. As stated earlier, Mursell wrote the section on Anglicanism 
in The Story of Christian Spirituality, and now he builds on that foundation. 
Imposing. Impressive. Intimidating. But also interesting and inviting. 

Many authors and books have described the English Reformation of the 
16* century and the Puritan Commonwealth of the 17*. Mursell does not 
attempt to repeat those efforts but assumes them. "What was the effect of the 
Reformation on English spirituality?" he asks. "First, piety became more 
secular" as the church came under the control of the crown. "Secondly, there 
was an immense visual and architectural change." Monasteries were stripped or 
destroyed. Wall paintings of the suffering Christ were replaced with quotations 
from scripture. Statues and other accoutrements of medieval worship gave way 
to pews and pulpits. "Thirdly, there was an important change in the role and 
significance of the clergy" (1:295). Criticism of erring priests accelerated, 
chantry priests disappeared, and the confidence of many laypersons increased. 
The family became a center for piety, and "the 'godly household' is a phrase 
characteristic of much Protestant spirituality" (1:297). 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Given the nature of the Reformation, Mursell devotes one section of 
this chapter to spirituality and the Bible. Translation and dissemination of 
scripture became major concerns at this time. William Tyndale (d. 1536) played 
the central role followed by the translators of the King James Version Bible 
(1611). The Psalms were especially lifted up for use in both public and private 
worship, many martyrs of the period going to death with Psalms on their lips. 

Reformation spirituality took form in England in the vigorous 
preaching of such figures as Hugh Latimer and the creation of The Book of 
Common Prayer by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. Both men 
were executed in Queen Mary's brief, bloody attempt to restore Catholicism as 
the religion of the kingdom (1553-58). Successive editions of the Prayer Book 
showed varying theological trends, but the final result (1662) was "a manual of 
lay spirituality" (1:311) as well as "a standard manual for liturgy and a 
compendium of spiritual guidance" (1 :3 13). Four and one-half centuries later its 
liturgy continues to unite the Anglican Communion around the world. 

Anglican spirituality of the 16*- 17"^ centuries owed much to the 
patristic tradition as well as scripture. Some of this came through Richard 
Hooker (d. 1600), whose influence was felt mostly during the long reign of 
Elizabeth I (1558-1603). Avoiding the extremes of both Catholic and 
Calvinistic theology, he set out what some have called a middle way {via 
media). Mursell describes Hooker's famed Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity as "a 
genuinely independent theology ... in which the pastoral and practical are 
always held together in the search for truth" (l:314f ). The other figure equal in 
influence was no doubt Lancelot Andrewes (d. 1626), "a scholar of prodigious 
ability" (1:315), who was influential in the court of James 1. There his gifts 
made him a natural leader among those who produced the new translation of the 
Bible ordered by the king. 

Beginning with Hooker and Andrewes, and continuing through much 
of the rest of his work, Mursell offers sections on the theology and practice of 
prayer as set out by the writers being discussed. Hooker's perspective sets the 
direction for the Anglican spirituality of succeeding centuries. 

This is a crucial point: where the reformed tradition seeks to 
separate the state of sinfulness from the condition of 
redemption, God's fi^ee act of justification in Christ forming 
the point of separation. Hooker, following the medieval 
Catholic tradition, seeks to hold both together. For him, it is 
not that we were once sinners and are now saved: rather it is 
that we are still both, at the same time. Where holiness in the 
Protestant tradition is a process of separation from the world 


English Spirituality: A Review Article 

into a gathered church, holiness in the tradition of the Church 
of England is better seen as a process whereby all of our 
selves is brought into unity with the redeeming Christ, in a 
church virtually coterminous with society around it ( 1 :32 1 ). 

Mursell singles out several major emphases in the Anglican spirituality 
of the 17* century, a time which "proved to be the most fertile and creative 
period in the Church of England's history thus far" (1:325). The 1662 Book of 
Common Prayer became the lodestar for the Restoration church following 
Cromwell's revolution. Women's personal journals were published, and some 
even wrote prophetic texts. Bishop Joseph Hall's Arte of Divine Meditation 
(1606) became especially influential. And the Latitudinarians lifted up a broad, 
general spirituality influenced by the beauty of creation and the Platonic 
tradition. Especially notable among their number were Peter Sterry, Sir Thomas 
Browne, and Thomas Traheme (whose writings impacted C. S. Lewis). 

The spirituality of English Catholics in the 1 6* century centered around 
four principal figures: Sir Thomas More, lord chancellor to Henry VIII, who 
was executed in 1535 for reftising to recognize the king as head of the church; 
John Fisher, chancellor of Cambridge University, executed in the same year; 
John Colet, dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, who attacked churchly worldliness and 
clerical misbehavior; and Robert Southwell, tortured over a three-year period 
before his execution in 1595. On into the 17* century the changing winds of 
society created periods of intense anti-Catholic feeling. The result was that 
many leading Catholics spent much of their lives in Europe. It is not surprising, 
then, that "taken as a whole, English Catholic spirituality in this period is 
scarcely comparable with the riches of its continental counterparts in Spain and 
France" (1:355). What seems apparent is a sense of exile with a resulting 
spirituality of separation and withdrawal into the hoped-for safety of convent or 

In his discussion of the 16*- 17* centuries our Anglican author gives 
the most space to Puritan spirituality . The label is a slippery one, sliding over a 
variety of persons and groups within and outside the established church. 
Dissatisfaction with the established hierarchical church characterized those who 
were called Dissenters, Separatists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Independents, 
Congregationalists, Quakers, and various kinds of Radicals. Until the late 
1620s, "episcopal Calvinism was the dominant orthodoxy in the Church of 
England" (1:356). Most Puritans were Calvinists of some kind, and many were 
very learned. Mursell moves through the discussion by highlighting major 
theological loci such as the God of Puritan spirituality, the work of the Holy 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 . 

Spirit, conversion (conversion narratives were especially popular), assurance 
and faith, the godly life, the theology and practice of prayer, and the practice of 
spiritual direction. He cites many writers but especially the thinking of two 
Puritan leaders: John Owen, "perhaps the greatest theologian of the 
Cromwellian period" (1:359), and the irenic Richard Baxter (d. 1691, the same 
year as George Fox, founder of the Quakers). 

Many Puritans saw the Reformation as a second Pentecost, so 
highlighting the Spirit's activity was at the heart of their spirituality. (Such 
emphasis, however, was rare in Anglican or Catholic spirituality.) The process 
of sanctiflcation ~ total transformation of the entire person and ultimately of 
society - was at the core of their belief and behavior. Implied in such an 
approach were spiritual disciplines (fasting in particular), boldness in witness 
and in prayer (the frankness of a child with a parent), and an eschatology which 
held that the humble would be exalted in a heaven that is warmly sociable. 
Thus, corporate worship filled with praise and celebration of the sacraments/ 
ordinances (especially the Lord's Supper) was vital as a foretaste of the future. 

In this period the separatist group called Friends or Quakers emerged 
with their belief in the inner light that is Christ. "But the central ingredient of 
Quaker spirituality, as with that of Puritanism in general, was the doctrine of the 
Holy Spirit, and the consequent stress on the primacy of spiritual experience 
over any kind of reason-centred, externally-constructed, faith" (1:382). This led 
them to silence and interiority, but also to action in the world, for which they 
have become justly known. "In this respect the Quakers stand in the classic 
Christian tradition of contemplative prophets" (1:385). 

Mursell concludes this large, detailed chapter with individual studies of 
one Catholic, one Puritan, and three Anglicans. Thomas More died, as was said, 
rather than compromise his convictions. His approach to prayer is the only one 
our author highlights from the 1 6* century. From the 1 7* century John Bunyan 
is famous for his allegory The Pilgrim 's Progress from This World to That 
Which is to Come. Mursell contends, however, that scholars of spirituality have 
unjustly ignored the Bedford tinker. "What Bunyan did was to turn the somber 
perspectives of covenant theology and justification by faith into a thrilling 
adventure'" (1:411) - the believer's lifelong pilgrimage in response to God. 
Anglican preacher-poet John Donne received acclaim during his lifetime, but 
George Herbert's came after his brief life. The former's melancholy was 
consumed with how to be saved, while the latter was asking how should a saved 
person live? And flourishing in mid-century was Jeremy Taylor (d. 1667), best 
known as the author of (The Rule and Exercise of) Holy Living and Holy Dying. 
"Taylor's work is the quintessence of Anglican piety, and every word of his vast 


English Spirituality: A Review Article 

oeuvre is charged with his passionate longing to renew the church he loved" 

This chapter, as mentioned, is so long and so detailed that it could 
almost stand alone as a book. But there is more to come. 

Volume 2: From 1700 to the Present Day 

The latter half of Mursell's survey is neatly periodized as the 18* 
century, the Victorian age, and the 20* century. As before, each chapter offers 
historical context, then discusses Anglican, Catholic, and other Christian 
spiritualities of England - in that order. For many readers, the discussion at this 
point may seem more familiar, but Mursell's presentation continues to have a 
rich texture that surpasses other surveys. 

Chapter 1, "Enthusiasts and Philosophers," begins with a discussion 
of 18* century England's social and intellectual context. This was the time 
when Britain became a world power with large holdings in far-flung colonies 
and a slave trade to support farming and industry in them. It was a century 
when urban society grew rapidly and human knowledge increased exponentially. 
It was the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason ~ a time when science and faith, 
revealed truth and observed truth, collided. Emotional "enthusiasm" and 
rational "philosophy" were seen to be at odds. Historian Edward Gibbon {The 
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) mounted a special challenge when he 
preferred the emperor Julian the Apostate over the Christian monks of the 4* 

AngHcan piety of the 1 8* century can often seem calm, composed, and 
ordered. A common view was that reasoned understanding of the physical 
world leads to the inference of a creator, which is supplemented by what 
scripture and tradition reveal. The Evangelical revival movement arose as a 
response and reaction to this ordered calmness. Leaders such as George 
Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley, William Cowper, and John Newton called 
for passionate faith and compassionate social action. Mursell illustrates their 
idea of the working of grace by analyzing Newton's great hymn "Glorious 
Things of Thee Are Spoken, Zion, City of Our God." 

English Catholic spirituality of the time was somewhat similar except 
that there was no corresponding church renewal. "What is striking is a gradual 
movement away from a firmly world-denying, monastic pattern of piety towards 
one more concerned to equip Catholics for life in this world" (2:33). Lay 
spirituality came to the fore, especially in manuals on meditation and in such 
works as Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints (1756-59). 


Ashland TheologicalJournal 2006 •'•'\ 

The Society of Friends (Quakers) were among those who dissented 
from both Anglican and Catholic approaches. Plainness, simplicity, and a 
quietist strain came to mark their faith but did not prevent their social work for 
the common good. Two of the most outstanding Dissenters were Daniel Defoe, 
author oi Robinson Crusoe (1719), and Philip Doddridge (d. 1751) ~ neither of 
them a Quaker. Simultaneously, "A preoccupation with taste, with seeking to 
separate the 'tasteful' from the everyday, was characteristic of England in the 
eighteenth century - and not only of its courtly elite" (2:48). This leads Mursell 
to offer a section on spirituality and beauty as seen in such creative individuals 
as artist William Blake and poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. They represent an 
antidote to the extremes of both rationalism and religiosity. 

Mursell's "individual studies" of volume 1 are now titled "case 
studies ," and his choices and titles describe the richness of what he finds. Each 
encapsulates a tradition in 18* century English spirituality. (1) "Isaac Watts and 
the Independent tradition" considers the father of English hymnody with special 
attention to "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." (2) William Law (the ascetic 
tradition) is best known for A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728), 
which influenced the young John Wesley. Law contended that "there is only 
one kind of Christianity and Christian perfection: not a 'higher' kind for 
cloistered or expert Christians and a 'lower' kind for the rest" (2:78). 

(3) The Wesley brothers (the Methodist tradition) receive high praise 
fi"om our Anglican author. He describes John as "a man of superlatives" (2:86) 
who "longs to communicate a religion that will be attractive; and he cannot see 
the point of one that has little or no effect on people's lives" (2:95). Leaning 
toward the theological East, Charles "goes further than almost any Protestant 
writer in using the language of merging to denote our union with God in Christ" 
(2:100). But his hymns are his real contribution, and Mursell gives special 
attention to "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." Although he sees weaknesses in 
the Wesleys, the bishop concludes his case study with this encomium: 

No one went further in trying to hold together head and heart, 
'philosophy' and 'enthusiasm,' in a single convincing 
synthesis at the very time when powerful forces were prising ■ ' 
[sic] them apart: no one came nearer to succeeding (2: 1 03). 

(4) Mursell offers Samuel Johnson (d. 1784) as a case study of those in 
the literary tradition. While often thought of as the father of the English 
dictionary, Johnson was also a devout, prayerful Christian. (5) Women writers 
emerged in the 1 8"^ century as a larger, more cohesive group than at any earlier 
period. All of them called for a practical spirituality which would begin in the 


English Spirituality: A Review Article 

home and transform people's lives. Outstanding among them was Hannah 
More, a nationally prominent figure associated with the Clapham Sect and 
author of Practical Piety (1811). 

Chapter 2, "Kinship and Sympathy," surveys the 19* century, the 
Victorian age, "an era of expansion and renewal within all the main branches of 
English Christianity" (2:176). With Catholics receiving full political rights and 
slavery abolished in the Empire before Queen Victoria came to the throne, 
England could enjoy a time of unprecedented expansiveness during her long 
reign (1837-1901). It was also a period of great changes in science (Darwin's 
Origin of Species, 1859), commerce (the Industrial Revolution in full swing), 
political power (conflicts within the Empire and with Napoleon's France), and 
secularization (liberalism in society and church). 

Much English spirituality of the time was fueled by a German import, 
the Romantic Movement. This fostered "a life rooted in enduring but invisible 
values such as love and beauty and justice, but without necessarily embracing 
the teachings of any given religion" (2:177). Literary figures such as William 
Wordsworth and Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote of human dignity, individual 
potential, and love expressed in compassion. They also gloried in fantasy, play, 
and kinship with nature. 

The Church of England responded to this in several ways. Begiiming 
in 1833, the Oxford Movement tried to renew the national church by leading it 
in a more Roman Catholic direction. They relied on extensive use of the early 
church fathers and a high sacramentalism. Prayer in this vision calls for more 
than petition - it must be adoration, delight in God's presence, the integrating 
focus for the Christian community. Their achievement was mixed. While the 
Anglican Church came to a new appreciation of its Catholic heritage, parts of 
the movement have been criticized for being too churchy. 

Where the Oxford Movement sought guidance from the past, 
Liberalism preferred the present. Thus adherence to current learning, the 
universal Fatherhood of God, an evolutionary view of the divine Kingdom, and 
a call to follow Jesus in sacrifice were values that thinkers such as Frederic 
Maurice (d. 1872) and Charles Kingsley (d. 1875) upheld. 

Local parishes responded to these challenges in individual ways. From 
his research Mursell comments, "Beneath the surface, the mainstream Church of 
England in the Victorian and Edwardian eras may have had more vitality than it 
has often been given credit for" (2:217). This can be seen in parish support for 
education, social action, evangelism, and missions. Some bishops worked for 
the spiritual enrichment of their diocesan clergy. There was a large trend toward 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

constructing new church buildings and (even more) restoring old ones. Many of 
these began to be used for daily prayers to the exclusion of everything else. 

The Evangelical approach to English spirituality flourished in the 
Victorian age. Early in the century Charles Simeon (d. 1836) of Cambridge 
was one of the most prominent Evangelicals within the Anglican Church. His 
attempt to hold together Calvinist and Arminian theology, along with his 
pastoral influence on students and clergy, proved to be especially significant. 
American evangelists D. L. Moody and Ira Sankey visited England in 1873, and 
thereafter the most prominent figure was Baptist pastor Charles Haddon 
Spurgeon (d. 1892). "What is fascinating and important about Spurgeon is that 
he was a Calvinist through and through" (2:224). Always the preacher, he 
presented his theology in a way that was attractive and powerful. "His 
spirituality is confident, ftill of joy; but it is marked by a recognition of the 
breaking process that inevitably precedes thaf (2:229). Although some of his 
views were exclusivist, Mursell finds Spurgeon to be "at once heartwarming and 
adventurous, but above all attractive" (2:231). 

The larger Nonconforming tradition , of which Evangelicalism was one 
part, tended to find its greatest appeal among the lower middle classes and 
skilled artisans. As the century progressed, however. Dissent became more 
respectable. The Primitive Methodists, Salvation Army, and Irvingites 
(forerunners of present-day Pentecostalism) fall here. Perhaps more than any 
other Nonconformists, Unitarians sought to hold together insights from scientific 
rationalism and Evangelical experience. 

Roman Catholic spirituality in 19"'-century England contained three 
strands. There were traditional Catholics who declined to participate in 
Anglican worship. There was a flood of Irish immigrants who brought with 
them their own piety. And there were notable converts from Anglicanism, 
among them poet Frederick William Faber ("Faith of Our Fathers," "There's a 
Wideness in God's Mercy"), Henry Edward Manning, Archbishop of 
Westminster, and the sensitive, stormy, Irish-bom Jesuit George Tyrell (d. 
1909). More appreciated today than in his own time, Tyrell especially lifted up 
God's love, beauty, and attractiveness; kinship and sympathy with nature; public 
worship; and interior piety. For English Catholics in general, devotion to the 
Virgin Mary and the Blessed Sacrament, the practice of penance, and the life of 
prayer continued to be vital. Finally, English spirituality in the Victorian era 
saw an extension of religious orders. New ones were founded, old ones were 
renewed, and their numbers increased among both Catholics and Anglicans. 

The author concludes this chapter with an intriguing series of case 
studies . (1) John Henry Newman, whose life spanned nearly the entire 19* 


English Spirituality: A Review Article 

century, was the most famous convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism. Of all 
the writers considered in the book, Mursell believes him to be the most difficult 
to evaluate. He concludes, 

Newman's is a wholly uncompromising, radically supernatural 
spirituality, intensely compassionate to people's spiritual 
needs and the salvation of their souls, entirely uninterested in 
their physical needs.... There is little interest in the world of 
nature in Newman, little concern for social justice or the 
affairs of the world. This may be the fault of his context 
rather than of his personality; but it unquestionably limits his 
appeal (2:278f.). 

(2) Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins lived only half as long as 
Newman, but his verse is widely appreciated. He wrote of "inscape" (God's 
design and form of things) and "stress/instress" (how the divine design works 
out in human practice). Two themes recur often in his poems: exile and death. 
The first was Hopkins's own spiritual experience, and the second preoccupied 
him as well as many Victorians. Sex was little discussed, but death was spoken 
of often. 

(3) Dora Greenwell, George Eliot, and Charles Dickens were all 
writers, but the first is little known. Mursell chooses her because she was a 
Catholic laywoman, a biographer and poet who had read widely, and a person 
sympathetic to a variety of Christian spiritualities. Eliot and Dickens were 
famous novelists, but neither was conventionally religious. Their spiritualities 
must be teased out of their fiction. "Sympathy, not religious observance, is what 
counts" in their writings (2:300). 

"Losing Our Absolute" is the striking title of Mursell' s chapter on the 
20"^ century. Scarred by two world wars and impacted by exponential changes 
in society, Anglican, Catholic, and free churches in England all declined in 
numbers. "There was," however, "an enormous market for 'spirituality', 
understood as a search for meaning with reference to enduring but invisible 
realities such as wholeness, compassion, justice, and self-fulfilmenf (2:361). 
All these values bear witness to "an unprecedented development: 'spirituality' 
and 'religion' were beginning to be prised [sic] apart" (2:361). The organization 
of this final chapter, therefore, is somewhat different from the preceding ones. 

The Church of England in the 20"^ century produced writers "of 
amazing diversity and vitality" (2:361). Mursell casts his net widely, finding 
value in the work of authors such as William Temple (especially), John Stott, 
John V. Taylor, Gabriel Hebert, John A. T. Robinson, W. H. Vanstone, G. A. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Studdert-Kennedy, and John Macquarrie. One of their significant achievements 
was to emphasize the corporate nature of Christian spirituality without 
sacrificing individual experience. Another was their recognition that prayer is 
human response to divine love. Its basic nature, therefore, is that of relationship. 
It is communion more than petition. 

For the Catholic Church the 20''' century's greatest event was Vatican 
Council II (1962-65), but Mursell chooses to dwell mostly on the thought of 
writers prior to the Council. Baron Friedrich von Hugel (d. 1925), a naturalized 
English citizen, was "a walking ecumenical movement" (2:379), best known for 
his The Mystical Element of Religion as Studied in Saint Catherine of Genoa 
and Her Friends (1908). Dom John Chapman (d. 1933) was famous for his 
letters of spiritual direction, "an attractive English version of the French 
Catholic tradition exemplified by St. Vincent de Paul and Jean-Pierre de 
Caussade" (2:385). For Gerald Vann (d. 1963), spirituality is pietas, duty to 
God. It includes love, gratitude, obedience, prayer, and action. Compassion 
(God-like pity) is "the defining Christian quality because it is at the furthest 
possible remove from a me-centred perspective" (2:389). Donald Nicholl (d. 
1997), like von Hugel a layman, wrote of holiness as something practical, 
relational, unhurried, integrating, and never individual. Mursell's entire 
discussion here is good, but one can still wish for more on the Catholic Church 
of England in light of Vatican II. 

Free Church spirituality declined in the 20'*^ century if numbers are the 
measure, but it also showed "a vigour and vitality that belied the statisticians' 
report" (2:393). Again Mursell casts his net widely, this time catching up 
writers such as P. T. Forsyth (especially), John Oman, W. R. Maltby, William 
Sangster, R. Newton Flew, Leslie Weatherhead, H. H. Farmer, Olive Wyon, and 
Gordon Wakefield. Together they represent a willingness from the perspective 
of historic Dissent to engage contemporary challenges, not hide from them. For 
these leaders the way forward is the way through, and they expounded that with 
a sense of adventure and passion. 

"One of the most distinctive features of English spirituality in the 
twentieth century is the growth of the Pentecostal movement - effectively the 
only branch of Christianity to exhibit sustained growth in the country during this 
period" (2:405, underscore added). This world-challenging spirituality moved 
from the U.S. to England in the 1960s. It glories in God's victory over all 
opposing powers. Worship and praise, healing and deliverance are 

anticipations of the eschatological kingdom. "It is a defiant, celebratory form of 
spirituality" (2:407), having much in common with Black experience. For the 
latter, social context is indispensable in producing a spirituality expressed in 


English Spirituality: A Review Article 

social action. Music is central to worship, prayer is spontaneous and free, 
visions and dreams can empower believers, and hope stubbornly challenges evil 
and suffering. 

Finally, many monastic communities in England declined during the 
20* century, as did the churches which founded them. Franciscans and 
Carmelites, however, found new ways to incarnate the monastic vision in an 
increasingly urban culture. At the same time the retreat movement grew 
significantly alongside "an astonishing diversity of experiments in community 
life; and even if many of these were short-lived, they often exerted a profound 
influence well beyond their walls" (2:409). 

For a time in which most of England's church membership and worship 
attendance drastically declined, Mursell offers case studies unified around the 
theme of recovery. He chooses to highlight the recovery of mysticism in Evelyn 
Underhill, "the most important scholar of mysticism in the early twentieth 
century" (2:414). The enthusiasm of journalist and apologist G. K. Chesterton 
(d. 1938) recovered for many the sense of wonder. C. S. Lewis and Charles 
Williams (both influenced by Chesterton), together with novelist-playwright 
Dorothy Sayers, labored in the recovery of tradition. All were writers carefully 
informed about the centuries prior to their own. The Nonconformist scholar 
Olive Wyon (d. 1966) was "one of the most impressive contributors to the 
nascent spirituality of ecumenism in England" (2:447). She illustrates the 
recovery of unity. The recovery of theology welded to spirituality can be seen 
in the work of Austin Farrer (d. 1968). This friend and confidant of C. S. Lewis 
receives exceptionally high praise from our author. Finally, professor, bishop, 
and archbishop (York 1956-61, Canterbury 1961-74), A. M. Ramsey studied and 
wrote about glory, especially as it emerges from suffering. His was a mind that 
was "pithy, precise but profoundly spiritual" (2:461). 

This final chapter concludes with two sections unique to it: (1) "In 
order to do justice to the increasingly pluralist nature of English society in the 
twentieth century" (2:466), Mursell offers brief thematic treatments of Christian 
spirituality and social justice, feminism, war, the arts, psychology, and the 
secular quest. (2) He also includes a glossary of forty-two writers whose work 
he discusses in the chapter but whose biographical details he reserves for this 

Evaluating Mursell' s large gift to the reading public is not an easy 
task. No summary - even a long one - can do justice to the rich texture of this 
work. He has produced a survey that is historically comprehensive, 
theologically informed, pastorally sensitive, widely appreciative, and scholarly 
to the core. He intends his extraordinary endnotes to be an extension of the 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

discussion. They offer commentary and reading suggestions while highlighting 
agreements and disagreements found in the sources. (He even points out 
differences between first and final editions of some books.) 

Given the nature of the subject and the sources available, it is almost 
certain that such a work must major on spiritual literature. How to assess the 
non-literary aspects of spirituality is an even larger task, which Mursell noted at 
the outset. We can welcome his emphasis on qualities in the literature such as 
wholeness, attractiveness, and adventure. As a history of English spiritual 
literature, this is likely to be the definitive work for a long time to come. 

This review article has already offered a few comments by way of 
evaluation. Bishop Mursell has given us so much that it seems ungrateful to ask 
for anything more. But if we may ask, it might take the following lines. Will he 
follow up with a comparable survey of Scottish, Welsh, and Irish spirituality? 
The latter in particular has been studied often, but too often romanticized. 
Besides, many Americans confuse the historic parts of Great Britain (or consider 
them together), so we in the former colonies need still further help. 

It is often said that the modem missions movement began (so far as 
England and the U.S. are concerned) with William Carey in 1792. Some have 
described the 1800s as the greatest century of missionary advance. More on this 
might enhance the last two chapters, especially in light of 1 9* century mission 
societies and the leading role women played in some of them. While Mursell is 
careful to include women throughout the book, the only real mention of 
"overseas evangelism" comes in a short discussion of the author's great-great- 
grandfather, a Baptist pastor (2:238f ). What kind of spirituality produced the 
missionary movement, and how did missions impact the spirituality of 
congregations and individuals? 

Finally, with the technology available today for printing, one has to 
wonder if the publishers could have included a few pictures. Each chapter 
begins and closes by considering some item of literature, a building's 
architecture, a work of art, or piece of music. Understanding would be 
improved if readers could actually see what is being described. And if the 
author's friendly smile can be seen on the Internet, why can't it appear on the 
dust jackets of the two volumes? 

All this is to say that here is a treasure of scholarship attractively 
presented. It is easy to concur with James Houston's assessment: "Mursell has 
succeeded brilliantly in writing the most exhaustive study available" (dust 
jacket). English Spirituality should be on the shelves of all large libraries. It 
should be read by all Anglophiles. And it should be consulted by all students 
doing research in this field of study. We have much for which to thank the 


English Spirituality: A Review Article 

bishop, and we have good reason to anticipate even more from his mind in the 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Pentecostal Hermeneutics: A Review Article 

By Paul Elbert* 

Kenneth J. Archer, A Pentecostal Hermeneutic for the Twenty-First Century: Spirit, 
Scripture and Community. Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series 28. 
London/New York: T & T Clark, 2004, xii + 219 pp., hardback, £40.00. 

This book polishes a University of St. Andrews doctoral thesis supervised 
by Richard Bauckham, who observes that it provides "both an illuminating reading 
of the history of Pentecostal hermeneutics as well as an insightful proposal for the 
kind of Pentecostal hermeneutic that is appropriate to our contemporary context." 
The argument, advanced in six well-articulated and understandable stages, is that in 
the development of the century-old movement there can be found an authentic 
Pentecostal hermeneutical approach which can be retrieved and reappropriated. 
It is necessary first to define this revivalist, restorationist, gender-insensitive, and 
multi-racial movement fi-om the perspective of its origins. Its growth involved a 
rejection of rationalistic excess and instead offered wholeness, healing, and a frame 
of reference for understanding human experience and ultimate spiritual concerns. A 
passion for the Kingdom of God arose from a reading of the biblical metanarrative 
and a passionate desire for unmediated experience with the heavenly Jesus and with 
the Holy Spirit. Archer rejects secular definitions of Pentecostalism provided by 
historians who appeal to social forces or to an evangelicalized or rationally sanitized 
rewriting of Pentecostal history. Instead, Pentecostalism originated and progressed 
due to the logical coherence of the Five/Four Fold Pentecostal message validated by 
supernatural signs amongst the community and in direct opposition to the 
predominate worldview of rationalistic, philosophical, and cessationistic 
presuppositions traditionally applied both to narrative and to epistolary discourse in 
the New Testament. To validate this definition Archer appeals directly to personal 
testimony of the participants, making no attempt either to make their testimony 
conform to contemporary secular models of reality or to pour modem 
historiographical odium upon it. This seems particularly appropriate, given the 
one hundred-year celebrations of the Azusa Street phenomenon (1906-2006) 
now underway in Los Angeles and throughout the world.' 

Next, Archer elucidates the confi-ontational paradigm shift away from the 
dominant hermeneutical context of the early-nineteenth century, with both its 
intensive Enlightenment-oriented and dispensational thinking, toward an authentic 
Pentecostal hermeneutic. The Pentecostals said "yes" to both the authority and 
trustworthiness of Scripture and to the authority of experience based upon 
Scripture's trustworthiness and reliability. Archer finds it unfortunate then that 
American Pentecostals, under the pressure of evangelicalization, joined the National 
Association of Evangelicals in the 1 940s and reworked their doctrine of Scripture to 

Paul Elbert is an Adjunct Professor at the Church of God Theological Seminary, Cleveland, 



Pentecostal Hermeneutics: A Review Article 1 

embrace "inerrancy." The hermeneutical effects of this embrace have been alwaysii 
been assessed negatively by Pentecostal scholars.^ A^rcher believes that it caused ai 
deleterious invasion of a "modernistic foundation already poured by the academici 
Fundamentalists at the turn of the twentieth century (which assumed that) thei 
Pentecostals simply had to be educated into the modernistic thought and argumenti 
of the more 'intellectual' tradition" (64). Results of this evangelistically 
suppressing and shame-enhancing union may be observable today in the 
marginalizing of testimony, of tarrying, and in the propensity of some to be led 
more by their own acquisition of academic history than by dreams, visions, and the 
Holy Spirit. 

In his fourth chapter, "Early Pentecostal Biblical Interpretation," Archer 
works from original literature to discern a commonsensical Bible Reading Method 
that relied upon inductive and deductive reasoning skills to interpret Scripture in 
light of Scripture under the illumination of the Holy Spirit. According to Archer, 
this is different from the traditional scholastic Protestant Christianity, which 
employed more of "proof-texting system" (74). The Bible Reading Method was 
thoroughly pietistic and synchronic, requiring all of the biblical data to be gathered 
and harmonized with respect to plot and context. The biblical past and the present 
could thereby potentially unite, contrary to traditional epochalistic-oriented creeds 
and ecclesiastical dictums that suggested, and even demanded, otherwise. Oneness 
(or Triunity) and Trinitarian Pentecostals saw the first Jerusalem Pentecost and its 
ensuing repetitions in the ministry of disciple-believer-witnesses as a "commanded 
promise" (91) for all Christians who were afar off, whether they be Jew or Gentile, 
a personal promise to all believers beyond narrative time. 

How this reading method of the Pentecostal story forged a convincing 
hermeneutical narrative tradition and arrived at meaning is illustrated (99) by its 
contemporary employment in L. Daniel Hawk's narrative study of Joshua.^ Plot 
encompasses the framework of the story and its detailed arrangement of incidents 
and patterns as they relate to each other. This understanding of plot also operates in 
the mind of the reader who then tends to organize and make connections between 
events. Hence, the narrative elicits a dynamic interpretive relationship between text 
and readers. One may note as well that the great narratives of Homer have long 
been read by classicists in just this manner, similar to how Homer was read by 
Greco-Roman students in the New Testament period. But of course Pentecostals 
were (and very much today are) engaged in a battle of interpretation with their 
Protestant forerunners who inherited a catechistic tradition of what may be 
considered to be "apostolic-age" hermeneutics.'^ In this scheme the New Testament 
and Luke-Acts in particular was (and often is) read cessationistically through 
narrowly selected Pauline glasses and via the historically venerated imposition of 
epochalistic temporal carvings and the cocooning of narrated events, all of which 
were foreign to the Bible Reading Method with its emphasis on coherence, 
cohesion, and biblical metanarrative whereby the spiritual past and the spiritual 
present could be harmoniously fused. 

Pentecostals allow for the biblical stories to challenge, reshape, and build 
their tradition and are comfortable with Central Narrative Convictions (1 14-18) like 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

"repetitive themes, aspects of narrated time, plot development, and characterization" 
(118). Archer suggests that an intuitive grasp of narrative features is probably 
facilitated among people who have a reliance on oral corrmiunication and who listen 
to how stories are told, perhaps being similar culturally to hearers in the first 
century to whom New Testament documents were read (and to such hearers in the 
majority world today). From the point of view of the Bible Reading Method and the 
concept of a Latter Rain fi-om the Old Testament, a New Pentecost seemed (and 
seems) entirely realistic and right, "Pentecostal worship was more than it seemed. 
Outsiders saw only fanaticism, but insiders saw more. They discerned order within 
disorder, reason within unreason. Not a bad bargain for saints heaven bound."^ 

The last two chapters, "Current Pentecostal Hermeneutical Concerns" and 
"A Contemporary Hermeneutical Strategy" focus on guidelines for the future. In 
hermeneutical concerns, six scholars (all Pentecostals like L. Daniel Hawk above) 
come to the fore, namely French Arrington, Howard Ervin, John McKay, Mark 
McLean, Roger Stronstad, and John Christopher Thomas. Archer skillfully 
highlights their important contributions to interpretative technique and method, to 
which should now be added the study of James Shelton.^ Archer too, in his words, 
hopes "to avoid the epistemological foundationalism of Modernity and 
reappropriate the active participation of the community and Holy Spirit in the 
interpretive process" (195). 

Robert Menzies, who argues that Luke's pneumatology is different fi-om 
and is ignorant of a Pauline pneumatology, is assessed among Archer's 
hermeneutical concerns as following "the hermeneutic of evangelicalism" (140), 
which might be otherwise labeled as an "apostolic-age" hermeneutic. Archer 
provides a penetrating critique of this "Evangelical Historical Critical Method" 
(148-54). Menzies' argument, which does imitate, perhaps unconsciously, the 
intent of the epochalistic temporal carving of Luke-Acts and the supportive 
assumption of authorial isolation prevalent in Evangelical Protestantism, might also 
be reconsidered in light of reasonably expected theological and pneumatological 
links between Luke and his esteemed predecessor, with apologies for mentioning 
my own work. '' 

In his hermeneutical strategy, Archer offers suggestions as to how an 
interdependent tridactic dialogue between Scripture and its story world, the Holy 
Spirit, and readers in community can result in a negotiated meaning that is creative 
and practical. Archer wants to stimulate a hermeneutical strategy that is informed 
by an "early Pentecostal ethos" and to challenge a heretofore-uncritical acceptance 
of the "Evangelical modernistic approach" (195) among Pentecostals. Archer wants 
to de-emphasize the predominant attention in that method to discern "the past 
determinate meaning of the author's intent" and to emphasize "the reality that 
interpretation involves both the discovery and creation of meaning for the present" 
(194). He undoubtedly feels that the Evangelical methodology, replete with the 
Spirit-extinguishing heritage of both Lukan and Pauline cessationism along with 
their divisive and contextually dangerous presuppositions, has leaned too much 
toward the world behind the text, perhaps overly concentradng, for example, on its 
historicity or on its presumed affixment to an "apostolic age," rather than toward an 


Pentecostal Hermeneutics: A Review Article 

appropriate unity between the biblical text and the present context (193). In all oi« 
this Archer raises a significant point. However, one might observe that when a Newi 
Testament author's probable original meaning, as deduced by due and carefuli 
attention to the contemporary communicative procedures in the Greco-Roman 
world, comes into coincidence with present experience and divine action, the 
community would thereby find a sense of helpful assurance as well, another 
assurance which I am sure that Archer would indeed welcome and appreciate.^ 

In conclusion, Archer's critical hard-hitting thesis is not a simplistic or 
romanticized vision of the past or of the present. The cumulative impression of the 
evidence Archer adduces is that the Spirit, Scripture, and the Spirit-filled 
community can thoughtfully, experientially, and practically function together. 
Sometime Archer's presentation borders a bit on the socio-jargonistic side, but he 
kindly provides a short glossary of terms (197-98) with definitions for those 
unattuned to such worldviews. However, I find Archer's analysis to be easily 
navigated, entertaining, wonderfully succinct and plausible, filled with interpretive 
gems and insights that have an instinctive appeal. Therefore in the century ahead, 
as its title suggests, his thesis could provide a stimulating tonic to both hermeneutics 
and to faith throughout the major sectors of Christendom. 

See Estrelda Alexander, The Women ofAzusa Street (Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2005); 
Grant McCIung, ed., Azusa Street and Beyond: 100 Years of Commentary on the Global 
Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement (Gainesville, FL; Bridge-Logos, 2006). 

Matthew S. Clark, "Pentecostalism's Anabaptist Roots: Hermeneutical Implications," in 
The Spirit and Spirituality: Essays in Honour of Russell P. Spittler (ed. W. Ma and R. P. 
Menzies; Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series 24; London/New York: T & T 
Clark, 2004), 194-21 1 (206), observes that "Pentecostal interest in the accuracy of Scripture 
is based on a different concern to conservative evangelicalism: not to validate the great 
confessions of the church, but to inform a choice for a lifestyle of discipleship and witness." 

L. Daniel Hawk, Eveiy Promise Fulfdled: Contrasting Plots in Joshua (Louisville, KY: 
Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991). 

With respect to Evangelical Protestants, Dr. Archer was a participant in a recent five year 
dialogue with them as reported in "Pentecostal/Charismatic Themes in Luke-Acts at the 
Evangelical Theological Society: The Battle of Interpretive Method," JFT 12/2 (2004), 181- 
215 (n. 23). Previous to this Dr. Archer had already whetted our appetite for the details of his 
thesis that Pentecostal hermeneutics will emich the study of interpretation in the twenty-first 
century via his observations that "Pentecostalism's contribution to hermeneutics is in the area 
of community participation and experiential understanding. There exists a promising 
Pentecostal hermeneutic rooted in the classical spiritual ethos of Pentecostalism" (Kenneth J. 
Archer, "Pentecostal Hermeneutics: Retrospect and Prospect," JPr 8 [1996], 63-81 [81]) and 
his argument that "Pentecostals used the Bible Reading Method with a desire both to believe 
and obey . . . nor did they create a new method" (Kenneth J. Archer, "Early Pentecostal 
Biblical Interpretadons," J/T 1 8 [2001], 32-70 [69-70]). 

Grant Wacker, Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture (Cambridge: 
Harvard University Press, 2001), 111. 

James B. Shelton, "Epistemology and Authority in the Acts of the Apostles: An Analysis 
and Test Case Study of Acts 15:1-29," The Spirit and Church 111 (2002), 231-37. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

' Paul Elbert, "Possible Literary Links Between Luke- Acts and Paul's Letters Regarding 
I Ispirit-Language," in Intertextuality in the New Testament (ed. T. Brodie, S. E. Porter, and D. 
MacDonald; New Testament Monographs Series; Sheffield: Sheffield-Phoenix Press, 2006), 
iforthcoming. An expanded version of the thesis offered in Brodie et al, ed., Intertextuality, 
:|was presented at the Society for Pentecostal Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary (March 
!2006), entitled "Probable Literary Connections Between Luke-Acts and Paul Regarding 

' This approach, also quite commensensical as well by contemporary critical standards with 
respect to authorial integrity, would, I suggest, be substantially similar to a "bible reading 
method" with its inherent application of interpretive principles as cogently framed by Adele 
jBerlin, "A Search for a New Biblical Hermeneutics: Preliminary Observations," in The Study 
\of the Ancient Near East in the Twenty-First Century: The William Foxwell Albright 
Centennial Conference (ed. J. S. Cooper and G. M. Schwartz; Winona Lake, IN: 
Eisenbrauns, 1996), 195-207. 



Seeing the Word 

Markus Bockmuehl 
0801027616 • 304 pp. • $21.99p 

"In this important 
work, Bockmuehl 
deploys his wide 
knowledge both of 
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history of modern 
New Testament 
scholarship. His 
diagnosis of the 
contemporary state 
of New Testament 
studies is acute, and his recommendations 
for ftiture directions are suggestive and 
important." — Richard Bauckham, University of 
St. Andrews 

Body and Character 
in Luke and Acts 

Mikeal C. Parsons 

08ni028RSX • 1^)2 pp. • $21.99p 

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been overlooked by New Testament scholarship, 
but after reviewing these texts Parsons explores 
the and subversion of physiognomy by 
Luke." — R. Alan Culpepper, McAfee School of 

Reading Scripture 
with the Church 

A. K. M. Adam, Stephen E. Fowl, 
Kevin J. Vanhoozer, and Francis Watson 

0801031737 • 160 pp. • $17.99p 

Reading Scriplure 

™**'^ Church 

"These elegant 
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and ends of biblical interpretation and deserve to 
be pondered." — John Webster, King's College 

Ancient Near Eastern Thought 
and the Old Testament 



Jolm H. Walton 

0801027500 • 368 pp. • $24.99p 

"John Walton 
has produced an . 
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major worldviews 
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readers to this thought world and bridges the 
gaps between ancient Near Eastern texts and the 
perspectives of the Bible. Walton's engaging style 
makes this an ideal introductory text for these 
important area.s of Bible backgrounds." 
— Richard S. Hess, Denver Seminary 

)•> Baker Academic 

" ExtenMng the Coiivemation 

Available at your local bookstore,, or by calling 1-800-877-2665 
Subscribe to Baker Academic's electronic newsletter (E-Notes) at 

Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Book Reviews 

Yohanan Aharoni, Michael Avi-Yonah, Anson F. Rainey, Ze'ev Safrai, The Carta Bible 
Atlas, 4th ed. Jerusalem: Carta, 2002; distributed in the U.S. by Eisenbrauns, P.O. Box 275, 
Winona Lake, IN 46590. Pp. 223, cloth, $38.95. 

This very usefiil atlas was originally published in Israel under this title and then 
translated into English and published in the U.S. as The Macmillan Bible Atlas. Changes from 
the third edition are few indeed, with a brief new introductory note, a slight reordering of the 
end-pages and the addition of an index or persons. Those who already have the third edition 
should be satisfied with it. 

An edition of the atlas is useful and should be in every serious Bible scholar's 
library. It goes through the Bible chronologically (and on into the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 
70) giving detailed maps of different biblical and extra-biblical events along with generous 
explanations of these events. For example, a map of Abram's migration shows the entire 
ancient Near East, with arrows indicating the suggested route fi'om Ur to Haran to Shechem, 
down into Egypt at Zoan, and back north to Beer-sheba. Relevant scripture verses accompany 
the maps. While many of the maps are conjectural, the volume supplies an invaluable 
supplement to the biblical text, breathing additional life into the journeys and battles which a 
simple textual rendition is unable to parallel. 

David W.Baker 

Yairah Amit, Reading Biblical Narratives: Literary Criticism and the Hebrew Bible. 
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001. 187 pp., paper, $20.00. 

In 1981 Robert Alter wrote The Art of Biblical Narrative. In 1993 David Gunn 
and Darma Nolan Fewell offered Narrative in the Hebrew Bible. Like these earlier 
contributions, Reading Biblical Narrative explores the distinctives of Hebrew narrative. The 
unique characteristics of Hebrew story telling are summarized and demonstrated with 
examples taken fi-om a range of Old Testament texts. 

This work began as a series of 13 lectures delivered at Tel Aviv University 1999 - 
2000. It was subsequently published in Hebrew and then translated and published in English 
in 2001. Amit works with the Tanakh translation and makes judicious use of Hebrew in her 
explanations. Amit's text is 147 pages of content (this excludes bibliography and notes) 
compared with Alter' s 189 pages of smaller type and the even longer text by Gunn and 
Fewell at 205 pages which also contains an extensive bibliography. The most significant 
difference of Amit's text is that it omits full discussions of scholarly debate or history and 
remains focused on demonstrating characteristics of Hebrew Bible narrative. This, combined 
with its easy reading style, makes it ideal for introductory courses on biblical exegesis and 
the bibliography provides direction for those interested in further study. 

Introductory chapters cover the power of stories (chapter 1 ) and incorporating the 
findings of historical biblical criticism (chapter 2). The following chapters cover matters 
determining story boundaries, understanding plot and structures, characterization, the use of 
time, setting, determining significance, and narrative context. Chapter seven covers the role 
of the narrator. Although many narratives are employed for examples and comparisons, the 


Book Reviews 

author most fully considers the accounts of Tamar and Judah in Genesis 38 (an account firsl^ 
treated by Robert Alter and also by Gunn and Fewell), Tamar and Amnon in 2 Samuel 25 
and Naboth's vineyard in 1 Kings 21, often returning to them for further consideration 
throughout the book. (Anyone inclined to write on these texts would do well to make use ol 
Amit's book.) 

The author's chapters covering narrative techniques such as plot and structure^ 
characterization, time, and setting are well done and clear and will certainly improve a 
reader's ability to do a close and judicious reading of the text. I would have liked to have 
seen more work with the play of language present in the Hebrew Bible. Alter, for instance,i 
devotes a chapter to the use of repetition and Gunn and Fewell devote a chapter to repetition/ 
metaphor, and allusion. 

Amit combines an unwavering trust in the narrator with a claim that one can 
discern a 'plain interpretation' (page 129). Amit states, "Whatever accords with thei 
narrator's statements or God's must be beyond doubt" (page 129.) This un-nuanced stance 
combined with the book's brevity and focus is one of its weaknesses. While careful to 
differentiate between the narrator and the author, she resolves contradictory statements within 
the text by bracketing them as belonging to different authors with different agendas (page 
99). Gunn and Fewell deal with this same issue in a more nuanced way and bring into the 
discussion the use of irony directed both towards characters and toward the reader. While 
rightfully critiquing those who create interpretations based too much on lacunae and gap- 
filling while ignoring textual data, Amit too easily suggests, for example, that Judah in 
Genesis 38 should be viewed in a favorable light because the narrator seems concerned to 
present him that way. Others who read this story see a much more ambiguous character. 

Amit touches lightly on the role of a reader. She challenges those who assess 
characters based on assumptions they bring to the text. However she fails to address the way 
in which we all read ideologically and her discussions of the text's ideology focus on 
historical concerns (e.g. page 120) and do not mention matters that affect present day issues. 
For example, the text's patriarchy and its influence on the presentation of women within the 
text is something that needs to be addressed. If the goal is to develop skill with reading 
Hebrew narrative, then issues such as these must also be brought to the table. Admittedly 
they lead into areas of study outside of narrative criticism yet they play such a significant role 
in our reading that to leave them unaddressed leaves the student of scripture with the 
mistaken idea that we read objectively and the text alone controls the meaning. 

Donna Laird, Drew University 

Andrew Louth, ed., with M. Conti, Genesis 1-11, Ancient Christian Commentary of 
Scripture: Old Testament, ed. T. C. Oden. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2001. lii + 204 pp., 
cloth, $40.00. 

Exegetes do well by remembering the observation of John Donne that "No man 
is an island, entire of itself" While we do have our own exegetical observations to make, we 
are blessed by a 'great cloud of witnesses', living and dead, who have plowed these same 
fields before us. Part of the task of any exegete worthy of that title is to be aware of the 
thoughts of these others. 

The aim of Thomas Oden and InterVarsity Press is to aid in this endeavor by 
making available commentary on Scripture from the patristic period, the first seven centuries 
of the Church. Oden begins by introducing the project itself, the plenteous resources which 
had largely been neglected up to now, the ecumenical range of contributors and consultants 
(Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Evangelical), as well as providing usefiil 
comments on misogyny, anti-Semitism, and Pelagianism. The volume editor, professor of 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

patristic and Byzantine studies at the University of Durham, then introduces the volume 
itself. He comments on the varieties of versions (Hebrew, Greek, Latin) and various 
theological issues such as typology and original sin. 

The commentary proper begins each section with the verse or pericope under 
discussion (taken from the RSV). Following an overview of the passage, there is comment on 
words and phrases drawn from the fathers. For those used to working with Jewish sources, 
the layout is similar to that of the rabbinic commentaries. 

The volume, and the series, fills an important gap in exegetical resources. While 
it will not be the only, or even the first, commentary which a student of Scripture will have 
on the desk, it is an important resource if one wants to seriously grapple with the text. If 
nothing else, I hope that the series lifts our modem eyes from a superficial personal 
application based on all too shallow exegesis to a time when the Bible was considered worthy 
of serious theological engagement. 

David W. Baker 

Samuel Terrien, The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentaiy. Eerdmans 
Critical Commentary Series. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. 11112 pp., $95.00. 

A seasoned student and gifted teacher of Hebrew Bible, the late Professor Terrien 
has pressed a wealth of insights into his substantial Psalms volume (971 pp.). Chief among its 
assets are the depth of introduction and richness of actual translations. Ancient Near Eastern 
Background, Music of the Psalms, and Theology of the Psalms are among the valuable topics 
treated in over 60 pages of rich and readable introduction. True to form (and faithful to text), 
Terrien attends to divine presence in the Psalms: "The apprehension of the Presence or the 
terror of its loss dominates the imagination of the psalmists" (57), and again: "The motif of 
Yahweh's presence seems to constitute, alone, the generative and organic power of [a 
theology of the Psalms]" (46). 

Translation of each psalm is fresh yet not forced, marked by a studied attempt to 
retain the Masoretic Text, at least in its consonantal form. Consider a sample from the first 

"Blessed is the man 

That does not walk with the ungodly for guides, 

Nor stand on the roadway with the sinful, • . 

Nor halt for a rest at the camp of cynics. 

But his delight is in the Law of the Lord..." (p. 69, italics and arrangement original). 

Within the commentary proper each psalm is presented by franslation, 
bibliography, and a discussion of form, commentary, and date-and-theology. Form is treated 
with brevity. Occasionally a brilliant insight breaks through (e.g., twin palistrophes in Ps. 
51). Commentary is thoughtful, arranged by strophic headings. 

This volume lies open to lay and scholar alike. While it offers a more current 
bibliography than Artur Weiser's Old Testament Library work, some still will favor Weiser's 
gift for penetrating the pathos of the poet. Finally, avoidance of Hebrew in Terrien's writing 
will ease reading for some while complicating it for others. 

Paul Overland 


Book Reviews 

Paul E. Koptak, Proverbs. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan^ 
2003. Pp. 712, cloth, $29.99. 

Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs, vols. I and II. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004,1 
2005. Pp. 693 and 589, respectively, cloth, $50.00 each. 

Eminently readable, Koptak's volume opens a healthy variety of vital topics in a 
30-page introduction. While based on the NIV translation, his work includes a responsible! 
sampling of insights from Hebrew while not overwhelming the reader with detail. Despite 
relatively brief treatment of textual issues, still it remains sensitive to poetics and rhetorical 
dimensions of the text. The primary strength of this work lies in its conscious effort regularly 
to bring biblical insight into conversation with modem culture. It places implications fori 
personal transformation within easy, even unavoidable reach. 

Arrival of Waltke's work has been worth the wait. Consistent with the author's 
commitment to careful scholarship, this two-volume work, 25 years in the making, spares 
nothing in pursuit of detailed explication of the text. Witness the extent of introduction and 
bibliography (170 and 37 pages, respectively). The collage of apparently disconnected 
sayings contained in Proverbs poses for Waltke the principal challenge — to discern latent 
coimectedness through poetics. Here he at times concurs, at times contrasts prior proposals — 
all in quest of exposing the tissue of the wider text, those sinews knitting the composition into 
a more cohesive (and thus more illuminating) whole. 

Regular attention to fine shades of meaning further evidences a scholar's care. A 
rare treasure of seasoned insight, this work will become a must-read or at least a must-consult 
for all serious scholarship in Proverbs firom this point forward. 

Paul Overland 

Michael V. Fox, A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build tip: A Rereading of 
Ecclesiastes. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999. 422 pp., paper, $34.00. 

. Ecclesiastes. JPS Bible Commentary. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication 

Society, 2004. 87 pp. plus 24 pp. introduction. ;v 

At a recent SBL reception Professor Michael Fox was presented with a 
festschrift — an index of longevity applied to the study of Hebrew wisdom literature. While 
the two volumes reviewed here do not include that festschrift, they are representative of 
works that have issued from his decades of scholarship. 

In A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build Up Fox offers a significant deepening 
of his earlier study entitled Qohelet and His Contradictions (JSOT Supplement 71). It is 
difficult to overestimate the value of this new volume for anyone determined to get a grip of 
this provocative and timely biblical book. For his trek into the uneven territory of 
Ecclesiastes, Fox rightly starts at the trailhead marked by those statements within Ecclesiastes 
which veer in opposite directions (p. 3). For example: for the author of Ecclesiastes is all of 
life darkly futile or can one find periodic points of light and joy amid pervasive gloom? 

Three primary strengths of A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build Up are its 
depth of introduction, conscious engagement with alternative interpretations, and readability. 
First, the introduction commands fully 34% of the work, and offers carefully-researched 
insights concerning principal concepts emerging from the landscape of Ecclesiastes (e.g., 
Hebrew terms for vanity /futility and chasing after wind). Second, Fox carefiilly introduces 
the reader to alternative interpretations, beginning in the preface with an overview of 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

commentaries. As a result, one detects a sense of dialog among scholars rather than a one- 
sided lecture (fitting for a biblical book so marked by internal give-and-take!). Third, the 
work is eminently readable, despite a no-holds-barred policy of wrestling with profound 
questions of interpretation. Frequent use of Hebrew in transliteration makes this work of 
particular use to those wanting to stay close to the original composition. 

At one-fourth the overall length, Ecclesiastes (JPS) treats many of the same 
introductory topics in a 24-page introduction, but in overview fashion. A snapshot of nine 
key terms compresses to four pages. When reviewing alternative interpretations, medieval 
Jewish writers occupy a suitably prominent position. The layout of the commentary-proper 
offers a bilingual biblical text above (Hebrew, New JPS English), with relatively brief verse- 
by-verse comment below. Many notes involve clarifying the translation, suggesting that Fox 
may not have been entirely satisfied with the NJPS rendition. For the student wishing either 
a briefer treatment of particular passages (when compared to A Time to Tear Down and a 
Time to Build Up), or one seeking rapid access to past Jewish interpretation viewed through 
the lens of a modem master-scholar, this JPS commentary is a true treasure. 

Paul Overland 

Reuben J. Swanson, New Testament Greek Manuscripts: Gospel 4-Pack. Sheffield: Sheffield 
Academic Press/Pasadena, Ca.: William Carey International University Press, 2005. Pp. 
Matthew xx + 304; Mark xix + 271; Luke xx + 420; John xix + 302, paper, $88.95. 

This set of four volumes serves as an important tool for textual criticism in the 
gospels. Each book provides the complete text of Codex Vaticanus, as exemplar, with 
numerous other uncials and papyri arranged, likewise in full, in horizontal lines underneath. 
Swanson supplies users with an introduction extensively explaining the nature and use of the 
tool. Its primary contribution is that it provides the Greek text of the gospels, not as eclectic 
texts - as one would find in the most common editions (NA27 and UBS4) - but in word-for- 
word transcription. Even the most comprehensive critical editions of the gospels, S. C. E. 
Legg's Nouum Testamentum Graece: Euangelium secundum Mattaeum (1940) and Marcum 
(1935) (both available from scholarly reprints, ) are 
eclectic in compilation and presented exactly like the critical apparatus of the NT27. Another 
source for an enormous amount of textual material on the gospels and other documents, 
available free of charge and updated regularly, is Wieland Willker's website ( http://www- tc.html ). 

The present edition, however, is unique in its presentation of full texts, allowing 
users to consider variant readings within their particular manuscript's context. This is an 
important feature that, when used carefully, will reward thorough study. One should note, 
though, that no attempt is made in this set at analysis of textual variations. For a recent 
approach to that subject, one may consult Wayne C. Kannaday, Apologetic Discourse and the 
Scribal Tradition: Evidence of the Influence of Apologetic Interests on the Text of the 
Canonical Gospels (Atlanta: SBL, 2004). Swanson' s work is acclaimed by Bruce Metzger as 
"an innovative and useful tool for the study of the Greek text of the New Testament." (p. ii). 
One could hardly offer a dissenting opinion to such praise. Indeed, serious exegesis or textual 
criticism in the gospels can hardly be engaged without these important tools at hand. The 
only uncertainty pertaining to it is its availability. At one point it was distributed by Tyndale 


Book Reviews 

House Publishers (Wheaton, 111.), who has indicated that the set is out of print. The individual)! 
volumes for the gospels (and other NT books) are still widely available. 

Daniel M. Gurtner, Bethel Seminary, St. Paul, MN 

Richard B. Hays, The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel's 
Scripture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005. Pp. xx + 213, paper, $20.00. 

Richard B. Hays' book is a collection of revised essays that were originally 
published over a span of more than two decades. Following his influential volume Echoes of 
Scripture in the Letters of Paul, this work covers a wide variety of issues related to "Paul as 
Interpreter of Israel's Scripture," and argues for a more sophisticated reading of Paul that 
goes beyond simply concluding that he was proof-texting, arbitrary in his referencing, or 
contradictory. Hays' stated purpose is threefold: to demonstrate that Israel's Scripture was 
foundational to the apostle's theology, to argue that Paul's own hermeneutical framework is a 
worthy model for contemporary readers, and to encourage the modem church to allow a 
"conversion of the imagination" that happens when one reads and interprets as Paul did {viii). 
What exactly does Hays mean by a "conversion of the imagination?" He envisions this as an 
"epistemological transformation" (x) or paradigm shift that involves both a new 
understanding of one's identity and a mind that is renewed and "remade by the gospel" (196). 
The title is quite apt given the centrality of this concept in nearly all of these essays. 

Hays highlights six themes that contribute to how Paul operated as an exegete. 
First, an emphasis on "metalepsis" runs throughout each chapter, whereby he reasons that 
Paul's quotations can only be fully appreciated when a broader context of the original citation 
is recognized. Second, Hays argues that Paul's quotations and allusions were meant to shape 
identity by helping his readers to reimagine themselves as the people of God. Third, Paul 
employed a narrative-approach to understanding Scripture. Hays argues that, for Paul, 
Scripture is not "merely a repository of isolated proof texts, rather it is a saga of God's 
election, judgment, and redemption of a people through time" {xvi). Fourth, Paul's 
interpretation is shaped by an apocalyptic perspective that demonstrates the Christ event as 
the necessary lens through which the Scripture is to be perceived. Fifth, the task of exegesis, 
for Paul and for the church, is as much an art as a science, and that his interpretation should 
be appreciated poetically as well as technically. Lastly, Hays posits that Paul approached 
Scripture from a "hermeneutic of trust," and that the church would better understand the 
apostle's thinking by approaching the texts in faith. 

Though Hays rightly admits that his overall thesis is not unique, the individual 
essays are creative and thought-provoking while at the same time examples of responsible 
exegesis. Even more, he does not shy away from hotly debated topics such as the meaning of 
dikaisUne theou (chapter 3), the functions of the law (chapter 5), and Paul's use of Habakkuk 
2:4 (chapter 7). At the same time. Hays proves himself to be open to criticism and 
appreciative of feedback especially in chapter 9, a response to critiques of Echoes of 
Scripture in the Letters of Paul. 

As convincing as Hays' thesis is, though, one is continually confronted with the 
question, could Paul 's original audience pick up on these frequent allusions, or bring to mind 
the original context of Paul's quotations? He suggests that Paul's original reader "not only 
knows Scripture but also appreciates allusive subtlety" (49), but does not offer substantial 
explanation of how this knowledge was obtained. On occasion he does provide a possible 
scenario that mitigates this concern, but without a more thorough exploration of this matter, 
the issue is difficult to evade. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Nevertheless, in the end Hays is successful in proving his overall thesis. The 
Conversion of the Imagination is a clear and compelling investigation into how Paul used 
Scripture in a meaningful way and there are few better qualified for undertaking such a work. 
As this topic will undoubtedly continue to be discussed and debated among New Testament 
scholars, one will hardly be able to engage without reference to this deft exegete and critical 

Nijay K. Gupta, South Hamilton, MA 

Ulrich Luz, Studies in Matthew, translated by Rosemary Selle. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
2005.Pp.xii + 385, paper, $30.00. ' > 

This book contains eighteen essays written between 1971 and 2003. The final 
essay, "The Significance of Matthew's Jesus Story for Today," is new, providing a useful 
summary of issues discussed throughout the book. The essays are divided into various 
sections, including: Matthew's story, Matthew and his traditions, christology, ecclesiology, 
ethics, miracles, Matthew and Israel and hermeneutics. In the course of these discussions, the 
reader is able to follow the thought of one of the most important commentators on Matthew 
of the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries, whose contributions include a 
commentary on Matthew in four volumes in the original German (EKK) and three volumes in 
English translation (Continental Commentaries and Hermeneia). 

Luz tackles some thorny issues in these essays. None is as difficult as the issue of 
anti-Judaism in the Gospel of Matthew (pp. 343-361). While evangelical readers may 
welcome Luz's refusal to follow the popular call to discard these difficult sections of 
scripture, they will certainly be challenged by his conclusion that texts such as Mt 23; 27:25 
and 28:11-15 cannot inform our current attitudes toward Judaism. Rather, these texts 
represent Matthew's reflection on his own situation, and need to be reconsidered in light of 
the Church's abominable record of persecution of Jews. 

Luz is able to come to this conclusion because of both his understanding of 
Matthew as story, and his utilization of the hermeneutical method of H. G. Gadamer. 
By employing Gadamer' s method, Luz reminds readers that biblical texts possess not only a 
meaning for their original audience, which the exegete needs to recover, but also contain an 
"effective history," or history of reception. Stated briefly, "effective history" means that texts 
continue to live in the context of their interpretive communities, which are both shaped by the 
texts and shape the understanding of the texts themselves through their historical location 
(see pp. 325-327). Thus, pluralism in interpreting texts is not a surprising phenomenon, but a 
natural corollary of text's effect upon interpreting communities. 

In short, Luz's essays provide useful insights for the interpretation of Matthew's 
Gospel and the broader issues of how scripture becomes word of God to readers and hearers 
today, especially in our post-Christian and post modem world. Rather than endorsing a 
cavalier attitude that "everything goes" in interpretation, Luz is able to relate how religious 
pluralism makes Matthew more relevant for readers today. For example, by exploring the 
"effective history" of the text in the church fathers (and mothers) and in Anabaptist sects, the 
one is confronted with demands that often are domesticated in the dominant traditions, 
particularly Reformed and Catholic, of the church. For example, Luz understands that the 
demands of Mt 5:43-48 and 6:10 are better understood in Anabaptist tradition than in the 
more "mainstream" traditions, and the effective history of these smaller bodies within the 
church informs readers how better to understand the evangelist's message. Yet, these 
traditions also highlight the inconsistencies of Matthew itself, especially in light of Mt 23, 
which appears the antithesis of 5:43-48. 


Book Reviews 

In conclusion, Luz's essays provide the reader with an important insight into tha 
development of thought of an important commentator on Matthew, whose own struggles with 
the text are reflected, but not necessarily resolved, in the course of these studies. This bookl 
provides a helpful companion volume to the massive commentary, and also supplies readers 
with productive insights on specific topics. The book is a necessary tool for any serious 
students of Matthew. 

Russell Morton 

Scot McKnight and Grant R. Osborne, eds.. The Face of New Testament Studies. A Survey oji 
Recent Research. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic; Leicester, UK: Apollos, 2004. 544i 
pp., paper, $34.99. 

The Face of New Testament Studies is the companion to The Face of Old Testament 
Studies (ed. David W. Baker and Bill T. Arnold). This is a collection of twenty-two essaysi 
which covers a generous swathe of issues germane to the study of the New Testament. Thei 
book seeks to "provide 'macroscopic' overviews of the field and give students a handle on 
the most important voices in the discipline" (p. 9). Students of the New Testament will find: 
The Face of New Testament Studies a helpful point of departure for their own research, for 
these essays provide summaries of current research, analyses of various positions, andi 
relevant bibliography. 

The book itself divides into four parts, organized by fields of scholarship: 

Part 1, "Context of the New Testament," contains two articles. Sean Freyne's 
article focuses upon the social climate of Galilee and Judea. In the second essay, David 
Fiensy discusses the material culture of the Roman Empire and Asia Minor. 

Part 2 consists of five essays on "New Testament Hermeneutics." (1) Eckhard 
Schnabel brings readers up to date on the field of textual criticism. (2) Stanley Porter assesses 
the state of Greek grammars available today and some challenges to older ways of the study 
of syntax and grammar. Next, (3) Greg Clark provides a historical overview of "general 
hermeneutics." A survey is given, moving through the Protestant Reformation, the 
Enlightenment, Romanticism, and late Modernism. (4) David DeSilva surveys the state of 
social-scientific criticism as it is practiced within New Testament studies. DeSilva 
distinguishes "social description," which assesses socio-cultural realities, fi-om the use of 
social-scientific "models" that seek to explain behaviors, structures, and patterns reflected in 
the NT texts. Finally, (5) Craig Evans discusses the New Testament's use of the Old 
Testament. He covers Jewish exegesis in antiquity and various methods employed by the 
writers of the New Testament. 

Part 3 is designated for "Jesus" studies. Four essays are included. (1) Scot 
McKnight examines recent scholarship and concludes: "though it has taken nearly a century 
of badgering and bullying. Christian scholarship has gradually accepted the challenge of 
Henry J. Cadbury to avoid modernizing Jesus, and... finally offered to the reading public... a 
Jewish Jesus who is credible within first-century Judaism" (p. 176). Next, (2) Klyne 
Snodgrass discusses different scholarly assessments of Jesus' parables. (3) Graham Twelftree 
considers "the history of miracles in the history of Jesus." (4) Craig Blomberg discusses the 
scholarship of the Gospel of John. 

Finally, Part 4 concerns "Earliest Christianity." This section contains a series of 
eleven essays covering a range of topics germane to New Testament studies. Steve Walton 
discusses the complex status of Acts studies. Bruce Chilton discusses the scholarship on 
James the brother of Jesus. Donald Hagner discusses the Gospel of Matthew and the issue of 
'Christian Judaism' or 'Jewish Christianity.' Bruce Fisk covers aspects of Paul's life and 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

letters. James D.G. Dunn writes about Paul's theology. Darrell Bock discusses Lukan 
scholarship. Robert Webb surveys Petrine scholarship. Peter Bolt surveys recent scholarship 
on Mark's Gospel. George Guthrie discusses recent research on the book of Hebrews with a 
view to its first-century context. Klaus Scholtissek surveys recent research on the Johannine 
Gospel. Finally, Grant Osborne discusses recent trends in the study of Apocalypse of John. 

Don Carlson, Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion 

Francis J. Moloney, Mark: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist. Peabody: Hendrickson, 
2004. 224 pp., paper, $19.95. 

Francis J. Moloney occupies the Katherine Drexel Chair of Religious Studies at the 
Catholic University of America. His The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary was the 2003 
Reference Book of the Year according to the Academy of Parish Clergy. The 2004 book is 
billed as a New Testament Commentary but it is not truly that. Only 55 pages of the 224 
page text are devoted strictly to commentary. 

The book is organized in four parts. Part the first, is entitled "Mark." To the 
author, Mark is a "shadowy figure" and one cannot be certain as to the identity of this Mark. 
Nor can it be accurately determined when this story of Jesus first saw the light of day. 
However, he does posit that this Mark, whoever he is, is a "creative and original thinker." 
According the Maloney, Mark never appears as a character in the work or is named. He 
points out that this is a characteristic found throughout the book with numerous nameless 
persons as principle characters in the story. Papias' second century reference to Mark gets 
only passing recognition. Maloney views the work not as history but as a proclamation of 
the faith of the early church. The desire of the writer of Mark was to communicate a 
particular theological perspective. 

The second division of the book deals with "Mark: the Storyteller." The author 
views the many summaries in Mark as textual markers delineating the structure of the work. 
In this section the author sees the Gospel story unfolding in four parts: 

1. The Gospel Begins ■- 

2. Jesus' Ministry in Galilee ' ' ' ' ■ •' 

3. Jesus' Journey to Jerusalem, Death, Resurrection 

4. Women Discover the Empty Tomb 

The first half of the Gospel answers the question, "Who IS Jesus?" The second half of the 
Gospel presents "The Suffering, Vindicated Son of Man, the Christ, the Son of God." 

The commentary is found in Part Three of the work. The limited remarks are 
helpful and at times provocative. The author asserts that, "Mark, the storyteller has 
consciously taken material fi^om traditions about Jesus that come to him and shapes them in a 
way that is referred to as 'chiastic.'" He accepts the fact that Mark concludes at verse eight of 
chapter six. 

In the third section of the book, the author deals first with "Mark, the Interpreter of 
Jesus of Nazareth" including "Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Son of God, and Jesus the Son of 
Man." Next in this section are the author's assertions on "Mark the Interpreter of Christian 
Community" including "The Disciples," and "At the Table of the Lord." 

The fourth part of Maloney's work is entitled, "The Good News of the Gospel of 
Mark." In this section, he sees Mark looking back to the biblical traditions and the events in 
the life of Jesus to revive the flagging spirits of the struggling Christian Community. 


Book Reviews i 

At the conclusion of each of the four sections are helpful and extensive footnotes. 
The work concludes with a thorough fifteen page bibliography, a three page index to modem 
authors and a five page index to ancient sources. The work is certainly engaging. 

Richard E. Allison 

Kenneth Schenck, Understanding the Book of Hebrews: The Story Behind the Sermon. 
Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003. 144 pp., paper, $19.95. 

This brief guide to Hebrews features a very innovative approach to the exploration 
of a biblical text. Rather than start "behind" the text with arguments concerning authorship, 
audience, and situation, Schenk begins "within" the text with an exploration of the "story 
world" created by the text, laying out, in effect, the narrative world and plot into which the 
author invites his audience. He continues in a second chapter to investigate the complication 
and resolution of that plot ("Humanity's Problem and Christ's Solution") more fully from 
within Hebrews' "narrative," and follows this with detailed examinations of the opening 
chapter of Hebrews, the "characters" who exhibit faith and distrust, and the background and 
significance of the author's argument concerning the sacrifice and priesthood of Jesus. Only 
after taking the readers through the "story" and argument of Hebrews does Schenk return to 
the historical questions about the situation addressed by this text, and how Hebrews offers a 
"word-on-target" for that situation. 

The volume is well written, thoroughly conversant with contemporary English 
scholarship on Hebrews, and well documented. It admirably achieves its goal, which is to 
provide a first introduction to this difficult sermon. Sidebars, tables, and a glossary make the 
running text even more accessible to readers unfamiliar with Hebrews (many sidebars 
provide the text of verses from Hebrews relevant to the discussion), with the environment of 
the first century, and with literary-critical approaches to the Bible. 

David A. deSilva 

Murray J. Harris, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text. 
New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005. Pp. cxxvii 
+ 989, cloth, $75.00. 

Harris's commentary on 2 Corinthians demonstrates depth of scholarship and 
attention to detail. His descriptions of the Greek text are thorough and precise. He shows 
acute awareness of textual and grammatical issues. Nevertheless, the commentary also suffers 
severe shortcomings, which limit its value to students and scholars. 

Positively, the detailed discussion of the Greek text of 2 Corinthians will be helpful 
to any intermediate to advanced student or scholar of the Greek language. Readers may 
question, however, why Harris utilizes the older Bauer-Amdt-Gingrich-Danker (BAGD) 
lexicon, the second English edition of Bauer's lexicon, rather than the Bauer-Danker- Amdt- 
Gingrich (BDAG), third English edition, of Bauer. 

While this choice may be explained by Harris having completed most of his work 
before BDAG was available, a more serious shortcoming is to be noted in Harris's lack of 
engagement with rhetorical and social scientific investigations of 2 Corinthians. While one 
may question some of the assumptions of sociological or socio-rhetorical criticism, 1-2 
Corinthians are the NT writings where the methodology is most helpful. One wonders why, 
for example, in commenting upon 2 Cor 2:17, where Paul notes that he and his associates do 
not act as "peddlers of the word of God," Harris makes no allusion to popular images of 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

philosophers, particularly the Cynics, against whom such exactly charges were often raised 
(pp. 253-56). Reference to the later work of Lucian of Samosata, Philosophies for Sale, 
would also provide a helpfial illustration to popular conceptions of philosophers, against 
which Paul was contrasting his own behavior. This lacuna is all the more surprising in light 
of Harris's comments on 2 Cor 11:7, where he specifically does note the contrast between 
Paul's behavior and that of "peripatetic lecturers" (pp. 754-56). 

In contrast to many other scholars of the Pauline corpus, Harris attempts to 
reconcile the chronologies of Acts and 1-2 Corinthians to explain Paul's circumstances and 
reasons for writing. While some would find this approach to be helpful, others might consider 
it an attempt at harmonization. Harris also distinguishes himself from numerous other 
commentators on 2 Corinthians in hypothesizing that the letter is a single unit, rather than a 
composite of Pauline fragments (see pp. 8-51). Harris recognizes that the tone of 2 Cor. 10- 
13 is very different from 2 Cor 1-9. This feature is explained by the theory that although 2 
Corinthians was written as a single letter, it was not all written at the same time, and 2 Cor 
10-13 was added to chs. 1-9 after Paul received disturbing news about the state of the 
Corinthian congregation (pp. 50-51). A similar theory is also found in the commentaries by 
Ralph Martin and C. K. Barrett's classic. 

Also problematic, Harris's commentary does not offer adequate indexing. Indexes 
are included for modem authors, Greek terms, and subjects. Conspicuously absent are is an 
index to scripture references and an index of ancient writers. Readers may wonder why such 
useful tools, necessary for any critical commentary, are wanting. 

In conclusion, Harris's commentary has much that is useful, particularly with 
regard to grammatical analysis. The book needs, however, to be supplemented by social 
analysis, such as the works of Theissen (Social Aspects of Pauline Christianity), Malherbe 
(Paul and the Popular Philosophers), Meeks {First Urban Christians), and Winter {After 
Paul Left Corinth; Philo; Paul Among the Sophists). It is unfortunate that the findings of 
these scholars could not have been more effectively integrated into Harris's commentary. 

Russell Morton 

Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Letter to Philemon. Anchor Bible 34C. New York: Doubleday, 
2000. xvi+ 138 pp., cloth, $21.95. ;- ; ' .. -; 

Recognized scholar Joseph Fitzmyer, S. J., offers a solid and responsible 
introduction and commentary on Paul's letter to Philemon. The introduction and a 
substantial bibliography (28 pages of resources) occupies the first full half of the volume. 
This introduction treats the usual issues of historical setting (authorship, date, the vexed issue 
of the location of Paul's imprisormient), offers a reasonable defense for the now almost 
universally adopted explanation for the occasion of the letter (Onesimus has sought out Paul 
as a mediator between himself and Philemon, and is not a "runaway" slave) and judicious 
critique of other available reconstructions, and provides a helpful section on the institution of 
slavery in the Greco-Roman world. This is followed by a clear analysis of the letter's 
significance, theological contribution, and structure. A verse-by-verse commentary follows 
in the second half, providing all the text-critical information, the lexical analysis, comparative 
texts, and other historical-critical interpretive aids. 

David A. deSilva 


Book Reviews i 

Ian Boxall, The Revelation of Saint John. Black's New Testament Commentary. Peabody,ij 
MA: Hendrickson; London: Continuum, 2006. xvi + 347 pp, cloth, $29.95 

It takes significant courage to contribute a commentary on Revelation as a^i 
successor to G.B. Caird's classic Commentary on the Revelation of St. John the Divine* 
(1966), for Caird's volume for years was the standard for both readability and scholarship.! 
Nevertheless, after four decades Caird's work has become dated, and a supplement is needed. I 
Boxall, who, like Caird, hails from Oxford University, has taken up the challenge admirably. 

Boxall begins with a brief introduction (pp. 1-20), which concludes with an outline 
of Revelation. From the begirming, the reader may observe both Boxall 's debt to the tradition 
of Caird, as well as where he supersedes his predecessor. Boxall 's discussion of the genre of 
Revelation demonstrates, as well as can be expected in a mere two and a half pages, an 
awareness of the controversy surrounding apocalyptic and apocalypticism. Is Revelation an 
apocalypse, a prophecy or both? Boxall opts for the third conclusion, noting that the 
Apocalypse is also in the form of an epistle. Yet, Boxall also recognizes that John is heir to a 
long tradition of Jewish visionary literature, including apocalyptic speculation and merkevah 

Boxall differs fi-om Caird most dramatically in allowing for the possibility that 
John, son of Zebedee could be the author of Revelation. Nevertheless, he concludes that a 
certain agnosticism in the area of authorship is necessary (p. 7). Likewise, Boxall differs from 
Caird in recognizing that the opposition that John sees is not necessarily overt imperial 
persecution as much as local, provincial harassment and persecution (see Rev 2:13). Here 
Boxall demonstrates acute awareness of current scholarship that calls into question the 
existence of an imperial persecution during the reign of Domitian. 

Boxall's sensitivity to the text, as well as his awareness of scholarly debate, is 
particularly evidenced in three areas: his discussion of the throne scene in Rev 4-5; John's 
use of combat myth in Rev 12-13, and the disturbing portrayal of Babylon in Rev 17. In Rev 
4-5, he notes how the twenty four elders may represent both the twenty four priestly orders of 
1 Chron 24:1-18 as well as the total of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles. 
Here Boxall notes, correctly, that John's imagery may be multivalent. What is disappointing, 
however, is his lack of recognition that John may also utilize Greco-Roman astrological 
imagery as well, providing a rich tapestry of allusion for the reader. Boxall's understanding 
of the Lamb imagery of Rev 5 is more satisfactory, noting that the Lamb represents both a 
sacrifice and an avenging agent. 

Boxall's recognition of the presence of combat myth in Rev 12 acute, although 
Caird's analysis may, ultimately, be more correct. Although Boxall notes the work of Yarbro 
Collins, he does not reference the foundational studies Gunkel and Bousset. Boxall also 
provides carefiil consideration of feminist critique of John's imagery in Rev 17. Yet, he also 
recognizes not only John's disturbing imagery of Babylon as the Great Prostitute, but also the 
counterbalancing positive female imagery, such as the woman of Rev 1 2 and the portrayal of 
the New Jerusalem in Rev 21-22. Thus, Revelation's disturbing imagery derives from John's 
uncompromising contrast between good and evil. 

At various points in the commentary, Boxall includes helpful excurses which 
provide the reader with assistance in understanding the Apocalypse and its ancient world. In 
the commentary sections themselves, Boxall is somewhat constrained by the limits of the 
Black series. The other serious weakness of Boxall's work is that the bibliographic references 
are almost exclusively to titles available in English. Thus, the reader is not only denied 
reference to some of the classic foreign language works, but some of the more recent 
interesting commentaries, such as Giessen's, are also not mentioned. 


I Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Overall, Boxall provides a good introductory commentary upon the Apocalypse of 
ifohn. His work represents some of the best elements of the tradition of Caird in that Boxall 
liiotes the relevance of the apocalypse for its original readers. Likewise, Boxall brings the 
discussion of Revelation up to date with reference to contemporary scholarship. 

Russell Morton 

William Yarchin, History of Biblical Interpretation. Hendrickson Publishers: Peabody, 
Massachusetts, 2004. Pp. 444, cloth, $34.95. 

William Yarchin presents History of Biblical Interpretation to meet the need for a 
smgle-volume reader that covers the entire span of the Bible's history, presenting various 
[aspects of its interpretative tradition. Given the vast presence the Bible enjoys in world 
jculture, a truly comprehensive survey of the history of biblical interpretation is admittedly 
jbeyond the book's scope. Taking this into consideration, Yarchin has selected only readings 
Jrepresentative of the most influential exegetical treatments of biblical texts though the ages. 
jHe has carefully selected only those portions which contain some of the more clearly 
expressed statements of biblical interpretation. Consequently, and to the author's own 
Jadmission, some works have been excluded in favor of others. For example, Yarchin 
ideliberately excludes New Testament exegesis as well as the Jewish kabbalistic interpretive 
tradition. Even so, students of the Bible are sure to reap maximum benefit from History of 
Biblical Interpretation. 

The contents of the book proceed chronologically from the second century B.C.E. 
to the end of the twentieth century C.E., presenting both the Christian and the Jewish 
lexegetical traditions. The book is divided into five major sections. Part 1 (150-70 C.E.) 
covers the important elements of pre-Christian and pre-Rabbinic biblical interpretation. Part 
2 (150-1500) deals with key figures among the Church Fathers. Part 3 presents rabbinic 
Judaism, introducing the reader to the important Jewish contemporaries of the Church 
jFathers. Part 4 ( 1 500-present) illustrates the shift of scholarly interest in the Bible to 
Jphilological and historical questions. Part 5 ( 1 970-present) deals with the issues which 
occupy modem interpreters, issues such has "subjectivity" and "ideological motivation". 
Each chapter begins with a succinct introduction by the author in which he provides context 
and background relevant for approaching the author(s) and/or period under discussion. At the 
end of these helpful introductions are included short bibliography-six works at most-for 
further study. Readers will find these bibliographies very usefiil, for they include classic 
studies on the subject as well as more recent articles. 

A special feature of History of Biblical Interpretation is W. Yarchin's own 
contribution of fresh, original English translations of three commentary traditions on Psalm 
23. Yarchin has rendered into English the Hebrew and Aramaic of Traditional rabbinic 
comments on Psalm 23 as they appear in the Yalqut Shim 'oni. He has franslated the Latin 
from the patristic Glossa ordinaria. Also, an English translation is given for the sixteenth 
century Latin text of the Critici sacri. 

The real strength of the book is that it includes a representative sample of classical 
Jewish as well as patristic interpretive traditions. Moreover, readers will also gain from its 
pages an exposure to more recent theories of biblical interpretation and the contributions 
from a range of scholars like P. Trible, Edgar V. McKnight and Segovia. History of Biblical 
Interpretation is sure to provide students, pastors and teachers alike with a real sense for the 
rich interpretive traditions which the Bible has, and continues, to generate. 

Don Carlson, Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion 


Book Reviews 

David Bagchi and David C. Steinmetz, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Reformation 
Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 289 pp., $24.99 (paper). 

This is the fifteenth book in the series of the Cambridge Companion books on the 
Bible, church history, and theology, with more volumes projected to follow. The books in 
the series are written to serve non-specialists, helping them to acquire an introductory grasp 
of vital historical topics. One indication of the intended audience is the absence of reference 
notes in the chapters. The readers are not cheated on content, however; and a rich 
bibliography at the end of the book directs readers to numerous primary and secondary 
sources for each person or movement covered in the book. 

The editors provide a helpful introduction to the book, in which they cover the 
historiography of the Reformation period over roughly the last half century. They note the 
loss of interest in Reformation theology, as scholars abandoned the "great men and their 
ideas" approach to history, while turning to more critical questions of the period and 
refocusing on the social history of the common person in the sixteenth century religious 
setting. They point to renewed interest now in the theology of the Reformation and its many 
spokespersons. This volume, then, comes at a favorable time. 

Eighteen chapters comprise the book, each written by a specialist on the topic. 
There are four chapters on the religious background to the Reformation, giving new 
prominence to the rich diversity of late medieval theology which was the soil from which the 
Reformation grew, though it was not the cause of the Reformation. Three chapters cover 
Luther and the development of Lutheran theology, including an interesting study on 
Melanchthon, who modified Lutheran theology even while he preserved Luther. Four 
chapters serve the Calvinist Reformation, giving attention to Bucer along with the standard 
figures of Zwingli and Calvin. The thought of the English and Scottish Reformations merit 
three chapters. The Radical reformation is represented by only one chapter on Anabaptist 
theology, but it is the longest chapter of the book. And Anabaptist sources in the selected 
bibliography are again lengthy, rivaling the sources for Luther. Finally the editors each write 
a chapter on the Catholic reformation, one covering Catholic theologians before Trent and the 
other focusing on the theology expressed at the council of Trent. 

Overall, it is an accomplishment in intellectual history. Not only will the reader 
acquire a great store of information, s/he will likely be stimulated to pursue additional 
reading on the thought of the reformation. The editors encourage that pursuit in their 
concluding section, where they sketch out new sources for and fresh inquires about 
Reformation thought. 

It is easy to be enthusiastic about this book. It is informative, contemporary, 
accessible to the ordinary reader, and about the ideal length. It concludes while the reader is 
still interested in the topic and anxious for pointers toward other sources in the field. It 
demonstrates that specialists can communicate with common readers and instill in them the 
passion of the scholars' pursuit of knowledge that matters. And all this comes at a price an 
ordinary person can afford! 

• I ; ir,; ,, Luke L. Keefer, Jr. 

James J. Buckley & David S. Yeago, eds.. Knowing the Triune God: The Work of the Spirit 
in the Practices of the Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001. 283 pp., paper, $29.00. 

The opening sentence of this book presents its central claim as: "knowing the triune 
God is inseparable from participating in a particular community and its practices - a 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

participation which is the work of God's Holy Spirit" (1). Resulting from the work of the 
Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology in Northfield Minnesota, Knowing the Triune 
God is an attempt to do theology in a way that engages "the whole of the Christian tradition, 
in its diversity and richness" (3). A joint venture of both Catholic and Evangelical 
theologians, including Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, and Roman 
Catholics, the book is divided into nine essays, each written by a different theologian, and 
each covering a specific topic relating to the idea of knowing the triune God through the 
Church by the Holy Spirit. This is a laudable effort with a worthwhile benefit for anyone 
I seeking a richer understanding of Christian theology. 

This book is very helpful as a survey of theological concepts with deep academic 
and insightful discussion stemming from a strong grounding in the tradition of the Church. It 
is historically rooted, challenging in its discussion, diverse in its bias, and broad in its topics. 
This book will whet the theological appetite, and provide a great basis for further inquiry and 
greater study. It is a difficult read, exposing the deeper end of the theological pool, and is 
therefore probably best-suited for the graduate-level student. 

Knowing the Triune God is divided into three sections, each consisting of three 
individual chapters. The first section of the book deals with the sources of knowing the 
j Triune God. The sources include the Church, focusing on its practices, theology and doctrine, 
the Bible, and the liturgy. 

The middle section of the book deals with aspects of formation in knowing the 
triune God, focusing on a few specifics within the sources mentioned in the first section. The 
[three individual chapters here include contemplation, focusing on St. Augustine's 
understanding of contemplation as a joint exercise in theology and spirituality, the baptismal 
catechesis, concerning the teaching and preparation surrounding baptism in the early church, 
and interpretation, referring to the interpretation of the created order. 

The final section of the book offers three areas of dispute concerning knowing the 
triune God. Here, the theologians tackle questions surrounding the fractured state of the 
Church, the question of whether Christians serve the God of Israel, and the issue of natural 
revelation and its implications for the role of the Church in knowing God. I thought this 
section was interesting, but it was more of chore to read and altogether not critical to the 

The premise of Susan Wood's insightfiil discussion on liturgy is the idea that "In 
the liturgy, we do not acquire knowledge about God; we acquire a knowledge of God" (96). 
The idea of the participatory knowledge of God is prevalent throughout the book and 
especially in Wood's discussion of liturgy, as well as the chapter on baptism and 
contemplation. Wood goes on to say that "it is not by looking at things, but by dwelling in 
them that we understand them" (101). She applies this to liturgy by saying that as we "dwell" 
in the liturgy of the Church, we actively participate in the Christian story and our lives are 
thus formed "into a Christian community" as we assume that drama as our own (106-7). 

Along the lines of ecclesiastical participation, L. Gregory Jones, Dean of the 
Divinity School and Professor of Theology at Duke University, writes a beautiful chapter on 
baptism catechesis, which I found especially insightful. It really exposes the richness of the 
process of baptism for the early church: 

Overall, this dramatic journey of baptismal catechesis highlighted the 
centrality of initiation into the spectacular drama of God's creating, 
redeeming and consummating work. [...] Through a combination of 
scripture preaching and teaching, formal instruction, dramatic ritual, 
spiritual direction, and apprenticeship in the deeds of holy living, the 
practices of baptismal catechesis fostered a spectacular vision - and, 



Book Reviews 

more importantly, embodiment - of what it means to become part of the 
journey into the reign of God's dazzUng Ught. (161) 

Knowing the Triune God, is a rich and challenging book offering a greatei 
theological understanding, especially concerning the knowledge of God and the function ol 
the Church in that knowledge. It will encourage deep thinking over a broad range ol 
theological matters, undoubtedly leaving the reader hungry for more. One frustration with the 
book is the lack of biblical discussion on the Spirit's role in the Church. The authors seem to 
simply make the assumption that anything the "Church" does is an act of the Spirit, which 
was surprising. I would have loved to see a greater development of the theology of the Spirit. 
Another hesitation is that at points, the book is simply a chore to plow through, with 
seemingly insignificant academic discussion that becomes even harder to follow given the 
sequestered format of the book. Regardless of these critiques however, reading this book is 
well worth the effort and will prove helpful in any effort to fiarther know the triune God and 
the function of the Church in that pursuit. 

Ryan W. Likes, John Brown University 

Reinhard Hiitter, Suffering Divine Things: Theology as Church Practice. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans , 2000. 314 pp., paper, $ 30.00. 

Reinhard Hutter assumes the task of defining the role of theology as a purpose of 
the church in contrast to both academic theology, which remains detached from the average 
Christian, and modem thought in which "the church is nothing else than a private association 
of people with common interests... this sociological self-designation undermines the church's 
own self understanding, that is, the promise entrusted to it and its mission"(3). He writes, 
"The problem emerging in theology is at the same time a problem for the church," which is 
the tendency to either privatize religion or, on the contrary, "toward objectified, increasingly 
reified forms of faith designed to counter the subversive dynamic of modernity itself '(3). 
Hutter makes a valiant effort, employing the works of exceptional theologians to demonstrate 
the validity of his resolution. 

Hiitter' s style and language demand the reader to have a thorough background in 
theological discourse and some familiarity with the authors from whom Hutter shapes his 
arguments. This book is best suited for educators and students of upper level theology, 
perhaps in a class on methods of theology. Church leaders who wish to cultivate a deeper 
understanding of theology in their congregations will find this book useful as a foundation 
and motivator. 

The book is best read in order from start to finish; Hutter establishes a foundation 
and methodically builds layers upon it. I found section three of Part One a powerfiil aid to 
understanding his argument, as it sets the basis for Part Two in which Hutter develops the 
supporting points. His work reaches full strength in Part Three, building on the role of the 
spirit in church theology and Luther's Doctrina. Part Four is the climax and conclusion, 
explaining, as the title suggests, theology as church practice. 

Hutter begins with a discussion of Adolf von Hamack and Erik Peterson's 
approach to the church as a "public" and the need for doctrine, although he differentiates 
between doctrine and theology. Hutter defines pathos as "the surrender to God's presence 
such that this presence defines or determines us and in so doing inevitably also defines or 
determines out theological discourse" (31). Secondly, he describes poiesis as creative work; 
both terms are foundational to the book, as theology is necessarily an actualization of being 
acted upon. 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

Part Two involves George Lindbeck's work on church practice in the cultural- 
inguistic model, which HUtter uses to explain, "Faith is actualized within these contexts of 
anguage and activity that themselves actualize the content of faith... the inseparable 
uxtaposition of faith actualization and faith content" (45). Therefore, those in the church learn 
-eligion by practicing its exercises. 

After establishing the groundwork, Hiitter begins Part Three by tying the book 
ogether with a concise summary of his overall purpose. 

My intention is to articulate critically, from the perspective of the Trinity 
and the economy of salvation, the relationship between church and 
theology, and to develop the pathos of theology explicitly from both a 
pneumatological and ecclesiological perspective (95). 

The Christian is the poietic work of the Spirit, Hutter writes, "The existence of the church 
and of every believer is pathically determined in that they are constituted by the Spirit, that is, 
linsofar as their qualification as a work of the Holy Spirit is their pathos" (118). Theology is a 
natural outworking of this in the church. 

Hiitter then revisits the concept of the church as a public, which is vital to his 

"The church as public and theology as the discursive church practice 
mutually imply one another. If the church is indeed a public, then it 
requires a discourse that publicly gives account of the actualization of the 
core practices and of doctrine. If theology is the discursive church 
practice (rather than the science, philosophy, history, or philology of 
religion), then it presuppose the church as public" (166). 

Because the church is a public, it must participate in theology. That participation is rooted in 
the Spirit's work, and is implemented in the church through exercise. 

Hutter binds all his points together to demonstrate the importance of theology as a 
specifically church practice. Theology is the expression of the pathos of the Holy Spirit 
working in the church itself Hiitter provides a detailed and thorough demonstration of his 
thesis. I appreciate the overarching theme of faith as pathos, being worked upon, or 
"suffered," through the creative work of the Spirit. I am concerned that the depth of technical 
language might repel much of the church itself, ironically leaving his exhortation beyond its 
reach. His thoroughness and precise use of language lends towards repetitiveness. The book 
is excellent as a technical exposition on the purpose and place of theology. Church leaders 
and theologians should consider Hutter' s proposition and flavor the church with the practice 
of theology. 

Laura J Smith, John Brown University 

John Schwarz, A Handbook of the Christian Faith. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2004. 295 
pp., paper, $13.99. 

In his preface to A Handbook of the Christian Faith, John Schwarz makes very 
clear the purpose of his book and his target audience. He writes: "I decided someday I 
would write the kind of book that I wished someone had given me when I became a 
Christian, a book that answered questions like the following...." Schwarz proceeds to list 
numerous questions he had when he first became a Christian, ones that he would attempt to 
answer in his book. And he does indeed succeed. A Handbook of the Christian Faith is a 


' '' - Book Reviews ! 

manageable, 295-page overview of the Christian faith, discussing most of the basic tenets o 

Schwarz chose an appropriate layout and flow to introduce the Christian faith. H( 
begins with the Bible, proceeding from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Following ij 
his discussion of Jesus, the Gospels, and what he calls the "Outward Movemenf (thti 
remaining books of the New Testament), Schwarz hits several more topics with chapters | 
titled "The Church", "Christian Beliefs", "Other Religions", "Growing In and Sharingj 
Christ", and "Living Christianly", in that order. Each chapter is divided into sections by titles I 
in large print. These titles not only make the book easy to follow, but they also make thei| 
material less overwhelming, as the text is broken into many parts. i 

On the whole, Schwarz is very thorough. He introduces all the major players in the 
Bible, from Adam and Eve to Paul of Tarsus. He also provides biblical references, so that a 
reader might be able to find the stories in Scripture. He supplies readers with historical, 
contexts, citing names like Constantine and Augustine. And perhaps the most daunting task I 
he tackles is introducing Christian doctrine without regard to a specific denomination. While 
there will certainly be discrepancies between Schwarz and some denominations, he does a 
fair job in discussing doctrine, beginning with a doctrine of creation and concluding with an 
eschatology. He uses a salvation by grace through faith model to explain Jesus' life andi 

Much to his credit, Schwarz does not shy away the hard to explain issues in thei; 
Bible and Christian history. Though he does not mention the Documentary Hypothesis in 
discussing the two accounts of creation in Genesis, he does acknowledge that two separate 
accounts are present. He also mentions Q in discussing the Synoptic Gospels, which 
exemplifies the appropriate balance he maintains in mixing scholarly material with more 
general knowledge. Of course, A Handbook of the Christian Faith is just that: a handbook. 
Thus, it cannot, should not, and does not mention every detail of Christianity. 

This book would be an appropriate tool for a new Christian to have. Not only 
would it provide a basic introduction to the religion, it would also prompt more questions to 
be answered by a different means. The book might also be useful to a seasoned Christian 
who would like a refresher in details or a reminder of his or her heritage as a Christian. And, 
while this text might not be academic enough to be used in a classroom, it would make a 
good text for a Sunday school class to delve into. It really is quite amazing how much 
Schwarz manages to pack into one book, one text that can be easily transported, easily 
referenced, and easily shared. 

Michelle Skupski-Bissell 

Mark A. Noll, The Rise of Evangelicalism. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003. 
293 pp., cloth, $23.00. 

In this carefully researched and well-written analysis of 18"^ century British and 
American revivalism and some of its leading figures, Mark A. Noll unearths the fascinating 
story of the rise and development of early evangelical Christianity. Using a pleasingly clear 
writing style, the author begins by describing the contours of the political, ecclesiastical and 
spiritual "geography" of 18* century Britain and North America. He then goes on to trace 
the antecedents of Evangelicalism back to a variety of revitalization movements in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries on the Continent and in England, each of which shared a 
common concern to return to "a more personal and more internal practice of the Christian 
faith" (p. 54). With Noll's able guidance, early Evangelicalism's conviction that a personal 
and sensible relationship with God lies at the heart of true Christianity is found to be rooted 

Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

solidly in the fertile soil of Puritanism's experiential Calvinism, Continental Pietism's focus 
on "true Christianity" marked by personal godliness and a "palpable experience of God," (p. 
85) and the voluntarily organized lay societies dedicated to spiritual renewal that sprang up 
within the confines of the High-Church Anglicanism of England. Having laid this 
foundation, the remainder of the book charts the growth and development of early 
Evangelicalism, describing its subsequent fragmentation and eventual consolidation, as well 
as the religious, social and psychological conditions of the time that both shaped it and were 
shaped by it. 

This book is highly recommended as a reliable and insightful account of the rise of 
evangelical Christianity. Professor Noll admirably achieves his goal of using his historical 
and biographical material to "clarify the significance of what happened when hundreds, then 
thousands, then tens of thousands, came to agree with George Whitefield that 'it was best to 
preach the new birth, and the power of godliness, and not to insist so much on the form'" (p. 
25). The author is well acquainted with the relevant sources and writes with understanding 
and empathy about a century peculiarly characterized by frequent, dramatic outbreaks of 
revivalistic spirituality which generated both ardent defenders and angry detractors. His 
account of the rise of evangelicalism is placed carefully and credibly within the cultural and 
social contexts of the day, a procedure that makes his analysis very convincing. Weaving his 
narrative of historical causes and effects together with fascinating biographical accounts of 
Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield and the Wesley brothers, among others, Noll retells the 
story of this 100 year segment of church history in a way that is at once both lively and life- 
like. This study has the additional advantage, as should all good histories, of containing 
insights and observations that are relevant for today's readers, particularly those who label 
themselves 'evangelical.' As one progresses through the book, it is hard to avoid a sense of 
deja vu as it becomes strikingly clear that the over-riding emphasis on a personal, experiential 
relationship with God, accompanied by the tendency to devalue ritual and liturgy and to 
derive and validate religious truth from personal experience and direct communication from 
God, as well as from the Bible, is nothing new to modem evangelicalism. Another 
challenging insight comes from his observation that because early evangelicalism was 
primarily personal in its focus and orientation, it did not have a strong reforming influence on 
society in general. Writes Noll, "Changing the world was never as important for the early 
evangelicals as changing the self or as fashioning spiritual communities in which changed 
selves could grow in grace" (p. 262). The fact that this evaluation could legitimately be made 
of large portions of the evangelical church today, shows in ways both commendable and 
convicting just how close to its roots evangelicalism has remained since the early days of its 

Mark Hepner, Papua New Guinea 

Gordon Lathrop, Holy Ground: A Liturgical Cosmology. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 
2003.240 pp., $25.00. 

Gordon Lathrop 's book seeks to examine "the ways in which Christian worship 
may help us to imagine, understand, care for, and live in the world" (ix). Written in a style 
that is geared toward clergy and theological students, Lathrop seeks to enact a liturgical 
renewal in a "top-down" fashion by appealing to those who have the most influence on the 
actual structure and content of church liturgies. Throughout the book the goal of evaluating 
how liturgical practice should and does shape the personal cosmologies of all its participants 
is readily evident and forces the reader to consider the influence that the liturgy can have 
upon one's life. 


Book Reviews 

- The book's introduction is a cosmological prolegomena that convinces the reader 

of the importance of the task at hand. With the first section, "Liturgical Worldmaking" 
Lathrop provides the philosophical foundation for liturgical cosmology, drawing on ancieni 
philosophical cosmology and reorienting it in relation to the Gospel of Mark. This important 
initial groundwork is referred to often in the rest of the book. The second section, "Liturgical 
Ethics", is the most practical of the three as Lathrop examines the ethical implications ol 
baptism, Eucharist, and liturgical time. In each chapter, he offers a list of very concrete and 
practical suggestions for renewing and reorienting liturgy in order to reflect a more ethical 
cosmology. This section could be read as a stand-alone section, although its depth will be 
missed without reading the first part of the book. Additionally, the section could be used 
after the initial reading as a reference for ideas to transform liturgical practice. The final 
section of "Liturgical Poetics" seems to be the least helpful of the three; however, the 
beginning contains a helpful and necessary caution in regard to how the liturgy could 
reinforce "cosmological distortion". 

A recurring theme in the book is that of a liturgical juxtaposition of cosmologies, 
which is expounded early in the work: 

For the Scriptures, none of the various candidates for a central cosmic 
principle can be adequate— not the perfect sphere, not the ruling planets, 
not the conquering god, not the dominant role of humanity, not the end of 
time, not the Logos, not the Son of Man, not the tree of life. But the 
cosmologies suggested by all these can be received if they are turned, if 
their terms are reused to speak of the living God, if the community 
encounters that living God through all the gaping holes in their 
cosmological fabric (44). 

This refusal to concede to a meta-cosmology is found throughout the book, along with othei 
facets that point to the author's postmodern tendencies. Often Lathrop finds the power ol 
liturgy within the mixture of two seemingly contradictory components: "silence is set next tc 
speech, concrete symbols juxtaposed to lengthy discourse" (196). 

The real foundation for Lathrop 's work is Plato's story Timaeus, which Lathrop 
says is the Western world's most influential philosophical cosmology. Lathrop goes on tc 
argue that the story of "the son of Timaeus" in the Gospel of Mark functions as an "explicil 
mimesis and reversal of Plato and made the Gospel of Mark a profound contribution tc 
cosmology" (31). Lathrop does not argue that Mark's Gospel is a full cosmology, but says 
that "[t]he biblical business, time and again, seems to be to propose a hole in these systems oi 
to reverse their values while still using their strengths, to turn or re-aim their words toward 
another purpose" (39). This idea of exposing "holes" in various cosmologies is returned tc 
again and again and makes the valid point that no cosmology is essentially perfect and 
beyond critique. This also seems to be another way for Lathrop to reject any sort of meta- 
cosmology and to retain his postmodern bent. 

One of the most disheartening aspects of Lathrop 's book for many will be the 
rejection of many biblical stories as historic events. While some may concede to him that the 
son of Timaeus story in Mark may not exactly be historical fact, I would think that many 
would be taken back by his assertion that the exodus did not actually occur. In a similai 
manner, some will find his suggestion to bless homosexual couples and to baptize 
homosexual individuals as contrary to biblical standards. 

While these two aspects of Lathrop's own personal beliefs might find disagreement 
with potential readers, it would be wise to take Lathrop's own advice and see this simply as a 
"hole" in his own personal theology and to not throw the book out altogether. He offers 


Ashland Theological Journal 2006 

profound reflection upon an event that for many worshippers is nothing more than a dull 
ritual reenacted on a weekly basis. With his help, even with its "holes", the Christian liturgy 
can be used as an event that transforms the way God's people understand and live within his 

Matt Cleaver, John Brown University 

Therese of Lisieux, The Little Way for Every Day: Thoughts from Therese ofLisieux. Edited 
and translated by Francis Broome. New York: Paulist Press, 2006. 

Devotees of St. Therese of Lisieux will find in this little volume daily readings 
arranged for an entire year. Each month begins with a carefully chosen Scripture text, which 
establishes the theme. Daily readings are comprised of two or three sentences which are 
excerpts taken from her autobiography, poems, letters, and other written materials. 
Scriptural references are usually cited in endnotes. The readings are intended to be used 
devotionally, and the editorial arrangement and lack of annotation presuppose a familiarity on 
the part of the reader with St. Therese. For those who have never read the Little Flower, 
some of her language may be startling, if not baffling. For example she prays, "I begYou, O 
Jesus, to cast Your divine glance on a great number of little souls. 1 beg You to choose in 
this world a legion of little victims worthy of your love" (67). The book would be more 
accessible with the addition of a brief introduction to St. Therese, including a biographic 
sketch and her importance in the history of Christian spirituality. For those already familiar 
with St. Therese, this book is a fine little companion for daily devotions or a series of retreat. 

Elaine A. Heath, Perkins School of Theology. 

Mark Water, ed.. The Encyclopedia of Prayer and Praise. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004. 
1184 pp., cloth, $24.97. 

This lengthy Christian prayer reference encyclopedia is a treasure trove of prayer. 
It gathers over 5,000 prayers and articles about prayer between its covers. Part One contains 
the prayers of individuals arranged by topic. Part Two contains historical works by various 
authors on the subject of prayer. The work opens with a table of contents for the two parts of 
the book. Part One begins with a detailed table of contents and concludes with an index to 
authors and subjects plus an appendix of biographical information. Part Two opens with a 
detailed table of contents. Part One, however, is cross referenced to appropriate articles in 
Part Two. The work is very well indexed for friendly exploration. 

Part One includes a number of contemporary prayers but the main emphasis of the 
section is the rich heritage