Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 133:529 (Jan 1976)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Evangelicals: What They Believe, Who They Are, Where They Are Changing. Edited by David F. Wells and John D. Woodbridge. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1975. 304 pp. $8.95.

Evangelicals have often struggled to establish their identity. This composium with fourteen contributors is a new attempt to define evangelicalism, trace its history and influence, and state its theology. The editors are faculty members in the Department of Church History at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and both hold continental doctors degrees.

One of the best articles is entitled “Unity and Diversity in Evangelical Faith,” by Kenneth S. Kantzer. He divides his discussion into two major divisors, the formal principle and the material principle, in which he discusses biblical authority as the most important issue, and the material principle as the resulting theology.

While various contributors identify fundamentals of the faith as consisting of from five to fourteen items, Kantzer offers twelve: (1) the eternal preexistence of the Son of God, (2) the incarnation of Christ, (3) His virgin birth, (4) the sinless life of Christ, (5) the supernatural miracles of Christ, (6) Christ’s authoritative teaching, (7) the substitutionary atonement of Christ, (8) the bodily resurrection of Christ, (9) the ascension in heaven and mission of Christ, (10) the bodily second coming of Christ, (11) the final righteous judgment of all mankind, and (12) the eternal punishment of the impenitent and disbelieving wicked of this world (pp. 53-54). To these which constitute the material principle Kantzer states, “These fundamentals invariably include the formative principle of the infallible authority of Scripture together with certain teachings regarding the person and work of Christ highly mooted by nonevangelicals of the last century” (p. 53). Some of the contributors, however, clearly fall short of this definition of evangelicalism.

On the whole, the volume is a substantial contribution which

evangelicals as well as nonevangelicals should read. The article by William H. Bentley, “Bible Believers in the Black Community,” is an outstanding assessment of evangelicalism among blacks. Paul L. Holmer, professor of theology, Yale Divinity School; Martin E. Marty, professor of modern church history and associate dean, Divinity School, University of Chicago; and Sydney E. Ahlstrom, professor of American history and modern church history, Yale University, offer a critique at the close of each of the major three sections of the book, obviously speaking from the nonevangelical point of view.

Unnecessary repeated reference is made to the Scopes trial as a watershe...

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