Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 111:444 (Oct 1954)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Message of Christianity. By Peter H. Monsma. Bookman Associates, New York. 1954. 124 pp. $2.75.

The purpose of this work is to restate the central tenets of the Christian faith in simple, forthright language that anyone can understand. The background of the author includes graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary with a Th.B. degree and from Columbia University with a Ph.D. degree, combined with a year of study under Karl Barth at the University of Bonn. The work therefore reveals the sensitivity of the author to both the liberal and conservative theological points of view as well as the relation of Christian theology to philosophy.

Beginning with an attempt to answer the question, What is religion? the author takes up in subsequent chapters such topics as “God,” “Creation,” “God’s Way of Life for Man,” “Man’s Sin,” “God’s Way of Salvation,” “The Kingdom of God,” etc. The book closes with several chapters on the witness to Christianity found in nature, history, and experience.

While the volume as a whole is to the right of contemporary liberalism, it falls considerably short of a true and Biblical conservative position. The careful reader, however, will detect a substratum of conservative theology. Dr. Monsma speaks of the self-limitation of God, but he nevertheless affirms that God is all-powerful, thereby denying the liberal concept of a finite God. Though not accepting the literal account of the creation of man, he definitely opposes the theory of evolution. There seems little question that the author accepts the deity of Christ though it is stated in popular terminology. While opposing what he calls “a crass interpretation”…”that God took the sin and guilt of man and literally transferred them to Jesus,” he nevertheless affirms that Christ “bore God’s judgment of our sin.” In his concept of the kingdom of God, he follows the amillennial interpretation which spiritualizes the kingdom and makes it solely existent in the present world. He affirms man’s destiny as having personal immortality, but he is not clear on the issue of bodily resurrection. He admits there is a judgment in the future for unbelievers, but he avoids the concept of eternal punishment.

The main value of the book both to liberals and conservatives will be that it has restated many very difficult Christian doctrines in understandable language.

Regardless of theological point of view, this work will be a contribution in this area.

J. F. Walvoord

A Way of Survival. By Arthur W. Munk. Bookman Associates, New York. 1954. 159 pp. $3.00.


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