Periodical Reviews -- By: James F. Rand
BSac 113:450 (Apr 56) p. 189
Ferre, Nels F. S., “Where Do We Go from Here in Theology?” Religion in Life, 25:5–34, Winter, 1955–56.
The controversial Swedish-American theologian makes a plea for a truly ecumenical theology which would go beyond the objectivity of fundamentalism, the high church wing of Christianity, and Barthian “biblicism” and the subjectivity of liberalism, and existentialism and emerge as “a Christ-centered evangelical supernaturalism, based on Revelation found only by faith, generating and sustaining freedom, open to reason and using it fully, energized by the Holy Spirit of truth and concern for the individual and for society, made conclusive in Christian community, which lives to the glory of God and finds fulfill ment only within his will.” Critiques of Dr. Ferre’s article have been contributed by Paul Tillich, now of Harvard Divinity School, Alden Drew Kelley, president of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, and Cornelius Van Til of Westminster Theological Seminary. It is refreshing to find an evangelical represented on such a panel. Dr. Van Til points out that Ferre desires to have “a theology that is ‘beyond Fundamentalism and Modernism,’ but in which Fundamentalism can keep the substance of its faith, while liberalism also preserves its own values.” He raises the question, “What may we be permitted to retain as the substance of our faith?” He finds from this article and other writings of Ferre that the latter rejects the basic positions of classical Christianity on the Bible as the direct and final revelation of God, on God as existing separate from the process of the universe, on the Person and work of Christ and on the consummation of history. Van Til’s evaluation is this: “It is now clear that on Ferre’s view the fundamentalist cannot really retain anything of what he himself considers to be the substance of Christianity.
Grounds, Vernon, “The Nature of Evangelicalism,” Eternity, 7:2:12–13, 42–43, February, 1956.
This quarter seems to be a time for the re-evaluation of theological positions. Dr. Grounds, the newly elected president of the Conservative Baptist Seminary in Denver, gives a careful definition of the term evangelicalism, the new name for fundamentalism. Dr. Grounds accurately sets forth the motive why many fundamentalists have adopted the new term evangelicalism—the activities of a minority of fundamentalists who by their conduct have discredited the name fundamentalism. He admits that the names are synonymous “if by fundamentalism is meant a tenacious insistence upon the essential and central dogmas of historic Christianity. Yet just as undeniably evangelicalism is not fundamentalism as ordinarily construed.
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