Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 113:452 (Oct 1956)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Theology of Reinhold Niebuhr. By Hans Hofmann. Translated by Louise Pettibone Smith. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1956. 269 pp. $3.95.

The contribution of Reinhold Niebuhr to the theological literature of the English-speaking world is one of the outstanding features of the twentieth century. Standing alongside Karl Barth and Emil Brunner, he has been a major factor in the decline of the old liberalism and the rise of neo-orthodoxy. The many books of which Niebuhr is the author are surrounded by scores of titles which have attempted to analyze or criticize his contribution. For those seeking a comprehensive analysis of the theology of Reinhold Niebuhr written by one sympathetic with neo-orthodox theology, this volume will be at least a partial answer. Written by the author in German and translated into English, it attempts a comprehensive analysis and synthesis of his theology. The author correctly points out that Niebuhr himself is an analytical theologian in contrast to the current European theology which is largely synthetic. The reasons for departure from the old liberalism into a more realistic concept of man’s sin and need and the inevitable requirement of divine grace is brought out well in the volume.

Criticisms of this presentation of Niebuhr’s theology will stem from larger criticisms of neoorthodoxy as a whole. Hofmann is obviously sympathetic to the neoorthodox position, and for this reason is not sufficiently critical of the areas in which Niebuhr has fallen far short of true Biblical theology. The basic error of Niebuhr’s theology—namely, a faulty doctrine of revelation and a rejection of inspiration of Scripture—is largely ignored. Likewise, the neo-orthodox neglect of the true Biblical doctrine of the atonement is not made the object of criticism.

The volume, however, written as it is by one who is a member of the faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary and who has studied under such men as Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann, is nevertheless a contribution which will be of special value to ministers of the gospel seeking to find in condensed form a summation of Niebuhr’s theology.

J. F. Walvoord

The Holy Spirit In Christian Theology. By George S. Hendry. The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1956. 128 pp. .$2.50.

Embodying lectures delivered

at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1955, this discussion by the Charles Hodge Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Seminary presents in five chapters the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in Christian theology. The author, though bound by his position to adherence to the Westminster Confession o...

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