Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 114:454 (Apr 1957)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Beginnings In Theology. By Jack Finegan. Association Press, New York, 1956. 244 pp. $3.00.

The popularity of the study of theology is on the increase today, and this book, published by the YMCA press and intended for laymen, is evidence of that fact. Its well-known author, from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, has attempted to discuss theological subjects in everyday language. This attempt is successful, for the work is clear and easily understandable, and the coverage of theological subjects is quite complete considering the size of the volume.

However, the theology of this work is entirely liberal. Among other things, the author states that the Bible is written in symbolic terms (p. 47) and that the idea of the real existence of Satan is outmoded (p. 71). He espouses evolution, says that the seeming omniscience of Christ was merely His extrasensory perception, and declares that the miracles of healing were in the realm of the psychosomatic. He does not believe in vicarious atonement (p. 146); he likens resurrection to a graduation, and believes that the hope of the church is the kingdom on earth.

Thus the asset of the book, its simplicity, may be its greatest danger, for the false teachings will be easily understood by the average reader. However, it is also true that its simplicity makes its position clear, and perhaps this will be a warning to some. One is sorry to see the YMCA promoting such a book—it is certainly a far cry from the theology and purposes of its founders.

C. C. Ryrie

Ethics. By Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The Macmillan Company, New York, 1955. 340 pp. $4.00.

The writing of a book on ethics is no light task in these complex times. Whether or not one agrees with the theological basis or conclusions of this work, one must admit that everywhere it displays the vitality of thought of the author and challenges and stimulates the mind of the reader. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is already known to English readers by his Prisoner for God

(published in England as Letters and Papers from Prison). Though a comparatively young man, his voice was silenced by the Gestapo in 1945, and this book is a compilation of chapters, some complete and some incomplete, some rewritten and some not, which were preserved through concealment. They have been collected and arranged but not rewritten by the editor.

Many topics are dealt with by the author. Suicide, euthanasia, recreation, marriage, among others, are discussed. The chapter on the relation between church and state, written from prison, is especially interesting as is the concluding chapter on telling the truth...

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