A Trilogy of Theology -- By: Charles C. Ryrie

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 117:465 (Jan 1960)
Article: A Trilogy of Theology
Author: Charles C. Ryrie

A Trilogy of Theology

Charles C. Ryrie

[Charles C. Ryrie is President of Philadelphia College of Bible, and a former Associate Professor of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary.]

The Case For Theology In Liberal Perspective
By L. Harold De Wolf

The Case For A New Reformation Theology
By William Hordern

The Case For Orthodox Theology
By Edward John Carnell

“They are intended to provide for the lay person, student, teacher and minister a clear statement of three contemporary theological viewpoints by convinced adherents to these positions.” Such is the stated purpose of a set of three books recently published by Westminster Press. The Case for Orthodox Theology is written by a professor and the former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, Edward John Carnell. The Case for a New Reformation Theology is authored by William Hordern of Garrett Biblical Institute, and The Case for Theology in Liberal Perspective is written by L. Harold De Wolf of Boston University. Thus orthodoxy, neo-orthodoxy, and neoliberalism are championed in this series by acknowledged representatives of each viewpoint.

One of the primary objects of any review is to judge how ably a book accomplishes the task it is supposed to do. In this instance that job has been clearly stated by the publisher. These books are supposed to present a clear statement of their respective viewpoints; that is, they are to be positive rather than negative (although it is recognized that any affirmative approach will include some defense). Comparing the three works on this basis, one feels that the case for neoorthodoxy is the best presented and the case for neoliberalism runs second, chiefly because of its frequent use of argumentum ad hominem. It is not easy for a single author to state the viewpoint of a movement, but these two men have done their job well.

The tenets of neo-orthodoxy are well presented in Hordern’s

volume. His discussion is able and his presentation clear. Central is the theme of God’s revelation in the Word, Christ. He asserts that the Bible is an imperfect instrument pointing to the Word. Other typical ideas in neo-orthodoxy are included in the discussion. Paradox, so necessary to the system, is defended as entirely rational (p. 33). Tension, sin as self-centeredness, parable (in Genesis 3), and other familiar words in the Barthian vocabulary are used freely. Theological debate among fundamentalists is deplored (p. 57) but among Barthians is justified (p. 160). The good points in the ...

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