Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 123:489 (Jan 1966)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“A Look At Contemporary American Theology,” Gene Reeves, Religion In Life, Autumn, 1965, pp. 511-25.

For an article with the title this one has, the discussion exhibits a drastically restricted field of vision. This the author does deliberately, spending more than a page to tell what phases of contemporary American theology he is not going to examine and even a lengthy paragraph on the contemporary European scene, which the title had already placed outside the scope of consideration. Then he focuses his attention on the exponents of the death of God movement and similar theological extremes. Although such movements are a part of the contemporary American theological scene, they are hardly representative of contemporary American theology. It is sort of analogous to describing life in an asylum and calling it a look at contemporary American society.

The author does introduce his article with this valid observation of the contemporary theological scene in America: “Younger theologians are setting off in new directions, directions quite different on the whole from those of their mentors of a generation ago. But these new directions are plural; the situation of contemporary theology is an extremely fluid one in which no one can safely predict what the next generation will be doing” (p. 511). This evaluation is repeated in his conclusions along with the judgments that contemporary American theology—at least the three schools he examines—have (1) “a very evident concern for contemporary relevance,” (2) a desire to develop “a theology of culture based on American life and experience,” (3) “a new openness to modern literature and science, especially the social sciences,” and (4) “a new openness to secular philosophy” (pp. 424-25).

“Theologian And Thinker,” Jaroslav Pelikan, Saturday Review, September 25, 1965, pp. 21-22.

This brief article is one of a series entitled “Albert Schweitzer: His Life, His Work, His Thought” found in this memorial issue. The entire series is worth reading, especially the editorial by Norman Cousins captioned “What matters about Schweitzer” (pp. 30-32), to gain perspective on a great man of this century. But

our interest rests primarily in his theology.

Pelikan presents the paradox of Schweitzer’s theology—which frankly calls Jesus mistaken in His eschatological teaching, and his practice—embracing a lifetime of service in Africa “in obedience to Jesus.” As Pelikan states it, “How could the catastrophic miscalculation of a Palestinian rabbi in the first century motivate so dramatic an about-face in the twentieth?” or, “How can so C...

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