Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 129:515 (Jul 1972)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“Let’s Get Back to Authority,” Peter Berger, Eternity, February, 1972, pp. 30, 32-33.

According to the editorial explanation, this article is “excerpted from a major address brought to the 1971 annual meeting of the Consultation on Church Union.” Knowing this illuminates what is said.

Berger rebukes Christendom for its efforts to identify itself with one or another of the cultures vying for supremacy today. He decries churchmen whose consuming purpose is to be relevant to modern man. He reminds them “that Christianity always stands over and beyond any particular culture, and that this transcendence involves judgment as well as grace” (p. 30).

According to Berger the contemporary church is marked by an attitude of listening. To listen to others, of course, is necessary; but the modern attitude is too much like those at Athens who “spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21). The need is for men like the Apostle Paul to proclaim with conviction and with authority the message of Christ. Berger summarizes, “Ages of faith are not marked by ‘dialogue,’ but by proclamation” (p. 32).

If a person or an institution is going to speak with confidence and with authority, however, it must have some convictions and a message to proclaim. This lack of a body of truth held with conviction and proclaimed with authority is the cause of the situation in modern Christendom that Berger laments. He gives sound counsel here, too. He says, “The point is simply that the essence of the Christian message will remain the same” (p. 33).

Whether COCU will heed or not one cannot say dogmatically, but the chances are slim. Any genuine meaningful response must start with a return to the biblical message of Christ. “A stance of authority” without the solid foundation of biblical truth is “sounding brass” and “tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1).

“A Breakthrough for Messianic Judaism?” William Willoughby, Moody Monthly, March, 1972, pp. 16-19, 29.

Evangelism among Jewish people traditionally has been considered a difficult field of ministry with meager results. One explanation for the lack of success has been God’s judicial blindness upon the people of Israel (Rom 11:25). But today things are different. Willoughby cautiously says it cannot yet be called a movement, “but Jews are turning to Jesus as Messiah at an accelerated rate” (p. 16).

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