Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 132:525 (Jan 1975)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“Let’s Bury the Hatchet,” Robert Webber, Eternity, August, 1974, pp. 9, 42.

This article is a guest editorial concerning the groups within the theologically conservative camp of American Christendom. It bears the subtitle “Brothers-not rivals” and its theme is that these groups should get together because they have more in common in their biblical and theological commitment to orthodoxy than they disagree on in doctrine and practice.

Any call for burying the hatchet makes me uneasy, lest they intend to bury it in me.

The springboard for Webber’s plea is the book The Young Evangelicals, by Richard Quebedeaux. Webber adds “the Reformed wing of evangelicals represented by Westminster Seminary” (p. 9) to the five groups delineated by Quebedeaux. Even this is not a complete listing because it ignores the Missouri Synod branch of Lutheranism. And where would Webber or others place the conservative Wesleyans represented by Asbury Seminary and the Nazarenes? The identifying of segments could go on and on.

It is interesting that Quebedeaux’s book stimulated Webber’s thinking and writing on this subject. A somewhat similar list of divisions “within the evangelical-fundamentalist camp” (p. 9) is found in another recent book, A History of Fundamentalism, by George Dollar; yet it apparently did not excite Webber to suggest burying the hatchet. In fact, Webber does not even indicate that he is aware of Dollar’s book. Does this reveal a bias on Webber’s part?

Webber suggests that the differences dividing the various groups of conservative Christians in America are to be equated with those of the parties in the church at Corinth that Paul rebuked as evidence of carnality (1 Cor 3:3–4; cf. 1:11–12). I would not deny that much carnality and self-seeking and party spirit exist among the groups

involved today, but is the equation with the Corinthian situation justified? There the divisions focused on personalities-particularly Paul and Apollos. I would not deny that personalities are involved today, but more is at stake as well. Biblical doctrines are at issue; basic hermeneutical principles are in question; scriptural attitudes toward personal and church conduct are involved. A closer parallel would be the New Testament issue of Gentile freedom and equality in Christ and in the church for which Paul fought all his life. Another would be the question of legalism versus liberty in Christ.

A cry for everyone to get together in harmony has great emotional appeal and popula...

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