Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 158:630 (Apr 2001)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

By The Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary

Matthew S. DeMoss, Editor

Evangelical Theology in Transition: Theologians in Dialogue with Donald Bloesch. Edited by Elmer M. Colyer. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999. 264 pp. $19.99.

Bloesch represents an evangelical theology emerging into maturity without always finding a clear identity. His numerous written works, including Essentials of Evangelical Theology (San Francisco: Harper, 1982) and the still growing Christian Foundations series from InterVarsity Press, continue to shape the theological landscape. Somewhere between the fundamentalist and rationalist bent on the right, the liberal and secular sirens on the left, and beyond Barthian neoorthodoxy and fideistic existentialism lies Bloesch’s contribution. His is truly a transitional and constructive form of theology, and it is not surprising that some of the best minds in evangelicalism are gathered in this volume to interact with his theology. Throughout the essays his main themes consistently emerge, making it a valuable introduction and digested analysis of his theology. The dialogue format differs from that of a Festschrift, which one can find in From East to West: Essays in Honor of Donald G. Bloesch, ed. Daniel Adams (Lanham, MD: University of America Press, 1997). Evangelical Theology in Transition includes a selected bibliography of Bloesch’s works, endnotes, and name and subject indexes.

Elmer Colyer, Bloesch’s former student and colleague at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, offers a brief biographical summary, after which Roger Olson orients the reader to Bloesch’s place in evangelicalism. Then the importance of revelation in theological method rises to prominence in three articles. Stanley Grenz’s critique of Bloesch’s “Fideistic Revelationism” raises concerns about his “Reformed pessimism” and supposed lack of emphasis on the believing community. But most importantly, Grenz raises the question about the possibility of general revelation as a tertiary theological source (behind Scripture and the community of faith). Like Barth before him, Bloesch’s refusal to acknowledge this as a source defines revelation too narrowly for most evangelicals. Avery Dulles raises similar issues; he sifts Bloesch’s work through his own outline from Models of Revelation (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983). Millard Erickson’s interaction on Scripture questions how Bloesch can be so indebted to existential presuppositions while chiding conservative evangelicals as rationalists.

Gabriel Fackre engages Bloesch on Jesus Christ, emphasizing his orthodoxy as well as the sidebar discussions of language ...

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