General Review: Events Viewed in the Light of God’s Word -- By: Herman A. Hoyt

Journal: Grace Journal
Volume: GJ 02:3 (Fall 1961)
Article: General Review: Events Viewed in the Light of God’s Word
Author: Herman A. Hoyt

General Review:
Events Viewed in the Light of God’s Word

Herman A. Hoyt

Dean and Professor of New Testament
Grace Theological Seminary

Over a period of several years a significant series of articles has been appearing in The Saturday Evening Post entitled “Adventures of the Mind.” In the issue of August 26th, 1961, appears the article by Dr. Huston Smith under the caption, “The Revolution in Western Thought.” A subtitle reads, “Our generation is playing a crucial part in a radical revolution of thought, the development of the Post-Modern Mind and a new view of reality.”

The opening paragraph immediately captures the attention of any thinking Christian. “Quietly, irrevocably, something enormous has happened to Western man. His outlook on life and the world has changed so radically that in the perspective of history the twentieth century is likely to rank with the fourth century, which witnessed the triumph of Christianity, and the seventeenth, which signaled the dawn of modern science—as one of the very few that have instigated genuinely new epochs in human thought.”

The author insists that “Ultimately the assumptions which underlie our outlooks on life refract the world in ways that condition our art and our institutions: the kind of homes we live in, our sense of right and wrong, our criteria of success, what we conceive our duty to be, what we think it means to be a man, how we worship God or whether, indeed, we have a God to worship.”

He then charts the shift in the thought of the Western world over a period of several thousand years. Western man has been borne along through three great configurations of basic assumptions in thought, and is now on the threshold of a fourth. According to this author, “The first constituted the Graece-Roman, or Classical, outlook, which flourished up to the fourth century A.D. With the triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire” a second cycle was ushered in “which proceeded to dominate Europe until the seventeenth century.” The third cycle was “The rise of modern science.” This “inaugurated a third important way of looking at things, a way that has come to be capsuled in the phrase ‘the modern mind’.” But now a fourth cycle is being ushered in, and is replacing the modern mind with “the Post-Modern Mind.”

To bring the Post-Modern Mind into focus, the author centers attention upon the Christian and Modern cycles first. He apparently deems the Classical period unnecessary to complete the background for the discussion of the Post-Modern Mind. “From the fourth-century triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire through the Middle Ages and the Reformation, the Western mind was above all else theistic.” This is his c...

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