Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
GTJ 9:2 (Fall 88) p. 287
The Use of the Bible in Theology: Evangelical Options, edited by Robert K. Johnston. Atlanta: John Knox, 1985. Pp. 257. $11.95. Paper.
This collection of essays on theological method shows the wide divergence that exists among evangelicals on the questions of biblical inerrancy, biblical authority, hermeneutics and theological method. All of the contributors would accept the statement that Christianity limits its ground of authority to the Bible, but beyond that the articles move in various directions. This is both informative and unsettling, stimulating and frustrating. Furthermore, the title of the book is partially misleading. The articles are primarily focused upon the matters of hermeneutics and theological method. Nevertheless, Robert Johnston of North Park Seminary has done an admirable job in bringing together these representative approaches.
The contributors are well known evangelical theologians and leaders in their various evangelical communities, including Donald Bloesch, Donald Dayton, William Dyrness, Gabriel Fackre, James Packer, Clark Pinnock, Russell Spittler, Robert Webber, David Wells and John Yoder. Johnston’s provocative introduction provides a road map for reading the rest of the essays. It should be noted that most of the article are summaries of books previously published by the contributors.
Especially interesting are the articles by Pinnock, Dayton, Spittler, Wells and Fackre. Pinnock’s chapter is a commendable evangelical defense of biblical authority in doing theology, not on the nuances of inerrancy but about the primacy of the biblical text in doing theology. Dayton insightfully shows how the modernist-fundamentalist controversy has impacted theological method in America as contrasted with evangelical methodologies in Britain. Spittler’s essay is an autobiographical reflection of his attempt to do exegetical theology within the charismatic movement. Fackre and Wells seriously discuss the issues involved in theological method. These last two essays deserve thoughtful reading by serious evangelical theological students. Their goal is similar, but the doing of the task takes different directions for each. Wells’ treatment is most satisfying in his distinction between exegesis, doctrine and theology. Fackre’s narrative approach is stimulating, but not as satisfying. Unsettling is his flirtation with “second chance” theology for unbelievers.
Other chapters include Packer’s Reformed, canonical approach, Bloesch’s Christocentric theology, Yoder’s Anabaptist renewal methodology, Webber’s concerns for the early church’s rule of faith and the priority of worship in theological method, and Dyrness’ missionary-contextual theology.
This collection of essays raises s...
Click here to subscribe