Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BETS 9:1 (Winter 1966) p. 51
Changing Patterns in Christian Education, Marshall C. Dendy. Richmond, Virginia: John Knox Press, 1965, pp. 96. Reviewed by Elmer Towns, Visiting Prof. in Christian Education, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, President Winnipeg Bible College, Winnipeg, Canada.
Changing Patterns in Christian Education was the subject of the alumni lectures delivered to the faculty and student body of the Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, November, 1963. Marshall C. Dendy is executive secretary of the Board of Christian Education, Presbyterian Church, U.S. These lectures presented the historical setting of the Presbyterian church emphasizing John Calvin and John Knox, and their contributions to the field of Christian Education. Dendy’s thesis indicates that the principles, upon which the new Covenant Life curriculum is being developed in the middle of the twentieth century, had their roots in the works of these men who lived four hundred years ago.
In the chapter, “History is Prologue,” the author shows the general development of religious education in the United States to its present state. The needs of our contemporary culture and the failings of the church are sited as evidence for the development of new and better means to carry out the commands of the great commission.
Dendy has done an excellent job of going to original sources in giving comprehensive survey of the life of John Calvin. He sites, “Calvin is regarded by many as the greatest theologian since Augustine” (p. 17). The author indicates that Calvin was engaged in a ministry of Christian education that was not after the pattern of our twentieth century. Dendy attempts a definition of Calvin’s concept of Christian education, “Christian education as understood by Calvin is the use of a body of truth concerning the Christian faith, essentially the revealed Word of God, by the relieving community, a reliance upon the work of the Holy Spirit, so that men may be confronted by God, believe in Christ, be informed concerning the great beliefs of the Christian church, and be rightly related to God and man” (p. 18). Quoting from original sources, the author gives strong argument for Calvin’s belief in the trustworthiness, authority, and inerrancy of the Scriptures.
When the author discusses John Knox, a comprehensive background and history of Knox’s life is given. Knox like Calvin and the other reformers put great emphasis upon the Word of God. Dendy also attempts to define Knox’s concept of Christian education, “It is the church engaged in teaching the faith entrusted to it through proclamation, worship, and instruction, nurture in the home, ministry in society, and involvment in the life of the nation. It is teaching the whole gospel to the...
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