Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
RAR 9:1 (Winter 2000) p. 163
Scripture In The Theologies Of W. Pannenberg And D. G. Bloesch: An Investigation And Assessment Of Its Origin, Nature And Use, Frank M. Hasel. Frankfurt, Germany: Peter Lang Publishers (1996). European University Studies Series, 337 pages, paper, $57.95
This is a masterful work, written by a young American-educated pastor currently serving a German congregation. That Frank Hasel finds time to also write scholarly material is quite amazing in itself.
Hasel provides an in-depth treatment of two of the most influential theologians in the English-speaking world: Wolfhart Pannenberg and Donald G. Bloesch. He examines their respective backgrounds, their lives as Christian thinkers, their academic work in general, and finally, their overall development of the doctrine of Holy Scripture.
I am impressed with the author’s ability as both theological analyst and “interpreter.” As a former student and long-time friend of Donald G. Bloesch, I found Hasel’s understanding and treatment of Bloesch’s work extremely accurate and eminently fair. Regarding Pannenberg, on whose writings I am certainly not an expert, I found myself enabled to see where his thought was going, often for the first time. He manages to clarify Pannenberg’s positions in
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ways that are sometimes clearer than Pannenberg does himself!
Hasel’s concern for both theologians is that the “message” has been made so authoritative that the text of Scripture suffers loss in the process. In Pannenberg’s case this has meant a commitment to the historic resurrection of Jesus Christ as the “normative revelation” of God’s promised future for the human race without giving adequate attention to the reliability of the New Testament apostolic writers themselves. Pannenberg’s espoused objective is to “put people in touch” with the eschatological “hope” which is “revealed ahead of time” in Jesus without requiring them to resort to “faith” that would in any way compete with or displace “reason.” In his treatment of Jesus, the doctrine of resurrection and the doctrine of God himself, Pannenberg ends up sounding rather orthodox even though his doctrine of Scripture would not necessarily lead him to such conclusions.
Hasel sees the gospel as a “package-deal” in which the New Testament message comes within the framework of human fallenness, God’s atonement, the provision of covenant “promises” and “requirements” and the help of the Holy Spirit. Does the resurrection message itself hold up for “reason” if the package itself, which is primarily Scripture, is not also sustained by God himself in some sort of trustworthy ...
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