Reviews Of Books -- By: Anonymous
WTJ 2:2 (May 1940) p. 141
Reviews Of Books
John Macmurray: The Clue to History. New York: Harper and Brothers. 1939. xii, 243. $2.50.
In the situation created by the war an ever-present temptation faces every Christian. It is the temptation to shirk his duty with respect to a judgment upon the political and social crisis of the world and to take, instead, one of the two easy ways out. One of these easy ways is to adopt the superficial speculations of the all-wise prophetic hobbyists who ride their pet theories to destruction by their assumption of omniscient assurance. The other is to retire into the shell of a false type of Christian piety and to adopt the attitude that a sanctified Christian will not soil his hands with the political and social evils of this world.
The adoption of either of these courses means that the Christian who so acts is forgetting that God, the God of the Bible, is the Creator and Sovereign of this entire universe, and that he has placed upon his children the obligation of proclaiming a gospel which has a message for every side of human life.
In the analysis of the present political and social crisis the student will find few more stimulating and question-provoking guides than the volume by Professor John Macmurray now under review. Even though the reader may differ, not only in detail but in respect to broader analyses, with the author, the book does not thereby lose its value, for its great services are those of a gadfly and a midwife in the Socratic sense. It provokes cogitation and brings ideas to the birth.
Professor Macmurray of University College, London, is one of the younger of the able thinkers of Great Britain, who has been making his voice increasingly heard within the last few years. In this volume he attempts an analysis of the forces which have shaped human history in the European cultural tradition down to the present day. In spite of a certain prolixity at times, the task is brilliantly performed.
Macmurray places the influence of Christianity at the center of his analysis. He recognizes the historical fact that Christianity has been influential in determining the course of events throughout the period since Jesus lived upon earth. More than that, he believes that what he
WTJ 2:2 (May 1940) p. 142
identifies as Christianity is of vital importance to thoughtful men who are concerned with the future development of mankind. He himself is concerned with that development. He is convinced that the highest form of that development can take place only by the avenue of emphasizing the community. Such a highly-prized value as freedom, for example, can reach the true summit of its development only in an organized community. This is an idea radically...
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