Reviews Of Books -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 11:1 (Nov 1948)
Article: Reviews Of Books
Author: Anonymous

Reviews Of Books

Alan Richardson: Christian Apologetics. New York and London: Harper & Brothers. 1947. 256. $3.00.

Edward John Carnell: An Introduction to Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1948. 379. $3.50.

The two books under review represent two opposite points of view both as to the nature and the defence of Christianity. We may therefore think of them as engaged in debate and watch for results.

Representing the modern point of view, Richardson naturally contends that “Christian apologetics must inevitably raise the question of the methodology of theological science in relation to that of the sciences in general”. Theology must submit its claims “to the test of scientific method” (p. 7).

In masterly fashion the author acquits himself of his task. Revelation, he argues, is not a figment of the imagination of theologians but “a category based upon observable facts and recognizable experiences” (p. 21). And when the Christian intimates the nature of his approach to Reality by saying, Credo ut intelligam, he does what the adherent of the best philosophy also does. What is more, the “biblical faith-principle” appears to be the highest, the most unifying, hypothesis for the explanation of life that man can find.

Richardson insists that his position be distinguished from that of classical rationalism. His view, he says, allows him to accept the “scandal of particularity” and the mystery of election. Special revelation is “revelation in and through history”. Then too his position allows him to say with Augustine that all human knowledge needs the illumination of God.

That Richardson’s view of Christianity is typical of our time scarcely needs to be established. One need only to think of such names as Niebuhr, Kroner, Tillich, Ferré, Mackay and Homrighausen to realize this fact. But that for all its stress upon the “uniqueness” of Christianity and for all its “Augustinianism” this view implies the complete rejection of historic Christian theism seems not to be generally recognized. Not as though Richardson himself seeks in any wise to hide his hostility to the orthodox

Christian Faith. He informs us plainly that “there are no such things as ‘absolute perspectives’ in existential matters” (p. 107). The Christian perspective is the best perspective we know of now.

Not so long ago orthodox apologetics was wont to defend its position by the “you also” method. Does Christianity depend upon faith? so does science and so does philosophy. To use this method now would lead to nothing but confusion. Philo...

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