Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
WTJ 33:1 (Nov 70) p. 73
G. C. Berkouwer: Verontrusting en verantwoordelijkheid. Kampen: J. H. Kok, 1969. 189. Paper, f. 9, 75.
This book has been written in the heart of the theological and ecclesiastical situation of the Gereformeerde Kerken in the Netherlands and from the heart of Berkouwer. It is an apology; it is a plea; it is a call for a better understanding, and, at any rate, for some measure of tolerance.
The title may be translated “Concern and Responsibility.” By the term “concern” is meant the uneasiness or alarm of those who do not agree with some new theological trends in the Gereformeerde Kerken, considering them to be dangerous deviations from Scripture and confession. By the term “responsibility” is meant the attitude of the fearless Christian, who should be aware of the fact that he lives in the midst of the twentieth century and who should respond to the challenge of his time as a believing child of that time.
The procedure of Berkouwer is that of his dogmatic studies. He starts by making clear the relevance (“aktualiteit”) of his chosen topic. He points not only to the Reformed minister, Dr. J. Schelhaas, who has warned against “individualism, subjectivism, historism, relativism, irrationalism, agnosticism, and skepticism” (p. 5, note), but also to Pope Paul VI, who spoke of a spirit of confusion (Isa 19:14) among those also who know and study the Word of God (pp. 6-7). More extensively, he refers to the work of Dr. W. Aalders, one of the twenty-four ministers of the Hervormde church who wrote a letter warning against “horizontalism” (pp. 8 ff). In his “The Theology of Concern” (De theologie der verontrusting) Aalders warned about “heresy, because that is being eliminated which is elementary and essential to the church, namely, regeneration and conversion, which are giving way to solidarity and being-with-others” (p. 10). Furthermore, Dr. Berkouwer mentions the concern in his own churches about membership in the World Council of Churches and about the new interpretation of the first chapters of the Bible. He adds a warning to the concerned ones, that they should heed the word: “With the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get” (Matt 7:2).
In his second chapter the author analyzes the Scriptural conception of concern, and his conclusion is that any present-day concern in the church
WTJ 33:1 (Nov 70) p. 74
of God is only legitimate if it bears to a certain extent the character of the normative prophetic-apostolic concern. It should be more than an emotion and therefore shoul...
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