Reviews Of Books -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 41:2 (Spring 1979)
Article: Reviews Of Books
Author: Anonymous

Reviews Of Books

Ronald Macaulay and Jerram Barrs. Being Human. Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1978. 196. Paper, $4.95.

If there is a word that summarizes the contents of this excellent book (writers: Ronald Macaulay, secretary of L’Abri Fellowship, and Jerram Barrs, Covenant Seminary) it is the term “balance.” In these confusing days when even in Evangelical and Reformed circles there seems to be a tendency to over-emphasize certain aspects of the Christian life-ride hobbies, if you will-it is indeed stimulating to be challenged by men who write well, address the Christian conscience, mind, and will, and put their case in a healthy biblical perspective. “The theme of the book is that understanding the nature of spiritual experience is the key to the restoration of true humanness,” say the co-authors in the Preface. Obviously, they have succeeded in making their point.

Particularly helpful is the chapter on “The Biblical Framework and the Two Alternatives,” Macaulay and Barrs analyze the three views of reality: the materialistic, the Platonic and the biblical. They show how the impact of materialism has rubbed off on the church, with the result that Madison Avenue techniques have carried over into much of modern evangelism and so have become a scandal in the eyes of men of the world. Equally dangerous is the philosophy of Plato, with its debasing of the Physical world and the elevation of the spiritual dimension far out of proportion to its proper place. Over against these two contrasting positions stands the Christian faith, which builds its foundation on the reality of a vital union with the Creator-God through the mediation of Christ, and summons the redeemed “to serve him with our whole life, to love him, to enjoy him, to reflect his character. Every area of our life is to reflect spirituality, not some special parts of it. Every area of our life is to express the relationship we have with him.” (p. 39)

Timely too is the warning against a subtle form of “higher spirituality” which leads into a kind of split-level piety, New Christians are often made to feel uneasy and inadequate because they stand in need of some-

thing extra—”something more and higher than the cross.” This may take the form of the necessity of “speaking in tongues, the baptism of the spirit, the second blessing, brokenness or what have you.” Only in the experience of “self-emptying” will one “be sure of the Spirit’s indwelling and have power,” and “be enabled to witness and pray freely.” (p. 60) This kind of sanctimonious brow-beating overlooks the fact that “Our maturity and rejoicing must be based on Christs work for us.” (p. 71) It...

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