Book Reviews

A HANDBOOK OF CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGY, by Bernard Ramm; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; 1966; 141 pp.; $1.95 (paper).

The author of this book is Professor of Christian Theology at the California Baptist Seminary. The purpose of the book is defined in the Preface: “The purpose of this handbook is to provide the minister with a ready guide to the leading concepts of the major contemporary thinkers in theology. The center of attention is focused upon Kierkegaard, Barth, Brunner, Reinhold Niebuhr, Tillich, and Bultmann. Although Kierkegaard lived in the nineteenth century, his thought did not catch fire until the twentieth. . . .The standard for choosing the particular list of terms here given has been the desire to provide a handy reference work for the minister who is interested in contemporary theology but who either does not have the time or the background to understand all the terms used.” 

As the preface suggests, this book is for ministers. But even then, it is not intended to give a statement of the views of the theologians listed above; it is only to guide one in the use of terms which appear frequently in the writings of these men. When a minister begins his reading of these contemporary theologians, this book will be of assistance towards understanding the various concepts these men use until he has penetrated far enough into their writings to understand them himself. The book is therefore no substitute for a study of the works of these theologians. 

Although the author does not enter into a critical discussion of modern theologians and their teachings, it becomes apparent that every aberration from the truth involves a negation of the truth of the infallible Scriptures; and, even this brief book demonstrates vividly how these theologians are adept at using Scriptural and Reformed terminology while taking out of these, terms all their Scriptural meaning and putting into these terms their own unscriptural ideas. 

One could wish that the book was not quite so brief. It is recommended as an aid to anyone beginning his studies of contemporary theology. 

—Prof. H. Hanko

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN, by Juan Isaias; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1966; 104 pp., $1.25, (paper). 

Written in story form this book tells of the problems which missionaries face in bringing the gospel to the people of South America. It is particularly concerned with the problems of communication between missionaries from the states and the local pastors in the efforts to establish a national church.

As a story the book is not too well written. But inasmuch as it discusses these problems, it is of considerable help in understanding the difficulties of the work. While it is impossible to agree with all the book contains, any of our people who are interested in the work of missions will find many valuable points made. Even for the work in Jamaica the book can be of some assistance. 

—Prof. H. Hanko