Dr. Ida, Dorothy Clarke Wilson, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, Toronto, London, 358 pages, $5.95.
To Seventh-day Adventists has been committed the glorious task of proclaiming to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people the glad news of God's love, grace, and mercy, and of exemplifying in their lives the spirit that actuated the One who, while on earth, "went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil." Dr. Ida, the fascinating portrayal of the struggles, the drama, and the triumphs of Dr. Ida Scudder, as told by Dorothy Clarke Wilson, is a book that should be read especially by every Seventh-day Adventist worker, whatever the particular line of service in which he is engaged. The story of Dr. Scudder's life and service constitutes an irresistible challenge to greater devotion, to a fuller surrender, to grander undertakings, and to a more unquestioning committal to God on the part of everyone who is engaged in Christian service.
Since 1819, when her grandfather became the first medical missionary to go to India from the United States, more than thirty members of the Scudder family have given a total of nearly a thousand years to missionary service. Because of her outstanding work Dr. Ida became the greatest of them all. At ninety years of age she died in her beloved India. When reminded of the remarkable way in which she had maintained her family tradition and had fulfilled a thrilling destiny, her simple response was always, "God has been good to me."
Ida Scudder began missionary service in India as a pretty, vivacious girl who loved gay clothes and fashionable parties. Her purpose was not to remain in that country, but soon she was so moved by the appalling physical and spiritual condition of India's women and girls that she decided to return to the United States for the purpose of taking a course in medicine and then return to India.
In a most illuminating way the book tells of Dr. Ida Scudder's return to India while still very young, and of her courageous and thrilling service among the people of that land. Her first major operation was performed with only the help of an untrained servant girl. Babies were delivered in rude ox carts. To win the confidence of a group of villagers she performed surgery on a sick bullock. Her one-cylinder French car, in which she visited surrounding villages, was considered by the people as a thing of the devil. When her car was out of order she traveled to villages a hundred miles distant in a pony-drawn covered wagon. Ceaselessly she fought against tuberculosis, cholera, leprosy, malaria, and other diseases. All of this and much else is portrayed in this volume against a rich and colorful background of Indian life and customs.
Realizing that India was in desperate need of an army of lady physicians, Dr. Ida Scudder, who is recognized as one of the great missionaries of all time, conceived the idea of establishing a medical college in India for the training of doctors and nurses. Tirelessly she worked raising money, battling prejudice, and carrying her dreams into reality. Today there exists in India as a result of her vision, her tireless energy, her indomitable courage, her refusal to be discouraged, her whole-hearted Christian devotion, the Vellore Christian Medical School and Hospital, from the portals of which an army of young doctors and nurses have already marched forth to bring help, and hope, and succor, and salvation to India's multitudes.
In Dr. Ida Scudder the glory and wonder of Christian service is graphically and impressively portrayed. In this volume this remarkable but humble and self-effacing servant of God and the Christian church is made to come alive to the reader.
Erwin E. Roenfelt
The Gospel According to Saint John, Tyndale Bible Commentaries, New Testament Series, Volume 4, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, $3.00.
This is one of the famous, concise, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, and its 237 pages are as rewarding as anything we have seen in such small compass. These volumes are primarily exegetical rather than homiletical, but readers are bound to find them informative and suggestive in both areas. The text used is the King James Version, but the Bible text is not reproduced in the commentary, hence the great saving in space.
It is the view of the authors that no one translation is infallible, and that no single Greek manuscript or group of manuscripts is regarded as being always right. Greek words are transliterated to help those unfamiliar with the language. We think that busy ministers and laymen who want a valuable commentary in a small compass will find these inexpensive books a very good investment.
H. W. Lowe
The Exploding Metropolis, Editors of Fortune, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, $3.95.
Here is a book for people interested in cities. This book is composed of material that originally appeared in Fortune magazine during the winter and spring of 1957-1958, and deals effectively with a problem that momentously affects every American: the tremendous and largely chaotic growth of our cities and suburbs.
It is a book that should be read by every city pastor, evangelist, and Bible instructor; it is for conference administrators who wrestle with the problems of city evangelism. Here is revealed in clear lines the complex make-up of the population of the cities of America. Here can be found at least a partial answer to the tremendous problems of soul winning in the populous centers.
"More and more, it would seem, the city is becoming a place of extremes—a place for the very poor, or the very rich, or the slightly odd. Here and there, in pleasant tree-shaded neighborhoods, there are still islands of middle-class stability, but for young couples on the way up—most young couples, at any rate—those are neighborhoods of the past. They are often the last stand of an ethnic group, and the people in them are getting old. The once dominant white Protestant majority has long since dispersed, and among the Catholics and the Jews who have been the heart of the city's middle class, the younger people are leaving as fast as they are able."—The Exploding Metropolis, pp. 8, 9.
Here, also, may be found the challenge of the "foreign-born," the multitudes who use another language than English as their mother tongue.
To read this book is to be informed. To be informed is to have a basis for study of situations. This may be the book that holds the key to a new, dynamic approach to the problem of evangelizing the cities of America.
Three Churches and a Model T, Philip Jerome Cleveland, Fleming H. Revell Company, Westwood, New Jersey, 189 pages, $3.50.
The warmth of his personality, his active love and alert concern for people—his church members, strangers, and non-Christians alike—fit this author uniquely for his role as a rural pastor. As did the Master, he found his parish included the literal byways and highways where dwelt those whose hearts were lonely for companionship, whose embittered and unfortunate lives unconsciously longed for and needed sympathetic, patient, understanding guidance to the better way. Each chapter covers the human interest story of some soul whose experience with its drama and pathos the reader will not soon forget.
Blessed with the gift of a facile pen, the author's descriptions are vivid and colorful, yet ever marked with the humility of one who knows his God. The true dimensions of a pastor's service as demonstrated by this dedicated man, whose interests are not confined to the four walls and members of his own country churches, will be an inspiration to all pastors, whether of rural or city churches. The easy, readable style of this narrative with its short, engrossing chapters will hold one's attention throughout the entire book, and the reader's own life will be enriched thereby. Ministerial interns and minister's wives will receive from this book a new vision for their work. College and seminary libraries will find a call for it
Louise S. Elliott
A Treasury of Poems for Worship and Devotion, edited by Charles L. Wallis, Harper and Brothers, New York, 1959, 378 pages, $4.95.
The editor is said to have "led us to a thousand new springs of spiritual power and insight." These 460 poems by more than 300 poets are published to feed man's keen, never-sated thirst for God. This poetry, drawn from many periods and styles, is cast in the classic forms of adoration and supplication with which generations have addressed the Deity and sustained their worship. The book is designed for convenient use and easy reference for all occasions of prayer and devotion. Nature, the home circle, the Eternal Presence, the social scene —each is a group of poems. Other poems speak of the need of thanksgiving, comfort, and self-searching, concluding with poems on the prayer experience itself. While the reader will find many of the familiar poems of his faith, he will also find many more that are fresh, new, and helpful. Most of them have never before been anthologized. One reviewer commented: "A satisfying collection, comprehensive in range, and appealing in its particular inclusions, . . . the compiler's choices run to clear, readable selections, almost all of which have rhythm as well as meaning, and a message of inner conviction to convey." Indexed by authors, titles, first lines, subjects, special days and occasions. Librarians, kindly take notice
Louise C. Kleuser
The Growing Minister, Andrew W. Blackwood, Abingdon Press, New York, 1960, 192 pages, $3.00.
I would suggest that this book is excellent material for every minister who desires to grow in efficiency and is eager for a new advance in spirituality. Andrew W. Blackwood is one of this generation's outstanding preachers, teachers, and authors. His many books written to strengthen the pastor and his ministry are considered among the finest works on the subject of the minister and his calling, and I feel that The Growing Minister, His Opportunities and Obstacles, is surely one of the best. It is the type of volume in which you will want to use your red and blue pencil on every page.
"This book," says Andrew Blackwood, "has grown out of my experience at ministerial conferences and my correspondence with many pastors. . . . Everywhere I have found ministers sincere, earnest, and high-minded. I have also found them concerned and perplexed, not so much about preaching and related concerns, but about their own spiritual lives, and their spiritual contribution to the work of the Kingdom. By spirituality I mean Christlikeness."
The book is divided into two sections. First, the over-all theme concerns the pastor's opportunities to grow in his ideals, personal power, devotional study, intercessory prayer, pastoral counseling skills, personal evangelism, and bodily care. This is not a stuffy volume, rehashing old cliches; it is rich with fresh, interest-gripping, and beneficial ideas.
The second half of this work deals with the obstacles in the way of a minister's growth. For example: Chapter 10 discusses ministerial sins, such as pride, envy, covetousness, anger, selfishness, lust, gluttony, and the tendency to shine, to whine, and to recline. Several chapters consider the minister's anxieties, how to keep from feeling disturbed, the tragedy of pastoral cowardice, how to develop the courage to be different and possess the ability to decide, to decline, to delegate.
Another chapter tells of the danger of continuous pastoral tension and how to avoid stress and strain. The one on inadequate planning is especially helpful. Dr. Blackwood suggests that a pastor's inability to cope with obstacles may be due to chronic immaturity. The reader may be surprised at what is revealed in the chapter's four sections: "Years Full of Promise," "A Period of Transition," "A Time of Fruition," and "The Days of Retirement."
By now you have gathered that I recommend this book heartily. I do.