George Fox and the Quakers (Men of Wisdom Books), Henry Van Etten, Harper Torchbooks, New York, 192 pages, $1.35. (English Translation, 1959, Longman's, London.)
When this charming book came to our attention we were delighted with its uniqueness and documentary authority. Its many woodcuts help to present the true Quaker, especially to the New World. Quaker roots are here well traced from Europe to America. The reader becomes intrigued with Quaker life and stirred to the depths with Quaker conviction and witnessing.
This "Holy Experiment," as William Penn termed it, has something for the Advent Movement to share. The story moves along factually from court trials to dank prisons with their unbelievable suffering, to unique Quaker weddings, home life, and funerals. One learns some secrets of Quaker thrift and labor. Younger workers, as well as experienced ministers, will enjoy becoming better acquainted with these stalwarts of faith. The section on anthology we recognize to be invaluable to the student's understanding of Quaker doctrines and ideals. We enthusiastically recommend this literary gem to our ministers. It is historical, biographical, and decidedly reliable.
Louise C. Kleuser
Christian Attitudes Toward War and Peace, Roland H. Bainton, Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 297 pages, $4.75.
The author of this book is professor of ecclesiastical history, Yale Divinity School, and one of America's leading church historians. He is a Congregational minister, and also an active member of the Society of Friends. Dr. Bainton is the distinguished author of many volumes on church history, and speaks with authority on the subject of the Christian attitude to war.
Dr. Bainton has a graphic style that holds the attention of the reader even in passages where pacifism is expressed in terms that are a little difficult for the nonpacifist to grasp. Painstakingly the book goes through almost every human attitude toward peace and war from the most ancient times. The classical origins of the just war, the crusading idea in the Old Testament, the crusading wars in the Middle Ages, war and peace in the New Testament, pacifism in the early church, the idea of the just war in the Christian-Roman empire, sectarian pacifism, the wars of religion—this book runs through the whole gamut of peace and war and deals with just about every question that a thinking man could raise on this most difficult subject. The book is well documented and indexed, and many of history's greatest characters and their attitude to all forms of violence in war are clearly portrayed. The book is certainly what it claims to be— a historical survey and a critical re-evaluation of Christian attitudes toward all forms of war and peace. It was an enjoyable book to peruse, and it will enrich the thinking of our ministers in an area that will perplex mankind till the end of time.
H. W. Lowe
Sermons on the Prodigal Son, Thomas A. Whiting, Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tenn., 1959, 111 pages, $2.00.
Many books have been written and many sermons preached on one of the most meaningful stories Jesus told of the son who went into a far country, realized his need, and returned home to a loving, forgiving father. Thomas A. Whiting in his book has given a fresh, theologically sound, and charming insight into the thoughts and responses of this wayward boy. He follows the story step by step, pointing out the striking similarities to life's situations as found in human experience today.
His twelve chapters are really twelve connected sermons as preached in his Methodist church, Valdosta, Georgia. These in turn are divided into three sections: the first, "Flight," takes the prodigal from his home into the far country. Pictured in the second, "Crisis," is the prodigal's realization of the con--sequences of his action and his desire to return home. The third part, "Return," presents the reunion with the father and the indignation of the older son. The chapters "The Giant Step," "Portrait of a Father," and "New Garments" are especially rich in inspirati.on
Life in the Son, Robert Shank, Westcott Publishers, Springfield, Missouri, 1960, 380 pages, $4.95.
Here is possibly the most penetrating investigation of the doctrine of eternal security to be published in this century. That it should be written by a minister of the Southern Baptist Convention is amazing, but to have it introduced by Dr. Adams of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary exceeds amazement, since Southern Baptists have held so firmly to the "once in grace, always in grace" belief. The volume is scholarly in its examination of the facts of the subject and leaves little to be desired in critical analysis of so widely accepted a teaching. In nineteen chapters Dr. Shank examines the numerous Bible texts with their usual "perseverance" applications that have been commonly used in support of this age-old concept. The Strombeck "shall never perish" arguments are shattered by Dr. Shank's thorough analytical studies.
Seventh-day Adventist ministers and Bible instructors will find outstanding help in meeting the "eternal security" arguments, as well as the teachings of the Calvinistic "predestination" adherents. The author has carefully examined text after text, including analyses of the original Greek words involved. The volume has a deep spiritual tone that lifts the reader far above logic and argument, which are by no means absent in the presentations of each chapter.
On pages 258 and 259 Dr. Shank objects to "the equation of obedience, an essential aspect of faith" as taught by Seventh-day Adventists, as he tries to deliver himself from the binding claims of the law of God. This one paragraph in all his book seems to be the only one where he has diverged from Bible truth to free himself from a doctrinal dilemma. Adventist teaching on this eternity of God's law the author declares is "the snare into which Mrs. White's gospel of the cross, the day, the diet, leads many today."
Aside from this one personal opinion of Dr. Shank, the book will prove a delight, an inspiration, and a gold mine of solid doctrine on this question. In fact, here are nineteen Seventh-day Adventist sermons on the subject that will prove a treasure to any pastor who wills to penetrate deeply into scriptural truth. It will prove to be a treasured volume of research in the pastor's library.
Raymond H. Lieby
The Ministry of Preaching, Roy Pearson, Harper and Brothers, New York, 1959, 127 pages, $2.25.
This is the type of volume that will enhance and strengthen a man's ministry. Dr. Roy Pearson, dean of Andover-Newton Theological School, presents what he thinks a sermon should be, what the preaching of others has meant in his personal life, and how his own preaching has affected his daily experience. Some of the chapters have appeared as articles in leading theological publications. The author often presents his ideas in picturesque figures of speech that spiee the poignant truths contained on each page. For example: "Too many sermons are like a paper bag of clock parts unceremoniously dumped on the table. They have never been assembled, oiled, or set in running condition." "Many a sermon has not reached its target because it was never aimed: it was merely fired high up into the dark and dusty rafters of the sanctuary in the vague confidence that it would come down somewhere in the congregation." "The words spoken in the pulpit seem to have only a nodding acquaintance with the deeds done in the business office, the conversation leaping the backyard fence, the experiments pursued in laboratories, or the hopes and dreams which alternate with guilt and doubt to drive away the sleep at night." Then Dr. Pearson proceeds to administer the antidote of suggested solutions that would enable the minister's work to be more effective.
Someone has said that it is the business of Christianity to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and someone else remarked concerning the great Jowett that wherever he went he strengthened the saints and humbled sinners. This truly is the theme of this vigorous reappraisal of what the sermon can and should do.
The 7th Day, Booton Herndon, McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 297 pages, $4.95.
This book is the story of the Seventh-day Adventist Church told in terms of its people. It is undoubtedly the most comprehensive and interesting collection of current Seventh-day Adventist stories and personality sketches yet published. Certainly nothing of this kind has ever before been published by a non-Adventist publishing house.
As a book for presentation to non-Adventist officials, clergy, friends, with the expectation of being read with interest, the volume will be valuable. It will also help the person casually interested in the Seventh-day Adventist faith to develop a warmer personal appreciation of Adventist people, their objectives and program. In addition it surely will inspire Seventh-day Adventists themselves with the significance of world missions.
Booton Herndon is a relatively well-known writer, contributing regularly to such periodicals as the Saturday Evening Post and Reader's Digest. In recent years he has written several books with a good sales record.
His reputation as a writer and the sponsorship of a publishing house like McGraw-Hill make The 7th Day a book of influence which all Seventh-day Adventists will want to use as well as read.
Howard B. Weeks
Lost in the Sky, D. A. Delafield, Review and Herald Publishing Assn., Washington, D.C., 1960, 190 pages, $3.50.
Preachers are always hunting for materials for junior talks and sermons. This book by D. A. Delafield, associate secretary of White Publications, is the answer to the preacher's need for material for his juniors. The book consists of the weekly story talks for juniors presented in the Review and Herald, and those who read these talks from week to week will understand how valuable this book will be.
Elder Delafield has a flair for junior talks, and the quality of his ability is evident in this book. One of the virtues of these stories is the way in which the author introduces the doctrines of the Bible to the junior mind—something that is so often lacking in otherwise good stories.
The publishers have done an excellent production job with this book, and we feel that it will have a warm reception among the children as it undoubtedly will among the preachers who never fail to have a corner in every sermon for the young folks.
H. W. Lowe