Billy Graham Talks to Teeners, Billy Graham, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960, 60 pages, $1.00.
This is a paperback book containing a combination of articles, interviews, and what appears to be sermons or quotes from sermons styled to interest the youth. The questions answered and the suggestions given are practical and touch many of the problems discussed among teen-agers. There is nothing unusual or new in the book from others of its kind; nevertheless, the young people reading it will be influenced for good as they realize it is written by one of America's popular evangelists. The little volume has some illustrations that will be of value to a minister in dealing with youth. The interview sections are most helpful. There are many vital problems facing Seventh-day Adventist youth of which Dr. Graham has not even hinted. The book will be especially interesting to those who are followers of Billy Graham, but Adventist youth should supplement their study with other larger and more comprehensive books on the same subject.
The Pastor at Work, Various Authors, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, Missouri, 1960, 414 pages, $6.50.
This large volume is evidently intended to be used as a textbook in Lutheran seminaries; nevertheless, its practical, stimulating, and wide scope of material will appeal to clergymen, in all walks of the ministry, who strive constantly and conscientiously to advance in pastoral administration and evangelistic skills. The twenty-three chapters were written by twenty men of wide experience and recognized ability in their particular field. As is to be expected, there are some chapters that present the Lutheran congregational and synodical teachings, patterns, and practices. These would be in such sections as "Baptism" (with its instruction for infant baptism), "Confirmation," and the "Ministration at the Altar." The chapter "Church Administration," although designed for a Lutheran parish, will suggest some wise principles and ideas that can be adapted in part to a Seventh-day Adventist congregation. Especially valuable in this chapter will be the suggestions on how to enlist the laity to aid in the work of the church.
The chapter "Pastor and Parish Education" gives helpful hints that may be used in our own school system. A man would be edified and his ministry enriched by a careful study of the following themes: Pastoral care for the sick; comfort for the bereaved; effective Bible evangelism (this is excellent); the nature, methods, and atmosphere of counseling with the burdened soul, parents, adolescents, the ill, the mentally disturbed, alcoholics, and abnormal people and groups; stewardship in general and of money (here are hints on how to operate an every-member canvass for money raising, et cetera); reaching out to human needs; and the chapter on public relations.
The Pastor at Work is exactly what the title implies. It is indeed a valuable guidebook for those who preach and who minister to the needs of a growing congregation
God Our Contemporary, J. B. Phillips, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1960, 137 pages, $2.50.
We have come to expect brilliance from j. B. Phillips, the famous producer of the paraphrastic translations of the New Testament. He has established himself as a prodigious writer of repute, having published at least eight books in addition to his valuable translations.
In God Our Contemporary the author gives us the incisive thought and the elegant phrase that we have come to expect of him. He deplores a widespread lack of religious belief and argues for a restoration of belief in God in contemporary life. The inadequacy of humanism and the limitations of science are presented cogently in short chapters, as also are the Christian point of view on true wisdom, revelation, suffering and evil, the challenge of life, et cetera.
This small book is refreshingly thoughtful, and is in addition enjoyably readable.
H. W. Lowe
Seven Keys to a More Fruitful Ministry, Arnold Prater, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960, 120 pages, $2.00.
It is not often one finds a book that puts a magnifying glass into the personal life of a minister, laying bare the inner wrestling of his heart. Seven Keys to a More Fruitful Ministry does just that, and then hastens to suggest the solution, the antidote. This is not a volume designed to discourage the servant of God but to bring him face to face with the realities, weaknesses, and pitfalls of his own human nature. Then, in a simple, direct way the author shows how his ministry can be more fruitful. "God is right now giving you all the power with which He can safely trust you. He wants to give you more —far more than you ever dreamed He could."
This is not a book on methods of preaching or of church administration. It is a volume of personal exhortation to the minister himself, concerning what he must be and what he must not be if he is to have increasing success in his calling. The author uses picturesque, descriptive, and down-to-earth language, with many illustrations that tend to tug at the heart of the reader. One may smile or grieve, as the case may be, as he recognizes himself revealed from page to page; but he will be comforted as he senses the personal yearning to be a better man, a more consistent witness. He will then desire to conquer laziness, pride, professionalism, jealousv, and discouragement.
Any worker and his understanding companion would do well to use the seven chapters of this book for their personal devotions for seven days. In this time they will rediscover the basic objectives of the minister and his ministry.
Biblical Revelation and Inspiration, Harold S. Bender, Herald Press, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, 1959, 20 pages, 35 cents.
We found this fourth number in a series of Focal Pamphlets by the Mennonite Publishing House to be most inspirational. It is one of a series treating subjects of vital interest and concern for our time. Problems of contemporary life are discussed and interpreted as they relate to Christian truth, with a focus on the Christian community. The viewpoint is valid, but it need not be the final official position. These pamphlets grow out of intense research, some in connection with Bible study conferences.
The author of this pamphlet on Biblical revelation is professor of church history in Goshen College Biblical Seminary. He has been president of the American Society of Church History and of the Society of Reformation Research, and since 1952 he has been president of the Mennonite World Conference. The content of this pamphlet was given as an address to the biennial session of the Mennonite General Conference, August, 1959. A listing of the subheads of this address will suggest its solid Bible roots and its Christ-centered authority: 1. The Bible as a Unique Redemptive Book; 2. The Meaning of Revelation; 3. The Bible as a Witness of Jesus Christ; 4. The Meaning of Inspiration.
We quote one of several most challenging statements in the booklet—one that Seventh-day Adventists can heartily approve:
"The Bible is the infallible authority for faith and life. Here we part company with all liberalism, modernism, and any neo-orthodoxy which denies to the Bible normative character. But here we also part company with the hyperfundamentalists and dispensationalists. Our Bible is the wholly adequate book of life in Christ and God. Our ancient Dordrecht confession of faith does not claim more. We do not need to claim more today. . . .
"The Bible is not something to be argued about; it is to be accepted and obeyed. Nor need we labor furiously to defend it from all sorts of charges, as though, unless we can rationally convince the opponents, there is no hope for the Bible to survive. Do we not believe that the Word of God is lifegiving, that it cannot be broken, that its truth is indestructible, that though heaven and earth shall pass away, it shall not pass away?
"Let us then joyfully testify to the Christ of whom the Scriptures testify. Let us proclaim His salvation. Let us use the full Bible for the admonition of the saints. And let us as a church and as individuals live in such obedience to Christ and His Word that Biblical revelation and inspiration are vindicated by us."
Louise C. Kleuser
Standard Lesson Commentary, 1961, edited by Orrin Root, Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1960, 448 pages, $2.95.
This commentary was produced primarily for teaching the International Sunday School lessons. Even though we do not use this particular set of lessons in our Sabbath schools, the vast amount of source material gathered together into this 448-page book is well worth its reasonable price.
Eight pages are devoted to each lesson, divided as follows: A discussion of the subject in general, a study of the lesson's background, explanation and running commentary of the texts involved in the subject, discussion and application, illustrations of pithy points, aids in teaching the lessons, and a series of daily devotional thoughts pertaining to the subject theme.