Recommended Reading

Monthly book reviews

Monthly book reviews by various authors.


Jean Sloat Morton, Moody Press, Chicago, HI., 1978, 272 pages, $9.95.

On the basis of linguistic study and modern scientific knowledge, Morton analyzes Bible statements that deal with astronomy, weather, the structure of the earth, chemistry, plants, animals, disease, diet, and more than a hundred other subjects in this extraordinarily valuable reference for the pastor or Bible teacher who wishes to make the Bible speak accurately and effectively to the contemporary mind.

The treatment covers 121 topics organized under ten major divisions of science. The text is well illustrated and written in a manner to provide enjoyable reading for the nonspecialist, as well as those with a more extensive scientific background.

Robert H. Brown


Wilfred M. Hillock, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, Tenn., 1977, 155 pages, $7.95.

Lay involvement is the end, managerial principles the means, as outlined by Wilfred Hillock in this addition to the Anvil Series. Pastors and administrators frustrated by lethargy in the pews will learn that they themselves are at least part of the problem, for "the reason many sincere Christians do not join in the work of the church arises from failure of the leaders to make it possible."

Hillock contends that much church decision making is so centralized that the members have little control over their own destiny. They are asked to fit into prepackaged programs, but when they do, they feel unfulfilled; when they don't, they feel guilty. This practice goes against a basic managerial principle—decisions should be made by the people who have to do the work.

Thus, the church administration should set the broad goals of the church, while the subordinate units (from unions through local congregations) should choose the method they can best use to meet these goals.

Hillock also emphasizes the diversity of gifts ("Simply ringing a predetermined share of doorbells . . . will not fully satisfy everyone"); the need to train church administrators ("No one . . . should earn managerial positions by excellence of sermon delivery"); and innovation ("The fact that we did something in a given manner in 1940 is reason enough why we should not do it that way today"). Also considered are the role of committees in decision making, the use of budgets, and the dilemma of the part-time manager—the pastor.

Involved is perhaps most useful because its author speaks with authority, not only as a former church administrator and experienced teacher, but also as an involved member of a congregation that is actively trying to broaden decision making and to discover and use the Spirit's diverse gifts—in a word, to be involved.

Nancy Hoyt Lecourt


C. Raymond Holmes, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., 1978, $3.95.

More than another book on preaching, this is also a book on listening. As the title implies, both pastor and congregation have an important part to play in the event we call preaching.

Since the material is directed as much to the congregation as to the pastor, it should have wide distribution among the laity, as well as the ministry. The chapter titles outline clearly the contents: You and Your Preacher; The Need to Listen; The Listening Task; The Listening Response; The Preaching Process; Attributes of Seventh-day Adventist Preaching; and more.

With a rich background of effective preaching, formerly in the Lutheran Church and for the past several years as an Adventist, Holmes is well qualified to write on this subject.

Orley Berg


Kenneth Kitchen, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, 111., 1978, $3.95.

This volume will be prized as an authoritative update in the field of archeology and the Bible. Included is an excellent chapter on the recent finds at Ebla.

The bulk of the book examines archeological evidence for the historical basis of Scripture during the various Biblical periods, as opposed to the claims of those in the Wellhausen tradition.

The first chapter is an introduction to the work of the archeologist. In chapter two, "The Most Ancient World," Kitchen evaluates the literature of the third and second millenniums B.C., with special attention to Creation and the Flood. His conclusion? "These people firmly believed in a divine creation, and in divine punishment expressed in a particular flood as a distant historical event, distinct from the ordinary, habitual inundations known in Mesopotamia."—Page 36.

Concerning the patriarchal period discussed in chapter four, Kitchen concludes, "Therefore, the late date and fictional nature of the narratives favoured by this antiquated view [the Wellhausen school] do not fit the facts available today."—Page 66. Kitchen speaks of the immense revolution in our knowledge of the ancient past, particularly during the past thirty years. His approach is that of a scholar seeking knowledge from all the ancient sources, rather than one who is attempting either to prove or disprove the Bible. The results have produced, however, a high measure of agreement between the Bible and the world in which it was born, and give a factual base for a faith in the scriptural accounts.

Kitchen is a lecturer in Egyptian and Coptic at the School of Archaeology and Oriental Studies at the University of Liverpool, and is also author of Ancient Orient and the Old Testament.

Orley Berg

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Monthly book reviews by various authors.

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