Recommended reading

Recommended Reading

A distinguished Dutch scholar questions traditional Vatican views on ministry, and the Lutherans report on a survey identifying growth factors for clergy. Plus "Jubilate!" the new book on evangelical church music.

Monthly book reviews by various authors.

Ministry: Leadership In the Community of Jesus Christ

Edward Schillebeeckx, Crossroad Publishing Company, 1981, 160 pages, $12.95. Reviewed by Raoul Dederen, professor of historical theology, Andrews University.

Any new book by Professor Schillebeeckx is an event, and Ministry is no exception. It seems to be the kind of book the Catholic hierarchy had in mind when it warned theologians not to expose people to the results of speculative and historical studies. Here again, indeed, the distinguished Dutch scholar is questioning traditional Vatican views.

Distressed by the shortage of priests, Schillebeeckx argues for a better under standing of priesthood and ministry in the light of his church's tradition and contemporary pastoral needs.

Beginning with the New Testament, the author attempts to establish just what that tradition has been. This historical study of ministry is an attempt to discover which elements of ministry are variable and which are essential by virtue of having remained constant during changes.

He finds that the New Testament and the early church ministry was primarily leadership in the community. Gradually, however, especially after the Lateran councils of the twelfth century, the emphasis on leadership and service yielded to the notion of the sacral nature of the priesthood. Whether or not appointed to a particular community, the priest came to be considered as the one who conferred sacraments on the people, presiding over the celebration of the eucharist and hearing confessions. The Council of Trent, affirms Schillebeeckx, gave this medieval change great emphasis, along with the Second Vatican Council of more recent fame.

Such divergences are not called upon to show that either a council or a period— even New Testament times—was right or wrong. They merely indicate that the structure of the ministry is not an unchangeable doctrine, and that the constant elements alone are of importance. He recognizes two of these. On the one hand, no genuine celebration of the eucharist exists apart from the Christian community; and on the other, no local Christian community can deem itself to be the autonomous source of its own ministries, without reference to the church universal.

Having looked carefully at the historical evidence, Schillebeeckx moves from his survey of the Catholic tradition to an analysis of the current pastoral problems and experiments, touching on a number of highly charged issues, such as the institution of priestly celibacy and the exclusion of women from the ordained priesthood.

The author has already attracted world wide attention—and a Vatican investigation—for his views on Jesus. Many readers will find some of his conclusions on ministry unpalatable. Yet this book will certainly make all Christian readers—not just Roman Catholics—think seriously about ministry. It will help them to see its development through history, and move them to be more open to the possibility of different forms of ministry in the future.

Growth In Ministry

Thomas E. Kadel, ed., Fortress Press, 1980, 180pages, $5.95, paper. Reviewed by Rex D, Edwards, director of MINISTRY field services.

Under the auspices of the Growth in Ministry Project, involving three major Lutheran bodies in North America, a comprehensive plan was undertaken to determine the kind of growth that clergy were experiencing and to identify specific factors that either encouraged or inhibited growth. Nearly four thousand persons from four hundred randomly selected congregations participated in the project's survey. This book addresses a number of significant issues that surfaced. Among them, discussed by eleven persons of diverse experience and varying viewpoints, are: roles in pastoring, shared ministry, conflicts and satisfactions, images of ministry, continuing education, and the pastor's family. In this forward-looking resource book, clergy, congregations, committees, and administrators of all traditions will discover a new sense of direction for growth in their shared ministry.

Jubilate! Church Music in the Evangelical Tradition

Donald P. Hustad, Hope Publishing Company, 1981, $14-95. Reviewed by Harold B. Hannum, emeritus professor of music, Loma Linda University.

This timely book covers an enormous amount of territory—from a philosophy of church music in the evangelical tradition to present-day electronic influences in the church. Dr. Hustad's basic approach is that church music is a functional art. He discusses the history of church music, briefly surveying worship music from early times to the present. Some of the topics covered are: Music Languages: Communication and Conflict; Authority and Leadership in Evangelical Church Music; The Drama of Worship for Contemporary Evangelicals; Music in Evangelism and Fellowship; Music in Weddings, Funerals, and Baptisms; Music in Foreign Missions; Evangelicals and Congregational Singing; Evangelicals and Instrumental Music; Evangelicals and Music for Choirs; and Evangelicals and Music for Soloists and Small Ensembles.

Dr. Hustad has produced a volume that is characterized by common sense, good judgment, and a sympathetic under standing of the problems evangelicals face. It is evident that he believes in high standards. His emphasis upon congregational singing and participation is needed to stem the trend toward spectatorship.

 

 

MINISTRY does not have the facilities to sell or
order these books for readers. If you wish to
obtain a book reviewed here, please order
through any bookstore.

 

 


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Monthly book reviews by various authors.

September 1982

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