Recommended Reading

Monthly book reviews by various authors

Monthly book reviews by various authors

The Service of God: How Worship and Ethics Are Related

William H. Willimon, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1983, 239 pages, paper, $10.95. Reviewed by C. Raymond Holmes, associate professor of preaching and worship, Andrews University.

In the preface the author briefly recounts his own worship pilgrimage, moving from little concern about worship and involvement in social activism during seminary days to the current "I wonder what a rather tame, introverted, acculturated church can learn from a reconsideration of its worship. Wherewith can an otherwise bland and unsavory ecclesia be salted if not by new encounters with its God? Back to the sanctuary." —Page 12. With that gambit he begins his discussion of the relationship between corporate worship and Christian ethics.

Willimon suggests that after two decades of intense involvement of the Christian church in social and moral issues of national and international import, it is losing its identity and its integrity because the world has been permitted to transform the church. Allowing the world to set the agenda, the church forgot why it came to the meeting (p. 49). His response to this tragic situation is: "In the rites of the church our story is told and retold. This is where the Christian vision is seen and shared. The liturgy of the church thus becomes a primary source for a Christian's identity." —Page 50.

The book is closely reasoned, ponderoiis at times, but always provocative and rewarding. It is one of those works that stimulates thought. The chapter entitled "Baptism: Deadly Work" is worth the price of the whole book.

Making TV Work for Your Family

William Coleman, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1983, $4.95. Reviewed by Kermit Netteburg, associate professor of journalism, Andrews University.

Christian ministers often decry the violence and suggestive scenes por trayed on television; but they also know that most members own televisions—and do little monitoring of what the family watches.

Into this chasm between pulpit putdowns and member viewing habits steps William Coleman and Making TV Work for Your Family. Coleman, a pastor-turned-writer, likes television: "Our television set is one of the most interesting things in our home." But he is no network shill whitewashing television. He is concerned about the types of heroes television portrays and the disruption of family life.

Making TV Work searches for ways to let television be a useful servant for the family, just as the car and hotwater heater can be. To do so, Cole man proposes questions—clearly the best part of the book—at the end of each chapter. For instance, questions in the chapter explaining average television set usage ask the reader to evaluate his own television use. Coleman recommends that the book be read and discussed for family worship; the questions provide a fertile field for parent-child interaction.

Luke, a Plagiarist?

George E. Rice, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1983, 110 pages, $4.95 paper. Reviewed by Warren H. Johns, associate editor, MINISTRY.

Written for thinking people and not for those who simply want pat answers, this book wrestles with the question What should be the Seventhday Adventist concept of inspiration in light of recent controversies? According to the author, the root cause of present controversies is a one sided view of how inspired writings originate. For more than one hundred years Seventh-day Adventists have operated with a "prophetic model" of inspiration; that is, the prophet receives his information from the Lord largely in the form of dreams and visions. The author is quick to add that this model is scriptural, having its basis in 2 Peter 1:20, 21. But not all Bible writers were prophets.

Since the prophetic model does not explain all inspired writings, Rice pro poses a second model of inspiration, the "Lucan model." In assessing its importance, he states: ."Without it our teaching on inspiration is not presented 'in its entirety.' Without it our understanding is fragmented."—Page 16. Based on Luke's Gospel prologue in Luke 1:1-4, this model suggests that the Bible writer utilizes sources as he writes and that he is guided by the Holy Spirit in hi$ choice of materials—both inspired and uninspired.

After introducing the problem and then defining this second model of inspiration, Rice spends the remainder of the book comparing Luke's Gospel record with that of the other Gospel writers. Rice candidly states that significant variations exist among the different Gospel accounts and that these variations are not simply "minor discrepancies" (pp. 71-82). He feels such variations are often the result of theological purposes of the writer.


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Monthly book reviews by various authors

April 1984

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More Articles In This Issue

One Thousand Days of Reaping: the midpoint

During the first year of the One Thousand Days of Reaping, an average of 1,032 persons per day have united with the church! Now that the midpoint in time has been reached, the world director of this priority thrust for evangelism reviews what has happened since the program began and looks ahead to its conclusion and beyond. "Soul winning," he says, "is dependent upon divine agencies and must ever remain in first place on the church's agenda."

Preaching the Word

We, know our preaching should be Biblical—but how can we best use tine Bible in our sermons? The author suggests ways in which the Bible can shape our sermons, nurturing our congregations with God's thoughts and not merely our own. He calls for a balance in using both the Old and New Testaments, and indicates both the preparation and sermon types most fruitful with each.

Typology and the Levitical system—2

The author concludes his two-part series with this article. In it he deals with the questions as to whether there is a basic continuity between sanctuary type and antitype, and what role Hebrews plays in interpreting the Old Testament sanctuary. Is Hebrews the only New Testament interpretation of the sanctuary and its services and must it be regarded as the only and ultimate norm in interpreting them?

Where is the North American Division going?

Historically, there has been a unique relationship between the General Conference and North America that has resulted in a different organization and operation for the North American Division as compared to other divisions. Since the 1980 General Conference session, certain restructuring of the North American Division has been taking place, making it, in some respects, more like its counterparts in the rest of the world. Recently MINISTRY editor]. R. Spangler interviewed Charles Bradford, General Conference vice-president for North America, and Robert Dale, administrative assistant to the vice-president for North America, about the new situation and probed their aspirations and outlook for the division.

What I expect of a pastor

In February we published Lawrence Downing s article as to what he, as a pastor, expects of a conference administrator. In this article Philip Follett gives the complementary view what he, as an administrator, expects of a pastor. He discusses what he expects a pastor to be, what he expects him to do, and he indicates some of the means by which he measures the pastor's performance.

Ellen G. White and Biblical chronology

In her writings, Ellen G. White frequently made references to Biblical chronology—and a number of these references relate to Creation and the age of the earth. Many chronologies were available to her. Which one did she use? And how did she use it? The author considers these and other questions important for our understanding of her statements on chronology.

Growing members that read

The Christian who doesn't read is likely to be experiencing a very average relationship with his Lord and with the church. One of the best services you can provide your people is to encourage them to read.

Five faces of the minister's wife

Most people find their lives divided into stages—and wives of pastors are no exception. While the times of transition between stages often bring extra stress, you can meet them successfully.

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