The Person of Christ
David F. Wells, Crossway Books, Westchester, Illinois, 1984, 224 pages, $7.95, paper. Reviewed by Jack Blanco, professor, division of religion, Southern College, Collegedale, Tennessee.
This volume is intended primarily for college students, laymen, and teachers. But studious pastors will find David Wells's work helpful in explaining the doctrine of the nature of Christ from scriptural, historical, and theological perspectives.
The author places the current discussion of the nature of Christ in proper perspective. He takes a wholistic view and examines how the church's understanding of Scripture has affected the doctrine through the centuries.
An additional benefit this little volume provides is insight into the inter' relatedness of Christian doctrines and of how philosophical forces and theological preferences have contributed to our present fragmented understanding of the person of Christ.
In his final chapter Wells takes soundings of the Christologies of Barth, Pittenger, and Schillebeeckx. For Barth, the author points out, Christ was the Wholly Other and "Christ in you" needed to be under stood not as a reality experienced, but only as an objective reality in history.
Pittenger's view, Wells says, is a shift from the antiliberalism in Barth to a repristination based on Whitehead's process theology. Here Christ is merely the forerunner of other men who each in their own way are imitations of God.
According to Wells, Schillebeeckx, a Dominican priest prominent in shaping the New Catholicism, holds that Christ is whatever He means to each of us as we experience the life He experienced. Thus Jesus differs in degree but not in kind from religious people everywhere.
Although the reader may find a few "dry" places in the volume, the insights gained make it worthwhile reading.
Lord of the Impossible
Lloyd John Ogilvie, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1984, 224 pages, $9.95. Reviewed by Jack Blanco.
As the title suggests, Lloyd Ogilvie has lifted his Hollywood congregation and his TV viewers to new heights of positive Biblical thinking. This is an excellent little volume for creative preaching.
The book consists of twenty experience sketches from a fresh viewpoint. Ogilvie has related the experiences of yesterday's men and women to the hurts and hopes of men and women today.
The content is familiar and so provides easy reading, but the challenge 'this little volume provides is to customize the experiences of Scripture to meet the needs of people in congregations everywhere and to inspire them to read more Scripture. This volume should not be used as a book of ready-made sermons, but as a seedbed of ideas, outlines, and insights that can be repackaged and ignited. As a sermon workbook this little volume peppered with applicable illustrations will bring rich dividends.
In His Image
Paul Brand and Philip Yancy, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984, 291 pages, $11.75. Reviewed by Jerry Lastine, director of stewardship and communication, Indiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
The authors of Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (1981) have produced another best-seller. They use the latest information available on the human body to give the reader a practical understanding of the body of Christ.
Sections dealing with one's images, blood, head, spirit, and pain make the book a valuable pastoral asset for illustrating gospel truth.
Since the advent of the Caring Church concept, the final section on pain is especially appropriate. Lepers and Laodicea have similar problems. The spiritual application of pain teaches us that "the body poorly protects what it does not feel." Illustrations from Dr. Brand's work among lepers give impressive explanations of the value of pain.
I have six pages of notes in the flyleaves of this book suggesting sermon illustrations. It is more than a book; it is a masterpiece of new and creative ideas.