Science in Christian PerspectiveBook Reviews
Book Reviews for June 1973
FUTURE SHOCK by Alvin Toffler, Random House, New York, 1970.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LOVING by Ign ace Lepp, Mentor-Omega, New York, 1963. 223 pages. Paperback reprint, $0.95.
HEALER OF THE MIND by Paul F, Johnson, Ed., Abingdon Press, New York, 1972. 270 pages. $6.95.
GOD AND CAESAR: Case Studies in the Relation ship between Christianity and the State. Robert D. Linder, Ed. Longview, Texas: The Conference on Faith and History, 1971
THE JESUS PEOPLE: Old Time Religion in the Age of Aquarius by Ronald Enroth, Edward C. Ericson, and C. Breckinbridge Peters, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1972). Paperback. 249 pp. $2.95.
FUTURE SHOCK by Alvin Toffler, Random House, New York, 1970.
If there were any doubts that futurology has a future, this book dispels them. In its description of the current scene and the problems spawned by social change, it is a modern book. The answer to these problems is found in "the subjection of the process of evolution itself to conscious human guidance." Immediately, we can label the work as an antique. The kind of futurology presented here may have a future but its final chapters were written in the Enlightenment. Thanks to a crackling journalistic style shored up by solid research, it is a book from which much can be learned. It is, at once, a popular and a scholarly work. A definite strength is found in its references which provide a kaleidoscopic view into the literature of futurology. Another strength is the system of provocative concepts with which the book glistens. "Future shock" or the disorientation experienced by people who are subjected to too much change in too short a period of time is the anchoring concept. There is also "modular man" or the person who becomes disposable as he moves from one social situation to another. In organizations, there is the concept of "Ad-hocracy"; the shift from vertical bureaucratic forms to horizontal lines of control. All of these concepts, and many more, provide the framework for Toffler's major argument; society is changing so rapidly that we have lost our perspective on reality.
Having made this diagnosis, Toffler would have us understand the new forms of social reality, and rightly so. He recognizes, for instances, that the individual is being ripped from the total environment by social change and manipulated by society. Consistent with a Christian emphasis, he asserts that the individual must be seen as part of a total system. In fact, he recognizes the insulating role played by religion in dealing with future shock.
For the most part, however, Toffler fights fire with fire. If technology is the major cause of future shock then what is needed is more technology and not less. Since we cannot reverse the pattern of technological progress, we must understand and harness it. His suggestions along this line are prolific and sensible. For instance, he recommends that means of "sensory shielding" be used to resist sensory stimuli when the upper levels of human adaptation are reached. Noting that entertainment is used to raise or lower the level of stimulation, he suggests that other psychological controls be discovered and used in like fashion.
But such a recommendation shows Toffler's major weaknesses; his own limited perception of reality and his reliance on technology itself. For him, technology is the only real force in society. Indeed, his reductionism is quite apparent in his reference to change as a concrete force. In man, the reality is his psychological need which is in desperate need of protection. Again and again, he sees the threat to this need expressed in the family, education, organizational structures, and propaganda. In retaliation, he argues for the gathering of human resources and ingenuity to stem the tide. The ultimate objective is to "humanize distant tomorrows,
This is a stimulating and profitable book, largely because Toffler is a realist in his analysis of current problems. When it comes to solutions, however, he is an idealist and can only offer the humanist hopes of the past. Nevertheless, his is a voice which cannot be ignored. Christians must recognze, as he states, that minority styles of life are bound to increase in the future. The majority who represent a traditionally Christian life style, in any form, will find increasing pressure to change. Here is the cutting edge of the problem; what are the critical elements in a Christian life-style and how are they to be maintained? Toffler provides us with the signs of the times and the Christian must interpret them correctly.
Reviewed by Dr. Russell Heddendorf, Professor of Sociology, Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LOVING by Ign ace Lepp, Mentor-Omega, New York, 1963. 223 pages. Paperback reprint, $0.95.
Igoace Lcpp, a Catholic priest and practicing psychiatrist, is considered one of France's most provocative writers. His other books include From Karl Marx to Jeans Christ, the story of his career as a Communist actionary, and Psychoanalysis of Atheism, his explanation of why men reject the idea of God.
The modest aim of this hook, according to the author, is not to teach the specialist anything new but to help people to love: "I would hope ... to he able to contribute modestly to the furtherance of love in the life of the individual and in the collective life of all mankind."
Lepp tries to reconcile the spiritual ideals of Christianity with psychiatric insights into human sexuality via actual ease histories, most of which are taken from his own personal experience. While he does not consider himself a disciple of Freud, he nevertheless lands the contribution which depth psychology has made to the Christian church. He acknowledges his debt to Freudian psychoanalysis and the analytic psychology of CC. Jung.
The reader finds very little theoretical and abstract discussion in this book. Rather he comes across such pungent remarks as the following:
Homosexuality, sadism and masochism, impotency and frigidity are so
types of emotional illness. Their unfortunate effects on the individual and on
society are at least as great as those produced by cancer or b polio.
Any form of idolatry is closer to atheism than it is to the true faith.
Only a man who is capable of loving a woman, and only a woman who is capable of loving a man, is in a position to love friends, God, and humanity in a genuine way.
... studies of sex among animals tend to support the conclusion that no animal experiences sensual pleasure in the act of intercourse
The French custom of the one marital bed is particularly disastrous to eroticism. A body which one is always touching, even when he does not want to, loses all its mystery and soon, consequently, all its attraction.
On the technical side, the book has an introduction, 12 chapters which are not
closely knit together and could be read in any order, and an index. There is no
bibliography. The translation into English was clone by Bernard B. Cilligan. The
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur are official declarations that this book is free
of (Catholic) doctrinal and moral error.
By way of caution, it should be pointed out that since this honk is written by a Frenchman, some of his observations apply strictly to Frenchmen. Since it was written ten years ago, some of his views seem dated, especially in light of the new feminism. The liberationist would surely smile when Lepp quotes with approbation Ilyrors's remark that "Love is only one occupation in a man's life, but for a woman it is life itself."
If the neophyte is looking for titillation or scientific information, he had better turn to other sources. Lcpp's accomplishments and purposes extend in neither direction.
The American psychologist might be a little annoyed at Lepp for referring to sex as an instinct, Jung's arche-types as being valid, and the manic-depressive as being neurotic rather than psychotic. However, these are minor semantieal differences and should not distract from the overall impact of the book.
Robert Franencour has written of this book in Commonweal: ". . . interesting, frank, lively, and very enlightening." The review in Cross Currents said that Lepp has made "a substantial contribution in the area of his expertise." With these evaluations, this reviewer agrees. The book is easy to read and made interesting by the many case studies. Lepp's insights into the nature of love, sex, masculinity and feminity are generally fresh and useful.
HEALER OF THE MIND by Paul F, Johnson, Ed., Abingdon Press, New York, 1972. 270
This seems to he the year for autobiographies. First there was The Psychologists a collection of autobiographies by psychologists. Now there is Healer of the Mind, a collection of autobiographies by psychiatrists.
The editor of this collection is Paul E. Johnson, professor emeritus of psychology and pastoral care at Boston University and visiting professor of pastoral care at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The autobiographies are written by ten prominent psychiatrists from four different countries (America, Japan, Switzerland, Wales). The writers are Susumu Akalioshi, Leo H. Bartemeier, Carl W. Christensen, Edgar Draper, James A. Knight, David Calder Moir, Donald F. Moose, Jacob L. Moreuo, F. Mansell Pattison, and Paul Torsrnier (who by his admission is not a psychiatrist).
All the contributors are specialists in psychotherapy and in some eases were trained in theology as well as medicine and psychiatry. In addition to the personal information about each author in his autobiography, there is a helpful biographic sketch compiled by the editor. There is also a brief bibliography of selected writings from the contributing writers.
These are autobiographies by psychiatrists who try to show the influence of religion on their development. They speak of their search for a viable faith. While their autobiographies are generally illuminating,
some of the writers have evidently not seen the Light. It is clear that all of the writers' are deeply religious men, but some of them are not Christians in the evangelical sense. For instance, the deity of Christ, his virgin birth, and the sacraments are questioned by one writer, lie says that these beliefs "appeal to the pathological in mankind" (p. 99), Furthermore: "It is not necessary to make Jesus of Nazareth divine to accept the basic truths he propounded" (p. 99). Of course, it is necessary if the basic truths be propounded are soteriological. Another writer questions the reality of heaven, hell and immortality (pp. 195, 196). Finally, one writer goes so far as to certify that he does "not hold to any supernatural philosophy, universal godhead, omniscient or omnipotent spirit or intelligence There are thus no absolute dogmas" (p. 116). Of course, this view is contrary to such evangelical opinion as expressed its W. C. T. Shedd's Dogmatic Theology.
Of all the writers, Jacob L. Moreno, founder of psychodrama, must surely be the most unique. He writes: "From my earliest years on I had only one impulse, not to he a Moses or a Christ, a mystic or a philosopher, a prophet or messiah, but to be God, the Father himself" (p. 205).
Since the book has ten authors, their views are not always in harmony. For instance, Leo H. Bartemeier
thinks that in dealing with clients the pastoral counselor should shun reference to himself if he expects to be effective (p. 59). Conversely, David Calder Moir believes that no real progress can he made unless the pastoral counselor exposes himself to the person who came to share his problems (p. 161).
In this volume the reader learns some interesting facts: people who are in trouble most frequently choose a clergyman for help; eighty percent of psychiatrists in the American Psychiatric Association belong to religious groups; there are one million mental patients in hospitals; and mental illness among the clergy oc curs less frequently than among the laity.
In conclusion, if space permitted, these are some of the pronouncements which could be readily debated:
Religious faith does not protect us from neurosis or from other forms of mental illness. That is not its function (p. 65).
... psychiatrists have learned to help patients without imposing personal values (p. 13).
The function of religion is neither the generating nor the relieving of anxiety, nor the care of our temporal ills. Its function is worship (p. 60).
Reviewed by Richard Ruble, Division of Biblical Studies, John Brown University, Siloaot Springs, Arkansas.
GOD AND CAESAR: Case Studies in the Relation
ship between Christianity and the State. Robert D. Linder, Ed. Longview, Texas:
The Conference on Faith and History, 1971
Relatively few Christians in America have had to agonize over the problem of the relationship of Christianity to the state. Rarely has the state demanded that a choice be made between Caesar and God. But this has not been the ease with Christians of other times or places.
God and Caesar contains a series of essays presented at the 1969 Conference on Faith and History which met at Coneordia Teachers College in Illinois. In the first part of the volume, four historians deal with selected periods of history when Christians were considered "subversive" by the state. The subversives included the following: Christians in the Roman Empire, Anabaptists in the sixteenth century, peace church pacifists in twentieth-century America, and the evangelicals of modern Russia. The second part of the work is concerned with the response of Lutherans and Baptists in Germany to the policies of Adolph Hitler.
These essays raise a number of questions that are of importance to Christians today. In the first place, they call attention to the general problem of sorting out priorities. Where does our obligation to the state end and our primary allegiance to God begin?
Secondly, these essays raise the question of the relationship of Christian ideology to political thought and practice. Almost all of the writers point out that when Christians take the Bible seriously, they are in danger of being regarded as subversive to the state. In Russia, for example, the Baptists view man as a spiritual being; the Marxists view him as a social being. The Baptist position tends to undermine the efforts of the Communists to achieve their goals. Are such tensions present only in a totalitarian state? If evangelical Christians are fully committed to obeying Christ, would they be regarded as subversives even in relatively open societies?
Thirdly, one of the writers suggests that many evangelicals "have emphasized St. Paul's legitimizing of established political authority rather than Jesus' explosive challenge to Jewish Law." Have we been guilty of stressing Paul too much and Jesus too little for the sake of political expediency?
Finally, one question looms large in most of the essays. What should he the evangelical attitude toward war? Which position is most compatible with Scripture: pacificism, participation in only "just wars," or a willingness to fight for one's country regardless of the issues involved?
These essays indicate the need for major work on the relationship of evangelical Christianity to the state. Some have made a start in that direction. Among these works is Albert Hyma's Conservative Christianity and Politics, as well as the more liberal collection of evangelical essays, Protest and Polities. It is to be hoped that such organizations as the Conference on Faith and History as well as individual evangelical scholars pursue this subject and produce some works of significance on evangelical political thought and practice.
Reviewed by Dr. Richard Troutman, Department of History, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ky.
THE JESUS PEOPLE: Old Time Religion in the
Age of Aquarius by Ronald Enroth, Edward C. Ericson, and C.
Breckinbridgc Peters, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1972). Paperback. 249 pp. $2.95.
This trio of authors from Westmont College attempts a thorough and objective analysis of the state of the Jesus Movement as of the fall of 1971. They begin with a review of other attempts to cover the same or similar ground and indicate the shortcomings of each, which they have consciously attempted to overcome. They pinpoint the origins of the modern Jesus Movement in the beginnings of several ministries in 1967 and 1968, one of the first of which was the conversion of dope-addict Ted Wise in 1966 in Sausalito, California; Wise is now in charge of a drug prevention center in Menlo Park, California, The most striking fact about the Jesus People is this: whereas theologically they are fundamentalists, sociologically they are anything but.
The authors devote six chapters of historical resumes of the main branches of the movement, four chapters to a summary of their theological doctrines, and two chapters to an overview and analysis. Among the groups treated are the Children of God-possibly the fastest growing group, with the strongest organization of any group, and emphasis on 100% commitment to Jesus including alienation from all other relationships, a post-tribulationist view of the second coming, and frequent charges of kidnapping against them; the Christian Foundation of Tony and Susan Alamo-the most attractive group for black converts, characterized by a ceaseless emphasis on the fear of God, the insistence on the King James translation of the Bible as the only inspired version; the Christian Brothers of Fresno, California, who also emphasize doom and judgment. These three groups are also characterized by their emphasis on communal Christian living.
Also included are summaries of the careers of Arthur Blessitt, Minister of Sunset Strip; Duane Pederson and the Hollywood Free Paper, the simple approach to evangelism contained in which has been the pattern for many other Jesus People newspapers; singer and composer Larry Norman. The Jesus Movement has produced some nondenominational "hip" churches out of their rejection of the institutional establishment churches. These include Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Bethel Tabernacle in North Redondo Beach, and the Sierra Madre Congregational Church in Sierra Madre. "A unique ministry to the street people of Berkeley and the students of the University of California campus there" is provided by the Christian World Liberation Front and its superior underground newspaper Right On. This work began with Jack Sparks, a dropout from Campus Crusade. The authors feel that CWLF has "an edge on other Jesus groups in terms of intellectual and spiritual maturity," and has been helped by the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church.
The above summary emphasizes the dominance of California in the Jesus People movement. There are other outposts of the movement throughout the United States. These include The East Coast Jesus People who publish The Ichthus, Linda Meissner and the Jesus People's Army of Seattle (although she has more recently joined the Children of God), Carl Parks and the Jesus People's Army in other regions of Washington and Idaho who publish Truth, Jim Palosarri and the Jesus Christ Power House in Milwaukee, Sammy Tippit and "God's Love in Action" in Chicago, Ron Rendlemen and his work in West Chicago which achieved national notice when they successfully withstood Satanists attempting to break up a Billy Graham Crusade in Chicago; David Rose and the House of Agape in Kansas City, Missouri; Don Pauly in Florida.
The Movement has naturally generated much activity on the fringes on the interface between radical and establishment Christian practice. Ex-staff members of Campus Crusade are noticeable. Hal Lindsey and Bill Counts head up the J. C. Light and Power House in Westwood, California. Gordon Walker directs Grace Haven Farm in Mansfield, Ohio. Jon Braun's work is associated with the Brothers and Sisters of Isla Vista, California. Of established churches working in the context of the Jesus People, the most outstanding are Hollywood Presbyterian Church, and Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California. Others working on the fringe include Mario Murillo and his Resurrection City in Berkeley, David Wilkerson and Teen Challenge, evangelist Richard Houge working in the Southwest and Midwest, and Lutheran Youth Alive headed by David Anderson.
Whenever a movement gets going, there are also those who associate with it for motives that are not always sincere or constructive. In this category the authors point to Ed Human and Hollywood's gospel night clubs, the Mustard Seed in Van Nuys with the symbols but not the spirit of the revolution, a shaky alliance with classical Pentecostalists as personified in Kathryn Kuhlman, Victor Paul Wicrwille and "The Way" with its ultra-dispensationalist heresies, and the upswing in commercial music including Jesus Christ Superstar and God Spell.
The doctrines of the Jesus People, more or less common to all the groups regardless of the rich variety
in details, have four major emphases. (1) The simple gospel. Set forth with "the simplistic mentality endemic to fundamentalism," the Jesus People neglect the profound implications of the doctrine of Creation and center almost total attention on the doctrine of Redemption. Because of this they are experience-oriented, anti-intellectual, proof-texters of "the worst sort," anticultural supported by such writers as Watchman Nee, anti-social, anti-historical resulting in "tendencies toward exclusivism," and radically existential, (2) We are living in the last days; Christ will return in our lifetimes. All three tribulational views: pre - mid - and post-tribulation rapture, are held by various of the Jesus People, but all believe that only a few years are left for them to bring the message of repentance to a doomed world. A new ingredient is "the mixture of the charismatic experiences traditionally associated with Pentecostalism with the eschatology traditionally associated with dispensationalism." (3) Involvement in the Pentecostal scene. Active practice is directed toward speaking in tongues, divine healing, and visions and visitations. The Jesus People experience "a strong sense of the presence of evil and the rule of the demonic." (4) The Christian commune. The motivation for establishing self-sufficient Christian communes stems in part from the post-tribulational theology which sees the need to protect the community from Antichrist and his reign of terror. Desire for social control is also a strung factor. This "social and theological isolation quite often produces an inbred ethnocentrism."
Whatever else may he said about the Jesus People, the authors see "their existence" as "a searing indictment of a desiccated, hidebound institutional church." The future of the Jesus People depends strongly on the future of their relationship with the "straight" people of God. Three possibilities are foreseen for present members of the movement if indeed their prediction of an immediate return of Christ is not fulfilled: (1) attraction for the more disciplined and organized groups such as the Children of God, (2) moderation so that cooperation within established churches becomes possible, or (3) rejection of the whole Christian position: "there is no anti-Christian like an ex-Jesus person." Development of option (2) is certainly the healthiest for the entire Christian community. For this to be realized there must be a real determination and effort on the part of church Christians to understand and help, to accept Jesus communes with brotherly love. The "new social acceptability of bearing a public and outspoken witness for Christ is one of the best effects of the Jesus Revolution." But, "without maturity, without education, without grounding in Christian thought, the Jesus People cannot avoid a commercialized end-what Larry Norman terms 'pop Christianity.'
This is a really useful and informative treatment of the Jesus People. It is to be recommended for reading by all Christians.
Reviewed by Richard H. Bube, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California