Science in Christian Perspective



Book Reviews for June 1982

Table of Contents

WHOLE PERSON MEDICINE: AN INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM by David E. Allen, Lewis P. Bird, and Robert Herrman. Intervarsity Press, 1980 Downers Grove, Illinois 60515, $8.95, pages 261. 
OUR FRAGILE BRAINS: A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE ON BRAIN RESEARCH by D. Gareth Jones, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois 60515, $8.95, 1981, page 278.
THE DEATH OF NATURE: WOMEN, ECOLOGY, AND THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION, by Carolyn Merchant, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1980. $16.95, xx + 348 pp., ISBN 0-06-250571-8.
THE TWO HORIZONS: NEW TESTAMENT HERMENEUTICS AND PHILOSOPHICAL DESCRIPTION, by Anthony C. Thiselton, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1980, xx + 484 pp., cloth, $22.50.
THEOLOGICAL SCIENCE by Thomas J. Torrance, Oxford University Press (1%9), paperback (1978), 368 pp. $5.95
Wilkinson. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids. 317 pp. $10.95. 1980.
BRAINS, MACHINES AND PERSONS, by Donald M. MacKay, London, Collins Publishers, 1980, 114 p.p.
THEOLOGY FOR THE 1980s, by John Carmody, The Westminister Press, Philadelphia, 1980. $9.50 (Paper), 192 pp.
PATTERNS IN HISTORY: A CHRISTIAN VIEW, by D.W. Bebbington, InterVaristy Press, 1979, xi+211 pp., $7.25.
SCRIPTURE TWISTING: 20 WAYS THE CULTS MISREAD THE BIBLE, by James W. Sire. InterVarsity Press. 1980. 180 pp. $4.95
PORNOGRAPHY: A CHRISTIAN CRITIQUE, by John H. Court, InterVarsity Press (1980), 96 pp., $2.95.
LIVING WITH UNFULFILLED DESIRES, by Walter Trobisch, Inter Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1979; 130 pp, $3.50.

WHOLE PERSON MEDICINE: AN INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM by David E. Allen, Lewis P. Bird, and Robert Herrman. Intervarsity Press, 1980 Downers Grove, Illinois 60515, $8.95, pages 261. 

This is a most important and seminal work. It is the proceedings of a symposium held under joint sponsorship of
Oral Roberts University which is of Pentecostal/Charismatic theology and the Christian Medical Society which is
of evangelical theology and largely anticharismatic. From that point of cooperation between these factions within the Body of Christ the meeting itself (which I attended) and the book go downhill. This is not to belittle the book, for it is must reading for all health care Christians who did not attend the symposium itself since so many of us, probably the vast majority, live two lives: one in the world which includes the health related vocation and the other in the organized church which too much resembles the former except for terminology.

This meeting and its proceedings support the concept that there is an interface possible. Unfortunately, neither at
the meeting nor in the book is there such a meeting. The Christianity is still religion in the traditional sense and not
the way of life pervading every aspect of being which it must be to be real. And, fear not, for there is room to allow
for widely disparate praxis.

The presentations have more humanistic, psychologized scriptural terminology than real scriptural insight,
breadth or depth. However, there is excellent elucidation of the problem of the interface of religion and medicine, but no solution is presented-at least, none unique to Christianity.

There is only vague talk of whole personness as derived from Scripture. Indeed, there can be only vague talk when
one leaves out the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, which is supernatural from before the beginning and
forever will be throughout eternity. indeed, more recognition of counterfeit supernaturality is acknowledged than
true supernaturality. There is no discussion of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, essentially none of demons or
deliverance, and almost none of supernatural healing.

Overall this book is comfortable enough for almost any
secular (non-Christian) person, for they can merely change
  a word here and there and the comments fit Bahia, Islam,
Mormons, Jehovah Witness, or any other of the numerous cults. There is almost no openness to the person and work of the Holy Spirit and thus no power.

Yes, the book is important and should be read, but for charismatics it is probably a waste of time and money.

Reviewed by Donald C Thompson, R.Ph., M.D., A.B.F.P., 828 West Fourth North Street, Morristown, Tennessee, Private practice of Whole Person Medicine.

OUR FRAGILE BRAINS: A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE ON BRAIN RESEARCH by D. Gareth Jones, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois 60515, $8.95, 1981, page 278.

My first introductory physiology textbook was British-the Winton and Bayliss text which at the time was quite small by today's standards. I learned then and have respected since the British as authors in general, especially for their easy reading style and the comprehensiveness of their writing matched by none in the world. That few American (or other) writers are capable of writing with such clarity of thought, simplicity and ease of communication and comprehension has continued to impress me since those early days of my professional education. I find Jones' book meets my best expectations. It contains few Briticisms that would make for difficult reading for the cultural American more used to the stilted styles of our works.

Jones has produced a work that anyone interested in brain development, retardation, the effects of nutrition and, especially, the consequences of physical damage to the brain with its subsequent personality changes and questions of the responsibility of the individual, will find interesting and useful. Less erudite but still very good are his discussions of drug use/abuse (licit and illicit) and the counterfeit "new age" movements from a Christian perspective.

This small book has a vast potential audience especially among health care personnel. Certainly even every physician will find areas that will inform and broaden his perspective because few of us have had the breadth of experience or training to make this book not worthwhile. Those not even in the health related professions will find this work virtually seminal for the Body of Christ, for practically all the discussion parallels Scripture-though it does not always explicitly say so; but, then, why should it?

The book is especially valuable in the perspective it puts on the problem of responsibility of the individual after brain damage, including a balanced approach to psychosurgery. There are few failings in the book and the only one of importance is that there is no discussion specifically about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

Again, if you are or consider yourself a Christian-or, a non-Christian seeking the truth so that it might put things in proper perspective-this is one book that you should read.

Reviewed by Donald C. Thompson, R.Ph., M.D., A.B.F.P., 828 West Fourth North Street, Morristown, Tennessee, Private practice of Whole Person Medicine.

THE DEATH OF NATURE: WOMEN, ECOLOGY, AND THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION, by Carolyn Merchant, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1980. $16.95, xx + 348 pp., ISBN 0-06-250571-8.

Carolyn Merchant has written an intriguing analysis of the Scientific Revolution's impact on society's attitude toward women and nature. She believes that "women and nature have an age-old association-an affiliation that has persisted throughout culture, language, and history." The Scientific Revolution, in her opinion, led to the indiscriminate exploitation of nature and the growing perception of women as incapable of serious thinking or work. It ended "the image of the earth as a living organism and nurturing mother." New values emphasizing power, domination, self-interest, mechanics, and order took hold. For Merchant,

The mechanist transformed the body of the world and its female soul, source of activity in the organic cosmos, into a corpuscular ether, purged individual spirits from nature, and transformed sympathies and antipathies into efficient causes.

To support her arguments Merchant displays a broad knowledge of philosophy, history, and science.

The author begins by surveying literature from the Old Testament and Classical periods that discuss the earth and nature as feminine. She analyzes the arguments ancient and medieval woodsmen and miners used to justify their interference with "mother earth." Merchant describes organic society as one of ecological balance, a balance which was undermined by the mechanistic society of the Scientific Revolution. In support of her argument she presents an excellent description of agricultural changes resulting from draining the fens and the indiscriminate use of raw materials by early industry.

In the Scientific Revolution "the image of nature ... was that of a disorderly and chaotic realm to be subdued and controlled." This image affected the position of women, because "wild uncontrollable nature was associated with the female." As nature was debased, so were women. Nautre and women needed to be controlled to end disorder in science and society. An interesting example Merchant uses to show that work opportunities for women were increasingly limited to the home is the replacement of midwives in England by licensed male doctors who had training in the use of a new technical innovation, delivery by forceps. Advances in science and technology were used to limit women's freedom as well as to control nature. The intellectual change was also apparent in utopian literature which evolved from a stress on the organic unity of society (Andred's Christianopolis and Campanella's City otf the Sun) to a vision of society that was elitist and patriarchal (Bacon's New Atlantis).

Merchant cogently points out the many changes that occurred as the Scientific Revolution moved man's thin" from the organic to the mechanical. Many changes associated with the Scientific Revolution were destructive to man and nature; not all machines were used wisely, resulting in damaged ecosystems. Certainly social changes occurred simultaneously that weakened the position of women. Yet one comes away with the feeling that the weaknesses of organic society are negligible compared to those of the Scientific Revolution. Organic society, while preserving a better balance in the ecosystem, was filled with myth, superstition, violence, and insecurity. Its value system might preserve trees, yet sacrifice women and children to propitiate a god. Also in analyzing attitudes toward the new mechanical society, Merchant discusses the organic beliefs of several Protestants but not Martin Luther. Moreover, her discussion of Protestant influences on the organic-mechanistic transition are often cursory, which is 6specially surprising, since the Scientific Revolution is regarded by so many as a result of Reformation thinking. Nevertheless this is a well-written book whose arguments deserve serious thought.

Reviewed by Paul Kubricht, Department of History, LeTourneau College.

THE TWO HORIZONS: NEW TESTAMENT HERMENEUTICS AND PHILOSOPHICAL DESCRIPTION, by Anthony C. Thiselton, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1980, xx + 484 pp., cloth, $22.50.

In biblical hermeneutics, the science of interpreting the Bible, the term "horizon" is used metaphorically to describe "the limits of thought dictated by a given viewpoint or perspective" (xix). When an interpreter approaches the text he does so from a perspective, or within an horizon, which has been established previously by his various intellectual, emotional and cultural circumstances. In the engagement between interpreter and text there is a second horizon which ought never to be neglected, namely, that of the text (more accurately, that of the writer of the text). A fundamental question in hermeneutics is: how can an interpreter engage in reading the text without drawing the horizon of the text to fit his own preestablished horizon? One of the chief aims of Thiselton's work is to show how the horizon of the biblical text, which is different from the interpreter's horizon, can enlarge and reshape the interpreter's horizon; briefly, how the Bible can be allowed to speak for itself.

To accomplish his task the author appeals to the work of Heidegger, Bultmann, Gadamer, and Wittgenstein. These four writers were chosen not because they all deal with biblical hermeneutics directly, but because each one in his own way employs a descriptive methodology in his philosophical work; and philosophical description is directly relevant to the fundamental problems in hermeneutics.

The general lesson to be learned from their descriptive writings is that one cannot justifiably ignore either of the two horizons in the work of interpretation. More specifically, we can see from the first three writers the importance of the existential element in reading the text; and from Gadamer in particular, the necessity of recognizing the interpreter's "pre-understanding". We must try to "avoid an understanding of the text which fits perfectly with our prior expections" (p. 304). Concerning the problem of how the Bible can be allowed to speak for itself, reshaping the horizon of the interpreter, the most important insights are to be found in Thiselton's application of Wittgenstein's ideas about the "logical grammar" of concepts, especially those ideas found in his later philosophy of language. It is difficult to overstate the significance of Thiselton's last two chapters.

The author identifies three classes of "grammatical utterance" and by using many New Testament examples shows how an understanding of these classes can aid in the hermeneutical task: (1) analytical utterances, which do not add to the original readers' stock of information but are used to clarify concepts already in their possession; (2) foundational utterances, which form "the scaffolding of thought" for biblical writers and are so axiomatic that they "lie apart from the route travelled by inquiry" (p. 395); (3) "linguistic recommendations which may or may not be based on institutional facts" (p. 402). Class (3) utterances can be found in Paul who quite often uses generally familiar terms in a new way to bring novel insights to his readers. The interpreter can gain access to these insights and realize the recommendational character of the "utterances" by discerning the peculiar logic of Paul's terms. The everpresent possibility of novel usage accounts for the fact that there is no essence of a concept.

To explain, there is no essence of a concept because (a) a word's meaning is established by its use, (b) its use is determined by linguistic convention (as made-up rules determine the moves of a game), and (c) conventions change, not only from time to time, but from context to context (etymology does not determine meaning); they even change within the writings of the same biblical author. In other words, concepts like "flesh," "truth," and "faith" are polymorphous or multiform in character. Thus, "the theologian must be guided by exegesis which takes full account of the logical particulars of each passage" (p. 415). If this is not grasped much New Testament theology will be confused and a great deal will be missed. "Meaning-from-use" is not simply a fact about some particular language, e.g., a biblical language, it is a fact about language universally; indeed, a fact about the very possibility of language formation. Thus, we must constantly ask, "how exactly is the writer using the term here?". And therein lies not only the possibility of, but the necessity for, letting the Bible speak for itself.

Thiselton writes with clarity and economy and despite the technicality of his work the reading goes very smoothly. The Two Horizons is an admirable book both in its breadth of coverage and depth of understanding. The attention to detail and the respect for primary source material on every hand make it a model of Christian scholarship. This work deserves a large audience.

Reviewed by Gary Colwell, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

THEOLOGICAL SCIENCE by Thomas J. Torrance, Oxford University Press (1%9), paperback (1978), 368 pp. $5.95

These Hewett Lectures (1959) were of particular interest to me as a theoretical physicist who wrote on "Scientist and Theologian?" (Journal of Wash. Acad. Sc. 48, 145 (1958)). The author is professor of Christian Dogmatics at the University of Edinburgh. His theological stance is that of a staunch Calvinist opposed to natural theology and secular theology-not to mention Bultmann. He regards theology as "concerned with statements that are pronounced primarily by God and only pronounced after Him by human subjects as hearers of the Word." He relies upon the "Holy Scriptures as the source of norm of all our theological statements."

This book is essentially a philosophical investigation of concern to theologians and philosophers of science. The author prefers to call it "a book about the philosophy of science of God." (To me theology itself is a philosophy of religion.)

The author's view of the scientific method in natural science is in the main acceptable. on the one hand, however, he is enthusiastic about Francis Bacon's "new method of induction" and, on the other hand, he is entranced by the role of mathematics in the "hypothetical deductive method." He does not appreciate the necessity of quantitative data for the latter and the importance of statistical physics. He overemphasizes the asking of questions without regard to their selection. The author seems to be obsessed with the need to be "scientific," a word which he uses ad nauseam. The theologian's method is certainly formally comparable with the scientist's if one substitutes revealed facts for observed facts. There is, however, a distinctive difference in the matter of verification, which does not warrant both being included under a generalized notion of science, which the author derives from his view of "true knowledge" scientia (Latin) and Wissenschaften (German). He defines the latter to be "rigorous, disciplined, methodical, and organized knowledge."

I have also some specific objections to his conception of natural science. "Exact sciences" are rarely considered to be such nowadays, and physics was never included among them. His speaking of primitive science, polytheistic science, and monotheistic science is not edifying. The author's adoption of A.C. Crombie's glorification of Grosseteste and William of Ockham as English "scientists" leaves much to be desired.

The distinctive feature of Torrance's theology is that its object is God, who is inaccessible except insofar as He seeks us. Our "heard statements" then correspond to the observed statements of natural science. The author points out that there are actually different levels, such as the teaching of Jesus, Mark's teaching of the teaching of Jesus. The New Testament to be sure, does give us a portrait of Jesus, who is "the truth, the way, and the life." One ascertains the truth only by doing it (John 7:17). It's evident that this method is radically different from that of natural science. The author justifies their association by the popular notion that there are many scientific methods (I prefer to consider a single scientific method with various degrees of completeness). He actually goes further; he claims, "Theology is therefore more than a science. . more rigorously scientific because of the total claim of its object (God), and its unconditional requirement of objectivity." Moreover, because "theology is concerned with God as creator of the world and therefore with God in his relation to the world of creaturely realities," it covers a broader range than the limited natural sciences-almost a "queen of the sciences." Inasmuch as "God in Jesus Christ is the Truth," his incarnation as a historical event cannot be treated like other historical events. Accordingly, the author discusses historical sciences; he insists that "theological thinking is historical thinking," but he fails to note the difficulty of isolating historical facts and ascertaining related historical factors.

It is probably not surprising that a physicist is not familiar with the language used in lectures given to three U.S. theological seminaries; the author aggravates the situation by inventing words, e.g., theologistic. What is worse, he introduces freely untranslated Greek and Latin words and phrases; for example, he compares dandum with datum and lalia with logos. He is inclined to cite argumentative references out of context. His addiction to matharnatical reasoning is exhibited in his introduction of so-called "theological algebra" and an analogue of fourdimensional space.

Reviewed by Raymond Seeger (NSF ret.) 4507 Wetherill Road, Bethesda, Maryland, 20016.

EARTHKEEPING: CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP OF NATURAL RESOURCES, edited by Loren Wilkinson. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids. 317 pp. $10.95. 1980.

"The distinctiveness of this book is rather that we have approached the problem in an in-depth and integrated way from within the framework provided by biblical principles."

This is the claim of the preface of this comprehensive environmental study by the fellows of the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship, Calvin College: Peter DeVos, Calvin DeWitt, Eugene Dykema, Vernon Ehlers, Derk Pereboom, Aileen Van Beilen and the editor, Loren Wilkinson, who has combined the six disparate writing styles into one.

In Section I on the "State of the Planet" is reviewed "some of the fragile features of the ecosphere" such as agro-ecosystems, the threat of urban expansion, the creatures under our care, the human tide, its basic food needs and growth, energy and mineral resources, including those of the sea bed, and how these resources relate to the rich and the poor, concluding that "the range of resources over which we are called to be stewards includes not only forests, flood plains, oceans, and ores, but also tariffs, technologies, legislatures, and corporations."

"The Earthlings" is the title of Section 11, beginning with the historical roots to deal with the ideas of Lynn White, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and Epicureans, and medieval views such as those of St. Francis of Assisi. The scientific revolution, guided by the astronomers, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton and continued by Descartes and Bacon, had its varied philosophies, such as "the use of knowledge of the world in order to have power over the world was the great theme of . . . . . Francis Bacon". The North American Experience, in spite of the romanticism of Emerson, Thoreau, and Muir, had its solution in using ,'most of nature intensively and even destructively, but to leave large tracts of land untouched as 'wilderness areas'." Our mind today is "freedom from impediments to the satisfaction of the individual desire" but a far cry from "the Christian ideal of freedom is freedom from impediments-and sin is an impediment-to being what God intended us to be."

The chapter on "Economics: Managing our Household" examines the historical views of economic reality from Plato and Aristotle to Calvin, then studies scarcity, resources, common property, how fast to use it up, and doubts about our economic system. In "the appropriateness of technology" it is stated, "the increasing power available to us through technology means that the consequences of our choices continually become greater." As a model, the earth is not so much a space ship (man made with limited resources), but a living thing which "does not encourage us to manipulate the earth as though it were entirely different from ourselves." We must preserve its resources. We are called to he Isaiahs, "our despair would be dispelled if we took more seriously our task as prophets."

"The Earth is the Lord's," is the title of Section 111. Genesis I makes it clear that "the goodness of creation is a goodness in the things themselves, not in their usefulness to humans-who are not even mentioned until the end of the chapter." Things were named by Adam. "As far as we know, no other creature gives names to things. The task and the ability seem to be marks of what it means to be made in the image of God." After discussing man's dominion in the Old and New Testaments, the authors evaluate dominion in church history, stewardship resulting from the nature and composition of the human as well as the destiny of nature and humanity.

All should share in resource distribution, not only food itself but the opportunity to obtain food "When we speak of a 'just distribution' of the earths' resources, we cannot exclude other species."

The final section is "What Shall We do?" After analyzing common views of the earth, we read guidelines for Christian stewardship: all thirty of them. I want you to get this book, so let me tease you by quoting only one, Number 28. "Our aid to developing nations should work to encourage and enhance the cultural uniqueness of the nation and not to impose Western ideas on it."

There follows a fascinating account of what it can be like in the year 2025 if Christian stewardship prevails.

Delightful extras are a Steward's Hymn, clever cartoons from American Scientist, Audubon, Christianity Today, Grand Rapids Press, and The New Yorker, and also an appendix on what you can do.

Let's applaud the publisher for using recycled paper which looks as good as that of virgin materials. Do get this important volume.

Reviewed by Russell L. Mixter, Professor Emeritus of Zoology, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

BRAINS, MACHINES AND PERSONS, by Donald M. MacKay, London, Collins Publishers, 1980, 114 p.p.

Could an engineer build a computer that has consciousness? if so, would any Christian doctrines regarding the nature of man be invalidated? Is man merely a complex machine? If one can explain and predict an individual's behavior in mechanistic terms, is that individual then responsible for his/her decisions and actions?

Such questions are considered by the author in a way that both Christians and non-Christians should find satisfying in logical rigor. The author, who heads the Department of Communication and Neurosciences at the University of Keele, is a respected investigator in the fields of sensory physiology and communications. Many ASA members are likely familiar with MacKay's previous publications, of a sound apologetic nature, dealing with science and Christian faith.

Much of this book gives the reader an overview regarding the current state of research in brain physiology, computer science, and artificial intelligence. The author indicates how close the brain sciences may be (or not be) to fully explaining human behavior in a mechanistic sense. In addition the author gives a consideration as to just what computers and automata are and do and to whether these devices might have consciousness like a human individual. While these reviews are not as detailed as one would expect in a course textbook, the author provides readers outside these fields with a grasp of essential concepts.

The primary intent of the author is not as much to provide a textbook of the scientific advances in these fields as to consider what these advances may imply about the nature of man-whether man is a mere mechanism, whether he is a responsible agent. A basic contention of the author is that the brain scientists' observations (such as nerve firings or neurotransmitter concentrations) are physical correlates of what we experience as conscious persons (feelings, thoughts, beliefs). The scientists' mechanistic description of brain function and behavior along with our conscious experience provide two views of the same events from different vantage points; the mechanistic level and the conscious level of explanation each has its own proper categories, emphases of meaning and reality. It is possible then to argue that, even if brain science were to develop a complete mechanistic explanation for human behavior, brain science would not have negated the usefulness and reality of what we experience in our consciousness. Christians thus need not feel that it is necessary to postulate the existence of any part of the brain, such as a soul or seat, which can operate without physical correlates. MacKay draws upon an analogy from computer science to argue on the other hand that, though there is no nonphysical part of the mind, one cannot rule out the notion of eternal life.

It is also a contention of the author that, no matter how far science may advance in providing mechanistic and deterministic explanations of human behavior, the reality of an individual's responsibility for his/her actions cannot be ruled out. The argument follows that of logical indeterminacy, which is presented in several earlier works of MacKay. I think, however, that this presentation is written in a way more clear to laymen.

With regards to advances in the field of artificial intelligence the Christian has nothing to fear. The author argues that if a computer with consciousness were developed, no essential biblical doctrine regarding the nature of man would be invalidated. The Scriptures are simply mute on the question of whether man can or cannot engineer other beings with consciousness.

Those who have read other works by MacKay will find many familiar terms and concepts-e.g. levels of viewing, I- and 0- stories, complementarity, logical indeterminacy. While there is an overlap of this work with previous publications by the author, this book should be readable without prior initiation into MacKay's terminology. This book presents a logically based apologetic for refuting those who would contend that brain science and artificial intelligence have debunked man's spiritual nature and moral responsibility. Christians will appreciate MacKay's attention to truth revealed in Scripture. Brains, Machines & Persons is a worthwhile addition to a thinking Christian's library.

Reviewed by David A. Saunders, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Zoology, Howard University, Washington, D.C 20059.

THEOLOGY FOR THE 1980s, by John Carmody, The Westminister Press, Philadelphia, 1980. $9.50 (Paper), 192 pp.

In this book John Carmody, Adjunct Associate Professor of Religion at Wichita State University, attempts a short summary of the major theological trends of the last ten to twenty years. In less than two hundred pages the author does not try to be comprehensive but pragmatically selective. The outline of the book consists of a survey of five relevant categories: nature, society, self, God and Christology. Each of these categories become translated into an expedient issue: ecology, human rights, the life cycle, science and religion, sex and work, faith and secularization, feminism, distinctiveness of the historical Jesus, the resurrection. In each section Carmody concentrates on the ideas and writings of a few authors he judges to be most significant.

The strength of the book is its comprehensive character without being too technical. In a single volume of comparative length I could not expect more. It was most helpful to me in directing me to further readings on particular topics. The book does not intend to be predictive or creative but readable and over-arching. I also appreciated the author's efforts to lift up issues which bring us to the heart of the Gospel.

Any one of us approaching the same task would undoubtedly select other areas for consideration. As a result Carmody does not touch upon biblical criticism, Christian education, pastoral counseling, the mission of the church, family life styles, worship and preaching, sociological trends, American black theology, etc. I understand the author's predicament in this regard, but can we discuss the future without considering issues of scriptural authority, church divisions, and our understanding of what it means to be the church of Jesus Christ? In a very short final chapter, "Theology for the 1980s," Carmody asks us to recognize the important leadership role of black theology and the necessity to rethink the whole economic basis of our culture. I agree completely and therefore missed a solid section on these two crucial areas. On the other hand, Carmody should be commended for his sensitivity to the need to develop a contemporary mysticism, the ecological question, and theological implications revolving around Christology.

I am certain each reader might also have included a different choice of books which aim at giving an overview of a particular area of study. Personally I would have mentioned Modern European Thought: Continuity and Change in Ideas, 1600-1950 by Franklin L. Baumer in the section on history and culture; Soul Friend by Kenneth Leech in the practice of Christian spirituality; and Meaning and Method: Prolegomena to a Scientific Philosophy of Religion and a Scientific Theology by Anders Nygren in the study of science and religion.

The author demonstrated that he was well acquainted with many of the leading Roman Catholic thinkers. I especially appreciated his strong emphasis on a "feminist reflection of God" and those who have made important contributions. Disappointing, however, was the almost total omission of important evangelical theologians. I found it almost inexcusable that when Carmody deals with systematic studies he does not mention Carl F. H. Henry (3 vols.), Donald G. Bloesch (2 vols.), Helmut Thielicke (2 vols.), or G..C. Berkouwer.

In general I think most readers will find this book useful if they are looking for a book that provides a broad perspective that is not too technical or creative. If you are feeling out of touch with contemporary theological trends and studies, this is a good place to start.

Reviewed by Richard J. Coleman, Teaching Minister, Durham Community Church, Durham, New Hampshire, 03824.

PATTERNS IN HISTORY: A CHRISTIAN VIEW, by D.W. Bebbington, InterVaristy Press, 1979, xi+211 pp., $7.25.

"The purpose of this book is to analyze historical thought." (p. ix) Bebbington categorizes such thought into five schools: critical, Christian, progress, historicist and Marxist. He gives a detailed review of each.

The cyclical view sees history as a revolving wheel in one of three variations: restricted to particular dynasties or civilizations, applied to the whole earth or universe, or concentrated on decline from a primitive golden age. No fully articulated cyclical view is popular in the western world although it has been influential.

The Judaeo-Christian view incorporates the notions that God intervenes in history, that history is linear, and that it moves toward a divinely-ordained conclusion. This eschatological dimension leads to hope for the future, and is a very important aspect. However, while providential intervention by God in history is important to this approach, it is difficult to recognize in particular cases.

The progress view that grew out of the Enlightenment reduces providence to simple cause and effect. It is characterized by a belief in continuing improvement through history, and a high view of the future. Unfortunately, while there is obvious material progress, moral progress cannot be discerned.

Historicism is a development of German thought of the last century and a half. The basic notion is that each culture is the product of a group's history. Thus each age is deemed to have its own intrinsic worth and a relativism results. A major difficulty here is that the continuity of human nature is not accounted for.

Marxism is a materialist conception of history. It is not ideas, but rather material conditions that shape history; of particular importance is the way in which men supply their needs. This does not satisfactorily account for great art, ideas and selfless motivation that is often evident in man's endeavours.

After reviewing these five schools, the author considers the dichotomy between the positivism of the progress school, and the idealism of the historicist school, both of which are seen as deviations from the Christian position. The former concentrates on the regularities of history and the latter on autonomy. Underlying this dichotomy is another: determinism and free will, Bebbington suggests that the way to deal with this is to start with the Christian estimate of human beings: a seemingly insignificant part of creation yet at the same time unique as created in the image of God. The book ends with a call to Christian historians to illuminate the ways of God in history and bring the message of hope and mankind.

This book has three principal values. First, the analysis of the five schools of thought, their principal advocates, and their weaknesses is a readable summary of a great deal of material. Second, the discussion of the tension between idealism and positivism, and the proposal for recognizing the merits of both is a helpful synthesis. Third, the work can serve as a model for other Christians who seek to apply similar analyses in their own fields. Bebbington says: "As a general rule, the more cogent the argument, the greater the historian." This book is a cogent argument for a Christian view of history.

Reviewed by David T. Barnard, Assistant Professor, Department of Computing and Information Science, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

PORNOGRAPHY: A CHRISTIAN CRITIQUE, by John H. Court, InterVarsity Press (1980), 96 pp., $2.95.

Nowhere today do Christianity and culture clash more than in the area of the social sciences. Thus we applaud psychologist Court's useful introduction to the widespread problem of pornography.

In an opening chapter, Court outlines eight serious arguments which defend pornography. They range from the scientific-medical to the philosophical to the political. Succeeding chapters critique each argument, pointing out weaknesses and inconsistencies, often utilizing results from the latest research in the field.

Given this format, the book could easily have degenerated into an exercise in propaganda. It does not. Court is not interested in knocking over straw men. Thus he allows that soft-core pornography may be useful in treating certain psycho-sexual problems. He is also aware that one's civil liberties ought not be casually abridged in a pluralistic society. Moreover, he consistently refuses to mistake the erotic for the pornographic-which would condemn much

SCRIPTURE TWISTING: 20 WAYS THE CULTS MISREAD THE BIBLE, by James W. Sire. InterVarsity Press. 1980. 180 pp. $4.95

Do you know people who squeeze strange meanings out of ordinary passages of Scripture? Who think the Bible validates cults as readily as orthodoxy? Who are being pulled by persuasive text-spouters? Here at last is a book to help counter much nonsense proclaimed as biblical truth. It is a book that 1, as both pastor and professor, have been hoping for for a long time.

As in Sire's other books (such as The Universe Next Door), the text is eminently readable, with clear and brief subsections. His points are aptly illustrated by specific references to doctrines of sects and cults popular today, including the Unification Church (Moonies), Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, TM, Christian Science, and more.

Sire begins with precise definitions of key terms and a statement of the purpose and limits of the book. While the book explains 20 "Misreadings" of Scripture, it is really an exercise in logic-a refreshing thing to see in an evangelical paperback-that instructs the reader in how to read literature in a way that respects the text and the world-view in which it was written.

Beginning with obvious errors, such as inaccurate quotation and ignoring context, Sire moves on to more subtle and thus more dangerous twistings, such as the figurative fallacy, ignoring alternative explanations, and virtue by association. Perhaps the most useful section for us who teach at a collegiate level, is the last section, world-view confusion, where it becomes apparent that many cults are simply trying to squash the Bible into a non-biblical metaphysics.

The most challenging section for orthodox readers, however, lies in Sire's demand that we, too, come to Scripture with a truly open mind, laying our concepts of Jesus and Scripture on the altar of the W9rd, so that we, too, may grow in the light that may yet spring forth from God's Word.

The book ends with a useful appendix in which each of the twenty misreadings are summarized. The book is well documented, and includes both a general index and a Scripture index.

I wish every thinking seeker after truth would take this book to heart.

Reviewed by James Walter Gustafson, Professor of Philosophy, Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill, Massachusetts

LIVING WITH UNFULFILLED DESIRES, by Walter Trobisch, Inter Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1979; 130 pp, $3.50.

The Trobisches, Walter and Ingrid, answer eighteen letters from questioning, hurting, and confused teenagers growing up in a world that is moving too fast. Finding the resources available to them were not offering clear guidance, they turn to "Dear Mr. Trobisch. " His advice is biblically sound and compassionate, treating the letter writers as though they were his own children (they had five), and members of his church (he was a pastor).

Conjure up a teenage problem and Walter most likely has touched on it in this thin volume. The most frequent are daydreaming, petting, sex, masturbation, boy friends, girl friends, and lack of love from parents. He guides his correspondents into growing experiences, ultimately learning how to live a fulfilled life in spite of many unfulfilled desires.

Walter observes in the introduction, in the epilogue, and many times in between that the families and parents do not offer these teenagers the security, love and guidance they need during their transition years to adulthood. Several of the eighteen writers find strength and support in Christian faith and fellowship; still there are questions that need answering. They can't be turned loose at 16.

A few quotations may communicate Walter's gentle but firm style and encourage you to read the book. "What you should try out before marriage is whether you fit together in your hearts, inwardly, and this takes a lot of time-more than four and a half months." "I would like to warn you and urge you not to take the pill. At your age, it can certainly cause great damage." "You have also learned that too much kissing can make you numb.-A kiss is like money. It loses value if there's too much of it around." "This is why the longing (for a boy friend)-this good and precious longing-has to remain a longing at least for the time being. You have to learn to live with unfulfilled desires. This is the difficult art of your time of life."

Campus Life magazine calls this book one of the best 4 or 5 of the year. I agree and endorse it for teenagers and their parents.

Reviewed by Robert Carlstrom, (father of four) Columbia, Maryland.