Science in Christian Perspective
Book Reviews for September 1978
EDUCATION FOR THE REAL WORLD by Henry N. Morris, San Diego, California: Creation-Life Publishers, 1977, 192 pp., $3.95.
Imagine a school where Chaucer and Shakespeare are prohibited because they are "spiritually dangerous." Within this setting, picture a science class where students are programmed to believe that evolution is occult. And visualize a majority of the teachers substituting handouts for texts because there are no "suitable" textbooks available. This is what Henry Morris describes as an "education for the real world."
Morris says that because Christian education is based on God the Creator, Redeemer, and Revealer, students must he exposed only to that which espouses this world view. Learning should occur primarily at home, though the Church and the school are ordained to reinforce and extend parental teaching. Furthermore, Morris believes that learning occurs only through listening. "Teaching is not the discovery of troth, nor sharing the truth; it is indoctrinating the truth."
After declaring that evolutionism and creationism are the only existing world views, Morris traces evolutionism hack through humanism to pre-Socratic idolatry to Babel and ultimately to Satan. This leaves Christians with one valid world view: creationism-that is, if believers can accept Morris' historical "analysis." A Christian education, then, indoctrinates the creationist schema.
Morris allows the use of empirical data from Christian or non-Christian sources in studies of natural science, but rejects most of the available material in the social sciences and humanities because he believes that a large percentage of this is anti-Christian. That which
opposes Morris' world view should be taught only if it commands monumental secular attention, and then only to advanced students who "need to be armed against them, not merely conditioned to understand them."
The administration of Christian education closely follows the aforementioned criteria, In descending order of importance, Morris maintains that Christian schools should require studies in Bible, communication, history, natural science, geography, and government; beyond these, other humanities, professional, and vocational courses can be offered if time, need, and resources permit. Teachers are to he selected on the basis of moral purity, academic dedication, biblical maturity, and experience and wisdom. Indoctrination should be accomplished primarily through lectures, though there may be some class participation and directed studies.
Only insofar as Morris calls for a re-evaluation of Christian education is his book valuable. Unfortunately its flaws outweigh this merit. Morris pays lip service to sound exegesis; in this book, that which is sound is that which agrees with Morris. Secondly, the idea of indoctrination usurps the Christian experience of discovery and individuality. It seems that Morris wants to manufacture fundamentalists en messy. A third major flaw is Morris' narrow concept of curriculum: graduates of the Morris school will not he equipped to deal effectively with the variety within secular society. These students may he prepared for the real world, but they will flounder in the temporal one.
Reviewed by John P. Ferré, Department of Communication, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
THE RELEVANCE OF NATURAL SCIENCE
TO THEOLOGY by William H. Austin, New York: Barnes and Noble, 1976,
132 pp., $22.50.
The author of this book is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Houston. This book was researched and written during a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1972-1973.
The question is posited: "In what ways (if any) is it in order for theologians, in doing their theological work, to take account of the discoveries and theories of natural science?" Many people believe that science is irrelevant to theology because the two disciplines deal with entirely different areas or realms so that science has nothing to do with religion. Austin's thesis is that natural science is relevant to theological doctrines, i.e., religion and science are not mutually exclusive. He is not concerned with the relevance of theology to science or with the social and behavioral sciences.
Several arguments for the irrelevance of natural science to theology are examined and found inadequate. Not all possible arguments are included in Austin's discussion but fair representations of the main types are refuted.
Science is relevant to theology although it is not entirely clear how. Austin concurs with Whitehead that science can contribute to theology by helping it eliminate non-scientific conceptions. There is the temptation to get rid of scientific intrusions by undertaking a systematic reinterpretation of theology so as to guarantee that science is irrelevant to theology. This is happening with the doctrine of providence, writes Austin. It is the major theological doctrine likeliest to be immediately affected by natural science.
This book does not take a Reader's Digest approach to the topic. On Rudolf Flesch's readability scale, it would rank low because of long sentences, difficult words and few personal references. This treatment is for scholars who are interested in an enlightened discussion of the issues involved in how natural science relates to theology.
This book is evidently intended for a small audience because of its topic. Its price tag will assure a limited circulation.
Reviewed by Richard Ruble, Department of Psychology, John
Brawn University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas 72761.
THE ART OF MANAGEMENT FOR CHRISTIAN
LEADERS by Ted W. Engstrom and Edward R. Day
ton, Word Books, Waco, Texas, 1976, 281 pp. $6.95.
Although this hook was designed as a guide for managers within Christian organizations, the authors acknowledge that many secular groups practice the suggested managing techniques. Every interested member of any organization will find something in this book which could make him or her into a better employee.
While this book is primarily intended for the manager, the individual aspiring to a position of greater supervisory responsibility will find this volume a valuable guide for developing the proper attitudes, skills, and habits required of a good administrator. Even secretaries will find suggestions which would help his or her supervisor be a better administrator in their organization.
The serious reader should be able 10 translate the majority of the ideas of this book into practice. To aid in further development and understanding of complex ideas, the authors have included a short bibliography on the last page of many chapters. These suggested readings, categorized by chapter theme and also accompanied with short annotated remarks, make the hook a valuable tool for further directed study. This bibliography merits the price of the book.
"Coal Setting" and "Managing Your Time" are two major sub-themes in the book. Both authors are experts in these fields and effectively show how these tools can be effective aids for the successful administrator.
This book illustrates that the authors are experienced and knowledgeable supervisors. However the honk does not read easily. The beginning of the book is rather abrupt. Chapter three with a few minor changes could function as chapter one and provide a more gentle entrance into the subsequent ideas. In places awkward sentence structure and superfluous words detract from the flow of information.
This is a needed book and should be a reference for every Christian leader. It is directed to the area of the Christian community which can utilize every concept found between its covers. The authors are to be commended for this effort.
Reviewed by Leon W. Kemper, Coordinator of Administrative Services, College of Liberal Arts, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.