Vol.VIII No.IX Pg.5
November 1971

Should You Read It?

Robert F. Turner

The book, LIFE IN THE SON, by Robert Shank, contains an Introduction by William W. Adams that is every bit as challenging as the book itself. We quote excerpts from this Baptist scholar by permission.


We are deeply indebted to those people who, rooted firmly in tradition, are orthodox and regular. They are a necessary bulwark against fanatical revels and reformers whose convictions are weak and unstable, whose interests are in what is new more than in what is true, and whose influence is negative and destructive. If left to themselves, such people would wreck our Christian faith and destroy civilization in one generation. Fortunately they are never left to them- selves. Alert and intelligent watchmen, securely rooted in the historic faith, are ever ready to analyze and to challenge every departure from traditional theology, belief, and custom. We are deeply indebted to such people, for they are our defense against the erosions of idle speculations and empty vagaries.

But we are equally indebted to responsible thinkers who dare to challenge tradition. They are the pioneers who explore new areas of truth, clarify concepts, enlarge vision, and enrich our store of knowledge by breaking the paralyzing grip of blind, uncritical enslavement to tradition. But for such men, no progress would be made toward a fuller comprehension of the truth.

There are certain people who should not read Life in the Son: People who have already decided what they intend to believe and who read only for confirmation of their present opinion.... The book is not written for people with spring-trap minds that have already sprung.

People who prefer to determine their doctrine from a few proof texts and ignore or wrest other passages bearing on a given theme...

People who read the Bible with the conviction that they must be dogmatic and final on all matters of doctrine, leaving no place for humility and deferred judgement ...

People who read only to augment their comfort and tranquility.... The book is profoundly disturbing and will not serve the purpose of those who intend to remain at ease in Zion

Pastors who never read except to gather material for next Sundays sermon.... It would require months, even years, to prepare the average Baptist audience to face the fresh Biblical exegesis this book contains.


Mr. Shank, unless human nature has recently and radically changed, there are some who will do their utmost to give your book the silent treatment.... They will consider that their first obligation is to their personal academic reputation and professional interests. With great scholarly dignity, they will carefully ignore your book.


Surely none of us would be like those awful Baptist—— would we???