- Paperback: 356 pages
- Publisher: Baker Academic (March 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801022320
- ISBN-13: 978-0801022326
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #735,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Still Sovereign: Contemporary Perspectives on Election, Foreknowledge, and Grace
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About the Author
Thomas R. Schreiner is professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of Romans in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Bruce A. Ware is associate dean of the school of theology and director of professional studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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This one volume, 2000 edition is a series of fourteen chapters taken from the original 1995 two volume edition and was written by thirteen authors (Thomas R. Schreiner is the author of two of the essays). In the Preface, the editors apologize for having to omit certain chapters because of space limitations in the one volume edition but assure the reader "that these essays continue to contribute much needed argumentation for a view of God that displays his majesty, glory, and sovereignty most fully and most faithfully."
The authors seek to demonstrate from Scripture the solid Biblical basis for Calvinism and the Reformed teachings on sovereignty, election, foreknowledge, and perseverance. They examine the Calvinist position and compare it to the Arminian position and show how the Calvinist position is better supported by Scripture.
The essays are divided into three classifications: Biblical Analyses, Theological Issues, and Pastoral Reflections. The section on Biblical Analyses includes seven of the fourteen essays and focuses on what the Bible reveals on the questions of God's sovereignty, election, the will of God, foreknowledge, and perseverance of the saints. Biblical Analyses seeks to show support from both the Old and New Testaments for the doctrines of Calvinism. It covers topics such as God's sovereignty in the Old Testament, divine election in the Gospel of John as well as the Pauline epistles, perseverance, foreknowledge, and the problem areas in Romans 9-11 and Hebrews 6: 4-6. Theological Issues has four chapters and covers effectual calling and grace, prevenient grace, assurance, and God's love as universal and particular.
The book concludes with the Pastoral Reflections section which has three chapters and seeks to address the impact of Calvinism on ones ministering to a congregation. It is divided into three parts which include the impact of sovereignty in everyday life, the place of prayer and evangelism, and the preaching ministry in a Calvinist environment. The authors of this section seek to show that Calvinism should promote a greater enthusiasm in all of these areas, not less. Although the book does not have a bibliography, it has a large number of quotations, footnotes and Bible references. The emphasis is on the Bible's position on the subject being examined. The book has three indexes at the end, one each on persons, subjects and Scriptures.
This book promotes the concept that God is completely sovereign in all things and works all things after the counsel of His own will. It further represents mankind as totally unwilling and unable to come to God, left to its own devices; with the only hope for redemption being God's unilateral effort to redeem a number specified by God alone for salvation. God then effectually calls those individuals who are enabled to believe in Jesus Christ as their savior and given full assurance that their place in His family is unalterably secured for all eternity.
Scripture is used extensively to show a consistent Biblical basis for each position. The book is divided into a series of 14 essays that address areas of inquiry starting with the Old Testament basis for the assertion of God's sovereignty. It is interesting to note that six of the thirteen contributors got their PhD's from European universities, with two PhD's from secular universities in the United States and one PhD candidate from another secular university in the United States. Despite what might be seen as a heavily biased background in liberal academia, the writers are all solidly orthodox and conservative in their Calvinist/Reformed theology.
The writers give a considerable amount of space to the Arminian view; on the subject of God's foreknowledge, S. M. Baugh in chapter 7 quotes Clark H. Pinnock's assertion in his book Grace of God "Decisions not yet made do not exist anywhere to be known even by God." Baugh concludes that the glory of man's free will is more important to Pinnock than God's omniscience. There is, it seems to me, a certain perversity to man's ongoing effort to maximize man and minimize God.
This book should be a delight and a joy for all those who have made peace with, and rejoice in the sovereignty of God. Page after page is filled with words and thoughts that honor and glorify God. Who would have thought a book on Calvinism could be such a page turner; I found myself looking forward to getting back to the book each time I was able to resume reading it. Each essay seemed to address significant topics which had been objects of personal reflection and meditation on earlier occasions in my life. Fred G. Zaspel in his review of this book said: "One of the few good things that has come from the rise of "openness theology" is the new wave of its critics who have rallied in outspoken defense of historic, biblical truth. This is one of those books." He goes on to say "My favorite are in the exegetical section of the book, but all the essays are consistently good and helpful and to the point."
Having never even seen the two volume edition, I have no idea what has been omitted from the present volume; it seems to me the major points have been covered. For me the greatest joy was in reading the Biblical Analyses essays, the same as Zaspel's exegetical section; I found the writers words honoring and glorifying the Lord to be very gratifying. This was on the level of a devotional which left my spirits high and left me rejoicing in the God of my salvation. I can appreciate how one who has not made the transition from Arminian free will might have real problems with this book; it is also possible that the Arminian reader might find the Biblical proof needed to turn and recognize God's sovereignty in all of the affairs of men.
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