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Four Views on the Role of Works at the Final Judgment (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) Paperback – July 13, 2013
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About the Author
Robert Wilkin (Ph.D., Dallas Theological Seminary) was born and raised in Southern California. After graduating from college he joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, serving two years each at Arkansas State University and North Carolina State University. During his seminary studies Bob served in a variety of ministries including a year each in college and high school ministry, a year as a hospital chaplain, and three years as a pastor. After receiving his doctorate, Bob taught at Woodcrest College in Lindale, Texas and then at Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon.
Feeling that there was a great need for an educational and networking organization for Christians who believe in the freeness of the Gospel, Bob started Grace Evangelical Society in June of 1986. In July of 1987 he left his teaching position to devote full time to heading up this ministry. Since its inception, readership of the bimonthly newsletter, Grace In Focus, has grown from 30 to over 9,500 in 54 countries.
Dr. Wilkin has written three books, Confident in Christ, The Road to Reward, and Secure and Sure, as well as two booklets, and hundreds of newsletter and journal articles. Bob and his wife Sharon live in Lewisville, Texas.
Thomas R. Schreiner (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament and associate dean of Scripture and interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. The author of numerous books, he is the preaching pastor of Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
James Dunn (Ph.D., Cambridge) was for many years the Lightfoot Professor of Divinity in the Department of Theology at the University of Durham. Since his retirement he has been made Emeritus Lightfoot Professor. He is a leading British New Testament scholar, broadly in the Protestant tradition. Dunn is especially associated with the New Perspective on Paul, a phrase which he is credited with coining during his 1982 Manson Memorial Lecture.
His books include Did the First Christians Worship Jesus? (2010), The New Perspective On Paul (2007), A New Perspective On Jesus: What The Quest For The Historical Jesus Missed (2005),The Theology of Paul the Apostle (1998), The Acts of the Apostles (1996), and The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon (1996). In 2005, a festschrift dedicated to Dunn was published, entitled The Holy Spirit and Christian origins: essays in honor of James D. G. Dunn, comprising articles by 27 New Testament scholars, examining early Christian communities and their beliefs about the Holy Spirit.
Michael Barber (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) is Professor of Theology, Scripture and Catholic Thought at John Paul the Great Catholic University in San Diego, California. His dissertation was on the Historical Jesus and Sacramental Eschatology under the world famous scholar, Colin Brown. He has an MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and received his BA in Theology and Philosophy from Azusa Pacific University. He is the author of several books, including, Coming Soon: Unlocking the Book of Revelation and Applying Its Lessons Today (Emmaus Road, 2006) and most recently, Genesis to Jesus: Studying Scripture from the Heart of the Church (Servant, 2007), a Bible study co-authored with Kimberly Hahn. He is a Research Fellow for the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, founded by Dr. Scott Hahn. His weekly podcast of 'The Sacred Page with Michael Barber' is carried on many Catholic radio stations. He lives in San Diego with his wife Kim and two young boys, Michael Patrick (Jr.) and Matthew Stephen.
Alan P. Stanley is Lecturer in Biblical Studies at Brisbane School of Theology, Brisbane Australia, since 2003. He has published two books on this and associated topics: Did Jesus Teach Salvation by Works?; Salvation is More Complicated Than You Think: Studies in the Teachings of Jesus.
Stanley N. Gundry is executive vice president and editor-in-chief for the Zondervan Corporation. He has been an influential figure in the Evangelical Theological Society, serving as president of ETS and on its executive committee, and is adjunct professor of Historical Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He is the author of seven books and has written many articles appearing in popular and academic periodicals.
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Top Customer Reviews
Wilkin’s position is a nonsensical mishmash of begging the question and selection of evidence. He puts himself most clearly here: “Many would agree that there is a necessary connection between believing in Jesus and obeying his commandments. I would not.” He can therefore safely be dismissed on the evidence of scripture. Schreiner elucidates (mainly from Paul, but also other texts) the interpretation that I am most inclined toward – that “works are necessary for justification, but they are not the basis of justification or salvation since God requires perfection and all human beings sin. Hence, works constitute the necessary evidence of fruit of one’s new life in Christ.” Dunn’s arguments are interesting, but essentially he pushes a non-integrated view of faith and works: “Can we actually reconcile ‘justification by faith and not by works’ with ‘justification according to works’? … Assuredly we can maintain that any good that the believer does derives entirely from God’s grace. … But can we also deny that for Paul, believers do and will bear responsibility before God for their doings? Is it so serious that we cannot fit the two neatly into a single coherent proposition?” He argues well, but I do not see the force of his objections that Schreiner’s position weakens the text by not giving more emphasis to the warnings. Barber, a Protestant-trained Catholic (!) argues for the modern Catholic view from Eph. 3:20 and Matt 19 (among other similar verses) that the grace of God in the union of Christ to the believer is powerful enough to make our works meritorious: “The works that the believer performs in union with Christ are therefore capable of doing far more than all we ask or think – they even have salvific value!” His arguments are creative, but textually unconvincing. Of special note, unfortunately, is the general editor Alan Stanley, whose closing essay, in contrast with those by Pate in 4V: Revelation or by Grudem in 4V: Miraculous Gifts, is boring and unhelpful. Overall, an interesting and useful volume.
First, he uses Rm 2:28-29 for this conclusion: good works are "necessary for final salvation" (p. 81).
Next, he makes a list of verses (p. 82): "2 Cor 11:15; Eph 2:10; 2 Tim 2:21, 4:14; Titus 1:16; 3:8, 14" concluding from that list "the necessity of obedience for salvation."
Next, using Galatians 5:19-21 and 6:8: from 6:8 he concludes "those who sow to the flesh will not experience final salvation" (p. 82) and from 5:19-21 he concludes ""those who pursue evil will not enter the kingdom" (p. 83).
Next, he calls (p. 85) 1 Cor 6:9-11 a "listing of sins that exclude from the kingdom."
Next (p 86), he does what all salvation by works systems must do, set up a looser entrance standard, for the good works and sins, than perfection of good, and a looser standard for sins than merely their existence. Something the above verses had not provided him! The first, he calls "pursuing what is good," and the second, he calls "dominated by evil."
A possible analysis of this is 1) for Schreiner, pursuing what is good, and not being dominated by evil, are necessary and required to be granted entrance to God's kingdom, to be granted "final salvation." This is what we can call the "pretty good" standard. I.e., salvation by works. It is not what the verses he tries to marshall support for it, say! The verses that he uses to speak of judgment do not speak of grading on a curve! 2) Grace, and Christ's saving work, because they are described as not the only thing necessary, are left to becoming contributors and means to do what Schreiner thinks you really need to do to get in at all. It's not the righteousness of Christ and what He did for us. That's there but not enough. It's not what He did on the cross and subsequently on the third day! That's there but not enough. It's not reliance on Him, faith. That's there but not enough. What puts you in is work done by you, with all else besides your good works being insufficient.