Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 138:551 (Jul 1981)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Gospel and Law: Contrast or Continuum? By Daniel P. Fuller. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1980. xiii + 217 pp. Paper, $10.95.

The subtitle of this book is descriptive of its contents: “The Hermeneutics of Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology.” The book is actually an updating and revision of Professor Fuller’s doctoral dissertation (1957) on the hermeneutics of dispensationalism. However, a number of chapters are really only a restatement of the dissertation. The reason for the revision was a new position Fuller arrived at in 1972. He then concluded that Romans 9:31–32 teaches that in the Mosaic law, just as in the New Testament, it was the obedience of faith that merited blessing from God. This being so, concludes Fuller, there can “no longer be any antithesis in biblical theology between law and gospel” (p. xi).

What is of real surprise in Fuller’s new position is the fact that, covenant theology as well as dispensationalism is also rejected. Both, he believes, make a fatal Law/grace distinction. Fuller contends that the Apostle “Paul would be as angry with modern dispensationalism (and also covenant theology) as he was with the Galatian churches who were at fault for wanting to add works to their faith” (p. 116). In short, according to Fuller, not only have Chafer, Walvoord, and Ryrie fallen from grace, but so have Luther, Calvin, and Hodge as well!

It does not seem to bother Fuller that scarcely anyone agrees with his often-strained exegesis of crucial biblical texts. For instance, the term “law” in Romans 10:4 and Galatians 3:18–19 turns out to mean “legalistic misunderstanding of the law” (p. 87). The exegetical strain is particularly heavy in the latter passage since Paul designates the “law” as that which was added through Moses some 430 years after the Abrahamic covenant was established (Gal 3:17). Such serious problems

notwithstanding, Fuller is bent on dissolving the distinctions between Law and grace and reinterpreting all apparent contrasts between them as works of Law versus works of faith (p. 110). This of course necessitates making the Abrahamic covenant a conditional covenant. In fact, Fuller believes that all biblical covenants are conditional, except the Davidic and Noahic covenants. (Apparently Fuller could not see how the appearance of a rainbow could be conditioned on human obedience!) If all covenants are conditioned on human obedience, there seems to be no reason why Fuller should not become an Arminian. I...

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