Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
CTSJ 5:1 (January 1999) p. 71
Forgiveness: The Power and the Puzzles, by Wendell E. Miller (Warsaw, Indiana: Clear Brook Publishers, P.O. Box 1534, 46581–1534, 1–800-929–5977), 1994. 262 pages. Reviewed by Paul R. Schmidtbleicher, advisory board of Chafer Theological Seminary and pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church of Seattle, Washington.
One of the primary blessings of salvation is the forgiveness of sins received in Christ. Based on this forgiveness we are commanded as Christians to forgive others. Sooner or later we will probably offend another person and desire that person to forgive us. Forgiveness is a broad term. In his book, Wendell Miller seeks to unlock “the power and the puzzles” of forgiveness.
In a very systematic fashion Miller writes thirteen chapters with an epilogue and three appendices of precise definitions, a delineation of false concepts, and practical applications. The presentation is clear, logical, and challenging. In wonderful detail, the author carefully explains biblical passages in which seeming contradiction has puzzled many for years. The conclusions reached are both biblical and practical. Once understood and unraveled the biblical concept of forgiveness can be broadly applied to believer’s lives allowing them to be continually reconciled to God as well as to one another.
Miller derives six kinds of forgiveness from his study of the Scriptures. Two occur at the point of salvation, while the other four are to be understood and applied during our Christian Walk. At the point of salvation, our initial forgiveness encompasses a judicial standing, whereby God forgives and removes all penalty for sin. Also included is fellowship, whereby the sinner is no longer alienated from God, but brought into His fellowship at the point of salvation. From this privileged position of having eternal forgiveness and initial
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fellowship with the Lord, the newborn believer begins the Christian life.
In dealing with the forgiveness of sins committed after salvation, Miller logically couples together puzzling passages that are both unconditional (1 John 2:1) and conditional (1 John 1:9). He sees God’s gracious ongoing forgiveness of the believer, for whom Christ has paid the penalty for all sins, as “Repetitive Judicial Forgiveness.” All eternal penalties for sins committed after salvation are judicially forgiven based upon the Cross and pursued by the Advocacy of Jesus Christ for us; however, to be restored to active fellowship with God, the believer must seek “Repetitive Fellowship Forgiveness.” In other words, our fellowship forgiveness is conditioned...
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