Book Review -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 07:2 (Apr 2001)
Article: Book Review
Author: Anonymous


Book Review

What the Bible Says About …TM Suffering, by J. Richard Fugate (Tempe, AZ: Foundation for Biblical Research, 1999). 221 pages. Paperback, $12.00. Reviewed by Dr. John C. Beck, Jr., Professor of Theology at Chafer Theological Seminary.

One of the common experiences of humanity is suffering. This leads to a basic question: “Why suffering?” (pg. 1). J. Richard Fugate bases his discussion upon what the Bible says. He proffers a systematic theology on suffering to replace psychological programs found in modern counseling.

The book is not designed “to take away the pain of suffering” but “to prepare its readers to understand and conquer suffering” (pg. 2). He acknowledges that many fine books assist in removing the pain of suffering. He illustrates his approach by telling of an individual stranded on an island who finds a mini-submarine, but discovers only one manual filled with stories of the joy of people finding the mini-submarine, and the exciting prospect of reaching home safely. However, he needs a manual directing him to the on-switch for the submarine and teaching how to read maps and to navigate home safely. That second manual is the book that J. Richard Fugate brings to the reader. His focus is upon biblical concepts, as the title indicates, What the Bible Says about…. He illustrates these principles through the personal sufferings of his family and of public figures. This book is not an academic exercise, because it has the perspective of one who has experienced that about which he writes.

Following the plan to present a systematic theology of suffering Fugate divides the subject into three parts: 1) “Suffering is Common to Man” (pg. 7); 2) “Are Christians Different?” (pg. 63); and 3) “Suffering the Christian’s Badge” (pg. 129). The first section addresses both the Christian and non-Christian. It includes a well thought out explanation to the question: Why does mankind suffer (pg. 9)? His analysis is biblical, theologically sound, and logical:

  1. God created a perfect environment for mankind to possess and enjoy (pg. 9).
  2. God set up a test for man in the Garden either to accept God’s right to rule over him or instead to choose to assert his own, independent, self-rule (pg. 11).
  3. Dead, dying, and damned. This is man’s condition after Adam’s willful transgression (pg. 13).

The author further explains such concepts as: “How mankind suffers” (pg. 19); “Why does God allow suffering?” (pg. 33); “How man faces suffering” (pg. 45); and concludes this section with a helpful and frank discussion of the “Fear of Death and Dying” (pg. 53). This section gi...

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