Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JODT 15:46 (December 2011) p. 81
The Judgment Seat of Christ by Samuel L. Hoyt. Milwaukee: Grace Gospel Press, 2011. 226 pp., paper, $15.00.
Dr. Hoyt has provided an excellent, comprehensive understanding of the judgment seat of Christ. He stated that the purpose of this study is “to carefully establish the limits of this judgment in regard to its nature and results” (p. 179). The thesis is “that the judgment seat of Christ is a most solemn evaluation at which there will be no judicial punishment for the believer’s sins, whether confessed or unconfessed, but rather commendation according to the faithfulness of the Christian’s life” (p. 15).
Hoyt rejected the prominent view of only one general judgment (pp. 17-22) espousing the understanding of most premillennialists that there are five major eschatological judgments (pp. 22-23). The judgment seat of Christ is specific to the church age believer and occurs between the rapture and the second coming of Christ (pp. 47-54). In describing the judgment seat of Christ, the author provided individual chapters on the setting, nature, purpose, standards (or criteria) of judgment, and extent. Chapters ten and eleven are dedicated to the rewards received by Christians at the judgment and Hoyt addressed the difficult issues concerning the meaning of loss and shame that will be experienced by some at this event (ch. 9). In each of these discussions, Hoyt did an excellent work of biblical exegesis.
The favorite chapter is the third, which deals with the etymological and cultural background of the “bēma” seat. Herein, Hoyt provided important information concerning the use of the Greek word “bēma” during New Testament times, and its distinction from kritērion, which can also be translated “judgment seat.” Hoyt clearly demonstrated that while the words can be used interchangeably to a degree, “bēma generally denotes a place of prominence, while kritērion specifically refers to a place of prosecution” (p. 45). Therefore, bema was used most often for the reward seat at athletic events while kritērion was used exclusively for the court of justice. Historically, Hoyt provided the background of the four great Pan-Hellenic games (Olympic, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean), paralleling these contests with Paul’s writing concerning the Christian athlete and his rewards. The research here is a most interesting and helpful section, which provides much clarification on the New Testament metaphors and teachings. In particular, at the judgment (bēma) seat of the Grecian games the contestants did not face judicial punishment but
JODT 15:46 (December 2011) p. 82
received rewards according to their success in t...
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