Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 01:1 (Autumn 1988)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“A Critique of Zane Hodges’ The Gospel Under Siege: A Review Article,” William G. Bjork, The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, December 1987, pp. 457–67.

Since its release in 1981, Zane C. Hodges’ The Gospel Under Siege has commanded considerable attention in the realm of soteriological study. Some within the evangelical community have responded favorably to the author’s thesis. Such would argue that the book is marked by exegetical clarity, theological consistency, and the capacity to instill comfort to those who are troubled over personal assurance of salvation. At the same time, others within evangelical circles have not responded favorably to this book. Such would charge that questionable exegesis and false notions of grace undergird the flow of Hodges’ thought.

In coming to the above conclusion, those who take issue with the book lean heavily upon theological and exegetical tradition as tried and true mechanisms of argumentation. William G. Bjork’s critique of The Gospel Under Siege is a clear case in point where theological-exegetical tradition is pitted against various tenets of Hodges’ thesis in an effort to uphold the status quo of Reformed salvation doctrine.

At the outset, the most distinguishing feature of Bjork’s review is his extensive citation of the exegetical conclusions of a number of leading evangelical commentators. This approach to interpretive validation displays both positive and negative effects in Bjork’s article. From a positive standpoint this approach provides a Reformed consensus of opinion regarding the interpretation of difficult NT texts. From a negative standpoint this approach reflects a superficial and less than judicious study of the Scriptures themselves. In his attempt to advance an argument against The Gospel Under Siege, Bjork juxtaposes the ideas of other writers without genuinely interacting with and confronting the views of Hodges himself. It would have been refreshing to see Bjork grapple with the texts under discussion and draw his own exegetical conclusions after having taken contextual congruence, biblical theology, grammatical style, lexical study, and grammar all into consideration.

Not only is the methodology of Bjork’s review found wanting, but his argumentation is often inconsistent and based upon highly questionable premises. A few examples of this bear mention.

In discussing salvation in James 1, Bjork suggests that “James patterned his statement in v 21 about the saving power of the Word after the Jewish te...

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