Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 02:1 (Spring 1989)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“A Review of The Gospel According to Jesus,” Darrell L. Bock, Bibliotheca Sacra, January-March 1989, pp. 21–40.

(Editor’s Note: The writer of the following review, Zane C. Hodges, served on the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary for twenty-seven years in the department of New Testament Literature and Exegesis. His commitment to students and to the theological position of the school is well known by those who had the privilege of sitting under his teaching, including your Editor.)

Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder of Dallas Theological Seminary and its first president and professor of systematic theology, was known for his commitment to the clear teaching of the grace of God in salvation. He was opposed to anything that might today be called “Lordship salvation.” Now, however, in a Bibliotheca Sacra review of a recent volume promoting this doctrine, a Dallas Seminary professor has himself taken a “Lordship” position.

In the January-March issue of Bibliotheca Sacra, Dr. Darrell L. Bock, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies, reviewed The Gospel According to Jesus (Zondervan, 1988), by Dr. John F. MacArthur, Jr. Bock’s review is basically irenic in tone, and this writer is pleased that Bock has spoken graciously of him by saying, for example, “This reviewer sat under Hodges’ teaching … and can testify … that Hodges strongly emphasized the importance of holiness … .” (p. 36). Also, Bock’s desire for some kind of accommodation between the two sides in the debate over the Gospel (pp. 37–40) is undoubtedly sincere, even if it is unrealistic.

One would be hard-pressed, however, to pick up from Bock’s review the real nature of MacArthur’s book. In reality, MacArthur’s volume is a vigorous attack on the doctrine of salvation as it has been historically taught at Dallas Seminary. MacArthur explicitly disagrees with the teachings of Dr. Chafer, as well as those of Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, long a professor of theology at Dallas and a well-known exponent of a completely free salvation.

For example, MacArthur collides directly with the historic view of the Seminary when he writes:

The centrality of Jesus’ lordship to the gospel message is clear from the way Scripture presents the terms of salvation. Those who dichotomize between believing on Christ as Savior and yielding to Him as Lord have a difficult time with many biblical invitations to faith …. [p. 207].

Contrast with this Chafer’s own words:

As all this is true, it follows that to impose a need to surrender the life to God as an added condition of salv...

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