Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 03:2 (Autumn 1990)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

The Master’s Seminary Journal. Vol. 1. No. 1. Spring 1990. 104 pp. Semi-annual. $10 per year.

“The Sin Unto Death,” Irvin A. Busenitz, The Master’s Seminary Journal, Spring 1990, pp. 17–31.

I was interested to discover a new journal published by The Master’s Seminary, a school pioneered by Dr. John MacArthur. I was hoping that it would be devoted largely to Gospel issues-albeit from the Lordship Salvation perspective. (I find such reading stimulating!) Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The Master’s Seminary Journal is designed to present “scholarly articles dealing with the biblical text, Christian theology, and pastoral concerns” (p. 1). If the articles in the first issue are any guide, there will not be a preponderance of articles dealing with Gospel issues.

Four articles in this inaugural issue deal with inerrancy and expository preaching, the sin unto death (1 John 5:16), 1 Cor 3:12 (gold, silver, and precious stones), and Bible translations. It also contains thirteen book reviews.

The article on the sin unto death was of special interest to me. Would the author acknowledge that believers can fail in their Christian experience to the extent that God would take their physical lives? Such a position is contrary to the Lordship Salvation position; however, it is something clearly taught in Scripture. Not only did the author reject such an interpretation of 1 John 5:16, he would only grudgingly say of 1 Cor 11:30 that the physical death of a believer may be in view (p. 28).

It is interesting to see the reasons the author gives for concluding that eternal death is in view in 1 John 5:16. He gives three lines of support: (1) the Greek word for life employed is used elsewhere in the epistle to refer to eternal life; (2) the Greek word for death used refers to eternal death elsewhere in the epistle; and (3) the surrounding context both before (vv 11–13) and after (v 20) is dealing with eternal life.

This support is weak. First, the word for life, zōē, only clearly refers to eternal life in the epistle in places where the Greek word for eternal is also specifically given. That word is not found in v 16. Actually this suggests that eternal life is not in view. Second, the word...

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