Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 20:38 (Spring 2007)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

By The Members Of The Grace Evangelical Society

“Believers before the Bench,” Dr. William Arp, Journal of Ministry & Theology (Spring 2005): 30-50.

Given the litigious nature of modern society, Arp has written a timely article about whether Christians should ever sue each other in a court of law. The article is a well written exegesis and exposition of 1 Cor 6:1–11.

The author introduces the reader to the subject with a contemporary example of civil litigation, establishes the questions he will consider, sets the context of the passage he will discuss within the overall context of 1 Corinthians, and then proceeds with his analysis and conclusions. JOTGES readers will generally agree with his conclusions concerning Christians and litigation. He observes that Paul instructed the Corinthians not to sue each other in secular courts of law and instead should either take civil disputes to the local church community for resolution or preferably absorb a wrong committed in a spirit of grace.

The author includes numerous footnotes documenting his analysis of the Greek text. The footnotes supplement the author’s discussion and his own translation of the verses being considered.

In the introductory section of the article, the author cites two convictions he thinks were held by the apostle Paul. First, he observed that the Corinthians needed to realize they were “members of a redeemed community, a condition which should affect their behavior.” In other words, God’s children should behave in a manner respectful of their father, i.e., God. Also, the Corinthians needed to “realize that they are members of an eschatological community, a condition which also should affect their behavior.” I was particularly interested in this second observation since he described the Corinthians as “heirs of the kingdom of God which is an eschatological destination with specific application to their lives.” Unfortunately, the author did not develop this motif in a manner that JOTGES readers will appreciate.

The author’s analysis of vv 1–8 is insightful and thorough. However, his discussion of vv 9–11 is wanting. He takes the approach that “the unrighteous” (v 9) are unbelievers “who will not inherit the kingdom of God.” According to the author, those who persist in the sins described in vv 9–10 are unbelievers destined for eternal judgmen...

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