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The Logos Bible Software “Free book of the Month” for April 2018 is Four Views on the Warning Passages in Hebrews, edited by Herbert Bateman IV (Kregel, 2007). Like most “four views” books, this volume contains essays explaining the warning passages in Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 10. If you are unaware of the controversial nature of these passages, see these two posts on Hebrews 6.  In this volume, Grant R. Osborne represents a Classical Arminian view, Buist M. Fanning, a Classical Reformed view, Gareth Lee Cockerill a Wesleyan Arminian view and Randall C. Gleason a Moderate Reformed view. Each writer offers an essay and the other three offer brief responses. Hebrews scholar George H. Guthrie concludes the book with a final response. When students ask me about Hebrews 6 and 10, this volume is my “go to” text to balance the two major approaches (Calvinism and Arminianism).

As Logos usually does, they are offering two “almost free” books as well. For only $1.99 you can add Lars Kierspel, Charts on the Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul (Kregel, 2012). When I reviewed this book in 2012 I said:

As with other books in this series, Kierspel has a paragraph on text explaining each chart in the final section. This 44-page section is important to read since it is here that he gives bibliography for the data he includes. In some cases these are mini-introductions to controversial topics (like Pauline chronology, for example). The book has an extensive 31 page bibliography. Like other books in this series, there a staggering amount of information presented in these charts. While I question the usefulness of some of the charts for classroom use, the book is a worth while investment for those who teach the Pauline letters in church or classroom.

For $9.99 you can add one more Kregel publication, Robert Chisholm’s Commentary on Judges and Ruth. I also reviewed this commentary a few years ago, saying:

Chisholm’s commentary on Judges and Ruth is an excellent exposition of the text from a conservative scholar. For the most part he assumes the historicity of the text and ignores any discussion of potential sources or anachronisms. He specifically eschews these methods in the introduction (p. 15), characterizing these as “creative scholarly conjecture” (p. 30).  He considers revisions of Noth’s Deuteronomisitc History to be a “debate going around in circles” (55). His exposition of the text is based on the assumption the book was intended to be read as a literary whole.

There is less historical background material in this commentary than might be expected. Major commentaries on Old Testament books can become bloated with material accessible in other resources (Bible Dictionaries for example). Since his interests are literary and theological, there is no need to offer descriptions of geographical locations or comments on archaeology (or the lack thereof) as background to the stories.

I would recommend the book to pastors and teachers who are preparing sermons on the often overlooked book of Judges.  Chisholm’s exposition is easy to read and provides excellent illumination of the text for the purpose of serving the Church today.

Three great books form Kregel Academic for a mere $13 total. More, until April 30 you can enter (several times) to win the five volume set of Kregel Charts of the Bible and Theology. Since Logos Basic is now free, there is really no excuse for not adding these excellent books to your Logos library.

Have some in the congregation actually drifted away to the point of apostasy? Chapter 6 and chapter 10 both have strong words of warning against apostasy.  It is possible that some have, but the writer’s intention may be to drive the point home well enough that the readers do not recant their faith when the difficult persecution comes.  This is a rhetorical strategy, to describe the worst case imaginable, then show how the reader has not gone quite that far yet.

Thanks, Derri

For example, I might tell my students, “you will fail Greek if you do not study for the exam!” to encourage them to study, although I know that none of them will fail the exam because I have fully equipped them for success.  Some might struggle more than others, but I have given them the necessary tools to pass the exam.

Does the text say that it is impossible for them to repent?  Perhaps, but perhaps not.  The word “impossible” does mean “not able,” but it can also mean “not capable.” Louw and Nida gloss the word, “pertaining to being impossible, presumably because of a lack of power to alter or control circumstances.”  I might use this word to describe my chances of breaking the world record in the pole vault.  It is so unlikely, so out of the range of my capabilities (not to mention the principles of science!) that I can call it “impossible.”

As we work through the passage this will become more clear, but what we seem to read here is that those that do recant and reject Jesus in a public way are not able to repent, because they are no longer capable of repenting. This is not necessarily the “unpardonable sin,” but it is a sin that is so deep and so destructive to the person who commits it that they are no longer capable of making act honest act of repentance and be restored to fellowship.

The reason that it is impossible is that the individual has “once for all” been enlightened, the same phrase used to describe Jesus’ “once for all” sacrifice for sin.  Just because it is impossible for a man, it does not mean that God cannot move that person to repentance and bring them back.  He very well may let a person go, but if He wills he can bring them back.

The two most powerful words in the Christian faith are …”but God.”

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Christian Theology

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