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Run to Win the Prize

By Thomas Schreiner
January 2010 | Review by Conrad Pomeroy

Synopsis

Scripture's commands to persevere, and warnings of the consequences if we fail, have been met with apathy by some, and led others to doubt the state of their salvation. The fearful and eternal nature of these issues warrants careful examination of what the Bible says about perseverance. Thomas Schreiner once again tackles this difficult topic in Run to Win the Prize. Clarifying misunderstandings stemming from his more detailed treatment in The Race Set Before Us (IVP 2001), Schreiner draws together an illuminating overview of biblical teaching on the doctrine of perseverance.

  • Publisher: Crossway Books
  • ISBN: 978-1433514364
  • Pages: 128
  • Price: £3.86
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Book Review

This book examines the subject of Christian perseverance, focusing particularly on the warning passages of the New Testament. The author outlines a number of different views, and then expresses his own –– namely that the warning passages are addressed to Christians.

They threaten damnation, and are one of the means God uses to preserve true believers. Furthermore, he disentangles the doctrine of perseverance from false corollaries, such as sinless perfection and works-righteousness.

With all of this we would be in general agreement, but we find one aspect of his position unnecessarily restrictive. He focuses so much on the function of the warning passages with regard to believers (to keep them in the way), that he seems to deny that these passages have anything to say about apostasy.

Instead of making a judgement about the spiritual state of those addressed, it would be simpler to see the warnings of Scripture as addressed to professing believers. The churches addressed would have been made up of a mixture of both the elect and non-elect. In this way the passages are allowed the full scope of their significance –– warning some, damning others.

The book is based on lectures given at the Oak Hill School of Theology in 2008. It is a briefer, ‘less technical’ summary of an earlier book, but will appeal mainly to pastors, theological students and those who wrestle with these issues.

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