A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
About the Authors
Ardel B. Caneday is Professor of New Testament and Greek at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul.
Thomas R. Schreiner is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The Race Set Before Us examines the nature and function of the warning passages in Scriptures that warn against falling away from the faith. The authors survey the main ways these texts have been interpreted and present their own model for understanding them. Issues of faith, assurance, and perseverance are examined in detail. The authors argue that the warnings and admonitions in Scripture are a means that God uses to keep his children persevering to the end.
Table of Contents
1 The Race Set Before Us: What Is There to Win or Lose?
2 The Prize To Be Won: Our Present & Future Salvation
3 The Race To Be Won: The Necessity of Obedient Faith
4 Running to Win the Prize: Heeding God’s Admonitions & Warnings
5 Reflecting On Fallen Runners: Who Are Those Who Have Fallen Out of the Race?
6 Drawing On God’s Grace: Going the Distance by God’s Power
7 Running With Confidence: Being Assured That We Shall Win the Prize
8 Running By Divine Appointment: Who Are Those Who Run to the End & Win?
Appendix: A Response to William Lane Craig’s “‘Lest Anyone Should Fall’: A Middle Knowledge Perspective on Perseverance & Apostolic Warnings”
Chapter 1: The Race Set Before Us
The imagery of a footrace is often used in the NT to represent different elements of our Christian lives. We are called to run, we must train with self-control, compete according to the rules, and run with our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. The Bible contains promises that God’s children will persevere to the end, and it also contains serious warnings about falling away. There are four main views on the relationship between these warnings and promises of assurance. First, some believe that Christians can lose their salvation. Salvation is lost when believers choose to forsake Christ. Second, there are those who believe that the warnings are not about the loss of salvation itself, but about the loss of rewards for believers. The Grace Evangelical Society believes that it is impossible to lose one’s salvation no matter what one does, but that it is possible to lose rewards. In their view, it is impossible to be lost even if you walk away from the Lord. Perseverance is necessary for attaining rewards, but not for salvation.
A third view is the tests-of-genuineness view. In this understanding, those who fall away are exposed as having never been genuinely saved in the first place. Faith is the root that yields the fruit of good works, and those who truly believe will persevere and produce fruit. Those who fall away will not be saved, but they were never saved in the first place. The fourth view is the hypothetical-loss-of-salvation view. Those who hold to this view believe that losing salvation contradicts clear biblical teaching. All of the warning passages simply tell us what would happen if a believer did fall away, without making that an actual possibility. The view that the authors of this book take is that the warnings are actually means that God uses to protect his people until they receive the fullness of their salvation. God’s warnings elicit the faith needed to persevere. The warnings are addressed to believers. If we say, “the one who swallows arsenic will die” we state a truth, and warnings like this cause people to avoid drinking the poison. Scripture contains both conditional promises and conditional warnings. These warnings and admonitions have an eschatological orientation. Having a proper tension between the already and not yet is crucial for understanding these passages. Our salvation is both present and future. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
Buy the books
THE RACE SET BEFORE US: A BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF PERSEVERANCE & ASSURANCE, by Thomas R. Schreiner and Ardel B. Caneday