by Johann Christoph Arnold
I love a good story. Johann Christoph Arnold's book Why Forgive? is filled with uncontrived stories relating to the question of forgiveness. It also shows how forgiveness fosters change.
Forgiveness often happens on the spur of the moment. Gordon Wilson held his daughter's hand as they lay under the rubble of a bombed church in Northern Ireland. By the end of the day she and nine other citizens were dead. A few hours later he said to a BBC reporter: "I have lost my daughter, and we shall miss her. But I bear no ill will….That will not bring her back....I know there has to be a plan. If I didn't think that, I would commit suicide…. We shall meet again."
Issues of blessing the persecutor, justice, and giving mercy to the unjust are shared in stories. Clare Stober left an advertising agency and ended up owing $50,000 in taxes which the company she left should have paid. She was so angry she could not sleep for days. A friend's comment, "It's only money" did not help. She wrote the check to the IRS and continued to nurse her anger, until she finally realized that only through forgiveness could she get on with her life.
Other chapters on topics such as forgiveness in marriage, forgiving ourselves, blaming God, and accepting responsibility present vivid contemporary stories showing how the gift of forgiveness can be accepted or rejected.
Why Forgive? portrays the stories of those who chose to forgive or not to forgive. Scripture is woven into the narrative to show the biblical principle that applies.
A. Karen Davis
In the Footprints of the Lamb
by C. Steinberger
In the Footsteps of the Lamb was written over seventy-five years ago by a Norwegian. Its richly devotional content emphasizes the absolute necessity for a day-by-day fellowship with the Lamb of God. Its five sections outline the message of the book.
Section 1 ("The Way of the Lamb") points out that His way is the right way. Section 2 ("The Light on the Way") shows that no matter where we go the Lamb lights the way. In the third section ("The Quiet Way") encourages believers to serve quietly even if we are in persecution or pain. "The Goal of the Way" (Section 4) enjoins believers to look toward the goal of following the Lamb-the kingdom of God. Section 5 teaches us to look toward the Second Coming of Christ.
Glen H. Jones
Five Views on Apologetics
by Steven B. Cowan
Apologetics may be defined as the defense of the Christian faith against those who charge it with falsehood or inconsistency. Christianity has had its apologists from the earliest to the most modern of times. However, according to the writers of "Five Views," five different methods of apologetics can be identified: the classical, the evidential, the cumulative, the presuppositional and the reformed epistemological.
The classical method focuses on natural theology to establish the deity of Christ and the trustworthiness of Scripture. The Holy Spirit serves as "teacher" for the believer. He testifies within that what has been written in Scripture is trustworthy and reveals the mind of God. But what about unbelievers who do not have the inner witness of the Spirit? This writer asserts that Scripture alone is not sufficient to present a defense of the Christian faith to unbelivers: the apologist must use natural and revealed theology to accomplish his task.
Evidential apologetics and classical apologetics have several things in common. Evidential apologetics tend to focus on the historical facts that demonstrate the trustworthiness of the Christian faith.
As the name implies, cumulative apologetics presents the truth for theism and Christianity by using a variety of arguments. The Holy Spirit uses "truth" from history, philosophy, moral behavior, revelation, and innate knowledge to demonstrative the veracity of revealed Christian truth.
Presuppositional aplogetics assume that everyone-believer and unbeliever-have some knowledge of truth. Those who follow the presuppositional method hold that revealed truth has benefits for the believer and for the unbeliever. The believer grows in his faith; the unbeliever wrestles with his unbelief.
Like the other four methods of apologetics, the reformed epistemological approach holds that arguments from natural and revealed theology and from historical sources may be used. In the final analysis, however, the individual is accountable to God by the innate witness common to humanity. Sin turns the minds and hearts of many to reject this inner witness.
These writers have expended significant labor to give us insight into complex theological and philosophical ideas.
Glen H. Jones
Revelation: The NIV Application Commentary (From Biblical Text to Contemporary Life)
by Craig S. Keener
This book is one of a set of commentaries for the Old and New Testaments, to which over forty writers have contributed.
Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament at Eastern Seminary, has written this commentary on Revelation. The author treats blocks of Scripture under three headings: Original Meaning, Bridging Contexts, and Contemporary Significance. The Original Meaning section attempts to understand the meaning of the text in its original context. Bridging Contexts identifies what Keener perceives to be eternal truths inherent in the text. In the Contemporary Significance section, he shows how the text might be applied in some situations today.
Any commentator who writes on Revelation must assume one of the three views: the postmillennial view, the amillennial view, or the premillennial view. The postmillennial view holds that the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth has already passed or that we are now in it. Few hold this view today. Those who adhere to the amillennial view teach that Christ will not necessarily reign for a literal thousand years. The premillennial view holds that the church will be raptured before Christ returns to earth to reign a literal thousand years.
Keener presents various historical movements that he believes lead us to interpret Scripture with a premillennial or an amillennial view. He, however, clearly favors the amillennial view. The seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 represent no more than seven literal churches in John's day. The author is not certain that the reign of Christ will be for a literal thousand years. And the 144,000 saved from the twelve tribes of Israel mentioned in Revelation 7:1-8 are not exclusively Jewish.
Glen H. Jones