Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christology and Hermeneutics

I just learned about a book on Hebrews that is in the works:

Jon C. Laansma and Daniel J. Treier are editing a collection of essays: Christology and Hermeneutics: Hebrews as an Interdisciplinary Case Study. Library of New Testament Studies. London T & T Clark International. Due out: May 2012.

This is what I have been able to ascertain about the contents thus far:

D. Jeffrey Bingham - a chapter on Irenaeus and Hebrews

Mickey L. Maddox - a chapter on Luther and Hebrews? (I'm guessing)

Kelly M. Kapic, "A Theological Reading of the Book of Hebrews in the Seventeenth Century: John Owen."

Daniel J. Treier and Christopher Atwood, "The Living Word versus the Proof Text? Hebrews in Modern Systematic Theology."


  1. Hi Brian,

    I recently came across your blog and am finding it of interest. You have some great resources and I appreciate learning about some of the new books and commentaries coming out on Hebrews.

    I wanted to recommend a dissertation on the Five Warning Passages of Hebrews by T. Kem Oberholtzer at Dallas Theological Seminary. He did some Bib Sac articles on the topic as well. Have you read his perspective on the warning passages?

  2. Thanks Liam.

    I am aware of Oberholtzer's writings, but I have not read them yet. I have encountered his view through the writings of others.

    I currently subscribe to the Arminian view as represented by Gary Cockerill and Grant Osbourne.

    David Allen, who takes a "loss of rewards" view, has a 50+ page treatment of Hebrews 6 in his commentary, if you are interested in the latest discussion of the warning passages. I am not sure I am fully persuaded by his analysis, but anyone dealing with the warning passages in Hebrews will have to take his argument into consideration from now on.

  3. Brian,

    Sure thing. The "loss of rewards" view is the view that I take as well. The "hypothetical" view and the conclusion that pseudo-believers are being described in my opinion does not hold up in the context of Jewish audience of Hebrews nor under the scrutiny of exegesis. I haven't read Davin Allen yet but I will plan on it. I look forward to hearing from you in future posts on your ongoing research in this area.

  4. Well, you will like Allen's commentary because he makes a good case for the "loss of rewards" view. I don't think the other views you mention have any merit and Allen rightly critiques them. My problem with the "loss of rewards" view is that if someone can lose "rewards" then why can't that same person lose the ultimate "reward" which is salvation itself?

  5. Brian,

    Your question is a fair one and I would like to respond to it.

    I think that your question rests upon a premise that I do not believe is Scriptural--that being salvation is a reward. In light of the sola fide passages such as Rom. 3:27-28, 4:4-5; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Ti. 3:5, is this consistent theology to presume that salvation is a "reward?" Rewards are something earned based on merit. Consider www. dictionary.com and the definition given of a reward: to recompense or requite (a person or animal) for service, merit, achievement, etc.

    to make return for or requite (service, merit, etc.); recompense.

    Brian, can we contend from Hebrews yet alone the rest of Scripture that any portion of salvation is a reward earned based on merit? If any part of our salvation can be lost, what specifically can we do to lose it? Is there something then we can do to earn it then?

    From what I understand of Grant Osborne's view, is that while he agrees we can lose our salvation, he will also acknowledge that it is unclear at what point this happens. I think that when we follow this line of reasoning, the corollary leaves us with relative subjectivism and we leave the objectivity of Scripture. I do not think the book of Hebrews attempts to even answer this question either.

    Even if we follow the motif of perseverance in Hebrews and believe that if we fail to persevere then we lose our salvation, then how do we as evangelicals define a loss of perseverance and henceforth define the precise moment when a person could lose their salvation?

    Simply put, I do not see anywhere in Hebrews where an exegetical or theological conclusion can be made that "so great a salvation" (Heb. 2:3) is a reward that can be lost.

  6. Liam,

    You noticed that I put "rewards" in quotes. Allen has a problem with this terminology ("loss of rewards"), but uses it for lack of a better term. On page 377 Allen lists a number of judgments or punishments that Christians incur for lack of obedience to Christ. So, why can someone incur all of these losses except for salvation?

    Since salvation comes by faith in Christ, I would say that someone would lose his/her salvation if he/she stopped having faith in Christ. There is nothing subjective in that. A Christian who lives in persistent, willful disobedience to Christ is in danger of getting to the point that he/she no longer has faith in Christ and hence ultimately forfeits salvation.

  7. Brian,

    Thanks for your further input. For further reading and research on the "loss of rewards" view, I wanted to recommend some articles called "No More Sacrifice" by John Niemala that he did some years back for Chafer Theological Seminary Journal (www.chafer.edu). I think that his exegesis on Hebrews 10:26-27 is outstanding.

  8. Brian,

    When do you plan on having your dissertation completed by? What are your goals for 2011 with this?

  9. I am not familiar with Niemala's article. Thanks. I am aiming to be done by the end of the Spring or at the very latest in the Summer.