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Four Views on the Warning Passages in Hebrews [Paperback]

By Herbert Bateman IV (Editor)
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Item description for Four Views on the Warning Passages in Hebrews by Herbert Bateman IV...

Using the popular four-views format, this volume explores the meaning of the five warning passages in the book of Hebrews to both the original readers and us today. Each of the four New Testament scholars present and defend their view and critique the view of their interlocutors. This unique volume will help readers better understand some of the most difficult passages in all of Scripture. Contributors include Grant R. Osborne, Buist M. Fanning, Gareth L. Cockerill, and Randall C. Gleason.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Kregel Academic & Professional
Pages   480
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2007
Publisher   Kregel Publications
ISBN  0825421322  
ISBN13  9780825421327  

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  1. Kregel Charts of the Bible and Theology

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible Study > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Criticism & Interpretation
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4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament

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Books > Bible Study > New Testament Studies > Other Letters

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Reviews - What do customers think about Four Views on the Warning Passages in Hebrews?

Challenging Content, Missing Pages  Jun 15, 2008
The first warning about this book and this particular edition is that some pages toward the end are missing from the printing. I couldn't figure out how exactly to let this site know. Maybe someone lurking out there can let me know.

Pages 386-387, 390-391, 394-395, 398-399, 402-403, 406-407, 410-411 and 414-415 are blank pages.

Since the authors were able to make their points before the disappearing page act began, I guess I'm not disappointed enough to get another copy.

However, that being said, the views presented are biblical supported and cordially debated. I've always enjoyed the "Views" style of format for these important biblical issues and this book is no exception.

Why only 3 stars? The other two are floating out there somewhere in the ether along with those missing pages.
A really helpful discussion  Jan 11, 2008
I teach an course in the exegesis of Hebrews every other year and I used this the past semester. I think it was a little bit challenging reading for college students, but would be not hard at all for seminary students. Overall, it is a really excellent collection. The interaction between the viewpoints is very substantive. In my opinion, it advances the discussion of the warning passages and will be a standard reference on this topic for years to come.

Here are a few of my thoughts:
1. There was not much difference between Osborne and Cockerill. I'm not sure why both of them were included.
2. Gleason's defense of the Moderate Reformed view was a bit idiosyncratic. He holds that the judgment threatened in the warning passages refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. While I am all for interpreting texts in their historical contexts, Gleason really has to stretch the very slender evidence to position Hebrews in that specific of a context. The editors would have done better to select someone who is more representative of the loss-of-rewards view than Gleason. Most of those who think Hebrews is threating temporal judgment (suffering, death) or loss of rewards (either in the millennium or heaven) do not think the destruction of Jerusalem is in view.
3. The font in the book is ridiculously large. Reduce it, and the book would be half the number of pages!
4. I would have like to see some discussion in Bateman's introduction of Schreiner and Caneday's view in The Race Set Before Us. It is a very nuanced Calvinist view. It would also have been helpful if he could have summarized the rising Federal Vision perspective on these passages, which provides a real alternative to the other views.
5. Don't skip the response chapters. It is when the various viewpoints come under criticism that the strengths and weaknesses are really exposed.
A healthy discussion of the warnings  May 16, 2007
This book thoroughly updates any reader interested in understanding what God has said through the warnings in Hebrews. The Arminian and Calvinistic views come closer to a purely Biblical theology on the platform this book has provided. Although space constraints forced the responses to each view to be critical, each author graciously and honestly declares the immense common ground found among them all. The very nature of a "four-views" book is somewhat combatant, but as several of the authors mentioned, a healthy debate is the most helpful as opposed to agreeing to believe basically nothing.

Osborne's defense of the Arminian view of the warnings in Hebrews was excellent. His work was pleasently surprising as he presented no straw men, but in a very detailed exegetical manner defended what might well be considered to be a literal/historical/gramatical interpretation of the warnings. No reader will be able to dismiss his work but will be required to sincerely struggle with what he presented. He has a healthy view and use of the OT in his interpretation which is a breath of fresh air as most scholarship seems to have their thoughts stolen by an "immediate-context-only" hermeneutic, i.e., they are unwilling or too cautious to step out into the broader context (especially since Hebrews is THE Old Testament user). He very generously spends time discussing the implications of all the encouragement/assurance passages in Hebrews as well. He concludes that the language is too strongly in favor of the Arminian view that he must lean in that direction. I can't imagine any reader being unaffected by his exposition of the warnings.

Fanning's classic reformed view was just as well presented. Fanning's style of presentation is a rebuke to us all for the way we treat each other in our own theological debates. His words are rarely if ever overstated, and he also is quite careful to remove all straw men. His defense is powerful as well because his control of grammar exeeds all others, and hence his attention to linguistic detail is unsurpassed. It is difficult to argue with a textual/grammatical argument as opposed to a general theological statement (and he rightly exposes this tendency in the other authors' works). He appears to hinge a significant portion of his argument based on the conditional statements in 3:6 and 3:14, arguing for a change in interpretation from a cause-to-effect to an evidence-to-inference paradigm. His argument is unarguably plausible. Fanning also argues for the presence of absolute eternal security found in Hebrews based on the person and work of Christ our High Priest. He concludes that the warnings are given to a mixed community which consists of believers and unbelievers, and that if a member falls away, that person gives evidence that the normal evidences of belief were not genuine.

Cockerill defends what is called the Wesleyand Arminian view. It takes a real student to tease out the difference between that and the classic Arminian view presented by Osborne. Cockerill's part was much broader in argumentation and seemed less helpful since he did not confront imminent and specific issues, but merely outlined Hebrews and weaved his view within it. Osborne, in his response, merely points out that he would have liked to see more specificity. Both presentations are so similar they do not seem to gain any new ground by Cockerill's.

Finally, Gleason's defense of the view that Zane Hodges (and Dillow) have defended concludes the views. Actually, just as Osborne comments, Gleason has done a very impressive job in defending this position (that the warnings are against believers who lapse into imaturity and suffer temporal punishment and loss of rewards), being very exegetical and thorough. Although this position is not held by many (and seems to be becoming even less common), Gleason's view must be considered. In fact, it seems that his attention to the Old Testament (though maybe misdirected - see Cockerill's critique) is well placed, given the immense attention that the author of Hebrew's himself places on it. As Guthrie and Osborne comment, this route must be more thoroughly explored in understanding the warnings (Cockerill's critique is a bit overzealous).

Osborne's responses to all of the authors were gracious and attentive. His summaries of each view are impressive (along with his attention to details). His critique of Fanning's defense of the encouragement/assurance passages in Hebrews is probably well placed, and oddly enough his critique of Gleason's view is much less negative (possibly because it was less damaging to Osborne's own view?).

Fanning's responses are much like his chapter - technical, precise and forceful. He as well should be applauded for his 'irenic' (as they all put it) spirit. He does seem quite fair and level headed, willing to converse with all sides with an open heart. Fanning was most forceful with Cockerill's presentation for reasons already mentioned, and his comments seem well placed.

Cockerill's responses are much the same as Osborne's and Fanning's except for his critique of Gleason. There he was much less gracious. Perhaps his comments were rigthly elicited, but he could have been more irenic.

Gleason's comments were also kind and thoughtful. His entrance into the debate seems to come from a very different direction making his comments all the more interesting (or as Guthrie states, "Gleason's contributions offer another perspective more off the beaten path" p.430).

Guthrie concludes the book in a wonderful fashion, summarizing well the outcome and encouraging further study. His two main points are very helpful: 1) more work on Old Testament usage needs to be done (as well as Pauline echoes) and it's influence on the warnings, and 2) more attention must be paid to Tom Wright's critique of American Christianity - we must see beyond the individualism to a corporate view of the church as well. With these comments, Guthrie ends.


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