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Elect in the Son [Paperback]

By Robert Shank (Author)
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Item description for Elect in the Son by Robert Shank...

In this comprehensive treatment of all pertinent Scripture passages dealing with election, Dr. Shank demonstrates that Calvin's doctrine of the unconditional election and the reprobation of particular people is without foundation in the Scriptures. He challenges the use of certain "proof passages" and shows that their application in this manner requires circumventing some of the most explicitly categorical affirmations of Scripture. Dr. Shank demonstrates that the election of grace does not rule out the salvation of any man, that God truly wills all men to be saved. The cross is seen as the focal point of election and the event in which time and eternity find their true perspective.

Publishers Description
"Through the years, I have read carefully every serious work on the question of election...I found no work that addressed itself to the question in this thorough, objective, competent manner or afforded such satisfactory, obviously Biblical constructions.... I have every confidence that time will prove this to be the definitive work on the difficult question of election."--from the Introduction by Dr. William W. Adams of the Southern Baptist Theological SeminaryIn this comprehensive treatment of all pertinent Scripture passages dealing with election, Dr. Shank demonstrates that Calvin's doctrine of the unconditional election and the reprobation of particular people is without foundation in the Scriptures. He challenges the use of certain "proof passages" and shows that their application in this manner requires circumventing some of the most explicitly categorical affirmations of Scripture.Dr. Shank demonstrates that the election of grace does not rule out the salvation of any man, that God truly wills all men to be saved. The cross is seen as the focal point of election and the event in which time and eternity find their true perspective.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Bethany House
Pages   242
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.42" Height: 0.64"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 1989
Publisher   Bethany House
ISBN  1556610920  
ISBN13  9781556610929  

Availability  1 units.
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More About Robert Shank

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dr. Robert Shank is known internationally among Bible scholars for his significant books in the field of biblical theology, which are used in seminaries and colleges of many denominations. He has been preaching and teaching in the pulpit, classroom, and visiting lectureships for over fifty years and his writings have been viewed as a major doctrinal contribution to the Church.

Robert Shank was born in 1918.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Soteriology
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Elect in the Son?

A Fine, But Unsuccessful Attempt to Appropriate Barth  Dec 11, 2007
Robert Shank's "Elect In the Son" is competent and certainly an interesting read for anyone interested in the "free will vs. predestination" conversation. It at least rises above the tired and mundane polemic that is typical of the Arminian-Calvinist debates. Shank's goal is to appropriate the work of Karl Barth -- who famously revised the Reformed tradition's doctrine of election by affirming that all of humankind is elect in Jesus Christ, and not by virtue of an eternal decree in which God chose some for heaven and others for hell in an act of mysterious, naked sovereignty -- for the Arminian tradition.

The proposal is well-undertaken, but finally unconvincing. Shank not only takes up Barth's theological revision of the doctrine of election, but conspicuously attempts to make Barth himself an Arminian in the process. Because Barth makes critical changes to classical Calvinism and rejects the five points of T.U.L.I.P., he seems to think, Barth belongs on our side of the argument. The result is a misreading of Barth and his theology, which cannot be coherently understood without its Reformed (though not T.U.L.I.P.) context. Likewise, one is left with the sense that Shank is not a very good interpreter of Calvin, either.

I recommend this book as a fine (if finally unsuccessful) attempt to put Karl Barth into conversation with the Arminian theological project. But its success must be judged on Barth's terms, not on those of Arminius or John Wesley. If election is corporate, "in the Son," a more robust doctrine of election still needs to be developed with truly Arminian (and not Reformed) theological underpinnings. Either that, or we must join Barth in his quite Reformed affirmation of divine election in Jesus Christ.
Classic Book on Class Election  Feb 25, 2005
Dr. Robert Shank is best known for his book, LIFE IN THE SON, in which he set out to prove eternal security only to write a book against the popular notion of "once saved, always saved." This book, ELECT IN THE SON, is a follow up to his first work.

The book dives into the history and theology of John Calvin and Calvinist. Shank first allows Calvin and other Calvinist theologians to merely state in their own words their position on election and/or predestination. Shank then spends the remainder of the book building his case for class election or that Christians become the elect (1 Timothy 4:10) in the elected one, the Lord Jesus (Isaiah 53:11-12; Matthew 1:21; Eph. 1:3-14). Shank covers nearly every major passage on election in the New Testament including Romans 9-11.

My only drawback with the book is that it is somewhat dated, Shank uses the King James Version throughout, and I don't fully agree with Shank that every case of election is class election. Certainly Israel was a chosen nation as is the Church (Deut. 6; 1 Peter 2:4-11) but there are cases where God elected individuals as in the case of the prophets, Paul (Acts 26:18; 1 Timothy 1:12-15), and many other biblical characters.

A good read on election is John Wagner's edited book REDEMPTION REDEEMED: A PURITAN DEFENSE OF UNLIMITED ATONEMENT or Norman Geisler's CHOSEN BUT FREE (Second Edition).
An important and truly wonderful book  Jan 17, 2005
"Elect in the Son" is an important addition to the disposal of the unbiblical doctrine that God predestines some to Heaven and then predestines all others to Hell, the second petal of the odorous TULIP of Calvinisim.
Calvinisim is a so-called "Christian doctrine" that has steadily decreased in adherents and influence over the last several hundreds of years due to the ever-increasing availability of the Bible and the true understanding that the real gospel message is that salvation is available to "who so ever will".
Calvinistic 5-Point double-talk has been increasingly defeated with the simplicity of the good news; that Jesus died for "the sins of the whole world" (1 Jn. 2:2), and for "any man" (Rev. 3:20) and to "who-so-ever-will believe will be saved" (Jn. 3:15).

In spite of the over whelming preponderance of scriptural proofs against Calvinisim, some misguided people still try to keep this dinosaur of darker ages alive, where it once was able to thrive due to the lack of the availability of both the Bible and literacy. Unfortunately many new Christian's end up being indoctrinated into this sad dogma, where God has fore-ordained the vast majority of mankind to eternal damnation to demonstrate His sovereign will; where Christ's sacrificial death is for only those who have been arbitrarily chosen by God for salvation (known as `limited atonement'); and where free will is only a dream...... such is the world of Calvinists. It should also be noted, that according to Hyper-Calvinists or as they prefer to be called, "High-Calvinists", only those (Christian's) who believe in all five points of Calvinism are actually the true "elect", all other will perish along with the unbelieving world. Therefore, to these Calvinists the blood of Jesus Christ is not sufficient for salvation, but one must also add the doctrine of John Calvin.

"Elect in the Son" is an important work in understanding who really are the true "elect" of God, from a Biblical perspective. Robert Shank's contribution in the refutation of "predestination" in "Elect in the Son" is presented in a clear and concise manner, which isn't always easy especially as it regards doctrinal issues.

For a wonderful refutation of the final widely accepted bastion of Calvinistic doctrine, "perseverance of the saints", a.k.a. "once saved always saved",
Robert Shank's "Life in the Son" is a must read.

For a great book regarding the Biblical doctrine of "free will" may I recommend,
"God's Strategy in Human History, God's Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility", by Roger T. Forster & V. Paul Marston.

Finally, for a comprehensive understanding and overthrow of all 5 points of the doctrine of John Calvin, I highly recommend
"The Other Side of Calvinisim", by Laurence M. Vance.

R. Natello

Interesting, but not very convincing!  Feb 3, 2003
The introduction to Elect in the Son hails this book as a landmark literary work that will redefine the doctrines of grace and election, yet the book fails to do what it promises. I will give Dr. Shank credit because this book is one of the more coherent Arminian books available, but I do not believe it does enough to disprove the Calvinistic mode of individual election.

To Mr. Shank's credit, he does wrestle with many prominent Reformed theologians in his work including John Calvin himself and G.C Berkouwer, who is a contemporary Reformed theologian. Shank employs numerous quotations from several sources from the following authors and attempts to show the inconsistency of their beliefs. Furthermore, Shank wrestles with several of the key passages of Reformed theology, namely John 6 and Romans 9-11.

Nevertheless, Shank's exegesis and reasoning are weak and he does misrepresent Berkouwer's beliefs at times by only presenting partial quotations. Furthermore, implicit in Shank's theology is that election is corporate and not individual. Although this is a nice idea in theory, in practice this idea does not hold up to serious scriptural exegesis. Shank does not adequately illustrate that Romans 9 is not concerned with the salvation of individual men, and God's right to sovereignly choose them. Moreover, Shank makes the traditional Arminian appeals to verses such as 1 Timothy 2:4 and 3 Peter 3:9 without even looking at the surrounding verses to establish the context within which they are written. Instead, he just takes these verses at face value and uses them to interpret problem verses such as those in Romans 9.

I will credit Dr. Shank with developing and defending an interesting idea, that being the idea of corporate election. On the surface it does appear to be a valid substitute to traditional Calvinism, and to avoid the pitfalls Shank sees in Reformed doctrine. Nevertheless, his ideas do not stand up to sound biblical exegesis and scrutiny and this book does not do enough to convince the reader that Calvinism is incorrect.

A good attempt to refute Calvinism, but still falls short  Oct 24, 2002
Robert Shank's book "Elect in the Son" is actually one of the better books I have read presenting an Arminian view of election. He makes a strong attempt to be biblical in his refutation of unconditional election and Calvinism as a whole, so you will not be disappointed to see that his book is full of Scripture. He also cites such Reformed scholars as John Calvin, G.C. Berkouwer, and John Murray in an attempt to present what Calvinists truly believe. These are all the strong points of his book that make it worth reading.

The downside for Shank, however, is that his consistent reference to Scripture only serves to undermine his entire thesis. His thesis that election is not unconditional but is instead corporate is assumed throughout his book, but is never really proven. He has a section of his book where he discusses the Father's election of Christ as redeemer, and how election at its root is actually "Christocentric", rather than "anthropocentric". But this is a far cry from saying that election is limited to only this. In fact, Calvinists will heartily agree with Shank on this point. God elected individuals to salvation, not for our own sakes, but for the sake of His Son, which is very Christocentric. To say that the Father elected Christ doesn't mean that the Father didn't also elect those who would be "in Him." But as I said, this thesis is more assumed than it is proven throughout the book. Shank essentially raises no new arguments against Calvinism, and the well-read Reformed reader will quickly notice that Shank's arguments are readily refuted in other works. His exegesis of Romans 9-11 was very disappointing in my opinion, as well as his handling of such texts as John 6:37-44 and others. If my memory serves me correctly, he didn't even deal with John 10:26, which I have yet to see an Arminian deal with in a sensible fashion.

With all this said, Shank's book is still a valuable contribution to the Calvinism-Arminianism debate. Even though I think Shank's proposition ultimately fails, it is still one of the better defenses of Arminianism I have read.


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