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Scripture's commands to persevere, and warnings of the consequences if we fail, have been met with apathy by some, and led others to doubt the state of their salvation. The fearful and eternal nature of these issues warrants careful examination of what the Bible says about perseverance. Thomas Schreiner once again tackles this difficult topic in Run to Win the Prize. Clarifying misunderstandings stemming from his more detailed treatment in The Race Set Before Us (IVP 2001), Schreiner draws together an illuminating overview of biblical teaching on the doctrine of perseverance.
Schreiner details how God directs the collective warnings and exhortations of Scripture toward believers as a means of preservation. We are to think of the call to persevere in light of the initial call to faith, both agents by which God leads us to final salvation. Those looking for a general treatment of the doctrine of perseverance will profit from the challenges and assurances in Run to Win the Prize.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Mature insight. Control of the sources. Satisfying interpretations. Schreiner takes a difficult topic and makes it look easy. Like the work of a master craftsman, this book will enrich understanding and inspire interpreters to see what is there.
James M. Hamilton, Jr.
Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, God's Indwelling Presence
faith to be saved has proved not only difficult, but has often led to excesses and imbalances. One imbalance ends up arguing that true believers can forfeit their salvation and be lost if they don't persevere; the opposite imbalance suggests that professing believers are saved regardless of whether or not they persevere in belief and good works. Tom Schreiner has done a masterful job of charting a course through rich biblical teaching that avoids both of these excesses. Here readers will encounter both the joy of knowing that God will not fail to save those whom he has elected and brought to true saving faith, while at the same time they will face squarely the necessity of persevering faith, love and good deeds that mark those truly saved through Christ and His Spirit. Here is biblical balance, and more important, biblical fidelity. All who long to understand better the nature of Christian faith and good works will benefit greatly from this lucid and biblical treatment.
Bruce A. Ware,
Professor of Christian Theology, Senior Associate Dean, School of Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Believers are not exhorted to trust in themselves or to continue in the faith by virtue of their own efforts. They are to continue the Christian life in the same manner they began it: by the faith given to them by Gods grace. . . . the perseverance called for here should not be understood as works-righteousness . . . . it is nothing other than a continual reliance upon the Grace of God (pg. 17).<p>
Knowing that we are mortal and fallible, Schreiner uses each chapter to make further clarification: keys to understanding these Scripture warnings; not confusing perseverance with perfection or works-righteousness; and, standing firm in faith and assurance but heeding the Bibles counsels. A fitting closure, tying up loose ends and firmly nailing down the ideas contained in this book, the Epilogue closes with an important statement, Perseverance, then, does not lead to pride but to humility, for it is nothing other than clinging to Christ and his righteousness (pg. 114). As if that werent enough, Schreiner then goes on to provide an appendix: A Meditation On Galatians 5:2-6 (righteous by faith alone).
Run To Win The Prize is on the same subject as Schrieners earlier volume, a more thorough examination of this doctrine, The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance (IVP, 2001). Happily for those of us who are not scholars but want desperately to learn ever more about Biblical doctrine, Schreiner decided to write an accessible to all (pg. 11) book on the same subject. This book achieves his accessibility aim. It will be appreciated by many: new and more mature lay Christians; busy pastors; teachers; and students. Dont expect to get through it in one sitting. While simply presented, it is jam-packed with information, requires a Bible for referencing, and presents spiritual challenges at every turn of a page. Donna Eggett, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Jonathan2 Stars Out Of 5Adds More Confusion to the ConversationOctober 12, 2010JonathanThe doctrine of perseverance is prevalent in the New Testament. Repetition in Scripture underscores significant doctrines. Thomas R. Schreiner wrote about this doctrine in his new book "Run to Win: Perseverance in the New Testament." This doctrine seems to cause quite a bit of tension and misunderstanding among theological traditions. Schreiner seeks to bring some clarity to this doctrine. He does a really good job of looking at the NT passages that encourage perseverance and warns of the consequences of falling away. Schreiner is fairly thorough with his treatment of these "warning passages." He presents a strong interpretation of these passages, but his conclusions seem to contradict his interpretations. The problem comes in the contradiction of the Wesleyan-Arminian belief that you can lose your salvation and the Spurgeon-Calvinist belief of eternal security. These two beliefs cannot co-exist. They are polar opposites. The doctrine of perseverance lends a tremendous amount of credibility to the Wesleyan-Arminian belief that a person can lose their salvation. But Schreiner concludes that just because these warnings are in the NT that you still cannot lose your salvation. Why would the NT be full of perseverance language and warnings if it was not possible to lose your salvation? Also Schreiner seems to be soft pedal apostasy and claims it is not a sin. Apostasy is the renunciation of one's religious belief. Apostasy is a sin because it is renouncing Christ. Schreiner does an excellent job at interpreting the NT warning passages about perseverance, but I believe his conclusions do not support these interpretations. For me, Schreiner does not bring clarity instead he muddies the water even more. This book is worth the read, but it is by no means the end of the conservation on the doctrine of perseverance.