Peaceable Witness Among Muslims
by Gordon D. Nickel
Today over 1 billion people profess to be Muslim. Traditionally, the relationship between the Muslim world and Christians has been stormy and strained at best. Gordon D. Nickel's book provides some eye-opening proposals on how Christians can give an effective witness to Muslims.
Nickel draws upon his own experiences as a missionary to the Muslim world and his exhaustive study of the Muslim religion and culture to challenge the Christian community to "peaceable witness." The book contains a powerful blend of actual testimonies and practical suggestions. As the percentage of Muslim population grows in the U.S. and other traditional Christian nations, personal contacts between Christian and Muslim will increase. The confrontational method will only alienate, but if we put into effect the insight Nickel shares we can be more effective in our witness.
In the Forward, Professor Calvin E. Shenk writes, "Some years ago I asked a once-Muslim student of mine, why he had become a Christian. After a brief pause he replied, "The God I knew as Allah came close in Jesus." Shenk strongly endorses Peaceable Witness Among Muslims because winning the Muslim comes from living the Christ life before them.
Who Will Be Saved
by Paul R. House and Gregory A. Thornbury
Every age in church history has its detractors, and every age has those who rise to the occasion and defend the faith. One of the latest detractions concerns the means by which one will be saved. Statements such as Acts 4:12 should settle the argument: "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." Some, however, insist that salvation may be obtained by those who hold to other "faiths."
In this volume, several eminent scholars set forth the traditional biblical position that salvation is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone, plus nothing and minus nothing. These writers may not all agree on the doctrine of election, but they are unanimous in their belief that the faith found in the Christian gospel alone has the message that effects salvation.
Some of the writers respond directly to Clark Pinnock's inclusivism. Pinnock holds that while 1) Jesus Christ is humanity's exclusive savior and only mediator; nevertheless, 2) "divine grace and truth are found outside the church and Christian revelation." In other words, the "good" found in other religions may be the avenue by which a non-Christian believer attains to salvation.
Inclusivism has no basis in biblical theology, according to the majority of writers in this book. The Great Commission mandates that we take the gospel to everyone. Those without Christ, whether through rejection or through ignorance, are doomed to separation from God in a place the Bible calls hell. That underlies the urgency of personal and word evangelization.
Those who charge that Christianity promotes a negative view of other religions need to consider the words of Jesus: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one come to the Father except through me." We have no right or biblical basis to change the parameters that God has established, even if it is unpopular and seemingly arbitrary.
Glen H. Jones
The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God
by D. A. Carson
As the title suggests, the subject of the love of God may not be so simple. Western thought and culture has made the love of God into a mushy sentimental notion, almost totally lacking in a well-rounded view of a sovereign God whose character also includes His election and His judgment against sin and the sinner.
God's love cannot be fully expressed by saying that His is a divine love (agápe) as opposed to friendship (philéo). One must look deeper into the scriptural use of the word "love" in order to fathom what the love of God includes. The story of the prodigal son expresses only one facet of God's love. The passage in John 5:16-30 explains the love of the Father for His Son; this in turn hints that the love of the Son for the elect has similar ramifications.
The love of God cannot be one-sided; that is, God's hatred for sin must also be taken into account in any discussion on the love of God. It is not enough to say that God hates sin but loves the sinner. Both are equally abhorrent to a just God. Only through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can we sinners truly experience the love of God. Anything less makes a mockery of the character of a loving, righteous, and just God.
Glen H. Jones
Taking Up Your Cross
by Tricia McCary Rhodes
Too many of us major on the minors of life. Like Lazarus' sister, Martha, we are consumed with the "good" things of life while neglecting the best. Tricia McCary Rhodes takes us on a journey into the best things in life-the secret life of communion and fellowship with God through Christ.
Rhodes provides us a road map for this journey. We begin with God. He is the holy One to whom we owe our lives, both physical and spiritual. If we get a glimpse of who He really is, we begin to see who we really are. The contrast may startle us as it did Isaiah when he saw the manifestation of the Lord in the Temple.
A sense of His holiness will invariably cause us to take stock of our lives. We will see the "things" that so often interfere with the holy life. Many of the so-called necessities of life may have to fall by the wayside. Continuing to pursue the "good" things in life may lead to poverty of spirit.
After we get a glimpse of ourselves as God sees us we are ready to experience humility, quietness and meekness in our lives. Meekness is not necessarily weakness. Quietness and gentleness may sometimes rise in righteous indignation. But usually these mark us as ambassadors of the Prince of Peace.
The obedient life of meekness, quietness and gentleness leads to joy. Joy marks that inner peace that we experience when we know that we are abiding in His commandments and in his love.
Glen H. Jones