Four Views on Hell
Preston Sprinkle, ed.
Review by Andrew J.W. Smith
Five years removed from former pastor Rob Bell’s book on hell, Love Wins, the doctrine of hell is still an incendiary topic. In the newest installment of Zondervan’s Counterpoints: Bible & Theology series, Four Views on Hell, four evangelical scholars offer their interpretation of biblical teaching about hell, including Boyce College professor Denny Burk, who wrote the chapter endorsing the traditional eternal, conscious torment view.
Edited by Preston Sprinkle, biblical scholar and vice president at the Boise, Idaho, extension of Eternity Bible College, Four Views on Hell claims to articulate four evangelical views on the doctrine of hell: eternal, conscious torment; terminal punishment (annihilationism); purgatory; and evangelical universalism. Like all books in the Counterpoints series, each author’s contribution is followed by responses from each of the other scholars, engendering significant theological dialogue that will prove helpful and clarifying for all readers.
The annihilationist view, defended in this book by John Stackhouse, is a common one among some evangelicals, famously including Anglican John Stott. But despite the respective efforts of Jerry Walls and Robin Parry — along with Sprinkle’s insistence in the introduction and conclusion — the purgatory and universalist views fall short of convincing the reader they should be evangelical views at all, to say nothing of their biblical validity.
Burk’s chapter on the eternal, conscious torment view explores 10 biblical texts buttressing the traditional interpretation from Isaiah to Revelation. Burk finds three themes in each of these passages that contribute to the traditional view: final separation, unending experience, and just retribution. He argues Christians should not build their theology of hell around visceral and emotional responses, but exclusively on the biblical text that he says overwhelmingly affirms the traditional view.
Becoming Native to Win the Natives
Review by Annie Corser
In Becoming Native to Win the Natives, SBTS alumnus Tabor Laughlin (pseudonym) speaks to Christians about missions in other cultures and nations. The book’s biblical foundation pulls from the Great Commission’s call to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth and make disciples, and Revelation’s display showing that heaven will be filled with people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.
“This book is not about how to preach the gospel in a cross-cultural environment, nor how to build deep relationships with those around you. It is just about the aspect of becoming like the native in all other aspects of life,” writes Laughlin.
Laughlin focuses on the characteristic traits needed for successful ministry: humility, service, love, and a burden for those you serve. With practical advice, he explains how to adopt cultural traditions not contrary to the Bible, like language, hobbies, and appearance.
The Baker Compact Dictionary of Theological Terms
Gregg R. Allison
Review by S. Craig Sanders
If you’re a seminary student, you’ve probably had the awkward experience of talking to family about theological studies, only to realize they don’t understand anything you’re saying. To the rescue, however, is Southern Seminary theology professor Gregg R. Allison’s The Baker Compact Dictionary of Theological Terms.
Allison’s book is the rare theological tool accessible enough for the average layperson and scholarly enough to benefit the seminary student and professor. With 600 theological terms defined in 100 words each, this resource is a trustworthy guide for navigating studies at any level. For instance, a seminary graduate could use this when pastoring his first church, to make sure he’s not carelessly using a theological term without explanation.
Cross-references at the end of many entries and word origins are an added bonus to this stellar resource. At $9.99, this book is a must-have addition to your library.
A Peculiar Glory
Review by Sean W. Corser
Applying Jonathan Edwards’ concern for 18th-century Native Americans, John Piper in A Peculiar Glory sets out to explain how God’s glory is seen in Scripture and ultimately in the revealed Word, Jesus Christ.
“What we see as inescapably divine is a peculiar glory,” Piper writes. “And at the center of this peculiar glory is the utterly unique glory of Jesus Christ. This is the heart of the book.”
A Peculiar Glory is an apologetic as unusual as is the glory peculiar. Piper summarizes this glory as God revealing his majesty through his meekness in Christ laying his life down for sinful men. While theologically precise, this book is easily accessible in just as “the most preliterate person and the most educated scholar may come to a saving knowledge of the truth of Scripture in the same way: by a sight of its glory.”