The Race Set Before Us
The New Testament often describes the Christian life as a marathon, a race set before us. But what exactly is the prize? Do all those completing the race share in it? And can the prize be lost?
Tackling these and other vexing questions, Thomas Schreiner and Ardel Caneday offer in this book a serious, exegetical wrestling with the biblical understanding of the nature of saving faith and its implications for the people of God. Here is a foundational study that considers all of the relevant New Testament texts and that weighs the meaning of those texts for both Christian living and pastoral ministry.
"Schreiner and Caneday have provided us what we have needed for a long, long time--a serious, exegetical wrestling with the biblical understanding of the nature of saving faith and its implications for the people of God. Finally, a place to see clearly the good news that perseverance is both the call and promise of God. At last, a treatment of the biblical warnings and admonitions within their eschatological framework as the very means God uses to deliver his people. The decisionism and easy believism of our day have met their match, as have all attempts to relegate obedience to the subsidiary roles of reward or evidence. This is a great book. I will recommend it to all my students and friends, not to mention every pastor I know."
"Seeing the biblical warnings as prospective, and thus designed to bring about a faith that perseveres to the end, Caneday and Schreiner have given the church a long-needed solution to the polarization of categories that has arisen out of our systematic theologies. This well-crafted and irenic book is one I highly recommend. All serious debates over these texts must now reckon with this carefully reasoned work."
"This timely book on a perennial theological problem balances exegetical rigor with an irenic tone. The result is an attractive argument for reading all of the debated passages sympathetically, and for understanding their relationship in light of the eschatological tension that pervades the New Testament."
"Caneday and Schreiner tackle a vital topic and succeed in mounting a convincing case. They engage the four major views on assurance and set forth a fifth. They exegete the full range of relevant biblical passages. They encourage readers with their conclusions, which offer both challenge and--by God's grace--assurance. By refusing to give simplistic answers to complex questions, they have contributed richly to practical Christian living as well as to biblical-theological discussion. This should give new life to a discussion that had become polarized along predictable lines."
1. The Race Set Before Us: What Is There to Win or Lose?
2. The Prize to Be Won: Our Present Future Salvation
3. The Race to Be Run: The Necessity of Obedient Faith
4. Running to Win the Prize: Heeding God's Admonitions Warnings
5. Reflecting on Fallen Runners: Who Are Those Who Have Fallen Out of the Race?
6. Drawing on God's Grace: Going the Distance by God's Power
7. Running with Confidence: Being Assured That We Shall Win the Prize
8. Running by Divine Appointment: Who Are Those Who Run to the End Win?
Appendix: A Response to William Lane Craig's "'Lest Anyone Should Fall': A Middle Knowledge Perspective on Perseverance Apostolic Warnings"