Book Reviews

BORN ANEW TO A LIVING HOPE: A Commentary on I and II Peter, by Robert H. Mounce; Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982; 157 pp., $4.95 (paper). (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko)

The author is president of Whitworth College, Spokane, Washington and has authored other books, chiefly commentaries or books in the field of Biblical studies. 

One can do worse than purchase this commentary if one is studying the two epistles of Peter. The book takes a conservative stance throughout and gives a generally sound explanation of the two epistles. Even some of the more difficult passages in these two epistles are well explained. Though very brief, the commentary is helpful in an understanding of the text. 

The one weakness of the book is the failure of the author to take a strong stand on the doctrines of sovereign grace and eternal predestination. We quote a couple of passages to demonstrate this.

The final clause of 2:8 (“whereunto they were also appointed”—a passage which speaks so strongly of sovereign reprobation, H.H.) does not say that man’s disobedience was destined but that his stumbling as a result of disobedience was determined beforehand. Phillips translates, “which make stumbling a foregone conclusion.” 

God has not yet returned to gather His own and bring punishment on the ungodly because He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

II Peter 2:9

God is long-suffering. Although the wickedness of man calls for immediate action, God restrains His righteous anger and postpones judgment. The reason is simple: He does not want anyone to perish. Here is the true nature of God. He loves mankind and wants everyone to accept that love. Men perish because they are unwilling to let go of their sin. In the sacrifice of Jesus God did everything He could for the salvation of man. The unconditional offer of eternal life is extended to all men, but each must freely accept. No one is lost because God has willed it. Paul writes to Timothy with crystal clarity, “God . . . wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

I Tim. 2:4

So the commentary must be read with caution, but much benefit can be made from it in a study of these two important epistles.

THE GOD THEY NEVER KNEW: The Tragedy of Religion Without Relationship, by George Otis, Jr.; Mott Media, 1982; 244 pp., $5.95, (paper). (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko)

The blurb which came with the book reads:

Otis stresses that the naked essence of Christianity is a personal love relationship. A theology one cannot .live, he says, is a misfit . . . good only for dogma (and dogma that is good for very little!) In six years of personal study, the author has written a handbook on livable or experiential theology—one that relates the major Bible doctrines to the living God-man affair. He links theology to living and experiencing a Christian life, not merely mouthing empty phrases. Otis restores to our great God many of His true and lovable characteristics which various modern day theological concepts have obscured.

Hopefully, says Otis, the truth in these pages will free readers to worship God in a new dimension. It must be truth that unlocks the doors of revelation, for there is no other way. 

Mr. Otis is president of Issachar, a Christian research corporation.