Many of the books that I review on my blog come through crossfocusedreviews.com. As part of receiving the free book, I agree to post my review on my blog as well as on amazon.com. Occasionally, I will receive feedback from my blog readers, but most of the negative comments I receive are responses to my book reviews posted on the Amazon website. Therefore, I have a series of blog posts that I've labeled Countering Criticism where I evaluate the validity of the negative feedback I receive. Today, I would like to look at a question from a poster named T. Harris regarding my book review on Uncovering the Life of Jesus. You can read my original review here.
On September 1, 2015, T. Harris asks:
"Beth, do you believe that someone could come to salvation in Christ after reading only the gospel of Luke? Or would he or she need to read the letters of Paul as well?"
While this question does not seem critical in nature, I believe that it stems from the false assumption that I'm a hyper-dispensationalist. From Theopedia.com:
"Hyper-dispensationalism (or sometimes ultra-dispensationalism), as opposed to traditional (or classic) Dispensationalism, views the start of the Christian church as beginning with the ministry of the Apostle Paul after the early part of the book of Acts. Although variations exist in specifics, all hyper-dispensationalists view the four Gospels and many of the New Testament Epistles as applying to the pre-Pauline Jewish-Christian church or to the future Davidic Kingdom; not directly applicable to the predominantly Gentile Church of today."
Anyone who regularly reads my blog posts or book reviews knows that I hold to Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology, so I'm not a dispensationalist of any kind. You can read my blog post discounting Dispensationalism here.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ runs throughout the whole Bible from Genesis through Revelation. Every one who is ever saved is saved through faith in Jesus Christ. The Law never has and never will save anyone (Rom. 3:20, Gal. 3:21). The saved saints of the Old Testament looked forward to work of Jesus Christ on the cross; those saved today look back to His work.
In addition, all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable (2 Tim. 3:16). Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17)--this includes all of Scripture. However, just reading the Bible will not save anyone. There are many literary scholars who praise the Bible, but are not believers. Faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). God uses the means of reading His Word to regenerate the heart. He also uses the means of preaching the Word, but ultimately, the power to save rests in God alone.
I did not recommend Ms. Pippert's book because of her Arminian view that God and man work together in salvation. In addition, the author encourages the reader to read himself into the biblical text. This error of biblical interpretation is a problem not just for the Gospel of Luke or Paul's epistles, but for all 66 books of the Bible.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth," (2 Tim. 2:15).