My husband who is a pastor actually wrote this book review for me. I admit I was unable to make it past the introduction and part of the first chapter. It was too technical and academic.
This book deals with a serious theological issue hinging on the question of whether or not the translation of several texts in St. Paul’s letters should be read as “faith in Christ” or “faith of Christ”. Traditionally translators have followed the long-time Church practice of reading this as meaning salvation is dependent upon faith in Christ Jesus as the Son of God whose atoning sacrifice on the cross was sufficient for the forgiveness of sins of anyone who has faith through the Holy Spirit’s work and the Word found in the Bible. But for the last several decades some scholars have challenged that position by arguing that the true meaning of the text as “faith of Christ” indicates that it is Christ faithfulness and not an individuals’ faith that is the cause of salvation. Should that be true not only would Reformation theology be proven false, but universalism would be the logical conclusion of that line of reasoning. If Christ’s faithfulness is the sole criterion of salvation, then all people would, logically, be saved, including those who deny His divinity. Dr. McFadden’s book is a defense of the traditional reading and understanding of Paul’s Greek text and of the need for each person to have faith in Christ and His work of redemption.\
McFadden’s work is a competent defense of the traditional reading of the text, but it is also a book which will have little interest for most laypeople who are not familiar with the ancient languages. Neither do I believe it would be of interest to many pastors unless they already have some grounding in the arguments or unless there is some discussion of the points of contention in their religious communities. I’m also uncertain why McFadden doesn’t make use of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where, especially in 2:8-10, the question of how one comes to a saving faith is clearly enunciated.
VERDICT: 3 STARS for the reasons cited above.
The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.
For more book reviews see:
The Dark Night of the Soul by Gerald G. May –Book Review
Learning to Pray by James Martin, SJ–Book Review
The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork by John C. Maxwell–Book Review
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