THE FAITH OF CHRIST
Tate Publishing (www.tatepublishing.com), 2009, 348 pages,
$18.99 (paperback), ISBN-13: 978-1-60604-691-3
There are some great scholars in Christianity who have chosen to minister to a flock of Christians instead of being highly visible in a university or organizational setting. Oliver Rogers is one of these. He graduated from Harding University and the University of Chicago but spent 40 years as a minister in two congregations, one of them being my home congregation of Bloomington, Indiana. Oliver was the only man who took on my atheist father in discussions about his faith, so I know his character and abilities well.
We do not often review a primarily theological work in this book review section. However, this book has some strong apologetic value in addition to its theological significance. The most fundamental point of the book is that Martin Luther and those who copied him, have mistranslated the Greek phrase πíστεως Χριστοû due to their denominational beliefs, as “faith in Christ” when the phrase should have been translated “faith of Christ.” This is seen in many passages (Romans 3:22, 26; Galatians 2:16, 20; 3:22; Philippians 3:9).
This may seem like a small variant in application, but in fact it is massive. The issue of God's salvation is not dependent on the degree of faith that we have, but upon the power, plan, and grace of God. Those of us who struggle with doubt and worry about the depth of our faith can understand why this is such a major point. The fundamental question is whether anything we do warrants God saving us — even the amount of faith we might have. Rogers goes to great pains to point out that this does not absolve man from responsibility, obedience, or striving for faith. Rather he has God as the sole agent of providing salvation rather than anything man does.
From an apologetic standpoint, this book offers a much richer understanding of what the Godhead referred to in Acts 17:24 and throughout the Bible is about, and how Jesus is God (John 1:1 – 14) and yet the Son of God as well. This is rich stuff and deep. It will challenge and deepen every reader’s understanding, but will be especially helpful to those who have questions about God’s plan and design for our salvation. We recommend this book highly.