This blog is devoted to discussing the pursuit of eternal life.
Discussion and participation by readers is desired,
but contributions should correlate to the book,
The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology
of Perseverance & Assurance

Thomas R. Schreiner
& Ardel B. Caneday

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Rewards, Randy Alcorn Style

In May, Tim asked if I would offer a response to Randy Alcorn's view of "rewards." I fully intended to respond, but in the meantime, here is a good source for a critique of Alcorn's view by Steve Lehrer. Tim himself pointed me to it. It is in five parts so far. It looks like more is to come. As Steve publishes new entries, I will try to include the new links here, if I remember.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

You may locate all contributions to this series here. (HT: IDS)


Alex Kirk said...

Dr. Caneday,

I am likewise appalled by some of the statements Randy Alcorn makes. I am still wondering, however, whether the concept of differing rewards is completely foreign to the Bible. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter. By default, I guess, I have adopted an Edwardsian view of rewards (mediated to me by Piper): rewards are varying capacities for delight in God. All of us will be like jars in the ocean, completely full with his joy, but our jars will be of different (and expanding?) sizes. I also appreciate Piper's discussion of the motivation behind eternal rewards in a section of Desiring God entitled, "Love's Deed and Reward Are Organically Related."

I wonder if Steve Lehrer would also dispute the concept of differing degrees of punishment.


In-Depth Studies said...

Good morning:)
I just wanted to let you know that we now have a "category" for Steve's articles on Rewards set up on the IDS blog. The direct link is:

abcaneday said...


Thanks for the link, and thanks for the helpful studies.

Nick Nowalk said...

I saw Craig Blomberg has an essay entitled "Degrees of Reward in the Kingdom of Heaven?" in JETS, in 1992. Anybody read it?

abcaneday said...


I read Craig Blomberg's essay. It is helpful. Here is the final statement of his essay: May all evangelicals recover this precious legacy of the Protestant Reformation and do away with the depressing and damaging notion of eternal degrees of rewards in heaven once and for all.

The "legacy of the Protestant Reformation" of which Blomberg speaks is the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, that saving faith does over time lead to visible transformations in lifestyle and to growth in holiness. . . . Without such evidence that God's Spirit has truly taken up residence and begun to work within a person, Biblical Christianity is absent.