The Judgment Seat of Christ: A Biblical and Theological Study Paperback – 1 Jun 2011
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Hoyt rejects the prominent view of only one general judgment (pp. 17-22) espousing the understanding of most premillenialists that there are five major eschatological judgments (pp. 22-23). The judgment seat of Christ is specific to the church-age believer and occurs between the rapture and the second-coming of Christ (pp. 47-54). In describing the judgment seat of Christ the author provides individual chapters on the setting, nature, purpose, standards (or criteria) of judgment, and extent. Chapters ten and eleven are dedicated to the rewards received by Christians at the judgment and Hoyt tackles the thorny issues concerning the meaning of loss and shame that will be experienced by some at this event (chapter 9). In each of these discussions Hoyt does an excellent job of biblical exegesis.
My favorite chapter is the third dealing with the etymological and cultural background of the "bçma" seat. Here Hoyt provides important information concerning the use of the Greek word "bçma" during New Testament times, and its distinction from kritçrion, which can also be translated "judgment seat." Hoyt clearly demonstrates that while the words can be used interchangeably to a degree, "bçma generally denotes a place of prominence, while kritçrion specifically refers to a place of prosecution" (p. 45). Thus bema is used most often for the reward seat at athletic events while kritçrion is used exclusively for the court of justice. Historically, Hoyt lays the background of the four great Pan-Hellenic games (Olympic, Pythian, Isthmian and Nemean), paralleling these contests with Paul's writing concerning the Christian athlete and his rewards. This is a most interesting and helpful section which sheds much light on the New Testament metaphors and teachings. In particular, at the judgment (bçma) seat of the Grecian games the contestants did not face judicial punishment but received rewards according to their success in the events. Similarly, the Christian will not be condemned or punished at Christ's bçma, but will gain rewards, or suffer loss of the same, depending upon how he has run the race.
The Judgment Seat of Christ is a thorough and valuable study of the subject. Whether used as a textbook or for personal study I recommend it highly. I do, however, have one caveats: The Judgment Seat of Christ is a rewrite of Dr. Hoyt's doctoral dissertation submitted in 1977. As such, Hoyt offers no documentation and lists no bibliographical works past 1976. While this does not deter from the biblical material, which of course has not changed since the mid-1970s, I would have liked to have seen Hoyt engage some of the modern scholars on the subject. Perhaps an appendix or two could be added to any future reprint addressing what theologians from N. T. Wright to Randy Alcorn are writing about the kingdom of God and heaven. I might be among the few, but I would find such a discussion beneficial. As it stands The Judgment Seat of Christ should find a place in the libraries of serious students of Scripture.
Gary E. Gilley, senior pastor, Southern View Chapel, Springfield, Illinois
Although it was originally written as the author's doctoral dissertation at Grace Theological Seminary under the direction of John C. Whitcomb, it is quite readable and easy to follow. It is a manageable size for the average reader at just over 200 pages. Yet, it also covers the gamut of questions and issues related to the doctrine of the judgment seat of Christ.
Most importantly, this book is true to God's Word. The author, Samuel L. Hoyt, faithfully handles the text of Scripture with careful exegesis and well-supported conclusions. The result is a thoroughly grace-oriented, biblically-balanced, insightful, and edifying treatment of this crucial prophetic subject. I highly recommend this book as an aid to anyone interested in living more faithfully for the Lord Jesus Christ in light of His imminent coming for the Church, our blessed hope, (Titus 2:13) and in light of the judgment of all Christians that will ensue (2 Corinthians 5:9-10)--perhaps very soon!
It should also be noted that the book comes with endorsements from three major Christian authors and teachers, namely Warren Wiersbe, Elmer Towns, and John Whitcomb (who wrote the foreword). Here is what they say:
I rejoice that this excellent study on the judgment seat of Christ is now available. Occasionally sermons are preached on this subject, but very few scholarly studies have been published, and this is one of the best. The church today desperately needs the truths found in these pages, and Dr. Hoyt has presented them with clarity and insight. Take the message of this book seriously; it can change your life and ministry.
Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe
Author and former pastor of Moody Church
Many Christians have confused the Judgment Seat of Christ for believers with the general judgment for all unbelievers, i.e., the Great White Throne Judgment. This is an excellent analysis of the Judgment Seat of Christ for believers. Samuel Hoyt has done a good job of explaining the purpose and function of the Judgment Seat of Christ and how God has used it to provoke holiness and Christian service in believers. May God use this book to open the eyes of many believers so they may live holy lives and serve Jesus Christ in a full and effective way.
Dr. Elmer Towns
Author and Co-Founder Liberty University
Dean, Liberty University School of Religion
The New Testament has much to say about the day when Christ will evaluate His Bride, the Church, when we all see Him just after the resurrection of dead believers and the rapture of living believers--which could be today! But for many centuries Christians have been confused about the timing, the participants, the seriousness, the purpose, and the final outcome of this great divine evaluation of the Church. Is it the next revealed event on God's calendar? Will all Christians be involved or only leaders? Will any Christians suffer the loss of their salvation? Why does our Lord need to examine us in this public way? How will all of this be implemented during the millennial kingdom? Dr. Samuel L. Hoyt wrote his doctoral dissertation on this topic in 1977. I had the privilege of serving on his advisory committee, and appreciated at that time the high quality of his work. Since then, he has interacted with many books and articles that deal with this vital topic. I highly commend his careful exegesis of relevant passages in the Bible. I know of no study that is more balanced and thorough. What a blessing it as been for me to read this manuscript and to think of what our Lord has planned for His Bride and Body! Thank God, the issue will be the gain or loss of rewards, not of salvation! This provision of awards for faithfulness is intended by our Lord to provide tremendous motivation for His people. I need this every day I live, and so do you, dear reader! This imminent judgment is intended by God to motivate each and every believer--not just church leaders--to serve Him in spirit and in truth. It is not designed to be a horrible threat that produces depression and fear, but, rather, an encouragement to love and serve and obey Him from the heart. In this light, may we, as born-again Christians, be more concerned than ever before about our testimony for the Savior who loves us with infinite love, and paid the ultimate price for our redemption and future glorification.
Dr. John C. Whitcomb
Author, former Professor of Old Testament,
and Founder of Christian Workman Schools of Theology