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Going for the Gold

Review: Going for the Gold

In my first seminary class in 1992, we were assigned to read the book Going for the Gold written by Dr. Joe Wall on the topic of rewards. Through additional research, I realized that there was debate on the topic as it is reasoned if we enter into salvation by grace through faith and not of works, how could God evaluate Christians in terms their words, thoughts, attitudes, and actions?

Going for the Gold, Joe L. Wall
Considering the current debate and confusion on the doctrine, Dr. Joe Wall, Director of Masters Programs and Professor of Systematic Theology at Grace School of Theology, has written a book that speaks clearly on the subject.

Wall addresses the tough theological issues regarding the doctrine of rewards and does so by directly considering the major passages. Wall does not challenge the concept of rewards by figurative solutions to the passages but determines the meaning of the various passages head-on, providing a summary as to what the Scriptures plainly teach and its application to our lives. Wall simply addresses the matter of works when he writes, “… Paul also clearly teaches that the way we begin the Christian life – that is, by faith – is the way we are to continue it (Colossians 2:6).”

The book is well organized as it considers three major sections – The Judgment Seat of Christ (Bema); Rewards or Loss at the Bema; and, the Victory Crowns – with each section containing four chapters. The book’s title, Going for the Gold: Reward or Loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Bible Study Edition), identifies that with this edition each chapter contains a simple but effective set of study questions. This writer found that in addition to the topic of rewards, other topics were addressed which provide much value to the reader: a nice summary of the future prophetic program; the causes of suffering in this present life; how to invest our lives wisely in this world; and what the Bible teaches about how believers will be evaluated.

Sometimes the reader may find the discussion too brief, but this book will serve as an accurate and clear introduction to the topic of the Judgment Seat of Christ. It would be an excellent book for assignment in college courses, for teachers or laymen in the local church, or as an excellent resource for group or personal study on the topic.

The book is written as an exposition rather than a grammatical analysis of each of the passages, which would facilitate its broad use in the local church or as an introduction in an academic setting. I recommend this book for any library, college course, or church small group.

Todd Mathis
Phoenix, Arizona