Book Review: The Kingdom of God: A Baptist Expression of Covenant & Biblical Theology

The Kingdom of God: A Baptist Expression of Covenant & Biblical TheologyThe Kingdom of God: A Baptist Expression of Covenant & Biblical Theology by Jeffrey D. Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book sets out the view of 1689 federalism and does a good job distinguishing between different covenant theology views. Johnson provides a good explanation, then, of the difference between a full covenant theology, like that of Presbyterians, and the covenant theology of Reformed Baptists. So this book provides a good basis of why I am neither Presbyterian nor Reformed Baptist, though this is not all that could be said on that. The issues are core fundamental hermeneutic issues. 1689 Federalism is distinct from covenant theology but still holds to a dichotomous view of the Abrahamic covenant and partially conflates the covenants, coming near the covenant theology view of monocovenant and polyadministration. Of course, this hermeneutic yields the typical conventions of amillennialism, i.e., supersessionism, already/not yet kingdom, already/not yet binding of Satan, etc.

I was surprised, but delighted, that Johnson pointed out errors with the covenantal nomism of New Perspective and Federal Vision. There is a lot of good in this book and it is a good treatment of the biblical theology of covenants and kingdom. I appreciated the author’s tone and approach. I didn’t detect the condescension and dismissive that can often accompany these discussions. Johnson was fair in presenting his views and this is the type of writing that can be helpful, even where you disagree.

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Book Review: Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament

Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old TestamentGospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament by Graeme Goldsworthy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a good book in its central thesis of interpreting the Old Testament in light of the Gospel. This is generally a good overview of biblical theology. The kingdom is certainly a prominent theme throughout scripture we must be aware of when looking at smaller portions. His view of the kingdom is not entirely in line with Scripture, though quite consistent with reformed dichotomous covenant theology and the over realized eschatology of amillennialism. It turns as you would expect in certain places. This is still a good resource for seeing Christ in the Old Testament.

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Review: He Will Reign Forever: A Biblical Theology of the Kingdom of God

He Will Reign Forever: A Biblical Theology of the Kingdom of GodHe Will Reign Forever: A Biblical Theology of the Kingdom of God by Michael J Vlach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been studying the kingdom of God closely for the last few years. I recently became aware of this book, which is “A Biblical Theology of the Kingdom of God.” This book is excellent and delivers on the expectations from the subtitle. Vlach works through the Bible from beginning to end, identifying the kingdom theme throughout. He ties all those threads together better than in any single work I’m aware of.

I appreciate that Vlach is up front about his premillennialism from the start. So many try to palm their eschatology and we end up with a vague treatment of scriptures. Even when I disagree with a man’s eschatological position, I appreciate knowing where he’s coming from and I want him to make his case so I can consider what he is saying and the prejudices he might have. Too many books and commentaries fail here.

Vlach did not cherry pick a few verses here and there, but rather worked with significant portions of Scripture. He paid attention to context and also presented primary objections or different views. He also answered those objections. I thoroughly enjoyed it all the way through.

He makes a good case for plain meaning, but he also applies that hermeneutic to various passages. He gives a very brief treatment of historical views and apologetic applications. I highly recommend this book. Vlach’s writing is clear. So many books dealing with the kingdom are vague or overly spiritual. I will definitely reread and refer to this book in the future. The bibliography is also a great resource. I was unaware of many of those books, but I have found a few to start reading soon and others to read later.

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