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Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants Hardcover – June 30, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Gentry and Wellum offer a third way, a via media, between covenant theology and dispensationalism, arguing that both of these theological systems are not informed sufficiently by biblical theology. Certainly we cannot understand the scriptures without comprehending ‘the whole counsel of God,’ and here we find incisive exegesis and biblical theology at its best. This book is a must read and will be part of the conversation for many years to come.”
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean of the School of Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Kingdom through Covenant is hermeneutically sensitive, exegetically rigorous, and theologically rich—a first rate biblical theology that addresses both the message and structure of the whole Bible from the ground up. Gentry and Wellum have produced what will become one of the standard texts in the field. For anyone who wishes to tread the path of biblical revelation, this text is a faithful guide.”
Miles V. Van Pelt, Alan Belcher Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages and Academic Dean, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi

“What do you get when you cross a world class Bible scholar and a first rate systematic theologian? You get 800-plus pages of power-packed biblical goodness. You get the forest and quite a few of the trees. This is not the first volume that has attempted to mediate the dispensational/covenant theology divide, but it may be the culminating presentation of that discussion—just as Bach was not the first Baroque composer but its highest moment. Gentry and Wellum’s proposal of Kingdom through Covenant should be read by all parties, but I won’t be surprised to learn in 20 years that this volume provided the foundation for how a generation of anyone who advocates regenerate church membership puts their Bible together.”
Jonathan Leeman, Editorial Director, 9Marks; author, Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love

“Gentry and Wellum have provided a welcome addition to the current number of books on biblical theology. What makes their contribution unique is the marriage of historical exegesis, biblical theology, and systematic theology. Kingdom through Covenant brims with exegetical insights, biblical theological drama, and sound systematic theological conclusions. Particularly important is the viable alternative they offer to the covenantal and dispensational hermeneutical frameworks. I enthusiastically recommend this book!”
Stephen G. Dempster, Professor of Religious Studies, Crandall University

“The relationship between the covenants of Scripture is rightly considered to be central to the interpretation of the Bible. That there is some degree of continuity is obvious for it is the same God—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—who has revealed himself and his will in the covenants. That there is, however, also significant discontinuity also seems patent since Scripture itself talks about a new covenant and the old one passing away. What has changed and what has not? Utterly vital questions to which this new book by Gentry and Wellum give satisfying and sound answers. Because of the importance of this subject and the exegetical and theological skill of the authors, their answers deserve a wide hearing. Highly recommended!”
Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Kingdom through Covenant is directly applicable to a pastor faithfully seeking understanding of God’s Word as it reveals the structure that supports the narrative of God’s message throughout time. The study of the covenants provides a framework for understanding and applying the message of the Bible to life in the new covenant community. I have found this study personally transforming, and enriching in my teaching ministry.”
Joseph Lumbrix, Pastor, Mount Olivet Baptist Church, Willisburg, Kentucky

“This impressive volume makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the nature of the biblical covenants. Meticulously researched, clearly written, and boldly argued, the ‘progressive covenantalism’ thesis—a via media between dispensational and covenantal theology—combines exegetical depth with theological rigor in the service of covenant faithfulness. The result is penetrating reflections on theology proper, Christology, ecclesiology and eschatology. Even at points of disagreement, all who teach the Scriptures to others will find here a rich treasure trove of whole-Bible theological thinking and an invaluable resource to return to again and again.”
David Gibson, Minister, Trinity Church, Aberdeen, Scotland; coauthor, Rich: The Reality of Encountering Jesus

About the Author

PETER J. GENTRY (PhD, University of Toronto) is professor of Old Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of the Hexapla Institute.

Stephen J. Wellum (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and editor of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. Stephen lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Karen, and their five children.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; 1 edition (June 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433514648
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433514647
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Samuel Wilwerding on July 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are two basic approaches to what is called "biblical theology." One is to identify a singular central theme that brings clarity to the structure and theological purpose of the Bible. The other is to use a generalized understanding of the structure and theological purpose of the Bible to bring clarity to a theme (which then, in turn, brings more clarity to the Bible). This latter type better characterizes the approach of "Kingdom through Covenant." (For an example of the former type, see James Hamilton's book "God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment".) Though the thesis of this book argues that the covenants tie the biblical narrative together, thus making covenants an extremely important theme, the authors do not seek to prove that the covenants constitute the "theological center" of the Bible.

The academic advance this book seeks to make is a biblical-theological support for a covenantal understanding that effectively falls between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology. Though the authors' position is indeed unique in relation to these other two systems, it is by no means new: this book provides a defense of what I would call a "baptistic" covenant theology. This means that while they side with Dispensationalists in rejecting the Reformed teaching about the exact continuity between circumcision and baptism, they take the side of Reformed theologians in affirming that the land promise to Israel are fulfilled in Christ under the New Covenant, particularly as his work results in the inauguration of the New Creation.

What you will not find in this book is an attack on any theological position. You will not find endless rhetoric and catchy phrases that make Dispensational or Reformed theologians seem dangerous or inept.
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Format: Hardcover
A brief summary of my long response: Parts 1 and 3 are clear and well written. They summarize the major points between Covenant and Dispensational theologies, and give a good summary of the Baptist position. Unfortunately, the exegesis section (part 2) greatly weakens all the claims. Part 2 is a long terrible read that is actually a collection of loosely edited articles on topics that are somewhat relevant to the book. Buy this book only if you have to or if you want a good summary of the new covenant theology in parts 1 and 3 and would rather have something new rather than old.

Begin actual review:

I'm (as of Nov. '12) finishing up my fourth year of seminary, and I had the opportunity to read this book for my capstone class on biblical theology, and the reviews of the book were very good (see the other reviews above). This was the only major book for the class (supplemented with articles and exegesis), so we had to read it closely: outlining main points, summarizing the argument, and responding and interacting with the claims.

After reading the book through, I'm left with the sense that this is one of the most disappointing books I've ever read. It's not the worst book, but it's certainly disappointing because of such high expectations and such a weak central section.

So here's a review, so that you (our potential purchaser) might know a little better what you're getting into. My goal is to try to give a fair summary of the book and what it claims to do, and then evaluate it.

A note before I begin:

I'm a paedobaptist at a Baptist school, so my biases will be evident. I'm asking different questions (perhaps) that they are answering.
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2 Comments 75 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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One of the thorniest theological dilemmas in my mind concerns two systems of thought, namely, Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology. God found me and saved me by his grace in a Conservative Baptist Church that was heavily influenced by Classical Dispensationalism. With the arrival of the third pastor, I learned the distinction between the church and Israel, various dispensations, two peoples of God, not to mention the so-called carnal Christian theory. These notions particular to Classical Dispensational thought were fairly commonplace at the time and I accepted them uncritically.

My time in a well known Christian University continued to engrain dispensational distinctives into my mind. But in 1988, the theological tides began to shift. It began with the publication of a book by John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus. MacArthur delivered a death nell to the so called "carnal Christian theory" and distanced himself from some of the primary tenets of dispensational theology. At the same time, MacArthur was writing as a committed Dispensationalist, what we refer today as Progressive Dispensationalism. The Gospel According to Jesus not only refuted some of the errors in Classical Dispensationalism; it also introduced readers to the Puritans and spoke in positive terms about Reformed theology - both subjects that were frowned upon by several professors in the Christian University I attended.

Kingdom Through Covenant by Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum, is in many ways the book that I have been waiting for. The authors strive to forge a path between dispensationalism and covenant theology.
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