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The Kingdom of God
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Price:$19.97+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on December 19, 2013
“Seek first the Kingdom of God….” Jesus was a man who practiced what he preached. He lived, ate, breathed the kingdom. He advanced it through his ministry and he opened the doors to it through his death on the cross on our behalf. In other words Jesus was all about the Kingdom of God.

The “Kingdom of God” has been the central focus of theology for many protestants over the last several decades and for good reason. Jesus emphasizes the Kingdom throughout the Gospels, theologians have widely speculated about the nature of the kingdom, and have given even wider speculations about how the kingdom relates to eschatology. (I’m looking at you my dispensationalist friends). Along comes this book by Morgan and Peterson, they seek to give some clarity about the Kingdom of God. To do so they have collected essays by some well noted scholar to treat five different areas: 1) Historical, 2) Biblical, 3) Theological, and 4) Ethical. By adopting these perspectives they attempt to “move closer to a comprehensive exposition of the kingdom (Loc 217).

Overview

This book has 9 Chapters: One on history, two on the Old Testament, three on the New Testament, 2 on systematic theology, and one on Ethics.

Chapter 1 - Stephen Nichols writes a chapter on historical perspectives on the Kingdom of God.

Chapters 2-3 – Bruce Waltke takes on the task of articulating an OT theology of the Kingdom. True to his reformed theology he pays special attention to the role of covenants in the Kingdom.

Chapters 4-5 – Robert Yarbrough takes us through Matthew and Mark as a way to lay out the basic themes of the Kingdom in the NT. Then he gives us a brief overview of the Kingdom by reading Mark-The Epistles. Think of this as a survey of the NT.

Chapter 6 – Still focused on biblical theology, Clinton Arnold tackles The Kingdom and Satan. He presents an excellent overview of what role miracles play in the kingdom, and what place satan and his demons have in it as well.

Chapter 7- Ecclesiology meets Kingdom theology in this essay by Greg Allison. People often conflate the Kingdom with the Church. Allison gives us good reasons why that is a terrible mistake to make.

Chapter 8 – Gerald Bray takes on Eschatology and the Kingdom. This isn’t your typical “speculate about world events” kind of eschatology. This is Systematic eschatology, focused on the nature of time, eternity, and the ascension.

Chapter 9 – Anthony Bradley shows us what justice has to do with the Kingdom.

Pro’s

1-Clinton Arnold’s Essay – This was my highlight in reading this book. Unlike some people who see Jesus’s miracles as merely authenticating his divinity (as though nobody else ever performed a miracle…) he shows that Miracles are a foretaste of the kingdom. He also give a through evangelical treatment of demonology.
2-The NT Survey Chapters – If I ever make my way out of teaching Pauline studies and teach the Gospels or an NT Survey I could see myself making use of this book. I would certainly make use of Yarbrough’s chapter on the Kingdom in Mark through the Epistles.
3-The Book’s Price/Value – If you get the paperback it will set you back about $14. That isn’t too bad, but if you get it on the kindle (which I did) its only $0.99! For $0.99 a collection of essays by first rate evangelical scholars is a hard deal to pass up. With this book you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Con’s

1-Anthony Bradley’s Essay – I don’t know how else to say this, but this essay just doesn’t fit this volume. I know its about “Kingdom Ethics” but He never really makes the connection between why his ethical injunctions are the necessary overflow of Kingdom theology.
2-An Undefined Audience – I am not exactly sure whom this book is for. Its fairly academic (if that means dry and full of footnotes) so I assume its for academia. However its so basic that it doesn’t add anything to the pool of scholarly resources. It also seems too basic for even seminary students. Is the target audience college undergraduates? I’m not sure. This book would certainly work as a textbook for a college bible class. But that isn’t the way this book was promoted.

Conclusion

At $0.99 I don’t regret buying this book. I didn’t really learn much though (except for Clinton Arnold’s essay). So personally I wouldn’t shell out the $14 for the paperback. However I would make this book required reading in a biblical theology class for undergraduates.
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on December 28, 2012
Morgan and Peterson's newest installment in the Theology in Community series is a comprehensive look at one of the most prominent themes in the Bible--much of the Old Testament is in the context of kings and kingdoms, but God is the King of kings, and when God the Son comes into the `domain of Satan,' his chief message is the proclamation of the Kingdom of God (heaven). This book is highly accessible: technical language is kept to a minimum and explained whenever used. The perspectives of the authors are varying in context (OT, NT, Ethics, etc.) but unified in overall vision of what the Kingdom of God is and how it necessarily impacts the daily lives of all people (not just believers).

(Series Thesis: Theology in community aims to promote clear thinking on and godly responses to historic and contemporary theological issues....Theology in community also seeks to demonstrate that theology should be done in teams.)

Book thesis: It seeks to capture a fuller understanding of the kingdom of God than any one of the five conceptions above [classic liberal, social gospel, liberation theology, reconstructionist, postmodernist]. How? By adopting historical, biblical, theological, and ethical perspectives, it attempts to move closer to a comprehensive exposition of the kingdom.

Does the book fit in with the series thesis? Undoubtedly. Does it accomplish its own thesis? Most certainly. After reading this book, I have a foundational understanding of the kingdom of God and its vast-reaching implications. I can look at each of the five views surveyed in the introduction (named briefly above) , and explain to you what I think they have right and why as well as what I think they have wrong and why. This book is more than just a critique of other views of the kingdom, however--in fact, criticism is nearly absent. The authors are much more focused on constructive argumentation--building from the ground of Scripture to a theology for the church today. This demeanor is encouraging for learning theology as well as living out the kingdom ethic espoused by the book. As with all books in this series, there is an historical overview of the issue at hand, a great deal of writing given to Scripture itself in both Old and New Testament, discussion of related theological issues (herein miracles and eschatology), and how this informs our life in the church.

Compared to other books in the Theology in Community series, a bit more practical
Compared to other books on "Kingdom," more comprehensive, less polemic

The possible improvements are few:
1. There are some moments that are a bit redundant, but the little that was present is remarkable for the number of contributors; on the other hand, if there was no repetition, one might wonder if the contributors were even aware of the full presentation given by the book as a whole. The amount in this volume then is easily forgivable.
2. Each of the authors uses a different way of outlining/heading each section. This would probably not matter at all to many, but as I outline books as I read them, it gave me pause as I considered how to outline each chapter.

If formatting and slight repetition are the only areas for improvement, it is needless to say that I can recommend this book without reserved to any thoughtful Christian, and more specifically to Pastors, Parachurch Leaders, Government leaders, and anyone given to a particular eschatological or cultural position. However, allow me to end my review with particular examples of things I have learned or developed because of this book:

The Kingdom of God is a robust theme throughout all of Scripture, but it is not only an esoteric theological topic, but it has great implications on my life today. First, Jesus is King and will bring his kingdom fully upon the earth in the end; I can trust and rest assured in his loving and wise rule. Second, I have great responsibility as a member in God's kingdom: I must behave with kingdom ethic toward others, seeking to foster the image of God in them by the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom and by creating contexts in which they flourish as humans in the image of God; the external kingdom of God (peace on earth and recognition of God's reign) expands everywhere the internal kingdom of God grows (in righteousness, justice, faith, love). Third, although the Kingdom is both already, and not yet, Christ the King exists in eternity and is to him that I pray and ask even for proleptic blessings of the kingdom--he is mighty and able to answer my requests, though he may not for the sake of his Kingdom (for he will not forsake his kingdom).
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on January 4, 2014
A very good book on the Kingdom of God. Particularly good were the essays by Nichols and Bray. I very much appreciated the way the essays defined precisely the distinction between the Church and the Kingdom, updated me on recent scholarship (especially since late 90s when I was at seminary), and the fine overview of kingdom and eschatological thinking in church history. I recommend this to pastors, seminarians, and Christians interested in digging deeper on this topic. I purchased this book to help me with introductory matters for my next sermon series on the Gospel of Mark.
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on July 15, 2015
I love reading about the kingdom, but felt somewhat mislead by the title of this book. It certainly can be defended as "Theology in Community," but the community is only representative of a small slice of Christianity. I found myself longing for other voices...outside of this particular Reformed camp.
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on August 6, 2013
This is a valuable resource for a much needed examination of God's Kingdom. Although the selected contributors are, for the most part, from the same evangelical tradition, the work is a worth the ones time. I was pleased with the addition of the final essay on the contributions of the emerging faith communities. I believe anyone interested in the Kingdom of God would benefit from this volume.
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on November 10, 2013
This is a wonderful, and quite effective collection of essays by some very qualified God fearing, God loving theologians and Pastors who address a very complex subject. As I study, in my own personal journey I become more and more convinced that the Kingdom of God is an already not yet reality. These essays will open readers eyes to this view that seems to me to be very Biblically reinforced.
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on March 28, 2015
Excellent discussion. Authors of chapters take slightly different views, so therected is not always a consistent perspective.
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on December 23, 2013
I have read several books on the topic of the "Kingdom of God". This book is a great survey book that covers the topic from different perspective and points. I would highly recommend it.
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on November 15, 2014
Anything on the Kingdom is Good News to me.
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on January 19, 2015
Just as expected - thank you
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