Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 111:441 (Jan 1954)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Kingdom of God. By John Bright. The Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, New York, 1953. 288 pp. $3.75.

Among the many books which have been written in recent years on the theme of the kingdom of God, this volume will undoubtedly take a large and significant place. It was adjudged by the publishers as worthy of their $7,500 award. Most readers will agree that the contents justify in large measure this recognition.

The author is Professor of Hebrew and Interpretation of the Old Testament at Union Theological Seminary at Richmond, Virginia. Thorough scholarship and unusually high literary quality characterize its pages. The author writes with the passion of a prophet and makes his treatment live with abundant use of historical background.

The theological position represented in this volume is that which characterizes conservative Reformed theology and in relation to millennial doctrine the amillennial position is assumed. Of the nine chapters, six deal with the Old Testament, in which the author manifests a high standard of scholarship and an ability to translate complex and difficult information in understandable terminology. Woven into the theological discussion of the meaning of the kingdom in the Old Testament is considerable historical material which enriches the discussion.

The three chapters concluding the work dealing with the kingdom in the New Testament fall considerably short of the high standard set in the earlier chapters. The author is forced, in order to achieve reasonable brevity, to make sweeping assumptions which he does not attempt to prove. For instance, a crucial question such as whether the church is actually Israel in fulfillment of Israel’s hope is settled in one brief paragraph on pages 226–27. The author apparently realizes this weakness as he repeatedly uses the phrase “if the church is the true Israel.” He presents the Calvinistic point of view that the church inherits and fulfills Israel’s promises in a spiritual way and that there will be no literal fulfillment.

While the author believes that it is an essential part of our Christian hope that the kingdom will come in its eschatological as well as in its present sense, the work closes with a note of uncertainty. The last paragraph begins, “The path of the future is indeed dark, and the end of it may not be seen.”

While the reviewer does not share the amillennial point of view of the author represented in this book, it is only fair to say that this volume is one of the best statements of the theme “the kingdom of God” yet appearing from this theological point of view. Premillenarians, while not agreeing with many conclusions, will nev...

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