A Review of “The Blessed Hope” by George E. Ladd -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 113:452 (Oct 1956)
Article: A Review of “The Blessed Hope” by George E. Ladd
Author: John F. Walvoord


A Review of “The Blessed Hope” by George E. Ladd

John F. Walvoord

The appearance of this important volume on the return of the Lord just at the time of the completion of the study of “Premillennialism and the Tribulation” will be of such special interest to readers of Bibliotheca Sacra that it justifies an interruption of the series for this review. Dr. George E. Ladd, Professor of New Testament History and Biblical Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, in this his second book in the field of eschatology, ably presents a spirited defense of posttribulationism. According to Dr. Ladd himself, “The central thesis of this book is that the Blessed Hope is the second coming of Jesus Christ and not a pretribulation raptures” (p. 11, italics his). Dr. Ladd is recognized as a New Testament scholar and on occasion he has contributed articles to Bibliotheca Sacra. In offering this review, no personal criticism or discourtesy to the author is intended. The reviewer is convinced that the arguments of the book do not sustain adequately the posttribulational position, but Dr. Ladd is entitled to be heard. He has marshaled with unusual force the traditional arguments for the posttribulational theory. It is not too much to say that this is one of the best studies in support of posttribulationism which has appeared in book form for some time and will probably strengthen the cause of posttribulationism in contemporary conservative theology.

A number of important assumptions are basic to the point of view presented. While Dr. Ladd plainly champions posttribulationism, he explicitly assumes the premillennial

interpretation of Scripture. This is clear from this volume (cf. p. 13), as well as from his earlier work, Crucial Questions about the Kingdom of God. The principal appeal is made to the Scriptures themselves which are everywhere considered infallible and authoritative. Dr. Ladd stands with the conservative theology of orthodoxy, and it would be most unfair to charge him with theological liberalism. It should be obvious that liberal scholars do not debate pretribulationism versus posttribulationism. Though the premillennial point of view is assumed, the dispensational interpretation of Scripture is rejected. The view is advanced that the promises given to Israel in the Old Testament have a dual fulfillment, i.e., both in the church and in Israel. In this regard, his point of view is similar to covenant theology in its definition of the kingdom of God and the church. In contrast to covenant theology, however, the futuristic interpretation of the Book of Revelation is held which, Dr. Ladd states, was promoted by Darby and his Plymouth Brethren associates after centuries of neglect. Hi...

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