Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 117:465 (Jan 60) p. 67
The Greatness Of The Kingdom. By Alva J. McClain, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1959. 556 pp. $6.95.
In the nineteenth century probably the greatest work on the subject of the kingdom was produced in three volumes by George N. H. Peters entitled The Theocratic Kingdom. Though many worthy works on the kingdom of God have appeared since 1900, this volume by Alva J. McClain, President of Grace Theological Seminary, representing a lifetime of study, may well become the classic of the twentieth century.
The treatment is rich, detailed, well documented, and comprehensive. Five major sections comprise the substance of the discussion. Part one is devoted to introductory considerations, including definitions. Part two presents the mediatorial kingdom in the Old Testament history. Part three takes up the meditorial kingdom in Old Testament prophecy. Part four deals with the meditorial kingdom in the Four Gospels. Part five takes up the meditorial kingdom in Acts, the epistles, and the Apocalypse. Two appendices on “The Spirituality of the Kingdom” and “A Premillennial Philosophy of History” close the discussion.
Most contemporary treatments of the doctrine of the kingdom of God are faulty in some major area. For instance, the prize-winning volume by John Bright entitled The Kingdom of God, though helpful in the Old Testament area, is very thin in the New Testament. George E. Ladd’s volume Crucial Questions About the Kingdom of God ignores the Old Testament and builds almost entirely upon the New Testament word for kingdom, basileia. Louis Berkhof’s work on The Kingdom of God suffers from brevity and from the limitations of amillennial interpretation. In contrast to these, McClain has provided a thorough Biblical study of the doctrine of the kingdom in both Testaments.
Theologically it is written from the conservative, premillennial point of view. A moderate form of dispensationalism is disclosed in crucial questions such as the relationship of Israel to the church and the relationship of the Mosaic dispensation to the present age of grace. In a mature and masterly way the author carries his readers through a mass of material carefully organized and yet progressing logically so that one section prepares the way for the next. Most significant is the emphasis on the testimony of Scripture rather than a fruitless discussion of human theories.
The main thesis of the book is that the kingdom of God is found in two forms in the Scripture: (1) the universal kingdom of God covering all aspects of divine creation and therefore extending to every creature, and (2) the mediatorial kingdom found historically in the
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