An Amillennial Reply To Peters: A Review Article -- By: Kenneth E. Jones

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 24:4 (Dec 1981)
Article: An Amillennial Reply To Peters: A Review Article
Author: Kenneth E. Jones


An Amillennial Reply To Peters: A Review Article

Kenneth E. Jones*

The Theocratic Kingdom. By George N.H. Peters. Kregel, 1978 [1884], 2175 pp. This massive three-volume defense of dispensational theology was first published in 1884 by Funk and Wagnails. Kregel reprinted it in 1952 with a preface by Wilbur M. Smith and again in 1972 with a biography of the author written by John H. Stoll. The fact that this last edition of a century-old book of this size has had at least four printings tells us something of its popularity and influence. Such a work can be studied with profit whether one agrees with the writer or not.

George N.H. Peters (1825–1909) was born in Pennsylvania and pastored a number of Lutheran churches in Ohio. But in his long life his frequent illnesses and increasing blindness kept him from continuing long in the pastorate. He devoted his time and energy to the writing of this work. Otherwise it might not have been so long or so complete.

The size and scope of the work is impressive. In its three volumes it comprises 2175 pages of two sizes of print: small and very small. It is about twice as long as the Bible itself. In the preface Smith calls it “the most exhaustive, thoroughly annotated and logically arranged study of Biblical prophecy that appeared in our country during the nineteenth century” (I 1). Smith also, in characteristic fashion, counted the names in the index and reports that Peters quoted from more than four thousand different authors both ancient and modern.

The work is organized into 206 propositions plus a concluding chapter. Each proposition is explained briefly and then defended in numbered observations, and each observation is followed by footnotes set in smaller type and printed as part of the text. This seems frustrating at first, but familiarity with the plan shows it has advantages (such as easy cross-referencing). References in this article will give in parentheses the volume and page numbers.

I. Basic Thesis

The thesis of this work is that in the Abrahamic covenant God promised the land of Canaan as the eternal possession of Abraham and his descendants; that this promise was confirmed and expanded in the Mosaic covenant at Sinai; that to this was added in the Davidic covenant the promise that a son of David would sit on his throne and rule forever; that these covenant promises were not fulfilled even by the first coming of Christ but that their fulfillment has been postponed to the second advent when they shall all come to pass literally. But it would be best to let Peters tell it in his own words. This he does in two places:

The view that we have all along maintained is this, viz., that this Kingdom, Theocratic-Davidic, is of divine ...

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