A Response To G. R. Beasley-Murray On The Kingdom -- By: Craig L. Blomberg

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 35:1 (Mar 1992)
Article: A Response To G. R. Beasley-Murray On The Kingdom
Author: Craig L. Blomberg

A Response To G. R. Beasley-Murray
On The Kingdom

Craig L. Blomberg*

Contemporary evangelicals on both sides of the Atlantic owe a profound debt of gratitude to George Beasley-Murray. Many have benefited immensely from sitting under his teaching and learning from his books.1 I recommend to my students his voluminous compendium of material in Jesus and the Kingdom of God as the best detailed work on the topic currently in existence.2 Our most recent generation of evangelical scholarship would be noticeably impoverished without his contributions. It is in this spirit of gratefulness to God for Beasley-Murray’s scholarship and ministry that I offer this response to his paper.

After reading his book on the kingdom, one finds no surprises in his essay. Here is a concise presentation of key tenets about Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom of God that reflect a growing consensus among evangelicals, that are endorsed by not a few outside our circles, and that should be widely accepted and promoted, particularly in light of so much misinformation at the level of popular preaching, especially over radio and television. I am particularly grateful for no less than nine of the foci of this paper.

First, and perhaps foremost, Beasley-Murray rightly defines the kingdom more as a reign than a realm, more as a power than a place. David Mains, in a recent “Chapel of the Air” series, nicely popularized this concept with his talks entitled “Thy Kingship Come.” I. Howard Marshall, assessing the state of the question in kingdom studies, included this definition as one of five points on which there was near-consensus agreement among NT scholars. (The others: the kingdom as the central theme of Jesus’ teaching, the authenticity of many of Jesus’ kingdom teachings, the combination of both present and future aspects of the kingdom, and the proclamation and activity of Jesus as the form in which the kingdom came to be present.)3

Second, Beasley-Murray insists on inaugurated eschatology as the best theological framework with which to summarize Jesus’ understanding of

*Craig Blomberg is associate professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary, P.O. Box 10,000, Denver, CO 80210.

God’s reign. As just noted, this is also widely held and has been increasingly approximated by some in the dispensationalist study group of the Evangelical Theological Society, most notably Robert Saucy and Craig Blaising.4 As a slightly tongue-in-cheek aside, one...

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