Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JETS 59:4 (December 2016) p. 813
God’s Kingdom Through God’s Covenant: A Concise Biblical Theology. By Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015, 300 pp., $19.99 paper.
Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum’s new volume offers a refreshing and innovative guide to the study of the biblical covenant (God’s covenant) relating to God’s kingdom in light of a biblical-theological hermeneutic. The work contrasts in this regard with Michael Horton’s God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology (Baker, 2006) and Craig A. Blaising and Darrell Bock’s Progressive Dispensationalism (Baker, 2000).
Gentry and Wellum treat the biblical covenant as a foundation for interpreting biblical theology and its systematic implications. This presupposition seems to preclude both dispensational and covenant theologies from properly understanding the biblical covenant and its implications. This paperback, a somewhat condensed version of the authors’ larger related volume (Crossway, 2012), attempts to present a proper biblical replacement for shortcomings of dispensational and covenant theologies.
The authors assert that “the covenants are at the heart of the narrative plot structure” (p. 52) and call their approach “kingdom through covenant” or “progressive covenantalism” (p. 19). In light of this approach, this book provides an outcome of interaction with biblical exegesis, theology, and systematic theology (p. 11), which provides a provocative and insightful way to understand redemptive history and emphasize the role of new covenant work of Christ (p. 263).
This book is divided into three sections. In the first section, “Introduction,” the authors discuss the importance of biblical covenant, the difference between dispensationalism and covenant theology, and hermeneutical issues. In the second section, “Exposition of the Biblical Covenant,” the authors apply their hermeneutical approaches to the key covenant texts of the OT. This section consists of nine chapters that introduce the covenant in the Bible and the ANE, and then provide the exegetical argumentation on the biblical covenants related to Creation in Genesis 1–3, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the new covenant in Jesus. The final section, “Theological Integration,” articulates kingdom through covenant as a biblical-theological summary.
It is noteworthy that Gentry distinguishes two phrases—”to cut a covenant” and “to establish (confirm) a covenant”—as initiation and fulfillment (p. 257). This is an insightful proposition in that this thesis is a similar to the proposition of “believe” in Genes...
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