Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
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Making All Things New: Inaugurated Eschatology for the Life of the Church. By Benjamin L. Gladd and Matthew S. Harmon with introductory chapter by G. K. Beale. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016, xix + 199 pp., $20.00 paper.
In academic biblical studies it is not uncommon to encounter inaugurated eschatology, the New Testament (NT) understanding that God’s new creational kingdom has, on the one hand, erupted into the present evil age through Jesus Christ, but, on the other hand, acknowledge that the kingdom awaits full realization at the consummation with the second coming of Christ. Such discussions of inaugurated eschatology are very common in NT theologies and systematic theologies focused on the last things. Nevertheless, as Benjamin Gladd and Matthew Harmon rightly find, this perspective has not significantly impacted the ministry of the church. They “attempt to explain how the already-not yet framework informs our understanding of the life and ministry of the church” (xii). Their aim is to show that inaugurated eschatology shapes the nature of the church, the Christian life, pastoral leadership, and the function of the church in worship, prayer, and missions.
The book is straightforward in its organization and structure. Part one of the book builds the theological foundation. Since Gladd and Harmon studied under and are heavily influenced by G. K. Beale, the first chapter is written by him. Beale ably traverses the biblical storyline and convincingly demonstrates how the “latter day” hopes and prophecies based in the Old Testament (OT) have been set in motion in the present through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ and the formation of the church. The climax of the latter days is still future as believers live between the times, anticipating the resurrection of the body and the new heavens and earth. Next, in chapter two Harmon describes the nature of the church as the eschatological people of God. While trying to walk a line between dispensational and covenant theology, Harmon presents the church as the new covenant community (Jer 31), the restored latter-day Israel and eschatological remnant which has been
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redeemed through Christ and empowered by the long-hoped for Holy Spirit. Harmon maintains that the church is not a parenthesis, as in some forms of dispensational thought, but the church does not “replace” Israel either as God has not rejected the Jewish people (32–34). In chapter 3, Gladd describes “how believers live in accordance with the ‘latter days,’ particularly, how they are to behave as kingdom citizens, spiritually resurrected beings, and Spirit-led believers” (37). The kingdom and...
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