Item description for The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective by Russell Moore...
Overview Russell D. Moore explores how a "Kingdom" consensus among evangelicals led to their renewed engagement in social and political realms.
In this scholarly work, Russell D. Moore relates the history leading up to the new "Kingdom" consensus among evangelicals from the time theologian Carl F. H. Henry called for it fifty years ago. He examines how this consensus offers a renewed theological foundation for evangelical engagement in the social and political realms.
While evangelical scholars and pastors will be interested in this sharp, insightful book, all evangelicals interested in public policy will find it useful in discovering how this new Kingdom perspective works out in the public square.
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Studio: Crossway Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.1" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.86" Weight: 0.97 lbs.
Release Date Oct 18, 2004
Publisher GOOD NEWS PUBLISHING #65
ISBN 1581346271 ISBN13 9781581346275
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More About Russell Moore
Russell Moore (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the eighth president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation's largest Protestant denomination. A widely-sought commentator, Dr. Moore has been called "vigorous, cheerful, and fiercely articulate" by the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, including Onward, The Kingdom of Christ, Adopted for Life, and Tempted and Tried, and he blogs regularly at RussellMoore.com and tweets at @drmoore. He and his wife, Maria, have five sons.
Reviews - What do customers think about Kingdom Of Christ?
A Tantalizing View of the Kingdom of God Oct 19, 2008
What does the Kingdom of God have to do with the church?
Is the Kingdom of God a future reality, a present reality, or both?
How should the Kingdom of God influence our understanding of salvation?
How does the evangelical understanding of God's Kingdom affect our political involvement?
Only a well-read, thoughtful author could navigate safely through the minefield of questions listed above and still provide readers with a tantalizing view of what the Kingdom of God is and what it looks like in our world today.
Russell Moore's The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective is, for conservative evangelicalism, a watershed book that some have compared to Carl Henry's 1947 book The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. While Henry and Moore share the same subject matter (and it remains to be seen if Moore's book will influence the next generation as much as Henry's book influenced post-war evangelicals), both authors come to the question of the Kingdom in different ways, as well they should. Moore approaches the Kingdom of God after more than fifty years of evangelical reflection, theological pondering, and political activism.
The Kingdom of Christ is divided into three main sections. First, Moore lays out the eschatology of the Kingdom. He lets the reader listen in on the sometimes heated discussions between Dispensationalist and Covenant Reformed theologians regarding the Kingdom of God. Dispensationalists fought for a future, physical understanding of the Kingdom. The Reformed tended to see the Kingdom as spiritual and already present. By drawing on the work of George Eldon Ladd and others, Moore shows how a unique consensus has been reached throughout evangelicalism - that God's Kingdom is both now and not yet.
The chapter on eschatology was particularly illuminating for me. I am a student who has taken for granted the "already/not yet" nature of the Kingdom. Until I read Moore's book, I did not realize how divided evangelicals were on this question just a few decades ago. This consensus is even more astounding once I consider the teaching I received at an evangelical institution in Eastern Europe, which also commended the "already/not yet" view with vigor. (I'd love to see a book on how this consensus has shaped evangelicalism worldwide.)
Next, Moore turns to Kingdom soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). Moore believes that the doctrine of salvation must be Christocentric, cosmic, and holistic. He again points to the discussions of Dispensationalists and Covenant theologians and their eventual agreement on these three aspects of salvation. I am thankful for Dr. Moore's holistic theory of salvation that includes, but is not limited to personal decision and individual faith. Throughout this chapter, Moore demonstrates that the Kingdom of Christ should lead to a comprehensive Christian worldview.
Finally, Moore turns to the question of ecclesiology. How do the Kingdom of God and the Church relate to each other? What should the church look like? Moore addresses a deficiency of evangelicalism that has too often relied on parachurch organizations and not the local church. He directs us back to ecclesiological foundations built on the biblical understanding of God's Kingdom being most manifested in the local church.
I end this brief review with a few thoughts. First, a review like this doesn't do justice to the scope of Moore's book. The Kingdom of Christ deserves to be read thoughtfully by pastors and scholars alike. Almost half the book is made up of endnotes, which makes it difficult for those readers who like to flip back and forth to see the deeper discussion. Many of the endnotes are paragraphs themselves. (Rarely do you find endnotes to be as rich as the main text.) Perhaps a reprint of this book would put the endnotes as footnotes and help those of us whose hands get worn out from flipping.
A tip to my readers: do not expect to read and digest The Kingdom of Christ in a day or two. Moore says so much in so little space that you might find yourself reading and re-reading certain sections as you seek to understand the growing consensus. A follow-up book for laypeople (in which Moore lays out the consequences of the evangelical view, rather than how evangelicals arrived at consensus) would be most helpful.
Moore's proposal left me with the desire to read and reflect more on the idea of the Kingdom. In the chapter on ecclesiology, he condemns a wishy-washy generic evangelicalism and advocates the rise of robust theologians from specific denominations. What would this mean for evangelicalism in general? What should be the nature of the relationship between churches of evangelical faith that hold to differing denominational distinctives? On the one hand, Moore's book is a celebration of consensus that has bridged denominational lines. On the other hand, he believes distinctives are necessary and should be upheld.
Just when you think the new evangelical consensus provides hope for a coming generation of evangelicals, Moore reminds us that evangelicalism is now splintering apart in other areas. Issues of serious theological concern at stake, including open theism, inclusivism, and feminism. Moore has done a noble job of recounting evangelicalism's new unity on the nature of the Kingdom. Now the question begs to be asked: will evangelicalism last long enough to sustain the new consensus?
The Next Carl F. H. Henry Jul 7, 2007
Carl Henry launched an Evangelical Renaissance and gave intellectual credibility for Evangelical social endeavors. Russell Moore continues that legacy.
Moore argues that Evangelicalism, for having all the right theology, has failed to put that into practice (Here he is following Carl Henry's *Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism*). He critiques both Reformed and Dispensational thinkers (the reviewer is Reformed). Moore argues for the Kingdom of Christ as a legitimate fulcrum for making social and political moves without losing the need for personal regeneration. Dispensational thinkers, argues Moore, make kingdom preaching irrelevant because it preaches an earthly, future kingdom which has no relevance to the Church. Covenant theologians, on the other hand, preach a kingdom that is *now* but when pressed, end up with a spiritual, heavenly kingdom--which again has no relevance for the church.
Moore argues to the contrary that the Kingdom is now, has earthly ramifications, and presently finds its culmination in Christ. Kingdom language, for Moore, is warfare language. He follows much of Kuyper in arguing that Christ claims are binding on the whole order. He follows Ridderbos in positing a "cosmic" redemption. If sin is cosmic in its reach, so is redemption. Well said.
Criticisms and Personal Comments: 1. Moore comes from a premillennial background. He rightly critiques Amillennialism as being neo-platonic. His interpretation of Isaiah 65:20 ends most discussions of amillennialism. However, it is not clear how his interpretation of Isaiah 65:20 actually proves historical premillennialism and not postmillennialism?
2. He critiques theonomy when he should actually be critiquing Gary North.
3. The book is endnoted, not footnoted. The actual text is less than 200 pages. I read it in about a day.
Conclusion: This book promises much and leaves the reader wrestling with tough issues. The current reviewer is excited that Southern Baptists are getting involved with "kingdom issues" in a way that does not denigrate either the gospel or modern culture. One hopes that many conservative Presbyterians will take note. Aside from a few doctrinal criticisms, the current reviewer recommends this book without qualifications.
There is another king than Caesar May 31, 2005
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of this book. Although evangelicals pray "Thy kingdom come" and affirm that Jesus "sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty," many have no clear notions about the nature of Jesus' kingdom or kingship. Are they present or future; do they refer to Israel or the church; how do they relate to salvation and Christian cultural and political engagement? Disconcertingly, evangelicals provide widely divergent answers to these fundamental questions. However, perhaps even more troubling are the large number of evangelicals who would respond to these questions by contending that they are not very important and have little to do with the gospel.
Dr. Moore shows that this theological confusion and apathy about the nature of Jesus' kingdom has had pervasive, negative effects on evangelical theology and cultural and political engagement. However, he recounts the work that God did during the second half of the twentith century to lead dispensational and covenant theologians to increasingly agree about the nature of Jesus' kingdom and the relationship between his kingdom and redemptive history, the doctrine of salvation, and the doctrine of the church. Dr. Moore also sets forth the biblical evidence in support of this emerging consensus. (I encourage readers to look up the citations; I found them to be powerful.) Having articulated the consensus position and the support therefor, he turns to show the promise that this new theological understanding holds for a fresh approach to evangelical cultural and political engagement.
This book is a timely and forceful antidote for a central weakness of evangelicalism. Although it describes a new consensus, it is careful to describe this as an "emerging consensus." There are still many evangelical theologians who largely hold to the traditional articulations of dispensational and covenant theology. Furthermore, the movement of the consensus from the seminaries to the churches is a slow and uncertain process. Sadly, for many evangelicals, some version of traditional dispensational or covenant theology acts as a powerfully distorting hermeneutical lens that makes it difficult for them to explore the nature of Jesus' kingdom and its relationship with the other aspects of Christian doctrine. It is my hope that many, both pastors and laity, might read this book and revisit with fresh eyes the questions that Dr. Moore has addressed.
"The Already" And the "Not Yet" in Evangelical Theology Apr 22, 2005
Over the last 60 years Evangelical theology has not been static. Russell D.Moore's "The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective" traces the development of a growing Evangelical consensus regarding the "already" and "not yet" perspective of the Kingdom of God as reflected in both the modified covenant theology of Hoekema's "The Bible and The Future" and Blaising and Bock's "Progressive Dispensationalism". This book is not for the faint hearted. The extended footnotes and bibliography take up over one third of its three hundred and twenty pages.
Moore gives a valuable historical picture of development of the Kingdom aspect of Evangelical theology since the end of World War II, beginning with the concerns of Carl F.Henry and George Ladd. He shows how the differing views of the Kingdom held by traditional Dispensationalism on the one hand, and traditional Covenantal theology on the other, contributed to an Evangelical lethargy regarding engagement specifically in the political arena. This is set in the historical context of the Fundamentalist reaction to liberal theology that replaced the Gospel with a truncated "social gospel" that effectively denied individual redemption.
As theologians from both sides of Evangelicalism wrestled with the meaning of the "already" and the "not yet" perspective of the Kingdom, a consensus began to emerge regarding the Kingdom. Positive aspects from both sides of the Evangelical debate over the Kingdom came to be embraced in a consensus regarding the nature and cosmic scope of the Kingdom in its inaugural form in the New Covenant as well as its consummation in the New Heavens and the New Earth. The result is that though both sides may and do still debate details, both Progressive Dispensationalism as found in the writings of Blaising, Bock, and Saucy, and modified Covenant theology represented by Hoekema, Gaffin, Poythress and others, agree on a foundational structure and the cosmic scope of the Kingdom of God.
I might add that there is little discussion in this book of Post-millennialism. There are historical as well as theological reasons for that. Nineteenth century Post-millennialism was as much a product of the influence of the modern age's optimism as was the optimism in the liberal churches embrace of the "social gospel". Nor is it clear that current Post-millennialism by its own presuppositions is able to grapple in a Biblically meaningful way with an "already" and "not yet" perspective of the Kingdom.
Some may question how wide an impact Progressive Dispensationalism has had on the people in the pew, and see that as a problem for the propositions Moore articulates. The same question may be asked of the just as recent modified Covenant Theology. It is not clear that the average person in the pew of the church adhering to Covenant theology understands that theology any better then the person in the pew of a Dispensational oriented church, understands that Dispensationalism.
Whatever the case, Moore establishes the point that a theological consensus on the Kingdom provides a foundation for the integration of an organic view of theology as a whole. Modern Enlightenment thinking fed the tendency to categorize theology proper into separate components that were often only superficially related to one another. The recognizing of the organic connection between the categories of theology proper is a welcome development.
This holistic integration of the different areas of theology is seen as Moore traces the impact of the Evangelical consensus regarding the Kingdom on the issues of eschatology, soteriology, and ecclesiology; three areas that have long been bones of contention between traditional Covenant and Dispensational theologians. Moore sets forth how the consensus on the Kingdom has by organic connection led to a basic foundational consensus in these three areas.
Though Moore focuses on how this consensus provides a unified foundation for thoughtful Evangelical political involvement, his discussion also gives a starting place for an Evangelical response to Post-modernism, the communitarian focus of the Emergent church, and the Open Theism challenge. The starting place is in the cosmic scope of redemption provided by the "already" and "the not yet": a cosmic scope that does not negate individual salvation, but on the contrary gives individual salvation a fuller and richer meaning in light of all that Jesus as Messiah King will accomplish.
In the last chapter of "The Kingdom of Christ", Moore discusses how at the point of an emerging consensus on the Kingdom, Evangelicalism is being divided by Open Theism on the one hand, and the communitarian focus of the Emergent church on the other; both of which Moore sees as a move away from the clear implications of the "already" and "not yet" Kingdom view. The central focus of the Kingdom view is Jesus reigning as Messiah King, both now in the inauguration, and fully and completely in the future consummation of the Kingdom. Open Theism by definition cannot be consistent with that focus. Communitarianism clouds that focus with an emphasis that makes the church as community central to what the church is.
I am surprised "The Kingdom of Christ" has not received more attention then it seems to have at this point. It is one of those books that, as I read it, I could not help but sense I was reading something of real monumental importance. Time will tell if such is really the case, but it is a book that I encourage every Evangelical Pastor and theological student to read.
This book says nothing Jan 22, 2005
This book doesn't really add anything to theological discussion. All Moore is really doing is identifying an emerging consensus between Covenantal and Dispensational theologians. That seems to over-simplify American evangelical theology by quite a bit. Eschatologically one would think that there are only two views representative of America's evangelicals. This is not the case. Moore really only gives credence to Amillennialism and Dispensationalism (and he really only discusses Progressive Dispensatiolism). While academically Progressive Dispensationalism may be gaining ground but it is a far different than the brand you'll find in most evangelical bookstores. And Amillennialism is probably as popular among Covenentalists as is Postmillennialism, so why is the only recognition of Postmillennialism that it exists. This book is barren as a real assessment of where American evangelicals are going. I see absolutely no reason to believe that an academic consensus will have much of an effect on the majority of evangelicals. In fact it seems that most Christians in America are moving away from theology and have been for decades despite the fact that so much ground is being broken at the scholastic level. I will say this of Moore's work here; it is informative. But being informed of a movement that really has had almost no effect on the majority of America's evangelicals and their churches is a waste in my opinion. The true task should not be to make Covenantal theology look more like Dispensational and vice verse but instead to foster a greater appreciation in the hearts and minds of layman and pastors for the study and truth of God.
It also seems to me that this work is a little too skewed in the direction of Dispensational theology. It's not really and explicit thing but it's something that did trouble me slightly as I read this work. I'm also not sure that Moore ever quantifies his acceptance of many of these concessions made between the respective views. Why does he so willingly claim that these are positive steps? Again though I must say that I found this work to be informative. I am relatively young and I was truly unaware that many of these concessions were ever problematic. I was introduced to Amillenialism by Hoekema. And Progressive Dispensationalism is really about my age.