A: INTRODUCTION by OSWALD J. SMITH.
ESCHATOLOGY has always been a fascinating subject. It appeals to both Christian and non-Christian alike. Everyone is curious about the future. That is why we have always had so many magicians and fortunetellers. Especially today do men long to know what lies ahead. However, apart from the Word of God we can only speculate. It alone discloses God’s purpose both for the present and the future.
I have read many books on prophecy. I am familiar with the various schools of thought and interpretation. Much has been written about the Kingdom of God. But of all the books I have read, I have never come across one that so clearly and so Scripturally deals with the Kingdom as does Dr. Ladd’s new volume, The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Dr. Ladd shows that the Kingdom of God belongs to the present as well as the future. He conceives of the Kingdom as the rule, the reign, the government of God in this age in the hearts and lives of those who yield themselves to Him, and in the next age over all the world. He sums it up in the second chapter in this way:
“The Kingdom of God is basically the rule of God. It is God’s reign, the divine sovereignty in action. God’s reign, however. is manifested in several realms, and the Gospels speak of entering into the Kingdom of God both today and tomorrow. God’s reign manifests itself both in the future and in the present and thereby creates both a future realm and a present realm in which man may experience the blessings of His reign.”
His interpretation of the parables is most illuminating. He does not believe that an interpretation has to be found for every detail. His understanding is that the Kingdom, though insignificant in appearance at present, is a reality and that it is destined to dominate the whole world. God will some day rule over all. This is a conception quite different from the usual interpretations given by the various schools of prophetic study. It should encourage the discouraged and give hope to the hopeless.
Dr. Ladd’s interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount is the clearest I have ever read. No one can study it without being deeply convicted. It cuts squarely across the practices and teachings of our day. Divorce, lust, anger, oaths, etc., are dealt with in no uncertain way. The interpretation is evangelistic and Scriptural in every sense of the word. It will make the Bible a new book.
It seems to me that the author’s emphasis on the absolute necessity of a decision with all that it involves is of the utmost importance. Dr. Ladd does not minimize the cost. Discipleship always costs. There is a price to pay. The rich young ruler had to give up all. God’s government demands complete submission. His subjects must put Him first. The Kingdom is entered only when a decision has been made and the price paid.
Then too, he makes it clear that the Church is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom right up to the end of the age, and that only when the task has been completed ‘will the King return. It is my hope that this book will be studied by ministers, students, and Christian workers everywhere. I congratulate Dr. Ladd upon having written. He has made a real contribution to the Church in our day.
OSWALD J. SMITH Los Angeles February, 1959
Part B: Some Notes related to Ladd’s Gospel of the Kingdom primarily from Wikipedia.
Ladd was a notable, modern proponent of Historic Premillennialism, and often criticized dispensationalist views. This was notable during this period, as dispensationalism was by far the most widely held view among evangelicals during the mid-twentieth century. His writings regarding the Kingdom of God (especially his view of inaugurated eschatology) have become a cornerstone of Kingdom theology. His perspective is expressed in The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views, R. G. Clouse, editor (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1977) and the shorter and more accessible The Gospel of the Kingdom (Paternoster, 1959).
Premillennialism is a view alternative to both postmillennialism, which teaches that the second coming of Jesus will occur after a thousand-year period of righteousness, and to amillennialism, which teaches that the thousand-year period is not meant to be taken literally but is the current church/messianic age. The two major species of premillennialism are historic and dispensational premillennialism, the latter of which is associated with pre-tribulational and mid-tribulational views. See the summary of Christian eschatological differences.
A major difference between historic and dispensational premillennialism is the view of the church in relation to Israel. Historics do not see so sharp a distinction between Israel and the church as the dispensationalists do, but instead view believers of all ages as part of one group, now revealed as the body of Christ. Thus, historic premillennialists see no issue with the church going through the Great Tribulation, and they do not need a separate pre-tribulational rapture of some believers as the dispensational system requires.
Proponents of historic premillennialism include Baptists John Gill, Robert Shank, Charles Spurgeon, Benjamin Wills Newton (a contemporary and fierce theological rival of the father of dispensationalism John Nelson Darby), George Eldon Ladd, Albert Mohler, and Clarence Bass and Presbyterians Francis Schaeffer and Gordon Clark,.
Part C: Some References for Further Study.
Book of Revelation
Blomberg, Craig L. & Chung, Sung Wook,eds. A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative to “Left Behind” Eschatology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2009.ISBN 978-0-801-03596-8
Mathewson, David & Chung, Sung Wook, Models of Premillennialism. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2018.
- Gary Crampton (February 1999). “Review of A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith by Robert L. Reymond”. The Trinity Review. The Trinity Foundation. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
Charles H. Spurgeon and Eschatology Archived 2007-08-05 at the Wayback Machine.
Direction: A Commentary on the Revelation of John
Al Mohler at Dauphin Way Baptist Church, March 29, 2009
International Conference on Historic Premillennialism at Denver Seminary, April 23-25, 2009