George Ladd: The Gospel of the Kingdom

February 23, 2011 at 10:04 am | Posted in Books and Movies, Eschatology, Theology | 2 Comments

I’ve been reading George Ladd’s The Gospel of the Kingdom. I was greatly influenced by Ladd’s writing in the past, even though I’d never read one of his books; I’d only read what many others influenced by him had written.  When I saw a blog, on the Desiring God website I believe, listing the most influential books each person on their staff had read, I noticed this one listed by a few different people.  Soon after that, I came across a copy and decided it must be time to read it for myself.  This short book is a great summary of Ladd’s Kingdom theology.

Reading The Gospel of the Kingdom reminded me of my seminary days when I first thought through these matters for myself.  I had been raised in a Dispensational school of thought, but Ladd’s theology told an entirely different story about scripture that just seemed to make so much more sense than what I’d seen before.  His description of God’s Kingdom and its relationship to the Church and the nation of Israel drew my attention and my vote when it came time for a position paper on these matters.  That position has grown into my own conviction with over 20 years of biblical study and expository preaching since.

Ladd’s view is so simple and so elegant.  He defines the Kingdom of God and covers many scriptures dealing with the Kingdom, and then comes to these conclusions.  In scripture, kingdom primarily means authority and rule, so God’s Kingdom is his rule in the lives of men.  Those in God’s Kingdom are those in whose lives he reigns supreme – they are his people.  Ladd shows how the Kingdom is not, and was not, Israel, though those in the Kingdom in ages past usually were in Israel.  Then he shows how the Church is not the Kingdom, but those in the Kingdom in this age are in the church.  There is however, only one Kingdom, only one people of God; it works in different ages through different institutions.

This theory has many advantages of Dispensational theology without the weakness and many strengths of Covenant theology without those weaknesses.  If these matters are an interest to you, then you will like this book.  Simple but full of solid truth.

Here are two great quotes from the book:

The Kingdom of God is a miracle.  It is the act of God.  It is supernatural.  Men cannot build the Kingdom; they cannot erect it.  The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of God; it is God’s reign, God’s rule.  God has entrusted the Gospel of the Kingdom to men.  It is our responsibility to proclaim the good news about the Kingdom.  But the actual working of the Kingdom is God’s working. (p.64)

If the righteousness of the Kingdom is a standard which I must attain in my own ability, I stand forever condemned and shut out of the Kingdom of God.  No one, by human merit, can attain the standard of the Sermon on the Mount.  The righteousness which God’s Kingdom demands, God’s Kingdom must give.  It must be of grace or I am lost. (p.93)


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  1. […] George Ladd: The Gospel of the Kingdom ( […]

  2. This made a lot of sense to me.


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