Gentry, Peter J., and Stephen J. Wellum. Kingdom through Covenant. Crossway, 2018.
When Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum released the first edition of their Kingdom through Covenant in 2012, they made a significant contribution to the evangelical theological scene. Their argument, in short, is that the biblical covenants form the backbone to the storyline of Scripture. Hence, Christians ought to read the Bible according to the storyline that progresses along time through the covenant.
What they call progressive covenantalism does not quite fit within traditional covenantal or dispensational theology. So it forms a third system that stands between (or apart from) dispensationalism and covenantalism.
Is it worth buying the second edition?
This second edition is a true second edition. The authors explain:
In brief what is new is a thorough updating of the argument, clarifying any terminology and concepts that were misunderstood in light of some reviews and helpful feedback, being more precise in our discussion of the issues and theological positions we disagree with, and interacting with literature since the publication of the first edition.
Thus, for those skeptical about purchasing a second edition when they own the first edition, they should feel free to purchase the second edition because it makes significant changes.
What does the book do?
Gentry and Wellum dive deep into the exegetical data of the Bible while at the same time outlining the systematic-theological implications of their exegetical or biblical-theological study of the Bible. Put simply, they dive deep into Hebrew exegesis and ascend into the topics of systematic theology.
For example, they address how carefully observing the progressive covenants in Scripture relates to matters such as Christology and ecclesiology. In so doing, they make key advancements against the theological frameworks of dispensationalism and covenant theology. Certainly, we should not press the differences too much here. For each of the three groups noted above agree on all central points of Christian theology. The differences mainly lie in how these groups relate the two testaments together and see the progress of revelation unfolding.
What does the book not do?
The authors do not discuss directly classical theology and its relationship to the biblical storyline. What I mean is that no discussion occurs on key metaphysical realities about God in relationship to the progressive covenantal storyline of the Bible. In other words, readers should expect exegesis (biblical-theology) and discussion of systematic theological concerns that are important to the modern theological systems such as covenantal theology.
Should you buy it?
Yes. Buy it if you are a pastor, student, or someone who wants to understand the Bible better. It will not only help you to teach the Bible’s story better, but it will also help you to understand it. The dogged return to Scripture found within this volume reveals a deep, studious appreciation for the words of God as revealed in Scripture.
Crossway kindly provided me a review copy of the book.