One of the the end goals of the Christian faith is that we are waiting for Christ to destroy “every rule and every authority and power” (1 Cor 15.24). The last enemy to be destroyed is death (15.25), and then everything will be made new (Rev. 21-22). But what if I told you this is happening now? What if I told you the new creation has already broken in, but it is not yet here.
In 2 Corinthians 5.17, Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” Or, more literally, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, a new creation.” Christ’s resurrection has brought in the end of the age.
We are the ones on whom the end of the ages has come. We live in between the cross and the throne. But some of the OT promises that would come at the end have happened now. Christians are saved, but they are not yet saved completely. We are freed from sins reign, yet we still battle sin. We have the Holy Spirit has a guarantee of the end, but we are not yet at the end. We are justified in Christ, yet we must still pass through the judgment at the end of this age, knowing that we will be justified completely in Christ.
Just as the President of the United States gives his inaugural address when he is sworn into office, so the last days have given their own inaugural address. They are here. This is called Inaugurated Eschatology (IE). God’s kingdom has broken into this world through Jesus Christ, And through this book Ben Gladd and Matt Harmon teach their reader(s) that IE is a “reality that should shape pastoral leadership and be reflected in the life and ministry of the church” (back cover).
Gladd and Harmon’s goal “is to explain how understanding and applying the already-not yet perspective significantly enriches several key aspects of the life and ministry of the church” (xii).
This isn’t the sort of keep-it-in-the-backshelf academic idea that the church would be better off not knowing about. Quite the opposite. It was part of the mindset of the New Testament biblical authors, and it influenced their service to the church, their prayers, their evangelism, and the way they fed, guarded, and guided the flock, God’s people.
There are three sections with three section each. Making All Things New is based of of Greg Beale’s massive work, A New Testament Biblical Theology (a fantastic read. To make time, read a page every time you brush your teeth), and works out more of the practical aspects of his book while condensing many of Beale’s main ideas.
Section 1: Theological Foundation: Grasping the Already-Not Yet
This section condenses much of Beale’s tome.
Chapter One looks at the theological foundation for IE.
Chapter Two looks at the end-time Church and how a faithful remnant is seen in both testaments.
Chapter Three examines how we now live in the overlap of the ages, how this impacts the Christian life, and how we are to live.
Section 2: Pastoral Leadership: Leading God’s End-Time Flock in the Already-Not Yet
Pastors play a unique role in leading God’s people, and this section is specifically geared toward them.
Chapter Four shows how pastors are to feed the flock through some as common as preaching – yet it must be preaching that is grounded in the biblical text, and one that understands IE and how it affects us now.
Chapter Five, pastors are to guard the flock because false teachers, antichrists, are already here (2 Thess 2.1-12; 1 Jn 2.18-23).
Chapter Six, pastors are to guide the flock. Like John, they lead by example in God’s kingdom, even when that involves suffering (Rev 1.9). By being that example, they show the Church how to overcome the world.
Section 3: End-Time Ministry: Service in the Latter-Day Temple of God
How does the Church, God’s end-time Temple, interact with both God and the world? Glad and Harmon examine worship, prayer, and missions.
Chapter Seven looks at worship in the beginning (Genesis 1-2) and the end (Revelation 4-5).
Chapter Eight, here Harmon examines the Lord’s Prayer, and how God’s kingdom has come to earth in Christ. Since God is ruling, we should fervently pray that life on earth would be as it is in heaven, with God ruling and all lovingly serving and obeying him because of Christ’s death and resurrection through the Holy Spirit. He also look at some of Paul’s teachings on prayer.
Chapter Nine gives a tight summary of the Bible’s storyline. It covers the command for Adam and Eve to spread the garden out to cover the earth that God’s glory would cover the earth, their failure to do so, and how that storyline progresses through Scripture up to Jesus, and then to his bride. Because of Christ, all those who are in Christ (both Jew and Gentile) are fulfilling what Adam and Israel were supposed to do, but failed to do.
The Conclusion summaries each chapter of the book.
Each chapter also ends with a good portion of practical teaching. There is an Implications section, which takes what the reader has been taught and funnels it into a mindset. How can one approach God on the basis of who he is and what he has done for us? How does one faithfully proclaim God’s word while persevering through suffering?
Practical Suggestions lists three actions the reader can do to cultivate the mindset that we live in the overlap of the ages. When we are going to preach or teach, we should bathe ourselves in prayer, because we know God has, does, and will work. You should “reflect how God’s end-time reign through Christ and his people is expressed through” a particular ministry in your church – even the nursery. And most chapters end with a Recommended Reading section.
Yes. This isn’t a book for only those who believe in covenant theology. While Gladd teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS), Harmon teaches at Grace Theological Seminary (GTS), a dispensational school. This is a theology that will deepen your reading of the Bible no matter which side of the Dispensational/Covenant line you lie on. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can still understand and gain much from this book.
- Authors: Benjamin Gladd and Matthew Harmon
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Baker Academic (March 15, 2016)
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Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Academic. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.