A Brief Book Notice from Books At a Glance
by Fred G. Zaspel
From time to time, people have asked me what books and authors along the way have been most profitable for me in my own study. There are a few authors at the top of the list – Warfield is one, of course! – and in this and later posts I will highlight some of them, in no particular order. Today: George Eldon Ladd.
My first acquaintance with Ladd was a watershed moment in my theological development. His A Theology of the New Testament, especially his treatment of the Gospels, was eye-opening and was one of my first introductions to biblical theology. Then I found his I Believe in the Resurrection extremely helpful in its demonstration of the redemptive-historical significance of the resurrection of Christ (by the way, Richard Gaffin’s Resurrection & Redemption was very important and helpful here also). Next, I found Ladd’s Crucial Questions on the Kingdom of God outstanding. It was one of the more important works on the Kingdom of God at the time, and it remains valuable for its clear articulation of the theme. His The Presence of the Future is an evangelical classic, sorting out Scripture’s “now & not yet” perspective with skill and precision. Its historical overview of interpreters alone was worth the price of the book.
All these were important reads for me, especially in terms of introducing the field of Biblical Theology. I would encourage pastors to read them all. Further, his The Pattern of NT Truth helpfully displays the various points of biblical-theological emphases of the synoptic Gospels, John, and Paul, respectively, although you’ll get much of this in his A Theology of the New Testament, but here in a more focused way.
Ladd was a leader in the blossoming field of Biblical Theology, and all these are valuable reads providing the larger biblical framework for handling passages that touch kingdom & eschatological themes. If you want a better grasp of inaugurated eschatology, Ladd is a great place to get it.
Speaking of eschatology, Ladd’s The Blessed Hope is the most important answer to the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine. I had already abandoned the doctrine by the time I read Ladd, but I still found his thorough (and devastating) critique well-focused and illuminating. Ladd’s treatment of the millennial question in The Meaning of the Millennium is excellent, and I found this the best of the millennial “views” books. Ladd’s brief response to Boettner’s postmillennialism is hilariously classic – worth the price of admission all by itself. Ladd was a recognized authority on all things apocalyptic, and his Commentary on Revelation is excellent. Beyond these, his popular-level book The Last Things is worthwhile but especially his The Gospel of the Kingdom.
I highly recommend reading Ladd. No one will agree with him on all points, of course, but he proved wonderfully helpful to me, and I’m certain he will for you also.
Buy the books
A THEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, by George Eldon Ladd