Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Meredith Kline (1922-2007)

This gentleman, along with James Jordan, has helped make the Old Testament a coherent whole for me as a Christian.

Apparently he has now gone on to Glory.

In his tribute to Kline, Lee Irons names the top two things Kline has taught him :

"...First, as a recovering dispensationalist, I learned from him the big picture that made sense of the Bible as a whole. He explained the flow of covenant history from creation, to the fall, to the promise, followed by the two-level fulfillment of the promise, first typologically in Israel, then anti-typically in Christ. Kline also explained so many of the strange things about the Old Testament – like the destruction of the Canaanites, the scary laws of the Israelite theocracy, and why the exile had to happen. His understanding of the Mosaic covenant as a republication on the typical layer of the Adamic covenant of works was for me the linchpin that held everything together. After being raised with a dispensational understanding, he gave me back my Bible. He took all of the weird things in the Old Testament and explained them in a unified, systematic way so that the whole plot of the Bible was seen as leading on a single track to its climactic, eschatological fulfillment in Christ.

Second, he explained the gospel of justification by faith alone in a way that offered tremendous assurance. Taking up Paul’s theology of the two Adams in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, Kline explained the gospel on the basis of the federal theology of the Creator’s covenant of works with the first Adam and the Father’s covenant of works with the second Adam. Kline also taught that heaven must be earned, but that by Christ’s merit heaven has been earned for his people. This understanding of the gospel is precious to me because it provides the assurance that in Christ we are “beyond probation,” since the right to heaven has been won and cannot be revoked. Christian obedience is merely the evidence of the genuineness of our faith, but not in any way the condition or means of receiving the right to heaven."

No comments: