Meredith G. Kline is arguably the most formative theological mind of the twentieth century. He embodied the strongest commitment to the authority of Scripture and revolutionized Reformed biblical theology. He was Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and maintained an active writing and teaching ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California. The influence of Meredith G. Kline reaches across decades of academic rigor, and includes a corpus of books and articles such as God, Heaven, and Her Magedon: A Covenantal Tale of Cosmos and Telos (Wipf & Stock, 2006), Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview (Wipf & Stock, 2006), and Images of the Spirit (Wipf & Stock, 1999). Now, just over a decade after Kline went to be with the Lord, a handsome hardcover presentation of his essential writings has been produced by Hendrickson Publishers.
Essential Writings of Meredith G. Kline brings together sixteen articles written over a period of four decades. The book begins with a biographical sketch of Kline from his son, Meredith M. Kline. For those unfamiliar with Kline, this brief bio is an appropriate place to start that journey. Kline does an tremendous job reflecting on the influence, life, and ministry of his father, and readers will appreciate it’s inclusion in this volume. Next, Kline’s grandson, Jonathan G. Kline, offers an introduction to the volume and positions the reader for the road ahead, including comments regarding his editorial role and the articles included in the book. What makes this collection of essays more valuable to the reader is the organizational care that went into its systematic structure. The book is organized around five major parts—(1) creation, (2) covenant, law, and the state, (3) faith, the gospel, and justification, (4) redemption, and (5) resurrection and consummation—with an average of about 3-4 articles comprising each part. This allows readers to topically engage with Kline’s work, and (hopefully) directs them towards his lifework for further investigation.
Meredith G. Kline has been a tremendous influence on how I engage the Bible, especially as it relates to areas of biblical theology. I was overjoyed when I discovered that Hendrickson was going to produce this volume. From the biographical sketch to the last essay, I read with great appreciation for the Kline, his family, and the publisher. Apart from the content itself, which as alluded to above offers a grand sweep of Kline’s major academic focus, the physical form of the book is excellent. Nice, thick paper, and an equally pleasant quality of print. There’s not much to critique about this volume. It delivers what it promises to deliver—essential writings of Meredith G. Kline. If I had to identify a possible missed opportunity, I think it would have been nice to include some photographs in the biographical essay. It would have added sentimental value to an already well-positioned nostalgic volume. Nonetheless, the lack thereof in no way detracts from the value of this book for the contemporary reader.
I can only imagine the level of difficulty that was met when selecting which material was going to be used in a volume of this scope, and for that I truly applaud the editorial work therein. It has brought together some of the most important material from arguably the most important mind of the twentieth century. Essential Writings of Meredith G. Kline is an essential read for anyone serious about the Bible or biblical-theological studies. That said, it is only a mere glimpse into the treasure trove that awaits those who fervently follow it’s footprints to the lifework of Meredith G. Kline. It comes highly recommended!