Kline on Abraham and Promise

Going through Meredith Kline’s Kingdom Prologue (Overland Park: Two Age Press, 2000), again (and again!) has been a treat.  I am once again struck by Kline’s excellent appraisal of God’s gospel promise to Abraham. 

“From its opening salvo of divine promises in Genesis 12 the Abrahamic Covenant confronts us with a way to ultimate blessedness that stands in stark contrast to the method which the Babelites of Genesis 11 used to achieve their lofty ambitions.  What was sought in Shinar by autonomous human effort – the restoration of cosmic-culture focus and the great name – was bestowed on Abraham as a promissory grant.  Babel was man-built, from the accursed ground up towards the heavens.  The city promised to Abraham is God-built and descends from the holy heaven to man as the supernatural gift of God’s grace (Heb 11:10, 16; Rev 21.2, 10).”

“Divine promise in the context of redemptive covenant connotes the principle of grace, the opposite of works.  Thus, when Paul in his analysis of the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants in Galatians 3 identifies the former as promise (v. 17; cf Eph 2.12), he sets it over against the principle of works (“law,” in v.18) operative in the latter, and says it is received by faith in Jesus Christ (v.22).  God’s promise arrangement with Abraham is made synonymous with the gospel of grace (p.294).”

You can still download this manuscript for free – simply google it.

shane lems

sunnyside wa

2 thoughts on “Kline on Abraham and Promise”

  1. I love Kline’s statement on the previous page (p.293), that the Abe cov’t “possessed germinal siginifance for all subsequent unfolding of redemptive covenant in the world that now is. Within it were the promises that were pregnant with the future of God’s covenantal kingdom, both in its old and new covenant stages.”

    Reflecting on those two sentences, we can see the whole Bible summarized. In those two sentences, Kline sets up the covenant paradigm for clearly explaining: 1) the two-stage fulfillment of the Abe cov’t; 2) the continuity of the old and new; 3) infant baptism; 4) the fact that the Mosaic cov’t (a cov’t of works) was superadded to the Abe.


  2. Amen, Mike.

    This is really at the heart of it all – if you mess up the covenant of works, you mess up the covenant of grace. On the other hand, if you mess up the covenant of grace, you mess up the covenant of works: the two stand and fall together. The reason that Kline (and Turretin, Bavinck, Berkhof, etc) is right is because he knew the difference between the two.

    Thanks for the quote.

    shane lems


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