Book Review - "Thine is the Kingdom - the message of original Christianity" by Peter J. Southgate
1st edition 1986, 2nd edition 1997
The note printed on the back cover of this book says "Even a brief reading of the Gospels shows that the Kingdom of God was the very theme of Christ's preaching, and that it was also the main thrust of the preaching of the early Christians. Yet very few modern believers have a clear idea of what this Kingdom is".
Peter Southgate wrote "Thine is the Kingdom" to address the situation of almost universal ignorance of this subject, even amongst many who lay claim to the title "Christian". The title of the book is a phrase from the Lord's prayer, recited by thousands of people weekly if not daily; but many of these same people, if challenged to explain just what they understand by the Kingdom of God, would not be able to give an answer that stands up to scrutiny alongside the Bible.
The author marshals some 500 Bible verses to demonstrate what the expression "The Kingdom of God" really means. In this way the Bible is allowed to speak for itself - the book is in no sense merely the opinions of the author. He shows that the Kingdom of God was taught by Jesus and his disciples, that it is the basic unifying theme of both Old and New Testaments, that Jesus will return shortly to the earth to destroy all forms of human government and on their ruins establish the glories of God's everlasting Kingdom.
Chapter 2 on "The Kingdom of God on Earth - the earth's future revealed in the Bible" shows that the world is not out of control, far from it. History has followed, and current events are following, the path set out in the Bible prophecies thousands of years ago. And the ancient prophecies also describe the Kingdom of God in detailed word pictures that show how the great problems that now afflict the earth will be solved.
Chapter 4 on "The Textbook of the Kingdom - can we trust the Bible?" gives reasons why we should pay attention to this book which claims to be the Word of God. After reading this chapter only the most unreasonable of people will neglect the message of the Bible.
Chapter 8 on "The Kingdom Lost Sight of - how views on the Kingdom changed" provides an interesting historical perspective on how Bible teaching has been corrupted and distorted. This emphasises just how important it is to read the Bible for ourselves and not simply rely on what other people say that it says.
Chapter 9 on "The Kingdom made possible" the author stresses that this is not simply an academic issue - it affects us personally, since through the sacrifice of Jesus it is perfectly possible for everyone to be in the Kingdom of God. What is required is a humble submission to the commandments of God. And even death will not prevent us being in the Kingdom, since by his sacrifice and resurrection Jesus has made it possible for us to be too to be resurrected when he returns to the earth.
The Kingdom of God will be a real political kingdom on earth, with its capital city at Jerusalem and Jesus Christ as its king. And it will last for ever. "Thine is the Kingdom" proves that this is the message of original, Bible, Christianity.