Book Review of Following Jesus, the Servant King: A Biblical Theology of Covenantal Discipleship

Following Jesus, the Servant King: A Biblical Theology of Covenantal Discipleship. By Jonathan Lunde.

Jonathan Lunde expounds the biblical covenants, the Christian’s relation to the law, the Kingdom of God, and Christology in the service of laying the foundations for faithful Christian living. The themes that Lunde has selected to form the theological basis of this work are ones that theologians and biblical scholars have long recognized as among the most important in Scripture. Sadly very few lay-level books have approached these themes. Lunde’s work nicely fills this gap. What is more, despite the complexity and disagreements that surround these issues, Lunde, for the most part, arrives at what I believe to be the best interpretations. For instance, though he believes all of the biblical covenants are grounded in grace, he also recognizes that the Mosaic covenant differs from the others by providing stipulations with blessings and curses. The others are gift covenants. Lunde also does a good job handling the issue of the law’s relation to the believer and noting both the continuities and the discontinuities involved. Throughout the whole, Lunde is making applications to the Christian life. He structures the book around three questions: (1) “Why should I be concerned to obey all of Jesus’ commands if I have been saved by grace?” (2) “What is it that Jesus demands of his disciples?” (3) How can the disciple obey Jesus’ high demand while experiencing his ‘yoke’ as ‘light’ and ‘easy’?” In answer to his first question Lunde expounds the biblical covenants. He notes that they are all grounded in grace, that certain of the covenants are unconditional in nature, and yet that all the covenants maintain expectations for both parties. Thus even though Jesus has fulfilled the new covenant’s requirements, this does not relieve the Christian of his duties toward God. In answer to the second question Lunde primarily expounds the law as it had been transformed by the arrival of Jesus. He notes that while Jesus has fulfilled the law, the expectations on believers are now higher, not lower. In answer to the third question, Lunde focuses on the enabling grace given to believers in the new covenant. Overall, Lunde does an excellent job of maintaining a grace focus and recognizing the responsibilities that are vital to Christian discipleship. As with any book, a few weaknesses do emerge. I’m not convinced of the idea that Genesis presents two Abrahamic covenants, one conditional and one unconditional. Nor was I convinced by his argument that the servant in Isaiah 53 is first Israel and then ultimately Christ; furthermore, this lengthy digression didn’t advance the point he was making in that section of the book. Finally, some of his mission talk, though brief, seemed loose. The strengths of this work far outweigh its weaknesses. It deserves a wide reading since it will both inform lay readers of important but neglected aspects of biblical teaching while at the same time relating practically to their daily Christian walk.

  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310286165
  • Paperback: 320 pages

Buy Following Jesus, the Servant King: A Biblical Theology of Covenantal Discipleship

Review written by Dr. Brian Collins and you can read his blog Exegesis and Theology

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