Christians live in the tension of the “already but not yet” of the kingdom of God.
The author shows how this end-times kingdom of God's sovereign rule was predicted by Old Testament prophets. People of Jesus' day were confused when Jesus said the kingdom had arrived. “The key, “ says Schaefer, “is to recognize Jesus was revealing a new truth about the kingdom, a truth not foretold by the prophets.” (16)
The kingdom would come in two stages (first and second comings). While this present age continues, the age of the kingdom has begun. They overlap. Even now we can experience some of the blessings of the age to come. “Living in the overlap means appropriating and enjoying the 'already' blessings, while being motivated and encouraged by those that belong to the 'not yet.'” (44)
We can proclaim the character of the kingdom to which we belong by the acts we do. Schaefer takes the reader through various characteristics of the kingdom activities such as praying for others, being used by God, and loving others. He says living in the overlap involves spiritual warfare in “every situation,” (51) and means routinely having to take leaps of faith.
He ends his book with a lengthy synopsis of the life of Christ (25 pages) with extrabiblical background added.
Schaefer wrote his book because he believes the concept of living in the overlap, the “already/not yet” of the kingdom, is well known in seminaries but not known to the average layman. (36, 37) The problem with this is that the books Schaefer uses to “prove” his idea were published 25 years ago! (See the footnotes from pages 36 and 37.) There have been many sermons preached and books written on this “overlap” in the last decade or so.
What does Schaefer bring to the subject? There is not much in his book I haven't read or heard over the last few years. For a seasoned Christian, Schaefer's book may be a mere review of information already known. For a new Christian, Schaefer's book would be an adequate introduction to the subject.
Steve holds a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Regent University's School of Divinity. He has traveled the globe as a Managing Producer in the International Programming Department of CBN WorldReach, and is a popular speaker and teacher.
WinePress Publishing, 185 pages.
This book was provided for review by Glass Road Public Relations on behalf of the author.