Saturday, April 14, 2007

Meredith G. Kline (1922-2007)

Dr. Kline served as a mentor to my husband and me since the time we were students at Westminster Seminary CA, as well as to many other students who took his Old Testament classes over the decades. His most important contribution to my own thinking was demonstrating that the Old Testament theocracy of Israel was uniquely a type of heaven, and thus we may not appeal to it as a model for establishing a modern day theocracy in America as many of today's evangelical leaders attempt to do.

Of the articles I have written for my website, the one that rests most heavily on Dr. Kline's teachings is "Should Biblical Law Rule Society?", which is summed up in this excerpt:

The Bible simply does not support Christians going around trying to set up modern day theocracies. To the contrary, the New Testament instructs Christians to view themselves as "just passing through" this present world because they are citizens of a heavenly country, not an earthly one . . . Yet by rallying Christians to try to set up their "land of Canaan" in the present world instead of encouraging them to wait for the coming of a future paradise that God specifically promises in the Bible, the Christian Right implicitly denies the promise and hope of heaven, one of the most essential doctrines of the Christian religion.

Heaven was one of Dr. Kline's favorite topics, and I remember having the distinct impression when I was around him that a part of him was already dwelling in that other place. I guess it doesn't seem so strange to me, then, that he's passed on to be more fully there.