Tuesday, May 13, 2008

book review: A Tale of Two Kingdoms by Heather Kendall

Title: A Tale of Two Kingdoms
Author: Heather A. Kendall
Publisher: Essence Publishing, 2006
Genre: Bible Study, Reference
ISBN-10:
1554520045
ISBN-13:
978-1554520046

When Heather Kendall's pastor began teaching things with which she couldn't agree, she found herself studying the Bible in depth on her own. The result was a Bible study that morphed into A Tale of Two Kingdoms, a 448-page book that traces the story, from Genesis to Revelation, of the kingdom of God in collision with the kingdom of Satan.

In this ambitious project, Kendall takes us on an overview trip through the Old Testament, the inter-testament writings (Apocrypha), the New Testament, and looks at a few post- New Testament writers as well. Throughout the journey she draws attention to the unity of the Bible's message, i.e. that it was God's plan to defeat Satan by sending His Son (called the "promised Seed"), to die a substitutionary death for sinful humanity, and then be resurrected to render death and Satan's kingdom impotent.

The book is organized into two main sections. "Part 1: Waiting for the Promised Seed" - an 11-chapter section that covers the Old Testament, and "Part 2: Responding to the Promised Seed" - a five-chapter section that deals with Jesus, his life, death, resurrection, the birth of the church and early church writings. An appendix, timeline, endnotes, bibliography and index complete the volume.

Pages are clearly laid out with white space separating the parts written by Kendall from block quotes of others and italicized sections quoted from the Bible. Bits of the text in non-outlined text boxes, one or two per page spread, add more visual interest. The end of each chapter lists "Points to Ponder," where the author summarizes the main ideas covered.

Kendall is a self-admitted lay person and writes in a language that's easy to understand. However, she has obviously done lots of research, given the number of expert opinions she quotes. She uses personal and family vignettes as illustrations and these give the book a warm, friendly touch.

A Tale of Two Kingdoms will appeal to those interested in an overview of the Bible, especially as it relates to the plan of salvation. Kendall interprets the Bible literally. Her approach to it is uncritical and enthusiastic, and she frequently invites readers to join her in her faith.

People who are entirely unfamiliar with the Bible may feel challenged in places where Kendall gets right into things without explaining who the characters are and precisely where they fit into the larger story. But those who have even a nodding familiarity with the Bible shouldn't find this a problem. Of course the time line at the back of the book also helps keep all the people and events in order. The bibliography is a great list of additional resources for the keen student.

This comprehensive yet concise guidebook would make a valuable addition to any Bible student's library. For more information on the author and a free pdf download of the first chapter, go to Kendall's Web site.

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