Book Review: Forsaking Israel

image of forsaking Israel book

One of the main reasons I came to Shepherds Theological Seminary was because of Dr. Larry Pettegrew. He had an impeccable reputation as a humble scholar who loved the Lord and his family. The most recent effort which validates his well-deserved reputation is the book, Forsaking Israel: How it Happened and Why it Matters (Kress, 2020).

Forsaking Israel contains years and years of research and study on behalf of Pettegrew and some other distinguished colleagues at Shepherds Theological Seminary. The book is divided into two main sections. The main thrust of the first section is church history, and a discussion of the Church Fathers and why Israel began to be neglected in early church history. This section of the book also includes one of the most detailed analyses of the history of Covenant Theology and how the theology itself contributed to a downplaying of Israel as God’s chosen people.

The second half of the book deals in more detail with how dispensationalism fills in some of the rather large holes that are left by Covenant Theology. This section includes a section on the Olivet Discourse, and a discussion of Romans 11 from Stephen Davey.

The Table of Contents is as follows:

Part One: How it Happened

  • 1. The Curious Case of the Church Fathers and Israel (Pettegrew)  
  • 2. Augustine: From the “Not Yet” to the “Already” (Burggraff)
  • 3. Israel and the Dark Side of the Reformation (Pettegrew)
  • 4. Sovereign Election and Israel (Pettegrew)
  • 5. Covenantalism: Reading Israel Out of the Biblical Covenants (Pettegrew)

Part Two: Why it Matters

  • 6. An Assessment of Covenant Theology (Pettegrew)
  • 7. Dispensationalism: A Step Up for the “Israel of God” (Pettegrew)
  • 8. A Whale and an Elephant (Bookman)
  • 9. The Messiah’s Lecture on the Future of Israel (Pettegrew)
  • 10. The Gathering of Israel: A Nineteenth Century Perspective (Bishop William Nicholson)
  • 11. “In This Way, All Israel Will Be Saved” (Davey)
  • Appendix A: The Nature of the Old Testament Theocracy (Bookman)
  • Appendix B: Worldview Dissonance (Bookman)

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book (it is hot off the press). It has endorsements by Mike Vlach (TMS), John Hannah (DTS), and Richard Bargas (IFCA). The forward was also written by Erwin Lutzer.

Those who attend the Shepherds 360 conference will be getting a free copy. But if you can’t make the conference, you can get 40% off through the month of July by using a coupon code with Kress Publishing (lowercase “sts” at checkout). I believe the coupon code works for ALL Kress resources, not just Forsaking Israel. If you want it on Kindle you can get it on Amazon. In any case, make sure to check this book out! A great historical resource.

Peter serves at Shepherd's Theological Seminary in Cary, NC as the professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages. He loves studying the Bible and helping others understand it. He also runs The Bible Sojourner podcast and Youtube channel.

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