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Redemptive Kingdom Diversity

A Biblical Theology of the People of God

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This book provides a comprehensive biblical and theological survey of the people of God in the Old and New Testaments, offering insights for today's transformed and ethnically diverse church.

Jarvis Williams explains that God's people have always been intended to be a diverse community. From Genesis to Revelation, God has intended to restore humanity's vertical relationship with God, humanity's horizontal relationship with one another, and the entire creation through Jesus. Through Jesus, both Jew and gentile are reconciled to God and together make up a transformed people.

Williams then applies his biblical and theological analysis to selected aspects of the current conversation about race, racism, and ethnicity, explaining what it means to be the church in today's multiethnic context. He argues that the church should demonstrate redemptive kingdom diversity, for it has been transformed into a new community that is filled with many diverse ethnic communities.

1. The People of God in the Pentateuch
2. The People of God in the Historical Books, Wisdom and Poetry, and Prophets
3. The People of God in the Gospels and Acts
4. The People of God in Paul's Epistles
5. The People of God in the General Epistles and Revelation
6. Synthesis: The People of God in the Old and New Testaments
7. The People of God and Orthopraxy


"Jarvis has done us a service. He has made clear what many lovers of the Scriptures have always known, that God's desire to create a multiethnic, just, and God-honoring kingdom for his glory is a truth that bursts forth from every page of the Bible. For those who want a guide that traces this theme as it winds its way through the twists and turns of Scripture, this book is for you."

Esau McCaulley, assistant professor of New Testament, Wheaton College; author of Reading While Black

"Redemptive Kingdom Diversity revisits the multiethnic nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Scripture within the framework of God's redemptive purpose throughout both testaments with clarity, sensitivity, and conviction. Its call to inclusion of all races in the church is most timely and urgent as the church continues to battle the age-old sin of racism."

M. Sydney Park, associate professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School

"Developing a biblical theology of God's people, this work is intended more as a foundation for racial justice and reconciliation than as a comprehensive theology of it. It provides a resource for discussing and preaching about Christian interracial unity, especially by exploring biblical questions regarding the identity of God's people in Christ and the important implications this identity has for our unity in diversity."

Craig S. Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

"With the Black Lives Matter movement and systemic racism dominating the headlines, many may wonder if the Judeo-Christian Scriptures are still relevant. The desperate fact is that a Band-Aid will never heal the gaping wound. The God of Jesus Christ matters far more. Dr. Jarvis Williams recaptures the Scriptures' radical, transformative vision of God's incredible love for each of us, a love intended to heal and to bring people together regardless of skin color, social hierarchies, walk of life, or ethnicity. In the face of such sacrificial love, how can we not embrace each other?"

A. Andrew Das, professor of religious studies and assistant dean of the faculty, Elmhurst University

"Williams reminds us once again that the kingdom of God is not just diverse today but has always been diverse. His book offers us a theology that does not dismiss the beautiful distinctions in our ethnicity but shows that we retain those distinctions under the banner of God's larger church. This book will lead us into conversation about how we merge our multicultural reality into the oneness of the body of Christ. If you are up to the challenge of considering how we promote biblical unity over cultural unity, then allow this book to challenge you."

George Yancey, professor of sociology, Baylor University

"Dr. Williams provides an extraordinary foundation for evangelicals to build on in pursuit of racial solidarity. The applications provided in the book are innovative, practical, and refreshingly challenging, and they position evangelicalism to allow the Bible to shape its views on race rather than relying on problematic categories from the social sciences. This is the first book evangelicals should read on race in the church."

Anthony B. Bradley, professor of religious studies, The King's College

"In these turbulent times of conflict revolving around race, we need well-articulated thinking grounded in the Word of God. Williams provides that, tracing from Genesis to Revelation what it means to be the people of God. The divine goal always has been to create an ethnically diverse community. Faithfulness to that redemptive call will require Christians to engage this country's unacceptable social constructs based on racial differences. This book prepares us to embrace that challenge."

M. Daniel Carroll R., Scripture Press Ministries Professor of Biblical Studies and Pedagogy, Wheaton College

"After tracing the theme of the 'people of God' through Scripture, Dr. Jarvis Williams offers an insightful analysis of contemporary events and how they reveal the distortion of God's intentions. This is a powerful reflection."

Madison N. Pierce, assistant professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"In this book Jarvis Williams takes a deep dive into the question of diversity and equity within the Christian community. Surveying the identity of the people of God from Eden to the new Jerusalem, Williams makes the argument that diversity is the Edenic ideal and therefore must be the ideal of the redeemed community as well. Although no reader will (or should!) agree with everything Williams writes, this book is an important entry into a critical discussion, from a well-seasoned scholar who is himself immersed in the conversation that must shape the future of the church."

Sandra L. Richter, Robert H. Gundry Chair of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

"Renowned biblical scholar Jarvis Williams has revived an often-overlooked biblical theme that speaks powerfully into the beauty of ethnically diverse image-bearers unified by our creator. Redemptive Kingdom Diversity is a deeply exegetical look at the development of God's multiethnic people that demonstrates a biblical motivation to pursue unity among God's children."

Walter R. Strickland II, assistant professor of systematic and contextual theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Jarvis J. Williams

    Jarvis J. Williams

    Jarvis J. Williams (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate professor of New Testament interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of numerous books, including For Whom Did...

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