George Eldon Ladd

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For other people named George Ladd, see George Ladd (disambiguation).

George Eldon Ladd (July 31, 1911 – October 5, 1982[1]) was a Baptist minister and professor of New Testament exegesis and theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, known in Christian eschatology for his promotion of inaugurated eschatology and "futuristic post-tribulationism."

Ladd was born in Alberta, Canada, and was raised in New England. He studied theology at Gordon College in Massachusetts, and was ordained in 1933 in the Northern Baptist Convention.[2] He pastored churches in New Hampshire and Vermont while pursuing further education at Gordon Divinity School. Ladd served as an instructor at Gordon College of Theology and Missions (now Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), Wenham, Massachusetts from 1942–45. He was an associate professor of New Testament and Greek from 1946–50, and head of the department of New Testament from 1946–49. He studied at Harvard University during this period, completing a PhD dissertation on "The Eschatology of the Didache".[2]

Ladd moved to California in 1950, and taught biblical theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. Fuller was in the fourth year of its existence when Ladd joined the faculty, and Hagner notes that he "became one of the key figures in developing the seminary's direction."[2]

Ladd's best-known work, A Theology of the New Testament, has been used by thousands of seminary students since its publication in 1974. In a poll conducted by Mark Noll in 1986, this work ranked as the second most influential book among evangelical scholars, second only to Calvin's Institutes.[3] A Theology of the New Testament was enhanced and updated by Donald A. Hagner in 1993. Ladd's belief in both present and future aspects of the Kingdom of God caused his detractors to critically compare his eschatological views to the Amillennialism that was popular within Reformed theological circles.[4] Despite these comparisons, Ladd was not Reformed, and in fact rejected the Calvinistic view of the doctrine of salvation.[5]

John Piper uses Ladd's desire for scholarly credibility as a cautionary tale, and relates how Ladd "was almost undone emotionally and professionally" by Norman Perrin's critical review of Ladd's Jesus and the Kingdom. Piper goes on to describe how Ladd walked through the halls of Fuller shouting and waving a royalty check when A Theology of the New Testament was a stunning success ten years later.[6]

Ladd was a notable, modern proponent of Historic Premillennialism, and often criticized dispensationalist views. This was notable during this period, as dispensationalism was by far the most widely held view among evangelicals during the mid-twentieth century.[7] His writings regarding the Kingdom of God (especially his view of inaugurated eschatology) have become a cornerstone of Kingdom theology. His perspective is expressed in The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views, R. G. Clouse, editor (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1977) and the shorter and more accessible The Gospel of the Kingdom (Paternoster, 1959).

In 1978, a Festschrift was published in his honour. Unity and Diversity in New Testament Theology: Essays in Honor of George E. Ladd (ISBN 080283504X), which included contributions by Leon Morris, William Barclay, F. F. Bruce, I. Howard Marshall, Richard Longenecker and Daniel Fuller.

Selected publications[edit]

  • The Blessed Hope . Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. ISBN 0-8028-1111-6
  • The Gospel of the Kingdom. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959. ISBN 0-8028-1280-5
  • The New Testament and Criticism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967. ISBN 0-8028-1680-0
  • A Commentary on the Revelation of John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972. ISBN 0-8028-1684-3
  • The Last Things (An Eschatology For Laymen). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978.
  • A Theology of the New Testament. 2d ed. Edited by Donald A. Hagner. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993. ISBN 0-8028-0680-5
  • The Presence of the Future. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974. ISBN 0-8028-1531-6


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Hagner, Donald A. (1999). "George Eldon Ladd". In Walter A. Elwell and J. D. Weaver. Bible Interpreters of the 20th Century. Grand Rapids: Baker. pp. 228–243. 
  3. ^ Noll, Mark (1986). Between Faith and Criticism: Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America. p. 212. 
  4. ^ D'Elia, John A.. A Place at the Table: George Eldon Ladd and the Rehabilitation of Evangelical Scholarship in America. Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 49.
  5. ^ D'Elia, John A.. A Place at the Table: George Eldon Ladd and the Rehabilitation of Evangelical Scholarship in America. Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 10.
  6. ^ Piper, John (2011). "The Pastor as Scholar". In Strachan, Owen; Mathis, David. The Pastor as Scholar and The Scholar as Pastor. p. 37. 
  7. ^ D'Elia, John A.. A Place at the Table: George Eldon Ladd and the Rehabilitation of Evangelical Scholarship in America. Oxford University Press, 2008, p. xxiii.

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