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Peter: His Life and Letters, by Michael Penny  

Penny writes from the perspective of an extreme form of Dispensationalism; people who want to know more about Peter would do better to look elsewhere  

Peter his life and lettersPeter: His Life and Letters 
By Michael Penny 
Upper Basildon: The Open Bible Trust, 2018 
ISBN 978-1-78364-408-7 
Reviewer: Pieter J. Lalleman 

This book does not offer a character study of Peter and it contains no questions for discussion. Instead it retells the gospel narratives in which Peter occurs and pays much attention to Acts 1-15. In this way we get a brief history of the earliest church from Penny’s perspective. Peter’s two letters only receive attention on five pages each. 

Penny writes from the perspective of an extreme form of Dispensationalism, for which E.W. Bullinger is the great authority. This can be seen in the following: 

  1. He says that at Pentecost nothing new happened; it was not the beginning of the Church. 
  2. He divides the letters in the New Testament into those written “during the Acts period” and those afterwards, creating all kinds of artificial distinctions between the two groups. The former were alleged all written to Jewish Christians. 
  3. Jesus told his followers to obey the law and this command still applies to Jewish believers. 
  4. Jesus did not command the disciples to preach the gospel in all the world. ?Penny can say this because he translates Matthew 28:19 and Acts 1:8 in a peculiar way.  It was only in Acts 10 that the command of world evangelism came.  

In Penney’s own words on page 150: “[D]uring the Acts period there was a great work amongst the Jews and, as numbers of them were repenting, there was still the hope that Christ would return. However, we know that insufficient numbers of them did so … and so at the end of Acts, due to the hardness of Israel’s heart, the nation rendered itself blind and deaf and so God’s Salvation was sent to the Gentiles (Acts 28:25-28).” 

Other tenets of Ultradispensationalists are that the Lord's Prayer, like all of the Gospels, is meant for Jewish Christians and not for the Church, and that the Church and Israel are forever worlds apart, but these are not mentioned in the present book. People who want to know more about Peter would do better to look elsewhere.  

The Revd Dr Pieter J. Lalleman teaches Bible at Spurgeon’s College  

Baptist Times, 21/09/2018
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