Eschatology: Biblical, Historical and Practical Approaches Edited by D. Jeffrey Bingham and Glenn R. Kreider
This new book that celebrates the birthday of Dr. Craig Blaising, pioneer in the field of eschatology and dispensationalism. Written by 30 scholars and teachers, many who are personal friends of Dr. Blaising, this volume ranges from biblical perspective on the Second Coming and end times all the way down to a contemporary engagement of the theology of Jurgen Moltmann. Written from primarily a Baptistic perspective, these chapters give us a robust view of how evangelicals might view the end times with a lens towards the present kingdom of God and its future installment.
Drawing on the work of Blaising regarding the unity of biblical theology as a whole, D. Jeffrey Bingham writes in the first chapter, “The continuity of the Testaments is to be found in the one Christ to whom they both witness in their own inspired manner. They tell us of a Christ who is not outside of the creation, but who as Creator and Redeemer joins himself to it by manifesting himself progressively within history…(51).” Each dispensation is given a unity by the one Christ who became flesh and will raise and gather his people. The covenant promises that God has made will come to fruition because God has brought them to completion by God himself, in the person of Christ. This reminder of the unity of the testaments and the faithfulness of God is part and parcel of a robust theology, and one which is heartily endorsed by Blaising.
Darrell Bock in his chapter on The Doctrine of the Future in the Synoptics points out some key elements of sound eschatological thinking in his subsection about the future of the individual. Bock points to accountability, instant blessing, knowing him, and the image of outer darkness as vantage points for the individual and the future. Bock writes, “These are folks who have a connection or association with Jesus, but who lack a genuine faith connection to him. This is why the language is about not knowing him. Superficial association with Jesus does not survive the accountability that comes with future judgment (208).” Bock points to Luke 12 in this context but a case is also made from Matthew 25 about not knowing Jesus in a real and meaningful way. The future is ripe with blessing and vindication for those who respond to God in faith, fulfilling the plan or program of God that was his in the beginning.
From beginning to end, I thought this book was a helpful and challenging engagement in the realm of eschatology. Although I was a bit annoyed at the overwhelming nature of Baptist thought in most of the pages, I did find Kevin D. Kennedy’s section on the diversity of Baptist beliefs on the doctrine of the future very illuminating and eye-opening. I hope that many will find something to chew on as they read through this work.
Thanks to Kregel Academic for this book in exchange for an honest review.