Oct 172013
 

410+dzII85L._SL210_Like most pastors, I have shelves full of books on various theological topics.

In my little library more than one of those shelves is filled with books on eschatology.

They are going to be yard sale fodder now.

Let’s just cut to the chase…this is the single best volume on eschatology ever written and I truly believe that it will become the standard teaching text on the subject in institutions of higher Christian learning.

It also should be required reading by all who believe that eschatology is a vital component of their faith…which should be all of us.

This book is comprehensive…it covers all of the doctrines and biblical texts associated with eschatology and the author has read and interacts with the differing positions on them honestly and fairly.

As a result, the book comes in at over 600 pages but every one of them is valuable in understanding the place of eschatology in the overall biblical narrative.

Great theology books are ones where the author has a clear position, but he is also well read and respectful of what others have written and what other traditions embrace.

Too often, books of this nature make a compelling case for one position, but do so at the expense of accurate representation of opposing views.

Not so with this one.

Menn is amillennial, but he seems to have read every dispensational author from Walvoord to Feinberg to Chuck Smith and he quotes, footnotes, and interacts with all of them based on the biblical text.

He does likewise with all the other major historical views.

None of the major views are given short shrift here and all are presented giving their best arguments and best scholars a voice.

I cannot commend Menn highly enough for this…it greatly strengthens the integrity of the whole volume.

My other two criteria for a “great” book are whether the author challenges my own presuppositions from the biblical text and whether he does so in a way that I can understand his arguments.

Once again, Menn gets my highest grades on both counts.

This is the 2013 Book of the Year in my opinion…and it will be reference work esteemed for it’s excellence for many years to come.

It’s available on our bookstore and at Amazon.

From the publisher:

Biblical Eschatology provides what is not found in any other single volume on eschatology: it analyzes all the major eschatological passages (including the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation), issues (including the second coming of Christ, the millennium, the rapture, and Antichrist), and positions (including all the major views of the millennium) in a clear, but not superficial, way. The book concludes with a chapter showing how eschatology is relevant for our lives.

Biblical Eschatology makes understanding eschatology easier by including chapters on how to interpret prophecy and apocalyptic literature, by showing the history of eschatological thought, and by placing eschatology in the context of the Bible’s overall story line and structure. Clarity and understanding are enhanced by the use of comparative tables and appendices. Subject and Scripture indexes are included. The book interacts with the best of Evangelical and Reformed scholarship, and the extensive bibliography (which includes the Web addresses of many resources that are online) provides an excellent source for the reader’s further study. This is a perfect resource for intelligent Christians, including pastors, students, and teachers, who desire to understand eschatology and to see how it fits together with the rest of the Bible.

  62 Responses to “The Phoenix Preacher Book Review: Biblical Eschatology By Jonathan Menn”

  1. FIRST!!!

    Big book – are there pictures? πŸ˜‰

    Amil = he is right.

  2. No pictures, but some helpful comparison charts. πŸ™‚

  3. In a perfect world those who are the most divisive about eschatology would be the first to read this.
    It would certainly give them pause about being as strident as they are, but they are in reality the least likely to read it.

  4. Does he have an amil chart? No one has come up with a good one yet.

    You have a horizontal line with a cross with an up arrow shortly after, then more horizontal line with millennium written over it – then a down arrow 2nd coming the 2 parallel lines, heaven & hell. We always have the boring charts.

  5. I like MLD’s chart. Hard to build a conference around, tho…

  6. I’m taking a swing at it. It will have to be pretty great to top my son’s (notLego) Brick Bible. The best picture in the Brick Bible is David presenting Saul with Philistine foreskins. But I digress.
    Like MLD, I’d feel more confident with several pictures.

  7. Amil conference schedule of events.

    8:00 am – opening prayer
    8:05 am – Conference topics
    8:30 am – closing prayer
    9:00 am – breakfast at IHOP

  8. You should all check it out because it was written by my dad and he spent a ton of thought, energy, and time on it. The Kindle version is only $9.99.

  9. j2,

    You should be very proud…this is a masterpiece.

  10. I am going to buy it. (Kindle version)

  11. Just bought it.

    πŸ™‚

  12. Xenia…you’re the best. πŸ™‚

  13. I do recommend the Kindle version…the paper book is over 50 bucks, as many theological volumes of this size are.

  14. Now I’m going to read it!

    See you all later.

  15. I didn’t want to attend MLD’s conference, so I bought the book!

  16. Bob,

    I expect book reports from both you and Xenia… πŸ™‚

  17. Bought…. in paperback… thank you Michael. And thanks for the link to your store.

    ADread

  18. Bought it about an hour ago on Kindle. I usually put all of my resources together on Thurs in preparation for Sunday but now I can’t put this book down. Dang it! As long as I don’t bust into an “end times” message on Sunday it will be ok πŸ™‚

  19. Covered…I had that same issue last week… πŸ™‚
    Thanks to both you and Dread…

  20. It would be really helpful and my dad would really appreciate it if anybody who reads the book could take the time to post a review of it on Amazon. Thanks. πŸ™‚

  21. Sounds interesting, once I get paid this week I am gonna pick up the Kindle version.

  22. j2,

    I posted one already and it’s already moving up the charts. πŸ™‚

  23. So far he has made the excellent point that OT prophecies were not always literally fulfilled and indeed, Jesus did not seem to fulfill the OT messianic prophecies precisely literally and the literalists of Jesus’ day were so bound to prophetic details that they did not recognize the Messiah when He came. They missed the Forest for the trees, which is what I see today in the prophecy conference crowd.

  24. I think a point could be made that the jews didn’t take Isaiah 53 literally enough.

    Apparently they couldn’t make it gel with the prophecies concerning the coming reign of the King. If those prophecies indeed turn out to be as literal as Isaiah 53 was, I would expect a literal coming millennial reign.

  25. Xenia, (and Mr. Menn)
    Exactly – the dispensationalist says you must take the prophecies literally. They refuse to read the OT in light of the NT.

    The prophecy says that first Elijah must come – but Jesus said that the prophecy was fulfilled by the coming of John the Baptist (although I am sure he was a Lutheran)

    The prophecy for the land, they say it must be that little strip of land in the middle east – but Paul in, I think Romans 4, says that the land promise was to include the whole world.

  26. I’d be interested to read Menn’s take on Daniel 9 and the 70 weeks. I would imagine he chews up Scofield’s bastardization of the passage.

  27. The prophecy says that first Elijah must come – but Jesus said that the prophecy was fulfilled by the coming of John the Baptist (although I am sure he was a Lutheran)
    —————————————————————–
    Uh…not quite that simple.

    (I won’t mess up the book review to get into eschatology debate here – but you need to read the immediately preceding verse to the one you cite here and THEN couple it with Jesus’ words six chapters earlier.)

  28. Hmm, a rebuttal.
    I am on my way to a church board meeting. If I am not too tired I will reply tonight … around the time brian is usually on. πŸ™‚

    Steve, narrow down for me the “six chapters earlier” – give me the address.

  29. MLD – Book review threads are sacred here. Especially when the author is blog community family.

    I’ll include it in that email I owe you. Or wait until Open Blogging.

    I shouldn’t even have responded at all but it always amazes me to read something like your #25 as if one verse plucked out of the air, ignoring the others on the same subject, is presented as if all of us somehow just never read that verse before.

    This does sound like an excellent work – hopefully it will get picked up in some seminaries for these are the sorts of books that seminaries should use when teaching a topic like this.

  30. Really glad to find this…and to read the reviews. I have to say, the part that intimidates me the most about preparing the material regarding end times. Orderring the Kindle version tomorrow!!! Payday! Woohoo!

  31. Michael,
    Does he refer to any views the Ante-Nicene fathers may have expressed?

  32. Now that I’ve got this review up, I’ll tell the rest of the story. πŸ™‚
    When j2 told me her dad had written a book I said I would read it…mainly to be polite because j2 is blog family.
    I’m not sure she expected me to email her back in three hours raving about the work…it’s just an honor to be able to point people to such an excellent resource.

  33. Hah. I only know you from our interactions on the internet, but when my dad told me he was writing this book my first thought was, “That’s something Michael would probably really be into.” I’m glad you took the time to read it, and I’m glad I was right that you would like it.

  34. Derek,

    There is some discussion on the views of the early church…different take than I’d seen before.

  35. Last book I read on the matter, presented them with a pre-mill stance.
    Not the modern, Left Behind type version mind you.
    I don’t really stick to any particular stance right now. But, I think I would like to read something balanced like this.

  36. Derek.

    My own position is pre mill, pre wrath.
    I felt like this book challenged that view while educating me on the strengths and weaknesses of the position.
    I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

  37. #23 You make a very interesting point for the ‘black and white’ crowd who believe shades of grey do not exist in such matters. Thanks for bringing it up!

  38. Looks like another book to add to my wish list/read list. Working on Barry Webb’s commentary on the book of Judges right now and anticipating Terry Teachout’s biography on Duke Ellington. An overview of eschatology sounds fun.

  39. Dewd got the kindle. we share. i will read it.

  40. J2’s dad is a theologian and an amil thinker… she makes more sense to me now. She always was no NONSENSE but now she is on the favored forever list.

  41. Love to hear about books that look at a wide range of views.

    While at one institution of supposed higher learning, we were taught the pre-mil, pre-trib view, then told to write a paper explaining the view. Pure indoctrination. At another institution of higher learning, we were presented the 4 main views, with a nod to 5 others, and told to write a paper on our view. The only requirement was that we could not violate any hermeneutical principles. For the first time I had to actually think; but there wasn’t enough time to do it justice.

    Several in my household revisited the subject some 25 years later. Over a 3 year period of study, as well as submitting their thoughts to several groups who are very steeped in the subject from differing viewpoints for opposing thoughts, the latest consensus is pre-wrath.

    But the biggest conclusion has been the immense respect for the Scriptures that “we see through a glass darkly.” End times is not to be handled lightly, nor with self-assured arrogance. Every view has strengths and weaknesses, though some more than others.

    I’ll let others know about this book.

  42. I am reading the section now where Mr. Menn explains why it is fitting and right to consider the Church to be Israel and Israel to be the Church. Lots of scriptures are given to support this idea which, once you see it explained so clearly, seems obvious. The land promises to Abraham are explained very well, I think, in the light of the New Covenant.

  43. I remember once sitting in a Bible study and a student prefaced his remarks with “since there is no biblical support at allfor replacement theology….” and the pastor responded with “you are right, there is no biblical support at all for that idea.” Yet Mr. Menn supplies an entire page of biblical references to support so-called “replacement theology.”*

    *Not a good term but that’s the term that was used and you all know what I mean.

  44. Xenia,

    He grounds everything in that book in Scripture…and whether or not one comes to the same conclusions as he does, one has to respect the biblical basis of those views.
    He certainly challenged me…

  45. What I would hope everyone who reads this book gets is the fact that other views on eschatology (and a myriad of other topics) do have a scriptural basis. As you say, people may not come to the same conclusion but to make the derisive statement that “no view but our own has any biblical basis” is erroneous, to say the least. I’d like people to come away from this book with this thought in their minds:

    “Hmmm…. I didn’t realize that scripture verses could be lined up to make such a good case for [whatever view previously considered to be “vain doctrines of men”]. I didn’t realize this was possible. There’s more here than I have been led to believe.”

  46. Xenia,

    Exactly!
    You said as I wish I had and it’s my fervent hope as well.

  47. Sounds like from the comments here that Mr. Menn makes the case for a figurative interpretation over a literal interpretation in various situations. I think that is always the key – and the great hurdle, (or interpretative lens), we must deal with and often agree to disagree.

    I agree with Xenia that it is wrong (and cringe-worthy) to speak of something not having a Biblical basis. However, I believe some speak poorly in basically saying their literal basis equates to the Biblical basis. We can gently correct such people and model our views in a better fashion by keeping this primary issue at the forefront in such discussions.

  48. Actually, one of the things that Mr. Menn does (that I commend him for) is going beyond the false dichotomy of literal/figurative and he deals with all the different literary genres and the context they are used in.

  49. False dichotomy? Whatever….I’m just reading the comments here that are being “Amen’d” at a rapid rate..

    It’s tough to always remain silent when comments go beyond the book review to criticisms of believers who love the Lord and His word and are misportrayed.

    I was trying to be charitable to such a comment.

  50. Steve,

    Who is being unfairly criticized and misportrayed?

  51. believers who love the Lord and His word and are misportrayed.<<<

    Well yeah, that's the whole point.

    When a pastor or Bible teacher presents himself as an expert on the End Times and continually derides and misportrays other views (which he knows very little about) and says these other views are only believed by apostates who don't believe the Bible, there is a problem. We all know this is a very common occurrence.

    I was an evangelical for fifty years. (Maybe I should say forty because I was a little kid for the first ten years of it). Rapture-based eschatology was preached often and I never once heard the preacher ever say anything remotely like "the other views also can be shown from the Bible." On the contrary, the other views, I now realized, were utterly misrepresented and trashed as the unbiblical beliefs of liberals. You know, spiritually dead people who attended those liturgical churches that God has abandoned.

    At the CC high school where I once taught, the CC Bible teacher made a hash out of the Amil view, completely confusing it with the post-mil view and making very derisive statements about a topic he presented with great authority but with utter ignorance. One student, a Lutheran, came to me for help. I spoke with this CC pastor / teacher (not from my own CC, I should hasten to add) and he again repeated his confused thoughts. I told him he was absolutely wrong, look it up. He did look it up and saw that he was dead wrong. He gave a half-a$$ed apology to his class that still mocked the other views and still couldn't bring himself to admit that he was a complete ignoramus on the subject.

    So yeah, misportrayal should be avoided.

  52. Xenia,

    I’ll say the amen…and add that such misrepresentation is happening today with more fervor than ever.
    I say that also as one who holds to a quasi-dispy form of eschatology…

  53. And I know that my beloved CC pastor knew almost nothing about the other views because when he was teaching a Bible college extension class on the End Times, students asked questions about the other views and he (quite frankly) admitted that he hardly new anything about them. A knowledgeable student in the class had to explain the various views. Students kept asking more questions and the pastor (rather humbly, I thought) had to keep deferring to this knowledgeable student. Yet this pastor considers himself to be an expert on the topic of eschatology and the very course was on this subject. He does believe that no view but the pre-mil/ pre-trib view has biblical support and he considers the Rapturist view to be of primary importance in his teaching.

  54. On a slight technicality us Amils are post millennial – but Post Millenialism is not our position.

  55. You’re right. Both are post-mill but “Post-mill” has a special meaning.

  56. I’ll repeat what I wrote earlier. “This does sound like an excellent work – hopefully it will get picked up in some seminaries for these are the sorts of books that seminaries should use when teaching a topic like this.”

  57. I own’t have time to get to this one for quite a while. In my studies, all the views seem to have scriptural support, with the exception of Preterism. Does he deal much with Preterism, and what impression does he give?

  58. After I get a new Kindle paperwhite (my iPad has been hijacked), I’ll buy this book. I have to admit that no doctrine confuses me more than eschatology, and my confusion has led to total apathy. As a Brand New Believer, I accepted everything I heard on Sunday, and spent 90 days in mortal fear, thinking I’d be left behind with a cigarette in my hand.

    I believe the most outlandish stories in Scripture with all of my heart, but after sitting through a year of Thursday nights hearing CC’s Daniel/Revelation teaching, I walked away thinking, “no way”. I felt guilty, like I was doubting God, until I discovered that there were other views.

  59. I’m a simple kind of guy. If you can think of Jesus as Israel reduced to one as he hung on the cross, well it clears up many things.

  60. All the Rapture theory ever produced in me was fear.

  61. Bought the Kindle edition when it went on sale a week or so ago. Looking forward to reading it. If all my “looking forward to reading” Kindle books were hard copies, I’d have to build an addition to our home.

  62. I just wanted to remind/ask everyone one more time…if you read this book my dad and I would both really appreciate it if you posted a review of it on Amazon. Thank you muchly!

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