Tuesday, July 19, 2011

666 And All That

With a title like that, this book is bound to get some attention!  It sure jumped out at me when I saw it sitting on the table at a camp bookstall.

John Dickson and Greg Clarke are two fantastic, down-to-earth writers and this book is no exception.  It dares to delve into the topics that divide or confuse many Christians and offers easy-to-read and biblical explanations.  To those Christians who are attracted to the 'weird and wonderful', it will plant your feet back on the ground.  To those who are afraid, it will help you realise that end times is not as scary as you may think.  To those who have very rigid views on the topic already, it will rebuke and challenge you.

Here's what the blurb says:
As we look together at what the Bible says and doesn't say about the future, we expect many readers will be disturbed, comforted, humbled and hopefully thrilled.  Some cherished beliefs may be rattled, some confirmed and others discovered anew.

Some of the topics it covers are:
  • The different views on the millennium in Revelation - including looking at where beliefs such as the Rapture came from.
  • Jesus' return
  • Hell
  • God's judgement, including hard questions such as the fate of those who have never heard the gospel.
  • Life after death
  • Renewed creation
Those of you who are regular readers of this blog may remember last year I asked the theological question, What happens after you die?  Soul sleep or straight to Jesus?  in Calling All Theoblogians #9.  Dickson and Clarke provide a pretty good answer.  They believe that a believer rests in God's presence until their body is raised physically on the last day and they live forever with God in the renewed creation.  It fits with verses about bodies being raised and also with Jesus telling the thief that today he will be in paradise.

I won't say anymore.  I don't want to spoil it.

On the downside, I did find the sequence of chapters a bit hard to follow.  The authors do say in the book that they arranged it that way for a reason, but I found sometimes it felt like the subject matter was jumping all over the place a bit.  Personally I would have arranged the chapters differently, but that's just me.

What I will say though is: read this book!  If you are not sure of your beliefs in some of these areas and it has been too confusing and hard to explore, have a read.  If you've grown up with your parents' or church's view of the end times and not questioned it, have a read too.  The book is controversial and the authors don't shy away from stating their beliefs, but they do it in a friendly manner.

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