There’s a lot of buzz about the world ending in 2012, whether it’s due to the Mayan predictions, or the less interesting ones by Harold Camping (for a critique of Camping see Bob Godfrey’s series here). I’ve been helped greatly over the years by a number of books on the subject of eschatology (end times) and I thought that I’d share those titles for those who are interested:
Gary Demar, End Times Fiction: A Biblical Consideration of the Left Behind Theology (Thomas Nelson, 2001). This was the first book that I read where my inherited dispensational theology was significantly challenged. I originally heard Demar interviewed on the Bible Answer Man radio show and was taken aback by his critique of the Left Behind series. This started me on a new path. While I don’t agree with a lot of Demar’s own eschatology (he is postmillennial), I think he does a good job at dismantling popular dispensationalism.
Darrell Bock ed., Three Views of the Millennium and Beyond (Zondervan, 1999). After Demar, I felt like I needed to really study this issue and so I picked up a number of volumes in the Counterpoints series on eschatology. In this book, I initially thought that I would find myself agreeing with Kenneth Gentry’s chapter on postmillennialism, but found it unconvincing. It turned out that Robert Strimple’s chapter on amillennialism was the one I found to be most satisfying theologically. It started me on a track towards amillennialism that I have since firmly adhered to.
C. Marvin Pate, Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Zondervan, 1998). This book helpfully asks questions about the structure of the Book of Revelation. The answers were given from the major end times viewpoints and where I thought Kenneth Gentry’s preterist view would the view I would find the most affinity with—because of my earlier reading of Demar—it turned out that Sam Hamstra on idealism was where I landed.
Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times (Baker, 2003). I bought this around the same time I picked up Demar’s book, but I didn’t read it right away. After I started getting interested in the amillennial view from the other books, I then delved into this one. A couple of other friends also picked it up and we read it together. All of us became convinced that this was the biblical and historic Christian view of end times. Very well-written, balanced and biblically argued.
Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Eerdmans, 1994). I bought this after I became a firm amillennialist as it’s the classic treatment of the subject. I confess, I’ve never read through the entire book, but only certain key parts. Nonetheless, it’s awesome and should be read widely as a good critique of dispensationalism.
Crawford Gribben, Rapture Fiction and the Evangelical Crisis (Evangelical Press, 2003). This book is extremely helpful no matter what your view of the end times. Gribben evaluates the Left Behind series and traces the genre of “rapture fiction” back into the nineteenth-century. His purpose is to demonstrate the shift in the genre’s understanding of the gospel over the last hundred years, arguing that Left Behind has an inadequate understanding of how people can be saved by Christ. I reviewed it here.
Kim Riddlebarger, Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About the Antichrist (Baker, 2006). I picked this up in Pennsylvania last summer and read it in a few days. Because his work on amillennialism was so helpful, I thought that this book would be as well. I wasn’t disappointed. Riddlebarger does an excellent job showing the bible’s teaching on the antichrist. It’s great.
Other books that I’ve found useful are: G. E. Ladd’s Blessed Hope, Doug Wilson’s, Heaven Misplaced, William Hendrickson’s More Than Conquerors, Lorraine Boettner’s The Millennium, Gleason Archer’s Three Views on the Rapture, Geerhardus Vos’ The Pauline Eschatology, David Helm’s An Approach to Apocalyptic Literature and of course relevant sections in various systematic theologies (like Grudem, Horton, Berkhof, Bavinck, etc.). I also did a course on the Book of Daniel in Bible College and a Simeon Trust Workshop on apocalyptic literature.