Today’s guest post is by Kyle Anderson, from the Logos Bible Software electronic text development team.
“This is the end—for me the beginning of life.”
German pastor-theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke these famous last words to his fellow prisons at the Flossenbürg concentration camp where he was imprisoned as a conspirator against the Nazi regime.
For Bonhoeffer, and many of us, the end of our earthly life is the beginning of an even greater journey: eternal life with God. But for most of us, figuring out what this means exactly is a bit trickier. To further complicate matters, Christian eschatology (the systematic study of the Last Things) is often full of rabbit trails, speculation, and esoteric biblical imagery. Finally, there are so many different biblically supported positions concerning Eschatology; it’s difficult to know where to even begin.
Hopefully this list will be a nice primer on resources that might aid you in your Biblical studies of eschatology.
The late Fuller Theological Seminary professor is best known for articulating the “now/not yet” nature of the Kingdom of God. God’s kingdom has been fulfilled within history in Jesus Christ but awaits its consummation at the end of history. In this volume, Ladd guides us through the Biblical witness concerning the End Times.
In this volume, Reformed thinker Loraine Boettner examines the relative merits, weaknesses, and Biblical support for the three three major positions concerning the Second Coming of Christ and the future of God’s Kingdom: amillenialism, premillenialism, and Boettner’s preferred position: postmillennialism.
Life in the Spirit, the third volume of Methodist theologian Oden’s towering systematic draws from the deep cistern classical Christianity in examining the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church universal and the individual believer. Concluding with a discussion on eschatology, the Last Things are far from a theological addendum but instead includes both “the end and meaning of the whole of human history” (p. 371).
Eschatology as a discipline didn’t begin yesterday. We have much to learn from the past. Summa Theologica is an outstanding source for any topic, but is especially important for providing much of the basis for Roman Catholic thought over the last 700 years. As a compilation of Patristic commentary on the Gospels, Catena Auraea is unique in that it affords you to get a sneak peak on how the Church has historically interpreted the Gospel passages concerning the End Times.
- Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy and End Times
As a dictionary, J. Daniel Hays, J. Scott Duvall, and C. Marvin Pate have edited a simple but thorough tool that helps you both identify the terms and issues surrounding prophecy in the Bible. As you study those often obtuse passages concerning the Last Things, this will be a resource your reach for time and time again.
Not for beginnings, but as a collection of scholarly essays concerning related topics such as the nature of time, the practice of hope, and the future of creation you’ll have food for thought on the ways eschatology might shape our Christian faith and practice in the 21st century.