I have always said that the last topic I would choose to write about was the last days of the world. Well, since I’ve gone and done it we must be at the end. Pretty clever, huh?
My new book on eschatology (study of end times), entitled Christian Endgame: Careful Thinking about the End Times, is due for release by Reasons to Believe this November.
So why would someone who specializes in Christian apologetics end up writing a book on end times prophecy? Because end times prophecy becomes an apologetics issue through unfortunate behavior on the part of believers. For example, when Christians set dates for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ which, naturally, prove false, then those people give nonbelievers reason to doubt the truth of the Christian faith.
For evangelistic and apologetics reasons, Christians need to model careful thinking—yet when it comes to eschatology, believers today sometimes allow speculation to run wild. They seem just as interested in future prophetic events as at any time in church history—maybe even more so. Today, books on Bible prophecy are runaway bestsellers and the topic of the “last days” is a constant preoccupation of Christian television programming. However, because of the potential sensationalistic nature of this topic, Christians need to approach this controversial area of biblical theology with care and discernment.
On numerous occasions Bible prophecy and future predictions concerning the end of the world have led the church to lose credibility. Excessively speculative approaches to this area can, and have, significantly hurt the Christian witness before a skeptical world. Unfortunately, for some nonbelievers, Christians’ irresponsible approach to the prophetic subjects of the Bible has made Christianity seem like a sham. Therefore, the topic of “the Bible and the future” qualifies as an apologetics issue. In effect, Christian apologists must step in and show how the faith is still true and viable in spite of the irresponsibly false predictions made by certain prophecy enthusiasts.
Throughout Christian Endgame, I discuss a variety of points relating to the historic Christian view of biblical prophecy. I lay out the common eschatological ground that all believers share, explain the different views among Christians (in particular, varying millennial views), and encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to balance anticipation of Christ’s return with the responsibilities we have in the here and now.
This primer on eschatology, though succinct, was written with the hope that it will indeed help Christians to think about a sensationalistic topic with biblical and theological care. Our handling of eschatological issues should not create apologetics problems.