Monday, June 1, 2009
The Last Days According To Jesus by RC Sproul
One of the major criticisms of Christianity among scholars are the apparent mistakes and revisions of Jesus and the New Testament authors concerning the time and nature of Christ's prophesied return. Philosopher Bertrand Russell made this a major point in his Why I Am Not A Christian. Russell and other critics argue that Jesus and other New Testament authors fully expected Jesus to return not longer than a generation following Christ's death.
Some Christian theologians have answered this criticism by advocating a "preterist" interpretation of biblical prophecy, which argues that the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was a type of coming of Jesus Christ
In The Last Days According To Jesus, Sproul examines the similarities and differences of two schools of preterism, Full and Moderate Preterism.
Full Preterism sees all Old and New Testament prophecies fulfilled before or at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. Moderate Preterism argues that most biblical prophecies have been fulfilled, but a few, ie the resurrection and bodily return of Jesus Christ, are still future.
Sproul focuses mainly on Jesus' Olivet discourse in the gospels, and the book of Revelation, looking at these scriptures in light of James Stuart Russell's book The Parousia, which is probably the most scholarly work dealing with the Second Coming.
It's a pretty technical read, but at less that 200 pages it's not overwhelming and very accessible to laymen. Whether or not you agree with Preterist theology, it is a clear statement of preterism and worthwhile for any prophecy and bible student.