Doctrine of the Last Things: Recommended Reading
FROM Jun 10, 2011
【Keith A. Mathison (born 1967) is an American theologian. He is the author of Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God? (1995), Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (1999), The Shape of Sola Scriptura (2001), Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper (2002), A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture (2013), and From Age to Age: The Unfolding of Biblical Eschatology (2014).
Mathison is professor of systematic theology at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida. He obtained a Ph.D. from Whitefield Theological Seminary and is an associate editor of the Reformation Study Bible.】(wiki)
Apart from the sacraments, there is probably no division of systematic theology that is the source of more controversy than eschatology (the doctrine of the last things). Among believing Christians, one finds amillennialists, postmillennialists, and premillennialists. Among premillennialists, there are disputes over the relationship between the “rapture” and the “great tribulation.”
In order to find one’s way through the maze, it is helpful to know about some of the better books on the subject. The following works are some of those I have found most helpful (or have written myself in an attempt to be helpful).
All of the standard systematic theology texts have sections on eschatology. Some of the more thorough discussions are those in Herman Bavinck’s and in Michael Horton’s . There are also specialized works focusing on eschatology. Among the best are the following:
Cornelis Venema. . Venema’s book is probably the best one-volume survey of eschatology from an orthodox Reformed perspective. Venema begins with a discussion of Old Testament eschatological expectations and their initial fulfillment in the first coming of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. He continues with chapters on the intermediate state, the second coming, and the signs of the times, before addressing the various millennial views. The final section of the book deals with the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, hell, and the new heavens and earth. An abridged version of this book has been published under the title Christ and the Future.
Anthony Hoekema. . Anthony Hoekema’s book has been a standard Reformed text on eschatology since its publication in 1979. Hoekema’s book is divided into two main sections. Part One covers “inaugurated eschatology” and includes chapters on Old and New Testament eschatology, the kingdom of God, and the tension between the Already and the Not Yet. Part Two covers “future eschatology” and includes chapters on all of the major subtopics of eschatology, including death, the intermediate state, the second coming, the millennium, the general resurrection, and final judgment. Although largely supplanted by Venema, this book is still a valuable resource.
G.C. Berkouwer. . Dr. Berkouwer was Dr. Sproul’s professor in the Netherlands, and this work is his volume on eschatology. It covers most of the major topics.
There are helpful discussions of the history of the church’s teaching on this subject in most historical theology textbooks. Although very brief, the discussion in Louis Berkhof’s is worth reading. A much more thorough discussion may be found in Gregg R. Allison’s . A helpful discussion of the early church’s eschatology may be found in J.N.D. Kelly’s . A few specialized studies that are worth examining are:
Charles Hill. . A groundbreaking in-depth study of early Christian views of the intermediate state and the millennium.
Brian E. Daley. . A survey of patristic eschatology up to the sixth century.
Richard Kyle. . Kyle surveys twenty centuries of eschatological thought with a focus on apocalyptic date-setters.
Heinrich Quistorp. . A full length study of Calvin’s eschatological views.
Peter Toon. . One of the more helpful studies of Puritan eschatology.
Iain Murray. . Murray examines the way in which an optimistic eschatology influenced European and American Christians with a particular focus on the way it influenced the rise of modern missions.
James A. DeJong. . DeJong, Like Murray, looks at the influence of eschatology on the missionary movement.
Keith A. Mathison. . This book is my attempt to trace the major eschatological themes of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
T. Desmond Alexander. . Dr. Alexander’s wonderful little book is a great introduction to the overarching story of Scripture with its focus on the coming of the Messiah and the creation of a new heavens and earth.
Oswald T. Allis. . Allis’s book was one of the first full-length critiques of dispensationalism penned by a Reformed scholar. It is still worth reading.
Vern S. Poythress. . Dr. Poythress’s book is an irenic, yet thorough, critique of the hermeneutics of dispensationalism.
Michael Williams. . Williams’s book is a very helpful history of the origins of dispensationalism.
Keith A. Mathison, ed. preterism (a view of eschatology that argues all biblical prophecy was fulfilled in the first century). This book is a collection of essays addressing various aspects of hyper-
The Book of Revelation
Richard Bauckham. . I have elsewhere listed my recommended commentaries on the book of Revelation. This little book is a very helpful supplement to such commentaries.
K. Scott Oliphint and Sinclair B. Ferguson. . This is a great little book for those wanting a biblical understanding of death.
Ligon Duncan with J. Nicholas Reid. . This too is a helpful look at the biblical concept of death and what happens afterward.
General Eschatology: First Advent and the Kingdom of God
Gerrit Scott Dawson. . The first coming of Christ fulfilled Old Testament eschatological expectations. This book is a brilliant study of Christ’s ascension to the right hand of the Father and what it means for this present age.
Herman Ridderbos. . Ridderbos’s work has become something of a classic among Reformed believers. It remains one of the most helpful studies of the New Testament teaching regarding the Kingdom of God.
George Eldon Ladd. . Ladd is a historic premillennialist, but his book has been widely influential as a study of inaugurated eschatology and the already, not-yet nature of the kingdom. It remains a must-read.
General Eschatology: The Millennium
The books by Venema and Hoekema mentioned above have chapters dealing with the millennium as do most systematic theology texts. The following books are devoted exclusively to this issue.
Stanley J. Grenz. . This book is still the best introduction to the various millennial views. Very fair and even-handed.
Donald K. Campbell and Jeffrey Townsend, eds. . This is one of the better defenses of the premillennialist view in print. A recent book edited by Blomberg and Chung and titled A Case for Historic Premillennialism isn’t quite as helpful.
Kim Riddlebarger. . This work is the best single-volume defense of the amillennial view.
Keith A. Mathison. amillennialists regarding the time of the millennium (the entire present age), I take issue with some amillennial arguments concerning the nature and outcome of the present age.. Although I agree with
General Eschatology: Final Judgment, Heaven and Hell
Paul Helm. . This small book is a good introduction to these topics.
Robert A. Peterson. . Peterson’s book is a thorough defense of the traditional doctrine of eternal punishment. He critiques both universalism and annihilationism.