Book Review: Christopher M. Hays, Brandon Gallaher, Julia S. Konstantinovsky, Richard J. Ounsworth, C. A. Strine, University of Oxford, When the Son of Man Didn’t Come: A Constructive Proposal on the Delay of the Parousia (Fortress, 2016)
The delay of the Parousia—the second coming of Christ—has vexed Christians since the final decades of the first century. This volume offers a critical, constructive, and interdisciplinary solution to that dilemma. The argument is grounded in Christian tradition while remaining fully engaged with the critical insights and methodological approaches of twenty-first-century scholars. The authors argue that the deferral of Christ’s prophesied return follows logically from the conditional nature of ancient predictive prophecy: Jesus has not come again because God’s people have not yet responded sufficiently to Christ’s call for holy and godly action. God, in patient mercy, remains committed to cooperating with humans to bring about the consummation of history with Jesus’ return.
Collaboratively written by an interdisciplinary and ecumenical team of scholars, the argument draws on expertise in biblical studies, systematics, and historical theology to fuse critical biblical exegesis with a powerful theological paradigm that generates an apophatic and constructive Christian eschatology. The authors, however, have done more than tackle a daunting theological problem: as the group traverses issues from higher criticism through doctrine and into liturgy and ethics, they present an innovative approach for how to do Christian theology in the twenty-first-century academy.
For thousands of years, godly believers have shown how the Bible prophecies are all true. To take but one example, King David could not possibly have invented the prophecies about Our Lord’s unique suffering centuries before he was even born! Despite their obviously precise accuracy, the liberal so-called Bible “scholars” have always tried to disprove the Word of God. The most notorious heretic was Alfred Schweitzer who argued that Our Lord was really just a crazy guy who said the end of the world was at hand and the so-called Bible “scholars” have danced to Satan’s tune thinking it is “cool” to claim Jesus got it wrong.
Fortunately a team of real scholars at the University of Oxford have produced real evidence (the Bible, historic biblical orthodoxy) showing how apologetics once again leads the way in real scholarship. Fortress are to be commended for promoting apologetics which ranks with the trailblazing Bible research of The Gospel Coalition, Denny Burk, the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Robert Gagnon, Jared C. Wilson, John Piper, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The Oxford apologians show that Jesus was 100% right and that modern Enlightenment presuppositions are 100% wrong. As these scholars from the University of Oxford surely prove beyond any doubt, Jesus historically threatened the ungodly of his day with imminent hellfire if they did not repent. Obviously the levels of ungodliness were so high up and far in that Jesus and God and probably the Holy Ghost, in the infinite grace of their oneness, decided to wait about 2000 years to allow enough time for it all to work itself out. Such dire warnings, with the understanding that nothing bad will really happen if they are ignored, were completely normal in those days. Those people around when Our Lord walked the earth and who ignored his dire warnings with the understanding that nothing bad will really happen, were not clever. And yet, like the liberal so-called Bible “scholars”, they no doubt thought they were. No, they were hardened of heart. Either that, or just enough people repented to avert imminent disaster (including the disaster of Christ making a mistake) which means that it’s all OK too.
What I also take from this book from the University of Oxford theologians is that surely the time for the Lord’s return is now imminent! But, if we read the Bible prophecies carefully, this time it is really imminent! Repent, for the kingdom really, really is at hand! Strip me of my clothes, O Lord, and meet me in the sky with thy holy trumpet!
Higher up and further in (the positive way),
Pastor Randy Hawk