Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sunday School Reading - April 26, 2009

Here are the recommended readings from this week's Sunday School discussion on some topics in eschatology. This week we covered the intermediate state, the resurrection body, the second coming, the final judgment, and introduced the signs of the times. I'm going to skip the catechism questions this week since we cited a number of them Sunday. The Shorter Catechism does not deal very explicitly with these topics though they do come up often in both the Larger Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism.

Here are the book recommendations:
  • Christ and the Future: The Bible's Teaching about the Last Things by Cornelis Venema - This is the first book that I recommend on these topics. Venema has written a great deal on eschatology and approaches these topics from an "optimistic amillennial" perspective. I think that you'll find this book very satisfying. I'm seeing if the church can get several copies to put on the church booktable to make it easier for people to get.
  • The Promise of the Future by Cornelis Venema - This is the earlier and larger work that Venema did on the last things. The topics covered are very similar to what he covers in the above book. The difference is that this is a longer (just under 500 pages) and more scholarly treatment of the subjects. This is a fantastic book and my personal favorite on eschatology but I think that most people (and their wallets) will be satisfied by the shorter book above.
  • The Bible and the Future by Anthony Hoekema - This is an older but still very good work on eschatology from an amillennial perspective that Venema borrows heavily from. Hoekema is especially helpful in his critique of dispensationalism. I do want to note that I disagree with Hoekema on his interpretation of "all Israel will be saved" in Romans 11:25-26 (though if you take his side you are certainly in good company with Bavinck, Ridderbos, and others).
  • The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation by Vern Poythress - Though we did not take the time to discuss Revelation in detail since Pastor Baile is preaching through the book I did want to highlight a few books/commentaries that would be helpful in studying this book in your devotions. This book by Vern Poythress is a fantastic short commentary on Revelation that deals with many of the themes, key issues, and structures of the book. I would highly recommend beginning here.
  • Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation by Dennis Johnson - This commentary, while remaining friendly to non-scholarly or pastoral use, is longer and more comprehensive than Poythress'. I personally prefer Poythress' work as I think that it is more consistent with the book. That said, this is still a very helpful book and aid for studying what God says to his people at the end of the canon.

Second, here is a list of where eschatology is addressed in several Reformed and Presbyterian systematic theologies:

  • Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin - Eschatology underlies much of Calvin's work but isn't usually explicitly discussed as a separate topic. The final resurrection is dealt with in Book 3, Chapter 25.
  • Reformed Dogmatics by Herman Bavinck - Bavinck deals more explicitly with the traditional topics under the heading of eschatology. While like Calvin and the Westminster Standards eschatological assumptions underlie much of his work; the topic is directly addressed in Volume 4: Holy Spirit and New Creation, Part III, Chapters 12-18.
  • Systematic Theology by Charles Hodge - Hodge deals with eschatology in Book 3, Part IV, Chapters 1-4. The link provided is to a .pdf file of Hodge's work.
  • Outlines of Theology by A.A. Hodge - Eschatology is discussed in Chapters 34-37. The link provided is to a copy of this book on Google Books where you can view and download it for free.
  • Systematic Theology by Robert L. Dabney - Dabney discusses eschatology in Chapters 43-46. Dabney's work is also available online and you can scroll through the table of contents in the link provided.

Finally, here are some papers and articles that you can read for free online with regard to these topics:

1 comment:

Kent said...

Have you seen the new resources posted at Calvin500.com? Among other things, you’ll find links to a 97-volume collection of material written by or about Calvin, including all of his commentaries, the Institutes, 10 biographies, and 20 volumes on the history of Calvinism, among other things. I thought you might be interested: http://www.calvin500.com