Book Review: How will the world end?

It’s with thanks to Shaun Tabatt, of Cross Focused Reviews, I had a chance to check out this little 93 page book, How will the world end?: and other questions about the last things and the second coming of Christ (Questions Christians Ask) (The Good Book Company, 2014) written by Pastor Jeramie Rinne (MDiv, GCTS).

how will the world endRinne’s basic thesis in his book is that when it comes to the end of the world, many Christians are confused and unsure about what the Bible teaches about the last days.  Rinne asserts this is the case be all too often most Christians and even those who teach on end times tend to miss the trees for the forest; they get bogged down in the details instead of taking a step back and getting a sense of the larger picture.

The purpose of Rinne’s book then, is to help regular Christians regain that big picture about the end of the world.  Its a book about seeing the whole forest once again, not a microscopic study of tree bark. (9)

At the same time he hopes to give the reader the opportunity to do more than have a cursory or even confused understanding of end times to “have a basic commonsense understanding” (9).  Many also have fear and anxiety about the end of the world and he hopes this little book will free people from that fear and allow for joy and peace to give direction to them as they explore the topic further.

The topics discussed are:

1) How will the world end? (and why is it taking so long?).  Here Rinne asserts:

At the center of the Bible, and at the center of the whole human story, stands Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  And it will be Jesus himself who brings the world to its end (19).

2) What will happen before Jesus comes back?  Here he uses Jesus’ own image of labor pains.  Various events that take place such as the rise of false messiah’s and wars and disasters, persecution, the increase of wickedness, etc are all labor pains that will happen just prior to Christ’ return.  Though Christians are to press on with proclamation of the gospel, we must remember, like labor pains, all these things will happen before Jesus’ return.

3) How will Jesus come back?  Here Rinne states that “we know Jesus will come back “publicly, gloriously, victoriously, and savingly” (41).  He spends time unpacking each of these concepts.

4) Will Jesus come back before or after the “Millennium”? For Rinne, this book is not intended to be an in-depth study of eschatology. Instead, “seeks to point us back to the primary focus of the New Testament’s teaching about the end of the world, namely, that Jesus is returning” (53).  So, in this chapter Rinne does not directly give his take, but instead covers all the basics as far as what the millennium is and the different views as to when Jesus may return in light of it, and lets the reader decide.

5) What Happens after Jesus comes back?  In this it is important for the reader to understand “the world’s finale is merely the beginning of our eternal saga.  The end of the world is not the end of the story” (69).  Here he talks about the Great White Throne of Judgment (something that should both comfort us and caution us); the Lamb’s Book of Life (is your name in it?); Hell and the Lake of Fire (which is the final judgment of the wicked).


6) How should we live until Jesus comes back?  “What we think will happen in the future, shapes our in the present” (81).  Our understanding of how the world will end greatly affects how we live now.  Many live in fear and others have found out how to live in faith and godliness as history moves forward to the end of days.  His desire is that more Christians would move away from fear about the end of the world and to a place of faith, hope, and love.  Rinne’s most poignant point in this section is his assertion that “when the reality of Jesus’ return and the end of the world grips us, it should spawn an urgency in our hearts to proclaim “this gospel of the kingdom” to all nations” (89).

I think this is a good little book that could be helpful for those Christians who are wanting or needing some direction in their understanding of how the world will end.

An Inconsistent Pentecostal View of the Bible

Brian Fulthorp:

This is a really really good blog post on some problems within certain sectors of the Charismatic movement. While the two men mentioned in this post are identified with the Word of Faith movement, this kind of thinking is not uncommon in wider Charismatic and or Pentecostal circles. I’ve seen some of it in the Assemblies of God even though WOF Theology is not something the AG endorses. Again. This is a good post!

Originally posted on Hye Sung Francis:

From Kenneth Copeland Ministries' facebook page

From Kenneth Copeland Ministries’ Facebook page

I saw the graphic above pop up on my newsfeed on Facebook and was beyond disturbed. There is a lot that can be critiqued about these men’s theology (both Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis), but having the presence and person of God equated with the Bible was not something I’d expect from fellow Charismatics. Usually these sorts of statements, though not usually as bibliolatrous, are made to battle the over-experientialism of Charismatics and Pentecostals perceived by cessationists and non-charismatic Evangelicals. In a conversation with Rachel Held Evans, Jonathan Martin remarked, and I believe accurately, that “Pentecostals are not fundamentalists that speak in tongues,” and he went on to explain that the distinct Pentecostal worldview that creates an urgent people empowered by the Spirit to bring action and make known the Kingdom of God on earth. That being said, this quote from Jesse…

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50 years of Bible Translation

Doug Moo reflects on 50 years of Bible translation since the days of James Barr.  He also reflects on the history and development of the NIV translation of the Bible.  Read ‘We still Don’t Get It: Evangelicals and Bible Translation Fifty Years after James Barr.’

Here is one good quote:

“Specifically, I highlight three basic and generally agreed-upon linguistic principles that have too often been ignored in modern Bible translation. First, linguistics is not a prescriptive but a descriptive enterprise; second, meaning resides not at the level of individual words but at the level of collocations of words in clauses, sentences, and ultimately discourses; and third, the meaning of individual words is expressed not in a single word gloss but in a semantic field.”


Tacky is as tacky does…or doesn’t

Brian Fulthorp:

My friend Pastor Scott is blogging now.

Originally posted on Theology At My Fingertips:

My father had a way with words; he could make his point known but often in such a low-key way that if you weren’t paying close attention, you might never know he had made any comment whatsoever. When the annoying and frustrating things of life tried to clutter up his day, he would view them not with some kind of pejorative or foul oath, but by hanging on them this handle: “tacky.”  To him, tacky was the essence of uncouth, or rude, or unseemly, something out of place or out of manners. If someone displayed angry behavior towards him, his view of it was “So-and-so managed to get really tacky today.”  Occasionally a colleague would tell a slightly off-color joke; dad would label the story as “tacky” until the same story would wind up being repeated by the same person, whereupon that person became “tacky”.

There was a time in…

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Gordon Fee’s Three Reasons for Revising His 1 Corinthians Commentary

Brian Fulthorp:

For those interested….

Originally posted on New Leaven:

51upc20TiXL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Gordon Fee’s majestic 1 Corinthians commentary has been revised, which was originally published in 1987.

The following is Fee’s Preface to the revised (second) edition:

It has now been over twenty-five years since the first edition of this commentary appeared, Much has happened during this quarter century, besides the author’s (who was also the former editor of the series) growing long of tooth! There are two primary reasons for the present revision:

First, the original commentary was based on the 1978 edition of the NIV, which was probably more poorly done in this letter than anywhere else in the entire canon. I came to discover the reasons for this when in 1990 I was invited to join the Committee for Bible Translation (the committee solely responsible for the translation itself). This committee of fifteen, at that time composed of nine OT scholars and six NT, had been purposely brought together…

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Kindle commentary sale: 1 Corinthians (NAC)

1 CorinthainsNot sure how long this will be available for $2.99, but it just came out and you may want to take advantage and get it. Mark Taylor on 1st Corinthians via @amazonkindle

Not to mention that all of the commentaries (Kindle Edition) in the NIV Application Commentary set are on a $4.99 and down sale until the 27.   If I was y’all I’d pick a few up and especially the one with WIlson’s work on the Psalms (Psalms Volume 1 )

Have fun and blessings!

You’re Restricted!….

Dave Black linked to an article that the late Rod Decker had written for the Baptist Bulletin asking ‘Can We Trust the ESV Bible?‘  In the article he discusses the basic essence of BIble translations and a little bit of history leading up to the ESV, which I thought was interesting because he stated that the ESV is actually a revision and not a translation per se, such as the NIV.  The ESV is a revision of the RSV whereas the NIV is a direct translation of Hebrew and Greek.

But the reason for the blog title is he talks briefly about the form and function of translations highlighting formal and functional equivalent translations.  These two are not contradictory to each other but merely reflect differences in styles and really preferences as it relates to traditions.   He then gives an example:

Consider the following illustration of these differences in a difficult verse. If we were to translate word-for-word, we might read 2 Corinthians 6:12 like this: “Not you are being restricted in us you are being restricted but in the intestines of you.” Not very helpful, is it?! The KJV reads, “Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.” That’s not much clearer. The ESV reads, “You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections.” Though only minor changes are made, translating the reference to the intestines into the metaphorical meaning of the expression (“affections”) helps the reader understand more of what Paul meant—but what is the “restriction”? The NIV becomes clearer: “We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.” In this case the form of the original is not as evident, but the meaning is understandable. On the functional end of the spectrum, we might read something like this: “If there is a problem between us, it is not because of a lack of love on our part, but because you have withheld your love from us” (New Living Translation).

Decker is using this example to highlight the differences between working to get the form (literalness) of the text or word and working to get the function (meaning) of the text or the word. He avers that the ESV succeeds at improving the form and function of the original KJV upon which the ESV is based, and I would agree.  However, I admit, I have a preference for emphasizing the functionality of translations rather than the form of them.  Why?  Because I think functionality gets at the heart of what should be happening in a translation – people need to know not just what the Bible says, but also what it means and I personally believe that is accomplished best through a functional equivalence translation style, something mediating between the NIV and the NLT.  But again, that is my personal preference, but one I think is supported by the quote above.  As Decker notes, the ESV is not an unusable translation, it does accomplish the purpose for which it is intended, however,

I remember in my 2nd year Greek classes (we did what were called “inductive studies in the Greek” which was really a kind of surveying how to do exegesis in the various genre of the NT, well first semester we translated 1-2 Thessalonians, few chapters out of John and some others I can’t remember) and then the next semester we did translations out of the Gospels, Paul’s letters, the Epistles, and Revelation covering exegetical issues in each) but the thing I remember was Ben Aker saying that in first year Greek students spend time being form chasers, but that beyond that students of NT Greek should become function chasers.  And I think that is how it should be in translation – going for the function moreso than the form.