Monday, January 21, 2013

"What You Need to Know About Bible Prophecy" by Max Anders

Snack of Choice:
Those mini powdered doughnuts. Not doughnut holes, just mini’s. While I don’t mind the white powdered ones, I prefer the cinnamon ones.  But beggars can’t be choosers considering I have none of them in the house right now.  But I can almost taste it – that count’s right?

Story behind the Story:
I first encountered Max, may I call him Max? Ok. Sorry. Mr. Anders. I first encountered Mr. Anders... oh, DR. Anders... [sigh]. My wife bought me a set of commentaries with this distinguished theologian as it’s editor (Holman), so when I saw his name, I figured I could go with it. Also, it was a nice complement to “Dug Down Deep” which totally avoided the “Bible Prophecy” and eschatological discussion (end times).  Thomas Nelson provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Story Line:
Sometimes when we talk about Bible prophecy, we jump to those end time debates; but Dr. Max takes his time to introduce the idea of prophecy and it’s part in the story of the Bible. It’s one book in a series of “What you need to know[s]” that deal with many key doctrines of the Bible. It is intended to be a study that is broken up into 12 lessons with application times at the end of each.  He is methodical in defining terms and ideas that are important to understanding the whole. He gives each perspective a “chance” to speak without ridicule and shame.

The Real Story:
There is a tendency when dealing with difficult subjects to give credence to every viewpoint without pointing out potential weaknesses.  I appreciate the focus on what we do agree on; but as a book written by a Biblical scholar, I’d expect to hear an opinion.  The following seems to sum up the Doctor's philosophy:  

Equally bright, well-educated, spiritually mature people hold to different views of the Millennuim.  Therefore, we must conclude that we are now not able to discern the true interpretation of Scripture and that, in God’s grace, there will often be more than one interpretation that is responsible, even if none gains the full agreement of all our brothers and sister in Christ.  As a result, while each of us holds a deep conviction concerning our own view, we should do so with grace and with respect for others who hold one of the other two positions (99).

Let me be clear, I agree with the above statement; but I’m disappointed that Dr. Anders didn’t share his deep conviction with us.

Some of the standout aspects of this books format is “Speed Bumps” with discussion questions, fill in the blanks, deeper study, and additional resources. Great, great stuff!  Helps the reader to slow down and make sure they know what they are learning. I love the way the main headings in question form are answered in a definition sort of way before details are delved into. For example, [Heading] “What is the Rapture?” [Sub heading in italics] “The Rapture is the sudden departure of all Christians to meet Christ in the air.”

All in all, I still think this is a great resource for a believer who is trying to understand Bible prophecy.  I’d recommend it in conjunction with some godly counsel and, of course, God’s Word.

Check out:
Books of Daniel and Revelation – or “Dan/Rev” as Dr. Bowman always called it.
“Plowshares & Pruning Hook” by D. Brent Sandy – it’s a good conversation about how literal is literal. Subtitled: “Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic”

out of 5 fulfilled prophecies, and looking forward to the Lord taking care of the rest. 

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