Return of Christ
Berkouwer, G. C.
Publisher Review:Christians have always looked for the return of Christ, the last judgement, and the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth. Nevertheless, eschatology-the doctrine of last things-remains an area in which questions frequently appear to outnumber answers; and in which many of the answers that are offered come not from theologians who have studied the Bible seriously, but from faddists or self-appointed prophets. Serious students of theology, therefore, will welcome the appearance of Dr. G. C. Berkouwer’s detailed study of last things.
In The Return of Christ, Berkouwer addresses himself to a wide range of questions: How does Christian expectation differ from ordinary human longing for a better future? Is there an “intermediate state” between the death of the believer and the return of Christ (or, where does the Christian go immediately after death)? Is the Christian faith in crisis because the Lord has not yet returned? What ought Christians be doing until His return? And what will His return be like?
Speaking to issues much in evidence today, the author also provides his response to questions such as these: How are we to understand the “signs of the times”-specifically, the signs of the antichrist, the “Millennium,” and the restoration of Israel? What is the meaning of “seeing God”? Is there any scriptural warrant for teaching that ultimately God’s grace will triumph over all sin, resulting in the salvation of all men? What is the Christian really praying for when he prays “Thy Kingdom come”?
Characteristically, Berkouwer deals with his subject in considerable detail, taking note of and interacting with other Protestant and Roman Catholic theologians such as Cullmann, Barth, H. Berkhof, Butlmann, Rahner, Numerous scriptural passages are cited, and the historic confessions of the church are referred to again and again. And, as is his practice, the author presents his theology with a keen sense of its relation to the preacher, to the proclamation of the Word; “This is the reason for Berkouwer’s persistent shunning of abstractions: they cannot comfort or challenge the man in the pew…The work of theology must be climaxed not with the satisfaction of having solved an intellectual problem, but with a doxology to the God of grace.”
The Return of Christ is that kind of theology.