Title: From the Resurrection to His Return: Living Faithfully in the Last Days
Author: D.A. Carson
Publisher: Christian Focus
Publishing Year: 2012
Pages: 23 (According to my Nook)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)
Well, as you guys know, I am a little bit slow on the uptake… I’ve reviewed several books from this publisher and it just dawned on me what Christian Focus’s niche is in the huge Christian book market. If you are looking for highly intellectual, complexingly philosophical, and ivory tower theological tomes that would send you to the chiropractor if you threw in your backpack, Christian Focus Publishing is not for you. But, if you are looking for bite-sized chucks of Biblical, practical wisdom from respected Bible expositors, then check these guys out! That was exactly my thought after finishing From the Resurrection to His Return by D.A. Carson.
Ok, I am one of those weird Christians that actually is not all that interested in end times speculation. With my dispensational, Thief in the Night-watching, Left Behind-reading, looking for end times events on every page of the newspaper past, I feel like just want to be done trying to figure God’s future eschatological plans. So, when I saw this book had the subtitle “Living Faithfully in the Last Days,” I was a little skeptical. But, after having seen D.A. Carson’s name attached, I immediately changed my mind.
This e-book is a short exposition of II Timothy 3:1 – 4:8. It lives up to its title perfectly. It really is some practical advice about how to live life in these last days (however long or short this time period actually may be).
Chapter one sets out to describe the characteristics that mark this time period before Christ’s return. The main focus is on false teachers the deceptions they are known by. Let me give you this quotation I found most insightful:
“The church is usually not too badly troubled by teachers who are, from the beginning, outside the framework of confessional Christianity, teachers who are saying all kinds of things that Christians view as foolish, dangerous, or simply false – because they’re bringing another set of assumptions. By contrast, if you find someone who has been a public teacher of Christianity for some time and who gradually moves away from the centre of the faith, it sometimes takes awhile to discern the nature of the drift… It is not uncommon for such people to become rash. They become impetuous in the sense that they do not think through the long-term effects of the stances that they are now adopting. They become conceited, far too impressed by their new found opinions and deeply persuaded that the people whom they have left behind are narrow-minded and bigoted. With ego the size of small planets, they become unwilling to think through things out of a confessional heritage anymore; they are too busy telling everybody else how wrong they are.” – page 9
Unfortunately as read these words names and people came to mind… These are people who merely have a form of godliness and many are deceived by this form.
Chapter two gives the flip side of the coin. While we ought to be on guard against false teachers, we ought also to commit ourselves to true teachers of the sound faith. As good disciples we follow men who follow after God. Of course this is also a reminder that we ourselves ought to be examples that others can follow as well.
Chapter three reminds us that this vile world is no friend to grace as Isaac Watts once wrote. We should not be disillusioned by the culture around us. While this is our Father’s World, it is indeed a fallen world. Paul promises as we endure these end times that evil men will grow more evil. Carson is quick to note this does not necessarily mean the world itself is getting worse as it gets older but evil men themselves will increase in their evil deeds. The application for the church is simple – don’t expect friendship or respect from the unregenerate around us. We are different at our very core and that difference ought to shine through and distinguish God’s ambassadors.
So, in this fallen world, we must cling to the Scriptures our Lord inspired for us. The message behind chapter four is simple – let the Scriptures be our authority and stay out of their way! Scripture is our authority, not our starting point. Too often preachers and evangelists like to use the Bible to fit their message or agenda, whether it is actually in the next or not. This is not to say that the agenda of the speaker is immoral. In fact it may be a very moral message, but just not the message of the text. Whatever, it sure sounds good and it sure makes for good preachin’! While the intent may be good we have just turned the Word of God into a pile of clay that we are molding into our own image. While a good morality lesson may have been taught, the gospel is hidden under a cloak of good behavior.
Carson writes, “Some who go by the name ‘Evangelical’ view the Bible in such scrappy atomistic bits that they can find moralistic lessons here and there, but cannot see how the Bible gives us the gospel of Jesus Christ. But the Bible is not a magic book, as in: ‘A verse a day keeps the devil away’. It is a book that points us to Jesus, and this Jesus saves and transforms.” – page 19
The book concludes with a challenge to take this Scripture we hold so dearly and give to others. As we witness these last days around us and wait with growing anticipation for Christ’s return, the message of Scripture is the only message that will allow others to understand the hope that lies within us.
This book is a short read that is well worth your time. If you are like me, you need a reminder every now and again that this world is not our home. I find it so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day drama and ritual that is my life. Jesus is returning! That thought should jar us from our slumber and awake to the reality of what we ought to be looking for in these last days.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.