Okay, I understand why a quadrillion people think that the biblical End Time view – yes, the only one – is Dispensationalism. I understand because that was me. Granted, at least 90% of the quadrillion folk who hold that view have never heard the word “Dispensational,” which kinda contributes to the assumption that there is only one view that Christianity teaches.
Now from the outside looking in I am ecstatically aware of the different views that the Church has held to over the years. In fact, I’m probably a little too zealous as I’m tempted routinely to shake a Dispensational until they resemble one of those bobble heads on the dash of a car. Mostly because I wish someone would have given me a good shaken back in the day. But then again, I probably wouldn’t have listened either. Back then I thought the only real debate centred around the timing of the rapture. All of that other stuff; global antichrist, seven-year tribulation, separation of Church and Jew, bar code on the forehead, beheadings, ugly helicopters and so on, well, that stuff seemed as settled and biblical as could be.
Now do an experiment. Go visit your local Christian bookstore (bet you haven’t heard someone say that in a long time. No serious, go visit it.), and look over the End Times section. I bet you’ll see books by John Walvood and maybe Thomas Ice. But I doubt even that. I bet you’ll mostly find stuff by David Jeremiah, Joel Rosenberg, maybe Jack Van Impe, almost certainly Grant Jeffrey, Mark Hitchcock among others. Here’s what you won’t see. You won’t find books by credible academic biblical scholars. And here’s why. Most academic scholars do not hold to Dispensationalism. Nay, they have traditionally seen it – quite sadly so – as a popular idea not even worth debunking. It’s beneath them. It’s entire approach to gathering information from the Bible is to be seen with suspicion. Most Dispensational leaders would not even be allowed to teach in a credible biblical seminary, such as Wheaton College, for example.
It is a theory without credibility to my mind, popularized by novels and movies and – not least – non-fiction books that feed on the fear of people and have a way of taking ambiguous biblical passages, pointing to current events and screaming, “Ah Ha! Prophecy!”
So then, since academic’s have generally stayed away from writing popular rebuttals to Dispensationalism, and since Left Behind fanatics will generally only read simple popular level books, here is what I propose. We should make a list – and I hope it’s more than just two books long – of books written at a popular level that rebuttals Left Behindism. So what I’m asking is that in the comment box below you’ll mention a book that you know about and provide a link to Amazon if you’d be so obliged.
TWO BOOKS I HIGHLY RECOMMEND
There are two books I have read, I own, and I’d be willing to loan to my blissfully ignorant Dispensational associates. (Don’t take that lightly. I generally don’t loan my books out.)
Book 1: The Pocket Guide To the Apocalypse: The Official Field Manuel for the End of the World
This is a book written by Jason Boyett. It is absolutely hilarious at some points and eye poppingly informative at others (often both at the same time). The whole book is written tongue-in-cheek and includes a chapter titled “Know Your AntiChrist” (hilarious!), and another called “Fun With Eschatology” which is basically an introduction to the different views and who holds to them.
In this pocket-book guide the unsuspecting Dispensational – who doesn’t even know what that means – will enter with his or her guard down and come away with some serious questions about what they thought the Bible said about End Times.
Book 2: End Time Delusions: The Rapture, The Antichrist, Israel, and the End of the World.
This book is written by a Jewish Christian named Steve Wohlberg. As you might have guessed from the title, he’s more of a straight shooter, getting right to the point. No humour, all Bible kind of guy. This is great because Dispensationalists are often convinced that they are just following the Bible – with scant training or awareness or utilization of proper methods of biblical hermeneutics. Dispensationalism is marked by ambiguous Old Testament references, proof-texting and giant leaps that would put Superman to shame.
Wohlberg’s chapters are concise but packed. This 200 page book has 33 chapters. It is fast-paced and targets all of the important points that will make even the most staunch Dispensationalist come away thinking “I need to go back and linger in that book for a while.” The book is broken up into four sections appropriately titled “Section 1. Rapture Delusions”; “Section 2. Seven-Year Tribulation Delusions”; “Section 3. AntiChrist Delusions”; “Section 4. Israel Delusions.” Again, it is jam-packed with Bible references, making it an essential read for all Dispensationalists.
Now is your turn. In the comment box below give us title of a book against Dispensationalism written at a popular level. My readers and I will appreciate it very much. Thanks.