Eschatology is one of those subjects that can be divisive and difficult. Yet we all have to wrestle with it. Today I’ll be reviewing Are These the Last Days? by R.C. Sproul, an entry in the Crucial Questions series.
If you have read my other reviews of the Crucial Question series books, you will find that they are a bit of a mixed bag. Some of them are too simplistic, some are not simplistic enough. Some seem to hit their target right in the soft spot, others seem to miss the mark entirely. This small entry is no different. However, the fact that this entry misses the mark is actually to its benefit.
As I mentioned, nearly all Christians go through a phase where they are investigating the End Times. Unfortunately, for most, the first phase of this exploration involves popular eschatological literature. In most cases, this ends up being Left Behind style fiction… um… theology. Futurist Dispensationalism tends to have the market on popular level eschatology, which is why this entry is so important.
Sproul writes in a winsome and compelling way. And at first blush this book draws the reader in because its title shares affinity with other eschatologies. However, Sproul writes from a partial preterist view. Although he has since (I believe) shifted from an amillenial view to a post-millennial view, the specifics of that debate are not engendered in this book. Rather, he focuses on demonstrating that most of the prophecies given by Christ on the Olivet Discourse refer not to some even in the distant future, but to the destruction of the Temple and the subsequent dispersal of the Jewish people in 70 AD.
This book is short and a very quick read. It would make a perfect resource to give to a new Christian who has reached the point where they need to think about eschatology. It would also make a good primer for understanding preterism in general, and Reformed preteristic eschatology specifically. Beyond that, it makes a good apologetic against the more radical forms of LaHeyian dispensationalism that seems to never die.
Please note: Reformation Trust / Ligonier Ministries has provided me with an electronic version of this book for review purposes, and will be providing me with a hard copy edition in exchange for this review. They do not require positive reviews, nor have they edited or modified this review in any way.