Thoughts on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

What do I think of Douglas Adams’s work? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Opening note: This is about the original trilogy. It’s not about parts four and five. That doesn’t make sense? That’s fine.

One of my favorite lines to use to answer a question is to just say “42.” Where does it come from? The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (HGG) The book is often quoted in pop culture the way that the Princess Bride is in movies. Maybe not that much, but that’s the best parallel I can come up with.

As I started, I found that Adams was a marvelous writer who has great humor with juxtaposition. He’ll get you going on something that you think is really important and then all of a sudden, he will shift totally to something else as if that point he was going on doesn’t matter, and yet at the same time, it seems natural. Also in these books, hardly anything is serious, even if it is a serious matter. Someone destroyed the planet? Well, that’s rough, but move on. Are you facing certain death? Too bad, but somehow it will work out.

The work is also no doubt, extremely imaginative. Adams has a creative genius that has created multiple worlds and races and has a unique idea of naming. Even after introducing a new race, before too long, you think you know it. Again, there’s a naturalness to the writing style.

For me, the first book was by far the most enjoyable. This is the one that starts Arthur Dent, the main character, on his trek through the universe exploring various worlds after the Earth is destroyed. This one was the one that seemed to have the most guiding it in the sense of purpose and destination. This is the one where the story seemed the most cohesive.

The second one is The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which really only shows up at one point in the novel. Here, there isn’t much that I found memorable aside from the lines near the start about in the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

The third book is Life, The Universe, and Everything. At this point, I started being convinced that it was being made up as Adams went along bit by bit. Sometimes it seemed like something was introduced and Adams completely lost sight of it later on. I have been told by others that they also thought the first book was the best and the second and third just weren’t the same. At the same time, I am intrigued enough that I plan to go through books four and five, especially since I bought book five when I saw that it was on sale at a bookstore going out of business.

Douglas Adams was an atheist, but that doesn’t mean Christians can’t enjoy the work just like we can enjoy movies and TV shows and music by non-Christians. We need to be engaging with the work of non-Christians to understand where they are coming from and how they see the world. If we stay in our own subculture, we won’t be able to interact with the culture around us. Paul knew the pagan poets well enough to quote them.

If you like science fiction and you’re looking for a good read, this is an amusing one to go through. I plan on reading parts four and five as I said and I will review them when I am done. I don’t know yet if at this point it will be reviewing them one by one or reviewing them as parts four and five of the trilogy combined. Didn’t make sense again? That’s okay.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: A Change of Affection

What do I think of Becket Cook’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Change can happen in strange ways.

One day, Becket Cook is sitting outside at a coffee shop when someone comes in with a Bible. Wow. Cook and his friend sit outside making fun of a group apparently sitting around and talking with this man. After the group left, one straggler is left behind. Cook and his friend decide to go up and start asking the guy question.

Here’s a real shock. The guy is ready for them. I don’t know the answers given, but they were enough to leave Cook wanting to engage. At the end of the questioning, Cook decided to drop the hammer. As a man who is primarily attracted to men he asked, what about homosexuality?

The man actually gave a listening and kind answer. Cook was then invited to his church and he thought, “Why not?” If anything, it could be a good social experiment. It wasn’t an easy decision though as it was done with much debate. Many of his friends would not like to see him in a church or hear he had been to one.

Cook was there Sunday. He had grown up in a conservative Christian home, but he was the prodigal son. He knew the story about Christianity. He knew why it was nonsense.

Or so he thought.

As the pastor begins talking about the gospel, Cook is caught off guard. He hadn’t heard it this way before. He realized he was actually agreeing with a lot of what the pastor said. As he tells it, Cook knew then the conviction that he had. Homosexuality wasn’t an issue anymore. He came forward to pray and before too long, he became a Christian.

This is ultimately how the first part of the book starts as the first part is basically Cook’s story. It is about how he came to embrace a lifestyle of homosexuality and what all led to that. He’s very clear to state that he doesn’t know what is the ultimate cause of anything. He also ponders on many ways God could have been working in His life up to that point.

The second part is answering questions. Cook finds it sad that most of them have to do with sex. According to him, he would much rather talk about the resurrection and how to know it’s real, but no. People want to ask him about sex. He understands that and he does answer the questions.

Cook acknowledges that he still wrestles with temptation and has a heart for those who do. He still tries to find his heart fulfilled most of all in God. It is a sacrifice to him, but it is a worthwhile sacrifice as in his mind, he gains something far greater than his other intimate relationships could have given him.

So the positives of the book.

Cook’s story is very exciting to read. It’s a difficult book to put down as you wonder what will happen to him next and Cook has led an exciting life. He is a gifted storyteller as he brings the past to life and goes step by step in what all his experiences were. At the same time, it’s actually family friendly to read for the most part. There is nothing explicit described.

Second, Cook writes with a heart as well. You can tell he has a great concern for the people that he writes to. He is concerned about how our culture is so focused on sexuality above all else. Sex has become our great idol in our culture as we think that it’s impossible for a homosexual to be happy unless he or she is having sex. Actually, we think the same thing about heterosexuals and any of the other 2,489 sexualities we have today.

There is one big negative I have in that I would like to have seen more said about why he is a Christian today. I think too many will read his book who are skeptics of Christianity and say “Yeah. He went to a church and got caught up in an altered state of consciousness and abandoned all his reason at that point over an emotional experience.” I don’t think that is what happened, but I can understand that some would think that.

Cook does talk once about how he’d like to be asked about the resurrection, but I would prefer he just tell us. I understand that might not fit in with the story entirely, so why not add in an appendix? He can talk about how after his conversion, he did check to make sure he hadn’t been tricked and found a whole lot of data to support what he believed now. I’m not saying that’s how it happened to him, but if it is, I would like to know about it.

After all, Cook’s experience is great, but he can’t share that experience with others in the same way. No one else can enter a Matrix kind of world where they will experience what he experienced. They can hear his story and perhaps with an appendix like this hear something that could give them pause.

People interested in this kind of area need to read Cook’s book. It is readable and not too long as well. I hope you enjoy the story like I did.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: An Impossible Marriage

What do I think of Matt and Laurie Krieg’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters.

Laurie and Matt have what they call an impossible marriage. It’s an unusual situation. Matt is like many red-blooded males and really likes to look at the ladies.

So is Laurie.

That’s right. Laurie is primarily attracted to women in their marriage. Because of that, they say their marriage is seen as impossible. They also agree, but you know who else has an impossible marriage?

Every single married couple out there.

All marriages involve two people who are very difficult trying to function as if they were one person. All require death to one’s self. All require sacrifice. All require putting another person before yourself. All require hard work.

So let’s go with the positives of this book first.

This is definitely a book that makes you think. Much of the book is talking about difficulties with sex. Laurie has gone through trauma and during this time looks at Matt as if he is a threat entirely. She is left wondering, “Why can’t we be friends without sex? Why should married couples need to have sex?”

Meanwhile, Matt is having a battle of his own. Can he love his wife even if she is not having sex with him? Some could say Matt was overplaying sex, but honestly I would say that’s not the case. Not because sex is the ultimate, it’s not. (Yes my fellow guys. I really mean that.) I say it because C.S. Lewis told us you can’t love something too much. You only love something else too little. Matt had to learn how to put God first.

This is something that led to a lot of thinking for me. I too had to think about what it is that makes sex in a marriage so important and this book does excellent at showing the gospel message that is meant from sexuality. This is a great book for husbands and wives to read together.

Second, this book has a habit of switching back and forth, though letting you know of who is speaking. You get to see Matt’s perspective on something and then you get to see Laurie’s perspective or vice-versa. This is good not only so husbands and wives can see what they relate to, but they can see inside the head of the other person.

Third, this book also is not something that really speaks out against homosexual practice, which I do disagree with. They state regularly they know that behavior is not acceptable for a Christian, but there is nothing here that shows any hatred towards someone who has same-sex desires. They invite such people to read this book to learn about their perspective.

Fourth, this book is a story. You will go along with their journey and wonder how it turns out. You want to see this couple work even when they are both convinced that they won’t, this despite both of them doing counseling to an extent, Matt even being a counselor, and both of them helping people with issues regarding sexuality.

Now let’s look at things I would change for another addition.

First, I like the story, but I think I was thrown into it. There was something on how Matt and Laurie met and married, but I would like to have known them first. How did they come to Jesus? My main wonder was with Laurie. Was she raised Christian and came to find she had same-sex desires and just decided to sacrifice them? I would have liked to have seen something such as in Rachel Gilson’s Born Again This Way. Not a whole book to be sure, but perhaps a single chapter with each of them introducing themselves first.

Second, some terms are vague. Matt says whenever he wants sex while Laurie is not able to, he is to turn that to God and say that he wants God. Okay. What does that mean? Do you want a feeling or what? How do you know when you get to the point where you can say you have Him? What are you supposed to experience? This term is unclear and I was left wondering about it.

Third, I do think too often subjective experiences were relied on. I am not saying such can’t happen, but when I see people going on more about what they think God is telling them, I do get cautious as many such claims exist. Also with some of these stories, they were often times very difficult to follow.

Fourth, while the book does say that we can make too much about sex, it does seem that the whole book is largely about the couple and the struggle that they have with sex. My conclusion is as much as we might want to downplay it, sex is far more important to a marriage than a lot of us realize.

I have an equal number of pros and cons, but ultimately, this is one of the most thought-provoking marriage books to read. Anyone wanting to marry or who is married should read it. It would also be great for small groups to study together. Either way, go get this book and read it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: The Skeletons in God’s Closet

What do I think of Joshua Butler’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes you hear about someone you really like or meet them. They seem like a great person upfront in their public image, but then you see something behind the scenes. This person has skeletons in their closet. Everything is called into question then.

Many people think God has a few in His closet.

How could a loving God send people to Hell?

Why would a loving God judge anyone?

How could a loving God be so genocidal in the Old Testament?

Each of these can be a deal breaker for so many people. Why would I want to serve a God like that? These are valid questions, but Butler turns these on their heads. Each of these is actually good news for most of us.

One of the reasons for this is we don’t take sin seriously. We say to just let it be. It’s not really hurting anyone. Right? Imagine if we took the same approach to someone being treated for cancer. “Don’t worry. It’s just a little cancer. You want to keep some of it in you. Right? A little cancer won’t hurt you will it?”

The analogy, like all analogies, is not perfect, but if we treated sin like cancer we could find our lives quite different. If we don’t, then God has the answer of Hell. At the start, Butler has it clear that this place is not a torture chamber. Part of the problem is we have an idea that Heaven is up above and Hell is down below, such as the old email chain about Hell being found underneath Siberia. (Ridiculous since Percy Jackson showed us all that Hell is really under Hollywood, but I digress.)

This is false. Heaven is some place far up there and Hell is some place way down there. This division doesn’t really help us as we make this world an awful place to escape then. This is the world of God and God made it to be dwelt in. That does not include Hell. Nothing in Scripture indicates that Hell is made for humans.

Hell is really an intruder in this world. However, what if someone doesn’t want to choose God in this life? What does God do with them? He gives them what they want. Those who want to join in the rebellion and fight against God get the results of fighting against Him and choosing against Him. Still, it is not a torture chamber. It is a place of shame and sorrow where one realizes what they have lost.

Judgment, however, is still good news. After all, if anyone talks about the problem of evil and asks why God doesn’t intervene, they want judgment in some way. “If I was God, I wouldn’t let someone get raped.” This is a real need for us. We want to see justice done.

This is then good news. There is a God who will deal justice and does deal justice. We don’t really want a grandfather in the sky who says the children will be children, unless, of course, it’s our own sin that we’re talking about. We don’t want God to judge that.

But for those who do evil, there is a day of reckoning coming. God will not let someone do what they want forever and for those of us who do hunger for justice, that is good news. For those who are living in a sin of some sort, that is very bad news. Nothing will escape His eye. Nothing. We have to give an account for everything that we do in the body. If you’re a Christian and you read that and there is no nervousness in you over that thought, you really need to examine yourself.

And sometimes, that judgment came in the Old Testament in holy war, but is that really like God? Butler argues that what happens most of the time is not living cities are attacked, but more military outposts. These also often include the idea of driving out instead of killing.

But doesn’t the text say women and children are killed?

This is language of totality and is really trash talking. It doesn’t indicate women and children are killed, especially since they were rarely in these military outposts. What about Jericho? Consider first off that Jericho could be walked around 7 times in one day. Sure, Rahab was there, but it wasn’t uncommon to have a woman be a tavern master for the men and sometimes, she would be a prostitute if men wanted more than a drink.

Consider as Butler suggests, a basketball team in the locker room after a game talking about how they demolished and destroyed the other team. Final score? 120-105. Hardly a complete shutout, but that language is used. What you see in the genocide passages is actually trash talk.

I have only given brief explanations, but this book is an extremely powerful book. Skeptics who want to complain about these kinds of passages really need to read this book. Even Christians who have studied apologetics for years will get food for thought.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Fault Lines

What do I think of Voddie Baucham Jrs book published by Salem Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Baucham is concerned about the evangelical church in America and the rest of the world for that matter. Too many good Christians are buying into Critical Race Theory. It might look good for awhile. After all, who wants to say that black lives don’t matter? Don’t we all agree that racism is a bad thing? Don’t we all want justice? Of course, but there are bad ways to get good things.

Baucham does agree that racism is in America, but America is not systematically racist. Racism is not at the root of all of our ills. He also sees CRT as Marxist and pagan in its origins. It will do more harm by far than good.

Baucham also deals with statistics on crime and other issues. For example, he tells the story of a young man who died tragically at the hands of police. A police officer pinned him to the ground and mocked him. He pleaded with the officers saying that they were going to kill him. The officers did nothing and kept making jokes.

No. That’s not George Floyd. That’s Tony Timpa. Timpa had schizophrenia and had called the police himself because he was off his meds and he had already been handcuffed by a security guard. Timpa died under those police officers before the paramedics arrived.

Most of you never heard of him because he was white.

On October 5, 2016, an officer was nearly beaten to death by a suspect. She knew she should have used her weapon. Her supervisor told her she should have. Why didn’t she?

Because she knew the next day she and her family would undergo scrutiny on the national news. There are real world consequences?

What about Dylan Noble? During a routine traffic stop, he reached into his wasitband and was shot 11 times. Why do you not know about him? He’s white.

Breanna Taylor made the national news when she did in a shooting involving the police. A police officer served an eviction notice on her Dad. The Dad pulled a weapon and the officer pulled out his gun and fired. The bullet passed through his arm and hit Ciara which caused her death eventually. Why do you not know about this? She was white.

Why bring these up? Because people love to bring up stories that fuel a narrative. In this case, it’s the idea that the police treat the black population unfairly. Baucham argues there is further evidence to back this.

Meanwhile , a National Academy of Sciences study ignited controversy when its authors proclaimed, “ We find no evidence of anti – Black or anti – Hispanic disparities across shootings, and White officers are not more likely to shoot minority civilians than non – White officers. ” 14 More fundamentally, the researchers noted that “ using population as a benchmark makes the strong assumption that White and Black civilians have equal exposure to situations that result in FOIS, ” which is the only way the 2.5 – to – 1 ratio could be viewed as prima facie evidence of police bias. Instead, they noted that contrary to the accepted narrative, “ If there are racial differences in exposure to these situations, calculations of racial disparity based on population benchmarks will be misleading. ” 15 In other words, the 2.5 – to – 1 ratio, taken at face value, is actually misleading.

CRT will not bring about unity. It will only bring further division. For example, if every incident involving interaction between blacks and whites is made into racism, even if no racist motives can be shown, then there will be hesitancy to act in any situation. Not only that, but if you cry wolf, real racism will go unnoticed. Even today, I am highly suspicious as soon as someone says “racist” about something or someone.

Baucham stresses that CRT has Marxist origins and thus is highly antithetical to Christian values. The church could let the nose of this camel in thinking they are doing good, only to wind up having the whole camel in and that will lead to chaos on other issues.

For many on the CRT side, if you deny that you are a racist, well that just shows you are a racist. No matter what you do, you are racist. You can marry someone of the another race or have children of another race and still be considered to be racist. You are guilty of racism until you are proven innocent, and you cannot be proven innocent.

I was amazed also to read parts of a sermon that Obama gave to a black church on a Father’s Day. I never supported Obama, but I have to say I agree so much with what he said.

Yes, we need more cops on the street. Yes, we need fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Yes, we need more money for our schools, and more outstanding teachers in the classroom, and more afterschool programs for our children. Yes, we need more jobs and more job training and more opportunity in our communities. But we also need families to raise our children. We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child — it’s the courage to raise one.

The problems for the black community by and large are not from without but from within. Fatherlessness is too common and too many black men are dying at the hands of other black men. Restoring the family to the black community would be the best gift that could be given. CRT will not do that as groups like BLM are opposed to the typical nuclear family.

This book is written from a Christian perspective, but I think a non-Christian would get something out of it. They won’t care likely about what is going on in the church over this, but I would hope they would look at the case either way. I really hope Baucham is wrong about a future earthquake coming, but I fear that he is right.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids

What do I think of Phil Mason’s book published by Skyhorse publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I will get back to Simplicity soon, but for now, I wanted to review this book I finished over the weekend. I enjoy reading about little oddities in history and this book is full of them. It’s my goal then to tell some that I really liked and give some thoughts from a Christian perspective.

At the start, Mason says that the reason we have civilization today is beer. We have an old Sumerian recipe for beer and that recipe caused people to stop and work on agriculture instead of being hunters and gatherers. After all, they wanted more beer. If this theory is accurate, then the reason we are on the internet today and I am writing and you are reading is because some people once wanted to drink beer. Incredible.

It has also been theorized that another drink helped save civilization. That is the sacred drink of tea. The Industrial Revolution took off in Britain according to this because people had to gather together and often, the water wasn’t the best, but tea contains enough health benefits that it could be used. No other nation had the Industrial Revolution take off so if this is so, tea has done our world a great service.

Now with many of these, from a Christian perspective, you could argue that God was orchestrating some events. That could be so, but I hesitate to say such a thing. After all, I have presented some positive events. What happens if I present negative events, and there are several of those.

Let’s start with the fact that starlings are in America because Shakespeare wrote Henry the IV. Yes. There was a man in America who wanted to bring every bird mentioned in Shakespeare to America and since Shakespeare referred to the starling one time in that play, 100 starlings were brought over and they have been a problem to our American ecosystem ever since. The same happened in Australia as a man wanted to hunt rabbits so he brought some over and now Australia has a problem with the rabbit population.

At Lincoln’s second inauguration, there was a young man who broke through the ranks and almost got to the president. He was stopped and restrained because the police thought he was really harmless and so they let him go. Want to know what happened to him? I’ll just tell you his name was John Wilkes Booth.

Why did the Battle of Gettysburg take place in the Civil War? It wasn’t planned, but one army leader heard a story about shoes being on sale in a town and his troops needed shoes. The journey to get them was seen as hostile by the other side and thus began a major battle that took place and could have changed the tide of the war, all because someone wanted shoes for his troops.

One example that should definitely give us pause in saying God is behind some events is Hitler. Mason lists numerous times that there were assassination plots against Hitler and at the last moment, something changed in Hitler’s plans and he avoided assassination every time. It was also through a quirk circumstance he describes that Mengele avoided capture as well.

This is the danger of many of my fellow Christians when we often try to read into history, including our personal history. We often like to try to read what we think God is doing in every situation in our lives. I have said before that it would be awesome if we Christians spent as much time trying to interpret Scripture rightly as we do trying to interpret our experiences rightly.

On the other hand, this book is informative, but it’s also fun. You can read about how some actors in Hollywood got big breaks through chance events. About the only topic I didn’t really get into was the one on sports since I didn’t understand a lot of the analogies.

People who like history should get this book and go through it. Each chapter contains several bite-sized section that would take at the most a couple of minutes to read. These will also be great conversation pieces to make any group gathering interesting and leave you looking really informed as well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Investigating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: A New Transdisciplinary Approach

What do I think of Andrew Loke’s book published by Routledge? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If I were to use one word to describe this book, it would be thorough. Loke leaves practically no stone unturned and he deals with numerous obscure objections to the resurrection in a logical format. He lists out the possibilities in each case at the start and in the end all the evidence points to Jesus being raised from the dead.

He starts with what the earliest Christians claimed. This is the natural place to start as all we have at the beginning as many skeptics will say is a claim. Meticulously, he goes through piece by piece answering most every possible step you could think of. That includes scholars well known and respected in the field, like Ehrman, to those on the fringe, like Richard Carrier. I was extremely pleased to see this as while most scholars don’t really bother with Carrier, someone does need to and Loke is the kind of guy to do it.

On and on Loke will go looking at each section of the chain and sometimes you will be left wondering how he can write any more on the topic and lo and behold, he does. Loke wants to make absolutely sure that he has left no stone unturned.

If you want to read a chapter on its own, you can go and read the chapter relevant to what you’re studying. Do you want to know if the disciples’ experience of seeing something was something extramental or purely in their heads, go to that chapter. Do you want to know the details surrounding the burial of Jesus? Go to that chapter.

While this is a historical book, there is philosophy covered as well. Loke has apparently written earlier on the existence of God so he doesn’t make that case, but it’s good to know that foundation is there. He does have a chapter here on the question of miracles for those who want to know about that. He is just as thorough in this area as he is in other areas.

There’s also a chapter on combination hypotheses. After all, maybe you say to yourself, “Okay. My case against the empty tomb isn’t that good, but it makes more sense when you combine it with these other arguments.” Don’t be so sure. Loke has this covered.

Now for the bad part. At the time of this publishing, to get a hardcover copy of this book is awfully expensive. It will cost you a little over $100. That’s the bad news.

Here’s the really good news. If you want to read this on your Kindle or computer, you can get a somewhat better price. How does free sound? Yep. Completely free. I checked just today to make sure and it has been free for years. That means you really have no excuse to engage with this book. You can get it here.

This is my challenge then to those who don’t believe in the resurrection. Give this free book a try. Don’t have a Kindle? You can either get one or you can read it on an Amazon app on your computer or even get the app on your phone. Try to even do something like fifteen minutes a day with the book. You could say you will lose time, but how many of us would spend that time watching Netflix or playing video games? We all have time for entertainment. Just give some of it to this.

It’s free. Face this book and see what you think and if you disagree, at least have an informed disagreement.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Not Afraid of the Antichrist

What do I think of Craig Keener and Michael Brown’s book published by Chosen books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I used to be a futurist pre-trib dispensationalist. I’m not proud of it. I grew up in the Bible Belt and I heard Southern Gospel music and I never heard any other view. Christians believe in the rapture. It wasn’t until I got the internet that I heard a contrary view.

And I went kicking and screaming into that contrary view. Who would want to disbelieve in the rapture? Who would want to go through a great tribulation and face the antichrist?

However, there were still questions I had. Eventually, I found my eschatological home. Today, I am an orthodox preterist. I realize Keener and Brown don’t come from this position, but I wanted to go through their book to see what they had to say about the dispensationalist position which is still extremely prominent in the church.

I describe them as firm and gentle. They start out telling their stories on how they came to believe in the rapture and then in how they came to disbelieve in the rapture. They have nothing but respect for their friends who are still dispensationalist and pre-tribulationists. They are just writing this to answer questions that they have often received.

Let’s also go with a positive. The application aspects of this book are excellent. Keener and Brown write about how Christians all over the world are already going through suffering. It can be comforting if you think you could be excluded from such suffering by a rapture, but no one is guaranteed this. Keener and Brown stress that even if Christians have to face the antichrist, they have nothing to be afraid of because Jesus is greater. With these, all Christians be they pre-tribulationists or orthodox preterists should say amen. I think all of us need to read this section of the book because many of us in the West don’t have any real idea of what persecution is like from experience.

When the pair look at the arguments, they are again firm, but gentle. Michael Brown specializes in Old Testament arguments. No. I’m not going to give his answers here, but he looks at questions like “Doesn’t God regularly deliver his people from suffering in the Old Testament such as in the case of the flood or Sodom and Gomorrah?” Keener deals with New Testament passages like 1 Thess. 4 and others.

They also stress that the Second Coming is a one-stage event. The idea of the rapture breaks the second coming into two different stages. It also has a problem with the idea of the resurrection being on the last day and then a resurrection happening before the last day.

That being said, I do have some criticisms. For one, preterism is nowhere mentioned in the book. Neither is futurism. I would like to know what reasons Keener and Brown have for not accepting this viewpoint.

Next, I think as a Preterist that while Keener and Brown rightly reject pre-tribulationism, they still have many of the ideas in it. For example, what about the antichrist. The term antichrist only shows up in the epistles of John, and yet the Beast in Revelation is thought to be the antichrist as is the Man of Lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians. That could be right, but it needs to be argued for.

I also think 2 Thessalonians presents a problem with this since we are told about this man entering the temple. There is no reason to think Paul has in mind a third temple that will supposedly be built sometime in the future. If that is the case, then that would mean the Man of Lawlessness has already come and if he has, then if he is the antichrist, then antichrist has already come.

Let’s also remember the Olivet Discourse. This begins with the destruction of the temple. It concludes with Jesus saying “Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass until some of these things have taken place.” Oh wait. That’s not what it says. He says “All of these things.” That means the generation that sees these things start will see them end and how did the questioning start? The destruction of the temple. The generation that sees that will see the coming of Jesus.

By the way, let’s note in the passage it is about the coming of Jesus, but not to Earth. Jesus refers to Daniel 7. That shows Jesus coming to His throne in Heaven. The disciples asked Him for the sign of His coming, not knowing He would die let alone die, rise again, and then ascend into Heaven and return in the future.

I also think the authors assume a great tribulation. This is still like taking part of the pre-tribulation paradigm and running with it. We have a great tribulation referred to in Rev.7 and in Matthew 24, but why not think that that is the destruction of Jerusalem. Why assume a future event?

The authors also state that satan always has his antichrist ready for each generation since he doesn’t know the hour. I found this a very weak point. For one, satan would always be thinking that he is going to overcome the plans of God, such as in the crucifixion. Here, he is acting like he has to play along. Next, how could you establish this? How can we go and look in each generation in history and find someone who would be the antichrist of that time? Keep in mind I think this is the weakest argument in the book and I even hate having to mention it because the rest is excellent.

Again, the best part of this book is the section on overcoming suffering and being willing to for Christ. Even if pre-tribulationists disagree up and down with the rest of the book, they need to read that part. Every Christian does. I would be thrilled if future editions of the book would include more about this.

Christians who are pre-tribulationists need to read this book to receive a kind criticism. People who are not can read this to realize why they abandoned it. Orthodox preterists like myself should read this to get the criticism and for the blessing at the end. In other words, read this book.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)