The stated purpose of this book is to ‘‘ease the tensions and strengthen ties among (conservative) Bible believers.’’ Lightner surveys evangelical positions regarding eschatology to help us understand the differences we hold as millennialists. He notes that ‘‘evangelicals simply have too much in common to lose to the opposition because of our differences in eschatology.’’ Lightner does not advocate abandoning our individual viewpoints, only broadening our knowledge of other views.
Lightner presents the various millennial and tribulational views held by evangelicals. He notes commonalities that all share regarding future events: 1) the immortality of the soul; 2) the conscious existence of the believer after death; 3) a future bodily resurrection; 4) future divine judgment; 5) future return of Christ; 6) an eternal state.
Lightner also highlights the new postmillennialism which is motivating present day social reformers such as Terry Sanford (the anti-abortion leader) who proclaim that we must return to living according to the dictates of the Law and be active in forcing our society to conform to that value system. This was very helpful in understanding their motivation.
One fundamental problem I had while reading this book was Lightner’s intent to provide an “unbiased” compilation of the various views by withholding his own view. Every viewpoint has built-in bias and it would have been better to have known his while he was attempting to explain mine! Though I have a problem with Lightner’s attempt to unite all conservative viewpoints, if you want an easy to read survey of the various views, this is a good one. Charles Ryrie wrote the Forward but his writings would be better for a more orthodox presentation from a conservative point of view.
(reviewed by Don Shrader)