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In God's Time: The Bible and the Future Paperback – September 27, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eschatology is a hot subject. "Prophecy" is a regular feature in supermarket tabloids, and it recently made the cover of Time magazine. Interest in the subject fuels countless water cooler conversations, myriad "end-times" Web sites and the whole Left Behind publishing juggernaut. But in many quarters of the Christian community, that same intrigue over "what happens at the end of the story" is balanced by bewilderment, even embarrassment over what the Bible and its various interpreters say. For these Christians in particular (and less so for inerrantist end-time enthusiasts), this book is a welcome, comprehensive and accessible guide to exploring what the Bible says about the future. Hill, a professor of New Testament at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., wants to show "that the idea of God's triumph is central to Christian faith and that a working knowledge of the concept is essential to an informed reading of the Bible, particularly the New Testament." He begins with a primer on biblical interpretation, then addresses prophecy throughout history, the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation, Jesus' expectations for the future and what those expectations were for the earliest Christians. The book closes with an appendix on the Rapture. It all reads like a good lecture, punctuated with summary lists, illustrative diagrams and funny asides (though some readers may find the latter off-putting). Like a well-prepared and practiced professor, Hill leads his readers through this difficult material with ease and expertise, sensitivity and a sense of humor.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

Enormous confusion exists today concerning theBible's teaching about the future. Millions of contemporaryChristians are caught up in "rapture"fever, evidenced by the phenomenal success ofthe "Left Behind novels. At the opposite end ofthe spectrum are those, such as the leaders ofthe Jesus Seminar, who believe that Jesus did notteach about the approaching Kingdom of God.

"In God's Time offers an alternative to thesetwo poles in the debate, an alternative that is atonce faithful and sane, readable and scholarly.Author Craig C. Hill encourages Christians bothto take seriously and to think sensibly about thehope of God's ultimate victory. His new bookincludes chapters on the nature of the Bible, thehistory of prophecy, the meaning of apocalypticwritings, the interpretation of Daniel andRevelation, the expectations of Jesus, and thehopes of the early Christians. It also includes anappendix ("Not Left Behind") on the subject ofthe rapture.

Endorsed by a wide array of top scholarsand church leaders, "In God's Time is a reliableguide to this often bewildering but alwaysfascinating subject.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (September 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802860907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802860903
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,059,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It seems that every year someone comes up with some new forecast based on careful study of the Bible and the Book of Revelation that predicts the end of the world. Whether it's the European Union as the twelve-headed dragon of Revelation, or Osama Bin-Laden as the anti-Christ, attempts to tie our times to the End Times abound. Authors make fortunes writing novels set in the End Times, spelling out the way it will happen. It's enough to give you a headache and to seriously doubt whether any sane, rational Christian can believe in this End Times stuff.
Fortunately, Wesley Seminary Professor Craig Hill has provided the remedy to both our headaches and our discomfort. In his new book In God's Time, Professor Hill paves a middle way between overly literalist "Left Behind" theology and minimalist skepticism that dismisses anything about the End Times in the Bible as inauthentic. Hill demonstrates with great clarity and conviction why belief in the ultimate victory of God is essential to Christian faith, from our understanding of Jesus' resurrection to our hopes for the Kingdom. He looks at the traditions of apocalyptic thinking as they began in Judaism and were developed in Christianity. Hill provides a way for Christians to have hope in the future that is not dominated by hysterical nonsense or right-wing theology. There has long been a need for such a book in contemporary Christianity, and Dr. Hill has written it.
Professor Hill's brilliant scholarship is combined with down-to-earth style. It is full of every-day metaphors and down-home examples and written in a style accessible to lay people without avoiding difficult and essential scholarly questions.
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Format: Paperback
Up until now, nearly all the reading I have done on the End Times has come from one of two camps: the dispensational camp (mostly in the early years of my Christian walk before I wised up) and the reformed (more specifically, reconstructionist) camp. Despite their obvious and radical differences, both camps shared, at least theoretically, the view that the Bible is inerrant. "In God's Time" attempts to take a moderate, scholarly approach to eschatology and make it comprehensible to the layperson. In this regard, the book is a success.
Author Craig C. Hill begins his work by establishing for the reader his approach to biblical interpretation, which is, again, a moderate, scholarly approach, using the tools of historical biblical criticism. Hardline inerrantists will probably opt out at this point (thus my tongue-in-cheek review title), but they will be missing a great deal. Rather than trying to make all the eschatalogical pieces from divergent sources fit together, Hill acknowledges the differences while at the same time accentuating the overarching theme of God's ultimate victory. Without succumbing either to the skepticism of the Jesus Seminar or the hysteria of the "Left Behind" devotees, the author gives a balanced, even-handed view of eschatology. This book can become a template for reading any prophetic literature contained in the Bible.
Although the audience that could most benefit from a book like this will surely be the least receptive (if they even know about the book in the first place), this is a worthy antidote to much of the end-times silliness (including the "rapture" theory) that is rampant in today's world. Before you buy the next installment of the "Left Behind" series, pick this up instead.
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Format: Paperback
Let's face it; end times stuff is hotter than Hell right now. As Christians, or one interested in a deeper understanding of Christian spirituality and the Bible, many of us want to know what the hype's about. What's going on under the surface of all these different beliefs and movements in the church? Craig Hill treats this facinating subject with wit, humility, and thoroughly layperson-accesable scholarship.
Liberal and conservative Christians alike need to read this book. Dr. Hill engages the reader with a fantasitic and engaging writing voice, simultaniously educating us about a subject at the very heart of Christian thought--from first to twenty first century! Understanding the currents of Apocalyptic thinking is indeed the only door through which one can fully grasp Jesus and the earliest Christians.
This book is a tool waiting to be put to cataclysmically good use. Perfect for bible studies (materials and handouts can be printed out from its website), small groups, or just personal enrichment, don't miss this cogent and fun journey through the most essential of biblical topics.
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Format: Paperback
In God's Time: The Bible And The Future by Craig C. Hill (Professor of New Testament, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C.) is an informed and informative contribution to the on-going theological debate about the Bible, the future, and the predicted day of Rapture. Taking a moderate stance between those who intensely burn with "rapture fever", and those of the Jesus Seminar who believe that Jesus did not teach about the approaching Kingdom of God, In God's Time is a scholarly, thoughtful, engaging examination of apocalyptic writings, the history of prophecy, patterns of theological orientation, and much, much more. In God's Time is a welcome and highly recommended combination of intellectual and theological discourse.
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