Articles posts of '2017' 'May'

Reading the Bible

In an article in the Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail, one author described “the collapse of the liberal church” in Canada and its equivalent in America. The author spoke of the synod of the United Church of Canada, at which one of its main agenda items was a resolution calling for the boycott of products from Israeli settlements. She spoke of the recent Synod of The Episcopal Church, at which one of its main agenda items was allowing the transgendered to become priests. Her conclusion was that “people’s overall belief in God hasn’t declined. What’s declined is people’s participation in religion. With so little spiritual nourishment to offer, it’s no wonder the liberal churches have collapsed.”1

If we want to remain relevant as churches, the key is to continue reading, preaching, and believing the Word of God. The Word of God contains that nourishment which our souls need. As the ancient preacher, John Chrysostom, once said in a sermon, “If we must fight, they are a sword; if we hunger, they are meat; if we thirst, they are drink; if we have no dwelling-place, they are a house; if we be naked, they are a garment; if we be in darkness, they be light unto our going.”2

I want to conclude our series on what we believe about Scripture with a practical article on reading the Bible. In Deuteronomy 18 there is a law about the king of Israel. One requirement for a godly king was that he had and utilized the law of God. He was to obtain a copy of the law from the priests and then copy out by hand his own copy of the law. We read later in 2 Kings 11 that the seven-year-old king of Judah, Joash, was crowned by the high priest Jehoida, who “gave him the testimony” (2 Kings 11:12). Then he was to read the law even after he entered the busyness of his office. He was not to be hindered. He was not to come up with excuses. He was also to meditate upon it, learning the fear of God his whole life. Finally, he was to practice what he read. In the words of James, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

What does this story of the king have to do with us? It should strike us as how wonderful it is that in Christ we, too, are prophets, priests, and kings. We, too, are to read the Word of God to learn the wisdom of God.

A High Privilege

The first thing I want you to notice is that reading the Bible is a high privilege. As far as I know, besides the Levitical priests, we read of no other individual in all of the Old Testament being required to obtain a copy of the laws of God and to privately read them as Deuteronomy 18:18 describes. What a privilege the king had to obtain a copy of the law. And notice the privilege of copying out the law in his own handwriting. How his hand must have trembled in awe! How he must have been amazed to read God’s very word for himself! Gregory the Great, one of the great fathers of the church, once wrote a letter in which he said to his correspondent: “Learn the heart of God in the words of God.”3 In reading the words of God, we get a glimpse into God’s very heart for us his people. Not everyone had this high privilege then; but we do now.

When children start learning to read, they listen to their parents reading to them for several years; then they start sounding the letters themselves. Then they start to learn to sound out two- and three-letter words. Then they learn to read those words in a short sentence. And then after a while of doing that, they learn to understand what they are reading. What’s really amazing is that we get to do this with the Bible, God’s own Word. We all need to learn how to read our Bibles. Step by step like little children, we all need to come to the Lord in his Word and begin the process from learning letter sounds to understanding what we are reading.

A Habitual Practice

The second point to be learned here is that reading the Bible is to be a habitual practice. Notice what Deuteronomy 18:19 says: “And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life.” The king was to be the blessed man of Psalm 1, who shunned the ways of sinners for the ways of the Lord by meditating on the law of God day and night.

Reading the Bible needs to be a daily habit. As we engage in it, over the course of our lives as children of God, we more and more become a walking and talking Bible. In the words of Paul, we are to be like a living epistle.4 John Chrysostom said this in a sermon: “Hearken not hereto only here in the church, but also at home; let the husband with the wife, let the father with the child, talk together of these matters, and both to and fro let them both inquire and give their judgments; and with God they would begin this good custom.”5 When we read the Word all the days of our lives, we receive the blessing of God, as Revelation 1:3 describes: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud . . . blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written.”

How are we to read the Word? What should be going through our minds when we do so? The Westminster Larger Catechism gives us several ways in which we are to read the Word:

The holy Scriptures are to be read with an high and reverent esteem of them; with a firm persuasion that they are the very Word of God, and that he only can enable us to understand them; with desire to know, believe, and obey the will of God revealed in them; with diligence, and attention to the matter and scope of them; with meditation, application, self-denial, and prayer. (Westminster Larger Catechism, Q&A 157)

Reverence. Thomas Watson said, “Think every line you read God is speaking to you.”6 And this thought should humble us to the core and cause us to be in awe at the fact that of the billions of people in the world, youI—have been given the Word!

Persuasiveness that only God can make his own words known to us. In the Psalms we read again and again lines like this: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Ps. 119:18).

Earnestness. It’s so easy for us Reformed believers to read the Word looking for doctrine. But don’t forget that it is the Word of God. The Word is the means that God has chosen to reveal himself to us. When you sit down to read it, then, you are coming not to an it but to a him.

Diligence. Children, think about those people you see on the beach with headphones on and who are waving on the ground back and forth a metal detector. When they first started every little sound made them think they found money, and they would bend down and dig it up. But over time they learned the distinct sounds of different kinds of trash, but also coins. Children, we need to learn how to read because then we can learn what it means.7

Personalness. It is not some abstract thing “out there.” We need to intently and intensely think about the Word more than we meditate on our fantasy football stats, the latest political polls, or our Christmas shopping list.

A Holy Purpose

Finally, reading the Word is a holy purpose. At the end of Deuteronomy 18:19 we learn the purpose of the king’s reading the Word: “that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up” (vv. 19–20). As we read the Word and meditate upon it, we experience the sanctifying power of the Word, which washes over us like water (Eph. 5:26).

Conclusion: Reading the Word as Spiritual Warfare

Let me conclude on that note and say that we are to read the Word as an act of spiritual warfare. It takes discipline and training. It takes honing our skills to use the Word. The greatest Reformed theologian who defended the Word of God against the claims of the Roman Church was an Englishman, William Whitaker. He describes the spiritual warfare we enter when we take up the Word in these words:

Our arms shall be the sacred scriptures, that sword and shield of the word, that tower of David, upon which a thousand bucklers hang, and all the armour of the mighty, the sling and the pebbles of the brook wherewith David stretched upon the ground that gigantic and haughty Philistine.8

I want you to be confident that you hold the very Word of God in your hands. And no church, pope, scholar, group of people, or the devil himself can change that fact.


1. Margaret Wente, “The Collapse of the Liberal Church,” The Globe and Mail (July 28, 2012),

2. Cited in John Jewel, “A Treatise of the Holy Scriptures,” Works, 4:1177.

3. “Letter to Theodorus,” 4:31.

4. Watson, Puritan Sermons, 2:68.

5. John homily 3.

6. Watson, Puritan Sermons, 2:60. Watson also said that the Word is the Holy Spirit’s “love letter.” Puritan Sermons, 2:64.

7. As Watson again said, “If one go over the scripture cursorily there is little good to be got by it; but if he be serious in reading of it, it is the ‘savour of life.’” Puritan Sermons, 2:61.

8. Whitaker, Disputations on Holy Scripture, trans. and ed. William Fitzgerald (1849; repr., Orlando, FL: Soli Deo Gloria, 2005), 19.


Rev. Daniel Hyde 
is the pastor of Oceanside United Reformed Church in Carlsbad, CA. 


Interview with Rev. Daniel Hyde

Help us get to know you better by telling us about your pathway to ministry.

Beginning when I was eleven years old, all I wanted to do was play basketball. Even after my conversion at age seventeen, I was driven by a passion to earn a scholarship, then play professionally somewhere. I played on an AAU team after my junior year that traveled and played against many future and even current NBA players (who are about ready to retire at their age!). Then I played in Europe and on several all-star teams and eventually went off to college. I was a young Christian, but I idolized basketball.

But the Lord was at work in my heart, and after being introduced to Reformation theology, I began to have more and more of a desire to serve the Lord and people more than myself and my career aspirations. After my junior year in college and ten straight years of basketball, I walked into the athletic department and into my coach’s office and gave up my basketball scholarship because I had some desire to go to grad school/seminary and do something else with my life. But when I enrolled at Westminster California, it was as an MA student, as I thought I was going to move on to a PhD and then teach or be some kind of campus pastor at a Christian college.

The Lord wasn’t done with me, though, and I had the crazy feeling that I could be of more use in being a pastor to people like me, who grew up and lived in a SoCal beach community but had never heard of the Reformation. So I changed my major to MDiv, delivered only a couple of sermons and knew I had to figure out if I could preach the Word.

I took a summer assignment at the Doon URC. That convinced me I was on the right path, so I began planning a church plant while finishing seminary, and here I am, seventeen years later, still loving ministry in SoCal.

Being in a very transient area but also near Westminster, tell us about your experiences with team ministry.

Over the years the Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to serve alongside many elders and deacons as well as associate pastors and pastoral interns. The ministry here is always fluid, so the makeup of our leadership changes regularly. One of the constants, though, is working together with and mentoring men who are following their own path to the ministry. As of now, I’ve had thirteen pastoral interns come through Westminster Seminary California and Oceanside United Reformed Church and who have gone on to do great things for the Lord.

Clearly you enjoy writing, having written sixteen books in seventeen years of ministry. Do you have other hobbies or interests?

My hobbies and interests are all intertwined with my four kids: coaching youth basketball, which is also a way to publicly display my faith in Jesus Christ; riding the waves of the Pacific Ocean; and reading classic stories to my kids (right now we’re in The Mutiny on the Bounty).

Why did you decide to write your first book, Jesus Loves the Little Children?

As someone who came into a Reformed church, I knew that this doctrine would be one of the harder things for people I sought to bring in to grasp for themselves. And since I had two influential professors (Robert Strimple and Meredith Kline) whose explanations of infant baptism sealed the deal for me, I thought I could popularize those arguments for newcomers to our faith. It’s still being read and being used to draw many people into Reformed churches not only here but also in Latin America, Turkey, and Russia, as it’s been translated into their languages.

How in your opinion can this book best be used?

We have it out for free on a book rack and give away dozens of copies a year. I then follow-up and regularly meet with people new to our Reformed doctrine to read through it and discuss it one on one.

Compiled by the Editor

Basic Eschatology: Why Should I Study the End Times?

The Anglican poet John Donne (1572–1631) was once ravished with a fever that he feared might kill him. From his sickbed he could hear the sounds of a funeral. In fact, his home was close enough to the church that he could hear the psalm sung by the congregation; as best he could, he joined in the singing. But the funeral bells affected him most. Later he wrote, “I hear this dead brother of ours, who is now carried out to his burial, to speak to me, and to preach my funeral sermon in the voice of these bells. In him, O God, thou hast accomplished to me even the request of [the rich man] to Abraham; thou hast sent one from the dead to speak unto me.” Confronted by thoughts of his own mortality, Donne prayed to God that he if his fever were fatal, he would die “drowned . . . in the blood of thy Son; and if I live longer, yet I may now die the death of the righteous, die to sin; which death is a resurrection to a new life.”1

Donne illustrates the benefit of reflecting on the end of life as we know it. Thinking about our end can help us to live well—and die well. Especially in our day, with low infant mortality rates, long lifespans, and a medical model that typically removes dying people from society, we need to seize—and sometimes create—opportunities to focus on our end. And if we understand human death as a sign that even “the heavens will pass away” and the whole world will be laid bare, “all these things will be dissolved” (2 Pet. 3:10–11), then we also need to give thought to the end of everything.

We need eschatology. With God’s help that snooty, foreign-sounding word can introduce to us a world of comfort, for this age and the age to come.

Eschatology, or the study of the last things, is a fancy word for something everybody already does. All of us think about the end. Count on it: At some point in your life you are going to agonize over what will happen to you after you breathe your last. When you go to a funeral—of any religious or nonreligious person—you will hear somebody’s eschatology, their concept of what happens after death. We are all eschatalogians. But that doesn’t mean that we always engage the end times well. In at least three ways we could go wrong in this theological discipline.

First, we are tempted to engage in speculative eschatology. When end-times study is not rooted in Scripture it becomes vain dreaming, the dogmatization of our wishes. In a time of unfathomable suffering and pain Job asked his mostly-well-meaning friends, “How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood” (Job 21:34, English Standard Version). When it comes to matters of eternal life and death we need more than “empty nothings.” We need more than traditional religious rituals. We need loftier goals than living decent lives. Vague wishes of a better life after death are of no use. Speculative eschatology is a sign of biblical illiteracy and spiritual immaturity. When it comes to the end times we need to put childish ways behind us and listen to what God says.

Second, we need to avoid argumentative eschatology. For some of us the very topic of the end times is off-putting because it can be such a contentious issue. Some of us have felt our Christianity questioned by those who have a different concept of the end. But surely, God does not peel back the curtains of future history, giving us a glimpse into the staggering profundity of death and judgment, or the glorious return of the King of heaven so that we can contend with other Christians over how things will work out. It is surely possible—and necessary—to distinguish between two conflicting end-times views without needlessly bantering about the perceived superiority of one’s own view.

Third, we must avoid avoiding eschatology. It sounds pious to say, “I don’t think much about the last things. I know God is in control. I’ll leave it up to him.” Is eschatology necessary? Isn’t enough to trust that God will work everything out in the end? Should we not approach this topic with the attitude of David, who said, “Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me” (Ps. 131:2)? In reality, Scripture teaches us to develop what some have called an “apocalyptic spirituality”2 in which we so deeply sense the dawning of the age to come that we begin to realize its wonder in this present age. The apostle Peter captures in a single phrase Scripture’s unified application of eschatology. In light of God’s plan to dissolve and purify the cosmos, “What manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (2 Pet. 3:11)? Peter, Jesus (Mark 13:35–37), and Paul (1 Thess. 5:6) call God’s people to respond to the coming of the end with watchful sobriety. The same emphasis is found in Hebrews 10:25. Seeing “the Day approaching” ought to strengthen our hope, devote us to worship, and galvanize us in our expressions of love and good works. If Christ is returning, and if his judgment will be eternal, and if hell is as terrible as heaven is delectable, then knowing the end times is eminently practical. Those who lose sight of the end can become careless in their conduct and arrogant in their rejection of God (cf. 2 Pet. 3:1–7). By contrast, a biblical eschatology provides a rationale for ethics that goes deeper than pragmatic concerns. With God’s help eschatology can chill our blood at the thought of sin and judgment and warm our hearts with God’s gracious work of redemption.

God invites us to meditate on the future not to speculate or altercate but to better share his perspective on this life and the life to come. And this is how we should study the topic. The way Scripture and our confessions teach eschatology is much more like gazing upon a dazzling sunset than analyzing and describing the chemical properties of the sun.3 We need more than a skeletal, technical, clinical understanding of the end times. We need to sense so deeply the dawning of the age to come that it radically affects our outlook on all of life.

So, how can a believing understanding of eschatology promote “holy conduct and godliness”? Here are ten answers; not to prove the validity of the study of the end times but to help us begin to praise God for the beauty of his promise to be with his people till the end (Deut. 31:6).

1. Eschatology Personalizes and Universalizes End-Times Reflection

The study of the last things is usually divided into two parts. The Bible teaches that the history of this age will one day come to an end (1 Pet. 4:7). Moreover, this present age will not quietly spin itself out of existence; it will end in an epic crisis and the start of a new age (2 Pet. 3:10–11). When we think about this crisis—the return of Christ, the last judgment, the realization of the kingdom, and the population of heaven and hell—we are studying general eschatology. General eschatology draws us into thinking more than simply about “what happens to me when I die.”

But before the coming of these great crises, most people will have experienced the end of this age through death. When we consider death, the continued existence of the soul, and the intermediate state into which the dead enter, we are engaged in individual eschatology. This discipline can help this-present-age-focused people meditate on their personal eternity.

2. Eschatology Elucidates Christian Theology

Eschatology is not an isolated doctrine. The last things can be studied as a doctrinal unit, one of the six heads of sacred theology. But the doctrine is also “a lens through which we come to understand the whole system of Christian faith and practice.”4 Studying the last things is like getting to the end of a novel; now the entire story begins to make sense. Abraham Kuyper noted that every other division of theology “left some question unanswered, to which eschatology should supply the answer.”5 For the doctrine of God, eschatology shows the completion of his work and providence. For the doctrine of man, it punctuates both the natural end of sin and God’s work of restoration. For the doctrine of Christ, it exposits the full meaning of Jesus’ words from the cross: It is finished (John 19:30). For the doctrine of salvation, it reveals how the Spirit will finally help bring about the deliverance that he has been sent to guarantee (1 Cor. 1:13–14). And for the doctrine of the church, it previews the glorious end of God’s people who are presently embroiled in spiritual conflict. The doctrine of the end times is not a segregated article of faith but the consummation of the Bible’s teaching on everything.

3. Eschatology Interprets Redemptive History

If we think of world history as a four-act drama—creation, fall, redemption, and restoration—we see how eschatology helps us understand each act.6 First, the end times help us understand the full trajectory of creation. In the early chapters of Genesis, we learn that God is not only infinitely creative but also deeply relational. The garden is a picture of God’s desire to dwell with his people in the beauty of a flawless friendship. But from the vantage point of Eden, it is not abundantly clear where God’s world is heading. Eschatology shows us how God leads his people from a garden to a city that is built around a beautiful and safe relationship with him.

Second, concerning the fall, everyone can sense the brokenness of this present age. Our conflicts and tears, bodily deterioration, and the certainty of death make us groan (2 Cor. 5:1–3). But our groaning is not just to escape our terrors or the aches and pains of our body. We groan to be “further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up in life” (2 Cor. 5:4). Eschatology helps shape our groaning according God’s promise of a better life (2 Cor. 5:1–4).

Third, in this present age, God is carrying on a work of redemption. Christ has come into our world offering peace and pardon. He has offered his blessed body to satisfy the demands of the law’s curse (Gal. 3:10). He invites us to believe in him and share in the benefits of his saving work. He has been raised from the dead to assure us that death has been swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:54). Eschatology helps us to rejoice in God’s already-present gift of salvation while reserving abundant hope for the life to come.

Fourth, one day God will restore his fallen people. Lest we become too comfortable or despondent in this present age, Scripture confronts us with “the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). Lest we dismiss this world as insignificant, Scripture insists that the coming full restoration will reflect a measure of continuity with this present age.

4. Eschatology Pinpoints Believers’ Current Place in History

We daily experience the tension of living between two worlds or ages. The New Testament regularly speaks of two successive ages or systems, “this age”7 (cf. Matt. 12:32; Rom. 12:2) or “the present age” (Gal. 1:4; 1 Tim. 6:17), and “that age” (Luke 20:35) or “the age to come” (Matt. 12:32; Eph. 1:21). “Believers live in the ‘last days,’ upon them ‘the ends of the ages are come,’ but ‘the last day,’ ‘the consummation of the age,’ still lies in the future . . . the contrast between these ages is (especially with Paul) that between the evil and transitory, and the perfect and abiding.”8 Understanding our place on God’s redemptive timeline delivers us from false expectations of a utopian age divorced from Christ’s second coming. It also helps banish nagging fears that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:4). We live in a time of labor though we anticipate an eternal rest.

5. Eschatology Reinforces a Biblical View of Ecology

If this physical world is just a sinking ship, waiting to be burned up with fire, with no correspondence to the life to come, then believers seem to have few compelling reasons to care for the environment.9 But if not only humans but also every square inch of God’s creation informs us of God’s pattern for the new heavens and the new earth, then we can be encouraged to care for the earth as if it were as special to us as it is to God.

6. Eschatology Offers Hope in Suffering

For the believer, reflecting on heaven provides an eternal context for our pain. This is what Paul has in mind when he says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present age are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). Jesus makes the same point with an illustration, “A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:21–22). The joy of restoration enables believes to face trials with unearthly contentment (cf. Heb. 12:2). Astoundingly, the Bible teaches that the joy that we look forward to in glory begins to impinge our hearts even now. In the Gospels, and especially in John, “the realities of the future life are so vividly and intensely felt to be existent in heaven and from there operative in the believer’s life, that the distinction between what is now and what will be hereafter enjoyed becomes less sharp.”10

7. Eschatology Moderates the Power of Politics

Every election cycle tempts us to either embrace the incoming leaders as messianic manifestations of God’s salvation or cower before the new regime as a sure sign of the end of the world as we know it. Your current leader is neither your savior nor one of the riders of the apocalypse; neither was the previous leader; neither will be the succeeding leader. Daniel’s glimpse into the future contrasts the indestructible kingdom of the coming savior Jesus (Dan. 7:14) with the hosts of rulers whose kingdoms are now buried under ash and dust. Eschatology does not discourage us from political action. But it does keep our eyes fixed on the one whose kingdom will know no end (Luke 1:33).

8. Eschatology Urges Personal and Vocational Excellence

One of the main purposes of both of Paul’s canonical letters to Thessalonica was to correct the believers’ faulty eschatology. Part of their error seems to have been a penchant for laziness since, they reasoned, “Jesus is coming back, of what account is my work?” Paul invokes the returning Christ to urge these believers to “work in quietness and eat [your] own bread” (2 Thess. 3:12). Matthew Henry commented on Jacob’s skill at the selective breeding of sheep in Genesis 30, “It becomes a man to be master of his trade, whatever it is, and to be not only industrious, but ingenious in it, and to be versed in all its lawful arts and mysteries.” The truth of this statement is magnified by the ongoing work of God in salvation and the consummation of his work promised in the doctrine of the last things.

Peter says that when Christ returns we will be “found by him” (2 Pet. 3:14). Each of us will be doing something when we are found by God. No child of God wants to be found sinning either through laziness or any other vice. And we don’t know when Christ will return (2 Pet. 3:10). So, since we will all appear before Christ and his judgment seat “we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5:9).

9. Eschatology Invigorates Missions and Evangelism

When Revelation shows us the redeemed in glory we have to realize that they were saved through the witness of believers in this present age (Rev. 20:4). God is patient in sending Christ because he is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). When we share God’s heart we will take up the Great Commission with new vigor. “The Church can be rightly understood only in an eschatological perspective . . . The meaning of this ‘overlap of the ages’ in which we live, the time between the coming of Christ and his coming again, is that it is a time given for the witness of the apostolic Church to the ends of the earth . . . The implication of a true eschatological perspective will be missionary obedience, and the eschatology which does not issue in such obedience is a false eschatology.”11

10. Eschatology Grounds Us in Christ

The Old Testament emphasis on the end times is largely centered on the history of Israel. The big question is, “What is the destiny of God’s people?” But the later prophets’ increased focus on the individual, masterfully prepares the way for the coming of Christ who at the same time, fulfills the calling of Israel to “do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8) and opens by his blood a new and living way for individuals to enter into a restored life with God (Heb. 10:19–22). The last days began with the first coming of Christ. At the coming of Christ, as never before, was the contrast so stark between this present age, and the age to come; between this world and the next. To think eschatologically is to think Christologically.

One final caution. We need to exercise biblical reserve when we study the end times. The Bible hasn’t said nearly enough to satisfy the curiosity of the inquisitive. But Scripture has said enough about the end times to encourage us to study it. And when studied and believed, the doctrines of the last things can inspire us with the joy, patience, and holiness of the one whose return we eagerly await.


1. What is your interest level in the end times? What about the topic piques your interest?

2. Are there reasons that might incline you to not be interested in studying the end times?

3. What thoughts from this chapter have deepened your desire to better understand eschatology?

4. How do the following verses show God’s will for us to develop an “apocalyptic spirituality,” a spirituality that is shaped by a right reflection on the end times: 2 Corinthians 5:9–11, 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6, Hebrews 10:23–25, 2 Peter 3:8–9, 2 Peter 3:8–14?

5. In a few sentences, articulate some of the possible end-times assumptions of a person who is not steeped in the doctrine of Scripture.

6. Reflect on a time when the promise of a deadline and subsequent judgment moved you to action. Was it a term paper, a final exam, tax day? How do these kinds of illustrations fall short of describing believers’ anticipation of the last day?

7. When you think about the end of all things, do you tend to think more about how the end affects you in individual terms (death, glorification) or about the cosmic implications of the end of this present age?

8. How do individual and general eschatology balance each other?



1. John Donne, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions and Death’s Duel (New York: Random House, 1999; Anne Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1959), 100–101.

2. See, for example, Bernard McGinn, ed., Apocalyptic Spirituality: Treatises and Letters of Lactantius, Adso of Montier-en-Der, Joachim of Fiore, the Franciscan Spiritualists, Savonarola, The Classics of Western Spirituality: A Library of the Great Spiritual Masters (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1979).

3. See especially The Belgic Confession, Article 37.

4. Michael Horton, The Christian Faith (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 906.

5. Quoted in Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1939), 665.

6. See Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, (New York: Penguin Group, 2008), 95–103.

7. In many instances (e.g., Matt 13:22; Rom 12:2) the Greek aion is translated “world” but denotes less a place than an age or era and its spirit.

8. Geerhardus Vos, Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos, ed. Richard B. Gaffin Jr. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1980), 26, 28.

9. Cf. Francis Shaeffer, Pollution and the Death of Man: The Christian View of Ecology (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1970).

10. Vos, Redemptive History, 28. Cf. Belgic Confession, Article 37.

11. Lesslie Newbigin, The Household of God: Lectures on the Nature of the Church (New York: Friendship Press, 1954), 153–54.


Rev. William Boekestein 
is the pastor of Immanuel Fellowship Church in Kalamazoo, MI.

Current Issue: March/April 2020
Volume 70 Issue 2

Click on current issue above for
free preview!


Listen to a 42-minute audio lecture by Dr. Carl Trueman
Click on link below to stream online or left click and choose "save linked file" to download to listen on your player

This lecture was given at the annual meeting of Reformed Fellowship held November 7, 2008, at Trinity United Reformed Church, 7350 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Caledonia MI.


Shop Amazon and support Reformed Fellowship.

Amazon Smile Logo

Amazon will donate .5% of every eligible purchase to help fund continued publishing of The Outlook, Reformed books & Bible study materials.

Go to and simply type in “Reformed Fellowship Inc” in the charitable organization section to sign up, and start shopping!