Biblical prophecy is often the subject of discussion and sometimes intense and contentious debate. Author Ron Rhodes seeks in this volume to reveal the basis for these debates, graciously explain various views and defend his understanding, which could be defined as a Revised Dispensational position. Rhodes’s writing style is readable, interesting and informative. By covering such a huge subject, the book obviously cannot be comprehensive yet it provides solid exegesis and excellent answers for the debates addressed. As a thorough overview and primer of eschatological issues, The Eight Great Debates would be hard to beat.
The book is organized around the major end time positions found within the evangelical community today. Each “debate” section is subdivided into 27 short chapters, addressing particular issues related to that subject, plus a postscript reminding the reader that Christians should unite over essential doctrines, give liberty over the non-essentials, and be charitable in all things.
The eight debates that Rhodes identifies are:
- How prophecy should be interpreted – that is, he identifies the best hermeneutical approach
- The distinction between Israel and the church
- How “signs of the times” should be understood
- The timing of the rapture
- Interpretation of the book of Revelation
- Who the antichrist is and who, or what, restrains him from coming
- What the millennium is
- Whether Christians should set dates
In each of the subjects covered, Rhodes presents the major positions, explains why he agrees or disagrees with them and then states his view. As mentioned above, he holds to a revised dispensational theology (in line with Ryrie, Pentecost and Walvoord). Not every reader will agree with all of his conclusions although I did. But regardless of one’s eschatological position, this volume clarifies the debates and offers solid support for dispensational eschatology. Highly recommended for anyone interested in biblical prophecy
The Eight Great Debates of Bible Prophecy Understanding the Ongoing Controversies by Ron Rhodes (Eugene Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2014) 283 pp., paper $14.99
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Southern View Chapel