by Timothy Paul Jones, David Gundersen, Benjamin Galan (Torrence, CA: Rose Publishing, 2011), 363 pp., Paper 19.99
Timothy Paul Jones, a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, is the main author of this beautiful and helpful volume. The book is literally filled with colorful diagrams, charts and pictures that enhance its readability and makes a difficult subject a joy to read. Jones writes in a gracious tone, often humorously and with clarity. It is the authors’ goal not to argue but to produce a “deeper recognition of the majesty and sovereignty of Jesus in all of life – including the end of time” (p. 6). I believe he successfully meets his goal.
The purpose of the book is to carefully map out the major evangelical positions on eschatology. To this end Jones provides four eschatological views (amillennial, postmillennial, dispensatonal premillennial, and historical premillennial), three theological systems (Dispensationalism, Covenantalism and New Covenantalism), and four hermeneutical methods (futurist preterist, idealist and historicist). He also examines various understandings of hermeneutical systems and the impact they have on eschatological views. Jones does all this and more without tipping his hand about his views and without any strong criticisms. At the same time he obviously knows his subjects and is able to accurately describe what each school of thought believes. This enables the reader to have a side-by-side comparison of all these things in one volume for handy reference. I would like to have seen some better indexes; it does have a topical index but lacks one for Scripture or one for the charts and diagrams. The reader will either have to create his own indexes or take educated guesses where to find what he is seeking.
Jones, referencing Albert Mohler, sees three levels of theological issues: essential doctrines, doctrines over which disagreements will cause separation, and nonessential doctrines about which Christians should disagree amiably. Jones would place eschatology in this third category (p. 37). To that end, while the author carefully shows distinctions between the various positions he masterfully identifies the areas of agreement and positive contributions of each view.
Along with the issues mentioned above Jones also addresses the biblical covenants, the kingdom, the books of Daniel and Revelation, the Messiah, the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’ triumph over Satan, Satan, the Antichrist, the tribulation, the millennium, the rapture, and much more.
For the student looking for a reliable, accurate reference source, laying out the major understandings of eschatology held by evangelicals, Rose Guide to End-Times Prophecy would be hard to beat. The learned reader might disagree with the author over minor details but overall each position is handled fairly, clearly and with grace. For both personal and classroom work I highly recommend this work by Timothy Jones.