In this balanced and biblical book, John Phelan de-escalates controversies surrounding Christian eschatology (heaven, hell, divine judgment, the millennium, Israel, the book of Revelation). For Phelan, Christian hope is to be found in God's promised future, in which all things will be set right. Here, he argues, is our motivation for Christian engagement. An accessible and important read.
-Robert K. Johnston,
Fuller Theological Seminary
Few areas of Christian belief have garnered more controversy than that of eschatology, the 'doctrine of last things.' It is difficult not to consider it a negative issue that is better ignored. John Phelan's Essential Eschatology proves that attitude wrong. He rightly recognizes the positive and important nature of the 'hope' embraced in this doctrine and presents a thoroughly engaging work that is both biblically and theologically satisfying. Of course, not everyone will agree with the answers (e.g., hell as a place of judgment but metaphorical at the core, or the millennium as an actual reign of the Messiah on earth), but all will find it worthwhile and important.
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Eschatology is essential to the Christian faith, and Phelan provides a sane, sound, accessible and very helpful treatment of the primary issues, one that steers people away from the silliness that often accompanies the topic. His work can be trusted, and engagement with it will lead to maturity of thought and faith.
North Park University
Jay Phelan shows his readers that eschatology (the doctrine of the 'last things') is not speculative but practical, and not only about the future but also--in fact, especially--about the present. His plea for the church to put kingdom values into practice now, as we await God's new heavens and new earth, is both provocative and persuasive, at once orthodox and radical.
-Michael J. Gorman,
St. Mary's Seminary & University
If eschatology is a casualty of scholarly and popular culture, Essential Eschatology artfully resurrects its place in the Christian faith. Phelan weaves together theology, church history and biblical studies, producing a remarkably interdisciplinary treatment of the doctrine of eschatology. I put Phelan's book on my shelf next to N. T. Wright and Scot McKnight who also write accessible biblical theology for the whole church!
-Michelle A. Clifton-Soderstrom,
North Park Theological Seminary
Where does a pastor or teacher turn when those they serve get their eschatology from popular authors who delight in the demise of those who do not share their theology or those authors who joyfully predict the destruction of the planet? Here is the book for which we have been waiting. Dr. Phelan takes seriously biblical authority. This book neither dismisses nor overly literalizes the apocalyptic portions of the Bible. The message is one of hope grounded in the Bible. He discusses the implications for discipleship, for the church and even for contemporary politics.
-Glenn R. Palmberg,
The Evangelical Covenant Church