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


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Sept. 27 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802860907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802860903
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 331 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #875,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Every year brings its share of dashed hopes and frustrated expectations. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tom Hinkle on Feb. 19 2003
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
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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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
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
A Much Needed Book Nov. 8 2002
By Mark A Schaefer - Published on Amazon.com
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. Anyone interested in what the Bible has to say about the future, and anyone interested in the Bible in general, will find In God's Time an enjoyable and informative read.
Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury designate, Richard Wilke, founder of the Disciple Bible study series, Tony Campolo, Jürgen Moltmann, Luke Timothy Johnson, Pheme Perkins, and Walter Brueggemann have all offered words of great praise for Professor Hill's much needed book and recommended it to laity and scholars alike. Without presuming in the slightest to be on a level with such scholars, I add my own name to the list of those strongly recommending this book for Christians everywhere.
56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Will Dr. Hill miss the rapture? Feb. 19 2003
By Tom Hinkle - Published on Amazon.com
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.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
The End of the World Nov. 25 2002
By Michael J. Monroe - Published on Amazon.com
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.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A thoughtful, engaging examination of apocalyptic writings Dec 4 2002
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A helpful alternative March 8 2010
By Jonathan Pedrone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Apocalyptic fervor among Christians is reaching an all time high. With the immense popularity of the Left Behind Series, coupled with the imminent end of the world in 2012, the desire for a road map to the future has officially ascended to a level that surpasses anything we have ever seen.

In his excellent book In God's Time, Craig C. Hill carefully guides us through the many diverse interpretations of apocalyptic literature in the Scriptures, and provides a way forward for Christians who are serious about sound hermeneutics. Hill opens his book by emphasizing that fundamentalism does not own eschatology. This point becomes even more important as you make your way through the book, because it becomes clear that Hill is directly arguing against a hermeneutic of interpreting futuristic passages in Scripture as though they could not possibly have a historical counterpart. Understanding the historical context, and varied nature of historical interpretation of apocalyptic passages in Scripture gives the interpreter a well-rounded view of the possible meanings of passages in question. If
Daniel and Revelation can be read not as guide maps to the future, but rather as carefully crafted literature that speaks to the historical context in which Christians are suffering the interpretation and meaning of those passages could be freed from narrow fundamentalist understandings.

Hill is correct in pointing out that eschatology in Scripture is not always unanimous. Varied positions, and perspectives grounded in historical context should be expected. Hill carefully traces eschatology throughout the Scriptures, and rightly points out that eschatology is not always about the future that cannot be changed, and is most certainly not about some far off distant land, which would be indiscernible to the original hearers.

In this book the reader is given a clear alternative to interpretations of the book of Revelation that rely completely on a futuristic interpretation. Revelation must be read in its proper context as apocalyptic literature, which always functions as the literature of the oppressed. Revelation must be firmly grounded in its historical context in order to be properly understood. Hill is careful to note that the pendulum normally swings between two extremes when interpreting Revelation:

"We are prone to domesticate Revelation in one of two ways. The first is to strip the book of its historical context, decoupling Revelation from the first century and viewing it as a timeless guidebook to the Last Days, which coincidentally happen to be our days... The opposite tack is to limit the book to its Roman context, assuming that to explain Revelation is to be done with Revelation. No enduring insights are met, no ongoing questions entertained. The book is tamed and our world goes happily undisturbed." (Page 111)

If we are to properly understand apocalyptic literature in Scripture we must ensure that our understandings are firmly grounded in historical context, while at the same time realizing that Revelation has a significant message for us today.

I thoroughly enjoyed Hill's book, however, as with all works there are inherent weaknesses. I disagree with Hill on some of the stances he takes on Biblical authorship, and his binary understanding between the Gospels, Jesus, and Paul. Christian Eschatology is multifaceted in Scripture, with different authors giving us a different viewpoint to the future. These viewpoints are to be expected, celebrated, and understood as giving us a multi-dimensional look at the future plans of God for our world. God's kingdom is both here and not yet, causing the tension that we live with in Scripture today. That tension is clear in both the Gospels, and Paul where each author struggles with here and not yet manifestation of the Kingdom of God.

In God's Time is an excellent book, and I recommend it for any serious student of eschatology.

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