Christians have always looked for the return of Christ, the last judgement, and the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth. Nevertheless, eschatology-the doctrine of last things-remains an area in which questions frequently appear to outnumber answers; and in which many of the answers that are offered come not from theologians who have studied the Bible seriously, but from faddists or self-appointed prophets. Serious students of theology, therefore, will welcome the appearance of Dr. G. C. Berkouwer’s detailed study of last things.
In The Return of Christ, Berkouwer addresses himself to a wide range of questions: How does Christian expectation differ from ordinary human longing for a better future? Is there an “intermediate state” between the death of the believer and the return of Christ (or, where does the Christian go immediately after death)? Is the Christian faith in crisis because the Lord has not yet returned? What ought Christians be doing until His return? And what will His return be like? Speaking to issues much in evidence today, the author also provides his response to questions such as these: How are we to understand the “signs of the times”-specifically, the signs of the antichrist, the “Millennium,” and the restoration of Israel? What is the meaning of “seeing God”? Is there any scriptural warrant for teaching that ultimately God’s grace will triumph over all sin, resulting in the salvation of all men? What is the Christian really praying for when he prays “Thy Kingdom come”?
Gerrit Cornelis Berkouwer (1903-1996), Dutch theologian. He studied at the Christian Gymnasium and at the Free University of Amsterdam, obtaining a doctorate there in 1932. As pastor in the Gereformeerde Kerken (1927–45), he served in Oudehorne and Amsterdam. Also lecturer in modern theology at the Free University of Amsterdam (1940–45), he became professor of systematic theology there in 1945 and continued until his retirement in 1973. He was an observer at Vatican Council II (1962) and a member of the Royal Academy of the Sciences. His Studies in Dogmatics (14 vols., 1952–76) have earned high praise. “The importance of Berkouwer lies in his refusal to accept simplistic either-or’s … in which the fulness of truth is torn apart” (A Half Century of Theology, 208) and his “conviction that theology, if it is to be meaningful … had to be a theology directed to the pulpit” (L. B. Smedes). Other significant works include The Triumph of Grace in the Theology of Karl Barth (1956), The Second Vatican Council and the New Catholicism (1965), and A Half Century of Theology (1977). - From Biographical Entries from New 20th-Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge