Not Home Yet – Ian K. Smith

not homeIan K. Smith, Not Home Yet (Wheaton: Crossway, 2019), 167 pp.

One of the recent encouraging developments in the church is an interest in biblical theology. 2 Peter 3:13 says, “According to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” This grand promise is the theme of Ian K. Smith’s recent book, Not Home Yet.

Dr. Smith argues, “Home is where we belong.” Therefore, he urges readers to set their sights and affections on their heavenly home. But some will be surprised to learn that “Jesus’s return to this earth is the focus of the Christian’s hope, and this return will not just be for a visit, to pick us up and take us home to heaven. He is coming to stay. The new Jerusalem will descend to earth, and we will be at home, with Jesus, on earth.”

“The aim of this book,” writes Ian Smith “is to reawaken (resurrect even), a biblical understanding of the earth and God’s mission to it.” The author skillfully guides readers along the biblical plot line that leads them to their heavenly home on the new earth, where they will reside for all of eternity.

Smith’s work is a rich combination of scholarship, yet he never isolates those who have not enjoyed the benefit of a theological education. His writing is clear, straight to the point, a biblical from start to finish. In the end, he accomplishes his objective by re-engaging readers and helping them understand God salvific plan and redemptive purposes for his people.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.


The City of God and the Goal of Creation – T. Desmond Alexander (2018)

cityT. Desmond Alexander, The City of God and the Goal of Creation. Wheaton: Crossway, 2018, 190 pp,  $15.99

“God’s purpose in creating this world is to establish a resplendent metropolis that will fill the earth, where God will reside in harmony with humans,” says T. Desmond Alexander. The author’s latest work, entitled The City of God and the Goal of Creation is a book that tackles the important subject of biblical theology. Alexander’s book is the latest offering in Crossway’s Biblical Series which is sure to please readers accustomed to solid scholarship.

The aim of the book is to present the biblical reality which concerns the city of God, which stands at the heart of God’s redemptive purposes. The author begins in the garden of Eden which “anticipates God and humanity dwelling together in harmony.” Sin short-circuits the hope of a temple-city but God is committed to his original plan.

Alexander carefully guides readers through the various minefields that surface in Scripture, all of which are a part of God’s sovereign plan. The trajectory which anticipates the city of God is a theme that runs through the entirety of the book and finds its culmination in the New Jerusalem which will be fulfilled when Christ returns.

The City of God and the Goal of Creation is short but packed with theological nuggets that should attract readers drawn to eschatology and beyond. This is a dense work that invites careful study and contemplation and promises some special challenges for readers with a commitment to Dispensational theology. This work is a true feast that will cause students to dig deeper into God’s Word and greatly anticipate the goal of creation, the city of God.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

BOOK REVIEWS · Eschatology · Theology

ROSE GUIDE TO END-TIMES PROPHECY – Timothy Paul Jones (2011)

159636419X_bRose-Guide to End-Times Prophecy by Timothy Paul Jones is a terrific overview of eschatology designed for beginning Bible students.  The author provides a fairly comprehensive look at the four major eschatological views – Amillennialism, Postmillennialism, Dispensational Premillennialism, and Historical Premillennialism.  Each position is spelled out in a fair manner – an unusual approach.


BOOK REVIEWS · Eschatology


Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson join forces to answer one of the more controversial questions of the 21st century, “What is hell?”  Careful readers notice from the outset that the very question implies the existence of hell.

The authors begin with the classic formulation, “Would a loving God really send good people to hell?”  Three erroneous assumptions lie dormant within the question.  First, it assumes that God is only love and ignores his other attributes, especially justice and wrath.  Second, it wrongly assumes that people are inherently good.  Third, it “distorts the portrait of God by portraying him as the one sending people to hell, as if he happily does so.”  In other words, this is the wrong question.  The authors propose the proper question, namely, “How can a loving and just God declare the guilty  to be right with him?”

The authors continue to promote a robust view of Scriptural authority by developing a biblical description of the God-glorifying doctrine of hell.  Five principles emerge:

1. Hell is punishment (Matt. 5:20-30, 24-25; 25:31-46; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; Rev. 20:10-15).

2. Hell is destruction (Matt. 7:13-14, 24-27; 24:51; Rom. 9:22; Heb. 10:27).

3. Hell is banishment (Matt. 3:1-12, 7:21-23; 8:12; 13:41-42, 49-50; 25:41; Rev. 22:14-15).

4. Hell is a place of suffering (Matt. 3:12; 8:12; Mark 9:42, 48; Rev. 14:10).

5. Hell is eternal (Dan. 12:2; Isa. 66:22, 24; Mark 9:43, 48; Matt. 25:41, 46; Jude 7, 13).

An excellent discussion focuses on the bearing that the doctrine of hell has on our theology and practice.  The authors maintain that when hell is compromised or discarded, the theological house of cards inevitably begins to fall: “To downplay or reject hell usually means to err in other important beliefs also.  Reworking hell is often an early indicator that other things have been redefined.”

In an ultimate sense, the doctrine of hell helps Christians remember the mission of the church.  It reminds us of God’s majesty and the cosmic treason known as sin.  And it reminds us of the final fate of anyone who rejects the Savior that God sent.  The doctrine of hell reminds us of the foolishness of universalism and inclusivism, the notion that all will be saved – even the ones who refused to believe in Jesus.  The doctrine of hell should humble Christians and prompt God-centered worship.

Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson have accurately described hell and given sufficient biblical evidence to warrant belief.  This book is a serious warning to so-called evangelicals who have compromised the doctrine of hell by promoting universalism, inclusivism or annihilationism.  Highly recommended!

5 stars

BOOK REVIEWS · Eschatology · Theology

HEAVEN – Peter Kreeft (1989)

Heaven, by Peter Kreeft seeks to recapture the longing of every human heart.  “Heaven is not in your heart but a picture of heaven, a silhouette of heaven, a heaven shaped shadow, a longing unsatisfied by anything on earth.”  The purpose of the book is to raise that picture to consciousness.  The author contends that one must first diagnose the cause of human hopelessness before a prescription can be offered.

Kreeft attempts to make an accurate diagnosis by pointing to broad historical movements that have engaged in a quest for heaven.  First, Kreeft points to the Renaissance which longed to return to Greco-Roman humanism and rationalism.  In contrast, the Reformation longed to return to simple biblical faith.  The two movements in history disintegrated into the medieval synthesis which produced modernity.  The author notes that “once modernity denies or ignores God, there are only two realities left: humanity and nature.  If God is not our end and hope, we must find that hope in ourselves or in nature.  Thus, emerge the two new kingdoms of modernity – the kingdom of self and the kingdom of this world.”  Both are clearly alternatives to the kingdom of God and result in idolatry.

The author goes on to show that every idol has “cracks.”  Hence, every idol, whether ancient or modern does not work.  Every idol fails to produce lasting happiness.  They make promises they can never deliver.  So every potential worshipper is faced with three choices: A turning to the true kingdom of God, a  turning to another idol, or a turning to nothing which leads to despair.

Kreeft proceeds to explore the heart’s longing for heaven.  “We find the presence of God by first finding the presence of the absence of God, the God-shaped hole that nothing else can fill.” Therein lies humanities deepest failure – to satisfy our deepest desire,  a relationship with God.

The author concludes that we are already in heaven in part.  The eschatological hope is not mere speculation or a flirting with eternal things.  It is now.  It is not only the future hope of heaven; it is the present reality of eternal life, living Coram Deo – before the face of God.

Heaven is filled with strong points.  First, the historical movements give the reader a context to understand modern day attitudes.  Second, the philosophical approach is commendable.  Rather than offer “pie in the sky” answers, the author deals with tough questions in a biblical fashion.  The author embraces the philosophy of C.S. Lewis which only enhances the book’s credibility.  Third, the author writes with precision and causes the reader to think deeply about the important questions in life.  Fourth, the book offers hope.  It is entirely positive and gives the reader hope for the future and a better understanding of the eschatological hope.  Further, it stresses the reality of eternal life in the here and now, not merely in the future.

4.5 stars