Item description for The Parousia: The New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord's Second Coming by J. Stuart Russell & R. Sproul...
Overview When will Christ return? This question was asked by Christ's disciples before his crucifixion, and it is still asked today. In this important but neglected nineteenth-century classic, now back in print, J. Stuart Russell offers a viewpoint few today have heard. A new foreword by R. C. Sproul has been added. Russell contends that Christ's parousia (second coming) was the nucleus and center of a cluster of great events, including the close of the Jewish economy, the judgment of Israel, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the resurrection of the dead. He concludes that the parousia took place, as Christ predicted, later in the first century when Jerusalem was destroyed.
Publishers Description Raises issues important to not only eschatology but also to the debate over Scripture\u2019s credibility.
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Studio: Baker Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.54" Width: 5.24" Height: 1.43" Weight: 1.77 lbs.
Release Date Apr 5, 2012
Publisher Baker Books
ISBN 0801077257 ISBN13 9780801077258
Availability 0 units.
More About J. Stuart Russell & R. Sproul
J. Stuart Russell (1816-1895) was a congregational pastor in England, the first chairman of the Congregational Total Abstinence Association, and an author. He was present at the founding of the Evangelical Alliance.
J. Stuart Russell was born in 1816 and died in 1895.
Reviews - What do customers think about Parousia: The New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord's Second Coming?
Wonderful Eschatological Analysis May 18, 2008
Another great addition to your Christian Library. This book provides a very thoughtful and anylitical understanding of New Testament Eschatology. Russell's arguments certainly show the inherent weaknesses of futurist eschatology.
Offering a New Perspective on Redemption Nov 1, 2007
This is a monumental work in support of Preterism written in the latter half of the 19th century. Russell attempts to leave no stone or Scripture unturned in his attempt to capture the true meaning behind the expectation of the apostles and early believers living in the first century of our common era concerning the second coming of Christ. His desire to comment on as many prophetic passages as he can at times makes him sound redundant. However, his presentation, according to his Preterist position, offers readers an optimistic worldview of redemption unfamiliar to many Christians who live with a pessimistic attitude toward the future of this planet.
A Mixed Bag Mar 11, 2007
What can you say about this book? In many ways it is at the center of a controversy in some church circles called "hyper-preterism". Quite a few have picked up this book and been convinced of Stuart's "exegetical" arguments, even getting RC Sproul to say, "I believe that Russell's work is one of the most important treatments on Biblical eschatology that is available to the church today. The issues raised in this volume with respect to the time-frame references of the New Testament to the parousia are vitally important not only for eschatology but for the future debate over the credibility of sacred Scripture". I can agree with Sproul, but the reader must be cautioned that these are arguments & issues that make an individual deny the bodily resurrection (at least with any historical meaning) and the personal, bodily coming of Jesus Christ, including the restoration of the creation.
There are several reasons I do not buy into Russell's hypothesis. First, I think Russell is entrenched in an enlightenment epistemology. He reads the Bible like a tech manual or a "systematic theology". It's wooden. It's not that I don't think we can develop systematic theology from the Scriptures, but, to me, he reads the Bible in a rather wooden, literal fashion, forcing his "exegesis" at points. For example, I don't believe reading Hebrews should be read in a "literalist" fashion, because I believe it was originally a sermon. This effects the way you read the text. I would preach on eschatology differently than I would write on eschatology. I would write differently depending on my purpose, audience, etc. The way you hear a sermon is different than the way you read the Bible. The way the early church heard the Bible is different than the way we read the Bible. Second, I think his exegesis is forced. He has a system and he is going to get everything to fit within it. This is clear in his treatment of 1 Corinthians. He starts his chapter on 1 Corinthians 15 arguing for the "ocular" NATURE of Christ's resurrection: "The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is one of the great vouchers for the truth of Christianity itself. If this be true, all is true; if this be false, the whole structure falls to the ground. In the brief summary of the fundamental truths of the Gospel given by the apostle in the commencement of this chapter, special stress is laid upon the fact of Christ's resurrection, and the evidence on which it rested. It was `according to the scripture.' It was attested by the positive testimony of eye-witnesses: `He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once,' most of whom are still living at the writing of the apostle. After that he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. `Last of all he was seen of me also.' The emphasis laid upon the words `he was seen' cannot fail to be remarked. The evidence is irresistible; it is OCULAR demonstration, testified not by one or two, but by a multitude of witnesses, men who would not lie, and who could not be deceived." He then adds things like, "This is a most important statement, and unambiguously affirms, what is indeed the uniform teaching of the New Testament, that the Parousia was to be immediately followed by the RESUSCITATION of the sleeping dead." Between Russell's arguments for Christ's resurrection being ocular, i.e. physical, bodily, and his argument that it includes the "resuscitation" of the sleeping dead makes him force his hand to believe in an literal, albeit agnostic, rapture in ad70 and to change the definition of "death". He says, "That he does affirm that at the Parousia (the time of which is incontrovertibly defend in the New Testament as contemporaneous with the destruction of Jerusalem) death will be destroyed, is what no one can with any fairness deny; but it does not follow that we are to understand that expression in an absolutely unlimited and universal sense. The human race did not cease to exist in its present earthly conditions at the destruction of Jerusalem; the world did not then come to an end; men continued to be born and to die according to the law of nature."
Amazing that Russell can be so wooden and literal with his words and then get fast and easy with the word "death" at this point, especially given the nature of the resurrection of Jesus and the expected "resuscitation". Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 is contrasting to the first and second Adam, but Russell tries to force it into a discussion regarding the theocratic kingdom, because of what he believes is the "incontrovertible" truth that all is to take place in ad 70. If the Bertrand Russell and Al Schweitzer's of the world is ones concern, thinking we have a "timing problem", then this apologetic will never do. The problem isn't with certain passages, but their rejection of Jesus' resurrection.
There is one place where Russell is actually more honest than modern hyper-preterist. This is in his discussion of the millennium. He says, "Some interpreters indeed attempt to get over the difficulty by supposing that the thousand years, being a symbolic number, may represent a period of very short duration, and so bring the whole within the prescribed apocalyptic limits; but this method of interpretation appears to us so violent an unnatural that we cannot hesitate to reject it. The act of binding and shutting up the dragon does indeed come within the `shortly' of the apocalyptic statement, for it is coincident, or nearly so, with the judgment of the harlot and the beast; but the term of the dragon's imprisonment is distinctly stated to be for a thousand years, and thus must necessarily pass entirely beyond the field of vision so strictly and constantly limited by the book itself. We believe, however, that this is the solitary example which the whole book contains of this excursion beyond the limits of `shortly;' and we agree with Stuart that no reasonable difficulty can be made on account of this single exception to the rule. We shall also find as we proceed that the events referred to as taking place after the termination of the thousand years are predicted as in a prophecy, and not represented as in a vision. Indeed the passage, chap. xx. 5-10, seems evidently introduced parenthetically, interrupting the continuity of the narrative, which is again resumed, as we shall see, at ver. 11."
All in all, I think this book can be read with some profit, but due to his denial of the Second Adam's triumph over death, all that we see beginning in Genesis 3, both physical and spiritual, I cannot give it a higher rating. He may leave a door slightly open w/ his understanding of the millennium, but I believe the Scriptures are "incontrovertibly" clear regarding the nature of the resurrection, its universality, & the restoration of the cosmos.
Instead of spending your time and money here I would recommend N.T. Wright's "The Resurrection of the Son of God".
Preterism vs. futurism............ or *both*?? Jul 26, 2006
Unfortunately, while likely (and happily) launching the present-day Jerusalem-connection preterist eschatology (which I, with certain distinctions made, espouse), Russell evinces heterodoxy with respect by his contention that all biblical prophecy was exhaustively fulfilled (or inaugurated) within the first century. (For instance, he would contend that the "General Resurrection" has already taken place.)
Part of the problem may be a question of exegetical strategy (a problem, I might add, that can plague even my fellow "partial-preterists" (Christians who believe that some -- but not all or not all *exhaustively* -- of the Scriptures' eschatological prophecies have been, in some sense, fulfilled): ought one assume that a prophecy may have only one fulfillment or ought one, /a priori/, allow for the possibility of multiple fulfillments? If a person opts for the latter (which I myself do), one need not adopt the either/or approach evinced by some preterists (and others) as regards this vexed issue.
Of course, some Divine /raison dêtre/ should be capable, at least in principle (if only in Heaven), of being uncovered with respect to *having* multiple fulfillments as regards any particular prophecy. The most perspicuous rationale for a theory of multiple fulfillments may be gleaned from Biblical typology (not a subject with which certain Christians are likely to feel at home): viz., one fulfillment of prophecy can be a "type" (or foreshadowing) of another (likely more grandiose) fulfillment. For instance, the conflagration by fire of the 70 AD-Temple may well be a "type" of the conflagration by fire of the *entirety* of the old heavens and earth -- a fulfillment, I heartily contend, that remains unfulfilled!
If one is purchase/read Russell's work, I would whole-heartedly recommend its emendation by the following works (not necessarily ranked in order of importance):
(a) Keith Mathison's /When Shall These Things Be?: A Reformed Response To Hyper-Preterism/ (with a foreword by R.C. Sproul).
(b) R.C. Sproul's /The Last Days According To Jesus: When Did Jesus Say He Would Return?/ - A highly helpful summation of the issues surrounding eschatological 70 AD preterism and the arguments in its favor.
(c) As an antidote to Mathison and Sproul's Reformed Protestant approach, I couldn't recommend more highly Scott Hahn's "The End: a Study of the Book of Revelation", a series of talks that is available by way of audio cassette (though a compact disc version with special study guide is apparently available by directly contacting its most excellent publisher). Regardless, it is certainly worth putting up with audio cassette format (and, for those who are non-Catholic, his "Roman" Catholicism) in exchange for Hahn's robust ability to keenly shore up the issues surrounding preterism within an orthodox and traditionally Christian context -- whether one is Catholic, traditional Protestant, non-Protestant Anglican, or Eastern Orthodox). Indeed, both Catholic and non-Catholic Christians should find this tape series an illuminating and spiritually edifying study of the Word of God. (One reviewer even classified this series as a "[m]ost exhaustive treatment of the most elusive book" within the Scriptures.)
(d) David Chilton's /Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation/ - A 70 AD "partial-preterist", postmillennial commentary on the Book of Revelation [written far prior to the controversies that apparently surround Chilton's current theology]).
(e) Despite its daunting title, G. K. Beale's highly readable /The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text/ - Beale is amillennial in his approach to Revelation 20. Keep in mind, however, that his discussion of this topic is renown and well-cited -- and, well-so, for Beale is incredibly erudite and rightly gives those with diverging views (not excluding myself) a run for their money.
(f) Kenneth Gentry's /Before Jerusalem Fell/ - This esteemed work provides the necessary scholarship demonstrating that Revelation was written pre-70 AD.
(g) John S. Evans's /The Four Kingdoms of Daniel/ - Evans, I would argue, is to Daniel what Gentry is to Revelation (see my review for further details).
(h) Anthony A. Hoekema's /The Bible and the Future/ - Of those of the Protestant amillennial persuasion, Hoekema is clearly the most convincing - at least that I have read - as regards the general issues involved in forming a truly Biblical Eschatology.
(i) David B. Currie's /Rapture: The End-Times Error That Leaves The Bible Behind/ - This book is more than *just* a "left behind" refutation (though it is that): it also provides a birds eye, layperson's look into the issues that are treated above in a far more exhaustive way. (I would, however, recommend this work only in conjunction with Hahn's tape series referenced above and Birch's book mentioned below.)
(j) Desmond Birch's /Trial, Tribulation and Triumph: Before, During and After Antichrist/ -- While in no way antithetical to the preterist cause (provided one takes into account the remarks I make above regarding multiple -- and ever more grandiose -- fulfillments), Birch provides the interested reader with an exhaustive, *orthodox* look at a *futurist* eschatological scenario. Though Birch is of the Catholic "persuasion", the author has something to offer every Christian. Birch provides (thus far) THE definitive summation of a Christian **futurist** eschatology.
Please consider intermediate views in between these reviews Dec 27, 2005
I have read the reviews and I am dissapointed about these! The reason is simply, because I have only read reviewers with very opposite oppinions.
Please consider reading Keith A. Matthison and Kenneth L. Gentry, and people they love to quote.
I myself was raised in a dispensational pre-millenialism. And I do understand the feelings of those reviewers. (These were very negative) But I want to make you aware that though I agree that this full-preterism is absurt to us, there is a preterism that is more balanced and really has some good points.
I personally know that such a book might lead some people to reconsider there views, though I am not a full-preterist myself, and probably never will be.
And please be carefull, calling people who DO BELIEVE in the dead and resurrection of Christ, the Son of God, Jehovah witnesses and other names. Please consider this next time you only push them away, when you both might learn from each other.
A review reader with a lot of escatology knowledge.