We’ve broken up the Fall Newsletter into several posts….below the topics on Home Visitation and Book Recommendations –
VISITATION THEME FOR 2016/17: ETERNAL DESTINIES: HEAVEN, HELL, & ASSURANCE
As our consistory begins our annual home visits of each member, this season we have chosen the theme of “Eternal Destinies: Heaven, Hell, and Assurance”. While elders are called to contact and encourage our membership in many informal ways, and while certain concerns or needs may require special visit, the purpose of the home-visit, is to encourage each member in their Christian walk and service. If this is a first visit, getting to know each other is very important well. We must know the God’s sheep, before we can really care for God’s sheep, before we can encourage, feed and protect God’s sheep. This year elders may choose to use Scriptures regarding the life-here-after in the visit to help us all in the area of assurance of our salvation. The after-life and whether we are really accepted by God often bring many questions, doubts, and uncertainties. While we will not fall into speculation, we will seek to shine the light of Scripture on our experience. Questions before the visit will be distributed for your reflection prior to your visit.
PASS ON GOOD BOOKS
Another closely related topic that many have questions about is not about our own personal destination, but the world’s! People wonder: How will it all end? In Christian theology this is called eschatology – the doctrines of Last Things. A member recently asked me to go through some books he has found helpful and would like to make available to you in our library. I’ve agreed to promote some of those in our news brief:
What Does the Future Hold? Exploring Various Views on the End Times. Pate. Good survey.
Nearing Home: Billy Graham. Personal Christian reflection on aging, life, death, and life after life.
The Bible on the Life Hereafter. W. Hendriksen.
The Bible and the Future. Anthony Hoekema. Both of these books do a good job of explaining the intermediate state between our death and Christ’s Return. Both also cover the signs and timing of events leading up to the end times. They explain different view of the millennial reign of Christ, and of the ‘rapture’. The strength of these two books is the strength of the Reformed tradition. We let Scripture help interpret Scripture. The Old Testament teaching is used in connection with Christ’s teaching and the rest of the New Testament’s teaching.
The Last Days According to Jesus. R.C. Sproul. Thought provoking look at Jesus’ words about the signs and time of the end. R.C. asks how much prophesy has been fulfilled in Christ’s first coming and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and how much is yet to be fulfilled.
The Last Things: Hope for this World & the Next. Herman Bavinck. This is the best single volume work on the topic. Fascinating discussion regrading Israel as an ethnic people and as a nation state. I have lent it out to someone in our congregation. If you are done with it, kindly bring it to the library so others may benefit from it too!
“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” – C.H. Spurgeon