Ultimate Things: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on the End Times (英語) ペーパーバック – 1995/9/1
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An Eastern Orthodox Christian perspective on eschatology. Various Christian groups continue to scream that the end is near. Read a thoroughly Orthodox perspective on the End Times. Finally, a book that doesn't sensationalize these times, or rewrite traditional Christian teachings to fit in with the spirit of our age.
While I am not sure whether Mr. Engleman attends a parish affiliated with either the Russian Church or its offshoots in this country (such as the OCA and ROCOR), it is quite apparent from the heavy reliance upon the Russian theologians that he has been greatly influenced by the streams of thoought in the Russian tradition. This is not necessarily a bad thing as this tradition is extremely rich. However, some writers in the Russian Church can often be extremely triumphalistic and can have a distorted view of eschatological issues. Ironically, in seeking to combat the parochialism and lack of perspective common in American Protestantism on eschatological topics, the author relies heavily on those with some of the same problems.
Engleman - like many Protestant dispensationalists - sees Scriptural prophecies of the eschaton pointing to current events. Unlike them, he sees the role of Russia as a postive force and that of America and the West in a generally negative light. Here we see the myopic views of both camps distorting their perspective. In this book, Engleman goes as far as to say the force restraining evil in the world prophesied to be taken out was the Russian monarch. Such a questionable conclusion surely rests upon an overtly romanticized view of the role of Christian monarchs in general and that of the Russian monarch in particular.
There are some strong sections to the book. His exposition of certain themes in prophecy and in patristic views of the end times are quite good reading. However, his use of quotations oftne ignores that many of the quotes supplied are by those who might agree with his view on a particular issue but would have placed this element within an entirely different context. Also, some of those cited were placing their expectations of the end of all things in their own historical period. Thus, while they may be respected as great saints, their opinions on this issue should be taken as a pious belief and not as an authoritative statement.
Another strike against Engleman's book is the style of writing. Rather than the richer theolgical perspective one would hope from an Orthodox view of prophecy, we are given a book that seems to take an outline of popular Protestant dispensationalist works and adopt it to Orthodox purposes. This is seen most amusingly when Engleman cites dispensationalist author Grant Jeffrey approvingly. The net result is to prove that Evangelical Protestants do not have a monopoly on wild entimes speculation.
Despite some postive elements, Ultimate Things just has too many questionable assumptions to be a recommended source on eschatology. Except for those interested in seeing what happens when someone in one of the historical Churches contracts "millennial madness", it is best to pass on this offering.