Saturday, February 03, 2007

Book Review: The Man of Sin

The Antichrist. What does that name conjure up for you? It has been a symbol of evil for centuries. It has been the subject of many movies (most recently in The Omen II) and books. And many ideas and people have been "identified" as the Antichrist (the spirit of heresy, the Roman Empire, Nero, the Pope/papacy, Adolf Hitler, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Islam, a Jewish male, George W Bush, etc etc etc). The list can go on interminably. The Antichrist has been popularised in Christian fiction such as The Left Behind series. The concept of the Antichrist is firmly embedded in popular culture, even if many do not know its origins. What are we to make of all this? Who or what is the Antichrist? How are we to understand the biblical references to the Antichrist? Is the Antichrist past, present, or future? Does it matter? In the middle of a plethora of sensationalist, bizarre, agenda-driven ideas, Kim Riddlebarger's The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About the Antichrist offers a calm, solid, biblical view on the nature of the Antichrist. Riddlebarger explores common beliefs about the Antichrist and end times, examines the few biblical passages describing the Antichrist, surveys the various interpretations of these passages, describes the various understandings of theologians and writers throughout church history, and offers a number of conclusions. The Man of Sin is an excellent book - carefully considered, clearly written, and avoiding sensationalism and hype. Riddlebarger arrives at three basic conclusions. It is his
contention that Christ's church will face two significant threats associated with Antichrist. The first of these threats is a series of antichrists who arise within the church and are tied to a particular heresy - the denial that Jesus Christ is God in human flesh. This threat has been with us since the days of the apostles and will be present until the time of the end. The second threat is the repeated manifestation of the beast throughout the course of history, taking the form of state-sponsored persecution of Christ's church, which will finally culminate in an end-times Antichrist. It is likely that these two distinct threats combine into a single threat at the time of the end.
Riddlebarger's argument in arriving at his conclusions are persuasive (to me, at least!). If you are looking for something sane to read about the Antichrist, Riddlebarger's Man of Sin is a good place to start. Related Links

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