“David Chilton Made the Case for Long-Run Christian Optimism”

Or, “Why the good guys are going to win, and the bad guys are going to lose.”

It helps that people under the Holy Spirit grows more self-governing, more wise, more lively, and more obedient and far-seeing in the Divine Law that shapes the universe: spiritually, physically, and ethically.

In contrast, those under Satan – officially or unofficially – grow more enslaved, more foolish, more dead, and more ignorant and blind to the Divine Law that shapes the universe: spiritually, physically, and ethically.

Those who love God love live, and victory, for thousands of generations (or all eternity, depending on when the Second Coming occurs).

Those who hate God thrive for three or four generations — maybe — and grow to welcome delusions, defeat, and death.

Copy-paste from Gary North’s David Chilton Made the Case for Long-Run Christian Optimism

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David Chilton was the most stylistically gifted Christian theologian I have ever read.

I published three of his books. As his editor, I usually made no changes. When Chilton submitted a manuscript, it could go straight to the typesetter. The only exception was his commentary on the Book of Revelation, Days of Vengeance. I told him to add a conclusion. He did.

I paid him in early 1981 to write a critique to write a refutation of Social Gospel advocate Ron Sider’s book, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger (1977). He wrote it in three months. It is the finest piece of theological demolition I have ever read. I gave it a title: Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt-Manipulators.

Sider never responded openly to Chilton’s book in his three subsequent editions. Each time Sider revised his book, Chilton revised his. He could not respond to the 20th anniversary edition, published in 1997. He died that year.

In that fourth edition, Sider backed away from his pro-socialist first edition. He even incorporated several of Chilton’s recommended economic reforms. I wrote about the revised book in 1997: “Ron Sider Has Moved in the Right Direction.” I re-published it as an appendix in my book, Inheritance and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Deuteronomy (1999): “The Economic Re-Education of Ronald J. Sider.”

I put Chilton on salary in 1981. He wrote three books for me: his commentary on the Book of Revelation and a short version, The Great Tribulation. He also wrote a book on biblical eschatology, Paradise Restored. It is a masterpiece.

I give them away as PDFs. You can download them here.

Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt-Manipulators.

Protestants have trouble with their own liberation theologians. Some of them are Marxists in the Lamb’s clothing, while others are merely Fabian socialists in the Lamb’s clothing. Some of them just aren’t willing to say…yet. (Tactics, you understand.) Ron Sider belongs to the third group.

Sider’s first edition of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger created a minor sensation in conservative Protestant circles. It was the cutting edge of a radical shift of political and economic opinion in the neo-evangelical world, especially on college and seminary campuses-a shift to the far left. The book received no response until 1981, when the first edition of Productive Christians blew away Sider’s claims that he was simply applying the Bible to economics. Sider has never recovered intellectually, as Chilton’s third edition demonstrates.

Sider’s desperate attempts to “cover his flanks” in the second edition of Rich Christians are exposed by this book as a last ditch effort. Sider waffles, Sider squirms, Sider drops whole sections of the original book, Sider changes a few words and quietly shifts controversial sections (exposed in Chilton’s earlier editions) to other chapters, but still nothing works. There is no place left for Sider to hide. Chilton makes it clear: Sider understands neither the Bible nor economics when it comes to his conclusions about profits, taxes, foreign aid, and Western guilt for the Third World’s poverty.

To put it bluntly, this book definitely destroys what little was left of Sider’s position. The Sider phenomenon, intellectually speaking, is finished. This book is its gravestone.

Paradise Restored

In another departure from standard treatments of prophecy, David Chilton examines the numerous biblical prophecies of the follow of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Although this event has often been neglected and almost forgotten, it was a major topic in the minds of first century Christians, and much of the New Testament is taken up with the early church’s expectation of that terrible holocaust.

Building on a solid fouundation of New Testament eschatology, the author deals at length with the message of the book of Revelation–again with surprising results. Throughout the volume, the reader is confronted with the fact that our view of the future is inescapably bound up with our view of Jesus Christ. According to the author, the fact that Jesus is now King of Kings and Lord of lords means that His Gospel must be victorious: the Holy Spirit will bring the water of life to the ends of the earth. The Christian message is one of hope.

Days of Vengeance

With Paradise Restored, he embalmed the old corpse of “pessimillenialism.” But now, with The Days of Vengeance, he has nailed shut the sarcophagus, sealed the crypt, and made off into the night rehearsing profound eulogies.

But, not only does he return the zombies of the end times doomsaying to the dust from whence they came, Chilton has resurrected with cogency, clarity, and admirable consistency a genuinely Biblical “optimillenialism.”

The Days of Vengeance is an extraordinary exposition of the book of Revelation and will undoubtedly be welcomed as a cool drenching rain upon a dry, thirsty ground. Long parched and impoverished by speculative spectacularization, the evangelical scholastic wilderness can do naught but soak in Chilton’s careful and literate commentary.

The Days of Vengeance is phenomenal. It is big (nearly 750 pages big, going where no commentary has dared to go before). It is brash (marshalling mountains of long forgotten evidence to the cause). It is a brazen bravura, a delight, a tour de force. If you have a “must read list,” put this book at the top of that list. If you don’t have such a list, start one. And start here, with The Days of Vengeance. — Rev. George Grant

From the very beginning, cranks and crackpots have attempted to use Revelation to advocate some new twist on the Chicken Little Doctrine: “The Sky Is Falling!” But, as David Chilton shows in this careful, detailed exposition, St. John’s Apocalypse teaches instead that Christians will overcome all opposition through the work of Jesus Christ. Most of the confusion over the meaning of the prophecy has resulted from a failure to apply five crucial interpretive keys to the Book of Revelation.

1. Revelation is the most “Biblical” book in the Bible. St. John quotes hundreds of passages from the Old Testament, often with subtle allusions to little-known rituals of the Ancient Near East. In order to understand Revelation, we need to know our Bibles backward and forward (or, at least, own a commentary that explains it!).

2. Revelation is a prophecy about imminent events – events that were about to break loose on the world of the first century. Revelation is not about nuclear warfare, space travel, or the end of the world. Again and again it specifically warns that “the time is near!” Revelation cannot be understood unless this fundamental fact is taken seriously.

3. Revelation has a system of symbolism. Everyone recognized that St. John wrote his message in symbols. But the meaning of those symbols is not up for grabs. There is a systematic structure in Biblical symbolism. in order to understand Revelation properly, we must become familiar with the “language” in which it is written.

4. Revelation is a worship service. St. John did not write a textbook on prophecy. Instead, he recorded a heavenly worship service in progress. One of his major concerns, in fact, is that the worship of God is central to everything in life. It is the most important thing we do.

5. Revelation is a book about dominion. Revelation is not a book about how terrible the Antichrist is, or how powerful the devil is. It is, as the very first verse says, “The revelation of Jesus Christ.” It tells us about His lordship over all; it tells us about our salvation and victory in the New Covenant, God’s “wonderful plan for our life”; it tells us that the kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our God, and of His Christ; and it tells us that He shall reign forever and ever.

The Great Tribulation

Are we living in the Last Days? Are the signs of our times the Signs of the End? Is the Great Tribulation just around the corner? For almost three generations evangelical Christians have answered these questions with an unequivocal “YES”!

In this challenging new book by David Chilton, all the prophetic passages of Scripture dealing with the End Times are re-examined with careful attention to every revealing detail. And his conclusions are nearly as startling as the prophesies themselves.

The Great Tribulation is the kind of sane, balanced, and easy to understand introduction to End Times theology that Christians have needed from a long, long time.

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