The Future of Everything
Reformation Heritage Books, 2019, 166 pages. Approx. $16 on Amazon.
Do you wonder what happens to believers when they die? Do you spend time thinking about what life will be like once the Lord Jesus returns? If not, Rev. William Boekestein's fine little book will show you the importance of doing so. And if you already do ponder such things, the Future of Everything will help deepen your understanding and answer some questions as it overviews the Bible's teachings on the afterlife and end-times.
Boekestein sets out to explain to everyday Christians what theologians refer to as "eschatology"--the study of the end-times as taught in Scripture. That's an area that can be complicated and is often obscure to us, but the author succeeds in making all the main lines plain. Pastor Boekestein has a gift for clear, accessible writing which manages to be fresh at the same time. Although this book is a succinct primer and not an exhaustive analysis answering every question, yet the author packs in a significant amount of content as he outlines each issue. The reader will learn much.
One of Boekestein's burdens is to show that how Christians understand what's coming in the next life directly impacts the way they live the present life. A skewed view of eschatology leads to a skewed way of Christian living, from being lazy and careless on one hand to arguing excessively about the finer details of the future on the other. The author takes his goal from the apostle Peter who wrote on the last things in order to promote "holy conduct and godliness" (2 Peter 3:11). A more laudable purpose would be hard to find.
The Book's Contents
The writer works hard and is effective at showing the personal relevance of his topic to every person and doubly so for every Christian. Following the two introductory chapters, Rev. Boekestein spends two chapters writing on facing our own mortality, six chapters on being ready for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, and two more on putting into practice today the lessons the Bible teaches about tomorrow (i.e. the end of time). His conclusion that better understanding the coming of the kingdom of heaven will motivate God's people "to begin to put into practice now the social righteousness that will permeate the new heaven and the new earth" (p.122) is a welcome and refreshing truth that deserves more attention among us. The final chapter aims to highlight the importance and even urgency of mission work in light of Christ's pending return.
The book is arranged in twelve easy to read chapters of about ten to twelve pages in length. Each chapter has a set of approximately eight well-worded questions (located in the appendix) that aid in reflecting on the teaching presented. Any adult would benefit from reading this volume but its setup makes it ideal for Bible study groups (from young adult and up, in my estimation).
In a book on the end times there are bound to be thorny issues and to Pastor Boekestein's credit he does not shy away from any of them. For example, he dedicates a full chapter to the topic of hell, another to the final judgment, and yet another to what happens after death. While here and there I placed a question mark in the margin of my copy, the writer explains all points within the pale of Reformed orthodoxy (where, it must be admitted, consensus on some points is lacking).
So, the reader at times will be challenged in his/her thinking on these and related issues but that is the point of good writing, isn't it? This book stimulates the reader to dig further into Scripture and discern God's will with greater clarity and conviction, and that too is one of the benefits of the Future of Everything. Recommended!
Peter Holtvluwer is the pastor of Spring Creek Canadian Reformed Church in Vineland, ON.