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Ultimate Things: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on the End Times [Paperback]

By D E Engleman (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   300
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.54" Width: 5.51" Height: 0.88"
Weight:   0.87 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 25, 2005
Publisher   Conciliar Press
ISBN  096227139X  
EAN  9780962271397  

Availability  83 units.
Availability accurate as of Sep 22, 2017 12:39.
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Item Description...
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.

Buy Ultimate Things: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on the End Times by D E Engleman from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780962271397 & 096227139X

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Eastern Millennial Madness  Oct 18, 2006
Dennis E. Engleman subtitles his book Ultimate Things as an Orthodox Christian perspective on the end times. Perhaps it might be better described as a Russian Orthodox Christian perspective on the end times. For as those familiar with the Orthodox Churches know, the Orthodox may share a common faith but the Russian Orthodox tradition has a link to Russian history, culture, and nationalistic fervor that is unique even among the often ethnically divided Orthodox faithful. Part of this tradition is the view of Moscow as the third Rome and hence the tsar as a successor to the Christian Emperors of Constantinople. This view sees Russian and the Russian people as having a unique role among God's people as the great defenders of Orthodoxy and often is given eschatological implications.

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.
"Watch how you hear"  Aug 1, 2005
The endorsement of this book by any "official Orthodox theologian" (so-called) is just another example of the jumbled state of Orthodoxy in the U.S. today.

While the author may make a few valid points that are in line with Orthodox tradition - such as the fact that the teaching of "the rapture" is a demonic delusion, and that the Antichrist will reign from the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem - these are so diluted with the propagation of the author's own prelest (spiritual delusion) that the reader of this book will come away with a completely off-the-wall conception of the "end times," which bears very little resemblance to, or at times even outright contradicts, what those who have been Glorified have spoken on the matter.

To complicate the situation yet further, the author insists on quoting a number of neo-platonist philosophers (whom he himself feels free to consider "saints") in an attempt to justify his own stances (both political and religious.) The teachings of this book are essentially identical to those held by right-wing Evangelical and fundamentalist Protestant religions, and also to certain "Traditionalist Catholic" groups (with the exception of the two teachings referred to in the previous paragraph.)

True theologians know how to discern between reality and the phantasies of the devil. The fact is, religion itself is a sickness that requires a cure. That cure is unceasing prayer within the heart. This is the entire foundation of the Old and New Testaments which can only be understood when kept within this context. The main purpose of the Church was initially to act as a clinic for the curing of the sickness of religion, and to prepare its faithful for the vision of Christ in Glory which every man and woman who has ever lived will eventually have. This is the teaching of the Glorified from every age.

The author of the book, however, is not only completely ignorant of this, but even goes so far as to side with those who promote the sickness of religion rather than the cure of it.

He erroneously refers to the monarchy of the (Roman) Orthodox Empire and the monarchy of the Franco-Latin kingdom interchangeably, even implying that the Franco-Latin monarchy - which was instituted by the barbarian Karl (Charlemagne) and tortured, imprisoned, and murdered Orthodox bishops, and replaced them with Frankish bishops - is somehow "divinely-instituted." The author further implies that the descendants of the Roman Orthodox Empire who finally overthrew their Franco-Latin oppressors were somehow in league in with the devil.

The notion that the monarchist form of government is "instituted by God" and that republics, democracies, etc. are of necessity "evil," is not an Orthodox teaching, though the words of a few Fathers are often twisted out of context or outright mistranslated by certain individuals to make it seem so. Nonetheless, this idea spread like wildfire not only in the post-Orthodox West, but also throughout Russia, after Peter the Great launched a fierce effort to essentially gut all remnants of Orthodoxy from that nation. The idea of a "divinely-anointed ruler" is currently being used in the U.S. by the Religious Right, in its attempt to justify handing over absolute authority to Bush/Cheney and give them the status of "Christs."

As Fr. John Romanides - who entered repose in 2001, and is considered a modern-day Church Father by the most saintly of all Orthodox worldwide, with countless miracles ascribed to his intercession - clearly points out, even the Christian Roman Emperors were elected. There is no such thing as a magical "bloodline" of monarchs which supposedly kept Satan bound, and passed down through a royal family tree. On the contrary, Nationalism is a heresy; it is a demonic tool of the Satan which has been used for centuries to destroy souls. The idea of some "holy bloodline" of kings and queens is especially heretical and spiritually dangerous.

In the entire original Greek of the New Testament, the fact is that Christ never speaks even once of a "Kingdom of God," but rather He continuously speaks of the "rule of God" or "the reign of God." The reign and Uncreated Glory of God has absolutely no resemblance to anything which is created but rather divides itself equally while remaining undivided among all of creation. The name of "Pantokrator" is applied to Christ by the Glorified in the very context that the Lord of Glory is the All-governing force through which creation is guided and unfolds.

To those who have been cured, all of creation is saturated with the Uncreated Glory of Christ (Yahweh) the Lord of Glory, and all legalistic moral precepts are replaced with the supramoral life of perfect love, which is manifested especially in unselfishness towards both nature and society.

Interestingly, I do not recall any reference to the words of one of the most recent Fathers of the Church, St. Antony of Kiev, anywhere in this book. But then again, St. Antony's teaching that "Perfect holiness consists in perfect love" obviously has no place in this book's author's own ideologies. Instead, the author has decided to insert a number of "prophecies," that in the "pop-culture" of the Orthodox Church are often ascribed to early saints, but have no verification that the named saint actually spoke or wrote such words. (To use just one example, there is a divide even among those people who unflinchingly accept the so-called "prophecy of St. Nilus" as authentic; some of them believe it was "revealed" in the 4th century, while others among them believe it was "revealed" numerous centuries after the saint's repose. In any case, the fact that this "prophecy" directly contradicts a sermon by St. Anthony the Great - a sermon known to be authentic - casts some serious doubt as to whether it was actually authored by St. Nilus.)

Another recent saint - Mother Maria of Paris - also seems to have no say in this author's book; most likely, because St. Maria stressed the importance of love, peace, and service to the poor, sick, and downtrodden as central to the Christian life - all virtues which this book's author refers to with loathing or contempt.

Additionally, the author's claim that the state of Israel was established by the "will of God" is quite curious, considering that Orthodox Palestinians have been among the main victims of the persecutions carried out by this very same state.

To be blunt, "Ultimate Things" is not Orthodox in its view of the "end times" or nearly anything else, for that matter. It is sheer, neo-platonic dualism.

The author can claim and write whatever he wants, but that cannot change what the Glorified saints of every age have taught. No worldly nation, or ethnicity, or religion, can ever represent the "chosen people of God." Rather, the "chosen people of God" are those who struggle for, and cultivate, the cure of the human person, through unceasing prayer within the heart. The Glorified are those who have acquired this cure, and are able to see the Uncreated Energies and the Glory of Christ, which divide themselves equally amongst, and saturate, all of God's creation.

In summary: "Ultimate Things: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on the End Times" is a worthless book, at best; more likely than not, however, it will prove destructive both to its readers and to those around them.

It's best to avoid such fundamentalist religious ranting which, like a wolf in sheep's clothing, disguises itself as "Orthodoxy."
The Orthodox Christian Church perspective on the End Times  Aug 24, 2004
Even being a Protestant outsider, I still find examining the crosscurrents of eschatology (i.e. doctrine of last things or prophecy) throughout the Christian world to be fascinating. At the onset, Engleman examines prophetic significance to the Old Testament book of Daniel from an Orthodox perspective. The beasts represent world empires: the first being Babylon, the second Medo-Persia, the third Greece and the forth being Rome. This interpretation generally is common to most conservative Catholics and Protestants as well. Though, there are some nuances that exist peculiar to Orthodox theology in Engleman's reading of Daniel. Also, modern adherents of Orthodoxy seem to be tinged with a semi-mystical reverence for Holy Russia, in much the same way as American postmillennialists espouse a Gospel rolled up in nationalism. They see prophetic significance of Moscow as the Third Rome, and the guardian protector of Holy Orthodoxy. Likewise, they hail the collapse of godless communism, which is an avowed enemy of the monarchy, tradition, and the church. They see it's collapse as a sign of renewal. Engleman echoes these views.

The eighth chapter chronicles "the spirit of the end times," which is the prevalence of nihilism and relativism. It examines revolutionary and utopian movements that seek heaven on earth, and seem to only produce a veritable hell on earth. With this look at revolutionaries is the tacit hint by Engleman that the Anti-Christ will ride in on a red carpet of revolutionary rhetoric promising heaven on earth and appealing to sinful man's desire, to be as God. The Anti-Christ is conveyed as a great deceiver who woes the masses with signs and wonders. He is a Christ that promises the sensual, sinful pleasures of the here and now. He is the Christ that would yield to Satan's wilderness temptation and promise for worldly kingdoms-he is a false Christ! Also, towards the end of the book is a critique of dispensationalist sects of evangelical Protestants. Engleman looks back to the persecutions endured by early Christians who congregated in the catacombs of Rome, and foresees a similar predicament for Christians in the not so distant future. He closes with an optimistic vision of the Second Coming of Christ and the Last Judgment hearkening to those last chapters of the book of Revelation.

All things considered, this book captures the otherworldliness of the Orthodox worldview and gives insight into their views on prophecy. They see an imminence and suddenness to the Second Advent of Christ. Remarkably, it shares some similarities with mainstream views in Protestant eschatological interpretation, though it eschews dispensationalist premillennialism and the "heresy of Chiliasm" (i.e. belief in a literal 1,000 year millennium.) The chief weakness (or strength perhaps?) of this book is that it does not include passage-by-passage exegetical readings of significant eschatological passages in Scripture, as the Orthodox tendency is to avoid rational or systematic approaches in their studies.
A Layperson's perspective  Aug 24, 2004
Mr. Engleman's phenomenal work regarding the traditional, Eastern Orthodox view of both the
End Times and the Second Coming of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, was written more for
the layperson in mind, especially if you have been like me--a victim of 21st century, pop-culture
Fundamentalist Christianity whose eschatological notions are purely with millenarianism as
it's theological foundation (examples of this would be the Left Behind series of fiction, Hal
Lindsay writings, etc).

I am of the opinion that any sincere Christian, whether non-Orthodox or Orthodox, who wants to
approach the ancient Christian teaching regarding the End Times would have to consider reading
this book, which is very simple and easy-to-understand. It's approach is very basic: Mr. Engleman
uses resources that have been around for 20 centuries, such as quoting the ancient Fathers of the
One, Holy, Orthodox-Catholic and Apostolic Church, as well as Holy Scripture. It is the ancient
Tradition (which includes the oral as well as the written) that has survived two millennia that he cites
in regards to a Christian eschatology that is both apostolic and sobering.

I say sobering since this particular view of the End Times reveals that the Church WILL GO THROUGH the Great Tribulation
since the ancient consensus of the Christian Church NEVER taught a "rapture," hence those who quote verses that appear to teach such a recent innovation are actually verses that teach the Second Coming and Last Judgment, NOT that Christians will supposedly be spared from suffering. The way of the Cross IS suffering. To be a Christian means you can't avoid to suffer for Christ.

I highly recommend Mr. Engleman's book for the layperson who is seeking answers to the often confusing subject of the End Times.
Ultimate Things  Feb 25, 2004
I was disappointed after reading this book, but it was the first Orthodox resource I had come across that dealt with the end times. Sadly, it is so rooted in the ethos of the 20th century that the approach of the author was indistinguishable from fundamentalist Protestant writers. The insistence that THESE are the last days, and that THESE are the signs which prove it is symptomatic of the apocalyptic sectarian thinking which has characterized a small but vocal part of American Christianity over the past 150 years. While no Southern Baptist would identify the "restraining power" spoken of in 2 Thes. 2 with the holy martyr Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the specificity of this identification is one which has been shunned by the Orthodox Church. It has been over 85 years since the Bolshevik Revolution. How long do we have to wait before deciding that this event, tragic as it was, was not the beginning of the end?

A much better book on the subject is "A Second Look at the Second Coming: Sorting Through the Speculations" by T. L. Frazier. It exposes the heretical teachings behind millenarianism, Zionism, the "rapture," dispensationalism, and numerology but it also presents a positive and hopeful outlook, calling us all to a joyful penitence in light of our Lord's glorious second coming.


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