Book review: Jeremiah: The Last Days

by Buddy Helms

★★★★

Buddy Helms is a pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Big Lake, Texas, where he happily taught the popular pre-tribulation belief until a church member asked him an innocent question that drove him deep into the scriptures. He came away with a different understanding of the end times. This book provides Buddy the opportunity to teach us what he learned, through a fictional character named Jeremiah, a businessman who was called by God to give it all up and preach an unpopular message.

Says Buddy at the story’s close, “If, as we claim, we are a people of the book, it is time that we returned to it.” I agree, but in the battle between believers of pre-tribulation and post-tribulation rapture, I don’t have a stake. In my own book about Revelation, I waffle on the subject, leaning slightly Buddy’s way. Nevertheless, the theology of his book and its clarity is as important to me as the storytelling, so my rating is influenced upward by the way Buddy made me dig into the Bible.

I do have a criticism: When the last days arrive in the book, it shifts into fast-forward. The story becomes condensed and pretty much just rolls through the events described in the Bible, literally and without much elaboration. Perhaps if Buddy doubled the length and developed the plot more dramatically, it could turn from a four-star into a five-star story. On the other hand, his approach is understandable; neither the rapture nor the tribulation is the focus of Buddy’s message. The chronology is. Buddy worries about the faith of complacent pre-trib believers who may someday find themselves experiencing opposition they never imagined.

I’ve wasted most of my space talking about the author (whom I find genuine and likeable), his motivation and theology. Sorry about that. I really did enjoy reading the fiction and could relate to the characters. The dialogue became a bit forced in places, but not overly so, and it didn’t really matter; I was easily swallowed up into the storyline. I think Pastor Helms has found an excellent way of communicating the Bible’s post-trib passages.

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