Book review: Off Target, 18 bull’s-eye exposés

by John Noe, Ph.D


Yikes! Noe comes out of his corner with fists swinging in this one. If we wanna save the world, we better listen up. Noe gives us 18 short, passionate exposés highlighting his psuedo-preterist interpretation of scripture.

Most of them are a little too feisty for me, so I didn’t connect quite so strongly with this book as I did with Hell Yes / Hell No, my first book by Noe. This time around, Noe has bypassed the balanced approach of presenting both sides of his arguments, and resorted to straight talk. He’s frustrated at the way Christian beliefs in the last couple centuries have shifted from postmillennial to dispensational premillennial views—with its teaching that the world is supposed to get worse and worse before Christ returns—and bemoans how this change “perfectly coincides and statistically correlates with the withdrawal of Christians from societal involvement, the rise of godless rule, and the decline of morality and public life here in America.” Noe believes our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, with Christianity once the moral influencer in our society. He complains about the recent exodus of our youth from today’s churches, blaming improper teachings of what to believe.

All this can be set right by jettisoning our “dumbed-down Christianity” and reading the scriptures for what they say. When Jesus promises the new age will arrive “within a generation” (40 years), we need to take him at his word, and recognize the role that the war of 70 AD played in Christian history. Let it be known that, while I’m no preterist, I do sympathize with Noe’s view. You cannot lift the New Testament out from the shadow of that horrendous war. We do the Bible a disservice by pretending its writers prophesied a time in their distant future.

Noe has some legitimate arguments, but so does the other side. He points out, for example, that in the final verses of Matthew Jesus promises to never go away again, and concludes that Jesus won’t be coming back because he never left in the first place. Of course, the book of Acts says just the opposite, that, as Jesus ascended, he promised to be right back. So, Noe compromises by explaining that Christ comes and goes as he pleases. It’s true that Hebrews says Jesus “will appear a second time,” but Noe points out that this doesn’t confine Jesus’ comings to only two.

My purpose is not to argue with Noe (his staunch belief in the Bible as everywhere true would leave us with little common basis for debate) but to point out that there are at least two sides to every argument, so believers who consider the Bible inerrant will be forever squabbling because of the varying beliefs of its writers. Noe is at his best in arguing the urgency of the first century Christian message and its dream of a Kingdom, but I couldn’t share his analysis and admiration for the Book of Revelation as the highlight of that Kingdom. Revelation, he says, is “the only source that unveils and reveals Jesus in his present-day, pertinent, and full exalted, glorified, transformed, transfigured, and transcendent reality. … This is the Jesus each of us, today, needs to meet, know, and take seriously.”

Ugh, not me. Frankly, Revelation is a literary masterpiece, my favorite book in the Bible (I published a book about it a year ago:, but its Jesus is ugly and icky. Revelation’s vengeful pipedreams could have derailed Christianity; thankfully, the Johannine Community out of which it sprang discovered it was better off leaning on John’s Gospel … the gospel of love.

So, okay, it turns out that Noe and I have our differences. Yet I must admit, his book and its 18 theses are well worth reading. His research is deep and relevant. More than anything else, Noe’s new argumentative book does indeed highlight how the Bible should not be “dumbed down,” how it deserves to be read carefully and thoughtfully. By the time Noe reaches his 18th exposé, he has circled around to where he and I, even with our vastly different Christianities, are in harmony. In his final chapter, titled Your Worldview, Noe discusses Jesus’ paradigm and the Kingdom of God. This is what Christianity is all about! When will we stop “futurizing” the Kingdom and start living it? While I can’t quite walk Noe’s pathway of staunch preterism and inerrant scripture, I applaud its destination, and dream of the day when all Christians share Jesus’ vision of a Kingdom. If Noe’s pathway leads us there, we could do far worse.


  1. Great review, Lee! Perhaps the next step would be to look at In That Day Teachings, at . Hoping all in Christ, Robert Winkler Burke, Reno, NV.

  2. Thanks, Robert! And nice website! If you happen to have a print copy of your “book” I’d be happy to read and review.

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