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Ideas live on

Books | Chilton left a rich legacy

Issue: "Stealth Bible," March 29, 1997

David Chilton was the most naturally gifted writer I have ever met. He could diffuse fierce controversies with his ready wit and uncommon grace. He could untangle the knotted logic of even the most obscure argument with stunning alacrity and crystalline clarity.

His first book, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators, is a biblical response to the "Christian Socialism" of Ron Sider and his "Evangelical Left" kin--men like Tony Campolo, Tom Sine, and Jim Wallis. Besides being a pointed critique, it is an introduction to economics, an invigorating survey of Western politics, and a lively lesson in biblical theology.

Paradise Restored is an eschatological primer, dealing with all the controversies and questions of biblical prophecy, but it also delves into the broader issues of biblical interpretation and application. Besides introducing us to a rare sort of "optimillenialism," it reaffirms the incalculable riches of the Word of God.

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The Days of Vengeance is Mr. Chilton's magnum opus. It is a monumental verse-by-verse and word-for-word commentary of Revelation. It deals with the entire prophetic repertoire of the church through the ages.

The Great Tribulation is a brief paperback treatment of one of the most troubling aspects of "End Times" teaching. Rarely does it ever resort to polemics. Instead, it presses forward its encouraging message with a refreshing scriptural verve and doctrinal fidelity. The first three pages alone are a model of gracious Reformed apologetics at its finest.

Mr. Chilton also wrote the best book ever written on the cultural crisis wrought by AIDS. Power in the Blood is the wisest, most compassionate, and most scriptural treatment of this difficult subject I have ever come across. Instead of merely dealing with the dire problems that have caused AIDS and the dire problems that AIDS has caused, the book portrays real-life solutions to those problems. It affirms the essence of the Gospel hope. It brings light and life to even the most dark and deadly of dilemmas. In some ways it is a perfect summation of Mr. Chilton's prevailing message: We can take heart because God is sovereign.

When I received word of David Chilton's sudden homegoing, my first thought was of profound sadness and loss. I thought of his wonderful family and how all the rest of us will miss his innate optimism, unflagging encouragement, and great foresight. I thought of all the books that might have been but now will never be. But after reviewing the rich legacy he has left us, my heart has been lifted. I have finally begun to comprehend great solace in knowing that "he being dead yet speaketh."


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