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4 Stars Out Of 5
September 16, 2010
I enjoyed this book. The four viewpoints explored are the preterist approach, often aligned with postmillennialism; the idealist view, often aligned with amillennialism; and both classic and progressive dispensationalism, both of which are premillennial. I felt that each writer attempted to present his view in a well thought, persuasive, but not necessarily an abrasive manner. I also appreciated the efforts made to offer compelling arguments, while at the same time stopping short of ridiculing the other views. No one has a corner on the truth other than the Lord Himself, so I appreciated this approach.
A definite counter balance to the Pre-millenial viewpoint, strongly Reformational, but delivered more from a logical, "let's see if we can make a case for it" method than a "let's see what Scripture really says" method. He did not convince me.
Still in the process of reading it, but so far I have found it to be very instructive and to the point. I recommend this book to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the various views on New Testament prophecy.
The first writer is Kenneth Gentry, representing the Preterist view. His work is the best presented of the four positions, worthy of five stars. If anyone wants a very good explanation of the Preterist view in a nutshell, Gentry offers it here.The second writer is Sam Hamstra, representing the Idealist view. He is a bit wordy in his presentation, and comes across as rather dull. I give him three stars.The third writer is Marvin Pate, representing the Progressive Dispensationalist view. Ironically, his argument is the weakest and most difficult to understand of the four. He appears to be seeking an interpretation that will have something for everyone, but sacrifices substance and clarity in the process. What seems to be a combination of a preterist/futurist position is not appealing in the least. I give him two stars.The fourth writer is Robert Thomas, representing the Classic Dispensationalist view. Thomas voices the usual mantra for this camp, claiming that his dispensational view is the only position that interprets Revelation literally. He then proceeds to explain the "actual meaning" of the various "symbols" described by the Apostle John! Still, he does a commendable job of presenting a very brief summary of this very complicated viewpoint. I give him four stars.In summary, this book is more suitable for the college classroom than for the church congregation. I would recommend it to a fellow pastor or theologian, but not to a layman. Overall, it serves to refresh the memory of a person who has already determined his viewpoint, rather than to persuade the mind of a person who is still undecided.