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Four Views on the Book of Revelation Paperback – April 6, 1998

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Product Details

  • Series: Counterpoints: Bible and Theology
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (April 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310210801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310210801
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The Book of Revelation. The Millennium. Two of the most fascinating and widely disputed topics in modern Christianity. What are we to make of the Bible's rich apocalyptic imagery? How much of it is a historical account? How much is prophecy that is unfolding today or that has yet to unfold, and how much illustrates timeless truths that transcend specific events of the past, present, or future? Two additions to the Counterpoints series now provide a forum for presentation and critique of, and interaction among, the predominant views on the book of Revelation and on the millennial reign of Christ and his Church. The contributors are eminently qualified to represent their various schools of thought. Like the other Counterpoints books, each of these volumes allows the reader to set the different views side by side to compare their strengths and weaknesses, gaining a better appreciation for other perspectives while strengthening or redefining his or her own. Four views on the book of Revelation are presented, critiqued, and defended: preterist, idealist, and the classical dispensationalist and progressive dispensationalist forms of the futurist approach.

From the Author

C. Marvin Pate, Ph.D., is professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., Th.D., is professor of New Testament at Bahnsen Theological Seminary in Placentia, California. Sam Hamstra Jr., Ph.D., is vice president for institutional advancement and chaplain of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois. Robert L. Thomas, Ph.D., is professor of New Testament at The Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, California

More About the Author

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D. is an ordained minister (Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Assembly), author of numerous books on theology, and a conference speaker who has spoken throughout America, in the Caribbean, and Australia. He is a conservative, evangelical, and Reformed Christian.

He holds a B.A. from Tennessee Temple University (Biblical Studies); the M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary (Pastoral Ministry); and the Th.M. and Th.D. from Whitefield Theological Seminary (New Testament).

He is married (since 1971) and has three married children (and several grandchildren): his daughter is an Executive Asst. for the president of a national clothing firm; his oldest son is a physicist working in nanotechnology in the Research Triangle in North Carolina; his youngest son is a Senior Manager CPA for one of the Big Four accounting firms).

He is a writer/researcher for American Vision. He pastors a Presbyterian Church in Greer, SC ( He is the Director of a non-profit Christian educational ministry: GoodBirth Ministries ( He has written or contributed to over thirty books, many of which deal with eschatological issues. He has been published by Zondervan, Baker, P&R, Kregel, American Vision, Nordskog, and several of other publishers.

He also has several professionally-produced educational videos available at his personal website:

He oversees a correspondence course on Christian research, writing, and publication. His Righteous Writing course is available at:

In September 2013 he established an eschatology blog promoting postmillennialism and orthodox preterism:

He has a Facebook page and welcomes new "friends" there.

Customer Reviews

He is a bit wordy in his presentation, and comes across as rather dull.
David R. Bess
Each essay was very well done and gave a fair reading of the views that were included.
J.W. Wartick
If one is looking to study the book of Revelation, this is a great place to start.
Andrew A. Carr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 92 people found the following review helpful By David R. Bess VINE VOICE on January 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is actually a combination of four short booklets, each written by a different author. My rating is for the book as a whole, though my rating for each individual writer would differ. As an editor, Pate makes a commendable effort to be fair and open-minded with the views differing from his own position. If Pate had requested each author to respond to the criticism voiced by the others, this book would have been much more helpful.
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 an 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.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
The book of Revelation is one of the most difficult books in the Bible. This fact is evidenced in there being so many approaches to Revelation. This work by Pate introduces and summarizes four of those approaches: preterism (the best argued in the book), dispensationalism (the most popular view in American fundamentalism), progressive dispensationalism (a mix of all the other views while trying to maintain some semblance of dispensationalism), and idealism (the most confusing and least attractive view).
Revelation is also one of the most facinating to Christians. The chapter on preterism was the most interesting to me, and the most convincing. The author basically gives a short commentary on Revelation, which provides a nice overview while presenting the preterist outlook. The preterist sees Revelation as pointing to the looming destruction of Jerusalem, as Christianity separates from Judaism.
The reason for preterism is found in two of the first three verses in Revelation: Rev. 1:1, 3. There John tells us that the events he is prophesying will "soon" take place because (in his view) "the time is at hand." I don't know how I had missed that introduction in my reading of Revelation. I don't see anyway around this problem for the other views.
Presenting two dispensational views was an odd feature of the book. Why two very different interpretations from the same school of thought? However, when all is said and done, at least the reader can see that dispensationalism is changing with the times (which is actually good news).
The idealist view seemed a bit abstract and unnatural. I don't hear of too many idealists. And maybe this chapter is helpful in understanding why the view is not making much headway.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Todd Grotenhuis on December 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
Is there a harder book in the Bible to understand than Revelation? This Four Views volume offers four of the main approaches to interpreting the book -- in a somewhat brief format (232 pages), the entire book of Revelation is summarized according to four differing viewpoints. Unfortunately a fifth position, the "Historicist" view, is given only a passing glance as a view that has (apparently) fallen out of favor (despite the fact that this view used to be, and still may be, very popular among some). Also some of the views that *are* defended in the book are not the "pure" forms of those positions: the preterist (which locates all prophetic fulfillments in the 1st cent., A.D.) and idealist (which sees all prophecies as recurring in time, rather than pointing to single events) both see in Rev. 20 a brief reference to Christ's final, definitive triumph that is still in the future. The overall presentation by each of the authors is a good one, though; if you're confused about how to interpret Revelation, this book should clear up some of the fog.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
As other reviews have noted, the main disappointment here is that this book summarily dismisses historicism, which is a mainstay on any scholarly list of the four systems of interpretation.
Although it is true that historicism is no longer a popular view, it deserves full treatment for three reasons. First, historicism was the predominant protestant view for three or more centuries and should be include for completeness. Second, historicist are producing many books in response to the futurism of "Left Behind", making readers curious to know how these views fit in. Finally, it is not inconceivable that the ultimate truth will include some elements from each of the four camps, so one should be well-versed in all four views.
I certainly hope that the next version includes historicism, as well as the counter-point format.
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