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78 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite Good, but could have been better
Eschatological views within evangelicalism have long been a source of serious division between believers. This book, in a succinct way, offers the presentation of 4 major views of the millennium, each view represented by one scholar. Like other books of its kind, the book is presented in such a way that each eschatological position is presented by the scholar advocating...
Published on August 2, 2002 by J. F Foster

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly good introduction--but inconsistent
This books provides a basic understanding of the 4 contrasting views of the kingdom of God as seen through the lens of the millennium. It helps to have a basic knowledge of the doctrine of the millennium before you read the book as no one explains the basic views themselves.
Each of the contributors explains their view more or less competently, although Hoekema...
Published on May 10, 2004 by Steve Fast


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78 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite Good, but could have been better, August 2, 2002
This review is from: The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Paperback)
Eschatological views within evangelicalism have long been a source of serious division between believers. This book, in a succinct way, offers the presentation of 4 major views of the millennium, each view represented by one scholar. Like other books of its kind, the book is presented in such a way that each eschatological position is presented by the scholar advocating such a position, and then the other 3 scholars representing other points of view have the opportunity to critique the presentation. Given that the four scholars represented in this book are all respected to varying degrees, I felt that this format worked quite well in this book.
I felt that the two views represented the best were by far the historic premil and amillennial views articulated by Ladd and Hoekema respectively. Both did a good job of providing a rather thorough presentation of their respective views. I also felt that Hoekema did the best job of critiquing the other 3 views in his short rebuttals to the other 3 proposals. Ladd certainly could have been better in this regard.
I frankly wasn't expecting much from Hoyt, and both his presentation of dispensational premil and his rebuttals were about what I expected - which was disappointing. As was pointed out in the rebuttals to his view, Hoyt did not even attempt to provide an exegesis of Rev. 20:1-6 in his proposal, which is a monumental deficiency in his presentation. In addition, Hoyt, like many dispensationalists unfortunately, had no effective way to defend their 'literal' interpretation technique against the many well argued points made against it by the other 3 scholars. Since interpretation technique is the central issue in each millennial view presented, Hoyt's inability to effectively defend the technique he is adopting to argue his position is another serious deficiency in his presentation.
But in my view, the biggest disappointment was Boettner's presentation on postmillennialism. Like Hoyt, no analysis of Rev. 20 is found in his proposal, and even worse, Boettner doesn't offer up any significant exegesis of any Biblical passages at all. Boettner's entire argument is not one that is Biblically based, but is one that tries to experientially look at the world and argue that it's getting better over time. As Ladd points out, this is a double edged sword, but even more than that, even if one accepts Boettner's premise, that doesn't automatically mean that postmillennialism is the correct eschatological view. His presentation was universally deficient, and that's a real shame coming from a scholar as respected as Boettner. And this is the main reason why I'm giving this book 4 stars instead of 5. As a view, postmillenialism was not represented well at all here, and that's unfortunate. Put simply, this view was not presented with any Scriptural basis at all.
The other major criticism I have of the book is Clouse's postscript which seems to heavily criticize premillennialism. I found Clouse's postscript to be flat out inaccurate in parts, or at the very least, seriously outdated in its criticisms. Premillennialists, as a group, do not shun the liberal arts as a legitimate and necessary field of study, nor do they shun social activism as a result of their eschatology. It is true that there are way too many end times hunters on the scene who repeatedly make themselves look bad by trying to predict certain end times events by interpreting supposed present day signs of the end of the world. I certainly agree that to the extent that these end times hunters are 'teachers' in the Biblical sense, they should be held to severe accountability when their teachings prove to be wrong, but that way too often, these guys are instead given a free pass to continue teaching error and that this is an embarassment to the entire Body of Christ. But Clouse's other negative contentions regarding premillennialism are decidedly out of place and inaccurate.
Overall, I think many readers will come away from reading this book with a much better understanding of what the points of contention are between the varying millennial views, and why such points of contention exist. While the postmillennial view clearly should have been presented better, the book still provides a solid basis to understand what each view is saying and why they are saying it. The reader may also conclude, as I did, that each view presented has certain strengths and weaknesses, and that no system of millennialism has been proposed that doesn't have weaknesses in it. But this book will provide a very good jumping off point for readers to further explore these views in more detail and reach their own convictions about which millennial view is most faithful to the entirety of Scriptural truth.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible (IMHO) for Understanding the End Times, May 31, 2002
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This review is from: The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Paperback)
Like most modern evangelical Christians, I was brought up in the faith to believe that the bible taught that there would be a rapture, followed by a seven year tribulation period, followed by the second coming of Christ where He would set up a millennial kingdom in Jerusalem where he would reing for 1000 years, followed by a final coming where he would usher in the eternal state with a new heavens and a new earth.
Back in the early 90's I was studying for ministry and I figured that someone would probably ask me my view of the end times some day, so I decided I needed to study it for myself. So, I acquired a 28 tape set on the end times by one of the leading conservative scholars in America. I listened to all of them, as he explained and defended the above scheme and I came away from that thinking that I would never be able to persuade someone of that position unless they were already heavily predisposed to believing it. What I mean is that I couldn't find a rapture/tribulation, etc. in any of the Scriptures that this teacher used.
So, scratching my head, I did a little more research and came across this book. It opened my eyes to the fact that there were other views of the end times that were held by Christians who believed the Bible was the word of God. I had been told in the past that the only people who don't follow the rapture/tribulation etc., scheme were people who didn't believe the Bible.
I won't tell you what view I adopted, other than to say that I found that all of the views had much to commend them, from a Scriptural standpoint, except the one I formerly held.
This book does an excellent job of letting the representatives from the various schools of thought speak for themselves, and it allows critiques in a scholarly and irenic manner. I would urge anyone who feels strongly about their view of the end times to read this book. It may or may not change your mind, but hopefully it will at least open your mind to some new possibilities when it comes to end times scenarios.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful introduction to Second Coming views, January 20, 2003
This review is from: The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Paperback)
Many people are unaware that there are several views of how we should interpret the New Testament's teaching about Christ's Second Coming. In many churches, only one view is ever presented, and often this is the most recent one, unknown in the history of the church until the mid-1800s.
Books like this one help you to see that evangelical Christians have different ways of interpreting the Bible's teaching about the end of the world. This may prove unsettling at first, but it is good to be aware of other people's views when the New Testament is not as clear as some would like us to believe.
It is also helpful to see that the main teaching, that Jesus is coming again to take those who believe in him to be with him forever, *is* clear.
Another helpful book, also available from Amazon, is Steve Gregg's Revelation: Four Views - a parallel commentary, which presents several of these views side by side, in their authors' own words.
Both books are warmly recommended.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly good introduction--but inconsistent, May 10, 2004
By 
Steve Fast (Hillsboro, KS, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Paperback)
This books provides a basic understanding of the 4 contrasting views of the kingdom of God as seen through the lens of the millennium. It helps to have a basic knowledge of the doctrine of the millennium before you read the book as no one explains the basic views themselves.
Each of the contributors explains their view more or less competently, although Hoekema (amillennialism) has by far the most rigorous and well-organized essay. Ladd's essay is also quite good. Hoyt's essay is more about the dispesationalist scheme of Biblical interpretation, and he consistently confuses the concept of metaphorical or symbolic interpretation, arguing in his essay that such interpretation is "literalism" when any speaker of English would tell you that it is not.
Boettner's contribution (post-millennialism) was downright disappointing as he had no Biblical exegesis to back up his admittedly engaging presentation of his view. Some of the responses by each contributor to the other's position are fairly rude, in particular Ladd, but also Hoyt to an extent.
The editor's careless work decreased the value of the book. He did not require all the contributors to address their exegesis of key questions, like that of Rev. 20. He allowed Boettner to get away with a sloppy essay that proved nothing. And he allowed Hoyt to blather on and on in his essay and his responses about "literalism," when any dictionary would show that literalism is not what Hoyt says it is.
In summary, you can dig an understanding of the four views of the millennium out of this book, but the editor could have made it much easier.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accessible, Well-Written Introduction, May 17, 2004
By 
Nathan Rose (Littleton, CO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Paperback)
This is an accessible, well-written introduction to four views relating to the millennium of Revelation 20. The book is written in a debate-like format, with each contributor giving a defense of his millennial view followed by a response from the each of the other contributors.
All four contributors agree that one's millennial view follows from one's philosophy of biblical interpretation and each contributor defends their respective hermeneutic approach. In his defense of postmillennialism, Boettner succeeds primarily in showing that he does not even understand the interpretive principle at stake - no serious reader of the bible (even dispensational readers) question that the bible contains symbolic and figurative language. The hermeneutic debate is not a debate between a literal and a figurative interpretation of the Scriptures. Instead, the debate centers on whether Old Testament prophecies were and will be fulfilled literally, through national Israel, or rather, were and will be fulfilled spiritually, through the Church.
In his defense of dispensational premillennialism, Hoyt argues that biblical interpretation should operate on the expectation that Old Testament prophecies will be literally fulfilled with national Israel as their object. His primary justification for this hermeneutic principle is his belief that a literal interpretation is the simplest to understand and that God would certainly proceed in the way that is most accessible and understandable to the common folk. Hoyt's argument is weak considering that the New Testament interprets and applies key Old Testament prophecies in understandable and clear language.
In fact, the interpretive principles of Hoekema (Amillennialism) and Ladd (Historic Premillennialsm) follow along this line of argument: The New Testament provides the authoritative interpretation of Old Testament prophecies, largely arguing for a spiritual fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies through the Church. Hoekema and Ladd find much to agree upon and little to disagree upon. Their only difference relates to interpretation of Revelation 20:1-6. Both presentations are well written and convincing.
It is unclear why Boettner even cares what interpretive principle is adopted. His defense of Postmillennialism is almost completely free of biblical exegesis. In fact, in response to Boettner's essay, Ladd comments, "There is so little appeal to Scripture that I have little to criticize." Boettner does pose a worthwhile question: Wouldn't it be great if the vast majority of humanity were saved? This is the evangelical version of the equally appropriate question: Wouldn't it be great if everyone were saved? Evangelicals, of which I am one, would do good to remember that God "is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Introduction, Yet Certain Views Are Less Consistent, July 25, 2008
This review is from: The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Paperback)
Other solid reviews have been written, but I would like to briefly reiterate what I felt were the strengthens and weaknesses of this book.

The strongest parts of the book: 1) The dialogues between Amillennialism (Hoekema) and 'Historic' Premillennialism (Ladd). These presentations were the most balanced and consistent to their interpretations. Hoekema holds to a classic view of Amillennialism (like that of Augustine, yet somewhat nuanced) and Ladd espouses a solid Premil essay. Their interjections with one another seem more honest from their historic positions. 2) I enjoyed Clouse's introductionary essay to the subject and felt that it was solid and even-handed as the book's presentation.

The weakest parts of the book: Though they have already been touched on, I will reiterate since they give less balance and weaken the overall work of the much stronger presentations of Amil and Premil. 1) Postmillenialism (Boettner) was devoid of almost any scriptural basis. It practically sounded like a social humanist writing about the optimistic future of humanity. I do not mean to discredit a wonderful scholar like Dr. Boettner here (he's written other solid work), but this essay here was supremely lacking in biblical substance as he attempted to portray events in human history as supporting Postmillennialism and largely left Rev. 20 undiscussed. That was highly problematic and would probably leave most readers unconvinced.

2) Dispensational Premillennialism (Hoyt) was thoroughly disappointing in this work. Hoyt stated points that sounded more like George Ladd in places than most Dispensationalists would agree with. Also, a solid explanation of the Jewish character of the Millennial Kingdom was practically nonexistent from his essay. This point is of extreme significance to the Disp. Premil position and yet I find practically nothing on this in his essay. This perplexed me as I knew Dr. Hoyt was from Grace Theological Seminary and studied beside Dr. J. Alva McClain, one of the most well-known Dispensational teachers outside of Dallas Theological Seminary. A much more honest account of the traditional (yet somewhat revised) Dispensational viewpoint can be found in his 'The Greatness of the Kingdom', a superb work from this interpretation. Overall, Hoyt clearly lacked in his presentation on the distinctiveness of the Jewish Nation in the Millennial Kingdom. Other areas, such as Rev. 20, Isa. 65, were more solid, but the distinctive Jewishness was missing. This was unfortunate.

3) Lastly, Clouse seems to slant the opinion against Premillennialism in his Postscript essay. I'm not sure why he stated points that were clear sweeping misrepresentations of Premils (that they lack in social concerns, are extremely pessimistic, etc.). This seems to leave the reader more convinced by the Postscript than by the arguments of the four scholars who wrote the essays. Though this is minor, the editor should allow the essays to convince the reader, not his/her Introductionary and/or Postscript essays.

Overall, this book is a solid introduction to the differences in interpretations over the Millennial Kingdom. I found it enjoyable to read, not extremely difficult, and the authors engaged with one another in an irenic spirit. Though some background reading needs to be done prior to this book, I highly recommend this book as an entrance into the deeper arguments concerning the Millennial Kingdom.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to the millenium, May 13, 2006
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This review is from: The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Paperback)
Clouse does a good job on this book. The format is well thought out. In the introduction he gives a little bit of a history on each of the positions. He lets advocates of the 4 views of the millennium each present their best case for their position. Then he lets the others offer a rebuttal. He wraps the book up at the end explaining the implications for the Christian of the four views.

The only downside to this book is that some of the contributors were very good rebutting the other's arguments, but didn't do quite as well presenting their own position.

The average reader could finish this book easily in a weekend. After having read the book, you'll probably want to do more research on your own. Now that I know a little more about the historic and dispensational premillinialism, post premillinialism, and amillinialism camps I'll be able to discuss end times eschatology a little bit more intelligently and know where to go next for some more thorough research. This book is well worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful in some ways, January 31, 2006
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This review is from: The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Paperback)
If you know little about the different millennial positions held by Christians, then this can be a helpful resource in getting a basic understanding of the views as well as the alleged weaknesses in each view as seen by the other perspectives. It was somewhat incomplete in my opinion because I found that it is impossible to have a true position on the millennium without knowing the implications of that on other eschatological elements that this book didn't go into by virtue of its focus. In other words, this is a good starting place in examining eschatological positions, but understand that further reading will be necessary on the topic in order to have a real handle on it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Overview of the Four Main Eschatological Positions, December 1, 2001
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This review is from: The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Paperback)
Clouse does a superior job of putting together 4 scholarly advocates of different millennial interpretations. Ladd, Hoekema, and Hoyt do an excellent job of presenting and defending their stances, while Boettner's essay on Postmillennialsim could have been better. Consequently, the rebuttals from each of the other essayists concerning this view were comparitively disappointing as well.
Overall, this book really is a must have for any person wanting exposure to the options in Christianity concerning the 1000 year reign of Christ as described in Rev. 20.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking comparison, May 18, 2002
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This review is from: The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (Paperback)
This is a very useful book! It presents the four main eschatological positions in the words of accomplished theologians: G.E. Ladd on historic premillennialism, H.A. Hoyt on dispensational premillenialism, L. Boettner on postmillenialism, and A.A. Hoekema on amillenialism. Each chapter begins with one of these men stating their position on the "end times", followed by rebuttal from the other three. This dialogue format is excellent - much credit goes to the editor, R. Clouse.
Each chapter is very well-written, as one would expect from such prominent men, with the exception perhaps of postmillenialism. Boettner presents a basic statement of the postmillenial viewpoint, but his use of Scripture in explaining and supporting his argument is sparse, which weakens it somewhat. The other three men did a fine job.
If you are interested in this long-standing debate or if you simply wish to determine where you stand, this is a good book to start with because it addresses the four basic positions and because of its dialogue format. You probably won't have all your questions answered simply by reading this book, but you will certainly have your thoughts stirred!
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The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views
The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views by Robert G. Clouse (Paperback - April 1, 1977)
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