Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JBTM 7:2 (Fall 2010) p. 132
What Does the Future Hold?: Exploring Various Views on the End Times. By C. Marvin Pate. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2010. Pp. 151, Paperback $12.99.
Have you ever been confused by all the various views of the end times? Well, if you have, you are not alone. In his recent book What Does the Future Hold?, C. Marvin Pate works to disperse the fog. It is clear, concise, and balanced, giving each of the major millennial views equal consideration. Pate also challenges the insipient skepticism creeping into Baptist churches and scholarship today. This book is a call to find comfort and joy in eschatological prophecy rather than fear and paranoia (7–10, 97, and 145). The degree to which he succeeds, however, will depend on his readers’ ability to challenge some personal convictions that often are guarded fiercely.
Pate’s outline is simple. He surveys the history of biblical prophecy, explains and critiques the three millennial views, and ends with an editorial on the prevailing skepticism in liberal eschatology today. The author then presents his eclectic eschatology that finds comfort in each of the millennial views.
The presupposition that undergirds Pate’s eschatology is the “already/not yet” kingdom of God hermeneutic. In the opening chapter, he points out that “the careful reader . . . will recognize that often biblical predictions have two types of fulfillment: a near and a far fulfillment” (17), which he equates with “already/not yet.” Pate, however, fails to build a case for this arguable hermeneutic, popularized by C.H. Dodd. The three examples, Isa. 7:10–16; Dan. 9:24–27; and the Olivet Discourse, are interpreted in light of the presupposition not as evidence for it. This weakness is key because Pate filters his entire eschatology through this presupposition. Considering the importance of the point, a more involved discussion is warranted.
Over the next four chapters, Pate summarizes and critiques the various views by the way they understand the kingdom of God. For premillennialism the kingdom of God has not yet come; for postmillennialism the kingdom of God has already come; for amillennialism the kingdom of God has already been inaugurated only to be fulfilled at the second coming; and for the skeptical view the kingdom of God is not going to come. Thus Pate makes a clear theological distinction between each of the four positions.
After walking his readers through each of the millennial interpretations, Pate states his view. From postmillennialism, he accepts the preterist conviction that many of the prophesies centered around the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, though he ...
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