Kenneth Gentry

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For the executed American murderer, see Kenneth Edward Gentry.
Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Born May 3, 1950
Residence United States
Theological work
Tradition or movement Calvinism
Main interests Christian eschatology, Book of Revelation, theonomic ethics
Notable ideas The Book of Revelation is a forensic drama that presents God's divorce decree against Israel as he takes a new bride, the Christian church.

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. (3 May 1950) is a Reformed theologian, and an ordained minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly. He is particularly known for his support for and publication on the topics of orthodox preterism and postmillennialism in Christian eschatology, as well as for theonomy and six day creation. He holds that each of these theological distinctives are logical and theological extensions of his foundational theology, which is Calvinistic and Reformed.

Biography[edit]

Gentry was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is married (since July 1971) and has three grown children.

He received his B.A. in Biblical Studies from Tennessee Temple University (1973, cum laude). After graduating he enrolled at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. After two years at Grace Seminary (1973–1975) he left dispensationalism, having become convinced of a covenant and Reformed theology. He transferred to Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi (1975–1977). Upon completing studies at Reformed Theological Seminary he was awarded the M.Div. in 1977. After several years of pastoral ministry, he earned a Th.M. (1986) and a Th.D. (1987, magna cum laude) from Whitefield Theological Seminary, both in the field of New Testament.

While at Reformed Theological Seminary he studied under Greg L. Bahnsen, a leading presuppositional apologist. Though Gentry initially resisted the distinctive ethical and eschatological views of Bahnsen, he was eventually persuaded of both theonomic ethics and postmillennial eschatology and became a staunch co-defender of them with Bahnsen. Over the years he developed a close friendship with Bahnsen, often lecturing with him in conferences, co-writing a book with him (House Divided: The Break-up of Dispensational Theology), eventually joining the staff of Bahnsen's Southern California Center for Christian Studies, and finally contributing to the festschrift in honor of Bahnsen, titled: The Standard Bearer.

Gentry is the Executive Director of GoodBirth Ministries, a non-profit religious educational ministry, "committed to sponsoring, subsidizing, and advancing serious Christian scholarship and education" (GoodBirth website: www.GoodBirthMinistries.com). He currently pastors Living Hope Fellowship in Greer, S.C., an affiliate member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Assembly (church website: www.LivingHopeSC.com).

Writings[edit]

Gentry is perhaps best known for his book Before Jerusalem Fell, which argues that the Book of Revelation was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. He holds that many of the dramatic events in Revelation correspond to the persecution of Christians under the Roman imperium as well as to the Jewish War against Rome which resulted in the destruction of Jewish temple. This book is the published version of his doctoral dissertation in 1986 under the title "The Dating of the Book of Revelation: An Exegetical, Theological and Historical Argument for a Pre-A.D. 70 Composition."

Revelation commentary[edit]

Gentry is currently working on an academic commentary on Revelation tentatively titled: The Divorce of Israel: A Redemptive-Historical Interpretation. According to preliminary studies he has released ("The Wrath of God and Israel", Fountain Inn, SC: 2007), he will be presenting evidence that the harlot city "Babylon" (Rev. 16:19-19:2) is a metaphor for 1st century Jerusalem, and that the book's author John is following the pattern of the Old Testament prophets in denouncing Jerusalem's unfaithfulness by such images (see especially Jer. 2-3 and Eze. 16).

Gentry holds that the theme of Revelation is Christ's judgment coming against those who pierced him (Rev 1:7), and the "slain Lamb" (Rev 5:8,13; etc.) is wreaking vengeance upon 1st-century Jerusalem in order for God to divorce his unfaithful wife so that he might take a new bride, the Church (Rev. 21-22). Thus, Revelation dramatizes the transition from the old covenant, Temple-based, Judaic economy to the New Covenant, spiritual economy that includes all ethnicities, not just Jews (compare supersessionism).

According to his research updates, Gentry sees strong similarities between Revelation and the Epistle to the Hebrews. Both works seek to demonstrate Christianity's superiority to Judaism by showing New Covenant Christianity supplanting Old Covenant Judaism (Heb. 8:13; Rev. 2:9; 3:9; 11:1-2). He notes that both documents even end up pointing the reader to the New Jerusalem from heaven (Heb.12:22; Rev. 21:2), which represents Christianity. He also draws parallels in thought between the Gospel of Matthew and Revelation. He sees evidence for this in Matthew's strong imagery regarding old covenant Judaism's demise in the rise of Christianity (Matt. 8:10-12; 21:33-46; 22:1-13; 23:29-38).

Bibliography[edit]

Contributions[edit]

  • "Private Charity Should Care for the Poor" in The Welfare State (David L. Bender, ed.) (Greenhaven Press, 1982). ISBN 0-89908-313-7
  • "Civil Sanctions in the New Testament," "Church Sanctions in the Epistle to the Hebrews," and "Whose Victory in History?" in Gary North, ed., Theonomy: An Informed Response (I.C.E., 1991). ISBN 0-930464-59-1
  • "The Preterist View" in Four Views on the Book of Revelation (ed. Marvin Pate) (Zondervan, 1998). ISBN 0-310-21080-1
  • "The Postmillennial View" in Three Views of the Millennium and Beyond (ed., Darrell Bock) (Zondervan, 1999). ISBN 0-310-20143-8
  • "Reformed Theology and Six Day Creationism" in P. Andrew Sandlin, ed., Creation According to the Scriptures: A Presuppositional Defense of Literal, Six Day Creation (Chalcedon, 2001). ISBN 1-891375-12-1
  • "A Revelation of the Revelation" and "Theonomy and Confession" in Robert R. Booth, ed., The Standard Bearer: A Festschrift for Greg L. Bahnsen (Covenant Media Foundation, 2002). ISBN 0-9678317-4-1
  • "The Historical Problem with Hyper-Preterism" in Hyper-Preterism: A Reformed Critique, ed. Keith A. Mathison (P & R 2003). ISBN 0-87552-552-0
  • "Agony, Irony and the Postmillennialist" and "Victory Belongs to the Lord" in Thine Is the Kingdom: A Summary of the Postmillennial Hope, ed. by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. (Ross House, 2004). ISBN 1-891375-22-9
  • "Pauline Communion v. Paedocommunion" in Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. and C. N. Willborn, eds., The Covenant: God’s Voluntary Condescension (Presbyterian Press, 2005). ISBN 1-931639-06-X

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