I am writing from Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, in the middle of the second annual Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics.
One of the first charges leveled against dispensationlists and dispensationalism is that this system of theology lacks all academic credibility and depth. It is further often charged that dispensationalism and particularly its eschatological aspects, such as the Rapture, the Tribulation and the Millennium are not found in the Bible and cannot be supported by responsible exegesis.
If there is anything that one can learn from being here at this conference, it is that these charges as simple, flat dismissals of dispensationalism are quite misguided and often based primarily upon caricatures and straw-man argumentation and even ad homimem arguments. The presentations and followup discussions have demonstrated a level of scholarship, along with a commitment to Christ and His Word, that is truly unassailable. One might come to different conclusions concerning certain passages, as do Covenant theologians, Promise theologians and Progressive Dispensationalists, but it certainly cannot be on the basis of academic weakness, lack of biblical integrity or problems of personal character and commitment.
My purpose in writing this is not to get into the very technical exegetical discussions of this conference, but rather to be an encouragement to those who do hold to a dispensational view of Scripture and God’s program in history, yet who also find themselves under pressure and even under fire from others who do not share these views. I can assure you that this view of Scripture is thoroughly faithful to the Word of God and a very consistent way of handling all of the relevant biblical passages. And I would go further to say that dispensationalism is the result of the most consistent handling of the whole counsel of God.
In the coming weeks and months, we will be posting blogs and articles here on the ABI website, that will deal with many of these issues in what we hope will be a very understandable and very practical way.
A number of ministries have sprung up over the last few years to deal with the issues facing believers in the church today – especially those issues related to a departure from long held to historical, conservative evangelical views. However, one of the unique characteristics of The Alliance for Biblical Integrity is that we seek to address these issues from a distinctly dispensational theological perspective, which we believe is the result of a consistent application of a literal, grammatical, historical interpretation of Scripture. We believe that this approach will most effectively provide information and biblical tools to help believers both evaluate and respond to the many voices and pressures of the day that are coming from those who do not truly share our own commitment to Christ and the Word of God in general.
(To be fair, I do recognize there are other believers of integrity who disagree with dispensationalism who also share a commitment to a biblical hermeneutic – though I would disagree with aspects of their hermeneutic and particularly its application. So, my conclusions should not be construed as a personal attack on those brothers and sisters in any away.)
ABI Ministry Coordinator