An Interview with Dr. John C. Whitcomb

On Saturday, November 21, I attended what is something of a rarity these days—a prophecy conference. Dr. John Whitcomb spoke from the book of Daniel, focusing on the prophetic visions of Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel himself. I was there because I wanted to interview Dr. Whitcomb and the conference location was just a few hours from where I live. So the event itself wasn’t the main draw. Like many these days, my attitude toward a prophecy conference tilted noticeably in the “been there, done that” direction.

But I’m delighted to have been there for the conference and to have the opportunity to commend Dr. Whitcomb’s ministry. Even if you are firmly committed to a non-dispensational approach to Scripture or non-premillennial eschatology, I strongly recommend that you go out of your way to hear Dr. Whitcomb speak from the book of Daniel. If you do, you’ll probably discover for yourself what I did.

1. A prophecy conference does not need to be a cold, intellectual excercise in analysis of chronological details. Dr. Whitcomb’s love for—and walk with—the God behind the prophecies carries more weight than his analysis of the prophetic data. His talk is peppered with spontaneous prayers along the lines of, “And I say thank you, Lord, for Your great wisdom.” At first, Dr. Whitcomb was so frequently moving in and out of prayer I had difficulty deciding when I should bow my head. After a while, I realized this man prays without ceasing and gave up.

2. A prophecy conference does not need to be a fever-pitched survey of recent news bites and how they all suggest Jesus is going to return “very soon!!” Dr. Whitcomb’s work is expositional. Granted, many believe the dispensational assumptions that inform the exposition are deeply flawed—and yes, there are charts—but it’s impossible to miss the fact that Dr. Whitcomb devotes nearly all of his presentation time to reading, comparing and explaining biblical texts. Anyone who listens with an open mind sees that the charts do not interpret the texts, but rather the texts build the charts.

3. Regardless of the details, the great themes of prophecy are potent stimuli for the believer’s heart: the vanity of the kingdoms of this world, the infinite and often inscrutible wisdom of God’s sovereign plans for the world (and each individual), the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom despite the worst Satan and his cosmos employ against them.

4. If Daniel’s attitude is a model for us, we’re supposed to be deeply curious about the future and eager to understand what the revelation we have means.

Dr. Whitcomb has been blessed with 85 years of life, and he delivers his presentation from a comfortable chair at a table. Listeners should have some coffee on hand and prepare to be patient. But he speaks with vigor and spiritual passion. I doubt that anyone who has any spiritual life in him at all can listen without finding his heart moved. You can hear many of Dr. Whitcomb’s discourses at SermonAudio.com. But it’s not like being there.

Afterwards, I had the privilege of talking with Dr. Whitcomb for a while about a variety of subjects clustered around these themes:

  • The gospel and presuppositional apologetics
  • Science and young earth creationism
  • Prophecy and premillennialism

I hope you’ll enjoy the interview. The file is 35 minutes in length and roughly 12 MB in size (the lower resolution file is 6 MB).

Click here to play or download (depending on your configuration).
Lower resolution version for slower connections here.

 

Dr. Whitcomb’s books include the following:

Image of Daniel- Everyman's Bible Commentary (Everyday Bible Commentary)
Daniel- Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Everyday Bible Commentary)

Image of Esther And the Destiny of Israel: Revised Edition
Esther And the Destiny of Israel: Revised Edition

Image of The Early Earth: An Introduction to Biblical Creationism
The Early Earth: An Introduction to Biblical Creationism

Image of The World That Perished
The World That Perished

Image of The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications
  The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Aaron Blumer is SI’s site publisher. He is a native of lower Michigan and a graduate of Bob Jones University and Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN). He lives in a small town in west Wisconsin with his wife and two children and has pastored Grace Baptist Church there since 2000. Prior to serving as a pastor, Aaron taught school in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and served in customer service and technical support for Unisys Corporation (Eagan, MN). He enjoys science fiction, music, and dabbling in software development.
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There are 8 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

Quote:
Anyone who listens with an open mind sees that the charts do not interpret the texts, but rather the texts build the charts.

I think this is a great statement. There is no verse that says, "you shall not draw a chart."

I gave my son this advice, "Beware of any attempt to influence your theology based on sarcasm." So many argue against dispensationalism with sarcasm and mockery. Yet this is, unfortunately, an effective tool of manipulation. Sort of a "scholarly peer pressure."

Thanks for the info, Aaron!

"The Midrash Detective"

TOvermiller's picture

Thank you for posting this resource. I will look forward to listening sometime this week. I would also recommend the following audio posted by Ben Wright at his blog, if you haven't already listened to it:

http://paleoevangelical.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-made-tom-schreiner-bec....

I found Schreiner's three reasons for a pre-mil position to be very intriguing.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

Greg Long's picture

I had the privilege of sitting under Dr. Whitcomb's teaching for several modules in seminary. In fact, I was his T.A. for a module on Isaiah. My impressions of him were the same as yours, Aaron--that of a wonderful, godly man who loves the Lord and loves to study and teach His Word.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

TOvermiller's picture

I just finished listening to this interview and can say that I have been thoroughly blessed. As a "young fundamentalist" (strictly speaking, not necessarily in mood), I benefit greatly from the perspective of older men of God like this. I especially appreciate Whitcomb's Christ-centered presentation of Revelation. Both his gospel emphasis and his comment on outside divine energy needed for local churches to persist are enlightening as well, and personally challenging. Thanks again for this resource. I wish it was longer.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

Kirk Mellen's picture

With all of the general angst that is often felt (and sometimes rightly so) of the older generation in fundamentalism, it takes time spent with men like Dr. Whitcomb to understand that not all fundamentalists are the same. Having had the privilege of hearing Dr. Whitcomb in person on more than one occasion, reading his commentaries, and then hearing this interview I can only say thank the Lord for some of these older faithful servants. In some ways men like this often go unnoticed, in another grand way their spiritual influence will be felt and realized until the Lord returns.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

To respond quickly to TOvermiller -- you may be interested to know that there are almost 500 presentations available for free listening at www.SermonAudio.com/Whitcomb, as Aaron alluded to. Lord willing, the four sessions of this conference from the book of Daniel should be available there later this week.

You may want to begin by going to "Sermons," then searching for "Q&A" to hear things of a similar nature to Aaron's interview.

I also want to say a public thank you to Aaron for coming down to our conference and interviewing Dr. Whitcomb. His efforts are greatly appreciated!

Church Ministries Representative for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

TOvermiller wrote:
Thanks again for this resource. I wish it was longer.
You're welcome. It really was a pleasure. As for longer... he was willing enough but believe me, he really was tired.
I don't think I mentioned that at the end of the interview he just spontaneously prayed that the Lord would use it, etc. Then he smiles and says "You can cut out all the controversial parts!" I told him that wasn't likely. (It's all there... though I do try to edit out most of my stammering)

Jeff Brown's picture

Thanks, Aaron, for doing this. Because Dr. Whitcomb has been around so long, and many creationist and ID ministries have risen up in the meantime, few people realize what an important role Dr. John Whitcomb has played in keeping Bible-believing churches Bible-believing. His quiet, gracious, scholarly, uncompromising teaching has done a world of good in encouraging Christians to simply believe what the Bible says. Before John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11 was almost a lost cause. This has been one of his many contributions.

Jeff Brown

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