Observations from the back row of the 2010 Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics

The third Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics was held on September 22-23, 2010 at the Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA. There were approximately forty council members and nearly that many observers.

The council members present were not introduced to the observers although they did have nameplates at their tables. The council members sat at tables facing the speaker’s podium and the observers sat in (uncomfortable) chairs behind them. Casual observation revealed members (all male) from Faith Bible Baptist College and Seminary, Dallas Theological Seminary, Grace College and Seminary, Friends of Israel, Grace School of Theology, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Maranatha Baptist Bible College and Seminary, Tyndale Theological Seminary, Western Seminary, The Master’s Seminary, Word of Life Bible Institute, the Pre-Trib Research Center, Shasta Bible College, College of Biblical Studies and of course the host seminary. Several pastors were also on the council.

The theme was “Dispensationalism, Language, and Scripture.” Over the two days, ten papers were presented. Each presenter had thirty minutes to read his paper, and an hour of discussion followed each. Attendees were each given CDs containing .pdf files of the presentations. No hard copies of the papers were distributed. As the presenters read each paper, the text was projected on a screen behind them.

Papers averaged about twenty-five pages in length. Some presenters had to skip sections to stay within the time limit. Although they realized the difficulty of controling information in our digital age, two of the presenters asked that their material not be widely disseminated because of soon to be published books containing the information. The materials from the previous council meetings are available online (http://www.bbc.edu/council/), and I assume this years’ will eventually be also.

Dr. Mike Stallard, Dean of the seminary and a member of the steering committee, moderated the meeting. Dr. Stallard also presented two papers and read a paper from Dr. Mal Couch, who could not attend for health reasons. Dr. Stallard also gave each of the attendees a copy of his recently published commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians. We were also given a CD containing files from the Barndollar Lecture Series, which occurred at the college the same week. The theme was the “History of the Doctrine of the Rapture,” and the speaker was Dr. Thomas Ice.

As I expected, this was a technical gathering. Most of the observers (excluding myself) had advanced degrees. Many had PhDs or were working on them. It is good for a pastor’s ego to occasionally be the dumbest guy in the room. Although some of the presentations and discussions were over my head, I enjoyed them and benefited from them. It was good to be exposed to the scholarly side of dispensationalism.

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James K's picture

Jack, I didn't ignore your point. I saw it for what it was. You can post 1000 verses about how the NC was for Israel and I would agree. That is not the issue.

I posted Eph 2 to help you understand that although the NC was promised to the Jew, in this mystery the Gentile has been brought in as a full member. That is what verses 11 and 12 say, something you failed to address.

Of course there is so much about the NC that has not been fulfilled. All of that will be accomplished at the return of Christ, when Israel will embrace their Messiah (Rom 11).

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Jack Hampton's picture

James K wrote:
I posted Eph 2 to help you understand that although the NC was promised to the Jew, in this mystery the Gentile has been brought in as a full member. That is what verses 11 and 12 say, something you failed to address.

Where in these verses does it say that the Gentile has been brought into the NC promised to Israel as a full member?

"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world, But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph.2:11-12).

Paul is not telling anyone that Gentiles are no longer "strangers from the covenants of promise" or else we must also believes that Gentiles are no longer "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel."

Do you believe that you are a full member of the commonwealth of Israel?

James K's picture

Jack, go back and for the first time read post #30.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Jack Hampton's picture

James K wrote:
Jack, go back and for the first time read post #30.

James, I have already read it. You said:
Quote:
But now due to the death of Christ, we are brought near. Being near to Christ is what grants the Gentiles access to God, hope, members of the promise covenants, fellowship with Israel, and Christ.

Now I will ask you again. Where does Paul say that the Christian is made a member of the promise covenants?:

"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world, But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph.2:11-12).

Paul is not telling anyone that Gentiles are no longer "strangers from the covenants of promise" or else we must also believes that Gentiles are no longer "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel."

Do you believe that you are a full member of the commonwealth of Israel? Evidently you do not because you say that now Christians merely have "fellowship with Israel."

Now I will ask you again. Where in those verses does it say that the Christian is made a member of the promise covenants?

James K's picture

Jack, go back and reread post #30.

When you read it, you will see that Paul outlined in Eph 2 that prior to Christ Gentiles have 5 things against them. But thanks to the work of Christ, they now have all 5 of those things. If Gentiles are not part of the NC, then they are still without Christ.

You further err continually in your understanding of being an alien from the commonwealth of Israel. By being in full fellowship with Israel within the body of Christ I share complete equality. Saved gentiles under the OC did not have complete equality.

I know the theological aberration you are coming from, so this all makes perfect sense to me. I just don't find any value in trying to repeatedly go back to actually reading the text of Scripture when you won't.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Jack Hampton's picture

James K wrote:
Jack, go back and reread post #30.

When you read it, you will see that Paul outlined in Eph 2 that prior to Christ Gentiles have 5 things against them. But thanks to the work of Christ, they now have all 5 of those things. If Gentiles are not part of the NC, then they are still without Christ.


You are wrong. I have reread what you said in post # 30 and there is nothing in the verses which say that those in the Body of Christ partake of the covenant of promises.

Now I will ask you again. Where does Paul say that the Christian is made a member of the promise covenants?:

"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world, But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph.2:11-12).

Paul is not telling anyone that Gentiles are no longer "strangers from the covenants of promise" or else we must also believes that Gentiles are no longer "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel."

Do you believe that you are a full member of the commonwealth of Israel? Evidently you do not because you say that now Christians merely have "fellowship with Israel."

Now I will ask you again. Where in those verses does it say that the Christian is made a member of the promise covenants? If you are right then you should be able to tell me exactly where it says such a thing.

Jack Hampton's picture

Jack Hampton wrote:
James K wrote:
Jack, go back and reread post #30.

When you read it, you will see that Paul outlined in Eph 2 that prior to Christ Gentiles have 5 things against them. But thanks to the work of Christ, they now have all 5 of those things. If Gentiles are not part of the NC, then they are still without Christ.


You are wrong. I have reread what you said in post # 30 and there is nothing in the verses which say that those in the Body of Christ partake of the covenant of promises.

Now I will ask you again. Where does Paul say that the Christian is made a member of the promise covenants?:

"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world, But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph.2:11-12).

Paul is not telling anyone that Gentiles are no longer "strangers from the covenants of promise" or else we must also believes that Gentiles are no longer "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel."

Do you believe that you are a full member of the commonwealth of Israel? Evidently you do not because you say that now Christians merely have "fellowship with Israel."

Now I will ask you again. Where in those verses does it say that the Christian is made a member of the promise covenants? If you are right then you should be able to tell me exactly where it says such a thing.

James K's picture

According to Paul, Gentiles had 5 things against them:

1. Without Christ
2. Aliens from Israel
3. Strangers from the promise Covenants (Abrahamic, Davidic, New)
4. No hope
5. Without God

You are willing to concede that Gentiles now have Christ, hope, and God. At the same time though youare unwilling due to your prior theological commitment to see that Gentiles are no longer strangers to the promise Covenants neither are they outside of fellowship with Israel.

I wonder if this passage would be considered a chiasm, which would pit it together like this:

1. Without Christ

2. Aliens from Israel

3. Strangers from the promise covenants

4. No hope

5. Without God

The point of a chiasm tends toward the middle issue(s).

If Gentiles are still strangers from the promise covenants, then they are still without Christ. This isn't a buffet where you get to pick and choose what you want to keep. It is a package deal. I hope you find this helpful and instructive. It was all right there in post #30 had you bothered to actually read it.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Jack Hampton's picture

James K wrote:
You are willing to concede that Gentiles now have Christ, hope, and God. At the same time though youare unwilling due to your prior theological commitment to see that Gentiles are no longer strangers to the promise Covenants neither are they outside of fellowship with Israel.

Please quote the exact words from the verses which you think say that "Gentiles are no longer strangers to the promise Covenants."

I do not see those words and I believe that your assertion that that is what those verses are saying is due to your preconceived ideas and not to what is actually said.

Now please quote the specific words which you think are saying that the Gentiles are no longer strangers to the promise covenants.

It is true that in the future the house of Israel will receives blessings based on the covenant promises but at the same time the bleessings of the Gentiles is described as being according to God's "mercy" and not according to any promises:

"Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy" (Ro.15:8-9).

JT Hoekstra's picture

Anyone else believe the New Covenant is a Person? It's not a book, or scroll, or a law. The New Covenant is Jesus Christ!

Why is it dispensationalists have to correct each generation since the Cross? And yes, millions of Christians (true or in name only) have been deeply wrong concerning theology.

It is true that 'dispensations' seems to attract certain types of personalities - or it could be we are attacked SO much that we become defensive by nature. But if we give covenanters an inch, they demand a long mile...(that's pretty evident from some of the posts above).

 

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