Who Is Your Favorite Dispensational (in the broad sense) Scholar?

When it comes to academics, I cannot say I know what qualifies a theologian to be a "scholar."  Sometimes scholarship is in the subjective  eye of the beholder.  Usually we look at things like academic credentials and academic works.

When  it comes to creating a list, there are way too many names to choose from.  I will certainly miss some big ones, so please pardon my omissions.  I am going to take my best guess as to which are both true scholars and most respected (which can be two different things).

By Dispensationalist, I am using a very broad definition, including Progressive Dispensationalists and Messianic Jews --- basically any who understand God will keep His promises to the genetic descendants of Jacob and will exalt Israel during a literal Millennium.  Most ont the list are traditional dispensationalsits.

Please feel free to comment as to why you like a certain scholar.

 

Charles Ryrie
12% (2 votes)
Charles Feinberg
24% (4 votes)
Dwight Pentecost
12% (2 votes)
Merrill Unger
0% (0 votes)
John J. Davis
0% (0 votes)
John Whitcomb
6% (1 vote)
Darrell Bock
12% (2 votes)
John Walvoord
0% (0 votes)
Arnold Fruchtenbaum
0% (0 votes)
Renald Showers
0% (0 votes)
Herman Hoyt
0% (0 votes)
Robert Saucy
12% (2 votes)
Norman Geisler
0% (0 votes)
Lewis Sperry Chafer
0% (0 votes)
Harold Hoehner
0% (0 votes)
Other
12% (2 votes)
Attitude problem
12% (2 votes)
Total votes: 17
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There are 8 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

I respect all these guys, but I especially appreciate the insights from Charles Feinberg in his work on the Minor Prophets and Jeremiah.  Really good stuff!

Also, sorry I left off Leon Wood -- meant to put him on and thought I had.

"The Midrash Detective"

josh p's picture

I voted "Other" because I personally prefer Robert L. Thomas. His Revelation commentary is excellent. Of those on the list I would probably have to pick Walvoord because I appreciate his book, "Jesus Christ Our Lord" that is considered one of the best Christologys. I really enjoyed it and as much as I agree with traditional dispensationalism I prefer to read other elements of theology. I bet you would have received some votes for Alva J. McClain if you had him up there. It seems a lot of the DBTS folks would vote for him.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Yes, Robert Thomas and especially Alva McClain may have gotten some votes.  S. Lewis Johnson is another good name.  That's the problem, too many to list 'em all. Paul Benware has done some nice work, too.

I voted for Charles Feinberg, but it was a hard choice.  Harold Hoehner is everywhere in academia.  His "Chronological Aspects in the Life of Christ" is very influential, and I think he contributed to ISBE too.  I thought of other names like Louis Goldberg, David Stern (Messianic Jewish Scholar), and the amazing but sometimes off target Michael Brown (I often use his "Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus" books as a commentary to get Talmudic or other Jewish insights ...I use the Scripture index).   My favorite prof at Moody was Renald Showers.  I also enjoyed Benware for the Synoptics.  I can't remember, but I think Earle Cairns was also dispensational (I think).  But, as I mentioned before, I regret that I left off Leon Woods. His commentary on Judges is excellent.

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture

Editor

I think if you're speaking of dispensational commentators, Homer A Kent, Jr. and D. Edmund Hiebert are the most helpful. If you're talking about systematic theologians, then you have another group to consider. That may help narrow the focus a little bit. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ed Vasicek's picture

No, Tyler, my intent was to choose a favorite scholar as defined in the initial post.  This includes the spectrum of Bible & theology and related fields, including Biblical scholarship, theological scholarship, Biblical languages, and hermeneutics -- areas in which a dispensational approach makes a significant difference.   This would not include areas like homiletics, pastoral theology, leadership, etc.  Although dispensationalism (or other alternatives) do affect even these areas, the effect is not as "in your face" different.  Pastoral theology is affected by ones view of the church, for example, and ones view of the church is affected by ones view of dispensationalism.  But it is not as overt. The way I officiate a funeral, organize my week, or preach a sermon is not really distinguishable from the way my covenant friends would do so.

Whether the poll SHOULD be as you suggest (limited to systmeaitc theologians) is another matter -- polls involve subjective choices.  I can only explain what I had in mind, but my mind certainly has its limitations!

Kent and Hiebert are amazing, tis true!  Howard Vos has done some good work, too.

It is quite subjective to label someone a "scholar" as I pointed out.  This is different than an amazing teacher of Scripture with a scholarly bent, like MacArthur (or, in the Covenant camp, Piper). This is also different from a more popular-level academic, like Wuest.  Thomas Constable's free commentary online is one of my favorite resources. Would he be considered a true "scholar?"  I think as the term is generally used,  certainly.  But, fortunately, the competition is stiff.  So we are really talking about scholars who have a focus and are recognized as authorities by other leading authorities who may disagree with them.

  • This is different from the occasional agenda-driven author, arrogant pastor, snobby professor, or lay person who thinks those with differing views have no scholars. Scholars are recognized by FAIR-MINDED fellow scholars, whether they are Arminian, Roman Catholic, Jewish, or Liberal.  They may detest their opinions, but they recognize their scholarship. We may separate from them, but we don't set them up as straw-men dummies.
  • You occasionally see assemblages of various evangelical scholars of various stripes in works like ISBE or on Bible translation committees. Academics (and people in general) who make genuine efforts to be fair-minded are refreshing.

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture

Editor

My apologies! 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

From the list, I'd choose:

  • Charles Feinburg, because of his outstanding scholarly work on Biblical prophesy. 
  • Ryrie, Walvoord & Pentecost, because of their contributions to advancing dispensationalism as a system. I know I'm cheating by including them as one entry, but bear with me! 
  • Chafer, because of his groundbreaking systematic theology. I think he "over dispensationalizes" many things, but his work is thought-provoking and excellent.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?