Pastor Bob (18 Mar 2014)
"Seeing Through A Glass Darkly"


Fellow Doves:
I am a Dispensationalist in my theological viewpoint.  I have not always been of that view.  I have been in ministry 52-years.  I came to my position after many thousands of dollars time and study.  Surprisingly, in my views, I have three graduate degrees from two theological seminaries that are clearly "Covenant-Theology" in their institutional statement of faith.  I spent many years in the Methodist Church, and once I began to re-evaluate my theological constructs I left the UMC, to become non-denominational, for many reasons, not all theological, some denominational politics, as well as apostasy and heretical elements gaining ground in the denomination.  We all struggle to gain greater clarity in what the Apostle Paul referred to as seeing through glass darkly.  I have been a "truth seeker" almost all of my life, going back to my days in high school.
I get irritated when people attempt to or pontificate on a particular theological position when they attempt to use "straw-man" arguments; like attacking Charles Scofield (granted he was an ultra-dispensationalist), by demeaning Scofield in order to attack the Pre-Trib, Pre-Mil. Rapture.  Another "straw-man" argument has been to attack Chuck Missler and Tim LaHaye are/or were members of a right-wing political action group.  Another "straw-man" argument has been to say that a Jesuit is responsible for the Pre-Trib Rapture.  Then we can't overlook the attacks that it is a 19th century teaching of Margaret MacDonald and Charles Darby.  Just remember the concept or theme of the "Trinity" was new in the 4th century AD era.   
People with an attack-dog agenda do not hesitate to throw out the baby with the bath water.  To name a list of well-known names from church history down through the centuries proves nothing.  We stand on the shoulders of great men, however, it does not legitimatize a monopoly on truth.  Truth is objective and not subjective.  They interpreted or understood Scripture from their frame of reference in the time they lived.  I suggest there are more modern-day scholars that just might reflect differently.
Premillennialism has the advantage of a full-fledged Biblical system, which treats seriously all the data, as over against Amillennialism, which is a negation without an orderly theological system. Simply put, it has to make logical sense.
All theological constructs fall under two basic beliefs umbrellas:  Dispensationalism vs. Covenantalism.  Pastors, professors, priests, prefer the latter because it is less restraining, allowing them to "spiritualize" or "allegoricalize" Scripture.  The Covenant theology position permits the liberty and diversity of making the text say anything you want it to say.  Dispensationalism is about a clear and distinctive administration of God in His progressive dealings with man.
Dispensationalists agree on the basic tenets of Dispensationalism.  There are primarily three:
    1. A differentiation between Israel and the church in the Bible.
    2. A basic literal hermeneutic.  (I don't exclude linguistic tools or grammatical devices).
    3. An underlying purpose of God in history as His Glory, not primarily the salvation of man.  (Ref. Romans 11:36).
It is disingenuous to attack the "Pre-Trib Pre-Mil Rapture" using the "straw-man" attacks by attempting to discredit Scofield, Missler, Darby, MacDonald, or some Jesuit priest who may just happened to see the light.
For those of you that believe the list of scholars and theologians in the "Pre-Trib Pre-Mil Rapture" camp are few and far between consider this list.  Most of these men are still alive and active today.  Some have went to their reward in the last fifteen years.  To the best of my knowledge, the greater number have earned Master's Degreesand earned Doctor's Degrees, along with decades of perpetual learning and teaching experience.  I'll just list some of those I know of:
    Jim Anderson, John Ankerberg, Warren Baker, Paul Benware, David Breese, JR Church, Charles Clough, James Combs, Mal Couch, Larry Crutchfield, Robert Dean, Timothy Demy, Jimmie Deyoung, Anthony Evans, Charles Feinberg, Arnold Froese, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Norman Geisler, Ken Gillming, Robert Gromacki, Ed Hindson, Mark Hitchcock, David Hocking, Stanley Horton, Herman Hoyt, Dave Hunt, Thomas Ice, Harry Ironside, William James, David Jeremiah, James Kinnebrew, Tim LaHaye, Zola Levitt, David Lewis, Erwin Lutzer, Richard Mayhue, Thomas McCall, Alva McClain, Josh McDowell, Elwood McQauid, Chuck Missler, David More, Henry Morris, Richard Patterson, Dwight Pentecost, Randall Price, Earl Radmacher, David Reagan, Adrian Rogers, Charles Ryrie, James Sewell, Renald Showers, Gary Stearman, Chuck Smith, Joseph Stowell, Paul Lee Tan, Robert Thomas, Stanley Toussaint, Elmer Towns, Jack Van Impe, John Walvord, Warren Wiersbe, John Whitcomb, Harold Wilmington, and an others that I have likely overlooked.
These men have established their credibility by demanding decades of study and expertise.  Like myself, they have had to become proficient in the Biblical languages.  Its one thing to quote the meaning or definition of a word, but it is another thing to understand the nuances of how the Biblical writer used the inspired word to communicate God's will.
Again, we haven't even begun to touch the more than 200 linguistic tools that God has gifted His inspired stenographers to give us His Holy Writ.  We need to remember, as "Truth Seekers" we can become passionate, so passionate to the point of offending feelings.  In my youth, I regularly was humbled by my excesses of passion.  Mentors that I have sat under in my life regularly reminded me that I have two responsibilities:  To be faithful and obedient.       
An appropriate thought to end here would be the words of a humble German Lutheran pastor Rupertus Meldenius:  In essentials Unity, in non-essentials Liberty, in all things Charity.
Pastor Bob