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2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference

2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference

March 2014

Dispensationalism

You can find the conference materials for the 2014 Chafer Theological Seminary annual Pastor's conference here. The theme for the 2014 conference was Dispensationalism.

Much controversy has been stirred up regarding dispensationalism since John Nelson Darby first systematized this theology. Since the early 19th century, though, millions of faithful believers have learned to “rightly divide” the Word of Truth by learning to consistently apply principles of literal interpretation to the Scripture. The result has made it clear that God has a distinct plan for Israel and a distinct plan for the Church. At this conference we learned about the history of dispensationalism, theological distinctives of dispensationalism, and implications of dispensationalism for our understanding of God’s Word.

The speakers at this year’s conference spent decades of study researching critical issues related to dispensational theology. We hope that God will give you fresh insight into the understanding and application of His Word in your life through the study of these topics.

The conference was hosted by West Houston Bible Church March 10-12, 2014. The speakers at the conference included Keynote Speaker Elliott Johnson, as well as daytime speakers Bruce Baker, Charles Clough, Christopher Cone, Tommy Ice, Ray Mondragon, Mike Stallard, and Andy Woods. The conference kick-off speaker was Robert Dean.

The conference DVDs are available here or here.

Dr, Dean has put together a suggested reading list on Dispensationalism. Click here to download the document.

Click here to view the historical pictures presented by Paul Schmidtbleicher featuring George Meisinger.

To view all video Bible studies in the 2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference series, click here (Vimeo) or here (YouTube).

 

To listen to all 2014 Chafer Conference sessions as a podcast, copy and paste the following URL into your podcast software.
www.deanbibleministries.org/podcasts/2014chaferconf.xml
 
Tue, Mar 11, 2014
by Elliott Johnson
Series: 2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference
Duration: 1 hr 47 mins 48 secs

The maxim of literal interpretation has a noble heritage reaching back to the Reformation, even though it has fallen into disuse among contemporary scholars. Part of the problem is its negative associations. It seems archaic and passé because its concerns are no longer the primary concerns of a contemporary culture. In addition, few can agree on the meaning of “literal.”

In this essay, I agree in part with the criticism of the use of “literal.” But I also believe that correctly understood it specifies a primary concern for biblical interpretation.

First, I agree that in biblical interpretation, we do not begin with a modern or postmodern worldview. Rather, we begin with a worldview expressed by Augustine: we believe to know. As Christians we believe the Gospel to know ourselves and to come to know God. When we turn to Scripture, we believe what the Scripture claims to be true of itself: God speaks and what He says is truth (John 17:17). Of course, interpretation is necessary to know the meaning of that truth.

Within this pre-modern worldview, there are two qualifications. First, textual criticism is essential to know what God has written. In addition, where historical-critical problems remain unresolved, these problems need to be addressed. Yet the claim of Scripture to be true remains a viable premise in textual interpretation.

Wed, Mar 12, 2014
by Terry Brown
Series: 2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference
Duration: 22 mins 15 secs
Demonstration of Logos Bible Software by Logos representative Terry Brown
Wed, Mar 12, 2014
by Ray Mondragon
Series: 2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference
Duration: 1 hr 18 mins 7 secs
Our culture has elevated science to divine status. Even though the culture contradicts itself in believing in only relative truth, it routinely elevates scientific truth to absolute truth. There is a better approach to understanding the natural realm and science, than what is currently understood in the secular world. This paper will show that the secular view of the natural realm is inadequate. It will develop a biblical view and foundation for science. An understanding of Dispensationalism will be instructive. Ten points help demonstrate that the Sovereign Lord of the Bible has introduced different dispensations in His relationship with mankind in history and affected changes in the natural realm, sometimes radical changes. This will show that God is sovereign not only over history, but also over the entire natural realm. This has vast implications for scientific investigations.
Wed, Mar 12, 2014
by Andy Woods
Passage: Matthew 6:9-13
Series: 2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference
Duration: 1 hr 21 mins 44 secs

The contemporary evangelical world is engulfed in the idea that the church is presently experiencing the messianic kingdom. The idea of the "kingdom" can be bewildering, especially considering how this term is loosely bandied about by today's evangelicals. Many ministries convey the notion that the kingdom is strictly a spiritual and present reality by indicating that they are "expanding the kingdom" through their evangelistic and missionary endeavors. Even Christian political activists sometimes argue that they are "bringing in the kingdom."

Such "kingdom now" theology factors prominently in the writings of various Emergent Church writers. Doug Pagitt proclaims, “And let me tell you ‘Kingdom of God’ language is really big in the emerging church.”

Wed, Mar 12, 2014
by Dan Inghram
Series: 2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference
Duration: 35 mins 33 secs
An overview of Child Evangelism Fellowship presented by Dan Inghram at the 2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Pastors' Conference
Wed, Mar 12, 2014
by Bruce Baker
Series: 2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference
Duration: 1 hr 21 mins 51 secs

Theonomy and Progressive Dispensationalism

Currently, it seems only those who see any religious activity in the public square as evidence of an impending theocracy would link any form of dispensationalism with reconstructionism. Douthat observes,

When the evidence for Rusdoonian infiltration of the Religious Right grows thin for even the most diligent decoder, the subject is usually changed to the Rapture, another supposed pillar of the emerging theocratic edifice. Premillennarian dispensationalism’s emphasis on the imminent collapse of all institutions, foreign and domestic, would seem an odd fit with Reconstructionism’s idea of hastening Christ’s coming by building his (political) kingdom on Earth. But every 1950s conspiracist knew that when Communists seemed to differ—Tito and Stalin, Stalin and Mao—it only concealed a deeper concord. Similarly, everyone on the Christian Right is understood to be on the same side, no matter their superficial disagreements.

While it is certainly true that “everyone…is on the same side” and that some disagreements between dispensationalists and reconstructionists are “superficial,” it must also be stressed that there are vast differences between the two, admittedly Christian and fundamental, camps. Yet recent movements in dispensationalism have made the association of these two groups less alarmist than it first appears. The fundamental shift in underlying assumptions that took place in the formation of progressive dispensationalism has now made such a linkage, not only possible, but logically necessary. Indeed, an examination of the changing relationship between theonomy and progressive dispensationalism is prudent for several reasons.

Wed, Mar 12, 2014
by Christopher Cone
Series: 2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference
Duration: 1 hr 18 mins 14 secs

Epistemology is the study of knowledge. It attempts to answer questions regarding the origin of human knowledge, and considers especially how we can know with certainty. Epistemological answers are basic and necessary building blocks of any philosophy, worldview, or belief system. In fact, of the four major components of philosophy and worldview (epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and socio-­‐political thought), none can be adequately addressed until we answer the question of how we can know. Regarding metaphysics, for example, we can’t make legitimate assertions about the character of God or the existence of the human soul until we first address how such assertions can be verified or falsified. Further, unless we have a means for validating ethical prescriptions as either worthy or unworthy, we have no warrant for choosing one prescription over another – especially when we encounter apparently competing or conflicting goods. And if we have no mechanism for authentication, then how can we even arrive at a definition of what is good in the first place? Finally, in socio-­‐political thought, on what basis can we choose one system of government over another, or how can we determine whether a law is commendable? Without correct epistemological answers, there is no basis for our understanding or choosing one thing over another. In short, epistemology is really about authority, verifiability, truth, and certainty.

Imagine a person – we’ll call him Bob. Bob has just received the gift of consciousness. For the first time in Bob’s existence he is aware. Bob examines his surroundings and he finds himself standing in rolling sun-­‐drenched fields of dandelions under a beautifully clear mid-­‐day sky. Of course, Bob has no knowledge of what anything around him is or what any of it means, because this is the first time he has ever encountered any of these things. Bob begins to ponder. “Here I am, I suppose, now what?” Bob has to figure out how to answer that question before he takes his first step, lest he make the wrong assumptions and step in the wrong direction. He begins a quest to decipher the right understanding of who and what he is, and how he must proceed, but he isn’t certain of whether or not he has the right tools for the task. In fact, he isn’t certain of anything.

Wed, Mar 12, 2014
by Elliott Johnson
Series: 2014 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference
Duration: 1 hr 41 mins 56 secs
The distinction between Israel and the church is the theological sine qua non of Dispensationalism. Yet in recent Progressive Dispensational writings, this distinction has become less clear. This is because they claim that the church is fulfilling promises made to Israel or at least they have argued for partial fulfillment. This claim is problematic for two reasons. First, the claim is not clear. Does it mean that a promise is fulfilled in part? The Davidic covenant is fulfilled in part since Jesus was born and anointed the Davidic heir. But neither the leaders accepted Jesus’ claim to be king at the triumphal entry nor was he enthroned on the Davidic throne by Israel (Deut. 17:15). Thus the promised Davidic heir came but neither the kingdom nor the throne appeared. The other possibility is that there is partial fulfillment. But was Jesus partially the Davidic heir? Was Jesus partially enthroned? This seems unlikely. So neither option is a valid alternative of fulfillment.