On Day 2, the Council began meeting at 8;30AM with two additional papers to begin the day. The first one was presented by Dan Wiley (Ph.D. Student at Baptist Bible Seminary), titled “The Glory of God in the Book of Jude: A Defense of Ryrie’s Third Point in the Sine Qua Non of Dispensationalism.” He presented a helpful examination of the multiple lines of thought in the epistle that support Ryrie’s point, including references to multiple dispensations and multiple groups. It was an excellent paper as reflected in the question and answer time. Several questions were posed including a “putting on of a covenant theology hat” to envision what kind of rebuttals they might give and how dispensationalists could respond to them. By this point in the council, if you were not already familiar with Ryrie’s three points than you surely you will be before long!
The second paper was similar to the paper given yesterday on the Psalms in that it was a book-level examination of the glory of God. This presentation was titled “The Book of Revelation and the Glory of God,” and given by Dr. Elliott Johnson (Senior Professor of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, TX). It was a blessing in its laying forth the glory of God in multiple ways as found in Revelation, taking one all the way to the new heavens and the new earth. A very profitable discussion followed his presentation about several things, but especially about dispensationalism as a biblical theology versus a systematic theology.
Dr. Stallard spent a short period before lunch telling the council about plans for the future. He shared that the council was now officially incorporated, and would be seeking tax exempt status. There are hopes to expand the council to more locations with some local meetings. Some books and a new website are also in the works. There is definitely a strong commitment on the part of the council to seek to expand its influence to defend traditional dispensationalism in the broader world.
After lunch, Dr. Wayne Slusser (Associate Professor of New Testament at Baptist Bible Seminary) presented an exegetical paper on Paul’s Prison Epistles, titled “Imprisoned for the Glory of God: Considering Ryrie’s Third Aspect of the Sine Qua Non of Dispensationalism – in Paul’s Prison Letters.” He summarized the instances of glory in Paul’s Prison epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians). In each book, he looked at the structure surrounding each instance, the syntax of each portion that used the word “glory”, and then synthesized what each epistle had to say about glory. These syntheses were then fit together into a summary of each item.
The final paper presented at the Council was by Dr. David Mappes (Adjunct Professor at Baptist Bible Seminary as well as an assistant professor at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA), titled “A Biblical and Theological Overview of God’s Glory through the Institutions of Government and Church.” This paper aimed to discuss the New Testament teaching about the church and human government with view to determine if the kingdom age descriptions in the Old Testament match the New Testament teaching. There was also some discussion of civil disobedience worked into the presentation. This paper generated a lot of discussion about some of the practical issues pertaining to the church relationship to government, both with reference to historical situations as well as current issues.
After dinner, the Council concluded with two evening events. First, there was a brief memorial for Dr. Bill Arp, a former council member who this summer went home to be with the Lord after having been a faculty member at Clarks Summit University for decades. Two faculty colleagues of Dr. Arp shared some personal memories, commenting on his character, his care for people, and his careful scholarship. Second, there was a pastor’s panel discussion of the impact of the glory of God on local churches. Five pastors were on the panel, four of them from churches in Northeast Pennsylvania and one of them being a council member from outside the area. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Mike Stallard and included questions from Dr. Stallard as well as questions from council members and observers. Many pastors expressed thoughts about how they need to emphasize the glory of God in their ministry and to encourage their churches to do the same.
The Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics 2017 was a blessing for me to attend. I was challenged to think more deeply about the glory of God from a dispensational viewpoint. I look forward to being able to attend future councils as well!