CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa.—Drawing a deeper connection between language and the certainty of the Bible was the focus of a unique meeting of Bible scholars and observers at Baptist Bible Seminary.
“Dispensationalism, Language, and Scripture” was the theme for the third Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics, held Sept. 22 and 23. Organized and moderated by seminary dean Dr. Mike Stallard, the 2010 session followed similar meetings in 2008 and 2009.
“I saw us move forward in maturity as a group,” Stallard said. “Language deals with hard issues and it takes time to mature.”
“The issue of certainty in language is the main thing. The Prophets are full of poetry, so some say you can never be sure and we shouldn’t take seriously end-time events. We wanted to take the time to address those issues more.”
Ten papers were presented, with an allotted time of 30 minutes each followed by an hour of discussion. Papers will be posted online at www.bbc.edu/council later this fall, after feedback from the presentation and discussion is incorporated. Photos, a list of members, and information from previous Councils are online now.
“We want our papers to reflect our discussion,” Dr. Stallard said. “No other conference I know does that.”
The next Council—”The Holy Spirit in Dispensational Interpretation”—will be Sept. 21 and 22, 2011.
Inside the Council
Dispensationalism holds to historical-grammatical principles of interpreting the Bible, including prophecy. It interprets the text literally, taking into account all figures of speech, genres, symbols, and literary structures.
The three council meetings are intended to add academic weight and credibility to an emphasis on objective interpretation of Scripture in churches and academia. The event has served as a forum for traditional dispensationalists to discuss Biblical interpretation and related matters.
Dr. Stallard describes the Councils as “a 20-year project” to advance academic dispensational discussions to the church level and beyond. The advancements may include book projects and Council meetings held at various sites across the country.
Members of the council steering committee include Rod Decker, Baptist Bible Seminary; George Gunn, Shasta Bible College; Elliott Johnson, Dallas Theological Seminary; Joe Parle, College of Biblical Studies; Mark Soto, Grace Seminary; and Mike Stallard, Baptist Bible Seminary.—Ken Knelly, Baptist Bible College