By Kennety L. Gentry Jr
When I posted my satire “Witnessing to Dispensationalist” I received an email from a dispensationalist scholar who is an old friend of mine from my dispensational days. He is a Th.D. and a published scholar. Note how he responded to my humorous satire:
Ken, the Ryrie club is made up of antique mindsets. Let’s hear more about Bock and Turner…rather than the previous generation that can barely be called scholarship (e.g. Ryrie, Walvoord, Feinberg, etc.). The interesting thing about our/my seminary experience is that one could go through that former program (and I would criticize a lot of it today) and never take a course on dispy or even hear it. I have finished teaching 30+ years of graduate level Greek and NT without even one lecture on this subject… The Bible and its own literary conventions was enough to keep me busy and no need for any creative constructs to make sense of the text. Yes…the past generation of dispensationalism was exegetically naive, generally lacked critical biblical studies education, and made some wild claims from their own imaginations…but they are now relegated to a part of history.
My Postmillennial Response
I agree, Bock, Blaising, and the new beed dispensationalists are enormously superior to the old breed (Walvoord, Ryrie, etc.). But the book sales of Walvoord and Ryrie, and their populist minions (Lindsey and LaHaye) far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, outstrip them: sales in the thousands v. sales in the tens of millions. This makes these lesser lights far more influential in the present than the progressive dispensationalists. For instance, The Ryrie Study Biblehas sold 2 million copies. LaHaye’s Left Behind series has sold over 60 million. My most basic grief is with the influential, older form of dispensationalism which is so well represented in publishing and among televangelists. I consider it a marvelous sight to behold to see thinking dispensationalists write-off Ryrie and Walvoord as scholars. How many churches believe, support, and promote Ryrie-like dispensationalism? Thousands upon thousands.
Dispensationalist Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth
He replies: The one’s you mention are a grief to us all and only illustrate that we have done a poor job in training the Christian laity to think. I remember reading an article in Time (or whatever magazine) in the doctor’s office as we turned 2000 and it gave the stats on Lindsey. I was appalled. Lindsey, Van Impe, LaHaye, et.al. only prove what marketing can do with a gullible public. So BLAST ‘EM (and perhaps put their names in your headers as well). Maybe one of the problems are these @#$^ Study Bibles…they are all an abomination…whether dispy or whatever. They (somebody) chop up the texts, ignore literary units, insert filtered theology of whatever type as if it is a settle view. Laity eat them up because it is quick and easy. O Well…can’t get too worked up in retirement.