Why Am I A Dispensationalist? | Jim Lilley

Jim Lilley

Pastor Jim Lilley and his wife, Bonnie

I was reared in a Southern Baptist Church where the Second Coming was never once mentioned. In fact, as a  young man I went to my pastor and asked him about the book of The Revelation. He responded that it was a “closed book,” and he only preached from one verse in the book (Revelation 3:20). However, from time to time I would hear Dr. J. Harold Smith preach on the radio and he would mention the coming of the Lord and the Judgment Seat of Christ.

In the fall of 1957, I enrolled in an SBC college for the purpose of preparing myself for full-time ministry. More discouragement came as my faulty advisor advise me not to major in Bible, but to change it to History and minor in English. The Bible teacher was very general in his teaching and more discouragement piled up. So I did not return following that first semester due to bad grades and discouragement.

In the spring I enrolled at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas. (At that time LeTourneau Technical Institute). Again, my professor (ThD) taught from an amillenial viewpoint. However, this was his last semester and he retired that May. It was announced that a  new professor would be coming in the summer semester who had graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a ThD. His thesis was on the Progressive Parallelism in the Book of Revelation.

I re-enrolled for the summer semester where he taught a course on the Harmony of the Gospels. In the first class, he draw a chart on the chalkboard of the dispensations from ETERNITY PAST to ETERNITY FUTURE! I was absolutely astonished! NEVER had I seen anything like this. Following the class, I walked out into that East Texas sky and looked toward heaven thanking Him for revealing His truth to me through his very Godly man. At that time, I promised the Lord that I would preach and teach His Word from a dispensational. pre-millennial, pre-tribulational viewpoint.

My home church, where I was baptized, called to preach and ordained, REFUSED to have me preach at the church because I had embraced what they called “a cult.” In fact, their pastors scheduled me to preach there on three occasions, and because of the pressure from some of the members, they canceled me out. However, in the past 15 years, they have asked me to preach there for several times.

IN ALL OF IT, I am so thankful for the privilege to have preached the dispensational interpretation of the Word of God for over 57 years. I will continue to preach His Word until HE COMES or CALLS! To God be the Glory!

Jim Lilly is pastor of Pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church in Trenton, GA, one of the churches on our Dispensational Church List.


If you would like to submit your dispensational testimony for publication on our blog, send it to Randy White.

By |2018-01-29T06:59:21+00:00January 31st, 2018|Categories: Dispensational Theology|Tags: |4 Comments


  1. Randy White January 31, 2018 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Thank you, Pastor Jim – GREAT testimony.

  2. Mike January 31, 2018 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your testimony. I’m am pastoring a Southern Baptist Church, and I am Dispensational. Yes, we exist!. When it comes to the Southern Baptist you need to understand that their doctrinal statement (the Baptist Faith and Message) covers the basics of faith, and leaves any additional doctrinal beliefs (like pre-mill, post-mill or amill) up to the individual churches to know what they believe (this is because every SBC church is autonomous). This allows for more churches to cooperate together towards missions and spreading the Gospel, especially on the financial side of it. The negative of this is what was described above. So unless a local church knows what they believe (i.e, which theological they hold to, their Eschatology beliefs beyond the 2nd coming, etc. . .) they will/can/do call pastors who could be anywhere from 5 Point Calvinist to Charismatic, from Dispensationalist to Covenant and anything in between. So what should be the priority in every Southern Baptist Church? They need to set down and address these other doctrinal beliefs that the Baptist Faith and Message doesn’t address. So if you are Dispensational and want to join a Southern Baptist Church (or any other church for that matter) talk to the Pastor first and ask him what his theological beliefs are because that is what is going to be preached.

    • Randy White February 9, 2018 at 10:47 am - Reply

      Good advice, Mark. Sitting down with the Pastor of ANY church is a good idea before you join that church. And if the Pastor doesn’t have time to sit down with you…keep looking!

  3. Chuck Frantz June 8, 2018 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    I feel that if the denomination is so wide open that it’s more like multiple xenomamatinations which tome a denomination need to have a platform that all agree and aspire to because that’s what a denomation is. I don’t see church operating is the way the politics operate and made to force a fundamentalist to have to reach across the iseil and find things to Agree on just to day they are part of a denomination or the same denomination. I believe the the true churches are going to eventually find them self splitting and the slit off part will ptoBably be a fundamental dispensational stand alone bible church. I see nothing the independent church cannot do and probably do far better than be with a denomination.

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