Why am I a Dispensationalist? I grew up in the church, but without much serious biblical influence from its pastors. I was saved and baptized at a young age; however, due to some travail in my middle teenage years, I reached the climax of crisis and finally took my commitment to Christ seriously. Something wonderful and profound took place during those days: I picked up a Bible for myself. The Bible became my addiction, and my soul was captive to its every verse. As a high school student, I neglected geometry for Genesis and traded economics for Ephesians. My living and breathing passion become the Word of God. My greatest desire was to “rightly divide” it. I made a serious promise to God at my high school graduation. I vowed to do my very best, and take a deep breath and plunge into the Bible as I entered college.
I entered a liberal arts private college in the fall of that year. I did not receive what I expected. My Old Testament professor appeared to be an Open Theist, though I was ignorant of that term at the time. My New Testament professor was a conservative Southern Baptist, with the wrong eschatology: historic premillennialism. My theology professor was a hyper-Calvinist; needless to say, I had a wide range of perspectives paraded before me. My worn out KJV Scofield was mocked and I foolishly traded it for what was young and hip. I heard about God “changing His mind” during one hour, and the very next what His supreme dictatorship over everything, including the precise number of the “elect”. Confusing times lead to a confused mind. The Bible slowly became an academic pursuit rather than a sincere thirst. In college, I learned more of what NOT to do. I came under radical conviction. Were those four years wasted?
After graduation, I quickly transitioned to a denominational seminary. I was just as quickly dissatisfied. God graciously lead to another seminary where the Bible was taken seriously and was NEVER questioned. I do not label the questioning of the Bible as an academic pursuit but as the epitome of foolishness. In those long days and nights of M.Div. work God begin to form me. We studied the Bible. We did not waste time on what others said about the Bible; we studied the Bible. However, as I tottered on the edge of Laddian eschatology, I began to notice that ALL my professors shared a common eschatology: Dispensationalism. I dusted off Scofield and headed to the library. I consulted the Dispensational elite: Chafer, Pentecost, Ryrie, Zuck, etc. Charles Ryrie helped me to nail down the terminology. My real enigma was if the system was biblical. The open Bible in the hands of an open mind will fill volumes of blank pages.
I began with a comparative study of Zechariah 14 with 1 Thessalonians 4 for my minor prophets class. Hours of serious Bible study and intensive research allowed me to conclude that these could not be describing the same event. Therefore, I was biblically convinced through the Bible itself of a pretribulational rapture of the church. I had, however, learned that Dispensationalism is not just an eschatology, but an entire system devoted to literal hermeneutic. This was the beginning of a journey through the Bible that returned me home for an exodus in eisegesis. By the end of my M.Div. work, I was a thoroughly convinced Dispensationalist, not because I was lectured by its advocates but because I had read the Bible for myself.
Why am I a Dispensationalist? I read the Bible for myself. I embraced it as it is meant to be read, and stopped reading it as I wanted to read it. I allowed the Bible to speak for itself, and I was lectured to in ways I will never forget. I will never back down from taking the Bible literally and seriously. The Book which is inspired does not deserve to be ignored. I do not always draw charts, nor do I walk around as a doomsday prophet. However, I do endeavor to always point people to Scripture. I love the company of fellow Dispensationalists, but what compels me to stay is a love of God’s Word which demands study.
Allen Rea is pastor of Higgston Baptist Church in Ailey, GA. Higgston Baptist is 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.
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