This year a group of traditional dispensational professors from several different schools will descend upon the College of Biblical Studies in Houston, Texas for meetings on October 3-4. They will be joined by pastors, students, and other observers, especially from the Houston metropolitan area. This will be the fifth annual meeting of the Council. However, it will be the first not held at Baptist Bible Seminary. The decision has been made to meet in a different part of North America every other year. The goal is to network more broadly with traditional dispensationalists, both professors and pastors. Next year (2013) we will be back on the beautiful campus of Baptist Bible College & Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.
The theme for this year’s 2012 Council is “Dispensationalism and Biblical Preaching.” Although we are sometimes accused of a theology based upon “simple Bible readings” mixed with “presupposed theological systems,” we are not embarrassed by a focus on inductive Bible study and expository preaching. Not all traditional dispensationalists, however, preach consistently with what they believe biblically and theologically. There is too much application without exposition. One can find strange typology popping out at certain points. The development of themes sometimes sloganizes the Bible instead of providing genuine exposition of the sacred text. This ought not to be so. If anyone should practice biblical expository preaching, it is traditional dispensationalists!
With that in mind, this year’s meeting will concentrate on the process of preaching, the use of biblical languages in sermonizing, the preaching of specific books, and proper application of texts from the Scriptures. The Council will begin with a discussion of the use of biblical languages in preaching. Dr. Rod Decker of Baptist Bible Seminary and Dr. Christopher Cone from Tyndale Seminary will give presentations along that line by serious and lengthy discussions. On that first day, we will also have presentations and discussions of preaching from the prophets, wisdom literature, and historical narratives of the Old Testament. Dr. Neal Cushman from Northland University will do Isaiah; Dr. Mark McGinniss from Baptist Bible Seminary will do the Song of Songs; Dr. Israel Loken of the College of Biblical Studies will present on the historical narratives of the Old Testament. During the evening plenary session, Dr. Mark Bailey, the respected President of Dallas Theological Seminary, will give a sample sermon demonstrating proper dispensational biblical preaching.
The second day of the conference will begin with a focus on proper application. Dr. Joe Parle of the College of Biblical Studies will discuss how dispensationalists apply the Old Testament; Dr. Robert Thomas, formerly of Master’s Seminary, will review the preaching of the Sermon on the Mount to present Christian audiences; Dr. Elliott Johnson of Dallas Theological Seminary will discuss “Expository Hermeneutics: The Hermeneutics of Application.” A panel discussion will follow with no doubt some lively debate. Representing the preaching of the New Testament will be Dr. David Allen from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary who will look at Hebrews. The workshop sessions will include the following:
- Dr. Bill Arp, Baptist Bible Seminary, preaching the epistles (probably looking at Pauline epistles)
- Dr. Mal Couch, Scofield Ministries, dispensational preaching of the coming kingdom of Christ
- Dr. Gary Gromacki, Baptist Bible Seminary, distinctives of dispensational preaching
- Dr. Mike Stallard, Baptist Bible Seminary, preaching the book of Revelation
There will be a pastor’s panel during the evening meal on that second day to look at the issues from the vantage point of the churches and not just the Academy. We hope on the evening of that last day to discuss “Dispensational Preaching and the African-American Community.”
This schedule is preliminary and could be modified slightly before the Council meets. It is an honest attempt to refocus traditional dispensationalists toward proper biblical preaching in keeping with a dispensational framework for approaching the Bible. Those who are not traditional dispensationalists may join us as observers.
If you have an interest in attending this year’s Council, go to the Council website at http://www.bbc.edu/council/. We’d love to see you there!