Last week we combined the college students with the seminary students at Baptist Bible College and Seminary to have the Barndollar Lectures with Dr. Walt Kaiser, a premier evangelical Old Testament scholar.  In spite of the fact that he was 79 years old, he connected quite well to the 18-year olds in the audience as well as the seminary students and area pastors who had come to listen to him.  Let me comment upon my encounter with Dr. Kaiser, whom I had met previously through the Evangelical Theological Society.

First, he was a humorous and down to earth fellow, in person at meals, meeting with faculty, or in the pulpit.  He was a regular guy who did not treat others in a condescending way.  He treated all of us graciously.  Second, he affirmed what our seminary believes concerning hermeneutics and Israel, namely, literal interpretation of the Bible and a distinction between Israel and the Church.  Third, as a result of these convictions, he strongly presented the future of national Israel.  In harmony with this is the affirmation of the land promises throughout Scripture.  The title of the lecture series, held Sept. 10-13, was “God’s Future for Israel and the Near East.”  The first lecture was an overview of the great promises concerning Messiah including the giving of land to Israel.

The second message was “God’s Promise to Regather Israel Back to Their Land” based on Jeremiah 32.  The third lecture was “God’s Promise to Revive the Nation and Unify It Again” based uon Ezekiel 37.  The fourth and final message was “God’s Gift of a Revival in Egypt” based on Isaiah 19.  In all of this, Dr. Kaiser’s “promise theology,” for which he is known, came out strongly and clearly.  My fourth observation about Dr. Kaiser was the strong commitment he had to expository preaching.  He modeled such exposition, solidly based in the text, while also demonstrating ability to do theological integration.  I am thankful that our seminary guys especially were able to witness the winsome way in which expository preaching can be made interesting to a wide range of age groups in the audience.  It will help them in their own ministries if they can strive for this skill and approach. Fifth, Dr. Kaiser showed a concern about current events relative to prophecy greater than I had expected.  However, he was able to do so without sensationalizing prophetic texts.

My final observation on Dr. Kaiser is that I believe he loved the Lord with all of his heart.  While this was obvious in all of his messages, this shone through especially in his last message on “God’s Gift of a Revival in Egypt” (Isaiah 19).  The greatness of God was displayed in this text as in the end times Israel, Egypt, and Assyria (Iraq) are brought together in peace.  Kaiser’s masterful presentation highlighted the great love and appreciation we can have for such a great God.  And that great God who can control history is our God who can invade our own lives.   Thank you, Dr. Kaiser, on behalf of all of our students for doing the Barndollar Lectures.