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The Interdisciplinary Journal on Biblical Authority is a peer-reviewed publication that brings together a diverse array of scholarly articles, theological insights, and practical applications related to biblical authority, scriptural interpretation, and contemporary challenges faced by believers. Published by Calvary University, a beacon of theological education, the Interdisciplinary Journal on Biblical Authority is committed to providing rich content, academic rigor, and unwavering dedication to upholding the authority of God’s Word.
In this edition…
A Dispensational View of Christ and Culture: Opportunities and Limitations to Christian Culture Transformation
Charles A. Clough
Many commentators have noted the loss of American evangelical social concern by 1920. Premillennialism, and more particularly, dispensational premillennialism has been widely blamed for this cultural retreat. Early criticism came from both the older conservatives like Charles Hodge (“[premillennialism] disparages the gospel”)[i] and liberals like Social Gospel advocate Walter Rauschenbusch (“[pessimistic belief in supernatural forces of cultural evil] will be confined to narrow circles, mostly of premillennialists”).[ii] Of course many readers are aware of the more recent diatribes that blame dispensational premillennialism for everything from televangelist scandals to the federal deficit.
Such a century-old barrage of continuing criticism raises interesting questions. Does dispensationalism have a distinct view of culture and of how Christians are to relate to it? (By “culture” I mean the collective achievement of all institutions of a nation in the arts, sciences, and practical technologies.) If so, did American evangelicalism self-consciously adopt this view in the early twentieth century? Answering the first question is the purpose of this article.
[i] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (3 vols.; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891): III, 864.
[ii] Walter Rauschenbusch, A Theology for the Social Gospel (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1922): 86f.
The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture and the Role of Extra-Biblical Resources in Transformational Teaching and Learning
Paul affirmed to Timothy the authority, capacity, and sufficiency of the Scriptures for the adequacy of the believer.[i] In similar fashion Jesus applied the sufficiency of Scripture in responding to His testing by Satan. Yet in close proximity to both instances we observe the employment of extra-Biblical resources in complementing the situation. In Paul’s case, even as he exhorts Timothy to faithfulness in the word, he acknowledges value in Timothy’s attentiveness to not only what Paul taught and wrote, but to his experiences as well.[ii] In Jesus’ case, He acknowledges there is a place for bread, though it ought not be viewed as the sole source of life.[iii] Likewise, after His testing He was the beneficiary of angelic ministry.[iv]
In both instances, the word of God is affirmed as authoritative and sufficient, and in both situations, other resources help to set or complete the context. Considering these and other Biblical scenarios, this article evaluates the nature of Biblical authority and sufficiency and the role of extra-Biblical resources in transformative teaching and learning. To underscore the practical value of the authority and sufficiency issues, this study also compares principles observed in the Biblical narratives with principles employed in psychology and counseling, providing a case study for the application of extra-Biblical resources in transformative teaching and learning contexts.
[i] 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
[ii] 2 Timothy 3:10-11.
[iii] Matthew 4:4, from Deuteronomy 8:3.
[iv] Matthew 4:11.
Demon Possession and the Christian: Why Christians Cannot be Demon Possessed
Robert Dean, Jr.
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors…”[i]
The question “Can a Christian be demon-possessed?” is not one of mere academic or theological interest but one of profound implications. If the Christian can be demon-possessed, then this opens up a source of problems for the believer which entails its own array of solutions including exorcism, deliverance, and supernatural healings, the mechanics of which are not revealed in Scripture. If any of a believer’s problems or failures can be blamed on Satan or a demon as the source of that problem, then this places the believer in the role of unwitting victim and releases him from responsibility for failure. If, on the other hand, the Christian cannot be demon-possessed, then vast numbers of churches, ministries, counseling practices and spiritual life methodologies are inherently flawed, investigating problems that do not exist, and prescribing solutions, in many cases bizarre and extreme, which may promote problems that are even more dangerous. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the biblical arguments for Christian demon possession against the backdrop of studies since the mid-twentieth century.
[i] C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: MacMillan, 1982), 3.
Pre-Tribulationalism Before Darby: An Overview of Pre-Darby Rapture Statements Throughout Church History
Thomas D. Ice
Probably the most common argument against the pretribulational rapture doctrine is that it is a recent development within church history, only about 200 years old. About 30 years ago when I became executive director of the Pre-Trib Research Center with Tim LaHaye (1926–2016) I personally was not aware of a clear pre-trib rapture statement prior to John Nelson Darby’s (1800–1882) declaration in the late 1820s. During my first year of full-time work with LaHaye I received a phone call in my Washington, D.C. office from prophecy teacher Grant Jeffrey (1948–2012). As I gazed at the Washington Monument from my eighth-floor office window, Grant read a statement to me and asked what that statement sounded like. I said, “It is a pre-trib rapture statement.” He said, “It is from the fourth century.” I said, “That is impossible or I would have heard of it.” I immediately called up Dr. Charles Ryrie (1925–2016) and read him the same statement. His response was exactly like mine. He thought it was a clear pre-trib rapture statement.[i] Well, Grant proved to be right. That incident took place in the Spring of 1994. Even though I had already been researching the history of the rapture for about fifteen years at the time, (I have a master’s degree in historical theology); Grant’s claim really escalated my research effort.
Since those days, years ago, the consensus that Darby was the first to come up with the pre-trib rapture idea has fallen by the wayside.[ii] Research has turned up many more instances of some form of pretribulationism throughout the Church’s history. I will provide in this article an overview of where things stand currently in relation to the history of pretribulationism. I am not saying that pre-Darby rapturists had the same system or rational that led to Darby’s pretribulationism or that they fit exactly into current pre-trib thought at every point. These rapture advocates believed it would take place before the time of the tribulation, whether it was seven years, three and a half years, or some other interval of time.
Even if Darby had been the first to articulate pretribulationism in postapostolic church history, the final authority is not what some have believed throughout the history of the church, instead it matters what Scripture teaches. I strongly believe the pre-trib rapture is clearly taught in the New Testament, having first been introduced as a newly revealed church age truth by Jesus in the Upper Room Discourse the night before He died on the cross (John 14:1–3) in conjunction with other new church age revelation as recorded in John 13 through 17.
[i] See an exposition of Grant Jeffrey’s rapture find in Timothy J. Demy and Thomas D. Ice, The Rapture and an Early Medieval Citation,” Bibliotheca Sacra (vol. 152, July–September 1995), 306-17.
[ii] See Thomas D. Ice, “Why the Doctrine of the Pretribulational Rapture Did Not Begin with Margaret Macdonald,” Bibliotheca Sacra (vol. 147, April–June 1990), 155-68.
IJOBA exists to provide a platform for Christian thinkers to articulate the biblical worldview concerning issues in their chosen discipline as well as to evaluate trends and topics within that discipline using the biblical worldview. Its articles and reviews are intended to encourage Christian thinkers in their chosen fields to remain faithful to Christ and the biblical worldview.