House Church Talk - Re: Baptisms and Administrations

Bruce Woodford bwood4d at
Tue Mar 9 14:52:46 EST 2004

Hi Dan,

>don't dispense the dialog or take it off list where it may be more proper - 
>I am
>enjoying the back and forth, and it is showing us all how we can differ on 
>some fundamental
>issues and still be brethren.
>For me, this is important.  We started meeting in a "closed" plymouth 
>brethren house meeting 12
>years ago.  When the issue of dispensations became waaaaay to much for us 
>to staunch, we left.
>My kids and wife would have left years earlier, I demanded that we stick it 
>thru some more
>rough waters.  Dialog was non existent - dispensations were there and if 
>not liked - there was
>no discussion.  That was 5 years ago we left.  I told them that when I 
>accept their teaching
>that Jesus would have come back if Israel had taken Jesus as Lord in Acts 3 
>- I will be back in
>their meeting.  Dear saints and we miss the times of friendship and worship 
>together.  They are
>not friends, they are brethren.  We do not communicate with them - we are 
>not in the same
>caste.  There is a caste system here in 'merica, really.  Them that have, 
>them that don't.  But
>that disappears as we are brethren.

I know what you mean! At the time we left the closed brethren, 
dispensationalism was not yet an issue for me, but rather the appointment of 
speakers and the effective "muzzling" of anyone not appointed!  There was no 
room for discussion on that subject. It was a few months later that my 
"dispensational roots" were irreparably shaken!

In a home bIble study, a group of us were doing a "Precept Ministries" study 
on Daniel and Revelation. "Precept" is a very dispensationally based 
ministry, but the thing that had impressed us in all of their other studies 
was their emphasis on INDUCTIVE BIBLE STUDY. (i.e. finding out and observing 
exactly what scripture SAYS, before going to commentaries or attempting to 
say what scripture MEANT!  Then , having oberved what scripture SAID, we 
were to read and evaluate commentaries by the standard of scripture rather 
than the other way around!)

Well this was the approach all the way through Daniel chapters 1 to 8.  But 
as soon as we got to ch.9 (Daniel's 70 weeks), the "Precept" notes took a 
180 degree turn!  Instead of urging us to continue oberving what the text 
SAID and evaluating commentaries on that basis, we were told that Dan.9 
COULD NOT MEAN WHAT IT SAID, BUT THAT "WEEKS" must MEAN something other than 
"weeks"!!!    I immediately "smelled a rat"!   The main reason I'd been 
eager to take this course was so that I could get clear in my own mind from 
scripture the basis of the "seven year tribulation".  When I learned that 
scripture never even once referred to such a period and that the whole 
doctrine of the seven year tribulation was based on DEDUCTION rather than 
INDUCTION, (just like the doctrines of "purgatory", "infant baptism", 
"limitted atonement",  "unconditional election" etc)  the system of 
dispensationalism   (itself, a doctrine arrived at by DEDUCTION rather than 
INDUCTION) began to crumble in my mind!

I did not want to shed dispensationalism because I had been raised and 
trained in it all my life! So I thought I'd give it another chance. I'd 
often heard Sir Robert Anderson's book, "The Coming Prince" highly 
recommended as an "authourity" on Daniel's 70 weeks. I'd heard that Anderson 
incontrovertibly proved  that Daniel's "weeks" were indeed periods of 7 
years and that this could be demonstrated by EXACT calculations and that 69 
weeks of years were measured to the very day from Cyrus' decree to rebuild 
Jerusalem to the death of Christ.

Sir Robert Anderson was a very intelligent man, a mathematician and one who 
worked for the Scotland Yard.

So I began to read "The Coming Prince", taking notes as I went and keeping a 
calculator in hand to check the writer's calculations.  In his book, he 
states at least five principles of scriptural interpretation and a number of 
rules for doing calculations relative to Biblically prophesied events and 
time periods.

As I read, my estimate of Sir Robert Anderson also came crashing down!  
Right in his own book, and in his own words, I found clear violations of 
every single principle of interpretation which he professed to follow!  Many 
of his calculations were incomplete and violated the very rules that he 
himself had stated! Rather than being "accurate to the day", I found many of 
his calculations were incomplete, not at all accurate but were often off by 
weeks, months and even many years!

It became evident to me that Anderson had approached scripture, not as a 
humble student willing to learn and be conformed to scripture, but rather 
that he had approached scripture with a preconceived theory of which he was 
determined to convince others eeven though HE HIMSELF KNEW HE WAS LEADING 

For sometime after that, I became very disillusioned, bitter and angry with 
many men whom I had looked up to, admired and considered to be men of God. 
These men, including my own grandfather, who had taught me "dispensational 
truth",  had in fact deceived me!!!   But then the Lord began to calm me 
down and caused me to realize that most of those men had also received what 
they had taught from others whom THEY HAD TRUSTED!  If they had failed to 
follow in the steps of the Bereans of old (who searched the scriptures daily 
whether the things the apostle Paul taught them), I, MYSELF, HAD FAILED IN 

I realized that I had no one but myself to blame!  I had failed to test the 
teachings I had received because I valued the reputation of those who taught 
me more than I valued what scripture SAID! As I result, I trusted what I 
valued most!  The root problem was that my "value system" was all wrong!!!

It is for such reasons that I have now determined to test any doctrine that 
I encounter by the principles of Ps.12:6; Proverbs 30:5,6 and I Cor.2:13:

-Is this doctrine stated in the pure words of scripture?
-Can this doctrine be stated without adding any of man's words to the 
explanation of it?
-Is this doctrine stated in words which the Holy Ghost teaches, or does it 
absolutely require words which man's wisdom teaches?

It is for such reasons that I value INDUCTIVE  Bible study and have become 
very leary of any doctrine not stated in the words of scripture which has 
been arrived at by the process of DEDUCTION.

Your brother in Christ,

MSN Premium: Up to 11 personalized e-mail addresses and 2 months FREE*   

House Church Talk is sponsored by the House Church Network.

House Church Talk has been renamed. These discussions, via the web, now occur at the Radically Christian Cafe.