It has been more than four decades since the Lord Jesus Christ saved my soul. By the grace of God, I was justified the moment I put my faith in the finished work of the Lamb of God.
I was blessed to find myself in fellowship with those who were part of (what I would later learn) a very, very small segment of professing Christians; those who believed that the Bible was to be rightly divided. My earliest discipleship lessons included learning the difference between the nation of Israel and the New Testament Church, between law and grace, between the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Christ to earth. It was a sure foundation indeed.
The people of that church introduced me to the Scofield Reference Bible. One man gave me a book I still treasure, Dispensationl Truth by Clarence Larkin. (Only the Lord knows how many nights I gave up sleep to pour over those charts!) In the days before so many books were online (whether legally or illegally, I cannot tell), I would spend every spare dollar collecting the works of A. C. Gaebelein, August Van Ryn, Graham Scroggie, and others who with a keen eye and true heart showed me clear divisions between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven, pointed out those parts of God’s word specifically for the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God, and highlighted minute but meaningful differences between the four Gospels, time periods in Acts, and the kingdom age set against eternity.
All of these men placed the focus of their dispensational studies on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ showing what He had done, was doing, and will yet do from age to age. He was truly given all the glory.
Later, I would be introduced to the works of Peter Ruckman, Greg Estep, and others who drew sharper lines of distinction, then to Cornelius Stam, J. C. O’hair, Dave Reese, and others who taught to varying degrees and with skillful persuasion that the Bible was not only to be divided but that it consisted of parts so different that there were great impassable gulfs between Paul and Peter, one portion of Acts and another, and, in fact, ways for men to gain eternal life apart from the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary.
My searching into these matters reached its depths when I plowed my way through every note and cross reference in The Companion Bible and as I read with a mixture of wonder and concern through all the other works of E. W. Bullinger. For good measure, I found relief in the excellent work Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth by Harry Ironside.
Let me say that I thank God for every one of these men and the hundreds of other authors and preachers not mentioned, for their study and teaching. I am truly appreciative for each bit of truth they passed from their hearts and minds to mine.
As I pressed farther and farther into this matter of right division, which for me was but one small field of study among all the wonders of God’s Holy Bible, two things became clear to me.
First, the deeper I went the more the authors, and those who preached the doctrines learned from the authors, proclaimed the virtues of a dispensational system and the less they proclaimed the virtues of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, being washed in the blood of the Lamb, being saved by the grace of God, and being a fellow member of the body of Christ ceased to be the basis of fellowship. One had to adhere to a precise manner of dispensational teaching or one would be excluded, shunned, derided, and in some circles destroyed. The bond was no longer Christ but how one viewed Acts 9 or Hebrews or an obscure passage in Judges. Had I been concerned only with dispensationalism, this might have made sense; but when one takes scripture as a whole, such a position cannot be justified.
Second, it became evident that there were those who had so turned their eyes from Christ to dispensational theories that they were actually teaching that the death of the Son of God on the cross was unnecessary, claiming that some men had found salvation for their souls through law keeping, good works, or some sacrifice other than the broken body and shed blood of the sinless Lamb. To deny the necessity of the death of Jesus for the salvation of sinners was to go too far. I could not follow them there.
The response to my published works on these topics strongly confirmed these conclusions to be correct.
So now comes another work, to borrow a phrase, with the former works on dispensationalism diligently compared and revised. It is written by men who believe every word of our Authorized Version to be correct. It is written by men who believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man comes unto the Father but by Him. It is written by men who are cheerful, faithfully-attending members of a local New Testament church. It is written by men who believe that the glory of every age is not the age, but the Lord Jesus. It is written by men who will still show you love and grace and mercy and charity even if you disagree with some, or much, or all of what they have written. Enjoy it. Glean from it. Raise an eyebrow. Look at an old verse in a new way.
We want to learn the Bible. We want to live like Christ. It is my hope that you will find this book will help you in both regards.
Pastor James Knox
The Bible Baptist Church, DeLand, Florida