Back in the fall of 1994, I was attending a Presbyterian church in Orlando, studying Greek at Reformed Theological Seminary, and beginning to embrace all things reformed. I was also thinking seriously about where to go to seminary full time. I had narrowed it down to either Westminster Theological Seminary or The Master’s Seminary, but I was having a difficult time deciding between the two.
My indecisiveness primarily stemmed from the fact that I had never studied covenant theology or dispensationalism. To get me started, one of my covenantal friends suggested two books, one to help me understand covenant theology and the other to help me understand dispensationalism. The first book was O. Palmer Robertson’s The Christ of the Covenants, which is widely regarded as a classic presentation of covenant theology. A very good recommendation.
The other book, unfortunately, was John Gerstner’s Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth, a diatribe against dispensationalism by a covenant theologian. Not such a good recommendation. [For an excellent review of Gerstner’s book, see Richard Mayhue’s article in TMSJ.]
In reading Gerstner, I quickly realized that the dispensationalism he was critiquing was certainly not the kind of dispensationalism that TMS president John MacArthur advocated. Gerstner seemed to equate dispensationalism with Arminianism and easy-believism, and since MacArthur was the one who had grounded me in a biblical understanding of the sovereignty of God and the Lordship of Christ, I was pretty sure this book wasn’t going to help me decide where to go to seminary. Continue Reading…