committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs








Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth
by John H. Gerstner; 1991, 275 pp., Wolgemuth & Hyatt.
Reviewed by Ernest Reisinger

The long awaited, long-expected, and much-needed work on Dispensationalism has arrived.

I am most happy to write this little review, one reason being that I was held in the jaws of this warped system of theology for the first ten years of my Christian life. During that period I wore out three Scofield Bibles and was working on my fourth! For years I taught it with charts and maps.

Dr. J. I. Packer commends Gerstner's work in the following way: "In this book a clear-headed classical Calvinist challenges contemporary Dispensational Theology. Pussyfooting is not Dr. Gerstner's style; he values controversy as a way of clearing the air, and conducts it with bracing vigor. With skill and thorough knowledge he maps the geography of the gulf that lies between the two positions, and invites the reader to agree that Dispensationalism is seriously astray. All readers will be grateful to the author for clarifying the issues more precisely than any previous book has done. He sets out to show that Calvinism and Dispensationalism are radically opposed, and he proves his point."

Dr. Gerstner points out how Dispensationalism infiltrated the United Presbyterian Church of the North. Indeed this seems incredible because the Dispensational warped system of theology is diametrically opposed to covenant theology. He clearly points out the grave dangers of this system that has so many fine Christians and teachers deceived.

The Southern Presbyterian Church was not affected as much. Men like Robert Dabney wrote against this theology (See Dabney's Discussions, Vol. 1, p. 214, Banner of Truth Trust).

One of the many facets that Dr. Gerstner clears up is the claim of many, if not all, Dispensational teachers who tell us that they are four-point Calvinists. This book will prove beyond any reasonable doubt that they are not Calvinistic at all -- not even on one point -- rather they are Arminian to the core on every point.

The author addresses the contemporary Lordship controversy. He gives the historical context of the controversy and clarifies the terms of the debate. He crumbles the Dispensational house on this point. I think it is fair to say that, by reading the whole book, one must conclude that "non-Lordship salvation" is only a child of two dangerous parents -- the father is Arminianism and the mother is Dispensational Antinomianism.

When the open-minded reader finishes this book he will agree with Charles Ryrie's statement in his Balancing the Christian Life: "The importance of this question cannot be overestimated in relation to both salvation and sanctification. The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel; therefore, one of them is false and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel" (Gal. 1:6-9). It is another gospel. The question is, Which one is the biblical gospel? Which one is the apostolic gospel?

Many Calvinists will not agree with Dr. Gerstner on every point of his view of the atonement where he disagrees with some of the great men of the Westminster Theological Seminary.

I wish he would have given more pages to the doctrine of assurance and to the Dispensational perversions of it. I feel the same way in regard to the moral Law and Dispensationalism. What is said is very helpful but since these are two areas where Dispensationalism is in complete opposition to all the respected creeds and confessions, they could have warranted a bit more emphasis. This book is an absolute must for all serious Bible teachers and preachers.

This book may be secured from Cumberland Valley Bible Book Service, P.O. Box 613, Carlisle, PA 17013.

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