Chapter 21a Interaction with believers over the years on Dispensation:
In California on my way to Bible College:
It was in California before college I came in contact with the Mid-Act position. We were looking for a Christ centered - Bible preaching Church to fellowship with and we ended up going and visiting the Grace Bible Church a mid-acts believing church, the pastor Harold Peterson. After our visit he visited our home and I thought at that time we would not go back, for I did not like him challenging me on truth I had no Biblical answer. His challenge was a different approach from what I had heard and learned, (a dispensational approach). I found the answers I gave him from scriptures were incomplete when compared to the context of the scripture. I found that sometimes the passage themselves under discussion did not say at all what I thought they said. I found that I believed only what I was taught earlier in my life and I was lumping the whole Bible into one event and spiritualizing truths to fit in today's dispensation. As I dove into the study of the Bible I discovered how little I really new of the scriptures. He ask me to visit again and I said 'we would' to be polite. I also had the intent to study the scripture and find his errors and prove to myself what I had been taught over the years were scriptural and sense I was on my way to Bible college I should know how to show what I believed. He also gave me a booklet written by Dr Charles Baker who was president emeritus of Grace Bible college called God's Clock Of The Ages which was an elementary understanding of progressive revelation and the dispensations' of God.
Also at this time I realized how much time was being wasted watching TV so I put away the TV and devoted my time studying God's Word which gave great joy and excitement as God opened my eyes of understanding. I wondered how anyone could get anything done by having a TV and miss the joy of the Scripture.
During this time I could see what the booklet and Pastor Peterson was saying even though I refused to give way to the truth which I found in the Word for fear of being wrong. With this fear and the studying of God's Word over the years and the interaction of great men of the Word and God, I have come and accept the teaching in which I have shared today in this book. There is a combination of truths from both the Acts 2 dispensational position and the mid-Act dispensational view which needed expounding for neither by themselves have all the truth in keeping with the unity of God's dispensations. There is truths which lies in both positions, and I hope this book will show God's truths and it will reconcile both giving a clear understanding of God's word as we fulfill our ambassadorship to the lost world and believers will adjust their positions to God's word. We believers will be accountable for what God has given us so I say this in love.
During this time in California I was doing a lot of street witnessing, learning to share Christ Jesus and hoping to be able to answer question people would confront me with on Biblical matters. Even though I had spent four years in the United States Marine corps and was 26 years old and a saved believer since the age of eleven I was young in my defense of scriptures and felt very inadequate. I new what I believe but found I did not know how to show others what I believed from scripture, especially when I was confront on the street or the Jehovah witness. So the studying which I mention above was an attempt on changing my fears and ignorance.
With the meeting of Pastor Peterson I also met a man by the name Bob Williams, who would stand 'toe to toe' with me discussing the things of the Lord and he and his wife Angie became friends and mentors. This following is how God brought us together and the steps of coming into the mid-Acts position, leading to a college education at Grace Bible College were I received my Bachelor of Theology degree.
At this time I was witnessing on the street of Anaheim and giving out tracts on salvation to passers. It was through this witnessing I came across a Spanish speaking man who communicated he wanted to know more about the tract of salvation I gave him. I had a problem - I did not speak Spanish, however we still worked out a time he wanted me to come to his home and explain more the way of salvation.
At that time I did not know how God was going to open the doors so we could communicate but if God put us together then He would provide a means to communicate. This was on a Saturday I met him and I was to go to his home on Sunday.
That Sunday we went back to the Grace Bible church mentioned above for our return visit and during that service I was troubled as to how I was going to communicate the Gospel to the Spanish speaking man I met Saturday.
At the beginning of the service Pastor Pet (we call him for short), introduced a couple who had returned to the area and the church by the name of Bob and Angie Williams. I noticed she was a Mexican and wondered if she spoke Spanish and if I could get her to interpret for me to the man I met the night before.
After the service I went to the Pastor with my dilemma- scared to ask him if Angie could interpret for me. He was very gracious and I could sense he became excited about my dilemma and he reassured me we could ask because of his confidence in Bob and Angie.
When we did both Bob and Angie with excitement of joy wanted to participate with the visit. We had lunch together and Bob did mention some things about the mid-Acts position which I shoved off for my mind was on the witnessing coming up latter. I asked Angie if there would be any problem interpreting for me which she reassured me there would not. I also apologized in advance if it was a no-show and the man and I miss-communicated or maybe he was to drunk to really want a visit after he sobered up.
When we got to his home he was waiting and invited us into his living room. I was scared not just because of the witness but because I had never used an interpreter before. I prayed silently for wisdom and the leading and strength of the Lord. We went through the gospel to the best of my ability and hoping Angie was communicating my word correctly.
When we got to the end I asked him if he wanted to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior and he said yes. So I proceeded to ask him to get down on his knees with us and he could ask the Lord to save him. I told him we would help by a sample pray but he had to from the heart believe, repent and ask Jesus Christ into his life. As we got down to pray there was a commotion from the room right next to us and eight adults emerged from that room and knelt down with us and I ask what they wanted and they said they were listening to our conversation and they each said they wanted Jesus Christ as their savior also. They each prayed at the same time asking Jesus to save and come into their lives and after I closed in prayer we left with Bob and Angie making a time to follow-up with them. This is how Bob and Angie became good friends and partners in the street witnessing.
Bob and I had many drawn out discussion as we studied the word of God together. He challenged and I opposed the thing which were out of my comfort zone. Why Bob continued with me had to be a work of God's grace because I would not accept what Bob showed me, I just opposed the challenge until I had time to be alone with God's word which then the Holy Spirit opening my heart to the true's.
I thank Bob today for his witness and his help understanding dispensational facts. I do not today agree with all the the things in the position he held because he falls into the category of those in the mid-acts position which have error because in their attempt to unify dispensational believers they became divisionary causing a wrong understanding of the mid-acts position, (on Water baptism, the connection we have with the covenants and promises spoken of in Ephesians one and two, our eternal responsibility, and the oneness of the family of God for all eternity). After this time in preparation for college I felt God was leading me to Grace Bible College instead of Biola and we moved to Wyoming, Michigan.
Paul another Brother in Christ:
Paul was a brother in Christ much older than me who I respected as a young man and new before my marriage and before I came across a dispensational position. He was a member of the Baptist church in Madison, Wisconsin were my wife came to know the truth of salvation and accepting Jesus as her savior, coming out of a high church before our marriage. In 1971 he help my wife and I in our preparation for our marriage. He latter moved to Grand Rapids, MI coinciding with are move from Anaheim, California.
After moving to the Grand Rapids area I contacted Paul to ask him and his understanding of the mid-acts dispensational position. I was surprise and happy to hear him say he new the mid-acts position but was shocked when he said he agreed with the position but because of water baptism for believers today that he could not endorse it for himself, because he thought it would alienate to many others.
It shock me because in one breath he said they were right Biblically but rejected it over personal reasons not a Biblical answer. I found out afterwards there had been many famous Bible preachers and teacher rejecting the mid-acts position for the same reasoning or rejected the mid-acts position over some tradition instead of accurate Biblical dispensational teaching.
This type of reasoning which is not Biblically founded leading to wrong understanding of God truths. It has violated the Scriptural understanding causing the decaying of Biblical facts and hindering the furthering of Bible truth. It has miss the symmetry of the progressive progress of the Bible with God's dispensations historically.
We as believers need to reject error but from a Biblical explanation and not presupposition or tradition view which is not Biblical. Also if brothers would have rejected any false premise and studied the mid-acts position itself by evaluating the whole correctly - they could have corrected any error and accepted a mid-acts position. They could have furthered the truth of Christianity today by their consistency on many of the truths which have confused those who have reject dispensational truths or left dispensational teaching and accepted error.
Dr. Ernest Pickering -
My first awareness of a conflict was in the writings of Dr. Pickering in relationship with a booklet in 1977, which he wrote when he was in seminary on ultra-Dispensationalism many years before, (not in print anymore). He was a believer in the IFCA and latter a Baptist minister and was for a short time President of a Baptist Bible college in Tacoma, Washington before returning to the pastoral ministry and speaker, (Nothing against the Baptist, I am ordained by the Baptist and have been a pastor of Baptist churches and I do hold to a mid-act position. Also I want you to know there are other Bible believing groups other than the Baptists so I am not pickling one over the other.).
Dr. Pickering was part of the council of 18 with the GARB for a time and finally he separated from the GARB over doctrinal issues. In his booklet he attempted to discredit any dispensational view which did not agree with those who started today church program of God at Acts 2 with the coming of the Holy Spirit to permanently indwell believers which was integral to the New Covenant. I do respect and recommend reading his writings, he is truly a man who loved the Word and the truth of God and one can learn many thing relating to theology and Dispensationalism.
You can do a Google search on his writing. Even though I understand that his approach to Scripture has an Acts 2 approach there is much more one can learn from his writings and if you understand the dispensational view of this book you will not be confused but enlighten to the history and truths from scripture which God gave others like Pickering.
I did meet him once at Camp Joy in Wisconsin where he was a guess speaker and I spoke privately with him, this was just before his homecoming. The subject of are conversation was that of Christianity and Bible colleges and their need to teach clearly dispensations and for them to teach more on the subject. We both had the concern about the product of our Bible colleges and the lack of Biblical understanding from a dispensational view and student's weakness in their understanding of Scripture after graduation. Bible colleges seem to be more interested in liberal art and how to make a living than the Biblical understanding and Theology.
We both agreed there was just not enough written accurately on the subject and it needed to be taught. I challenge him to write more in his final years because of the respect he held in the Christian community. Hoping it would clear up some of the confusion caused by his first booklet he wrote in seminary.
In his booklet he misrepresented the mid-acts position by mingling it with a Acts 28 position. The Acts 28 position hold to the belief of two raptures, no communion and no water baptism and they start the church for today at the end of Acts also, some believe in the error of universal reconciliation. He grouped the two together (mid-acts and Acts 28 positions) as one of the same and in doing so makes false claims of the mid-Act position held by Pastor J.C. O'Hair and others in their dispensational understanding.
The Mid-Acts position espoused by the Grace Gospel Fellowship states the church today started between Act 9 and 13, and do not believe in water baptism for today they do believe in communion and do not believe in universal reconciliation.
However, we will shown the Grace movement and the Grace Fellowship has made errs in their belief of water baptism and other tenets of the mid-acts position. This little booklet by Dr Pickering seemed to set the precedence for many believers to follow and set a prejudice of the mid-Acts position without knowledge.
All mid-acts believers who are dispensational in their understand do not hold to the errors of an Act 28 position. A mid-act position correctly studied will show how to reconcile the problems of an Act 2 dispensational position with a mid-acts position without going to far in trying to bring unity to Biblical understanding .
Dispensation are very important today because of the world we live in today. The world need a clear understanding of how God has worked since creation. The mid-Acts dispensational understanding will give understanding and show the responsibility to teach, preach, and live as ambassadors of God's word for today.
I have found many believers opposed to the mid-Acts position without knowledge or without accurate knowledge of the position. I also found when trying to clarify the position, argument without knowledge would occur were the opposition wanted to argue instead of looking to the Bible for clarification.
The opposition seemed to be scared to look at the scriptures objectively. Most would not even want to look at the Bible all they wanted to do is argue from what they heard or their position on Baptism. I do not agree with the position on water Baptism of those who have espoused a no water baptism position and if you have read my chapter on Baptism were I address this topic you will see why and why Baptism is and should be practiced for membership for identification with Jesus Christ after salvation and membership in the local church.
Those who have the Dispensational understanding of scripture should not have rejected the mid-Act truths over the issues of water baptism, or a Paul only attitude which is and was a miss-understanding of the position also, the claim the mid-Act position cut up the word of God - is not true, in fact it unifies the Scripture giving clarity. This is not to say all those who are mid-Acts are correct on all their teaching, some were and are in error but it was because of an individuals position (individuals in the Grace movement or Grace Fellowship movement) not the mid-Acts position. It is sad that one will accept the errors of covenant theology by rejecting the errors and accepting the true's which they are correct on but do not give the mid-acts position the same treatment.
Those who are and were to the understanding of the dispensational approach should have studied more on the mid-Acts truths for if they had they would have discovered truths as the Holy Spirit open their eye, clarifying their understanding to God's dispensations (administration), but instead they have gone backward in their understanding.
The Mid-Acts position does clarify and solidify the truth of Scripture more accurate. The mid-Acts truths only clarity the dispensationalist position and if accepted there would not have been the errors and confusion in Christianity we find today. If we reject truth from God and His word we can not go further in our understanding and we go backwards. In the world today we need to be accrete with our teaching and preaching the word of God as the Holy Spirit gives direction.
There is many inconsistencies with a Act 2 and covenant positions in where they start today's program and ends today's program of God. It has caused many to be confused and even caused others to leave the faith claiming contradictions. In the mid-acts truths there are universal truths which do not change, there are connections to the covenants and promises and the eternal called out assembly of God's chosen in Christ Jesus.
Those who espouse the Acts 2 position have as many problems as those who espouse the covenant theology position. They are left to spiritualize scripture and to be inconsistent in showing the symmetry and unity of the Word of God. We have found many believers actually going backwards, going back to covenant theology with the denial of the Rapture, and having the church call His Body and going through the Tribulation judgment period. Also, which is a tragedy some who teach a Covenant Theology view call themselves dispensational who in all reality are not. Only the mid-act revelation can correct the errors and explain to the world man's accountability before God clearly and gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to open one eyes to the great symmetry of God's working revealed in His word the Bible.
Then again we have found many believers today not having a solid foundation in theology. They except a milk toast Christianity which will effect the next generation who won't even know how to please God or come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Today we see many called Christians doing that which is right in their own eyes and calling it Biblical or from God. Many practices today is from a confused approach to Scripture and can be traced to a false understanding in the teaching of scripture. There is a 'hodge-podge' approach to scripture today which is not accurate. Many churches today have embraced things of the world's standards in practice and leave a false gospel to the world for redemption and have embraced a wrong outreach approach to them for true conversion. If the hearts of the lost are going to change they need a conversion not a social handout.
These brothers I have spoken about I do appreciate and highly respect their affords to serve our Lord. I feel very inadequate for the task which I believe God had called me to do and write this book. I hope and pray those who are more scholarly can take this material and expound on it further.
Has the following been covered and expressed in chapter and book
The following scriptural true's are not new true's. The organizing is an attempt at showing the truths which have always been in scripture and many great men of God have touched in the past. If there is ever another study done one could examine history and the teachings of Bible writers and theologians and find aspects of the true's put down to the Glory of God. The following is a humble attempt to organize the teachings of scriptural fundamentalist and stop fellow brothers and sisters from being tossed by every wind of doctrine. These true's are to help and identify errors of men's teachings.
The chart is to help to understand the writings of the Bible and see the symmetrical working of God and how the periods of the history of man relates to the entire program of God. This chart also should help to understand how this is a direct relationship to our present time without making faults assumptions. Dispensational teaching of the Word of God helps to grasp and comprehend the Bible literally, it is truly the fundamental approach to understanding how God has worked in His mercy and grace.
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By: Theodore D Pestor/ President/Pastor BTH