Understanding The Bible
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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
Edited by Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
INTRODUCTION TO SYLLABUS ON ESCHATOLOGY
Proper acknowledgments are in order. Substantial portions of this syllabus have incorporated material, used with permission and revised., originally prepared by Doctors J. Dwight Pentecost (a former PCB professor), C. Fred Lincoln, Henry C. Thiessen, John F, Walvoord, Lewis Sperry Chafer, and others in descending order of the amount of material included. All those mentioned are presently, or at one time were professors in Dallas Theological Seminary.
As most are aware, Dr. Chafer was the founder of the Seminary and author of an eight volume Systematic Theology; Dr. Walvoord is the current president and a noted author; Dr. Pentecost has expanded the course he once taught here at PCB in his book entitled Things To Come and Dr. Thiessen authored a one volume Lectures in Systematic Theology.
However, the syllabus also includes considerable new material, among the most significant of which are a number of new definitions of words such as dispensation and covenant. Some of these pioneer new or expanded and refined conceptions of these and other areas of Bible truth now under heavy attack by anti-dispensationalists. It is devout hoped that some of these definitions will approve themselves to earnest students of the Word as superior to those formerly used and providing more helpful solutions to some of the problems urged by opponents.
My associate, Dr. John F. McGahey, has also had a heavy hand in the revision of portions of this syllabus. He has completely rewritten the Introduction (Section I, pp. and the areas dealing with the various views on the theological covenants, the views on the millennium, and on the time of the translation (or rapture) of the Church. In the final analysis, however, I accept; responsibility for the wording used and positions taken.
It will be observed that the Scofield Reference Bible is constantly referred to order that the student may integrate this course with SRB and learn how to make practical use of the excellent chain references, marginal references, footnotes, and other feature winch are so generally neglected by owners of SRI3. In tile meantime, the New Scofield has been issued (April 13, 1967). There is even closer integration between the position taken in this course and the New SRB. Usually both old and new locations of notes are given and should be compared. The New SRB refines a large number of debated points (e.g. , definition of dispensation, Gen. 1:28).
The viewpoint of this course is that no student is prepared to understand prophecy unless and until he sees the total purpose of God and particularly until he becomes acquainted with that purpose as expressed in a study of the ages-dispensations and covenants. Eschatology literally means the 'Doctrine of Last Things." Practical!'', it means the "Doctrine of Future Things," or Prophecy. However, another distinctive of this course is that we insist that everything that was future when God first revealed it must be included in Eschatology.
When it is remembered that the Scriptures state that, in the counsels of the Godhead, Christ was "slain before the foundation of the world, " in a certain basic sense the total dealings of God with mankind are included in Eschatology. This will explain the substantial amount of material in the first half of the course devoted to that which is not often thought of as Eschatology by the average teacher. All this is in sharp contrast to the standard theologies which practically equate Eschatology with a general resurrection, a general judgment, and the eternal destiny of the saved and lost, covering as they often do the whole range in a few brief pages, with even less proportion of time in class due to its coming at the end of the course.
The goal of this course is to gather all the doctrinal teaching of Philadelphia College of Bible into a coherent whole and to give the student a feeling of completion in his thinking and study of God's great program in His created world. (It will also be observed that Ecclesiology, the doctrine of the Church, is studied under Section VI in its proper place in the divine program between the cross of Christ and the return of our Lord.)
May the Lord we love and serve be exalted as the Spirit takes the things of
Christ and shows them to us, as we study this syllabus.
C. E. Mason, Jr., D.D.
Philadelphia College of Bible
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