The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

A Flood of Consistency (Part 1)

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An article that appeared in a recent issue of Biblical Worldview has drawn some criticism among dispensational and young-earth creationist advocates. In the April 2006 issue, Brandon Vallorani and I rehashed a bit of the history surrounding the publication of the landmark book, The Genesis Flood, by Drs. Morris and Whitcomb. It was our contention that this was a great example of competing theologies (reformed and dispensational) being able to put aside differences in order to work together in the promulgation of commonly-held truth. However, Dr. Thomas Ice (and others) took issue with our article, and wrote a critique of it.[1] We thought it was important to answer his criticism, as well as offer a bit of clarity.

Dr. Ice begins his article by claiming that a “majority of…creation scientists are also dispensational premillennialists when it comes to their view of Bible prophecy.” On this Ice is undoubtedly correct. In fact, we made this point ourselves in our own article. But the mere fact that the majority of any one group believes something to be true does not make it true. While Morris and Whitcomb may believe their views of Creation and Bible prophecy to be inextricably linked by their “literal” hermeneutic, this does not make it so. Ice himself claims to be a Calvinist and this puts him at odds with the majority of dispensationalists. Does this make him an “inconsistent” dispensationalist? Ice then goes on to quote both Mark Noll and Ronald Numbers—both severely hostile witnesses, to say the least—as evidence of the consistent hermeneutical relationship between Genesis and Revelation. In fact, Noll attributes the weakened and emaciated (as he sees it) state of current evangelicalism to two main factors: young earth creationism and dispensational end-time speculation. In the opening chapter of his book, Noll writes:

Numbers [in his book on creationism] describes how a fatally flawed interpretive scheme of the sort that no responsible Christian teacher in the history of the church ever endorsed before this century came to dominate the minds of American evangelicals on scientific questions; Boyer [in his book on dispensational prophetic speculation] discusses how an equally unsound hermeneutic has been used with wanton abandon to dominate twentieth-century evangelical thinking about world affairs…[Numbers and Boyer] show millions of evangelicals thinking they are honoring the Scriptures, yet interpreting the Scriptures on questions of science and world affairs in ways that fundamentally contradict the deeper, broader, and historically well-established meanings of the Bible itself.[2]

Why Ice would quote either Noll or Numbers is curious based on the conclusions of both of their books. Ice wants to hold us accountable for beginning with a proper premise (young earth creationism) and ending up with what he perceives as a wrong conclusion (preterist eschatology), yet he’ll favorably quote Noll and Numbers as dependable sources, even though they flatly deny his entire position. An interesting approach to scholarship indeed.

Endnotes:

[1] Thomas Ice, “The Logic of Biblical Creationism and the Future,” Tom’s Perspectives. Available online at: http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=271
[2] Mark A. Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994), 14.

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