A Review of “Dispensationalism” by John Wick Bowman: Part I -- By: Clarence E. Mason, Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 114:453 (Jan 1957)
Article: A Review of “Dispensationalism” by John Wick Bowman: Part I
Author: Clarence E. Mason, Jr.


A Review of “Dispensationalism” by John Wick Bowman:
Part I

Clarence E. Mason, Jr.

[“The Bible and Modern Religions: II. Dispensationalism,” Interpretation, 10:2:170–87, April, 1956.]

[Editor’s note. Interpretation is published quarterly by the Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.]

[Clarence E. Mason, Jr., is Dean of the Philadelphia Bible Institute and a member of the Committee for the revision of the Scofield Reference Bible appointed by the Oxford University Press.]

In evaluating John Wick Bowman’s article on dispensationalism, the writer is reminded of the comment of a veteran Jewish mission worker. Said he, “Why Jews are just like other people, only more so.” This article is very much like other attacks on dispensationalism, only more so.

Bowman’s article is probably the most significant of an increasing number of such articles which are beginning to appear in theological journals in the United States. This trend is an admission of a belated awakening in theological circles to the importance and extent of the acceptance of the dispensational viewpoint among American Christians. Until recently there had been a tendency to ignore as unimportant, or to bypass simply from lack of acquaintance, any serious consideration of dispensationalism.

Probably the best-stated remark on this strange phenomenon is found in an unpublished thesis by Talmage Wilson on “The History of Dispensationalism in the United States,” which he sent this writer and others for comment and criticism. Emphasizing the studied ignorance of those who should but do not know about, nor recognize the importance of, dispensationalism in the present American scene, Wilson says: “In the United States, the theology of the Plymouth Brethren blossomed into Dispensationalism, gaining adherents from among Christians of every sort, some so remote from Brethrenism as to be shocked upon learning the source of their doctrines. This theology has brought into being a large body of literature, a great number of schools, and many Christian movements. Yet it is a theology which is

treated with studied ignorance by large sections of the theological world. A signal example is the Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge which devotes one column to a discussion of ‘Dispensationalism,’ while giving seven columns to a delineation of ‘Sufism’ (an ascetic-mystical movement within the Islamic religions). Under the topic, ‘Theology, Twentieth Century Trends in,’ there is no mention of Dispensationalism.”

The larger part of Bowman’s articl...

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