Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 115:459 (Jul 58) p. 265
Acts Dispensationally Considered. By Cornelius R. Stam. Berean Bible Society, Chicago. Vol. I, 1954, 294 pp. $3.00; Vol. II, 1955, 293 pp. $3.00.
Written by the author of The Fundamentals of Dispensationism these two volumes constitute an exposition of Acts through chapter fifteen based on an extreme form of dispensationalism. In contrast to such representative dispensationalists as C. I. Scofield, A. C. Gaebelein, and L. S. Chafer, who begin the church in Acts 2, the author of these volumes believes that the church as the body of Christ began with the conversion of Paul in Acts 9 and that water baptism is not properly an ordinance for the present dispensation. He designates the church of the earlier chapters of Acts as Jewish or Pentecostal and to be held in sharp contrast to the dispensation of grace beginning in Acts 9.
Stam considers the Scofield view that the church began in Acts 2 a “serious error” (II, 168, italics in original). The author, however, rejects the extreme view of Bullinger who began the body of Christ as late as Acts 28. He also disagrees with ultradispensationalists who begin the Gentile church in Acts 16 or Acts 13. He therefore represents a school of dispensationalism more extreme than Scofield, but less radical than Bullinger. The basic reasons for the author’s viewpoint is opposition to the gospel message of Acts 2, “repent and be baptized” as a true gospel of grace, and the desire to escape other problems in the early Acts period usually considered as somewhat transitional.
Most readers, even those friendly to moderate dispensationalism, will find the treatment unconvincing and one which creates more problems than it solves. The author holds that the entire period of Acts 9–28 is transitional. Why not begin the transitional period with Acts 2 as other dispensationalists do? Embarrassing to the author is the fact that Paul himself was baptized with water, an ordinance which he discards, and therefore Paul according to Stam was saved in the “Jewish” period. He is likewise embarrassed by the ministry of Peter to Gentiles (Cornelius) after Paul’s conversion, as in his approach he desires to make Peter and the apostles exclusively Jewish in contrast to Paul’s ministry to Gentiles. All problems are solved for Stam by the transitional nature of You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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