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Biographical Notes about Dr. Kenneth Gentry

Dr. Gentry explains his "conversion" from dispensationalism.

  • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.,
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Dr. Gentry explains his "conversion" from dispensationalism:

From 1966 until 1975 I was a dispensationalist. I was attracted to the movement because it boasted of a consistent Biblical outlook, which could explain the times. I was saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ at a dispensationalist youth camp in Boca Raton, Florida; I attended a dispensationalist church (Calvary Bible Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee) pastored by my dispensationalist uncle (Rev. John S. Lanham); I graduated from a dispensationalist college (Tennessee Temple University, Chattanooga, Tennessee) with a degree in Bible; I attended a dispensationalist seminary for two years (Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana); and I even owned a loose-leaf New Scofield Reference Bible, filled with all the notes necessary to make and keep one a dispensationalist.

In many ways it was great being a dispensationalist, yet also frustrating. It was great to know we had the reasons for the problems of modern society. It was frustrating that as a Christian I was not expected to have any hope of successfully promoting any Biblical solution to those problems, even though I was taught that the earth is the Lord's and the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. At the age of 20 I even turned down a life insurance policy because I was convinced that I would not be around long enough to have a family that would need it. My college days were lived "with anticipation, with excitement" because I thought "we should be living like persons who don't expect to be around much longer." I wish I could take some of the courses over: I was around long enough for graduation day to come.

While studying at Grace Theological Seminary, two influences converged causing me to reject dispensationalism. The first was my researching a paper on the Lordship Controversy. This led to my discovery of the significance of the Acts 2 enthronement passage, which shook my dispensationalism to its very foundation. The second was the discovery at about the same time of O. T. Allis' Prophecy and the Church. This work bulldozed the residue of my collapsed dispensationalism. A couple of friends of mine (Rev. Alan McCall and Mr. Barry Bostrom, Esq.) and I not only soon departed dispensationalism but transferred from Grace Seminary to Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Previously we had been partial Calvinists, now we had become fully reformed, hence non-dispensational.

At Reformed Seminary I took two courses that initially seemed implausible and misguided extravagance. The courses were "History and Eschatology" (in which was defended postmillennialism) and "Christian Theistic Ethics" (in which was set forth theonomic ethics). Both of these courses were taught by Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen. Regarding the eschatological question, even though I was no longer a dispensationalist I had assumed Pentecost, Lindsey, and other dispensationalists were correct in affirming "postmillennialism finds no defenders or advocates in the present chiliastic discussions within the theological world." Unfortunately, I still had dispensational blinders on my eyes, for in the very era in which Pentecost's book was published (1958) there were at least four notable works in defense of postmillennialism—one of them endorsed by the famed, orthodox Old Testament scholar, O. T. Allis: J. Marcellus Kik's Matthew Twenty-Four (1948) and Revelation Twenty (1955), Roderick Campbell's Israel and the New Covenant (Introduction by O. T. Allis, 1954), and Loraine Boettner's The Millennium (1957).

Regarding eschatology resources, Dr. Gentry explains:

The American confusion on eschatology is so tied to confusion over Israel, that once the Israel question is taken care of, then a Biblically-based eschatology can be established upon the rubble that remains. These two books (besides my own!) are now at the top of my list of eschatology recommendations, even though they are not specifically eschatological:

David Holwerda's "Jesus and Israel: One Covenant or Two?" At times he sounds almost postmillennial and theonomic. This is an extremely helpful antidote for people suffering from dispensationalism. Helps cure reflexive dispensational withdrawal symptoms by striking at their causes: confusion over the role of Israel in redemptive history.

P. W. L. Walker's "Jesus and the Holy City." This fascinating book is the best analysis I have seen of the pending doom of Israel as evidenced in the New Testament record. I could hardly put the book down when I started reading it.

Dr. Gentry's works include:

The Christian Case Against Abortion (Footstool, 1982, 1986). Five printings; two editions.

The Christian and Alcoholic Beverages (Baker, 1986, 1990). Two printings.

The Charismatic Gift of Prophecy: A Reformed Response to Wayne Grudem (Footstool, 1986, 1990).

The Beast of Revelation (Institute for Christian Economics, 1989, 1994).

Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (I.C.E., 1989; Christian Universities Press, 1997).

House Divided: The Break-up of Dispensational Theology (I.C.E., 1989; 1997).

The Greatness of the Great Commission: The Christian Enterprise in a Fallen World (I.C.E., 1991, 1994).

He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology (I.C.E., 1992; 1997).

Lord of the Saved: Getting to the Heart of the Lordship Debate (Presbyterian and Reformed, 1992).

God's Law in the Modern World: The Continuing Relevance of Old Testament Law (Presbyterian and Reformed, 1993).

Regarding tapes and speaking engagements, Dr. Gentry writes:

I have an extensive tape library of conferences, interviews, debates, sermons, and so forth on various Reconstructionist themes. A catalog is available for $1.00 from me: 46 Main St., Conestee, SC 29636. I enjoy radio interviews and speaking at Bible conferences, though I have to limit them due to my first calling which is pastoral ministry.

For writing assistance from Dr. Gentry:

Dr. Gentry's "RIGHTEOUS WRITING" course is designed to polish the God-given talents of the aspiring Christian writer and diligent student. The correspondence course includes instruction in academic reading, library research techniques, writing effectively, securing a publisher, and marketing your work. It consistes of 23 tapes, two texts, syllabus, and interactive oversight.

Contact Dr. Gentry for more information.

  • Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., holds degrees from Tennessee Temple University (B.A.), Reformed Theological Seminary (M. Div.), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th. M.; Th. D).  He also attended Grace Theological Seminary for two years.  He is Research Professor in New Testament (Whitefield Theological Seminary), a theological writer, and conference speaker. He has written numerous books and articles on issues such as theology, ecclesiology, eschatology, theonomy, six-day creation, presuppositionalism, worldview, Christian education, and more.  He also offers a Christian writing correspondence course.  He is the Director of GoodBirth Ministries, a non-profit religious educational ministry committed to sponsoring, subsidizing, and advancing serious Christian scholarship and education.  He is a retired Presbyterian minister holding his ordination vows in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Assembly.

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