© Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw 2001, 2010
(please do not sell)
(This is a personal letter to one of my past dispensational Bible College professors who wanted to know why I had left dispensationalism after I graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary. I have rewritten some of the letter for broader distribution. In particular, some of the harder hitting points, such as the section on repentance, were not in the original letter, though they were in the book (Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow,) I wrote that I sent him.)
Also, the issue of repentance and Lordship I have addressed in my book, Lordship Salvation: The Only Kind There Is, available at www.footstoolpublications.com. My other books may be found there also, though the site still needs a lot of work.). The book on dispensationalism just mentioned is due out again soon in its fourth revision and seventh printing; please check the same site for it.
Dear Dr. . . . ,
You asked me about my ecclesiology (doctrine of the Church); you have asked me about it previously. I have deliberately not pursued it with you as I do not want that to come between us. I did not want to debate you about it at lunch recently but to enjoy the fellowship in the Gospel. Indeed, the ecclesiology issue is an “in house” debate among evangelicals. The basic theology I learned at Mid-South Bible College (MSBC, was Crichton College and changed names again to Victory University) and from my mother and grandmother (2 Tim. 1:5 applies to me) I have never laid aside but adhere to it tenaciously. The Trinity, hypostatic union, Virgin Birth (actually virgin conception, as Dr. Crichton rightly stated)—in short, the Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, Chalcedon on the Person of Christ, are what the Church has defined as evangelical orthodoxy for centuries, with justification by faith alone in Christ alone added during the Reformation as a necessary implication of the Apostolic faith. Cranmer quotes many early fathers who held to “faith alone,” even using those very words. Our doctrinal statement here at Cranmer Theological House is the Thirty-Nine Articles, which you would find quite satisfying in most points.
But regarding my ecclesiology, I have enclosed my part of a book that Grover Gunn and I wrote in 1984, Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow. I graduated from DTS; and Gunn finished all the courses, but they would not allow him to graduate because of his change of theology, which seems to me both illegal and immoral. Most of your questions regarding my ecclesiology will be answered in the pages from the book you now have. But I shall give you my personal history.
When I went to Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) in 1972 (as the first MSBC student with an accredited degree), I was convinced of dispensationalism. The first year there I had no doubts, but mid-way through the second year I was in rapid Greek reading when a professor (Dr. Ed. Blum) stated that there were two views of sanctification on campus. (The question was raised from the passage we were “Greeking,” as we used to say.) We were told that there was the Walvoord/Ryrie/Pentecost view, which was Arminian, carnal Christian, and higher life without perseverance, denying the lordship of Christ in salvation, and then there was the perseverance or Calvinistic view. Naturally, I told myself that I was of the former view since I had been taught that at MSBC. But the seed Blum planted stayed with me, causing me later to question my assumptions regarding grace and later the assumptions of dispensationalism itself. (For the 11 1/2 pages that go into theological reasons why I left dispensationalism, please click here.)