A perusal of Walvoord’s writings makes it clear that his major focus was not upon modern dispensationalism as a system, but upon its eschatological implications. He accepted the theological structure that dispensationalists impose upon the Bible (e.g., literal interpretation, progressive revelation, discontinuity between the covenants, 47 and a sharp contrast between Israel and the church). Embracing the tenets of modern premillennialism, as derived from Chafer (who in turn had been heavily influenced by Scofield) and cogently expressed by Charles Ryrie, 48 Walvoord specifically delineated the prophetical details of that system.
Integral to Walvoord’s understanding of Scripture, as well as to classic dispensationalism as a whole, is the concept of two distinct peoples of God with two distinct programs having two distinct destinies. Also integral is the assumption of the literal integrity of Scripture, which entails the crucial concept that prophecy is not fulfilled figuratively; when a promise is given and later fulfilled in Scripture, it always comes to pass literally and specifically (i.e., the fulfilment directly involves the very people to whom the promise was originally given). 49 The two distinct peoples having two separate destinies are Israel and the church (a people neither Jew nor Gentile, but a new entity in Christ). The covenantal promises made to Israel (the Abrahamic, Davidic, and new covenants) are yet to be fulfilled; in the meantime, Israel has been scattered among the Gentiles because of her disobedience.
On the basis of his concept of prophetic fulfillment Walvoord concludes that there is to be a future for ethnic Israel:
On the basis of his concept of prophetic fulfillment Walvoord concludes that there is to be a future for ethnic Israel:
1. It is obvious that Israel has not possessed the land permanently.
2. The prophets clearly promise that Israel will be regathered from the third dispersion and be in her land during the millennial kingdom.
3. It is evident that the promises given to Israel will not be fulfilled by the church or the Gentiles.
4. So the promise must be fulfilled by the physical seed of Jacob in keeping with the Abrahamic covenant. 50
The church age, which commenced on the day of Pentecost ( Acts 2 ), is distinct from God’s program for Israel. It is an era in which the fulfilment of God’s promises to the nation Israel has been postponed. God in this era is provoking Israel to jealousy by turning to the Gentiles; in a sense unknown or unanticipated in the Old Testament Scriptures, the present era is an age of grace for non-Jews.
Walvoord’s distinction between Israel and the church has recently been modified in at least one respect. In his earlier writings Walvoord struggled with the relation between the church and the new covenant given to Israel ( Jer. 31 ; Heb. 8 ) and concluded with Chafer that there must be two new covenants. 51 More recently, he has come to Scofield’s position that there is but one new covenant with two separate fulfilments. 52 With regard to the Davidic covenant ( 2 Sam. 7 ), however, Walvoord, in contrast to Scofield and the progressive dispensationalists, is unwilling to see a fulfilment in the church. 53 While he is willing to grant that “the Bible does refer to a form of the Kingdom in the present age,” it must not be confused with or allowed to denigrate the future fulfilment. 54 God’s interim program for the peoples of the earth (i.e., the church) will end with the rapture of the church. Inasmuch as various historical events suggest that what is to occur after the rapture, namely, Christ’s second coming with his saints, is near, it is logical to infer that Christ’s coming for his saints is imminent. 55 This distinction between the two aspects of the second coming, a distinction that is built on the assumption of two peoples and two programs of God, is crucial in Walvoord’s schematization. 56 Once the rapture of the church has taken place, God will turn to his people Israel and bring to literal fulfilment the Old Testament promise of a land, a seed (Christ reigning), and universal blessing. However, unrepentant Israel must be brought to this happy state of millennial blessing through judgment—the great tribulation. The chronological framework for these events is found in Daniel 9:24–27 , where the prophet predicts a “seventy week” era for Israel. According to Walvoord, and dispensationalists generally, sixty-nine of those “weeks” were historically fulfilled during the period from Nehemiah’s rebuilding of Jerusalem to the death of Christ. A pivotal “week” (seven years), however, remains. 57 This will be a time of judgment; it will conclude the “times of the Gentiles,” a term that refers to Israel in the Diaspora (i.e., from the Babylonian captivity to the second coming).
In Walvoord’s view, a central part of the scriptural revelation is its “careful explanation of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Many predictions were made about the important events that will occur before Christ’s second coming. When these events are placed in their proper order, the result is a prophetic calendar of what soon may happen in the world.” 58 And, indeed, signs of the second coming as well as precursors of the great tribulation are already evident in history. Walvoord believes that the world is on the brink of a ten-nation confederacy, a revival of the Roman Empire (“the Roman Empire has never had the ending predicted in Scripture”). 59 A world demagogue, the Antichrist, will also emerge, as will an oppressive world religion. 60 According to the prophetic timetable, Israel will make a pact with the revived Roman Empire, a coalition of nations from Western Europe. The nation Israel will be invaded by Russia, a nonaligned power (the king of the north, the prince of Rosh), and be utterly destroyed. 61 This, Walvoord suggests, may catapult the ruler of the ten nations into unrivaled power in the middle of the great tribulation and inaugurate huge judgments against the earth in the latter half of that catastrophic period. 62
The great tribulation will end in a final conflagration, the battle of Armageddon; Christ will return in glory to Mount Zion in an act of divine judgment on the nations. 63 This is the second coming of Christ. “A utopian world will follow.” 64 Christ will inaugurate a literal kingdom upon the earth. The essential purpose of this millennial age will be to fulfil the covenantal promises to Israel. Says Walvoord, “The Millennium will be the occasion of the final restoration of Israel.” 65 At the conclusion of this era, the final judgment of humankind will take place before the great white throne. This will be followed by the creation of the new heavens and new earth, the final abode of the redeemed. 66 Although Walvoord is clear that there are two separate peoples of God with two distinct programs, he is not so clear as to how their eternal destinies will differ. Thus the new Jerusalem, while identified distinctly as the city of the bride (the church), “nevertheless includes in its boundaries the saints of all ages and the holy angels.”67
We have seen that the contribution of John F. Walvoord to the evangelical movement in America and beyond has been twofold. As an industrious visionary president, he used enormous energy to bring a small, debt-encumbered seminary to its current status as a large, prosperous, world-class institution. As a scholar and writer he sought to preserve and advance the heritage of the Bible conference movement as it was represented in a number of Bible institutes and the school of postgraduate education established by his mentor and predecessor. In the former task he was eminently successful; in the latter—the defense of dispensational premillennialism—he was less so. He himself has suggested that his interpretive viewpoint has not attracted the sympathies of the broad spectrum of evangelical scholars. 68 This, however, should not disguise the fact that he is an accomplished scholar whose writings are highly regarded in the evangelical subculture to which he belongs.
1 Specific biographical sources are rather meager and often lack a critical perspective. Timothy G. Mink, “John F. Walvoord at Dallas Theological Seminary,” Ph.D diss., North Texas State University, 1987, has some general insights, but is not creatively organized; the bibliography is helpful. Rudolf A. Renfer’s “History of Dallas Theological Seminary,” Ph.D. diss., University of Texas, 1959, provides some insight into the earliest years of Walvoord’s career. Of the available periodical literature the most helpful articles include Donald K. Campbell, “Walvoord: A Tribute,” Kindred Spirit 10 (Spring 1986): 5–7 (this material also appears in Walvoord: A Tribute, ed. Donald K. Campbell [Chicago: Moody, 1982], 7–12); Michael Fluent, “John F. Walvoord: Staunch Conservative Retires from Dallas Seminary,” Fundamentalist Journal 5 (April 1986): 61–63; John A. Witmer, “ ‘What Hath God Wrought’—Fifty Years of Dallas Theological Seminary. Part II. Building upon the Foundation,” Bibliotheca Sacra 131 (Jan.–March 1974): 3–13; and “Q & A: An Interview with John F. Walvoord,” Fundamentalist Journal 3 (Oct. 1984): 47–49.
2 Fluent, “John F. Walvoord,” 62.
3 For a discussion of Chafer and the Dallas Theological Seminary, see Renfer, “History”; and John D. Hannah, “The Social and Intellectual Origins of the Evangelical Theological College,” Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Dallas, 1988.
4 For Buswell’s and Chafer’s degrees see Hannah, “Social and Intellectual Origins,” 358, 157.
5 Chafer and Buswell were exceedingly suspicious of the more strident wing of the evangelical-fundamentalist coalition as reflected in the World Christian Fundamentals Association (founded 1919) under the leadership of William B. Riley and J. Frank Norris. In reply to Buswell’s inquiry about the Evangelical Theological College’s relationship to the fundamentalist movement of the 1920s, Chafer stated: “I think you know quite well the attitude we hold. While we stand for all of the Fundamentals of the Word of God, we are not identified with the Fundamentalist Movement as such. I have not been in sympathy with the movement from its beginnings” (Chafer to Buswell, 14 Feb. 1930, Lewis Sperry Chafer Papers, Archives, Dallas Theological Seminary).
6 A distancing of sorts between Chafer and Buswell did occur in the 1930s. John Murray of Westminster Seminary had argued that ancient premillennialism (a view that emphasized testamental continuity and a single people of God as opposed to testamental discontinuity and two forever distinct peoples of God—Israel and the church) had historical precedent, but modern premillennialism (i.e., dispensational premillennialism) did not. Buswell defended Murray’s assertion: “Whereas I am ardently a premillennialist, my own personal views are quite extremely opposed to what is commonly called dispensationalism” (J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., “A Premillennialist’s View,” Presbyterian Guardian , 14 Nov. 1936, p. 46). To Chafer he wrote: “I have disagreed with you in regard to your interpretation of the dispensation of the law for over ten years. Now I am a premillennialist, and you are a premillennialist. My premillennial view is not identical with your view of the dispensation of the law. I defend the premillennial view. You are under attack from the enemies of premillennialism for points of doctrine which I personally do not accept” (Buswell to Chafer, 24 May 1937, J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., Papers, Archives, Dallas Theological Seminary).
7 For a discussion of the influence of the Keswick movement on this segment of evangelicalism, see George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 72–80; and Douglas W. Frank, Less than Conquerors: How Evangelicals Entered the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 103–66.
8 Hannah, “Social and Intellectual Origins,” 269.
9 Witmer, “What Hath God Wrought,” 4; for the syncretism at the school see Hannah, “Social and Intellectual Origins,” 164–70, 189–93, 201–9.
10 Fluent, “John F. Walvoord,” 63; Campbell, “Walvoord,” 6.
11 Witmer, “What Hath God Wrought,” 4.
12 “Dr. Charles A. Nash Appointed Registrar,” Dallas Theological SeminaryBulletin 21 (July–Sept. 1945): 2; Mink, “John F. Walvoord,” 75–109.
13 “Board of Incorporate Members Unanimously Elects Dr. John F. Walvoord President of Seminary,” Dallas Theological Seminary Bulletin 28 (Nov.–Dec. 1952): 2.
14 “Seminary Combines Inauguration of President with Dedication of Chafer Chapel,” Dallas Theological Seminary Bulletin 29 (Jan.–Feb. 1953): 2.
15 Mink, “John F. Walvoord,” 159. 16 Campbell, “Walvoord,” 5; Walvoord, ed. Campbell, 7.
17 Walvoord has commented: “The seminary was really a carryover from the Bible institute movement, with emphasis on Bible content. Chafer’s goal was to raise this to the seminary level and produce teachers who could go back to the Bible institute and train others. So many of the Bible teachers in that era were selftrained men and Chafer felt the need for gaining respectability in the teaching of the Bible. Of course his ambition was realized in the early days of the seminary when about 25 percent of our graduates went back to teaching. “Today the percentages are a little lower, but certainly the numbers are just as high. Many Bible colleges and Evangelical seminaries insist on a Dallas-trained man when looking for faculty. There is hardly a Bible college of any size that has not one or more of our Dallas men on the faculty. At least a hundred of our men are either deans or presidents of schools of this sort. The number one reason for this is we give them the content of the Bible and interpret the Bible literally from a premillennial perspective” (“Q and A,” 47).
18 Hannah, “Social and Intellectual Origins,” 72–144.
19 Ibid., 182–92; see also Rollin T. Chafer, “Some Distinctive Features of the Evangelical Theological College,” Evangelical Theological College Bulletin 2 (Nov. 1925): 6–13.
20 Lewis Sperry Chafer, “A New Departure in Theological Training,” Our Hope 34 (Jan. 1928): 432.
21 Lewis Sperry Chafer, “Effective Ministerial Training,” Evangelical Theological College Bulletin 1 (May 1925): 10–11.
22 This point is immensely important to grasp if we are to understand the seminary and its second president; dispensational premillennialism (i.e., modern dispensationalism) was the grid through which the Bible was to be interpreted. To truly know the Bible, to be an accurate teacher of it, one had to embrace this perspective with regard to every book of the Bible; see Hannah, “Social and Intellectual Origins,” 187–88. For recent discussions of the rise of dispensational premillennialism, see Ernest R. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism: British and American Millenarianism, 1800–1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970); and Timothy P. Weber, Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming: American Premillennialism, 1875–1982, rev. and enlarged ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983).
23 “The Opening Exercises,” Evangelical Theological College Bulletin 1 (Jan. 1925): 13–14.
24 Quoted in “Dr. John F. Walvoord on the Distinctives of Dallas Seminary,” Kindred Spirit 4 (Fall 1980): 5.
26 Hannah, “Social and Intellectual Origins,” 273–317.
27 Mink, “John F. Walvoord,” 71.
28 Witmer, “What Hath God Wrought,” 8–9.
29 Ibid., 3–4; “Report of the President to the Board of Incorporate Members of Dallas Theological Seminary,” 1986–87, p. 1.
30 “Report of the President,” 1986–87, p. 1.
31 Witmer, “What Hath God Wrought,” 11.
33 “Report of the President to the Board of Incorporate Members of Dallas Theological Seminary,” 1975, p. 5; Mink, “John F. Walvoord,” 276.
34 “Report of the President,” 1975, p. 6.
35 “New Degree to Be Offered,” Kindred Spirit 3 (Fall 1979): 12b; “Report of the President to the Board of Incorporate Members of Dallas Theological Seminary,” 22–23 October 1987, pp. 7–8.
36 Quoted in Mink, “John F. Walvoord,” 322.
37 The Dallas Morning News, 26 July 1992, J11, referred to Walvoord as “the grand old man of fundamentalism.” Such a statement could be misleading if one does not realize that the term fundamentalism has changed in nuance in this century. In the early decades the term was a synonym for the evangelical-conservative coalition that responded to the rise of the modernist movement in theology. This coalition, as George Marsden has defined it, was a broad group that found cohesion in hostility to liberalism and in a shared view of Scripture. The coalition was, however, shattered in the 1930s and 1940s. From theological divisions in the 1930s (e.g., modern premillennialism precluded affiliation with the Reformed tradition) and sociological and theological dissension in the 1940s and 1950s emerged the separatist or nondenominational movement. The term fundamentalism came to be used of this subsegment of American evangelicalism.
If Walvoord is to be labeled a fundamentalist, it must be recognized that the term signifies a broad spectrum of ideologies and practices, and that he speaks for but a segment of it. To say that he is the grand old man of fundamentalism is at best an overstatement. He saw Dallas Seminary as serving a narrow segment of the conservative movement in America. It catered to the theological Right (i.e., the “real” fundamentalists), which was characterized by separatist and legalistic preoccupations. This group eschewed the progressive evangelical movement on the theological Left as becoming soft on the inerrancy of Scripture. It also held to a domino theory of theology that began with premillennial dispensationalism. For concise discussions of the current polarities within evangelicalism see The Evangelicals: What They Believe, Who They Are, Where They Are Changing, ed. David F. Wells and John D. Woodbridge (Nashville: Abingdon, 1975); Donald G. Bloesch, The Future of Evangelical Christianity: A Call For Unity amid Diversity, 2d rev. ed. (Colorado Springs: Helmers and Howard, 1988); and Evangelicalism and Modern America, ed. George M. Marsden (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984).
38 In the context of the mounting international crisis with Iraq, which caused interest in prophecy and the sales of the revised edition of Walvoord’s Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990) to soar, a front-page article (“Armageddon”) in the Chicago Tribune, 14 October 1990, referred to Walvoord as “the king of prophecy.” This is a not so subtle evidence of his stature among scholars and writers in this field.
39 Witmer, “What Hath God Wrought,” 9–10.
40 Revisions that the new edition makes in Scofield’s notes are instructive for students interested in the recent developments in dispensationalism. For example, in the note on Matthew 3:2 Scofield listed three aspects of the kingdom of heaven: (1) the kingdom that was at hand in Christ’s day, though it was rejected and postponed; (2) the present mystery form; and (3) the physical fulfilment to be realized in the future millennial reign. The committee of scholars kept this note essentially intact, but with one rather remarkable alteration. Reference to 2 Samuel 7:12–16 (the Davidic covenant) was moved from category (2) to category (3). The committee sought to argue that the Davidic covenant has only a future fulfilment, whereas Scofield had suggested that there is a present fulfilment in the reign of David’s greater Son. Similarly, in contrast to the classical dispensationalists, progressive dispensationalists maintain that the Davidic covenant is being fulfilled in the church today. For a discussion of recent changes in dispensationalism see Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church: The Search for Definition, ed. Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992); Craig A. Blaising, “Development of Dispensationalism by Contemporary Dispensationalists,” Bibliotheca Sacra 145 (July–Sept. 1988): 254–80; Robert L. Saucy, “Contemporary Dispensational Thought,” TSF Bulletin 7 (March–April 1984): 10–11.
41 For a discussion of this journal see John Henry Bennetch, “The Biography of Bibliotheca Sacra ,” Bibliotheca Sacra 100 (Jan.–March 1943): 8–30; Arnold D. Ehlert, “Editorial,” Bibliotheca Sacra 98 (Jan.–March 1941): 5–6; John A. Witmer, “ ‘What Hath God Wrought’—Fifty Years of Dallas Theological Seminary. Part I. God’s Man and His Dream,” Bibliotheca Sacra 130 (Oct.–Dec. 1973): 301.
42 “Changing of the Guard,” Bibliotheca Sacra 142 (Oct.–Dec. 1985): 291.
43 An Analytical Index to Bibliotheca Sacra (1934–70): 183–85; (1971–80): 44–46; (1981–90): 85.
44 Campbell, “Walvoord,” 7.
45 Walvoord, ed. Campbell, 11.
46 Quoted in Mink, “John F. Walvoord,” 316.
47 See John F. Walvoord, The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor, 1990), 12—“The Bible progressively reveals the truth of God in such a way that changes are recognized as the contrast between Mosaic Law and the present age of grace. Late revelation may replace earlier revelation as a standard of faith without contradicting it.” 48 Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago: Moody, 1965), 22–47, 86–109.
49 For a discussion of Walvoord’s interpretative assumptions see Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook , 9–17. He also notes here (p. 14) that “many prophecies of Scripture were fulfilled shortly after their revelation. At least half of the prophecies of the Bible have already been fulfilled literally. Such fulfillment confirms the fact that unfulfilled prophecy will also be literally fulfilled as one can anticipate from fulfillment of prophecy already achieved. Fulfilled prophecy is an important guide in interpreting prophecy unfulfilled and generally confirms the concept of literal interpretation of prophecy” (see also pp. 648–763).
50 John F. Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 95.
51 John F. Walvoord, “The New Covenant with Israel,” Bibliotheca Sacra 103 (Jan.–March 1946): 27; 110 (July–Sept. 1953): 193–205. 52 Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 188–91. 53 Ibid., 108–9; see also n. 40.
54 John F. Walvoord, “The Kingdom of God in the New Testament,” Bibliotheca Sacra 139 (Oct.–Dec. 1982): 310.
55 Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 229–48, 265–304; idem, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook , 481–83.
56 John F. Walvoord, What We Believe: Discovering the Truths of Scripture (Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 1990), 143–57.
57 Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 165–75; idem, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook , 248–59; idem, What We Believe , 165–66.
58 Walvoord, Armageddon, 13.
59 Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 313.
60 Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 312–27; idem, What We Believe, 164–71;
idem, Armageddon, 109–62.
61 Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 328–37. 62 Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 337, 346–53; idem, What We Believe, 167–68; idem, Armageddon, 163–75.
63 Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 354–75; idem, What We Believe, 175–83; idem, Armageddon, 177–99.
64 Walvoord, Armageddon, 199.
65 Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 391; see also 389–406; idem, What We Believe, 183–89.
66 Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 407–28; idem, What We Believe, 195–98.
67 Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 415.
Sumber: Elwell, Walter - Handbook of Evangelical Theologicans (memuat 33 Biografi Singkat para Teolog abad 19 dan 20)