LieralismPMW 2021-131 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Populist dispensationalism is heavily committed to a literalistic hermeneutic. (I do not mean that literally, however: how could an intellectual commitment to a hermeneutic construct be “heavy”? Unless, of course, it is presented in a big book containing either a large number of pages or a small number of extraordinarily thick sheets of paper. But I digress.).

Many dispensationalists argue for a literalistic hermeneutic based on Christ’s first coming. They state that since his first coming was a literal fulfillment of OT prophesy it serves as evidence that all OT prophecy should be interpreted literally. But when we look into the NT, we find that it can present Christ and his enthronement in a spiritual sense, as well. This undercuts the literalism argument in that it shows that prophecies regarding Christ’s first coming are not always and invariably literalistic.http://www.kennethgentry.com/products/He-Shall-Have-Dominion-%28paperback-book%29-30%25-off%21.html

He Shall Have Dominion

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A classic, thorough explanation and defense of postmillennialism (600+ pages). Complete with several chapters answering specific objections.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com

For instance, in Acts 2 we find a classic and eschatologically relevant spiritual fulfillment of the OT in the apostolic era. Peter interprets the Davidic kingdom prophecies in general (Ac 2:30) and Psalms 16:8–11 (Ac 2:25–28) and 110:1 (Ac 2:34–35) specifically as being fulfilled in Christ’s ascension and session:

Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. (Ac 2:30–33)

Here Peter declares that David prophesied the enthronement of Christ when he spoke of his resurrection. The resurrection of Christ begins his state of exaltation, which ends his earthly state of humiliation. And it is the beginning of his kingly enthronement. From Pentecost until the end of history Christ is enthroned and reigning as a king. Jesus is not awaiting a future, literal enthronement in a dispensational millennium. [1]Indefensible

Indefensible (by Sam Kastensmidt)
Sub-title: 10 Ways the ACLU is Destroying America. An Important work in our day of cultural collapse and Christian persecution.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com

This is the standard exposition of non-premillennial covenant theologians (e.g., Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants, 220–21), as well as non-dispensationalist premillennialists and progressive dispensationalists (e.g., Ladd, Theology of the New Testament, 344).

Later, Paul preaches that Christ’s resurrection fulfills David’s promise to Israel: “And we declare to you glad tidings; that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’ And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David’” (Ac 13:32–34).

Literalism has difficulties in the kingdom preaching passages in Acts.

Special note
For an important, free, downloadable mp3 sermon on Genesis 2:4-ff click here: What Is the Message of Genesis 2? In this message I show that more was told to Israel of the Creation than we find in Genesis 1 and 2, pointing out that the Creation Account is necessarily a summary account. I also point out that Moses has a moral reason for presenting the Creation account; he is not providing it simply for Israel’s interest. Then I show that Genesis 2:4 is the heading of the following section so that it structurally links Genesis 2 with Genesis 1 and begins the redemptive story of the rest of Genesis and all of Scripture. If liberalism’s attack on Genesis 2 has alarmed you, I recommend listening.


  1. As an aside, this passage in Acts 2 led me out of dispensationalism while I was enrolled in Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. When I came upon this passage in my research for a class paper, I was startled to see Peter’s point. Not long after this discovery, I left Grace Theological Seminary and transferred to Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. There I studied under Greg L. Bahnsen and was startled one more time: this time by his strong affirmation of postmillennialism.

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2 thoughts on “WAS LUKE A LITERALIST?

  1. CAIQUE MATHEUS RIBEIRO CALIXTO February 21, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    Dr. Gentry,
    Luke 21.28 says: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

    “Redemption” in this verse seems to be a reference to the final redemption that Christ will bring about at his second coming. How does this verse fit with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70?

  2. Kenneth Gentry February 22, 2023 at 11:25 am

    In this particular context, the “redemption” looked for us the deliverance of the first century Christians from their enemies who are attempting to destroy them. Remember the Already / Not Yet principle of biblical interpretation. Historical actions often point beyond themselves to ultimate actions. That is, spiritual resurrection in salvation point ahead to the ultimate physical resurrection at the end of history; spiritual new creation begun in the first century points to the ultimate new creation in which we will dwell in eternity; our spiritual justification points ahead to our final justification at the Final Judgment; etc. etc.

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