By Rev. Charles Cooper
In a recent review of the book The Rapture Question Answered Plain and Simple by Robert Van Kampen, Dr. Mal Couch, President of Tyndale Theological Seminary and Bible Institute, misrepresented the facts.
Dr. Couch writes in The Conservative Theological Journal (December, 1997) on pages 236-237:
Van Kampen also quotes Dr. John F. Walvoord, former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, from his book The Rapture Question (Findlay, OH: n.d., 1957, p.148), “. . . neither posttribulationism or pretribulationism is an explicit teaching of the Scriptures. The Bible does not, in so many words, state either.”
But does Walvoord actually write this? The quote from page 148 of Walvoord’s book actually is a poor paraphrase, by Van Kampen, from a statement by George Ladd . . .
Nowhere could this author find Walvoord writing on page 148, or any other page, the quote Van Kampen attributes to him. Van Kampen’s “quote” could be a deliberate garbled composite of the statement above from Walvoord’s book. We hope this is not the case.
For the record, I want to set forth clearly what is written in the first edition of The Rapture Question by Dr. John F. Walvoord. Because Dr. Couch all but called Mr. Van Kampen a liar, I photocopied the actual page out of the book while visiting Dallas Theological Seminary on Wednesday, February 11, 1998. It is reproduced here (along with the title page) for you to read and review:
Please notice what is actually written in the first edition of Dr. Walvoord’s book. Four observations:
1. The quote does appear as Mr. Van Kampen indicated.
2. There are no quotation marks or footnotes to indicate that Dr. Walvoord is quoting or paraphrasing Dr. Ladd. (Although the sentence immediately preceding it does.)
3. A normal reading would indicate that these are indeed the words of Dr. Walvoord.
4. Subsequent editions of Dr. Walvoord’s book have a completely different paragraph than what is written here.
It is my hope that Dr. Couch simply did not have the time to do the proper research on this matter and spoke without all the facts. At any rate, Mr. Van Kampen is not in error.
This is not the first time that Mr. Van Kampen has been accused of inventing this particular quote. Why is it that pretribbers seek to disown this quote? A careful analysis reveals that this quote should never have been written by anyone who teaches that pretribulationalism is the only correct biblical view of the rapture. For a view that is held and defended with such conviction, one would think that Scripture explicitly teaches it “in every word.” Yet Walvoord indicates that “the Bible does not in so many words state either.”
Is it any wonder that Dr. Walvoord left it out of all subsequent printings of the book after the first edition and that writer after writer deny that he wrote it?
Just for the record.
After the posting of the above, Dr. Couch responded in The Conservative Theological Journal:
|The Conservative Theological Journal
April 30, 1998
In the December 1997 edition of THE CONSERVATIVE THEOLOGICAL Journal, we wrote that Robert Van Kampen, in his book THE PRE-WRATH RAPTURE QUESTION ANSWERED PLAIN & SIMPLE, misquoted Dr. John F. Walvoord in his earliest edition of THE RAPTURE QUESTION.Van Kampen wrote that Walvoord said “… neither posttribulationism nor pretribulationism is an explicit teaching of the Scriptures. The Bible does not, in so many words, state either.”For the article, I searched high and low for a copy of Walvoord’s book that would show that quote. I found none. I stated the same in the article. I even talked with Dr. Walvoord and Dr. Richard Mayhue. The exact quote could not be found.But a critic of the article and a supporter of Van Kampen said that a copy was found at the library of Dallas Seminary. From the first printing, a 1957 copy was discovered that had originally been published by Dunham Publishing Company. The statement was in that original volume but pulled by Dr. Walvoord in later editions that was also published by another press.In my December article on Van Kampen’s book I stated honestly that we attempted to find the quote. I even gave the quote some benefit of the doubt by stating “in the quotes, or misquotes …” So in this sense we stand corrected. Dr. Walvoord, over forty years ago, did print that statement…
Dr. Mal Couch
Editor, The Conservative Theological Journal