Is John Sailhamer Dispensational?

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Frank O. Fuentes

Puritan Board Freshman
I recently started reading "The Meaning of the Pentateuch" by John Sailhamer. I tried to look up info on him, but couldn't find much. I was wondering if he was Dispensational ala John MacArthur.


Puritanboard Amanuensis
Thank you for your feedback. I just haven't been able to find anywhere where it states what he believed. I'm still in the Introduction to the book, page 34 or so.
He might just see h imself as unpacking the text and there is no reason to state which group he belongs to.


Puritan Board Freshman
Dispensationalist Paul Henebury reviews the book in 3 parts here:

He mentions that later in the book Sailhamer offers critiques of both covenant theology and dispensationalism, but more so of covenant theology. I read the book about 4 years ago and do not remember an overt reliance on any dispensational ideas. But Paul Henebury's take is that the book offers many constructive ideas that can be beneficial to a dispensational scheme, and elsewhere on his site he has referenced that he believes the book to be detrimental to a reformed-covenantal view. Many readers have claimed the book as beneficial, though. I myself read it too fast to remember or profit much of it, and later sold it during a book purge.


Puritan Board Doctor
He wasn't Dispensational a la MacArthur. He's only "Dispensational" if you argue that all Baptists are "dispensational," which is what some covenantalists do.

I'm not sure if Sailhamer identified with any particular camp but it seems clear that he rejected both the covenantal and dispensational systems. A good many baptistic scholars have held to views similar to New Covenant Theology but didn't identify with it in any kind of formal way, perhaps partly because there has never really been any agreement as to what it actually is other than rejecting aspects of both covenant theology and dispensationalism.

The aforementioned Paul Henebury (who is a dispensationalist) said that he is a bit mystified as to why so many covenantalists liked "The Meaning of the Pentateuch" since Sailhamer takes federalism to the woodshed, in his view. I'm sure Sailhamer's rejection of covenant theology did not escape the notice of at least some readers who affirm federal theology, but they found the book to be profitable nonetheless.

For what it's worth, I have this book but I haven't really delved into it.
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