Attn: All Dispensationals

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by NateT, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. NateT

    NateT
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    Could you look at this article and tell me if you consider it a fair and adequate description of dispensationalism.

    Thanks
     
  2. rjprince

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    No time to respond in detail, but I see several areas of misunderstanding (nicer than saying misrepresentation, I will give him the benefit of the doubt). At a cursory glance, he seems to be much less vindictive than most Covenant Theologians I have read. He is on track with much of his presentation of the dispensational position, but I see a few areas of strong disagreement with his representation. Hope to be able to address in the next few days or so...

    Generally, I have found few CTs who really understand dispensationalism. Nor have I found any CTs who admit the recency of their own system.

    Just one thought, if you really want to understand dispensationalism, get Ryrie's book, "Dispensationalism". If you want to understand the historical background of D, get his "The Basis of the Premillennial Faith". Amazing how many CTs only read books about D written by those who reject it. By the same token, it is also amazing how many D's have never read Gerstner, Chilton, Mathison, DeMar, Gentry, Mauro, et al. If we are going to criticize the other camp, the least could do is understand their position a little better.
     
  3. NateT

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    Thanks for your initial response. I think there will be some things that you will disagree with because he seems to state that he is over generalizing and using only Classical D (as opposed to Progressive etc.)

    Additionally, he wrote that CT came about in the 16th century.

    I'm reading it because I don't know which camp I fall under. After reading that presentation, I'm leaning more towards CT. That's why I want opinions from Dispensationalists. I don't want to hold a view of DTs if that view is based on a completely misconstrued representation of what they believe.
     
  4. rjprince

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    Don't go for a view of either DTS or RTS. Read both straight from their own pens and then compare with the Word of God. I have always sought to read the very best writers both for and against the position to which I was leaning. If I could not answer the arguements of those with whom I disagreed, one of two things is true. Either they were right, or I did not know my own position very well.

    The fact that somebody makes a shift in position does not necessarily mean that their original position was wrong and the new position is right. It may simply mean that they read a very persuasive writer and were not able to respond to his clever arguments.
     
  5. OldRegular

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    I have read Ryrie's Dispensationalism and saw nothing after a brief read that contradicted anything in Ryrie. The writer, whoever he is, makes the point, as I have numerous times on this Forum, that the primary difference between dispensationalism and covenant theology is the Doctrine of the Church. He writes:

    "Now, allow me to paint in broad brush, right now, not for the sake of tarring and feathering someone, but at least trying to get us to the nub of the issue. The fundamental difference between Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism is this issue of Israel and the church. Dispensationalism stresses the literal fulfillment of prophecy about Israel and posits an essential difference between physical Israel and the church. If you have Dipensational friends who are discussing with you how you interpret Old Testament passages, and their fulfillment is seen in the New Covenant, almost always they will tell you something like this, “Well, I take the Bible literally and you are spiritualizing away these passages.” Now what they really mean by that is they take the term Israel, literally. Now, everybody has to acknowledge symbolic elements in prophecy. Anybody who has read dispensational interpretations of the book of Revelation will see that it is very clear that dispensationalists also have a very symbolic approach to the meaning of Scripture, but what they mean , whereas you think that these prophesies about Israel and Judah in the Old Testament are fulfilled in the church and in the coming in of the Gentiles into the church, we dispensationalists do not believe that the Church is prophesied about in the Old Testament. And we believe that the prophesies about Israel and Judah in the Old Testament are to be literally fulfilled in Israel in Judah in the New Covenant.

    Now, again, allow me to overstate it like that for emphasis. Because as you have already learned from Poythress, there are some dispensationalists who would want to say it differently than that. But we can’t say everything at once, and we have got to start somewhere. So let me generalize like that. I don’t think that it is an unfair characterization.

    Now, Covenant Theology on the other hand, sees the Church as the fulfillment of Israel in New Covenant prophecy. Covenant Theology is happy to acknowledge the uniqueness of the Church, especially in its post Pentecost phase. But Covenant Theology sees all believers in essential continuity. There are not two peoples of God. There is one people of God."

    I am not a dispensationalist in case anyone has any doubts. Incidentally the writer refers to Poythress. He has written a book Understanding Dispensationalists to which the writer may be referring.
     
  6. Craigbythesea

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    Dispensational theology and covenant theology are both the inventions of foolish men whose goal in life was to squeeze and force God into a steel-clad matchbox from which He could not escape. The really sad thing is that these men have not yet realized that the god they squeezed into their matchboxes was NOT the God of the Bible!

    Dispensational theology is especially ridiculous and harmful because it greatly detracts from the clear and express two-covenant teaching throughout the New Testament, dividing the Bible into seven imaginary parts rather than the two parts that are a genuine reality—the Old Covenant and New Covenant, otherwise known as the Old Testament and the New Testament. The consequence of this is that they understand neither law nor grace, giving us a vast multitude of wild and conflicting theories of salvation.

    There are many alternative theologies--my favorite is Biblical theology.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. bapmom

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    I always thought I was a dispensationalist, until I saw it described here. Most of what's been said about dispensationalism has almost no resemblance to anything Ive ever been taught.
     
  8. go2church

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    I read the article last night and thought it did a good job of describing dispensationalism. The chart at the end was a good summary. Overall I think it is fair and accurate. The problem is that there are so many variants of dispensationalism it makes it very difficult to pin down. Classic/ Scofield Dispensationalism now rarely taught in even dispensational schools, unless they are flaming fundy's. Most have moved to some form of progressive dispensationalism, even if that is not what they call it.
     
  9. Grasshopper

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    Funny, what ED and Dr. Bob and most of the other dispies on the board teach, is exactly what I grew up with and accepted most of my life. The problem is when you take it to its logical conclusion you have the problems that the article addresses. In fairness, many will say those are not problems but they are to me.

    Most pew sitting Baptist are just like I was never really studied for themselves and just believed what was taught them. rjprince had good advice, study the views and come to your own conclusion using scripture as your guide.
     
  10. NateT

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    My wife and I were discussing this last night, and I made a statement that was similar to Craig's although perhaps not as adamant. Both CT and DT are systems that attempt to make the best description of the available evidence.

    I never really knew what I was and when I studied it the first time in a Systematic Theology course, I saw aspects of both that I thought were true... which lead me to read more on it now.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  11. bapmom

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    Grasshopper,

    its not that I haven't studied for myself, its that Id rather not study viewpoints....seriously. Id rather just read the Bible and figure out my own position. Im really not trying to sound all holier-than-thouish, just trying to point out that the view Id come to was what I thought was dispensational. However, I don't disagree with:
    "Now, Covenant Theology on the other
    hand, sees the Church as the fulfillment of Israel in New Covenant prophecy. Covenant Theology is happy to acknowledge the uniqueness of the Church, especially in its post Pentecost phase. But Covenant Theology sees all believers in essential continuity. There are not two peoples of God. There is one people of God."

    Seriously, Id never even heard of "covenant theology" until I came here. The only difference I can see is that I would hold to the rapture being before the Trib......

    Does this just mean that Im a dispensationalist, but part of those "varying degrees" that have been mentioned?
     
  12. NateT

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    From what I can tell, the fingerprint of dispensational theology is that there are 2 people of God, the national Jews (the biological seeds of Abraham-Issac-Jacob-Joseph) and the church. Covenant Theology would hold that there is 1 group of God's people, those who trust in the Messiah (either as was foreshadowed to come in the OT, or as was revealed in the NT).

    That is probably oversimplification, but I believe that is the major difference.
     
  13. bapmom

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    Nate, that is what I saw through these posts as well......

    I guess Ive always seen the people of Israel as being separate and distinct, yet saved in the same way as us Gentiles. We both have to believe on the Messiah. So I see it as saved Jews are just as much a part of the Church as everyone else, and unsaved Jews are just as lost as an unsaved Gentile.
    The only differene is in how God treats them as a nation in the Last Times.
     
  14. Grasshopper

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    Bapmom,

    I have a hard time understanding how you could hold both these veiws:

    1."Now, Covenant Theology on the other
    hand, sees the Church as the fulfillment of Israel in New Covenant prophecy. Covenant Theology is happy to acknowledge the uniqueness of the Church, especially in its post Pentecost phase. But Covenant Theology sees all believers in essential continuity. There are not two peoples of God. There is one people of God."

    2.The only differene is in how God treats them as a nation in the Last Times.

    It seems you acknowledge that the Church is the fulfillment of the promises made to Old Covenant Israel, yet then say somehow 'Israel" still has a place in the "last times".

    Perhaps you are a Covenant Dispie. [​IMG]
     
  15. bapmom

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    [​IMG] Maybe thats why Im so confused by the talk on these threads! I thought I was one, when really Im a combo deal.

    To me, the two views just do not seem all that dissimilar. Now nderstand, some of the points of dispensationalism that Ive seen described here would be what Id call part of an extreme fringe. I do know of some minor groups who believe Israel is saved a different way, or even that ALL of Israel is saved....however, I never attributed those beliefs to dispensationalism. Perhaps therein lies my confusion, as well.

    I see it as God dealing with individuals at some times (salvation is an individual judgement), while God deals with whole Nations at other times. Throughout the "Church age" God seems to continue to deal with Israel as a nation in a special way. They are promised a return to their homeland, they are promised the same sort of special protection that they had in the OT, and then in Revelation the 144,000 witnesses are specifically Israelites.

    But in regards to salvation, there is no Jew or Greek distinction, the Jews must be saved by believing in the Messiah just like we Gentiles do. The unsaved Jew is just as lost as the unsaved Gentile.
     
  16. gb93433

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    Absolutely well said. I haved seen many stray from the faith because of these inventions of man. I was one of them at one time. It caused many more questions that answers. When I stopped reading those theologies and started to understand the historical background and context of scripture that is when I began to see a better picture of who God is and how He has worked.
     
  17. rjprince

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    Numerous issues are raised in the article referenced at the beginning of this thread. Here is my position on several of them. This is a statement of my position, not a presentation or a defense of my position. If any of this is not “Biblical Theology” I welcome the opportunity to further consider other relevant Scripture passages...

    ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH -
    In His first promises to Abraham, God chose a “covenant people” separate from all other nations of the earth. It was to this nation that all of the covenants since Abraham were given. Jesus came to “His own,” but the Jewish nation did not receive Him as their Messiah. As a result of their rejection, Israel has been judged by God and scattered among the nations of the world. Yet, the unconditional promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and the people of Israel will one day be fulfilled in a literal manner. The Jews will one day mourn over the One whom they pierced and will be gathered back to the promised land. The temporary partial blindness will be removed and all Israel shall be saved. The Church participates in the blessings and salvation provided by the New Covenant but remains distinct from the nation of Israel and does not inherit the physical blessings associated with being the physical seed of Abraham. At no point in Scripture are Gentile (non-Jewish) believers ever called “Israelites” and at no point are the physical promises of the Jewish covenants ever applied to the church.

    THE NEW COVENANT -
    The New Covenant was promised to the nation of Israel as recorded by Jeremiah. Although the New Covenant was ratified by the death of Jesus on the cross, it has not yet been realized. The New Covenant will restore the nation of Israel to the place of covenant blessing with the result that “all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:26-27). The writer of Hebrews confirms that this covenant is between God and Israel with clear statements in Hebrews 8:8,10. There is no Biblical indication that there is any covenant with the church, whatsoever. Believers partake of the benefits of the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus as far as both temporal and eternal blessings are concerned, but Church age saints are nowhere said to be party to the New Covenant.

    THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND THE SABBATH -
    The Ten Commandments are an integral part of the Mosaic Law that was given to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai after their exodus from Egypt. The Mosaic Law was never given to the Gentiles and it was never affirmed for the Church. On the contrary, the Mosaic Law has been done away and nailed to the cross. Specifically, the “ministration of death” and “condemnation” “written and engraven in stones” is “done away” (2Cor 3:6-11). Therefore, we are to let no man judge us “in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days” (Col 2:16). The Sabbath was never given to the Gentiles or the Church, it was a sign between God and Israel (Exod 31:13-17). Even at that, the Sabbath was commanded as a day of rest, not a day of worship or assembly. The Word of God plainly declares that the Sabbath was a perpetual covenant between God and Israel to be kept throughout their generations. After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus met with the disciples on several occasions on the first day of the week. Paul commands that offerings be laid aside on the first day of the week. By the time John wrote Revelation, the church had begun to refer to the first day of the week as “the Lord’s Day”. It is poor hermeneutics to take the principles of Sabbath observance and transfer them to the Church and to the observance of the Lord’s Day.

    THE DISPENSATIONS -
    No matter how many dispensations are preferred, it is clear that God has dealt differently with mankind at various points in the history of the earth. Adam was told to eat only fruits, nuts, and vegetables. After the flood, Noah was told to eat meat (“every living thing that moveth” - Gen 9:3). Under the Mosaic Law, certain kinds of animals were defined as unclean and the Jews were forbidden to eat them. The Jews were told to approach God with an animal sacrifice. Believers today approach God on the basis of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of these distinctions clearly indicate that God’s manner of dealing with mankind, and mankind’s responsibilities toward God have undergone some significant transitions throughout history. Dispensationalism is basically a recognition of the fact that God’s requirements and man’s responsibilities have changed through the ages. Conservative dispensationalists would argue that salvation has been by grace through faith in all ages and that the shedding of blood has always been required for salvation. While faith has always been required, the content of the faith has varied at different points throughout Scripture. The Old Testament saints did not understand the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ and to suggest that they were saved on the basis of their faith in His coming death is to clearly go beyond the written Word of God. Even the eleven disciples failed to understand the significance of the crucifixion till some time afterward. It has been suggested that anyone who trusts in the death of the Lord Jesus rather than an animal sacrifice and who fails to observe Old Testament distinctions between clean and unclean animals is, in reality, a dispensationalist.

    THE COVENANTS -
    God has established covenants at various points in His dealings with men. The Noahic covenant was God’s unconditional promise to never again destroy the earth with a flood. It is with all mankind, all creatures, and the earth. It is perpetual and unending. The symbol of the Noahic covenant is the rainbow. The Abrahamic covenant was a covenant between God and Abraham. The Abrahamic covenant is unconditional and unending. Though the covenant was ratified in Genesis 15, the full provisions of the covenant have not been fulfilled in that Israel has not yet received and retained all the promised land as an everlasting possession. The Noahic and the Abrahamic covenants are unilateral in that God’s promises are not contingent upon man’s obedience. The Mosaic Covenant was a bilateral or conditional covenant between God and Israel. In spite of repeated national pledges to keep the Mosaic law, it was broken many times. The Mosaic Covenant was done away when Jesus died on the cross. The Land Covenant (sometimes called the Palestinian covenant) was given in Moab and was in addition to the Mosiac Covenant. It provides for the return of the Jews to the land from which they have been driven and their national restoration as the people of God. This was also an unconditional covenant in that even though God foretells their rebellion and judgement, He still promises to gather the Jews back to the land and back to the place of blessing. The New Covenant is addressed separately. It is also important to mention at this point that although the Bible speaks often of works, grace, and redemption, at no point is there ever any reference to covenants of works, grace, or redemption. This interpretive scheme is imposed onto Scripture and while it may be helpful at points, its overall effect is damaging to the clear understanding of Scripture. This is true in that many literal promises to Abraham and his progeny must be allegorized and applied to the Church in order to uphold the interpretive assertions of Covenant Theology.
     
  18. Grasshopper

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    So we receive benefits from a Covenant that has not yet been made.
    And we who live after the cross are not party to the New Covenant.

    This is why I'm no longer a dispie. Walk into a Baptist Church and proclaim that they are not party to the New Covenant nor has the New Covenant even arrived yet. They will laugh you out of the Church, yet it is exactly what they would believe if they followed their own beliefs to their logical conclusions. Paradox?

    Was the New Covenant Jesus proclaimed different from Jeremiah's?
     
  19. rjprince

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    The New Covenant has been ratified by the death of Jesus on the cross, but not embraced by Isreal and Judah, at least not yet (Zech 12-14). We receive the benefit just as "all families of the earth" are blessed as part of a provision of God's covenant with Abraham. The Gentiles were not party to that covenant, but they are recipients of some of the blessings.

    As to the parties of the New Covenant, what saith the Scripture?

    Jer 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
    32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
    33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
    34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
    35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:
    36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.

    The text is pretty clear as to both the provisions of the New Covenant and the parties of the New Covenant. When the New Covenant is fully in effect, “they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them”.

    The Abrahamic Covenant was ratified in Genesis 15 and it has yet to be completely fulfilled. The fact that it was made and ratified at that time does not change the fact that all of its provisions are not yet fully in effect. Israel does not fully possess the land as an everlasting possession (Gen 17:8).

    The writer of Hebrews identifies the parties of the New Covenant clearly as well:

    Heb 8:8 ...Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
    9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
    10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
    11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
    12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.


    Show me where Jesus proclaimed that the New Covenant included Gentiles? Where Paul proclaimed that the New Covenant included Gentiles? If you are going to ridicule my position, at least do it with Scripture...

    Being laughed at does not bother me. In some Baptist churches you could ask the congregation to turn to the book of Hezekiah and just listen to the rustle of pages as the bulk of the congregation tried to find it. Ignorance is no respecter of either persons or denominations...

    Again, I ask. Open the Word. Cite some Scripture, then let us reason together...
     
  20. gb93433

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    Mt. 5:17,18, ""Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished."
     

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