Dispensationalism Q

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by RLBosley, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. RLBosley

    RLBosley
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    Hey all. Quick history to explain my situation, then my question.

    I've been raised in Baptist churches all my life (SBC when I was younger, IFB now). Was saved young (11 y/o, I'm now 24) and have only heard the Bible explained through what was called a "Dispensational" point of view. That is how I've read, studied and believed the Bible. Now, I have met several other believers and found several articles online regarding this method of interpretation and have found that it's a serious debate (something I didn't even know about until last year!). Now, looking into dispensational beliefs I've found a lot of difference from what I was taught.

    The website Against Dispensationalism has their 95 theses http://againstdispensationalism.com/95-theses-2/ going through a list of disputed dispensational beliefs. But I've never heard of MOST of these! E.g. The following points:
    So, I could list others that I have never heard or only heard of as "fringe" beliefs, but you get my point I hope. So my questions are these;
    Is this the standard teaching of dispensationalism?
    If so, (Somewhat rhetorically) how did I miss that?
    And what was I taught under that same name?
     
  2. humblethinker

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    RLBosley,
    Welcome to the board. One thing I've found, that you seem to have realized, at least to some degree, is that self proclaimed Baptists can believe a myriad of doctrines and still be Baptists. The important issue for me is who is it that is handling the truth of matters with intellectual and moral integrity. That is who I want to get counsel from. I 'grew' in an invironment where views that were contrary to what 'we' held were represented incorrectly and incompletely. IMO, intentionally misrepresenting other people is morally unacceptable.

    My advice would be that if you want to get advice from people on this BB then spend some time getting familiar with all of us characters here. Don't focus on the ones whose beliefs simply comport to yours. Find people online and offline that hold to epistimological humility and that treat others who have different views with love and respect.

    All I've ever known is dispy. I agree with your assessment of the representations you listed: they do not fairly represent what I've always known as a dispy. Much beyond that I'm not prepared to voice an opinion on dispy-ism other than the dispies I knew also held views which I no longer hold, at least not with the same amount of certainty.
     
  3. thomas15

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    Welcome to the forum RL. It will not take you very long to discover that the very debate you talk about is very much alive on this web site. You will get strong opinions either way.

    The two (in my opinion) main camps are the Dispensationalist (which I'm one of) and Reformed/Covenant camp. That is where the real fighting takes place. The Arminian camp may take exception here but they are not as vocal a group. It really comes down to just how you view the actual words of the Bible and apply that thinking to your personal theology.

    It could take a person years to fully understand the issues for all perspectives. My only recommendation would be to read a lot of source material and check everything against the Bible. While critiques from the opposite viewpoint can be powerful, you should not rely on what other people think the other people think (awkard comment but you get the picture). Everyone has an agenda including little ole me.
     
  4. Van

    Van
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    Hi RL, usually these articles opposed to some biblical belief are full of strawman arguments, so I would say find out what the Dispensationalists believe, i.e. in their own words, rather than taking an opponents word for it.

    The very first thing to recognize is that many folks accept what is called Traditional Dispensationalism, which maintains the church is separate from "all Israel." Thus the promises to Israel will be fulfilled but they do not apply to the church. I think that view is wrong. So I take the other path, I am a progressive dispensationalist, which says the church is grafted into "all Israel" and both are children of the promise.

    On the other side of the street are the Covenant Theology folks who say the church replaced "all Israel" and the promises, such as the thousand year reign of Christ are not literal.

    Bottom line, find out what all three groups say in their own words and then ask questions.
     
    #4 Van, Aug 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2012
  5. RLBosley

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    Thanks and yes I am seeing that more all the time. Even within the IFB there are so many disagreements and cliques. Pro-Hyles, anti-Hyles, Reformed, Free will, LS Salvation, Easy Believism... :BangHead:

    Oh yes, in fact seeing some of the debates on here is what really got my attention. While debate is good, many on here take it out of hand and go at each other in a very un-Christian way.:tear:
    I am wanting to base everything off the Bible, regardless of popular opinion. That's why I ditched all my study Bibles with commentary on the page in favor of a note-taking Bible. LOVE IT!

    Yeah I was thinking that they were building a lot of strawman arguments but I wasn't certain, and I didn't want to accuse someone of being deceitful when it could just as easily be my own ignorance.

    From the three positions you put forth I would be a progressive dispy since that is what I have always been taught and what makes sense to me from the Scriptures. I've never understood why some take the 1000 year reign as allegorical. To me, it seems to plainly say a 1000 year reign on Earth. But I probably should stop there, I don't want to hijack my own thread! :)
     
  6. thomas15

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    Every word is there for a reason and even allegory is there to teach a truth that our wonderful God wants us to know.

    Look forward to hearing from you.
     
  7. RLBosley

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    Oh of course. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16

    That includes the allegories :)

    My concern is when people try to force an allegorical meaning on something that, to me at least, is most easily explained as literal.
    But I could be wrong, and in the end it honestly won't matter who was right or wrong when it comes to Eschatology or any other silly arguments.

    Regardless. I'm hijacking my own thread with that. Back to dispensationalism!
     
  8. AresMan

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    I used to be a "progressive dispy." This seems to be the most common view in modern Baptist circles.

    Sure, the Scriptures "seem to plainly say a 1000 year reign" just as they "seem to plainly say" that God "owns the cattle on 1000 hills" and that "one day is with the Lord as 1000 years, and 1000 years as one day." Must we then understand these "literalistically" such that God owns mathematically less than the cattle on 1001 hills or that God literally experiences the history of the earth as slightly more than 6 seconds AND the exact inverse of this simultaneously? No, obviously the writers of Scripture (and God Himself) can exercise the prerogative to use figurative numbers as a form of understatement to emphasize a point.

    I lean toward the believe that the "1000 year reign" is not literally 1000 years (would it need to match the exact nanosecond too?), but rather that "1000" here, just like the other instances mentioned above, is a figurative number used as an understatement. The reason I lean toward a "realized millennium" is because the integrity of God's Word seems to force this:

    Daniel, in interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream said: "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." (Daniel 2:44)

    "These kings" specifically refers to the Babylonian - Roman empires. Accordingly, Daniel declared that during the Roman Empire God will set up a kingdom.

    This is the kingdom of which Jesus said was "at hand" during His first advent. He also said "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight." Jesus, being the ruler of this kingdom, proclaimed that "the kingdom is within (among) you." Since the king was there, the kingdom was present at that time. In a parable of the kingdom Jesus said that the king told his servants (Christ's disciples) "Occupy until I come." (Luke 19:13) This does not mean that the kingdom was "postponed," but rather, the saints are "occupying" the kingdom on earth with Christ reigning in heaven. The "nobleman" is now in "a far country," but He is still the king of the kingdom that He has entrusted to His servants to occupy and increase. The Second Coming of Christ is still future, but it will be the end of the kingdom on earth in its present form. The Second Coming of Christ will be the event when He comes to destroy His enemies and execute the final judgment.

    1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
    1Co 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
    1Co 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
    1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
    1Co 15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
    1Co 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.


    At His coming then comes "the end." This end is when He "shall have delivered up the kingdom to God." This means that the kingdom is now, and Christ, reigning from heaven hands this "stewardship" to the Father because He is done with His reign.

    Heb 2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
    Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
    Heb 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.


    The kingdom now present is all about "bringing many sons unto glory." Christ is reigning with His saints in that He broke down the middle wall of partition and the gospel has been unleashed into "all the world."
     
  9. Yeshua1

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    how would you reconcile the messianic age as foretold by the OT prophets of the messiah ruling, and the WHOLE earth was acknowledging the Lord, and his word was everywhere, and there was no more war, bloodshed etc?
     
  10. Yeshua1

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    as regarding how some In reformed circles appear to haveChurch either replacing/supplanting/being Spiritual isreal now etc....

    didn't jesus Himself agree that the God of the Jews WAS His father, is God, but that they are blind to Yeshua as their messiah on the whole?

    Didn't paul hold out the hope that the jews/isreal would still be remembered by god in the end, due to Him making an everlasting promise tio them for sake of the Patriaches?
     
  11. MorseOp

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    Bosley,

    In Baptist circles dispensationalism is taught in the majority of churches. Prior to the mid to late 19th Century that was not the case. The other competing theological system found within Baptist churches is covenant theology. This theological system is shared by many Presbyterians, although it separates with them on the temporal administration of the New Covenant (i.e. believers only baptism vs. infant baptism).

    There is no quick read that can answer the questions of the inquisitive mind that is trying to determine which theological system is the most accurate. In my case the change took years of careful study. I went kicking and screaming. A good primer to read on the topic is "Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ" a compilation by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen. I stress the word primer because the subject deserves serious consideration and prayer.
     
  12. Van

    Van
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    One of the keys to understanding scripture is to view statements in two possible lights, spiritual and physical. We are baptized spiritually into Christ's death, and we are water baptized in accordance with Christ's command. A great muddle has been made by those who intermix these two very different things.

    Usually the Bible describes a spiritual transformation followed by a physical transformation. We are born anew spiritually and transferred into the [spiritual] kingdom of His Son, and we will be resurrected in glorified bodies and meet Jesus in the air.

    The Covenant Theology folks think the spiritual realm every born anew believer exists in has "replaced" the future physical realm when Jesus sets His feet again on Mount Olive.

    Revelation 20 seems to describe that after the Tribulation, Satan shall be cast into the abyss for one thousand years while Jesus reigns on earth with those of the first resurrection. Then after the thousand years, Satan and the beast and the false prophet are put into the lake of fire where they are tormented day and night forever. Then all those whose names were not found in the book of life are also thrown into the lake of fire.

    Next, Revelation 21, the eternal kingdom is described that seems to follow the thousand year physical kingdom.

    Progressive dispensationalists believe it means what it says.
     
    #12 Van, Aug 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2012
  13. MorseOp

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    Van,

    Incorrect. CT's believe there is a future physical realm. A new heaven and new earth. They are very real and tangible and will be inhabited by believers from all ages.
     
  14. RLBosley

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    So what are you now? Just curious.
    Of course God can and does use figurative language to get a point across. I don’t debate that at all. But I think the context will reveal whether the statement is intended to be taken literally or figuratively.
    For example, Psalm 50:10; For every beast of the forest is mine, and all the cattle upon a thousand hills.
    Obviously this is figurative, indicating the wonderful truth that God owns everything. And that is made plain once you read verse 12; If I were hungry I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
    I do not doubt that Christ is now King, ruling in His Heavenly Kingdom. However, I don’t feel that excludes a future, literal 1,000 year reign on earth. The language in Revelation 19 when Christ returns, doesn’t (to me anyway) seem to be a king just now receiving His kingdom. Instead, it is one who is already King, coming as a conqueror to destroy His enemies and rescue His people. He is king now, of the church and all the world, however His authority on earth is usurped by the devil, who is the “god of this world” 2 Corinthians 4:4. At the Second coming, Christ will come in vengeance, invading the world, to execute judgement and to conquer this world. The millennial reign is a fulfillment of the OT prophecies promising the earthly reign of the Messiah.


    And if it is figurative of Christ’s current reign in Heaven, then why do we still struggle with the devil? During the reign in Revelation 19 and 20, the Bible says that Satan is bound for 1,000 years so that he would “deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years be fulfilled.”

    Forgive me if my grammar/spelling is bad. I'm working on it, but after going to public school in West Virginia, I am not exactly a literary genius... ;)
     
    #14 RLBosley, Aug 20, 2012
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  15. RLBosley

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    Interesting. I never even heard of covenant theology until about 2 years ago. I don't know how I never heard of it since it seems to be a major force in contemporary churches. And I would love to study more on the topic, and would love to read about it, but right now I'm so backed up on my reading that I don't even want to consider buying a new book at the moment. I'll keep it in mind though.

    Any online sources that you would recommend?
    And what made you switch from one system to the other?
     
  16. Van

    Van
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    Disinformation. CT rejects the Millennial Kingdom, and replaces it with the existing spiritual kingdom, then both views come together again and agree on the eternal kingdom (A new heaven and new earth) of Revelation 21.

    Truth matters.
     
  17. MorseOp

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    Check your sources. CT includes amils, postmils, and historic premils. Do some research on historic premils who believe in a literal 1000 year millennial kingdom. Most CT historic premils are Baptists, although James Montgomery Boice, a Presbyterian, was a historic premil. Most Presbyterian CT's are either amil or postmil.
     
  18. Yeshua1

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    many of the older authors would still hold to a more "Historical pre Mil" viewpoint, didn't they?

    That it was not all A Mil or nothing else, as most holding to Covenant theology seem to pre suppose!
     
  19. Van

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    Folks, just Google Covenant Theology and the Millennial Kingdom. You will find article after article all saying the same thing, the CT folks believe the "millennial" kingdom is occurring now, whereas progressive dispensationalists believe there will be a literal thousand year period when Jesus sits of David's throne and rules the physical earth, the the promises of God will be fulfilled literally rather than spiritually.

    Pay no attention to folks who seek for whatever reason to muddy the water. Also Google Amillennism which is a denial of the physical Millennial Kingdom

    Here is just one quote: "Progressive Dispensationalism also seems to expect a future physical fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel, while covenant theology has traditionally tended to expect these to be fulfilled spiritually in the church."
     
    #19 Van, Aug 22, 2012
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  20. Iconoclast

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