This is the first of a planned three posts on what Ryrie calls the sine qua non (absolutely indispensable part/without which it would not be) of Dispensationalism (D). This addresses the first sine qua non, a consistent distinction between Israel and the Church. C.C. Ryrie writes: “A dispensationalist keeps Israel and the Church distinct. This is stated in different ways by both friends and foes of dispensationalism. Fuller says that ‘the basic premise of Dispensationalism is two purposes of God expressed in the formation of two peoples who maintain their distinction throughout eternity’ [Daniel P. Fuller, “The Hermeneutics of Dispensationalism” (Th.D. diss, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Chicago, 1957), p. 20]. A.C. Gaebelein stated it in terms of the difference between the Jews, the Gentiles, and the church of God [Arno C. Gaebelein, “The Gospel of Matthew” (New York: Our Hope, 1910), 1:4]. Chafer summarized it as follows: The dispensationalist believes that throughout the ages God is pursuing two distinct purposes: one related to the earth with earthly people and earthly objectives involved which is Judaism; while the other is related to heaven with heavenly people and heavenly objectives involved, which is Christianity... Over against this, the partial dispensationalist, though dimly observing a few obvious distinctions, bases his interpretation on the supposition that God is doing but one thing, namely, the general separation of the good from the bad, and, in spite of all the confusion this limited theory creates, contends that the earthly people merge into the heavenly people; that the earthly program must be given a spiritual interpretation or disregarded altogether. [L.S. Chafer, Dispensationalism (Dallas Seminary Press, 1936), 8-9]. This is probably the most basic theological test of whether or not a person is a dispensationalist, and is undoubtedly the most practical and conclusive. The one who fails to distinguish Israel and the church consistently will inevitably not hold to dispensational distinctions; and the one who does will (C.E.B. Cranfield is a rare exception). QUOTED from Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism, Revised and Expanded (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995) p. 39. So, what think ye? Is there a distinction between Israel and the church in this age? In the future? PLEASE NOTE: Involved in this is the issue of premil v. postmil v. amil. Also involved is the issue of one general judgement for all men v. multiple judgements for different groups. PLEASE try to avoid these and stay within the narrow confines of the topic of Israel and the Church as much as possible. Otherwise the thread will get so broad as to cause it to loose some value as a topic for discussion and debate. If you feel a need to branch of into these other areas, please start new threads... as I have done. Also note: I plan to start threads on the 2nd and 3rd areas that Ryrie includes under the sine qua non of D as well – the literal hermeneutic (literal/grammatical/historical) and the underlying purpose of God in the World. Please work on this one till I get the other two posted. Also note: I am citing Ryrie because in my estimation he is the preeminent writer from the classic (normative) Dispensational perspective in our current day. If I were posting a link on the merits of paedobaptism, I would cite the writer most widely accepted from within that school of thought. The issue would not be whether or not I agreed with him, it would be, "Does his work best represent those who hold the position he is presenting?" It would be grossly unfair to paedobaptists to define their position solely from the writings of those who attack the concept. Obviously I am not a big fan of paedobaptism. Unfortunately, some of those who reject D have come to do so on the basis of the presentation of D mainly within the writings of those who attack D. For these reasons, I will be citing Ryrie to begin these three threads. One final caveat, please do not deal with this issue by using this thread to attack Darby, or anyone else connected with D. If you feel you must attack Darby or someone else, by all means start your own thread. While on this one, please let’s try to deal with the relevant Scriptures and limit our discussions to these. AND, I do realize that in dealing with these passages we may not be able to keep from the 2nd aspect, the issue of literal historical grammatical (to which I add contextual) interpretation which I plan to develop in the second thread.