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Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Plain Old Bill, Nov 18, 2004.
Who says so and Why?
Was it ever valid?
Nope, not since creation. It has undergone many new revelations and changes just in the last 30 years.
Of course it is. Truth never changes. Dispensationalism is, and always will be, "valid."
It is valid because it accurately interprets the revelation of God. It is valid because it accurately applies the word of God.
That is not to say that all dispensationalists are right on everything, nor is it to say that all dispensationalists agree. In that, they are much like their friends, the covenantalists. There is no consensus on every matter.
But do not discount the truth of dispensationalism because some don't believe it, or because some don't know what it is about. Truth will always be truth.
valid only in certain fundamentalist circles, and it has nothing to do with truth...it is a concept and no more.
Dispensationalism is a hoary theory that divides the people of God into subsets in direct contradiction to Ephesians 2. The roots of dispensationalism are in the failed prophecies of the end-time prophets of the 1800s.
It is a man-made grid placed over Scripture. The German's had their higher critics and sat in judgment of Scripture. The Dispensationalists do the same thing. They sit in judgment of Scripture as they force the Scriptures to fit into their system of interpretation.
Well Pastor Larry is on the right track. If it ever was valid then it still is. As Larry said,
But it depends on what you mean by dispensationalism. As we look at God’s word we can see that God has dealt with men differently at different times. He dealt with mankind as a whole, then with the family of Abraham, then with the Jewish nation. Today we live in the “Age of the gentiles” and God is dealing with us through his word, which is now complete. If when you say dispensationalism you are simply recognizing God’s progressive revelation then yes, of course it is valid.
The problem comes from what I would refer to as the ‘ultra-dispensationists’ that teach God’s plan of salvation changed as his word was revealed. These people believe that Old Testament Jews could be saved by keeping the law and that others were saved by works during previous dispensations. I believe this to be an invalid false doctrine that runs contrary to God’s word. But I know there are some on this forum that do believe this.
"It is a man-made grid placed over Scripture. The German's had their higher critics and sat in judgment of Scripture. The Dispensationalists do the same thing. They sit in judgment of Scripture as they force the Scriptures to fit into their system of interpretation."
Well said Paul.
It is only "valid" because so many still believe it to be true. Once you leave dispensationalism and it's nationalistic salvation behind it becomes "invaild"
Dispensationalists are serious students of God's Word. We take literally and personally the apostolic injunction to "rightly interpret" the Word of God. In the scriptures there are definitely tensions of continuity and discontinuity from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. These tensions raise issues in the areas, at least, of soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology. Dispensationalists do not claim to have a perfect system which answers all difficulties. Rather, we recognize that there are difficulties in biblical interpretation and remain diligent students of the Bible who seek to answer these tensions. As long as dispensationalists honestly recognize that there are unanswered questions and as long as we continue to humbly study the Bible, dispensationalism will remain valid.
I don't doubt the sincerity of most dispensationalists. In fact their serious study often makes their theological system attractive because the people are usually good students and well disciplined. In fact it was those evry things that caught my attention until I began to ask many serious questions.
There is hardly one professor at DTS (the father school of Dispensational Theology) that hardly believes what Larkin, Scofield, Chafer, CHM, Darby and many others believe.
You are right truth never changes but in the last thirty years the filter of dispensational theology has changed dramatically. Even those at DTS will tell you they hardly believe much of what the former dispensationalists believe.
If one doesn't believe dispensationalism hasn't changed much then what is progressive dispensationalism compared to the dispensationalism of Larkin, Scofield and Chafer?
I have yet to see one fit that into their theology what Jesus said in Mt. 5:17, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." The typical dispensationalist would contend the law is done away with and we are under the dispensation of grace.
What I found amusing is that so many Baptists who did not go to dispensational schools are now adopting that theology and DTS has nearly done away with much of the old school dispensational theology.
If one does much historical research on dispensational theology they would find at the heart of dispensationalism is 17th century German rationalism that was popularized in the English speaking world through Scottish Common Sense Realism. The subtle snare of dispensationalism is that this archaic rationalism becomes the real authority, rather than scripture. The scripture has to be read through this rationalistic filter. When the historical meaning of scripture contradicts the preconceived theological system of dispensationalism, then it is either ignored or outright rejected. Thus, the dispensationalist does not use the scripture to establish his belief system; through the Bible but 'properly' read through this filter system -- only serves to confirm his already established beliefs. Any view challenging or contradicting it is usually rejected and labeling it as liberalism.
The comments here remind me that most people have no idea what dispensationalism is or what it means.
For instance, one brother says that dispensationalism divides the people of God into groups in contradiction to Ephesians 2. Yet if this dear brother would take time to understand what dispensationalism says about Ephesians 2, he owuld realize there is no contradiction. Dispensationalism does exactly what Paul does in Ephesians 2 ... It recognizes that in the church, there is no longer Jew nor Greek, male or female, Barbarian or scythian, slave of free. We are all one in Christ. Covenantalism has never really reckoned with the distinctions that Scripture makes, and for that reason it will always be a weak step sister.
Another brother references Matt 5:17, and says, The typical dispensationalist would contend the law is done away with and we are under the dispensation of grace. It is wonderful for him to put Paul in the category of "typical dispensationalist" for the one that originally said that the law was done away with was Paul himself. Of course, we dispensationalists have always known what Paul taught, but some have resisted. The truth is that the Law was the Law of Israel. Since the church is not Israel, we are not under Isreal's Law. Indeed the NT makes clear distinctions between the church and Israel, and many NT passages become absolute nonsense if this distinction is not maintained.
This same brother says that When the historical meaning of scripture contradicts the preconceived theological system of dispensationalism, then it is either ignored or outright rejected. I would challenge this statement on two grounds. 1) I would be interested to see a passage where the dispensationalist ignores the historical meaning of Scripture. 2) I would point out that every covenantalist ignores the historical meaning of a great amount of prophecy (e.g., the new covenant passages).
In the end, dispensationalism as a whole has a much better handle on the meaning and interpretation of Scripture because it does not force passages to fit a preconceived meaning. By way of illustration, note that the covenantalist in passages such as prophecy view "Israel" as teh church, not because the text says so, and not because the original reader would have thought so, but because their system demands it. The dispensationalist can let the text mean what it says because he is not forced to put it in a theological grid that is that contrary to the plain meaning of words and the teaching of Scripture. For the dispensationalist, the Scripture is the authority, not the system. That is why the dispensationalist maintains these distinctions. He refuses to force a grid onto Scripture that would eliminate the distinctions.
I attended NBBC and BJU, both heavily involved in dispensationalism. I read Ryrie, Pentecost, Wolvoord, Schofield, etc. All of which I still have in my library. I think I know a little something about dispensationalism!
At TEDS, there were dispensationalists like the Feinberg brothers. I graduated still believing in dispensationalism. It was only after deciding to lay aside the grid of dispensationalism and reading the Bible with fresh eyes that dispensationalism came crashing down in my life.
Once Romans 9-11 is understood, and the realization sets in that God's people, both Jews and Gentiles, are grafted in to one "root," the main focus and reason for maintaining dispensationalism - the pretribulation rapture of the church - no longer is necessary.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-7 and 2:1-12 can only teach a post-tribulation rapture of the church if interpreted according to the literal-historical-grammatical hermeneutic.
The letter is written to the church at Thessalonica, not to the Jews at Thessalonica.
The relief from persecution for Paul and the church at Thessalonica comes when Christ appears with his angels in blazing fire, not seven years earlier in a secret rapture.
The day of the Lord and our being gathered to him brings reassurance because Paul teaches that the lawless one has not yet been revealed, an event that takes place in the middle of the tribulation.
Without the grid of dispensationalism, no one would intepret these passages to teach a pre-tribulation rapture of the church.
Well, Paul, BJU was no bastion of dispensationalism though they are more now than they were. They, in fact, had some very vocal non-dispensationalists on the faculty there.
Romans 9-11, especially 11, is one of those passagse that becomes absolutely nonsensical if you conflate Israel and the church. Read 11:25ff, and just insert "church" everywhere you see "Israel." You will quickly find yourself laughing at how ridiculous that is. It render the passage absurd. That passage, and many others, is based on the distinction between Israel and the church.
You reference 1 and 2 Thess, two passages that again make little if any sense from the non-dispensational viewpoint. In 2 Thess 2, the believers had been taught something and they were confused because what they had been taught wasn't what they were now being taught. When you think of it from that view, it very quickly shows a pre trib teaching. Think about it for a minute. We are not told what Paul taught them, but here comes someone using Paul's name who was teaching that they were in teh DOL (that starts with the rapture judgments). They were upset and confused. Why? Because that was different than what Paul taught them. We can therefore conclude Paul taught that they would not be in teh DOL, that the would be raptured before the tribulation. That can only be pretribulation.
1 Thess 5 is another great passage. Why are people saying "Peace and safety"? If they were in the tribulation that immediately precedes the post trib rapture, there is no way they would say peace and safety. The trib judgments are too great and too severe. The only way they will say peace and safety is if the trib hasn't started yet. Furthermore, v. 11 clearly reveals that God has not destined us for that tribulation wrath that is in view, but rather for salvation from it.
These passages simply do not work well in a covenantalist scheme.
I was not particularly trained in dispensationalism in my undergraduate work. I in fact came under the ministry of a Larkin type dispensationalist who believed that OT believers were saved by works and tribulation saints by faith and works. I almost abandoned the whole deal right there. But when I began to read and study the Scriptures more earnestly, I could not, in good conscience, just start redefining passages to mean something they did not say. I realized that dispensationalism, like covenantliasm, is not monolithic. But there are some core issues such as revelation, language, and God's character and his promises that made covenantalism an unviable system. Then I began to read more of covenantalism and it became even more clear that covenantalism takes liberty with the text of Scripture that I believe are unjustified and illegitimate. I could not, and cannot, in good conscience, do that.
I have many friends who are covenantalists and I certainly don't think they are apostates. I trust they feel the same about me. One of us is clearly wrong. I am just glad it isn't me ... ... I just think there are too many holes and they come way too close to impugning the character of God for my tastes.
You make me laugh! No where do I suggest that we conflate the church with Israel.
Secondly, I need to know. Did you attend BJU?
Covenantalism is based on the conflation of Israel and the church in one of several slightly different configurations ... that the promises given to Israel have been transferred to the church, or that the church is the New Israel, or that Israel has replaced the church. Depending on whether you are historic pre mill, amill, or post mill, your position might vary slightly. But covenantalism doesn't see eye to eye on how to address this issue.
Certainly one can recogize that Israel in Romans 11 is refering to the actual ethnic Jews without tagging on the rest of dispensationalism. Ethnic Jews are not a seperate people of God, there is only one people of God, those who are in Christ Jesus, either the "true Isreal" of Romans 9 or the gentiles grafted in. When God brings back the ethnic Jews in the future, He is going to do so by grafted them back into the root, namely Jesus Christ, and they therefor will become part of the Church, whose indentity is defined by thier trust in Jesus Christ, and not ethnic decent. Indeed, in the Church, Jew or gentile don't matter.
Well, to effectively answer the original question would require to know whether or not any of the apostles' teaching is valid.
Dispy teaching is hated by the liberals. Just examine the posts of some already in this thread. They hate what they don't understand. Sad.
Chafer and Schofield do not have a copyright on dispy teaching. I would also take shots at their nonsense. Oh, and Larkin too. What a kook.
However, they were just trying to put in their writings the plain text of Scripture. They did not think through every little thing, well, for Larkin most things.
First, dispy teaching is doxological primarily. That just means it sees the glory of God as the unifying principle throughout Scripture. Therefore, they do not divide the Bible (as the charge has been). They just use a different approach at unity. Covenantalists are primarily soteriological. That is, they see the unifying principle in the mythical covenants of salvation. They are forced to invent a grid that isn't even based on Biblical concepts. Yeah, verrrrryyyyyy well thought out.
Second, the distinction made by dispies is more about Old Covenant / New Covenant than it is with Israel / Church. When Israel is grafted back in, she will be part of the New Covenant. This is another charged leveled by the opposing side that is not based on fact.
I would encourage all to examine the works coming out of Grace Seminary and Grace Theological Seminary for an accurate picture of dispensationalism.
My plea is for non-dispies to come back to a reality based system of truth and set aside ignorance.
Technically, one could be posttrib and still be a dispensationalist. So, there goes that excuse.