I haven’t talked about dispensationalism lately. I listened to a Marc Monte teaching on it a couple of days ago, a Dan Botterbrodt teaching on it a year ago, and David Cloud brought it up last month.
Dan is opposed to it, even though he agrees with the end results of its teachings – He just doesn’t see the division of the dispensations in the Bible.
Me, I don’t know – I see them. I was intrigued by David Cloud who in his usual terse way pointed out that he didn’t necessarily agree with the standard seven ages, and actually could see different ones. That was food for thought. That’s a “Consult the way of life encyclopedia” moment!
the basic premise behind dispensationalism is that God dealt with us in different ways in the Bible.
That’s a “Duh” moment.
Enemies of dispensationalism tend to argue that God has only one plan of salvation. Since most of the enemies of dispensationalism are Calvinist, we don’t even agree on what that one plan of salvation is! Yours is infant baptism and predestination, a wildly diverging view. Mine is “whosoever will”, because that’s what the Bible teaches.
Well, I’m a dispensationalist, because I derived it from the Bible before I ever heard of Tim LaHeye, John Walvoord, Harry Ironside, Ryrie, Torrey, or even Schofield. And yes, there has only been one plan of salvation in the Bible. Ever.
dispensationalism does not necessarily mean there are different ways of salvation, just God dealing with us in different ways in the ages.
Did God speak to everyone on earth the way He did back in the Garden of Eden? Face to face?
What was the difference between Adam’s laws, and the ones for Moses and Israel?
Adam had one law in the garden. Moses had 613.
What’s the difference between Christians and Jews? Christians are not required to keep any ceremonial or dietary laws. The Jews were.
What’s the difference between the millennium and now?
The Jews owe God one thousand years of Sabbath observance. We’re going to have to do it.
“Wow, I wish I’d lived in Bible days, but with modern conveniences!!!”
If you’re Gentile, you don’t have to worry about the Sabbath or any of that hoorah. But My people made a promise to God we never kept. It’s going to happen. CArefully read the last chapters of Ezekiel, and then start reading LaHeye. Most of you have the Left Behind series… read the last book, the “Glorious Appearing!” Wow. biblical, right down the line!
That’s dispensationalism, the recognition that God DEALS with us differently. Not saves us differently, but deals with us differently!
Hyper-dispensationalism, however, makes huge mistakes in Bible interpretation. There’s one Bible teacher I like listening to, except he’s hyper-dispensationalist, and he tends to make these same mistakes. Hyper-dispensationalists tend to make the mistake of assuming that the Gospels and ACts are in the Old Testament, and not for today.
I think we can all figure out that part is wrong!
The most important distinction of dispensationalism is that it forces you to take the Bible literally. People who are not dispensationalist tend to align themselves with what’s called Covenant theology. Covenant theology tends to see the covenants between God and man as irreplaceable – but that creates a problem. You see, the churches are a mystery – that is something concealed in the old testament, revealed in the new. If you don’t follow dispensationalism, you have to 1). assume there’s no such thing as a church or 2). you end up having an unused covenant lying around. So… you have to assume that the covenant with Israel is still valid – and that a mythical, Universal and invisible “Church” replaces Israel. And thus, since Israel was a kingdom and had rules and laws – they’d better get busy right now and start an actual government, where Christianity is the state religion. See how quickly that fell apart into serious error?
Schofield was unable to ditch the whole Universal church thing, and he was grossly incorrect on when the birth of the churches was. Aside from that, the Schofield reference Bible is still a fairly good representation of Dispensational theology.