4 Snapshots of Dispensationalism Today

“the spread of a thin, undertheologized pop-dispensationalism and the decline of scholarly dispensationalism—are the essence of what I mean by the ‘fall’ of this doctrine in the last half century.” - Daniel Hummel


It is an interesting movement. For most intents and purposes it grew up in the early 1900's, and began declining by the late 1990's. It can be traced before 1900, but it was mostly pockets and with individuals who had dubious other theological views. As stated in the article, it has all but died out of academic circles, with little leadership and little writing that is pushing it forward. Is this the beginning of the end? Will this be a footnote in the history of the church when looking back 500 to 1,000 years from now? Is this the church "pushing out" doctrine that it does not find aligned to its historic roots and Scripture? I don't know. I don't have an answer. I grew up during the height of the movement 1970's to the 1908's and my grandfather was a strong proponent of it during the 1940's to 1990's, but it has been interesting to see if fall so suddenly in the academic circles.

To paraphrase Mark Twain: "The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated."

Wally Morris
Huntington, IN

I think Hummel is correct in his overall assessment of the state of Dispensationalism. There are many factors involved, some of which I have highlighted previously (e.g., here, here and here). For many years I have referred to myself as a reluctant dispensationalist, and even much prefer biblical covenantalist.

I intend to update the above posts soon in light of Hummel's observations. Allow me to bullet point the major issues:

  1. Lack of solid methodology through First Principles.
  2. Lack of self-criticism
  3. Lack of scholarly books and publishing opportunities for young scholars
  4. Lack of consensus on the New Covenant
  5. Lack of Christ centered Theology
  6. Lack of grounded, holistic Dispensationalist Systematics
  7. Lack of Dispensational Worldview
  8. Lack of prescriptive theological thinking
  9. Lack of discernment about who should represent Dispensationalism

And by-the way, all the above are interconnected.

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

I agree with all of your points Paul. I am wondering if #7 get conflated with what Hummel calls pop-dispensationalism. With the lack of a clear worldview, it often gets over run with the "pop" side of things.