Dispensationalism for Dummies

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dmyers's picture

Immediately following the pull quote above, White writes:  "If you understand how to interpret the Bible correctly, you will know what to do with the problem of evil and suffering that caused Bart Campolo to leave the church. You’ll also know what to do with the Sabbath regulations of the Bible. Furthermore, you’ll know how to handle the contradictions of the Bible (yes, it does have contradictions). You will know how to respond to guilt-ridden preaching designed to draw more money out of your wallet. You will know how to spot well-meaning “social-justice” solutions that are built on a proof-text but lack any Biblical support for our world today."

I'm quite sure that conservative reformed theology has good, biblical answers to the challenges White identifies.  It's a shame to start a defense or explanation of dispensationalism with such a lousy false dichotomy.

Steve Davis's picture

dmyers wrote:

.........

I'm quite sure that conservative reformed theology has good, biblical answers to the challenges White identifies.  It's a shame to start a defense or explanation of dispensationalism with such a lousy false dichotomy.

Agreed. I also think that his dumbed down defense of literal interpretation lacks coherence. There are literal events and personages behind figurative language. Yet the correspondence between them is not always clear.I've been reading through Ezekiel and came across the prophecy of David the prince in chapter 34. Is this a reference to a literal David, the human-only David who had died centuries before? Or is it a reference to the greater literal David, the Messiah God-man born in the Davidic line? The same goes for the rebuilt temple and sacrifices in chapters 40-48. They point to something literal but not necessarily to a physical rebuilt temple and bloody millennial sacrifices. The article might reinforce dispensationalism for the convinced. It will not persuade the skeptical.

Ed Vasicek's picture

To the above comments, your points are well-taken.  But his article is supposed to be "Dispensationalism for Dummies."  It is purposely not nuanced, and it is certainly not convincing to someone who holds differing views from a more academic background.  If it were not advertised as "for dummies," I might think otherwise of the article.  You guys above are no dummies!

He is intending to be superficial and basic, and he accomplished that end.  As a dispensationalist myself (albeit a progressive dispensationalist), I believe there are plenty of applications from the Torah, for example.  He might not fight me on that, I would guess, but is trying to steer the new or weak believer from acting based upon false assumptions (as, for example, keeping the Saturday Sabbath or eating Kosher).

This is guidance for a new believer, or one taken in by the prosperity gospel bunch.  I think it would be very helpful to the new student of Scripture. This is meant to be written at a spiritual kidnergarten/entry level, so give the guy a break.

"The Midrash Detective"

Jonathan Charles's picture

I've struggled with the notion of literal interpretation until one author I read mentioned that it's better to speak of literary interpretation meaning that when interpreting one follows the rules for interpreting the genre of literature he is reading (i.e., narrative is not myth).    

Steve Davis's picture

Ed Vasicek wrote:

To the above comments, your points are well-taken.  But his article is supposed to be "Dispensationalism for Dummies."  It is purposely not nuanced, and it is certainly not convincing to someone who holds differing views from a more academic background.  If it were not advertised as "for dummies," I might think otherwise of the article.  You guys above are no dummies!

You're right Ed. I especially like the "you guys above are no dummies." One of the nicest things I've heard about me for a while. I thought the "dummies" were those who were not dispensationalists :-) 

TimNT's picture

Dispensationalism for Dummies is a take off on the ubiquitous books written for those wanting a basic understanding a a particular subject, not a pejorative about "reformed" folks.  I appreciated the article and look forward to examining his ministry and publishing house.

Steve Davis's picture

TimNT wrote:

Dispensationalism for Dummies is a take off on the ubiquitous books written for those wanting a basic understanding a a particular subject, not a pejorative about "reformed" folks.  I appreciated the article and look forward to examining his ministry and publishing house.

Wow. Really? Thanks for enlightenning me. There was a :-). I was kidding. I'm among the non-dispensationalists.