Recommended Reading in Dispensationalism

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Kevin T. Bauder's picture

Thanks to Paul Henebury for a terrific bibliography on this important subject. Anyone who wishes to understand Dispensational theology should be acquainted with at least the principal works on this list--and shame on those whose critiques of Dispensationalism are based chiefly upon Scofield's notes or LaHaye's fiction.

Charlie's picture

Thanks. A solid annotated bibliography is always valuable.

I must say, though, you really don't sound that reluctant.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Alex Guggenheim's picture

I have always been somewhat perplexed at the favorable view of LaHaye as a Bible Teacher and even more so, a Theologian. Never minding his novel (or should I say re-clothing of Hippocrates' or Galen's temperament theory) The Spirit Controlled Temperament (and its off-spring publications) where LaHaye, with no academic training in psychology, was widely received within Fundamentalism(and beyond) as some kind of profound architect of personality studies and its correlation with Christian spirituality which was based on the discredited pseudoscience of physiognomy which alone should have sent up warning flags a mile high, but LaHaye's foray into the fictional Left Behind series where his very specific interpretations of imprecise descriptions of future things and an insistence that these very exacting interpretations of details are just that and with little room for any other consideration which was based generally on rationalistic conclusions about such descriptions, should have told any serious student of the Bible that LaHaye is not a source to be elevated to any degree (yes that was a long sentence).

This is not to try and humiliate or castigate the man, personally. That is not the point but his work is quite questionable as well as peripheral issues I will not mention.

To me, using Tim LaHaye as a source of dispensational studies is akin to using Joyce Meyer for theological studies, though he is not charismatic.

Great list and appreciate the standards used in eliminating progressive and ultra disp.

DrJamesAch's picture

I would include in that list any defense of futurism as that is by far the largest criticism being received by dispensationalists (particularly those of the modern preterist and historicist persuasion); that futurism was an invention of John Darby whom based his teachings on a 500 page commentary by a Jesuit named Ribera in the 1500s. 

Even though there is no evidence that Darby ever quoted from Ribera or even knew of his works, (and the obvious fact that the RCC has never believed in a pre-trib rapture), nevertheless this is becoming a widely accepted rumor.

Dr James Ach

What Kills You Makes You Stronger Rom 8:13; 7:24-25

Do Right Christians, and Calvinisms Other Side

Paul Henebury's picture

I appreciate your kind remarks.  Charlie, my reluctance has to do with populism (here I echo Kevin's ref. to LaHaye) in certain dispy circles, and the problem of defining oneself by dispensations in the first place Smile

Dr. Paul Henebury

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

Fred Butler's picture

CT is just as fractured. With groups broken down into various camps as well like the Tyler TX theonomists and Federal Visionists.  Not to mention how CT is played out in Amillennial and Postmillennial constructs.

JT Hoekstra's picture

Is mostly an independent movement through Bible Churches and bases itself on 2 Tim. 2:15, "Rightly dividing the word of truth." Some mistakenly think it teaches various ways of salvation, but it more based on the the word 'economy' in Ephesians. It seeks to understand how God administrates His people during a particular 'age.' "Camps" of dispensationalists are usually distinguished in their eschatology (mid-trib-post-pre, etc.). Salvation is by grace through faith alone.

There were two strong groups in the 20th century that produced many books and pamphlets about dispensations. Both have diminished in numbers but not in their beliefs or zeal.

The first is http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/ featuring prolific writings of C.R. Stam. Wonderful writings on grace. They have a small college and a number of good current writers.

Next is Grace Gospel Fellowship http://www.ggfusa.org/ -Founder Charles Baker. Both Baker and Stam have books that are well worth being in your library.

Much of the foundational teaching of Dispensationalists is found in the Companion Bible By Bullinger. You can get foto copies of that Bible online for free, and the appendices are worth your while alone.

I don't pretend to be an expert and I do not represent any organization except in my prayers, but feel free to ask if you have any questions about Dispensations since I have been teaching it for over 40 years.

Jim

artskoe@gmail.com

Paul Henebury's picture

While any who might wish to may accept Jim's offer, it needs to be said that the writers he cites are all ultra-dispensationalists who teach the Church didn't start in Acts 2 but later on in the Book of Acts (Acts 28 in Bulliger's case).  Mainline dispensationalists would disavow this teaching.  That is why none find their way into my list.  Again, just as with Progressive Dispensationalism etc., this doesn't mean there are not good things in these men's writings.

Dr. Paul Henebury

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

Kevin T. Bauder's picture

The school of thought that J. T. Hoekstra references can trace its influence largely to the activity of John O'Hair, a Chicago preacher of the early 20th Century. This school of thought, sometimes called ultra- or hyper-dispensationalism, has always been rejected by historic dispensationalists. It's worth noting that there are different camps within hyper-dispensationalism, just as in historic dispensationalism and covenant theology. For example, O'Hair (rightly) objected pretty vigorously to some of E. W. Bullinger's teachings.

As uncomfortable as traditional dispensationalists are with covenant theology, they tend to be even less comfortable with hyper-dispensationalism. Harry Ironside even called it "an absolutely Satanic perversion of the truth." O. W. Van Osdel (founder of the GARBC) carried on a long and sometimes heated correspondence and pamphlet war with O'Hair.

One point of controversy is that, by placing the beginning of the church later in or at the end of the book of Acts, hyper-dispensaitonalists obviate the requirement of baptism for Christians today. In other words (and making allowances for some who may be inconsistent) it is very difficult to be a hyper-dispensationalist and a Baptist at the same time. For that matter, all traditional Protestants value baptism in some form, though they argue about subjects and mode. That's one reason that hyper-dispensationalism tends to gain its hearing in the Bible church movement.

James K's picture

Paul, what exactly is Dispensationalism Proper?  Is it Scofield/Chafer?  Is it Ryrie/Walvoord/Pentecost?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I will keep the list and expand my library as money permits! I have read "Dispensationalism" by Ryrie in Seminary, and also another book I did not see on there, "There Really is a Difference" by Renald Showers, which I thought was a very helpful look at dispensational and covenant theology. I learned quite a bit from "Continuity/Discontinuity" by Feinberg. This is a little off the beaten path, but the discussion on continuity and discontinuity from "Hermeneutics of Biblical Interpretation" by Henry Virkler was extremely helpful to me. Virkler's treatment on that specific subject (dispensationalism isn't the focus of Virkler's book) is essentially a distillation from the Feinberg text, but it wrapped up many loose threads for me.

I know many good men who swear by the Scofield notes. I have never even looked inside a Scofield Bible - speaking for my generation (or perhaps just for myself) I appreciate the impact it had in fundamentalism but I have never felt the need to even look at it.  

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Hmmm...so ultra-dispensationalism is Satanic so says Ironside. So our standard for rebuttal is calling something satanic? There goes Calvinism! I was wondering why Larkin was not mentioned but I suspect he is not considered as forceful in his scholarship.

Kevin T. Bauder's picture

Alex,

OK, let's try to focus our attention here.

At no stage of the discussion has anyone attempted to argue, one way or the other, for the truth or falsehood of dispensationalism, hyper-dispensationalism, or covenant theology (though I'll grant that sympathies are pretty evident). If I wanted to make that argument, there are a thousand better ways than a citation from Ironside.

The point of the quotation is that the divide between dispensationalism and hyper-dispensationalism is equal to or greater than the divide between dispensationalism and covenant theology. Consequently, Dr. Henebury is quite correct to exclude those references from a bibliography on dispensationalism. That is the only point of the quotation.

Your contribution was very creative. The teaching staff has decided to award you a star.

 

Paul Henebury's picture

James K wrote:

Paul, what exactly is Dispensationalism Proper?  Is it Scofield/Chafer?  Is it Ryrie/Walvoord/Pentecost?

 

Your question is understandable, but though some variants between, say, Scofield and Chafer, or Walvoord and Sauer, or Ryrie and some other guy have appeared, they were all within the same constituency.  This is most definitely not the case with PD's, whose hermeneutics introduces the Analogy of Faith (under the guise of "canonical exegesis" - a question-begging term if ever there was one!), into the process of exegesis and results in conclusions much closer to covenant premillennialism.  Neither is it the case with ultra-dispensationalism, which in its statements about, e.g., only the "Prison Epistles" pertaining to the Church, is a different animal, as Dr Bauder has said.

 

It is my belief that in attempting to attach progressive dispensationalism onto the dispensationalism of Darby through Ryrie, Craig Blaising confused the issue.  PD is not continuous with earlier models.  If you have read Palmer Robertson's The Christ of the Covenants and Michael Horton's  God of Promise, and you compare them with Witsius, you would not conclude that the very real variations between their accounts of Covenant Theology excluded one or more of them from being Covenant Theology proper.

This is no place to enter into long explanations, but the genius of Dispensationalism is not the dispensations, but its ability to link covenant to blessing without making God equivocate along the way.

 

I hope that helps Smile

     

Dr. Paul Henebury

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

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Kevin T. Bauder wrote:

Alex,

OK, let's try to focus our attention here.

At no stage of the discussion has anyone attempted to argue, one way or the other, for the truth or falsehood of dispensationalism, hyper-dispensationalism, or covenant theology (though I'll grant that sympathies are pretty evident). If I wanted to make that argument, there are a thousand better ways than a citation from Ironside.

The point of the quotation is that the divide between dispensationalism and hyper-dispensationalism is equal to or greater than the divide between dispensationalism and covenant theology. Consequently, Dr. Henebury is quite correct to exclude those references from a bibliography on dispensationalism. That is the only point of the quotation.

Your contribution was very creative. The teaching staff has decided to award you a star.

Well, if it is important for you to award me a star clearly it is important that I receive it, thank you.

I don't disagree that Dr. Henebury's list was wisely annotated. But these kinds of illustrations are not always so benign in its intended service. That is, such an illustration has some collateral damage by way of implication in being so severe. I suspect a little qualification would have helped. But I do see how you intended to use the instrument, not with respect to the claim but the nature of objection(s) by Ironside, thus understood.

But it does beg the question, if one uses as an illustration the "Satanic" divide, not as an argument but illustration of a divide and concludes that it is wise to thus not include something because of the nature of this divide, then are we to do the same with all theology when it appears to have induced a "Satanic" divide by way of its propositions and subsequent objections? Because, as I said, that would include Calvinism when it comes up among Evangelicals. I ask the question not necessarily seeking an answer, it is more rhetorical and moving away from the topic. Thank you for taking your time, however, to respond to the earlier post. Star in hand.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Good bibliography!  Some excellent books indeed.  I have seen the propaganda floating over the internet comparing covenant and dispensational scholars.  They forget the real scholars in dispsensaitonalism: Ryrie, Walvoord, Feinburg, Fruchtenbaum, Pentecost, Showers, Benware, Unger, etc. and list people like Ironside.  The old straw man.  This Bibliography is a good refutation.

Whatever viewpoint one holds, it is important to be honest, ethical, and not sarcastic, cynical, or given to mockery.

Regarding the "fracturing" of Dispensationalism, I think there are many variations of all positions.

My solution is to clarify the heart of dispenastionalism, which is God's faithfulness. He will fulfill his promises to Israel, ultimately, because he is not thwarted by human response.  Here is a link to my article that seeks to unite various forms of Dispensational Theology and others who believe God is big enough to do what he said he would do without a latter changing of terms.

 

http://www.midrashkey.com/new-testament-midrashim-papers/fidelity-to-jacob-theology/

"The Midrash Detective"

Kevin T. Bauder's picture

Alex,

I'm interested in the question of your last paragraph, though I confess that I find myself a bit tripped up while moving from clause to clause.

If you are asking whether it is appropriate to reference statements like Ironside's to illustrate the depth of division between points of view, then I think the answer is yes.

If you are asking whether it is necessary to state one's own judgment in response to someone like Ironside, I think the answer is not necessarily. If you're curious, however, I think he badly overstates the case. But it's necessary to say so only if one is arguing the merits of the question, not if one is simply pointing to the division between the views.

If you are asking whether we necessarily have to perceive all divisions as Satanic (which was neither Ironside's point nor mine), then I think the answer is no. All divisions about the faith are sinful to some degree, but not all sins are Satanic. We can also be led toward sin by the world and by the flesh. But in every difference about the faith, at least one party must be wrong--either by defect or by excess. Since God requires us to understand and believe what he has said, everyone who holds a false understanding of the faith is sinning.

If you are asking whether we always have to point out the sinful nature of those disagreements, the answer is, not always. Very often we understand that one of us is wrong. In principle we admit that it could be us, but in practice we believe that it is the other person (or we would change our view). The other person understands that we think he is wrong, and vice versa. Often, little is to be gained by pointing out the sinful nature of being wrong.

But as you say, we are now wandering from the point--I further than you.

But you tempted me!

Kevin

DrJamesAch's picture

I think the confusion or strife that has arisen from the varying castes of dispensationalism is that it has, IMHO, been allowed to be perceived as theology instead of a method of interpretation. I wouldn't necessarily say that it is an evil to lay emphasis on the labeling of a method of interpretation, but when the debate over the label rises to the same level on contention as the debate over theology, I think it can detract from a proper debate of the merits of the Biblical doctrine in contention on it's own merit, rather than allowing an opponent of a particular debated subject a convenient exit by blaming the differences in conclusions on dispensationalism.

For example, we may debate the 70th week of Daniel. Was the "he" of Daniel 9:27 Christ or the antichrist that confirms the covenant for one week? Where the confirming of the covenant occurs after the Messiah is "cut off", is the preterist, historicist allowed to redefine the term "after" to force the interpretation to imply an entire fulfillment of the 70 weeks without there being one week remaining?  When the matter is debated with preterists, historicists or covanenters, the debates seems first to require a clarification of the dispensational field one adheres to before Daniel 9-11 can even be discussed on its own merit.

Often it appears that debates hinge on what branch of dispensationalism is applied, and it is ignored whether or not the opponent   is even applying sound principles of hermenuetics. While I do not see the harm in creating a classification label for the divisions that are clearly indicated in Scripture, I would be reluctant to give a debate of dispensationalism the same weight as a debate over theology proper when it becomes apparent that the merits of a doctrine being discussed will not reach a conclusion if dispensationalism becomes paranthetical to the debate at some point. That is not to minimize the importance of rightly dividing the Word of truth, but so long as the discussion does not overemphasize dispensationalism as if it were it's own branch of theology rather than a proper focus and interpretation of a doctrine itself.

I guess then that may created an entirely separate debate as to whether or not it is necessary to clarify the boundaries of ones dispensational views to determine whether or not ones conclusions about a particular doctrine are even credible.

Dr James Ach

What Kills You Makes You Stronger Rom 8:13; 7:24-25

Do Right Christians, and Calvinisms Other Side

JT Hoekstra's picture

...is most often abused by bias, not liberalism. It is simplistic in the approach. For example, when Jesus instructs His disciples to not own more than one coat, a dispensationalist does not need to spiritualize the passage to mean 'take care of the poor.' It is simply proof that in the future earthly kingdom Jesus Christ who is God the Provider gives no need for a closet full of coats. What is satanic about that?

Or perhaps Mr. Ironside objected to a true dispensational reading of the word 'baptism?' Look up every occurrence of the Greek word and you will not find water in each transliteration. In dispensational context  the translator would have had no problem. For example: "There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism." One means ONE, so which one? (Ryrie fudges his bet by adding one as he states there is one real and one spiritual, but that equals TWO!).  Israel understood what ritual water baptism was - indeed you can find synagogues today with baptistries used for ritual cleansing.  

Another misunderstanding is the 'beginning of the church.' This could be the subject of a book! (I'm sure there are some here with suggestions). Well, the church was not possible until the cross work of Christ was accomplished, but instructions to the church did not come until Paul was raised up and called out. I am not of the Acts 28 ilk as God gave a transition period to Israel and the Gentiles as they merged into one body. Peter, we see, had an initial difficult time with this transition, as do many today with their tongues-speaking and 'healing' ministries. AND those who put undue emphasis on baptism. (How satanic is it to hear a respondent say, "Of course I am saved...I was baptized April __, 19__.") 

 

 

James K's picture

Paul, the differences between Scofield/Chafer and Ryrie/Walvoord/Pentecost are enough that many authors refer to the periods as Classic and Revised dispensationalism.

Of course there are great similarities between the two, but they are still distinct enough to not be identical.

The charge against dispensationalists believing in two ways of salvation is mostly a bogus strawman based on a poorly worded note in the Scofield reference Bible.  Let us not forget the preAdamic race, gap theory, 2 new covenants, etc., that the Revised walked away from (mostly).

This is why I asked what Dispensationalism proper was.  Is it essentially how Ryrie defines it?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Dr. Bauder,

With indulgences from the Admin and Mods I will reply to the side bar. First, yes I do confess to leaving the mechanisms of my thoughts both bear and with autistic transitions. However, they are deliberate under the premise that if solid thought is meant to be chewed the don't prepare it so that it may swallow it like applesauce.

As to the body of response, your view that Ironside badly overstates his objections is good to hear and is consistent with how you tend to hesitate with the strongest of language unless absolutely necessary as I have learned from reading your work.

And I do concede that the illustration of divisions in theology being so strong that they elicit fierce descriptions such as "Satanic" are not always inappropriate or unfairly used as long as they are buttressed by reasonable arguments (and of course here it was used by you with reference to an illustration and not an argument, hence the absence of Ironside's arguments) though one can disagree. But when such illustrations are used, even to simply point out the nature of a divide, one may not have to qualify it with their opinion but it does appear that if they do not the tables can be turned, later, in pointing out a divide by some theological point to which they may hold. But no doubt from there good men would debate the merit of such descriptions with their arguments.

Thank you for the exercise and answers to the many possibilities of my question.

 

Paul Henebury's picture

James K wrote:

Paul, the differences between Scofield/Chafer and Ryrie/Walvoord/Pentecost are enough that many authors refer to the periods as Classic and Revised dispensationalism.

Of course there are great similarities between the two, but they are still distinct enough to not be identical.

The charge against dispensationalists believing in two ways of salvation is mostly a bogus strawman based on a poorly worded note in the Scofield reference Bible.  Let us not forget the preAdamic race, gap theory, 2 new covenants, etc., that the Revised walked away from (mostly).

This is why I asked what Dispensationalism proper was.  Is it essentially how Ryrie defines it?

 

James,

 

My list includes Peters and Sauer who differ in places from Chafer and Walvoord.  Early Walvoord differs from Later Walvoord and Pentecost differs from Pentecost.  You cannot put your finger on a timeline and declare "All dispensationalists in this period believed in the Gap Theory or two new covenants, etc.".  That is just not true.

Fruchtenbaum believes some Pemberisms, and Geisler holds to old-earth creationism (with e.g., Sauer and Scofield), and others reject and have rejected both out of hand.  You seem to be aware of Blaising's taxonomy, but I think it's shaky and is a covert attempt to get a pass for PD anyway. 

I wasn't trying to stick a drawing pin in one embodiment of Dispensationalism, I was just explaining why PD is, in my opinion, outside the boundaries (same with ultra-disp). 

It might help if you told me what you were driving at.  You surely know that while Ryrie changed and "improved" on Scofield other dispensationalists have felt free to disagree with Ryrie or both.  But they all saw themselves as within the same movement.  It wasn't supposed to be a technical designation.  It was just a term used to explain the omission of PD.  Recall I included some Covenant Theology works to show that that system has people who differ but who recognize each others contributions as being in harmony with their own.  another place to see this is the first part of Greg Nichols' new Covenant Theology: A Reformed & Baptistic Perspective. 

I hope that's clear.

 

God bless,

 

P. 

 

 

Dr. Paul Henebury

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

James K's picture

Paul, I am fine with your list.  I wasn't sure what Dispensational Proper meant.  It seems as though you define it rather broadly between Ultra and Progressive.

The reason I bring this up, is because the differences between the godfathers of dispensationalism can be seen as quite vast.  The connection between some while rejecting others seems that because they all thought they were together in a sort of fraternity against CT, then they are a cohesive unit.  I suppose that really is what united the various dons of Dispensationalism.  What I wonder about is if they were really together for something as much as they were against something else.  Sometimes it takes a war of some kind to unite factions.

I never mentioned Blaising by the way.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Paul Henebury's picture

James,

 

This will be my last comment on this thread.  I have already explained my limited use of the phrase "Dispensationalism proper" as a of excluding PD.  Since my list includes men from various generations you see that I think them to be covered by the term you are still questioning.  

You claim,

Quote:
The reason I bring this up, is because the differences between the godfathers of dispensationalism can be seen as quite vast.

 

I just don't know what you mean by "quite vast," and I don't have much inclination to pursue the subject.  Are you a PD?  Forgive my suspicious nature, but I can't understand your real point in all this.  Ryrie (whom you have mentioned) traces "Systematized Dispensationalism" from Darby through the 1980's (Dispensationalism [1995], 67); thereby showing that he does not see the "Classic"/"Revised" dichotomy you refer to (Blaising - whether you are aware of it or not - does).  Further, on pages 12 & 15 of the book he uses "normative dispensationalism" and "classic dispensationalism" (as opposed to "progressive dispensationalism") as a general moniker for what he sees himself doing.  

That, to me, is enough.

 

   

Dr. Paul Henebury

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

James K's picture

Paul, again, I am fine with your list.  I was trying to figure out how you got to dispensationalism proper.  You excluded 2 other kinds of dispensationalism because they weren't dispensationalism proper.  I was hoping to clarify what you meant by it.  You have confirmed that because Ryrie thought he was continuing in the same tradition, than that is what it must be.  Again, fine.  That is your list and rationale for inclusion/exclusion.

By vast differences, it is simply what was previously alluded to: 2 new covenants, old earth, preadamic race, satan ruling over the world in darkness (gap theory), issues of continuity, etc.  I find it rather bizarre that those such as Ryrie can think that a "literal" hermeneutic can actually allow for that nonsense and his work be within the same vein as theirs.  If those of Ryrie's persuasion don't see any meaningful difference between them and the issues mentioned above, then their own ability to assess their own movement is not credible.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Paul Henebury's picture

Quote:
By vast differences, it is simply what was previously alluded to: 2 new covenants, old earth, preadamic race, satan ruling over the world in darkness (gap theory), issues of continuity, etc.  I find it rather bizarre that those such as Ryrie can think that a "literal" hermeneutic can actually allow for that nonsense and his work be within the same vein as theirs.  If those of Ryrie's persuasion don't see any meaningful difference between them and the issues mentioned above, then their own ability to assess their own movement is not credible.

Couldn't let this go.  Apparently you think you are in a position to offer a credible assessment? 

Go for it!  I've heard enough.

Dr. Paul Henebury

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

James K's picture

I know that when A does not equal B, it isn't the same thing.  It does seem like some people want the Classic and Revised to essentially be one movement to prevent the possibility that it could be further modified.  I am not saying you are guilty of this.  Maybe you are, maybe you aren't.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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