How Being Rapture-Minded Made The American Church No Earthly Good

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TylerR's picture

Editor

I am a dispensationalist, but I would never write a blog post about covenant theology that is so dismissive and full of straw men as this particular piece is. It would be dishonest and I'd feel sleezy for doing it.

Whether you are a dispensationalist or not, Ryrie's Dispensationalism Today discusses these same straw men and argues against them. I am not disappointed because the author is against dispensationalism. I am disappointed because he has not seen fit to really study the system. That is not the mark of somebody to be taken seriously.

I have systematic theologies by Horton, Berkhof and Reymond on my shelf. I am willing to interact with articulate arguments by opponents of dispensationalism. Judging from the content of this blog post, this man doesn't appear willing to reciprocate.

I'll leave him to his task of building scarecrows to knock down. The rest of us have real work to do.

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?

MShep2's picture

I wrote a paper in college debunking dispensationalism.

I was wondering who was the one who had ACTUALLY disproven dispensationalism. And to have done it in college yet: amazing! The argument is OVER.

As TylerR says, the article is probably not even worth posting on SI since it not only has no new arguments but it also has no substantive arguments at all. Who is this Dan Edelen?

Christians do not need an excuse to be lazy and not follow God. Because "Dan" cannot find a better argument he blames lazy Christianity in the U.S. on dispensationalism.

MS
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Luke 17:10

TylerR's picture

Editor

I was wondering who was the one who had ACTUALLY disproven dispensationalism. And to have done it in college yet: amazing! The argument is OVER.

It wasn't Greg Bahnsen. It wasn't Robert Reymond, who, incidentally, displays the most visceral distaste for dispensationalism I've ever seen in print! It wasn't even Louis Berkhof. It was Dan Edelson.

We can only hope he publishes his seminal work on this subject, to lead the rest of us out of darkness and into the light.

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?

DHarry's picture

Let's not forget our history.  "In the early days of his Christian faith Augustine (354-430) was premillennial. However, through time he abandoned the idea of a literal return of Christ to establish a physical kingdom on earth. He used this new allegorical method of interpretation to explain away the literal return of Christ and thus amillennialism was born. In his book, The City of God, Augustine taught that the Universal Church is the Messianic Kingdom and that the millennium began with Christ's first coming. When the church lost the hope of the imminent return of Christ it plunged headlong into the dark ages. The seeds of false interpretation bore fruit giving rise to Roman Catholicism and a works-based religion. Augustine's amillennial teaching continued to be the standard view of organized Christendom until the 17th century. Occasionally premillennial groups challenged that doctrine through out the dark ages, but they were a small voice compared to the powerful Roman Catholic church." - article by Bob Nyberg

 

As the Dark Ages ended and the reformation pushed a renewed dependence on Scripture (Sola Scriptura), the doctrine of dispensationalism slowly came back into understanding and has once again become clear as the framework for Biblical interpretation.  I am not arguing the merits of dispensationalism, just that there have always been those that have believed it, even if in the minority and not blessed by the Roman Catholic Church.  

Isaiah 64:8  But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

MShep2's picture

DHarry wrote:

Let's not forget our history....

Don't confuse me with history. Dan has already told us dispensationalism is new to the church.

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

MS
--------------------------------
Luke 17:10

Charlie's picture

Just by way of history, Augustine had little to do with the demise of chiliasm [millennialism]. Early church chiliasm was essentially a taking over of certain eschatological positions in non-canonical Jewish texts. They believed that when Christians died, their souls were held underground. Then during the millennium, the souls would be purified to be able to see God. Eventually, as the Church began to accept that souls were disposed of somehow immediately upon death, the need for the millennium faded. (Purgatory took its place.) Chiliasm was dead in the East by the 4th century, no thanks to Augustine, whose works were not translated into Latin until the 12th century. 

Bibliography:

The Hope of the Early Church by Brian Daley

Regnum Caelorum by Charles Hill

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

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

Pastork's picture

Tyler,

I am a Covenant Theologian myself, but I agree with you that this was a straw man attack. In fact, it made me wonder if this guy ever really spent much time reading Dispensational works or interacting with many Dispensational believers. Of course, there may be some fringe folk out there that fit the category he has in mind, but they hardly represent the majority in my experience.

But, then, one can find a crazy fringe group when examining any theological point of view, and it simply isn't fair to paint a whole position with such a broad and biased brush.

I think the article was a waste of time. I am sorry I won't ever get the minutes back I spent reading such tripe.

Keith

Pastork's picture

DHarry,

You cited Nyberg talking about Premillennialism in the ancient church, after which you said, "As the Dark Ages ended and the reformation pushed a renewed dependence on Scripture (Sola Scriptura), the doctrine of dispensationalism slowly came back into understanding and has once again become clear as the framework for Biblical interpretation."

You must know, however, that Dispensationalism and Premillennialism are not the same thing. So finding Premillennialism in the ancient church does not equate to finding Dispensationalism. This means that, if one is going to establish the historical reality of Dispensational teaching in the early church, then he is going to have to find other distinctive features of the system in the ancient church as well.

Keith