Do you consider yourself a dispensationalist?

No.
26% (15 votes)
Yes, in the "classical" sense (Ryrie, Chafer, McCune, etc.)
28% (16 votes)
Yes, but not quite in the classical sense.
29% (17 votes)
I'm more of a Progressive Dispensationalist (Robert Saucy, etc.)
14% (8 votes)
What's a dispensationalist?
3% (2 votes)
Total votes: 58
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There are 50 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Some days I think I'm pretty close to classical dispy, minus a few things that seem to be just too problematic.
Other days, seems like I'm closer to the Progressive dispies.

What I'm always sure about: the church does not replace ethnic Israel and there remains a future for them in the national sense in God's plan. I'm also consistently uncomfortable with "different gospel" language though I believe I agree mostly what is usually meant by that (i.e., significant differences in the message, but not "different ways to be saved"). The line is so fine there, I think dispensationalism needs some better terminology for clarity's sake.

Dennis Clemons's picture

Having read some of your thoughts in the past, I've wondered more than once why you remain dispensational and I think you may have touched on the reason when you said,

Aaron Blumer wrote:
What I'm always sure about: the church does not replace ethnic Israel and there remains a future for them in the national sense in God's plan.
But non-dispensationalists agree with you; the church does not replace ethnic Israel and many believe in a future for national Israel. Where I suppose that you part company is on the point that, God's unperishable promises were not to ethnic Israel but only to those who believed; "the rest fell in the wilderness" as it were.

Quote:
Heb 3:19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

And while some unbelieving Israelites enjoyed the perishable blessings of God's promises, the Bible teaches us repeatedly that all of those promises were fulfilled in Joshua's day. (Josh 21:43-45; Josh 23:14-15; 1 Kings 8:56)

Non-dispensationalists understand that the church is just believing Israel, to whom the unperishable promises were made, with believing Gentiles grafted in. That is why Paul could say in truth,

Quote:
Rom 2:28-29 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. ... Gal. 3:28-29 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Is any of that persuasive to your thinking?

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Greg Long's picture

Dennis, if the promises were fulfilled in Joshua and Kings, why were they repeated in the prophets?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Stephen Schwenke's picture

The Bible simply doesn't make sense otherwise.
The promises of Deuteronomy were not fulfilled in Joshua's day - they did not completely destroy all the heathen as they were told to do. Also, the promise to Abraham concerning the land grant covers the entire Sinai Peninsula, not just the little patch from Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. They certainly did not conquer that land in Joshua's day.
Greg asked a great question. The only way out of the literal fulfillment of the prophecies made by the prophets is to spiritualize or allegorize them away. A fundamentalist holds to a literal interpretation of Scripture, so far as possible. At least that is what I have always thought a fundamentalist believes. This site has shaken my belief in what fundamentalists really are!
(At least I know what I am!!!...I think...O, I am so confused...haha)

In Christ,

Pastor Steve Schwenke
Liberty Baptist Church
Amarillo, TX

Dennis Clemons's picture

What is astounding is your denial of what the Bible says unambiguously. Your argument isn't with me. Read it for yourself.

Quote:
43 Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. 44 And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass .

If your position is right, then Joshua is wrong. If Joshua is right, your position is wrong. Let God be true and every man a liar.

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Stephen Schwenke wrote:
The Bible simply doesn't make sense otherwise. .... The only way out of the literal fulfillment of the prophecies made by the prophets is to spiritualize or allegorize them away. A fundamentalist holds to a literal interpretation of Scripture, so far as possible. At least that is what I have always thought a fundamentalist believes. This site has shaken my belief in what fundamentalists really are!

There were quite a few non-dispensationalists in fundamentalism in the early days and are still quite a few. I think most of them would also claim an essentially literal approach to interp. I guess where the bigger differences arise is in the sort of murky middle... we all recognize that there is symbolism and methaphor, etc. The non-dispy fundamentalists see a good bit more of this than the dispies do.
I'm with you totally on the Bible not making sense w/o a basically dispensational appraoch, though. I see inconsistencies in a fair number of disp. interps of texts, but not nearly as many as I've read in CT approaches.

Greg Long's picture

Dennis Clemons wrote:
What is astounding is your denial of what the Bible says unambiguously. Your argument isn't with me. Read it for yourself.

Quote:
43 Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. 44 And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass .

If your position is right, then Joshua is wrong. If Joshua is right, your position is wrong. Let God be true and every man a liar.

You didn't answer my question, Dennis.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Charlie's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

I'm with you totally on the Bible not making sense w/o a basically dispensational appraoch, though. I see inconsistencies in a fair number of disp. interps of texts, but not nearly as many as I've read in CT approaches.

Aaron, it is my experience that a fair comparison is unusual. There is a historical reason for this. Several of the early mainstays of Dispensationalism (Darby, Scofield, Chafer) were not trained theologians. They were very bright men, but they essentially were critiquing from an armchair. Their populist approach to Scripture, mirroring the Baconian inductivism of the 18th and early 19th centuries, led them to dismiss the witness of the past. The tradition founded at Dallas Seminary and others took a very low view of historical theology and a somewhat skeptical view of systematic theology, the repercussions of which are evident down to this very board. The "church history" that was (and is) taught was heavily weighted toward biographical studies, histories of revival, and the like. The discipline of historical theology is redundant if the Scripture is so "plain" that just anyone can read it and, through a relatively simple process, find out all of its details, including an extraordinarily detailed account of the end times.

You are well aware that people's ideas are conditioned by their environments. The major flaw of (broadly speaking) the brand of Enlightenment thinking at work in America was the assumption of the objectivity of the observer. The irony is that by supposing objectivity, they made themselves even more slaves of their environment. Historical theology had always been something of a check on the consensus of the moment; now it was removed. Compare with the Protestant Reformation - Luther and Zwingli, and later Calvin and Turretin, are always in dialogue with Augustine, Aquinas, Ockham, Scotus, Gregory of Rimni, Innocent III, etc. They critique from a position of knowledge; a studied and informed dissent. On the other hand, Dispensationalists (particularly of the classical stripe) proceed as if the first 1850 years of church history were so much chatter, as if no one tried to put the Bible together in a sensible way. [By the way, the "historical-grammatical" hermeneutic was first propagated in the Reformation. For more info on the intellectual origins of Dispensationalism, see Mark Noll's The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. ]

So, Aaron, I write this lengthy reply to encourage you to do one thing: read a systematic account of the Bible published before the advent of (or without reference to) Dispensationalism. I don't think covenant theology has a fighting chance of making sense to you unless you are willing to look at a significant work that uses much Scripture and asserts itself to be a coherent whole. A verse or small passage chucked at you here or there really isn't likely to have a paradigm shifting influence. Here are my recommendations:

The Marrow of Modern Divinity by Edward Fisher, ed. Thomas Boston (available through google books)
Biblical Theology by John Owen
A History of the Work of Redemption by Jonathan Edwards (available through ccel.org)
The Economy of the Divine Covenants by Herman Witsius (google books)
Biblical Theology by Geerhardus Vos

The best of the bunch is probably Owen, although the Marrow is an engaging read because it's set as a dialogue. Witsius is the classic covenant theology text, but his work is about 50% systematic theology mixed in and a pain to read. Vos is 20th century and actively (though sometimes subtly) defending against modernism; most modern Reformed biblical theology is Vossian.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

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

Marty H's picture

Quote Dennis

Non-dispensationalists understand that the church is just believing Israel, to whom the unperishable promises were made, with believing Gentiles grafted in. That is why Paul could say in truth,
Quote:

Rom 2:28-29 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. ... Gal. 3:28-29 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Is any of that persuasive to your thinking?

Dennis, I would like to ask you. Can you see how it could be possible that Paul is speaking complete truth and yet in the limiting scope of time ?( among other things )
One example of "Other things" being the line from Gal you quoted "No male and female"
That is truth. But the same Paul says

1Ti 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

1Ti 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

1Ti 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
My point being that while there is no difference between man and woman when it comes to spirit, There is a huge difference in the flesh. Unless you disallow what Paul said.

Can it not be possible for the same to apply to the Jew / Gentile part also ?

Aaron, although I am very much a dispensationalist , I have no knowledge of any of the people listed in your poll. EC Moore, Les Feldick and Clarence Larkin I know something of and I guess I fall inline pretty much with E.C and Les. I have no idea if thats clasical or not.
So "What's a dispensationalist" was my vote.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Charlie wrote:
You are well aware that people's ideas are conditioned by their environmnts.
Indeed. This also applies to the historical theology that Chafer & co are allegedly guilty of ignoring.

Charlie wrote:
The major flaw of (broadly speaking) the brand of Enlightenment thinking at work in America was the assumption of the objectivity of the observer.
Well, I don't quite believe in "objectivity" but neither do I believe the truth is so hopelessly lost to the individual thinker that he is incapable of discerning it without accepting the assertions of those who have gone before... i.e., the historical theology.
But I'm also not in favor of completely reinventing the wheel and will readily admit to needing more study of historical theology myself.

I'll also plead guilty to finding alot to like in Baconian inductivism (to the degree I understand it)... since most people live by alot of it every day however vehemently they repudiate it officially.

Charlie wrote:
So, Aaron, I write this lengthy reply to encourage you to do one thing: read a systematic account of the Bible published before the advent of (or without reference to) Dispensationalism. I don't think covenant theology has a fighting chance of making sense to you unless you are willing to look at a significant work that uses much Scripture and asserts itself to be a coherent whole.
I've actually done that, though I'll admit to having done it way too fast! The nature of seminary work, alas. I'll catch up in Milennium. Biggrin

Charlie wrote:
A History of the Work of Redemption by Jonathan Edwards (available through ccel.org)
I pick Edwards... was going to do it anyway.. just not sure when.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Dennis Clemons wrote:
What is astounding is your denial of what the Bible says unambiguously. Your argument isn't with me. Read it for yourself.
Dennis, let's enjoy the conversation, eh? We all know it isn't quite that simple or there would not be a long standing difference of opinion among men and women who love the Bible equally and equally desire to get it right.
But Greg did ask an interesting question, don't you think?

Dennis Clemons's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
But Greg did ask an interesting question, don't you think?
That he did. What isn't apparent here is that I've answered Greg's questions time and again in days gone by but he just changes the subject. He never deals with the issue.

Don't you think his question betrays his willingness to accept that Joshua and the prophets contradict one another? Joshua's statement is plain, but he contends that the prophets teach something else. The truth is that Joshua and later on, Solomon, declared clearly that the perishable promises were fulfilled in their day. Can anyone deny that that is what they actually said?

The prophets, however, progressively unfold a transition from the promise of the perishable to God's greater promise and purpose for the imperishable which the New Testament writers state clearly in almost every single epistle.

Grasping that shows us the continuity of Scripture instead of contradictions.

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Greg Long's picture

Dennis, I have dealt with the issue. But once again we find ourselves at an impasse. I am just as baffled that you cannot accept a system that in my mind does a better job of reconciling the multiple plain statements throughout the prophetical books with the statements in Joshua and Kings. If, for the sake of argument, I have to throw out the statements in Joshua and Kings, you have many more statements to throw out in the prophets.

But of course neither of us believes we have to throw anything out. That's the whole point of a theological system. I just wish you would use a kinder tone when addressing these issues, as Aaron has indicated.

If you really want me to go back and repost what I've said before concerning Joshua and Kings, I will certainly do that when I have some more time.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

I found something I have posted before on another site that I can quickly repost:

The Bible Knowledge Commentary on Josh. 21:43-45:

"Some theologicans have insisted that the statement in Josh. 21:43 means that the land promise of the Abrahamic Covenant was fulfilled then. But this cannot be true because later the Bible gives additional predictions about Israel possessing the land after the time of Joshua (e.g., Amos 9:14-15). Josh. 21:43, therefore, refers to the extent of the land as outlined in Num. 34 and not to the ultimate extent it will be in the messianic kingdom (Gen. 15:18-21). Also though Israel possessed the land at this time it was later dispossessed, whereas the Abrahmic Covenant promised Israel that she would possess the land forever (Gen. 13:15; 17:8)" (1:364).

This point is key. If the land promises were completely fulfilled, why do the OT prophets still speak of it as yet-future? For example, Zech 14:

1 Behold, a day is coming for the LORD, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. 5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

6 On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. 7 And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. 8 On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. 9 And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one. 10 The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's winepresses. 11 And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security. 12 And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 And on that day a great panic from the LORD shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other. 14 Even Judah will fight against Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. 15 And a plague like this plague shall fall on the horses, the mules, the camels, the donkeys, and whatever beasts may be in those camps. 16 Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. 17 And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 18 And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. 19 This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. 20 And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, "Holy to the LORD." And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the bowls before the altar. 21 And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.
ESV

See also Ezekiel 47:

1 Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. 2 Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side.

3 Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. 4 Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. 5 Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. 6 And he said to me, "Son of man, have you seen this?"

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8 And he said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. 9 And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. 12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing."

13 Thus says the Lord GOD: "This is the boundary by which you shall divide the land for inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. [color=red ][God must have forgotten He already fulfilled His promises!!! ][/color ] Joseph shall have two portions. 14 And you shall divide equally what I swore to give to your fathers. This land shall fall to you as your inheritance. 15 "This shall be the boundary of the land: On the north side, from the Great Sea by way of Hethlon to Lebo-hamath, and on to Zedad, 16 Berothah, Sibraim (which lies on the border between Damascus and Hamath), as far as Hazer-hatticon, which is on the border of Hauran. 17 So the boundary shall run from the sea to Hazar-enan, which is on the northern border of Damascus, with the border of Hamath to the north. This shall be the north side. 18 "On the east side, the boundary shall run between Hauran and Damascus; along the Jordan between Gilead and the land of Israel; to the eastern sea and as far as Tamar. This shall be the east side. 19 "On the south side, it shall run from Tamar as far as the waters of Meribah-kadesh, from there along the Brook of Egypt to the Great Sea. This shall be the south side. 20 "On the west side, the Great Sea shall be the boundary to a point opposite Lebo-hamath. This shall be the west side. 21 "So you shall divide this land among you according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. 23 In whatever tribe the sojourner resides, there you shall assign him his inheritance, declares the Lord GOD.
ESV

P.S. Dennis, it doesn't seem to me that you can have it both ways. Why would God fulfill some of his promises to Israel literally (the land as fulfilled, according to you, in Josh. 21; the promise of a Messiah from the house of David) and others spiritually through the church?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Stephen Schwenke's picture

God promised to destroy all the inhabitants in the land when Joshua went in, but it was a conditional promise. The Israelites had to do the fighting. They didn't. The accounts in the first few chapters of Judges clearly state that because Israel subdued those heathen nations, instead of annihilating them, God was not going to do the fighting for them. Thus, God did NOT displace those nations as He promised. Did God lie to them? No, the Israelites didn't keep their part of the bargain. So, the direct promise to Abraham was NOT fulfilled in its entirety. From Joshua's perspective, all was well. THey were in the land, they had peace (though not total victory as Judges indicates.) Maybe he thought this was the beginning of the fulfillment. Maybe he was mistaken in his assumption! Just as the disciples of Jesus' day were mistaken in their idea that Jesus would bring in the promised physical kingdom at that time.

Too many prophecies must be dismissed for me to accept anything other than classic dispensationalism.

Charlie:
I don't buy into the "trained theologian bit." God never called anyone in the Bible to be "trained theologians." We are all alike to "study to shew ourselves approved unto God.." but we are also all alike to preach the gospel. The problem with "trained theologians" is that they very seldom wins souls. Larkin and Scofield were both "trained" church leaders. The greatest "theologians" are not sitting around in monasteries or seminaries somewhere. They are in the pulpits every Sunday teaching and preaching the word of God.
Larkin, Darby, Scofield, et al didn't concoct this "system" out of thin air. They simply put into writing what had been taught for centuries. A lack of "references" and citations from "church fathers" does not mean that it is not a valid historical approach to Scripture. It just means that the pro-Catholic/Protestant interpretation got all the "good press." Since they controlled the government and hence the economy, this makes sense to me. the Baptists were consistently maligned and thus kept a low profile, yet they were still there in many different countries called by many different names. Dispensationalism may have gained more publicity from these men, but it was not a sudden "new" method of interpretation.
THis is not to discount wholesale the church fathers or church history. It only recognizes that the "standard" church history is not the whole story, nor do the church fathers have a corner on the truth. Indeed many of the "church fathers" were heretics, or close to it.

There is a book available that details the history and development of dispensationalism:
The Bible Believer's Guide to Dispensationalism by David Walker
available at daystarpublishing.org (careful...its a KJVO sight!!!)

In Christ

Pastor Steve Schwenke
Liberty Baptist Church
Amarillo, TX

Jay's picture

Stephen Schwenke wrote:
God promised to destroy all the inhabitants in the land when Joshua went in, but it was a conditional promise. The Israelites had to do the fighting. They didn't. The accounts in the first few chapters of Judges clearly state that because Israel subdued those heathen nations, instead of annihilating them, God was not going to do the fighting for them. Thus, God did NOT displace those nations as He promised. Did God lie to them? No, the Israelites didn't keep their part of the bargain. So, the direct promise to Abraham was NOT fulfilled in its entirety. From Joshua's perspective, all was well. THey were in the land, they had peace (though not total victory as Judges indicates.) Maybe he thought this was the beginning of the fulfillment. Maybe he was mistaken in his assumption! Just as the disciples of Jesus' day were mistaken in their idea that Jesus would bring in the promised physical kingdom at that time.

Thank you, Stephen, for pointing that out.

The guilt / blame of the Israelites' failure to utterly annihilate the original inhabitants is solely their own. God promised them victory and ordered them to do it, but as the OT shows time and time again, a stubborn and hardhearted people refused to obey, choosing their own way instead of God's...and they are still dealing with the consequences of their failure...possibly even until today.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Duane Braswell's picture

my two cents here.

I always prefer the scriptural text over a commentary text. Although, I think the Bible Knowledge Commentary handles this passage well. Let me add Hebrews 8, specifically the idea that Joshua's time was not the fulfillment of all promises. We end up with two 'plain' verses contradicting. In Context of Joshua, we simply need to keep in mind that God gave Joshua the fulfillment of the promises that his generation knew their fathers, (that group that wandered for 40 years outside of the land God had promised them.) Joshua led them into the land and gave them peace/rest. But that is not a fulfillment of the land promised to Abraham, rather it is a fulfillment of his generation's work. It was a success.

Not trying to provoke, just clarify.

He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent. - Augustine

Bob T.'s picture

Good to see that the Biblical Christians outnumber the philosophers - at least so far! :bigsmile:

Dennis Clemons's picture

Those of you who reject the simpler understanding of Joshua and 1 Kings that non-dispensationalists hold to, please consider a few other issues, two of which dispensationalists usually claim to believe in:

1) Whatever the land promises mean to you, they obviously meant something else to Joshua, Solomon and their contemporaries;
2) You are displaying that "all" doesn't always mean "all" to dispensationalists as I've always been told by them; and
3) You are rejecting the maxim that, "If plain sense makes good sense, then seek no other sense."

The NT clears this up for us repeatedly and consistently places the emphasis on a spiritual understanding of these matters.

Some of you reading this may not know that the dispensational approach is a new invention. I hope that you will be willing to at least consider what the Church generally understood about these matters before throwing in your lot with the majority. It saddens me that this historically novel approach to biblical interpretation has captivated the majority of modern American Christians, me included for many years.

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Dennis Clemons's picture

Marty H wrote:
Dennis, I would like to ask you. Can you see how it could be possible that Paul is speaking complete truth and yet in the limiting scope of time ?( among other things )... being the line from Gal you quoted "No male and female"... My point being that while there is no difference between man and woman when it comes to spirit, There is a huge difference in the flesh. ... Can it not be possible for the same to apply to the Jew / Gentile part also ?
Of course, and just as there is a physical/spiritual distinction that you are pointing out, I indicated in my first post there is a huge difference between ethnic Israel and what Paul calls a true Jew, which ironically includes Gentiles, whom he says are heirs according to the promise.

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Stephen Schwenke's picture

To say that dispensationalism is new is like saying missionaries are new.
Maybe our method of sending out missionaries is new, but missionaries themselves are not.
Many people call William Carey "the father of modern missions." Yet Carey didn't invent missionary work, nor was he the first missionary sent out of a local church. The early church at Antioch ordained and sent out Paul and Barnabas. There are many other unknown laborers throughout the centuries that carried out the great commission in similar manner, they just never had any big long biography written about them. THey were simply doing what God said.
The writings of the "church fathers" are not always the most accurate collection of writings in regards to Biblical doctrine, and just as with missionary work, there were thousands of pastors, teachers, elders, etc. throughout church history, and throughout the world that were teaching plain bible truth that is similar to what dispensationalists teach today. Just because somebody decided to call these men "church fathers" does not necessarily mean that these men are a good representation of what the early church truly believed. Many of the faithful Christians were persecuted and forced underground, and "to the victor goes the spoils." It ws the enemies of the persecuted church that had all the access to the printing and publications. The Donatists, Novations, Montanists, Albigenses, et al, etc. were forced underground and did not have the opportunity to publish much of their material. We here in the west who have lived so long with "freedom of the press" often forget these important facts.
I could never hope to have all of my material written and published, and neither can many other thousands of pastors today. Neither were our ancient forefathers able to have their material printed. They were simply preaching and teaching as God led them. However, there is ample evidence that there were in fact many Christians who did indeed hold to some form of dispensationalism as Ryrie notes in his book. Ryrie lists Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and even Augustine. Dr. Ruckman lists William Gouge (15756-1653), Isaac Watts (1674-1748), John Taylor of Norwich (1694-1751), David Bogue (a750-1825), Adam Clarke (1762-1832), Pierre poiret (1646-1719), John Flechiere (1729-1785), John Priestly (1733-1804), George Faber (1773-1843), and David Russel (1779-1848).

THe question is not what did the church fathers teach. The question is what does the Bible teach. Certainly history has its place, but history is not the final authority in matters of faith and practise; the Bible is.

In Christ

Pastor Steve Schwenke
Liberty Baptist Church
Amarillo, TX

KenFields's picture

Stephen Schwenke wrote:
The Donatists, Novations, Montanists, Albigenses, et al, etc. were forced underground and did not have the opportunity to publish much of their material.

I'm not sure I would be claiming these as dispensationalist-ic ... all of these groups were heretical!

It's like the aberrant trail of blood teaching ... Baptists should want no part of what these groups taught.

They may have stood against the RC Church ... but they did not stand for an orthodox understanding of the Scriptures.

Ken Fields

Stephen Schwenke's picture

These were all related to the Baptists. THey rejected carnal Christianity; infant baptism; church hierarchy; etc.
One thing is for sure, they are a far cry better than appealing to "the church fathers." Augustine, Origen and Jerome were rank heretics, but they get all the good press. Philip Schaff isn't much better, yet most consider his "History of the Christian Church" as the standard work on that subject. Schaff believed in baptismal regeneration and infant baptism; I wonder if he would give the Baptists a "fair shake" when it comes to history, or if he would write history giving a favorable light to his view, and then denigrate the opposite side?

HHHMMMM

What do you mean by "orthodox?" Infant baptism? Calvinism? Protestantism? What is "orthodox" for one is not for another. The RC church claims to be "orthodox."

And just what is so aberrant about the "trail of blood?" The true believers have been hunted and persecuted everywhere they went up until just a few hundred years ago. Even here in America, the true believers were persecuted harshly by the Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, etc. Jesus Himself promised us that we would be treated like He was (John 15:15ff), so actually, this "trail of blood" would be the right trail to follow.

In Christ

Pastor Steve Schwenke
Liberty Baptist Church
Amarillo, TX

Ben Howard's picture

The Donatists only separated from the "catholic" church because they disagreed with allowing those who priests and bishops back who had not stood firm to their faith under Emporer Diocletian's persecution - it had little or nothing to do with doctrinal/theological differences.

Similarly, 100 years earlier than the Donatists, the Novations were also the ones who rejected the acceptance of lapsed believers who did not stand true under persecution. Once again, not doctrinal/theological differences.

If you are a big fan of continuing revelation in the form of Pentecostal prophetic experiences, then I guess Montanists could be included in your theological heritage; but other than that they believed pretty much like everyone else of the time, and they were clearly said to be heretics by the council of Nicea.

As far as the Albigenses, while some came closer to orthodox beliefs than others, their official doctrine that set them apart was the dualistic/gnostic teaching that their were literally 2 Gods - one being Jesus Christ as depicted in the New Testament (the God of light) and the other being Satan/god of the Old Testament (the god of darkness) I would strongly caution against trying to include them in any believer's theological heritage. Oh, and several sources also say that they very strongly downplayed the cross of Christ.

Yes, the winners do write the history, but there sure is a lot of history here to try to cover up, including their own writings.

Brian Jo's picture

Stephen Schwenke wrote:

Even here in America, the true believers were persecuted harshly by the Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, etc.

In Christ

Jonathan Edwards was not a true believer? J Gresham Machen? J H Thornwell? Samuel Davies? J A Alexander?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Stephen Schwenke wrote:
These were all related to the Baptists. They rejected carnal Christianity; infant baptism; church hierarchy; etc.
One thing is for sure, they are a far cry better than appealing to "the church fathers." Augustine, Origen and Jerome were rank heretics, but they get all the good press.
Well, we're pretty far afield from "do you consider yourself a dispensationalist?" now I think, but I want to point out that it's important to put the Fathers in the right historical context.
It's not accurate to call them heretics for a number of reasons, but mainly because they were the ones fighting to identify and reject heresy at the time. Views on what baptism does and doesn't do were not yet being thought about much. Guys like Austine, for example, were busy clearing up confusion on aspects of the Trinity and writing polemics against various denials of the core beliefs of the faith.
Origen I have not read so much of/about recently, so I don't know for sure what I can say about him other than that I have not personally read a whole lot of "good press."

What you seem to be overlooking here is how study of doctrine progressed in the years after the passing of the apostles. Until the Reformation, few were giving much thought to precisely how baptism fits in. [br ][br ]
On "true believers" and persection, maybe you'd agree that "true believers" were persecuting one another at the time?

Dennis Clemons's picture

Stephen Schwenke wrote:
... there is ample evidence that there were in fact many Christians who did indeed hold to some form of dispensationalism as Ryrie notes in his book. Ryrie lists Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and even Augustine. Dr. Ruckman lists William Gouge (15756-1653), Isaac Watts (1674-1748), John Taylor of Norwich (1694-1751), David Bogue (a750-1825), Adam Clarke (1762-1832), Pierre poiret (1646-1719), John Flechiere (1729-1785), John Priestly (1733-1804), George Faber (1773-1843), and David Russel (1779-1848).
The problem with what Ryrie claims is that he observes that these men agree with him on some level and claim them as dispensationalists when their points of agreement are equally agreeable to non-dispensationalists. It's like Ford claiming that if another car manufacturer believes in using V6 engines then they must be Ford fans because Ford uses V6 engines. Well, duh, so do other manufacturers. That's what Ryrie does in claiming that dispensationalism is much older than it really is. Dispensationalism was still new when The Fundamentals were being written just as early Fundamentalist author, Philip Mauro poignantly observed in 1921. I don't know what Ruckman said and frankly wouldn't place a lot of stock in it anyway.

Stephen Schwenke wrote:
THe question is not what did the church fathers teach. The question is what does the Bible teach. Certainly history has its place, but history is not the final authority in matters of faith and practise; the Bible is.
This is where I wholeheartedly agree with you, Stephen. We are left then with deciding what is physical and what is spiritual. While dispensaitonalists like to see Joshua's words as figurative and The Revelation as literal, non-dispensationalists do the opposite.

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Dennis Clemons's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Well, we're pretty far afield from "do you consider yourself a dispensationalist?" now I think
In the interest of your original question, Aaron, I'd be interested in a sincere discussion on what makes one a dispensationalist. Some dispensationalists claim distinctives that aren't distinct to that brand of theology and I'd like to see if there is any chance of finding agreement on what makes dispensationalism dispensationalism. Is that acceptable or would you prefer that we start a different thread?

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I don't object.... seems pretty close to the "Do you consider...?" question.
I'm not prepared to contribute alot to the "what defines" question at this moment but might be able to come back to it in a day or two. I recall vaguely, that Ryrie had some strong opinions on that very question and made the case at some point that the sine qua non for being a dispensationalist was, basically, non-replacement of Israel (I think he would probably say "believing or otherwise") by the church.

I can't remember off hand where I read that, though. And it seems there were maybe two other points in his view of the irreducible minimum of dispensationalism. Probably was in Dispensationalism Today (as someone point out, retitled, but I don't think I have the retitled ver. on my shelf).

For me personally, being dispensationalist has a "set of tenets" component and an "emphasis component." The former would certainly include the idea that promises to believing Israel have a yet-future literal fulfillment on the earth and have not been (fully) satisfied (maybe not satisfied at all) in the church.
As for emphasis, that one's harder to pin down just now since it just occurred to me.... and I'm only speaking for myself here. I can say this, though, that for me dispensationalism emphasizes an accessibility in Scripture interpretation that I find very appealing. It seems less dependent--as you pointed out--on historical theology and more able to give in-the-pew believers guidelines for rightly handling the Word that they can readily understand.
Of course, disp. doesn't always succeed at that (some of the finer points of the case for pre-trib rapture are tricky to articulate, to say the least), but--no insult intended, disp. seems to offer folks (in it's more modern forms) less mumbo jumbo and more common sense.
I'm not talking here about the old intricate charts with heaps and heaps of dispensational distinctions that are seldom (if ever) useful. (Though they sure do look cool)

Dennis Clemons's picture

Quoting from Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today 1965 edition,

Quote:
Theoretically, the sine qua non ought to lie in the recognition of the fact that God has distinguishably different economies in governing the affairs of the world. Covenant theologians hold that there are various dispensations (and even use the word!) within the outworking of the covenant of grace. … Hodge … Berkhof … In other words, a man can believe in dispensations, and even see them in relation to progressive revelation, without being a dispensationalist.

(Bold mine)

He continues,

Quote:
What then is the sine qua non of Dispensationalism? The answer is threefold.

(1) A dispensationalist keeps Israel and the Church distinct. … This is probably the most basic theological test of whether or not a man is a dispensationalist, and it is undoubtedly the most practical and conclusive. …
(2) … the matter of plain hermeneutics. The word literal is perhaps not so good as either the word normal or plain, but in any case it is interpretation that does not spiritualize or allegorize as nondispensational interpretation does. …
(3) … the underlying purpose of God in the world … is … the glory of God.


Before laying out any position in the matter, I would ask whether any dispensationalists present take exception to Ryrie in any of the above?

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Keeping in mind that he is trying to boil things down to their essence here, I don't object to any of that.
What "keeps Israel and the church distinct" means will vary somewhat among dispensationalists, especially in the different solutions I've seen to how believers relate to the New Covenant in these times and in the future.
I don't think even Ryrie means "distinct in every way," and certainly dispensationalists in general don't.

I'm also not crazy about "economies" (prefer something more like "different arrangements") but I don't think what I mean by my preferred term is any different from what Ryrie means by his term.

KenFields's picture

Dennis Clemons wrote:
Quoting from Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today 1965 edition,
Quote:
Theoretically, the sine qua non ought to lie in the recognition of the fact that God has distinguishably different economies in governing the affairs of the world. Covenant theologians hold that there are various dispensations (and even use the word!) within the outworking of the covenant of grace. … Hodge … Berkhof … In other words, a man can believe in dispensations, and even see them in relation to progressive revelation, without being a dispensationalist.

(Bold mine)

He continues,

Quote:
What then is the sine qua non of Dispensationalism? The answer is threefold.

(1) A dispensationalist keeps Israel and the Church distinct. … This is probably the most basic theological test of whether or not a man is a dispensationalist, and it is undoubtedly the most practical and conclusive. …
(2) … the matter of plain hermeneutics. The word literal is perhaps not so good as either the word normal or plain, but in any case it is interpretation that does not spiritualize or allegorize as nondispensational interpretation does. …
(3) … the underlying purpose of God in the world … is … the glory of God.

Before laying out any position in the matter, I would ask whether any dispensationalists present take exception to Ryrie in any of the above?

Dennis,

It appears to me that each of Ryrie's sine qua non is, at least to some extent, agreeable to most covenantalists. The CT'ers I know hold to some distinction between ethnic Israel and the church (maybe not eschatologically, but nevertheless the church is still somewhat unique), plain hermeneutics (I find it intriguing that many dispys allegorize Song of Solomon, while most CT'ers do not), and the underlying purpose of God's glory in history (although CT'ers emphasize redemption is the primary way God accomplishes this ... dispys emphasize ethnic Israel as the primary means of God glorifying Himself).

So, in my understanding of both schools of thought, I don't think Ryrie's sine qua non are unique to dispensationalism.

Ken Fields

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I wonder if Ryrie's intent was to identify what is unique to dispensationalism or more to identify what all dispensationalists believe? (Sort of like the "Baptist Distinctives"). Wouldn't it be pretty rare for a CT to hold to all three of these points or any of the three to the degree that most dispies do?

Dennis Clemons's picture

KenFields wrote:
It appears to me that each of Ryrie's sine qua non is, at least to some extent, agreeable to most covenantalists. ... So, in my understanding of both schools of thought, I don't think Ryrie's sine qua non are unique to dispensationalism.
Ken, you're getting ahead of me.

Aaron, his stated purpose for the book was,

Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, 1965 edition wrote:
(1) to try to correct the misconceptions about dispensationalism and thus to allay the suspicions about it and (2) to give a positive presentation of dispensationalism as it is being taught today.

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Stephen Schwenke's picture

Brian Jo wrote:
Stephen Schwenke wrote:

Even here in America, the true believers were persecuted harshly by the Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, etc.

In Christ

Jonathan Edwards was not a true believer? J Gresham Machen? J H Thornwell? Samuel Davies? J A Alexander?

Didn't say that...don't put words in my mouth...I said that these denominations persecuted the Baptists...

Pastor Steve Schwenke
Liberty Baptist Church
Amarillo, TX

KenFields's picture

Stephen Schwenke wrote:
Brian Jo wrote:
Stephen Schwenke wrote:

Even here in America, the true believers were persecuted harshly by the Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, etc.

In Christ

Jonathan Edwards was not a true believer? J Gresham Machen? J H Thornwell? Samuel Davies? J A Alexander?

Didn't say that...don't put words in my mouth...I said that these denominations persecuted the Baptists...

Stephen,

Grammatically, your statement contrasts "the true believers" with Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, etc. Therefore, "the true believers" cannot be anyone who belongs to those groups. Your use of the definite article makes it thus.

It may not be what you meant to say, but grammatically it is what you said.

Ken Fields

Stephen Schwenke's picture

OK, but grammatically speaking, it was a general statement, not an indictment of every member of those denominations. This escapes the main point that is being overlooked - those denominations persecuted - heavily, by taxation, taking land, whips, jail, fines, and even driving them out of house and lands - the true believers. Those denominations were teaching baptismal regeneration/infant baptism, which is heresy, no matter where we find it in history.
Augustine has no more excuse for teaching it than does anyone else.

Pastor Steve Schwenke
Liberty Baptist Church
Amarillo, TX

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Dennis Clemons wrote:
Aaron, his stated purpose for the book was,
Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, 1965 edition wrote:
(1) to try to correct the misconceptions about dispensationalism and thus to allay the suspicions about it and (2) to give a positive presentation of dispensationalism as it is being taught today.

Yes. I think his point in the sine qua non discussion, though, was to identify a minimum of things all dispensationalists believe... and I still think it's unlikely that we'd find a non-dispensationalist who holds to all three to the degree that most dispensationalists do.

I do think it's worth exploring whether there is some better sine qua non, though.
Some possible candidates

  • belief in a future geo-political reign of Jesus Christ
  • rejection of the idea of a single "covenant of Grace"
  • identification of the Church as a body that began during or after the first advent of Christ

I'd have to brush up on my Ryrie but I seem to recall that what he preferred to do there was define dispensationalism in terms of approach to Scripture rather than conclusions about what Scripture teaches. But it may be actually be more fruitful to start at the end and work backwards... going from "what dispies tend to believe" and working backward to "why they believe it."

Dennis Clemons's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I still think it's unlikely that we'd find a non-dispensationalist who holds to all three to the degree that most dispensationalists do.
I agree, but many many nondispensationalists agree on 2 plus of them.
Aaron Blumer wrote:
... it may be actually be more fruitful to start at the end and work backwards... going from "what dispies tend to believe" and working backward to "why they believe it."
That may defeat the purpose. Presumably, what they believe is built on their principles. If the principles are valid, the beliefs are too. If not, the beliefs are in question. Plus, that is how I think I've ended up in so many fruitless conversations on SI before.
Aaron Blumer wrote:
I do think it's worth exploring whether there is some better sine qua non, though.
Fair enough.
Aaron Blumer wrote:
Some possible candidates
  • belief in a future geo-political reign of Jesus Christ
  • rejection of the idea of a single "covenant of Grace"
  • identification of the Church as a body that began during or after the first advent of Christ

Historic Premils believe in your first, so it isn't distinct to DT. On the second and third points, I agree that these things often enter into the argument and I have an opinion but they're really derivatives of the two-peoples-of-God foundation so they're not of paramount importance by themselves. If the Israel/Church distinctive stands, those matters should solve themselves. If not, they don't really matter.

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Charlie's picture

Aaron, I probably should have posted this earlier, but just didn't. Your poll was very confusing to me; it seemed also to show a lack of familiarity (or disagreement?) with the standard historiography of Dispensationalism. Blaising and Bock did some work on the development of Dispensationalism and came to regard the movement in three stages - classical, revised, and progressive. This chart, though it could be much more exhaustive, gives the basic overview http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_dispensationalism#Development_o...

According to this reading, Ryrie stands (for many reasons) in the Revised category. Many people who call themselves "traditional" Dispensationalists would fit in this category. So, all that to say, when your poll lumped in Ryrie as "classical" with Scofield and Chafer, it distorted the categories that are generally accepted. It also made things difficult for your third choice, since I would naturally associate "not quite classical" with Ryrie or Archer (McClain maybe?). As it stands, I don't really know what that choice means. I wonder, then, if Ryrie/Revised Dispensationalism had been separate from Scofield/Chafer, if the numbers on the "classical" choice would not have dropped. "Classical" Dispensationalism is all but dead in academia, surviving in a handful of third-tier Bible colleges and such. I would be extremely surprised if, even in Fundamentalism, more than a few knowledgeable people on this board would choose it.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

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

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Dennis Clemons wrote:
I agree, but many many nondispensationalists agree on 2 plus of them.
Agreement on the "2 plus" would just about always be more of a "partial overlap" than "agreement." That is, the agreement is apparent when you're looking at a one sentence summary, but when you start digging into what dispensationalists mean by the statement, the gulf generally widens.

Aaron Blumer wrote:
... it may be actually be more fruitful to start at the end and work backwards... going from "what dispies tend to believe" and working backward to "why they believe it."
Dennis Clemons wrote:
That may defeat the purpose. Presumably, what they believe is built on their principles.
Yes, it may not serve purpose, but maybe we're not thinking of the same purpose here. If the purpose is to identify what what all dispensationalists believe and come up with a short summary that defines dispensationalism, it makes sense to me to look at what views/conclusions dispies just about always hold to and work to generalizations inductively.
That might not go anywhere either, but, to me, the method still looks promising... if defining dispensationalism is the goal.

On the other hand, if the goal is to try to identify general prinicples that are then easily dismantled (due to lack of self-consistency), it would be more "fruitful" to rush to generalizations and proceed to dismantle them. Smile But what happens in that scenario is that lots of dispies are reading and going "That's not what I believe!" So it invites dismissal on the grounds of caricature.

Dennis Clemmons wrote:
On the second and third points, I agree that these things often enter into the argument
Again, if what we're discussing is "what defines dispensationalism?" These things do more than enter into the argument because you have to search high and low to find the odd duck dispie who doesn't believe in these things... and some others that could be added to the list. So if we want to take a fresh look at what's the essence of the system, doing something inductive seems like a good approach... I suspect this is how dispensationalism as we know it came to be in the first place.

And I do need to point out one more time that if the purpose is to define dispensationalism, the fact that one point or another may be agreed to by some non-dispensationalists does not disqualify it as a mark of dispensationalism. I accept that what is unique to dispensationalism is more valuble for clearly seeing what it is. But there will be overlap at the boundaries.

Charlie... on the poll question... I'm not sure Bock and Blaising's analysis is all that widely accepted. In any case, I didn't really aim to be precise with the questions. They were literally off the top of my head as a starting point. I don't think I mentioned Scofield, because I was not really sure where to put him. Perhaps including Chafer with Ryrie was unhelpful. I'm not really sure how similar they are on the details. My impression of Ryrie is that there is not much that has been "modified" "revised" in his view of things.

Dennis Clemons's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
If the purpose is to identify what what all dispensationalists believe and come up with a short summary that defines dispensationalism, it makes sense to me to look at what views/conclusions dispies just about always hold to and work to generalizations inductively.
That might not go anywhere either, but, to me, the method still looks promising... if defining dispensationalism is the goal.
I would like to see if we can agree on what make dispensationalism dispensationalism. The dispensational apologists that I read and hear tend to claim distinguishing marks that CTs just as readily agree upon so they aren't really distinguishing marks. I would like to see if we can agree upon the real sine qua non of the system if we can.

So with that said, would you like to propose where to start?

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Well, there must be something ... or it doesn't really exist. I can't imagine why anybody wanting to define it would intentionally choose qualities that are not really definitive, so I think what has happened there is a couple of things I've already suggested. But I can probably say it a better way...
a) The distinguishing positions are held to a greater degree
b) Sometimes when they sound the same as non-dispensationalism, they do not mean what they sound like they mean
c) What's intended is that the combination of things define the sine qua non, not any of them individually.

By the way, I don't mind admitting I looked it up: sine qua non means "what it can't exist without." So it's not quite the same as "what is unique to it."
That said, Ryrie was clearly aiming--w/the sine qua non effort--to do something defining.

So I think it's fair to say that

a) Dispies are always, on the whole, more inclined to interpret literally/"normally" than non-dispensationalists
b) Dispies consistently see a bigger distinction between Israel and the church than non-dispensationalists
c) Dispies are always less inclined to unify the flow of biblical history around the gospel (narrowly defined) and more inclined to see continuity in the doxalogical purpose and rather than the soteriological purpose specifically

All of these are differences of degree. It would, in some ways, be fair to say CTers are dispies only alot less so and Dispies are CTers only alot less so. Smile

Charlie's picture

1. Adam, concerning the difference between "classical" and "revised" Dispensationalists, I would encourage you to look at the chapter "Extent and Varieties of Dispensationalism" in Progressive Dispensationalism. If it would be hard to get that, some similar information is available through Google Books in Chapter 1 of Three Central Issues in Contemporary Dispensationalism.

2. The unique feature of Dispensationalism, in my opinion, is the temporary and secondary nature of the Church. In all Dispensational schemes, the "Church" as we envision it today ends up yielding to a Kingdom that looks an awful lot like the Old Testament administration, complete with a temple, sacrifices, a priesthood (sons of Zadok), etc. The Church really does seem to be an interruption. All Protestant varieties of non-Dispensationalism see the Church as qualitative and permanent progress over Israel's state. So, moving from the living temple of the Church back to a temple of stone (for example) would be seen as retrogression, a denial of Christ's first advent work.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

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

Marty H's picture

Dennis, I have to admit you have given me pause with your quote from Joshua. As of yet it don't change what I believe but I will have to try and dig out a reason, I can't let something like that go. And I hope thats a good thing.
I really wish I had a better understanding of your view on this. But things being as they are, I'd like to ask you something. Requesting only that you give my question the exact same weight you'd wish us to give yours -

" "If your position is right, then Joshua is wrong. If Joshua is right, your position is wrong. Let God be true and every man a liar. "

Being that Jesus on the cross

Jhn 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

said "It is finished" And knowing that he died right after that and was raised 3 days later, Allowed Thomas to touch his wounds, Told the 11 to wait and that he would send the comforter to them, And at last called Paul to go to the gentiles.. I'd think it safe to say he didn't mean those things were finished.

What was finished ?

Mar 7:27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast [it ] unto the dogs.

"Let the children first be filled" If everything was finished back in Joshua's day, Why were the children not yet filled ?

Dennis Clemons's picture

Marty - thanks for giving consideration to this perspective. I don't take it lightly when someone is willing to honestly entertain a different idea. I know all-too-well that that's not easy.

Marty H wrote:
Being that Jesus on the cross

Jhn 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

said "It is finished" And knowing that he died right after that and was raised 3 days later, Allowed Thomas to touch his wounds, Told the 11 to wait and that he would send the comforter to them, And at last called Paul to go to the gentiles.. I'd think it safe to say he didn't mean those things were finished.

What was finished ?

I agree, he wasn't saying that more was finished than actually was. I suppose (off the top of my head) that he was talking about His substitutionary atonement. [Rev. 13:8 ]

Marty H wrote:
Mar 7:27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast [it ] unto the dogs.

"Let the children first be filled" If everything was finished back in Joshua's day, Why were the children not yet filled ?

This seems to me to be about the gospel as all of His miracles were. As Paul later said, "to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Rom. 1:16, Rom. 2:10)

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Marty H's picture

Dennis, As I've said before. Bible is Bible. I can't sidestep or ignore a passage just because it don't seem to fit what I believe or what I am comfortable with.

Anyway, thanks. Getting back. Just what are the points that you fail to agree with as far as dispensations go ?

Dennis Clemons's picture

Sorry for the time out, guys. Work has had me by the throat for a while and this isn't a topic that I felt could abide short quips without some thought. So ... the sin qua non of dispensationalism.

Ryrie says,

  • Israel/Church distinction;
  • Literal hermeneutic (which deviates from the historic definition and therefore needs another term - I suggest wooden hermeneutic); and
  • The purpose of God in the world is His own glory.

Aaron suggested,

  • belief in a future geo-political reign of Jesus Christ
  • rejection of the idea of a single "covenant of Grace"
  • identification of the Church as a body that began during or after the first advent of Christ

Should we add to that?

Dennis

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. ~ Proverbs 18:17

Duane Braswell's picture

Dennis,

Not sure what to add to a sine qua non. This line of discussion seems to be off the whole idea of 'sine qua non:' Without which there is not. That is the simplest translation of the Latin. Without a distinction between Church/Israel, without a plain reading of the text, without God's Glory being central, you can not be dispensationalist.

If there are those who identify themselves as Covenant Theologians, and agree in part with these, fine. Dispensationalism and Covenantalism should not be heretical. I hold, as do most dispies, and I think all true Biblicists, Sola Gratcia. That does not make me a covie. The two should not be so antagonistic, but we should recognize that our eschatology differs and our hermeneutic is the basic underlying reason. NOT for arguments sake, but for clarity. I could be wrong, there might not be a 1000 year reign. If there is not, then my underlying dispie paradigm is off, PERIOD. If I am right then my paradigm is right, PERIOD. We will know in the future.

The geo-political reign of Jesus is a result of separation of Church and Israel and plain reading. Not a new sine qua non.

Rejection of the idea of a single "covenant of Grace." is a definition debate not even close to being established. How many covenants of grace do you all think dispies have? Is there salvation in dispie land that is not based on grace. (the answers are only one covenant for salvation, Church and Israel were not saved differnently both deductions of plain interpretation of scriptures, in my and most dispies reading and study.) Not a new sine qua non.

identification of the Church as a body that began during or after the first advent of Christ. This one just confuses me and allows for "ultra dispensationalism" to be lumped with orthodox theology by us dispies and I do not agree with that. The Church begins in Matthew and the change of leadership from Jesus in person, to the Holy Spirit and men occurs on the day of Pentecost. This is a plain reading of John and Acts, where we get a prophecy and an initial fulfillment. Again not a sine qua non.

In all fairness to Aaron, probably useful descriptions in his explanations, but they are deductions based on his holding to the distinctives. Often it is said it is easier to describe ourselves by what we are not. Perhaps this makes some headway into the distinctions between dispies and covies.

IMO, you can not be a dispie and not see at least a mill. kingdom. You can not state that the purpose of the Bible is salvific in nature. (thus one should not allegorize OT passages as a primary reading. I know Paul allegorizes in Galatians, but he does not claim that his allegory is the primary purpose of the Hagar passages.) I chose dispensationalism over covenantalism because it seems to me to be the simpliest explanation of this world and my bible. I appreciate the work of the covies, and find we can agree on a majority of items, but when we disagree, I understand it is based on paradigm differences and NOT heresies.

All that to say, less "sine qua non's" is the purpose of establishing them. If we could get it to one, that would be an improvement. Adding them simply muddies the water.

IN Christ

Duane

He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent. - Augustine