Is This Still Dispensationalism?
D.M. Lloyd-Jones makes this statement concerning Dispensationalism in his book, Christian Unity, which is the the fourth book in his series on Ephesisans...
"I emphasize this matter because there is a teaching known as Dispensationalism, which tells us that God sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world to set up the Kingdom of God, but that when He found that the Jews rejected His Son and His teaching, and would not receive the Kingdom, He then decided upon the way of salvation through the Cross and the setting up of the Church. The Church, say the Dispensationalists, is an after-thought, a parenthesis; it was not a part of the original plan, and is but a temporary phase until the Kingdom will again be preached to the Jews and introduced." p 149
I am not interested in the accuracy of the doctrine, per se, but rather I would like to know if those who consider themselves Dispensationalists would agree that this is an accurate description of Dispensationalism in general.
In other words, if you consider yourself to be a Dispensationalist, is the above basically an accurate description of your theological position?
I'm NOT a dispensationalist, but the quote seems woefully inaccurate and nothing short of a straw-man argument. I know of no living dispensationalist who would agree with such a quote (e.g. Darrell Bock). It would be interesting to see what Hoehner says about the passage in his Ephesians commentary since he is (was) a dispensationalist (he passed away in the spring).
Most argument I hear about dispensationalism today describes dispensationalism of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Sure, those guys saw doom & gloom eschatology in every verse, sure they had a strange obsession with historical Israel, and sure they saw the forming of the modern nation-state as a fulfillment of prophecy. I know of no more living (respectable) scholar who would say this.....none.
That's what I was thinking too. And that's why I asked the question, because I'm not sure anyone who claims to be Dispensationalist today would agree with that quote, and the basic definition still seems to be as hard as jelly to nail down.
Originally Posted by Soxfan23
I was raised in what would probably have been termed a "dispensationalist" church (I think our pastors called us: Independent, Fundamental, Bible-believing, Baptists), but this particular idea was never taught or suggested.
I have heard it from other quarters, but never linked with the idea of dispensationalism. This doesn't mean that it wasn't by some, it just never was in my experience or in the groups I have associated with.
Any Dispensationalist who did espouse this view would have to deal with the conclusion that God adjusts His eternal plan on the fly. Personally, I have never heard a Dispensationalist refer to "the Church" (and, by implication, salvation through the Cross) as an afterthought. Some have worded their statements in such a way that multiple ways of salvation could be inferred, but that is refuted by most.
I am not a dispensationalist, but I have read a bit of literature from the various camps that lay claim to some form of dispensationalism. From a high level you won't find many (any?) dispensational teachers teaching many ways of salvation (although I have known non-academic dispensationalists who do believe there are two dispensations of salvation, one of works and one of grace, and are pretty firmly set that in the Old Testament people were saved by works--although I cannot find a single serious dispensational author who takes this position) so right there you can spot an issue with the summary. Calling the Church age a "parenthesis" is common, but not in the sense of an "after-thought." Most dispensational systems see the ages as overt aspects of a plan, where each age responds to the progression in revelation given to them. The Church age is a specific "intrusion of the Kingdom of God" that has a termination point on earth, i.e. a parenthesis. The last bit about an end to the Church age being phased out is quite commonly taught, specifically that at a pre-mil rapture the Church parenthesis terminates on earth and the age of the Law is brought into effect on earth which comes with it a refocus on the people of physical Israel.
Originally Posted by Adelphos
There are so many varieties of dispensationalism it is hard to nail down ( is there 2, 4, or 7 eras for example?), but the above summary by the author interjects too much where there is no clear consensus from dispensationalists.
That's why I really asked the question. From everything I can gather, there is no real stable definition for Dispensationalist.
Originally Posted by Joshua Luna
I would heartily recommend Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Dispensationalism. And, for a volume on Progressive Dispensationalism, the book by Darrell Bock and Craig Blaising. I believe it's called 'Progressive Dispensationalism,' but I may be wrong about the title. No dispensationalist would teach two ways of salvation. That is nothing more than a denigrative smear and a straw man caricature. Dispensationalism essentially recognizes that there have been and are different administrations of God's program on earth. The Church didn't always exist. It was birthed on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. While some non-dispensationalists, doubtless, argue for the church's existence in the OT, Jesus himself said in Matthew 16, "Upon this rock, I will (i.e., future) build my church." At any rate, "In the Essentials, unity; in the non-Essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.
Originally Posted by Adelphos
Last edited by ISalzman; 10-29-2009 at 05:02 PM.
Without me having to read their books, do they hold the doctrine that the church age will end and Israel will revert to a covenant of works?
Originally Posted by ISalzman
I would answer, yes, I think some do (or did) hold to this point, not only of the church being a parentheses but of Christ offering himself as king to Israel, but upon their refusal, the cross was the next option. It seems like as a child I can remember hearing this taught. Also, I have not read sensationalist theology or commentators, so I am not saying that I think it was taught at that level. This would have been local pastors or lay leaders from whom I might have heard this.