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DISPENSATIONAL ORIGINS

Guest —  April 2, 2012 — 4 Comments

The twentieth century has seen a dramatic paradigm shift in prophetic perspectives, first away from and now back toward its historic roots. This shift away from historic Christianity stemmed from a novel approach to Bible interpretation called dispensationalism which was developed in the 1830s and popularized with the 1909 publication of the Scofield Reference Bible. Dispensationalism, with its unique brand of premillennialism, has been thoroughly pervasive, being prominent in many churches, in bookstores, and among radio Bible teachers.

The distinguishing features of dispensationalism are a rigidly applied literalism in the interpretation of Scripture, a compartmentalization of Scripture into “dispensations,” and a dichotomy between Israel and the Church. Dispensationalists believe “this present world system . . . is now controlled by Satan” (not by God) and will end in failure and apostasy.

Dispensational premillennialists claim that their unique doctrines have been held since the early church, but these claims have been soundly refuted. Far from being the historic position of the church, premillennialism was described in 1813 by David Bogue as an oddity of Church history. Postmillennialism was the dominant eschatology from the Reformation until at least 1859.

The doctrine of a secret rapture was first conceived by John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth Brethren in 1827. Darby, known as the father of dispensationalism, invented the doctrine claiming there were not one, but two “second comings.” This teaching was immediately challenged as unbiblical by other members of the Brethren. Samuel P. Tregelles, a noted biblical scholar, rejected Darby’s new interpretation as the “height of speculative nonsense.”

So tenuous was Darby’s rapture theory that he had lingering doubts about it as late as 1843, and possibly 1845. Another member of the Plymouth Brethren, B.W. Newton, disputed Darby’s new doctrine claiming such a conclusion was only possible if one declared certain passages to be “renounced as not properly ours.”

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4 responses to DISPENSATIONAL ORIGINS

  1. Man the picture alone tells me to stay away from him ! Wow what a creep. Another good article guys .

  2. Christ is presently ruling over His kingdom, the church (Col. 1:12-18; Rev. 1:6, 9). Notice from these verses that the kingdom was a present reality in the first century. The apostle Peter tells us in Acts 2:29-36 that Christ is sitting on David’s throne, in heaven. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that Christ will physically reign from Jerusalem on David’s throne. Notice Acts 2:36. Peter said that God has made Jesus both “Lord and Christ.” “Lord” means Ruler or King (see also 1 Tim. 6:15).

  3. I think the most offensive thing about dispensationalism is that it teaches that we have an ethnic God whose true commitment is ethnic Israel; with the Church as an afterthought. That, and that the New Covenant will be replaced with the Old, with the reinstatement of the Jewish sacrificial system – in effect nullifying the final sacrifice of Christ.

    Most pew-sitting dispensationalists simply do not know the origins and true teachings of dispensationalism, and would begin questioning their system if they did.

    We must also repeatedly reiterate the fact that despite dispensationalists’ commitment to socially conservative causes, both Arminianism and Dispensationalism are weak and liberal theologies.

    We also need to stop banging our heads against walls trying to “convert” committed dispensationalists. We need to bring non-Christians and the young into Reformed Christianity. That will be where the real change happens.

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