Saturday, September 24, 2016

Misrepresenting Dispensationalism

Faith Bible Church (FBC) has an article on its website titled Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology. The article link was posted on Facebook by a YRR Amillennialist. An updated version of the article can be found HERE

I've encountered this individual in online exchanges where he threw bombs at dispensationalism and pretribulationism. Typically encounters such as these begin with the critic making off-the-cuff comments like: "Dispensationalism was invented by Darby"; or "It is a heresy which teaches two ways of salvation"; or "There is only one people of God" etc.

My amil friend didn't like to be challenged. One couldn't ask him questions about his own beliefs, nor could one ask him to defend them via Scripture. I'd like to say he is atypical. But he isn't. Sadly he's also misinformed about dispensationalism if FBC's strawman-filled article is any indication.

Does disp teach two ways of salvation? See Tony Garland's Article

Read John Feinberg's Salvation in the Old Testament.

Does disp teach that David sits on the throne during the millennium? Read This and This.

Two examples of FBC's comparisons:
Disp: The 'New Covenant' of Jer. 31:31- 34 is only for literal Israel and is not the New Covenant of Lk.22:20.
CT The ‘New Covenant’ of Jer. 31 is the same as in Lk. 22; both are for spiritual Israel according to Heb. 8.
Many dispies recognize the church's participation in the NC. However, the church does not overtake or fulfill all the promises, which have both spiritual and physical aspects. The subject of Jer 31:31-37 is clearly national Israel (not the church) and Heb 8 does not abrogate this. Moreover, Paul refers to Jer 31 when he affirms that national Israel's promises haven't been abrogated (Rom 11:26-29).
Disp Stresses 'literal' interpretation of the Bible.
CT Accepts both literal and figurative interpretation of the Bible.
Dispensationalism accepts that there are figurative expressions in the Bible. In practice it is CT which consistently re-interprets the OT using the NT. Jeremiah chapter 31 is a classic case, by their own admission.

Here's another example of re-interpretation. While commenting on Zechariah, Puritan T. V. Moore wrote that the prophet accommodated his language “to the understanding of his own times in order to express New Testament truths.” In other words, Moore inserted Zechariah’s Israel into the NT church. He later admitted that the closing chapters of Zechariah, involving events yet to be accomplished, “are notoriously difficult.”

The difficulty only arises when one changes the natural understanding of Israel’s identity into the church. This is why my amil friend was forced to consistently evade answering direct questions about specific biblical passages which promised a lasting future to a redeemed national Israel.

Anyway all this is a great excuse to revisit Paul Henebury's response to the 95 Theses Against Dispensationalism, and Dan Phillips' Stupid Reasons for Dissing Dispensationalism.

Dispensational Antinomianism? See Theses 90-95

Paul Henebury's Biblical Covenantalism

See also my review of Michael Vlach's Has The Church Replaced Israel?

Finally, I'm not a Progressive Dispensationalist. But Robert L Saucy's The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism is recommended reading. I do not commend it for its PD arguments. However, it presents excellent biblical arguments against the premise that the church is New Israel. He argues well against the idea that the NT re-interprets the OT. And he shows that national Israel has a future according to clear biblical statements. Along the way he answers common CT arguments, some of which appear in the FBC comparisons article.

I reviewed the book HERE

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