Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dispensational Delusions

For those wanting a thorough understanding of Dispensationalism in an easy to understand format, I strongly recommend Fred DeRuvo's book:

Many think they know Dispensationalism and many believe it to be heretical, with some even viewing it as a cult.

What is the truth about normative Dispensationalism? This book addresses some of the charges against it, in question and short answer format.

Dispensationalism: Separating Fact from Fiction

It’s a shame when authors writing to particular markets make claims about opposing systems that are patently incorrect or badly researched. This is what Wohlberg does HERE. Among other blunders, he infers that Dispensationalism teaches two ways of salvation. That he’s capable of research is demonstrated by the fact that he cites John Walvoord on Zec 13:8 when it is convenient for him to do so. That he is selective in that research is attested to by his statements and the fact that he chooses to cite Wiki over Ryrie.


Generally speaking, Dispensationalism teaches that God has worked throughout fallen human history in distinct phases, epochs, or "dispensations." In Old Testament times, He worked through "Israel" and required Jews to keep "the law," whereas in these New Testament times He operates through "the Church" and proclaims "salvation by grace"—that is, until an event called "the Rapture" whisks "the Church" up to heaven….

First of all, the notion that God saved Old Testament Jews by law, but now saves New Testament Christians by grace, is not only subtly anti-Jewish itself, but it's entirely unbiblical. Grace began with the fall of Adam and the first entrance of sin (see Romans 5:20b), or humanity would have been wiped out immediately….

In other words, everyone who reaches heaven will arrive there solely because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice-that is, by His grace. Thus when Dispensationalists teach that Old Testament Jews achieved salvation in any way through the law, or that they were denied the gospel, whether they realize it or not, they are teaching a subtly anti-Jewish false doctrine.

Just to set the record straight once again, here are some sources that correct Wohlberg’s blunder. Middletown Bible Church answers a series of false charges leveled at Dispensationialists – including the so-called “secret” rapture.

Dr. Renald Showers, in his book, There Really is a Difference--A Comparison of Covenant and Dispensational Theology, makes the following clarification: "The different dispensations are different ways of God's administering His rule over the world, they are not different ways of salvation. Throughout history God has employed several dispensations but only one way of salvation. Salvation has always been by the grace of God through faith in the Word of God, and God has based salvation on the work of Jesus Christ" (page 31).

Dispensationalist William MacDonald (known especially for his one excellent one volume commentary, Believers Bible Commentary), in his book Here's the Difference, wrote the following: "While there are differences among the various ages, there is one thing that never changes, and that is the gospel. Salvation always has been, is now, and always will be by faith in the Lord. And the basis of salvation for every age is the finished work of Christ on Calvary's cross. People in the Old Testament were saved by believing whatever revelation the Lord gave them...We must guard against any idea that people in the Dispensation of Law were saved by keeping the Law" (page 98)…
Read More

I’ve linked this article before. Here’s an excerpt:

Let it be stated categorically that Dispensationalism has not and does not believe that the Law of Moses was a means of salvation. This concept is rejected because it would make salvation by means of works. Salvation was and always is by grace through faith. While the content of faith has changed from age to age, depending on progressive revelation, the means of salvation never changes. The law was not given to serve as a means of salvation (Rom. 3:20, 28; Gal. 2:16; 3:11, 21)…Does Dispensationalism Teach Two Ways of Salvation?

As mentioned in a previous post by me, Wohlberg and the SDA believe that Sabbath observation is still a requirement for salvation, even if they will not openly admit it. Given this fact, he needs to re-address and reconsider his statements about grace and Dispensationalism.

Just one last observation - he cites Wiki on pretribulationism’s debt to Darby and stresses the alleged newness of pretribulationism. Constantly citing Wiki is hardly great research. But, if age is a criterion for authenticity, then what can we say about Seventh Day Adventism as a package, let alone dogmas like Investigative Judgment? SDA owes a debt to both Miller and White of 1844 and later vintage.


Alf Cengia said...


Dave MacPherson is not an historian; he’s a journalist who obsesses about pretribulationism, John Darby and Margaret MacDonald. That handwritten note on Ortiz’s site is an edited version of MM’s full vision and doesn’t make sense because it has portions missing. Let’s fill in the blanks:

I felt that those who were filled with the Spirit could see spiritual things, and feel walking in the midst of them, while those who had not the Spirit could see nothing - so that two shall be in one bed, the one taken and the other left, because the one has the light of God within while the other cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven.

I saw the people of God in an awfully dangerous situation, surrounded by nets and entanglements, about to be tried, and many about to be deceived and fall. Now will THE WICKED be revealed, with all power and signs and lying wonders, so that it it were possible the very elect will be deceived - This is the fiery trial which is to try us. - It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus; but Oh it will be a fiery trial.

The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept.

Maybe I'm mistaken but didn't Darby teach that the Church would be gone before the Antichrist?

You can read the full vision HERE

Both Ortiz and MacPherson are practicing deception and you are promulgating it.


Alf Cengia said...


Not sure why you persist in trying to get your gossip posted here.

Let’s just take the cover up comment and consider Ortiz’s and MacPherson’s editing of MM’s vision. In the unedited version, the one taken one left statement has no specific chronology. So the event may well occur at the end of the tribulation. The only hint of timing is when MM unmistakably states that the trial of the church will be through the Antichrist…period. So if we talk about cover ups and deception…connect the dots.

What you, Ortiz, MacPherson, Govett, Pember and anyone else consistently fail to do is produce any evidence, any documentation or any specific statement that MM was a pretribulationist or a partial rapturist – other than by innuendo. The partial rapturism ploy is usually brought up by posttribbers when they can’t make the pre-trib version stick.

If you can produce a specific statement by MM that she wasn’t a posttribber or that she was a partial or pretrib rapturist then please DO produce it. If you can’t then all you are doing is propagating gossip.

But even if MM was a pretribulationist, you have no proof that she influenced Darby, who assiduously kept to Scripture to the point that he often crossed swords with his contemporaries when he felt they strayed.

The bottom line is you need to go to Scripture to argue for any doctrine. The very fact that you people try to besmirch Darby’s name indicates to me that you feel your arguments against pretribulationism need to be propped up by false accusations that cannot be verified. If Darby was alive he could have you and co on libel.

Please don't bother in future.

In Him.

Alf Cengia said...


You seem to have an obsession for spreading gossip.

Read it again. MM’s vision doesn’t time the one taken and one left. There is a clear change of topic when she talks about the “Wicked”. This is patently obvious by her post-trib statement about the Antichrist. It’s ironic that you should insist on sequential chronology there and yet posttribbers are loose with the chronology of the Rev 20 resurrection.

What Hal may have said is irrelevant to MM’s vision. Moreover there are those who argue that the ones taken are taken in punishment – not the rapture.

And, once again, I can produce an unambiguous post-trib statement:

“The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept.”

Can you produce a clear pre-trib statement?

Far from being a church historian, Dave MacPherson is a revisionist.

Have you read Dr Paul Wilkinson’s and Fred DeRuvo’s rebuttals yet?

FYI I’m an ex-posttribber so I’m pretty much familiar with all of the “arguments”.

Please find another blog to spam.

In Him.

lounorm said...

Just ran across your interesting blog. In my research I have obtained MacPherson's book "The Rapture Plot" which quotes the Sep. 1830 issue of THE MORNING WATCH (Irving's journal) which stated on p. 510f that the "Philadelphia" church would be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before "the great tribulation" while the rest of the "church" (labeled "Laodicea") would be left on earth. Various writers for this journal had visited Margaret MacDonald a few weeks earlier. There is agreement that the same journal article was clearly teaching a pretrib rapture of "church" members. If Margaret couldn't have been teaching pretrib, can you suggest anyone else at that time who could have been the one who inspired that journal to begin teaching the pretrib view; previous to its Sep. issue, the same journal had been teaching only the historic posttrib view. So I think you owe MacPherson (who found her statement) an apology, and also an apology to Joe Ortiz. Neither, in my opinion, would have any reason to falsify what MacDonald was teaching. BTW, have you read MacPherson's "Rapture Plot" book? Please Google "Scholars Weigh My Research" to see scholarly reactions to his research.

Alf Cengia said...

Did I just get one of those déjà vu moments?

Even allowing that MacDonald may have had a pre-trib vision, there is no proof that Darby got it from her. Darby says he arrived at it from study and Darby’s close friends agree. See Paul Wilkinson’s book which challenges MacPherson’s earlier works. To suggest otherwise is to call Darby a liar. Darby isn’t here to defend himself so here is a case of bearing FALSE witness.

But the reality is that you have a phantom journal and we have Margaret’s vision that is plainly posttribulational! As for Ortiz; he’s been caught out dishonestly quoting just a portion of a sentence in that same vision which when taken in context, isn’t pre-trib.

Speaking of apologies, MacPherson still hasn’t apologized to Dr Ice for falsely implying that Dr Thomas Ice paid for his doctorate and did nothing to earn it.


“The Spirit must and will be poured out on the church, that she may be purified and filled with God - and just in proportion as the Spirit of God works, so will he - when our Lord anoints men with power, so will he. This is particularly the nature of the trial, through which those are to pn ass who will be counted worthy to stand before the Son of man.”

“I saw the people of God in an awfully dangerous situation, surrounded by nets and entanglements, about to be tried, and many about to be deceived and fall. Now will THE WICKED be revealed, with all power and signs and lying wonders, so that it it were possible the very elect will be deceived - This is the fiery trial which is to try us. - It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus; but Oh it will be a fiery trial. Every soul will he shaken to the very centre. The enemy will try to shake in every thing we have believed - but the trial of real faith will be found to honour and praise and glory. Nothing but what is of God will stand. The stony-ground hearers will be made manifest - the love of many will wax cold.”

“The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept.”

Alf Cengia said...

Oh, and you didn't "just come across" my "interesting blog" because you've been here before doing the same thing.

You should find a better way to spend your time instead of spreading gossip about someone unable to defend himself.