Dispensationalists get no respect in the blog world. What’s wrong with a little literal interpretation now & then, huh? One day I was walkin’ down the street and this guy asks me about hermeneutics. I say, “I don’t know no Herman from Utica. That’s upstate NY, I live in Jersey…”
All over the news you will see headlines claiming that Harold Camping was wrong again. Yes, he was indeed wrong. However, so is the news media and rabidly reformed people all over the ‘net.
I admit up-front that I am not a Harold Camping fan nor have I read very much of his claims. The little bit that I did read didn’t mention anything about the Rapture occurring on May 21. It said Judgement Day or End of Days or End of Time. I do not believe Camping mentioned the Rapture at all (at least in what I read). As a matter of fact, Camping spent a good number of years in reformed churches!
The rabidly reformed people are claiming this to be proof of the falseness of the belief in a rapture of the Church. Camping’s teachings do not lend themselves to what the Bible teaches in Revelation, Daniel, Matthew, or anyplace else in the Bible that I recognize.
Camping claimed that the end would come on May 21 and total destruction of everything would happen 5 months later. This is taught nowhere in the Bible. Even the reformed wing-nuts (and you know who you are) will admit this.
Dispensationalists believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible except where obvious hyperbole and symbolism are used. The Tribulation period of 7 years will be preceded by a Rapture of the Church. Christ will come back after the Tribulation and establish His Kingdom from an earthly perspective that will last 1000 years. Then there will be a final rebellion followed by the ultimate end of time as anyone on earth knows it.
Dispensationalists do not believe what I have read of Harold Camping’s teachings. Don’t fall for the rabidly reformed blogger’s claims that Camping’s failure destroys Dispensationalism. They need to get out of their parent’s basement and read their Bibles a little more closely.
Camping is a nut. Case closed. The media and many reformed basement bloggers need to do their homework. The Rapture does not equal Judgement Day or the End of Times.
Another good rule of thumb is to stay away from those who set dates. No one has ever been correct at attaching a date to any part of future things…
I know some really great people in the reformed camp. I am about to tick all of them off but I have to. Their eschatology and position on Israel make no sense. At no time did the Church become Israel and the book of Revelation is not totally allegorical.
Proof? The Bible is proof! Read it without using the reformed transmogrifying filter that they use to force things into their view. Romans 11 is a prime example. Paul did not practice a reformed interpretational framework. I mean no disrespect but it is true! Paul was writing literally just like he wrote everything else. Romans does not end after chapter 10. Read on. Chapter 11 refutes the reformed perspective on Israel.
The book of Revelation is another. Then there’s the Old Testament and the rest of the New…
Read the Bible the way it was written. It is a unified writing from God to communicate His redemptive plan. Israel is still part of God’s plan.
Thanks for joining me again today. These posts have been quite popular. My visit counter is quite active. Please remember that the idea here is to openly discuss and clear up some misunderstandings and misrepresentations about Dispensationalism. You are not required to agree with me! If you are trusting for your eternal salvation in God’s grace via Jesus Christ alone, then glory to God!
Remember, we said yesterday that Dispensationalism and Reformed perspectives are frameworks for interpreting scripture and not Theologies in and of themselves. Ok, let’s continue.
#3… Dispensationalism began with John Darby and was popularized by CI Scofield’ s reference Bible.
This is a yes & no type of thing. I am pretty sure Darby coined the term ‘dispensation’ but neither he nor Scofield actually made up the framework of a dispensational point of view for interpreting scripture. In other words, they did not influence people to believe anything the Bible did not already teach.
People will argue with this point but I am correct on this (humbly speaking of course). The Bible said what it says prior to Darby and Scofield; therefore, anyone before or after them could have come away with the same interpretational framework regardless of the name they may have called it.
Look, just because the Bible talks about future events that we cannot possibly understand to the point of exactly identifying the hows and whens, does not present a problem. We do not have to figure out a filter to run scripture through in order to make total sense of it in order to believe it is true and that it will be revealed in detail in the future. Take scripture at face value and allow time for future events to become evident. The literal things are to be taken literally and the symbolic descriptors are to be understood as such.
For example, the reality of a one-world government with AntiChrist at the helm is easier to imagine today than it was 30 years ago. Thirty years ago, the US was a sovereign entity who set her own rules for everyone else to follow. This is changing today. People 30 years ago had trouble seeing how a one-world government could become a reality. This did not stop Dispensationalists from believing it would eventually happen however. We did not require the mechanics to be in place in order for us to believe.
Most generations ended without a total understanding of eschatology. Ours may end this way as well. Do not think that anything about the Bible is diminished however due to us not having all the pieces of the puzzle. Coming away from scripture with the same framework of interpretation that Darby and Scofield used was and is possible had these men never existed.
Remember that the Bible is key. Read and believe what it says. Do not try to force it to mean only what you have the capacity to visualize. God is much bigger, greater, smarter, and etc than any of us could ever imagine.
Ok, I admit that some of yesterday’s post was tongue-in-cheek. I was serious about the content but I am taking a light-hearted but sincere tack on this mission. Today, let’s jump into a misunderstanding that puts Reformed and Dispensational people at odds unnecessarily.
#2 Reformed Theology or Dispensational Theology is heretical and of the devil.
Neither is true. Also, the Reformed perspective and the Dispensational perspective are not Theologies to begin with. They are both interpretational frameworks through which scripture is viewed. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all Reformed nor all Dispensational people will agree with each other much less with their counterparts from the other interpretational framework.
Both Reformed and Dispensational mainstream believers acknowledge that man is saved by grace through faith in Jesus alone to the glory of God. We differ not so much on the large, foundational issues but on the interpretational nuances of who said what to whom and what does it mean. These differences are important but do not render either side as heretics. In my opinion, the Reformed people will be surprised when they are raptured one day! But this is a discussion for another day.
Sufficient for today is to know that we are discussing the differences between two different interpretational frameworks. The two groups argue mainly in the areas of who Israel is today and what will happen with future things. We will discuss this in more detail later. Thanks for joining me again. We will continue tomorrow.
This ought to be interesting. I figure I am about to lose most of my regular readers but it is time to call it like it is. Something that I will call the “Rabid Reformed” movement dominates the blog world. They are right to hold firmly to Calvinist understanding of grace and sovereignty and so forth but they cross the line with their convictions concerning Covenant Theology and Amillinnealism. The part that makes some of the Reformed camp “rabid” in my opinion is the “unless you believe as I do YOU are a heretic” vitriol they spout.
Please note that I am not talking about all Reformed people. Some disagree agreeably and leave it at that but many on the web today do not. Anyhoo, I believe it is time to stand for good sense in Bible interpretation and let the chips fall wherever chips fall…Reformed Theology is fraught with problems and errors.
The Reformed people say the same thing about the Dispensational perspective so I feel comfortable using it in reverse. Am I seeking to pick a fight? No, I just want open discussion without a bunch of huffing and puffing.
One rule will be firmly enforced here: no one will be called a heretic unless the shoe seems to fit after careful examination. So without further ado…
Dispensational Thought for the Day #1
God, at times, changed the way He operates.
If you went to church on Sunday instead of Saturday, guess what? You are at least partially of a dispensational mindset! Read it and weep.
Follow me. There is a popular youtube and blog preacher who is firmly in the Reformed camp. I heard him do a message where he “refuted” dispensationalism. The funny thing is however, he began his discussion by saying, “Now I will admit that dispensations do exist in the Bible”! Game Over! He defeated himself before he began.
Look guys, it cannot be denied that God worked at different times in different ways. Hebrews 1:1-4 says,
“God, who in various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
which, my friends, proves that the Bible recognizes my afore-mentioned point. God once spoke only to the nation of Israel through his prophet and now speaks to the world through Jesus. These are “last days” as compared to the earlier dispensation. One thing that surely changed after the resurrection is that the Body of Christ met on the first day of the week.
OK, enough for today. Come down off the ceiling and join me tomorrow for more good-spirited righting of wrongs done in the internet blogosphere.