Tag Archives: Hermeneutics
Umpire: Strike 3!
Batter: But Mr. Ump, I am reformed and I see the strike zone as being more symbolic than literal.
Reformed Speeder: But officer, I see the speed limit as being more symbolic than literal…
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…”
Them Reformed Theology people do that Alice in Wonderland deal with that allegorical interpretation of Revelation and that switch-a-roo deal betwixt Israel and the Church… now that’s funny right there, I tell you what.
Ya’ll stick with Chafer, MacArthur, and McGee on this one… Git-R-Done!
Continuing with the information discussed in item #3, please consider
#4 The use of the allegorical hermeneutic by the Reformed people is tricky and even risky.
My Reformed friends aren’t going to like hearing this but it is true. Keep reading… Look, the use of allegory can be a train wreck if the person controlling the switch flips it too quickly or keeps it flipped for too long. And how does a person come to know how and when to flip the allegory switch? Think about the railroad switchmen who flipped the heavy levers that moved the small section of traintrack allowing a train to modify its course. Boy, if they made an error of timing, catastrophe would result.
The Reformed people use a fairly large allegory filter to view scripture. They see Israel transmogrify into the church at some point and cease to be a nation yet there is enough New Testament talk about Israel and the church to place their hermeneutic in question (note: all Reformed people may not do this but many do).
Look carefully at Romans 11 for example. I am not saying that Romans 11 is easy for Dispensationalists to translate and understand but scripture seems to be clearly continuing the distinction between Israel, the Church, and Gentiles. Some people from the nation of Israel become members of the Chruch along with some Gentiles by God’s grace is the idea. That does not eliminate the nation from possible future salvation in part or in whole.
Then there is the book of the Revelation. To use allegory here can allow a person to make scripture mean practically anything. We will zoom in upon individual details later but suffice it to say that the Truthinator does not understand the sweeping use of allegory as a justifiable hermeneutic.
I see the Bible being written in order for people to be able to read it and understand what is possible for them and to take on faith the futuristic information based upon God’s power and ability to deliver what He has promised. The Dispensational framework uses a “take the literal stuff as literal and the obviously symbolic stuff as such” if you will pardon my paraphrase. I do not believe the Bible was written as a code that would have to be deciphered later. This would give much too much power to the supposed holder of the deciphering key thus placing us back into Roman Catholicism again. I do not believe any of the writers wrote in code. Why not? Because none of the human tools for taking down God’s inspired word knew the result of their efforts would eventually become the Bible. They were writing to a primary audience.
The writers were writing letters and keeping records. Do people write their letters and keep their records in some kind of code? Maybe sometimes but not usually. They usually want people to be able to understand what they write. Also, the Bible itself places strong warnings against adding to and taking away from its message.
Please consider what I have written and respond if you like. We will continue with another installment soon. Thank you for your kind attention.
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.
Join me tomorrow for another point of discussion.
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.
After attending a Pompous Driven Church conference in southern California, brothers Fred, Bill, and Tom misinterpreted 1 Cor 9:22 by actually becoming Amish…
Their conversion was short-lived however. Once they found they had to give up their Twitter and iphones, they were out like a 1692 candle in a windstorm…