Why I left behind dispensationalism part 2.

I had left home and was going to college but I wasn’t going to church. Now I was a baby Christian because as far as I was concerned just because my father’s church didn’t teach what Lindsey was teaching then it wasn’t a good church. But I didn’t know where to go to find that teaching. I was suspicious of all the other churches because I had heard about those “holy rollers” and I wasn’t going to chance that.

So it was just me and my bible and the my bible wasn’t opened as much as I should have done. That is when God sent me the perfect person for me. Let’s call him “Mike”. Now Mike and I were in the same class at the local community college both of us getting a technology degree. I had made a flippant remark to the effect of seeing “here, there, or in the air” and his head snapped up and he pierced me with a steely gaze, he was a former marine I think it is part of basic or something, and said that we were going to talk.

Well Mike sorted me out in short order, he found out that yes I was a christian, I wasn’t going to church, and that I had never been discipled. And that was going to change quick fast and in a hurry. The first thing Mike did was start me on the Navigators discipleship course. Mike was relentless which is just what you need when you’re a newbie Christian.

By the way can I say that is a lost art, disciplining I mean, I’ve seen too many people preach the gospel and then leave the new Christian to flounder because there isn’t any follow-up. They think that taking them to Church is the answer, and it is an answer but actual one on one discipleship makes baby Christians so much stronger in the long run.

The other thing that Mike did was bring me to his church. And at that church they had adult Sunday school and there they taught me about God’s plan for the Ages. And here is where I learned about the various dispensations and how man was saved in each age.

So for the first class I was given a pamphlet that had a small map on it. The map was divided into seven distinct time periods starting from eternity past to eternity future. The ages were listed like this:

  1. Innocence
  2. Conscience
  3. Human Government
  4. Promise
  5. Law
  6. Grace
  7. Kingdom Restoration of Israel.

Under each age was a responsibility, a failure, and a judgement. I was taught that by keeping the responsibility, whatever that was in the specific age, was how man was saved. But in every case man couldn’t keep the requirement and was judged. After that judgement another age was initiated that had a different requirement for salvation. I was taught that I was in the dispensation of Grace but that dispensation would fail too because all wouldn’t come to faith in Christ and be led by the Holy Spirit instead they would trust their own works and that this would lead to the Great Tribulation but I wouldn’t see that I would be with Christ for seven years while that would be happening.

Now let me say that most modern dispensationalists no longer holds to this particular teaching in fact I doubt that you will see this being taught in Dallas Theological Seminary or Master’s Seminary. But at that time this is what I was taught and that was how I believed God saved people during the various time periods.

Part three: Becoming Reformed next.

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8 thoughts on “Why I left behind dispensationalism part 2.

  1. I had a similar experience with one-on-one discipleship. I was going to a very seeker-sensitive church with topical preaching and not a lot of doctrine. Then, I got deployed to Kuwait. There I met my friend Michael (ironic). He was a dispensational, MacArthur-ite Calvinist. He introduced me to the doctrines of grace and started emphasizing Christian disciplines such as Bible reading and catechetical instruction. His emphasis on biblical ecclesiology is what led me to seek out and find the church where I am now a member. I don’t think one-on-one discipleship is a “means of grace” but, to use a label to which I’ve only recently been exposed, I would consider it a “means of growth.” For many, it can be a very important means of growth. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your journey to a Reformed hermeneutic.

    • After saying that I just listened to Mortification of Spin where they smacked down the idea of a person to person discipleship and rather the idea of the church disciplining the new convert.

      • I just listened to it, too. They actually say that it’s beneficial when it’s done with the proper emphasis on the local church and the ordinary means of grace. They just don’t think it should be demanded, as though the ordinary means of grace are not sufficient. I agree to a certain degree.

    • Well for one thing most modern dispensationalists will say that salvation no matter the dispensation was always by grace through faith. I had one person tell me that was always the case but when I went back a number of years ago and relistened to the original tapes on the what I was taught the teacher definitely said that each dispensation had a different method of salvation that was applicable to the dispensation. Now I am willing to grant that particular teacher may have been in error but other people have made similar statements regarding dispensationalism.

      Plus there is what is called Pauline dispensationalism, generally considered bad theology by people like Phil Johnson and I agree with him. The main thrust of Pauline dispensationalism is that the Church didn’t actually come into existence until sometime after Acts 28. Plus that Paul’s gospel is different than the gospel that was preached to the Jews. Also the Pauline epistles are about the church no other epistles refer in specific to the church. AKA all scriptures are for us but not all are about us.

      Also people like Ryrie and others removed some of the oddities that Darby and others had in dispensationalism typically it is called revised or traditional dispensationalism as opposed to classical dispensationalism (Or Darbyism).

      Finally there is what is called progressive dispensationalism which some people say is a mixture of covenant theology with dispensationalism. I don’t know I’ve never read anything by it’s proponents.
      However, all forms of dispensationalism hold to the fact that God has a distinct plan for Israel and that it is different from the Church. Premillenialism and a literal hermenuetic when it comes to interpretation of scripture. So if the scripture says Israel it is about Israel and not about the Church.

      • Thanks for your response… It sounds like some of the progressive dispensational individuals are moving in the proper direction towards covenant theology, which sounds like a good thing. I look forward to the rest of your series.

      • WARNING! The following reply gets very geeky. I apologize in advance to any who don’t think as abstractly as I do.

        _______

        The reason you will not likely see a lot of Progressive Dispensationalists going full-on Covenantal is two-fold:

        1) The whole point of PD is to salvage whatever they can possibly salvage from the trainwreck that is Classic Dispensationalism. Thus, the movement is an inherently defensive one, the proponents of which are thoroughly entrenched in their hermeneutic.

        2) Covenant Theology, when taken to its logical conclusion, necessitates Five-Point Calvinism. Most proponents of PD are, at best, 4-pointers, many of which will avoid Covenant Theology like the plague in order to avoid its companion: Calvinism.

        Think of it this way. One of the biggest stumbling blocks most Dispensationalists have with Covenant Theology is our insistence that the Holy Spirit indwelt Old Testament believers. We argue, “If people were not regenerated and indwelt by the Spirit, how could they persevere to the end and, thus, be fully and finally saved?” This entire question presupposes the five points of Calvinism, something the Arminian rejects outright. Thus, they see no soteriological need for a Covenantal paradigm in the Old Testament.

      • I would also point out that most classical/revised dispensationalists say that progressive dispensationalists aren’t dispensationalists. As they are too covenantal.

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