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Posts Tagged ‘Dispensationalism’

The New Testament is a continuation of and a complement to the Old

March 3, 2015 1 comment

Arthur PinkIn many respects the New Testament is a continuation of and a complement to the Old. The difference between the old and new covenants referred to in Hebrews is a relative and not an absolute one. The contrast is not really between two opposites, but rather between a gradation from the lower to the higher plane—the one preparing for the other. While some have erred in too much Judaizing Christianity, others have entertained far too carnal a conception of Judaism, failing to perceive the spiritual elements in it, and that under it God was then as truly administering the blessings of the everlasting covenant unto those whom He had chosen in Christ as He is now, yea, that He had done so from Abel onwards. Rightly, then, did Calvin rebuke the madness of our modern dispensationalists when reproving those of their forerunners who appeared in his day, saying, “Now what would be more absurd than that Abraham should be the father of all the faithful, and not possess even the lowest place among them? But he cannot be excluded from the number, even from the most honorable station, without the destruction of the Church.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Dispensationalism’s Eschatological Dilemma

December 23, 2014 3 comments

by Jack Kettler

In recent times, there have been a number of accusations leveled against respected Christian leaders who hold to postmillennial (a traditional Protestant eschatology) and covenant (historic Protestant) theology of being anti-Semitic.1……

The following survey of dispensational eschatology will demonstrate that the dispensationalist position can be made to appear anti-Semitic or even worse. One purpose of this survey of dispensational eschatology is for illustrating a particular point. The point is that the tables can easily be turned upon adherents of dispensational eschatology who have attacked Christian believers of other persuasions. This article is not intended to be a refutation of dispensationalism in general or to seriously suggest that dispensationalists or their theology would be in accord with certain statements I make hypothesizing about the potential tendencies of anti-Semitism within dispensationalism itself. Hopefully, dispensationalists in the future will be more circumspect on how they treat their Christian brethren whom they have falsely accused……

There will be a period of seven years known as the “great tribulation.” This alleged “seven years” and all the dispensational theories about the coming of Christ, the rapture, the anti-Christ surrounding it are all based on an erroneous interpretation of Daniel 9:24- 27. The dispensational “great tribulation” is supposed to be worldwide, yet is described with localized terminology as having to do with Jerusalem, Israel, her trading partners, the temple, its destruction, etc. Repeated false dispensational predictions surrounding these events have brought reproach upon the gospel.

…….Surely it follows that dispensationalism must be intrinsically anti-Semitic if it says that the world’s most evil future ruler will be a Jew who will slaughter millions of the Jewish people while the Gentiles escape. The Bible does not teach that this ruler will be a Jew or even exist in the future. These are inferences and deductions, the products of a flawed dispensational hermeneutical system.

 

 

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1.To be specific, Dr. Resnick falsely labeled Rev. R. J. Rushdoony and Howard Phillips as anti-Semitic, among other things, on his radio show the day before the election. Candidates for the American Constitution Party (Colorado Affiliate of the U.S. Taxpayers Party) were accused of being deceived by Howard Phillips and therefore guilty by association (a fallacy) of anti-Semitism themselves……

Dr. Resnick is a Jewish man who prides himself as being a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. His malicious accusations against Rushdoony and Phillips are rooted partially in the godless libertarian publication Reason Magazine that he has demonstrated dependence upon. Reason Magazine supposedly champions individual rights. At times this translates into homosexual, abortion, and pornography rights. It is doubtful if Dr. Resnick sees that his stated theological beliefs are in direct conflict with the freedom-destroying degenerate philosophy of modern libertarianism.

Libertarian philosophy is a cancer that feeds off of the Christian worldview……..

In fact, Calvinism is known as the mortal enemy of monarchies or totalitarian government. In our country we are now embracing a form of government that can be described as democratic majoritarian tyranny or the law of the majority. In the above mentioned work Eidsmoe shows that Calvinism gave rise to our republican form of government. A republic is a nation based upon law. Dr. Resnick knows this and he also knows what the law structure was that formed our republic. Why is he now repudiating that law structure?………

A forerunner to Calvin and Knox was William Wallace. The theology of dispensationalism has made its adherents for the most part run from the cultural battle like the unprincipled morally bankrupt noble men of Wallace’s day. Dispensationalism’s distorted emphasis on the last days has paralyzed many from fighting in the cultural war. Why fight if the end of the world is just around the corner? More seriously, dispensational theology rejects law in the present. This is why dispensationalism has nothing to offer in the fight against the humanistic state. The humanistic state rules with the force of law. Our present law structure in the hands of the humanistic state is becoming increasingly anti-Christian.

 

 

 

*My personal note: Though I agree with Jack Kettler in his critique of dispensationalism, nevertheless he states that “John Calvin, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, Dabney, Thornwell, Shedd, Patrick Fairbairn, and B.B. Warfield” all held the convictions of being covenantal and postmillennial. I agree that these men were covenantal theologians, but whether they held to a postmillennial view instead of an optimistic amillennial view of scripture is a matter of one’s interpretation of these theologian’s writings. Kettler also holds to Rushdooney’s reconstructionism. I reject both of these theological convictions, namely postmillenialism and Christian reconstructionism.

A Friendly Critique of Dispensationalism

October 21, 2014 2 comments

phillips

 

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Will Christians be secretly raptured?

October 21, 2014 2 comments

This past weekend the eschatological thriller Left Behind opened in theaters. It joins a flood of Christian movies this year including Exodus, Son of God, God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is for Real, and Noah. Okay, let’s not count Noah.

Yet Left Behind stands out among this surge of Christian films, not just because it stars Nicholas Cage, and not just because it’s based on the wildly successful Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Perhaps more than the other films, Left Behind captures believers’ imagination because it portrays a future, world-changing event: the secret rapture, that moment Jesus suddenly snatches up all Christians to himself years prior to his visible second coming.

As producer and writer Paul LaLonde put it, “It’s a Bible-based movie, it’s a biblical story, it’s a true story—it just hasn’t happened yet.” As a result, it can cause us to wonder, What will it be like when all the Christians suddenly disappear? How close are we to the rapture? Will I be taken or left behind?

But there’s another question we should ask, one that may surprise you: “Is the rapture taught in the Bible?” It may come as a shock to learn that many Bible-believing Christians today doubt the rapture, and that most Christians throughout history had never even heard of it.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Is the Pretribulational Rapture Biblical?

June 23, 2014 1 comment

By Brian Schwertly

One of the most popular teachings today in Evangelical and Charismatic churches is the doctrine of the pretribulation rapture. The pretribulation rapture teaching is that there are two separate comings of Christ. The first coming is secret and occurs before the future seven year tribulation. At this coming Jesus comes for the saints (i.e., all genuine believers) both living and dead. These saints meet the Lord in the air and then are taken to heaven to escape the horrible judgments that take place during the seven year tribulation. At the end of the great tribulation Jesus returns to the earth with the saints. This coming is not secret but is observed by all. At this coming Christ crushes His opposition, judges mankind and sets up a one thousand year reign of saints upon the earth (the millennium). Some pretribulation advocates speak of two separate comings while others prefer to speak of one coming in two separate stages or phases (phase one is the secret rapture and phase two is the visible coming in judgment). Hal Lindsey likes to refer to the rapture as “the great snatch.” He writes: “The word for ‘caught up’ actually means to ‘snatch up,’ and that’s why I like to call this marvelous coming event ‘The Great Snatch’! It’s usually referred to as the ‘Rapture,’ from the Latin word rapere, which means to ‘take away’ or ‘snatch out.’”1

Although the pretribulation rapture doctrine is very popular and is even considered so crucial to Christianity that it is made a test of a person’s orthodoxy in some denominations, Bible colleges and seminaries, the exegetical and theological arguments used by its advocates are all classic cases of forcing one’s theological presuppositions onto particular texts (eisegesis). The purpose of this brief study is to show that the pretribulation rapture theory is not plainly taught or directly stated in any place in Scripture, cannot be deduced from biblical teaching, contradicts the general teaching of the Bible regarding Christ’s second coming and was never taught in any branch of the church prior to 1830.

 
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Appendix on James 5:14-16 Pt 4-The Dispensationalists

Arthur PinkFourth, there is the grotesque idea of the Dispensationalists. These is a class of men who pose as being exceptionally enlightened, and under the guise of “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” arbitrarily partition the Scriptures, affirming “this is not for us,” “that does not pertain to this present era of Grace,” “that relates to the Tribulation period,” “this will be fulfilled in the Millennium.” Because the opening verse of James reads, “To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greetings,” these robbers of God’s children declare this epistle is “entirely Jewish;” as well might they reason that the first epistle of Paul is designed only for Papists because it is addressed “To all that be in Rome” (Romans 1:1). The epistle of James belongs to all the “beloved brethren,” to all born-again souls (1:16, 18). It is surely striking that the very passage we are here considering (5:14-16) comes right between a reference to Job (a Gentile) who endured patiently his affliction and found the Lord to be “pitiful and of tender mercy” (v. 11) and to Elijah who is described as “a man subject to like passions as we are” yet mighty in prayer (v. 17)—as though the Spirit was anticipating and refuting this mad notion.

Now where such widely-different interpretations are given of a passage, it usually follows that the true one lies somewhere between two extremes, and such we believe is the case here. We are very loathe to regard our passage as being an obsolete one, that it refers to something which pertained only to the apostolic age and relates not at all to us. When referring to the Papish travesty of this “anointing with oil” Thomas Goodwin said, “The Reformed churches seeing that such a sacrament could not be and this must needs be a perversion of it, did justly reject it, only in rejecting it (as in some other things) they went too far, even denying it to have that use of restoring the sick as a seal of the promise, and an indefinite means to convey that blessing which God in mercy hath appointed it to be.” We are strongly inclined to agree with this eminent Puritan that the churches which grew out of the Reformation went too far when they set aside this passage as containing Divine directions to be followed by Gospel churches throughout this Christian era. Such a sweeping conclusion needs qualifying.

The knotty point to be settled is, how far and at which points is this qualification to be made? Personally we believe the general principle and promise of the passage holds good for all generations seasons of great spiritual declension and deadness only excepted. In normal times it is the privilege of the saint—when seriously ill, or suffering great pain, and not on every light occasion—to send for the “elders” (pastors, ministers) of the local Gospel church to which he belongs, for they who preach God’s Word to him should surely be the fittest to spread his case before Him: cf. Job 42:8. They are to pray over him, commending him to the mercy of God and seeking recovery for him if that be according to the Divine will: whether or not the “anointing with oil” should accompany the praying is a detail on which we are not prepared to dogmatize; but where the sick one desires it, his request should be complied with. The kind of oil is not specified, though most likely olive oil was used in the first century.

It should be pointed out that those promises of God which relate to temporal and eternal mercies are quite different from those pertaining to spiritual and eternal things, the former being general and indefinite and not unconditional and absolute as are many of the latter, and therefore as God reserves to Himself the freedom to make them good when, as, and to whom He pleases, we must ask in full submission to His sovereign pleasure. To illustrate: if I am starting out on a journey I ask God to preserve me from all harm and danger if that be His holy will (Romans 1:10), but I make no such proviso when I request Him to deliver me from those who assault my soul (2 Timothy 4:18). Thus “the prayer of faith” here is not a definite expectation that God will heal, but a peaceful assurance that He will do that which is most for His glory and the sick one good. That the promise of <590515>James 5:15 is an indefinite and not an absolute one is clear from this consideration: if it were not so, he could continually claim the promise and so never die— the “and IF he have committed sins” further confirms the indefiniteness of what is here in view.

Some are likely to object against what has been pointed out in the last paragraph and say, But faith must have a foundation to rest upon, and it has none other than the Word of God: if then there be here no definite promise to lay hold of and plead before God, the “prayer of faith” is impossible, for there is no assurance the sick one will be healed. That may sound very plausible and pious, yet it is wrong. There is a faith of reliance and submission as well as a faith of expectation. There is no higher, no stronger, no grander faith than one which has such confidence in the wisdom and goodness of God as leads me to present my case to Him and say “Do as seemeth Thee good.” It is always a help when we can plead a promise, but God is greater than all His promises and where some specific need or emergency be not covered by some express promise, faith may count upon the mercy and power of God Himself— this is what Abraham did: Hebrews 11:19!

Personally we greatly fear that there are very few “elders” now left on earth whom it would be any good to send for in an emergency: only those living close to God and blessed with strong faith would be of any use. This is a day of “small things,” nevertheless the Lord remains unchanged and ready to show Himself strong on behalf of those who walk uprightly. Though there be no spiritual elders available, yet God is accessible; seek unto Him, and if He grants you the “prayer of faith” then healing is certain either by natural means or by supernatural intervention. “The Lord is undoubtedly present with His people to assist them in all ages, and when necessary He heals their diseases as much as He did in ancient times; but He does not display those miraculous powers or dispense miracles by the hands of apostles, because that gift was only of temporary duration” (Calvin)

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” (v. 16). Here the scope of our passage is widened: in verse 13 the afflicted or tried one is to pray for himself, in verse 14 the ministers are to pray for the one seriously sick, now fellow-Christians are to pray for each other. But first they are bidden to confess their faults one to another, which does not mean revealing the secrets of their hearts or acquainting their brethren with that which is suited only for the ear of God: but cases where they have tempted or injured one another or consented to the same evil act—tattling, for example. A mutual acknowledgement of those faults which cause coldness and estrangement, exciting one another to repentance for the same, promotes the spirit of prayer and fellowship, The “healing” here is also wider, referring primarily to that of the soul (Psalm 41:4) and breaches (Hebrews 12:13), being the term used in 1 Peter 2:24, yet also includes removal of physical chastisements.

Arthur W. Pink-Divine Healing-Is It Scriptural?

The Law-Gospel Contrast

February 24, 2014 3 comments

by Tom Hicks

I submit that we need a clear understanding of the law/gospel contrast, if we want to be healthy in our preaching, churches, families, and individual sanctification. The law/gospel distinction is often misunderstood or overlooked, but it is thoroughly biblical and vital. Consider three different places in Scripture that teach the law/gospel contrast:

Galatians 4:22-26 says, “For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.”

These verses contrast the two covenants of law and gospel, which are typologically revealed in Hagar and Sarah. The law covenant is a covenant of slavery to guilt and condemnation. The gospel covenant is a covenant of freedom to life and justification.

 

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