A dispensation is a theological term that refers to different periods of time in which God interacted with humanity in a distinct way. We can say that we have two dispensations, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. We can divide this further and have the Garden stage, the patriarchal stage, the Law stage, the grace stage, and even an end-time stage. These periods are divided into the prominent themes throughout Scripture. However, it does not indicate that God deals with us differently in the sense of salvation. Dispensationalism, a modern approach to dividing things, takes it further than just the historical operations of God with humanity. It divides these periods into different plans of salvation. They suggest that under the dispensation of the Law, men were not saved by grace. Hyper-dispensationalists, are those who go beyond mere divisions of time, and implant different salvation schemes in many more places. Seemingly, they do this in a manner in which is convenient to salvage their pet doctrines. When the Bible tells us that Christians must "endure to the end to be saved," they shake their heads in pity and say, "don't you realize that that only applies to end-time Christians?" The Book of Hebrews, which gives them clear statements against Eternal Security is explained away, "These warnings only apply to first century Jews!" I have even seen some arguments that go as far as to claim that Christians were saved differently between Pentecost and the writings of Paul, when (they claim), God changed the Gospel to grace alone, which is the Gospel today. This eliminates the Bible as the inspired Word of God. It narrows "our" Gospel today, to only Paul's epistles!
With this dispensationalism, one could eliminate anything that they did not like, and claim it to be under some other "dispensation" or Gospel system so it does not apply to them today.
No one ever has, or ever will be saved by the Law. Salvation has always been by grace, and will always be by grace. God does not "change up" the rules for "first century Jews" or hold "tribulation Saints" under a different salvation plan. Dispensationalist's demand that their approach is true. They feel spiritually justified to have license to use ablack marker to blot out insuperable difficulties to their doctrines, especially when these doctrines cannot stand up to the light of the Scriptures!
We cannot invent rules that will allow us to rip out the pages from our Bibles that we do not agree with. We cannot arbitrarily eliminate passages merely because they do not teach our pet doctrines! We cannot say that we will only believe "these" verses, and not "those."
The precursor or hyper-dispensationalism was Pre-Millennial Dispensationalism. In fact, it was based upon a "prophecy" or " dream" of a young teen charismatic girl in 1830!1 Before 1830 we cannot find where the Church taught it. The Early Church Fathers are silent on it, and the Bible is silent on dispensationalism. The question that demands our attention is whether we are going to turn the Bible on its ear and force everything inspired to be in subjection to a modern unsubstantiated "dispensationalist interpretation" on the mere authority of thin air?
Think about it! If God, at a certain fraction of time, "changes" the Gospel to a different standard, what happens to those that do not figure out that it had changed? This is the "god" of switching rules. A "god" that is fickle, and on a whim, or after getting bored, changes things up. Surprise! Your no longer under grace! You are now under ________. Next week, it will be something different!
Most dispensationalists do not take things to this absurd end. But that does not make any of their more moderate dispensationalist claims to be true! Dispensationalism is unbiblical. Its foundation is suspicious. Its fruit is to disregard large portions of Scripture. How can this rule of interpretation be the idea of God? How can one find any safety or surety in following it? Shun it! Discard it! Believe the Bible for your soul's sake!
1. Information can be found on this episode of the influence of Margaret MacDonald on Edward Irving and John Nelson Darby through an internet search. Gary Demar notes the origins of this dispensational approach in his book, Last Days Madness, pages 187 and 233. See also, The Rapture Theory: It's Surprising Origin, by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1976, at http://askelm.com/doctrine/d760201.htm for a well detailed and documented discussion on the subject.
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