Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dissing Dispensationalism Review 4

Next up are three of the arguments from Dan’s post.

4. So many dispensationalists are goofs. Sure they are. I'll tell you another truth: so many Covenant Theology types are goofs. So many amills are goofs. So many Trinitarian inerrantist monergists are goofs. In fact, so many Christians are goofs. Better quit them all, right? Just become an amorphous nihilist? Oh, wait -- lots of amorphous nihilists are goofs, too. Guess I'll just have to exercise my priesthood, and think for myself, under God -- like He says I should (John 12:48; Hebrews 4:13). Next?

Don’t we all agree on this one? There are many goofs in all camps. As a matter of fact, this author can get goofy at times tooJ

5. Dispensationalist writers have made false predictions. First, let's be more accurate. Since another thing to love about dispensationalism is that its advocates also affirm the sufficiency of Scripture, they tend not to be Charismatic, and so they don't fake "prophecy." Therefore, they don't make faux-supernatural predictions, as if they were prophesying. But it's true: some have said "I think X Bible teaching means that Y will happen," and some have been wrong.

Now to this there is some truth here. Many well respected dispensationalists say what Phillips says that they say and use the words or phrases such as “think” or “possibly could be”. However, there are many of the popular, and I use that word in the sense of those who have a very loud voice via media, who clearly are loudly declaring certain things to actually come to pass, and I might add that all of them eventually lead us after a God we have not known through various other perspectives on the person and nature of God.

I could probably cite numerous folks like Hal Lindsey, the Lalondes, Van Impe, La Haye and others who have done this. Really, though Dan in all honesty, these men do become the voice of dispensationalism to the nation, whether you or I agree with that or not.

Second, this game is a cheater's delight. Since the decoder-ring set spiritualizes all unfulfilled prophecy (except the bare fact of Jesus' eventual return) into shapeless goo, they have no specific predictions. No specific predictions = no falsifiability. So when you don't say anything is going to happen in the real world, you'll never be wrong. That's a coward's victory.

And this is simply an uninformed comment from Phillips. If you go to the comments section and actually read questions that were offered to him concerning specific passages, he basically shrugs them off and then launches into sarcasm and that perspicuity issue, which is not an issue in this discussion. When Nathan or I asked questions regarding the enthronement of Christ from the Old Testament Scriptures, which the New Testament apostles said were fulfilled in Christ, then he would simply ignore what was actually said, or he would not deal with the whole of the prophecy. I must ask, is that literal? Absolutely not.

I give a lot more credit to the man who expects to see prophecy actually fulfilled in history, and makes a tentative but well-reasoned application that doesn't come to pass, than I do to the counsel-of-despair man who throws prophecy in a blender, reduces it to paste, and then mocks those who don't follow suit.

counsel of despair man?? What on earth is he talking about? This is simply filler for his response here. He knows better. Are we as those who see fulfillment in Christ and His church “counsel-of-despair men”? I certainly am not. I am very optimistic that Christ will not only conquer at the end, but actually conquered at the cross, in the grave, in the resurrection, at the ascension, at the destruction of the old system, and all throughout history has been conquering as His wonderful gospel is proclaimed and will continue to do so and His church will prevail until He comes again.

And no, that is not throwing prophecy in a blender. Obviously we see many different passages that speak of the same fulfillment, but don’t we also see that with many of the shadows and pictures of the Old Testament concerning Christ? Of course we do, but we would never fault a dispensationalist and say he was just throwing all those in a blender and voila! Baked a cake from it. That is just a bad argument.

They are like the modern Charismatic counterfeit of "prophecy," whose perps hide under generalizations so vague that it is impossible to prove them wrong. Zero points for credibility.

Now this one gets under my skin. He has yet to really interact with any arguments from non-dispensationalists that I’ve seen. He has tried to give different words so that those of the dispensationalists, “who expects to see prophecy actually fulfilled in history, and make a tentative but well-reasoned application that doesn't come to pass” don’t actually fall under false prophecies or false teaching. However, I think we can distinguish from the wackos in the dispensationalist camp and the more responsible men. Yet, as far as I know, they are all looking for a national restoration of the Old Testament Israel and by that they mean with ethnic Jews. Brothers, I don’t know how I can say this nicely: That is false. That is wholeheartedly false. It takes everything that Christ accomplished and turns back the clock. Notice when dispensationalists write that they have to go back to types and shadows. They erect temples, institute sacrifices and various other Old Testament symbols are resurrected in the presence of the Christ! They cannot see what they are doing when they do this. They even break up the people of God. They reverse what Christ did between Jew and Gentile. He made them one with no distinction. Ephesians 2:11 and following point out as much. But the dispensationalists have said and at their heart this is what the system is: divide the two the Church and Israel. Again, I must clarify that the Church is not a national, political, geological entity like national Israel, but Paul makes the point in Romans 9 that the true Israel of God was within the national Israel of the OT and in Romans 11 the Gentiles have been grafted into that Israel. With that said the Scriptures clearly refer to the church as a holy nation and a called out people (holy). The church is simply the fulfillment of those promises in Christ and no the Jews aren’t excluded, they along with Gentiles are incorporated into one man (Eph. 2:15). Dispensationalists see a future where that one man will be cut in half, thus going against clear NT teaching and the work of Christ stated in that very passage.

Isn't it ironic? Jesus faulted His generation for not looking for the fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 16:1-3). These oh-so-sophisticateds fault those who do. Thus, they have deftly turned that vice into a virtue.

Yeah, and even more ironic was what they were looking for Dan. They were looking for fulfillment the same way you are, in a geo-political kingdom with all of their Old Testament types and shadows still intact. There’s irony. Again, those same people were chided constantly for that type of interpretation of Scritpure.

6. The best scholars hate dispensationalism. Depends on what you mean by "best," doesn't it? I keep hearing that the best scholars hate the Bible. The best scholars hate Calvinists. The best scholars hate Christ. If you've been around academia much, and surveyed its shifting sands, you'll know at least one truths: scholars are just as subject to peer pressure as anyone. Sometimes even more so. I'd say I've not seen too many Profiles in Courage in academia. So go back to #1.

Again, this is a bad argument against dispensationalism. Sticking to the text is the best argument when what we are dealing with is the text. By this I don’t mean that we can’t quote someone from the past or present when they say something much more clearly and concise than we can. We should do that. But to argue like that is just ridiculous. We wouldn’t want anyone to argue against our position like that.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dissing Dispensationalism 3

Ok, This is the second point from Phillips post on dispensationalism. Phillips says,

It's new. Sorry, must have missed the memo -- when was the last truth gleaned from the Bible? I knew the Canon was closed to addition; I didn't realize it was closed to study as well. Funny that anti-dispensationalists would effectively relegate Psalm 119:18 to a different dispensation.
And, while we're at it, tell me again -- how old are the five Sola's as a formulation? How about the acronym TULIP? Um, Covenant theology -- when was that systematized? And what was the chief objection raised to Luther by learned Roman doctors at Worms? Or go way back, fifth century -- how old is the doctrine of the Trinity now? "Old as the Bible," you growl? I totally agree. Same for dispensationalism.

Here, Dan makes an excellent point. Dispensationalists see their view as old as Scripture itself, just as everyone else who seeks to formulate an understanding of what is said in Holy Writ.

With that said, as a system, it has only taken shape in the last 180-200 years. That does not make it untrue, just because it’s new and that is not a valid argument against it, but it is one that should cause us to examine it closely. As a matter of fact, I would say that many of the principles of dispensationalism were held by those of the first century who did not understand the first coming of Christ. They were so segregated as far as Jews and Gentiles that they could not even see that Gentiles would even be included in the kingdom. They saw them as beneath them. Jesus demonstrated as much in His parable of the Good Samaritan. These tended to see the promises of God being dependent upon their ethnic descent. Though many dispensationalists won’t actually come out and say it, they end up making the point that there will be physical descendants of Abraham who are saved because of that, though I am sure Phillips would not hold to that view.

Psalm 119:18 relegated to a different dispensation? I’m sorry I don’t get that at all. Maybe I have not been well read enough to understand Phillips’ remarks here. If he means that many writers speak of the gospel opened up in the Law, then fine. I have no problem with that. What else are we to see from the Law of God? It is holy and just. It reveals to us our utter sinfulness and in the broad scope of the Law we see the imagery of Christ and His work (His perfect active obedience to it), so what is the problem with that? Why is it relegated to another dispensation?

It's not Reformed/Calvinistic. First, some shocking news: my goal in life is not to be judged as perfectly Reformed or Calvinistic. (I'm hopeful that brother Hendriksen, now with the Lord, would concur.) When I stand before the throne, I don't expect the Lord to say, "Let's see... how Reformed were you?" Anyway, maybe someone can point out where Calvin (or Luther, or Knox, or Zwingli, or Owen) maintained that, after he himself died, nothing remained to be learned, because he/they had been perfect in all his scholarship and thinking, and had exhausted every last bit of truth from the Bible. I can't think that these great men imagined that they had mined every last grain of ore from the vast Biblical treasury, leaving us today only to visit theological museums, or reminisce about how great it must have been to live when the Bible still had more to teach, and we had more to learn.

Hm. "Calvin the Apostle." Don't like it.

One last thought on these first three. If these are really big, determinative factors -- they have been, to a great many of dispensationalism's bitterest critics -- then it seems to me that we owe Rome an apology. In that case, we agree with Rome that we dare not directly delve into Scripture for ourselves. We agree with Rome that we need a Magisterium to filter Scripture for us. Like Roman Catholics, we're not allowed to see anything in Scripture that our (Reformed) Magisterium tells us isn't there; and with Loyola, we should say that white is black (and Israel is the Church), if Mother (Reformed) Church tells us so.

Ok, I totally agree with these comments and frankly there are times when I think some reformed folks simply would drink the kool-aid if certain idols that they have erected offered it to them. This would actually go hand in hand with his opening comments to this post.
However, it is the last point that gets me. Again, go back and read my posts concerning eschatology so far and you will find that I didn’t come to the understanding of the true Israel of God being the Church and vice versa by reading Reformed idols. Is there a distinction between the nation Israel and the remnant, which is the true Israel (according to the inspired apostle Paul in Romans 9)? This is not replacement theology. It is simply understanding who the Israel of God is: it is all of the elect.

BTW, I don’t like Calvin the Apostle either and I’m sure he (Calvin) would concur.

For those who are just joining, the post can be found here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

25 Stupid Reasons For Dissing Dispensationalism Review 2

This is the second installment, though it’s actually the first concerning Dan Phillip’s post on Dispensationalism. He starts the post out with some comments in general.

It's just not "cool" to be dispensationalist, anymore. The system had particular prominence in the seventies and beyond, which excited a lot of envy and resentment among the non's ("Hey, what about us?"). So they produced a lot of sourpuss, wanna-be literature, trying to take back every area that dispensational writers had held.

They haven't fully succeeded. This really irritates them, because many of them still think that dispensationalists are unsophisticated knuckle-draggers at best, or heretics at worst. It's like listening to evolutionists talk about the Great Unwashed, who they see as too stupid to agree with them, still boneheadedly clinging to inane creationistic notions. They alternate between sniffing in disdain, and wondering why their outreaches fail to penetrate their foes' Stygian darkness.

But anti-dispies have succeeded with some folks, more (I think) through image than substance. They have convinced them that it isn't cool to be a dispensationalist.

Particularly, it's not cool to be Reformed and dispensationalist. In responding to a letter of mine about something entirely different (the problem of evil), decades ago, the great commentator William Hendriksen slapped me down something fierce. I had made the mistake of mentioning in passing that I was a Calvinist, and a dispensationalist. The great man told me you can't be "100% reformed/Calvinist" and dispensationalist. He told me to read this and that book, and not to write him again until I was 100%. As I recall, he even suggested that this doctrinal error lay at the root of my problem with evil.

Yet stubbornly here I am, still unrepentantly both, and still for the exact same reason: when I consistently apply the hermeneutic that God used to save me, I end up Reformed... and dispensationalist.

Now for the most part I am in agreement here with him concerning how many view dispensationalists. They look at them as unlearned and unsophisticated. I however, do not. There are many dispensationalists who I greatly admire such as John MacArthur and Phil Johnson. However, dispensationalists receive this kind of treatment because of those who are simply “out front” and more popular. This cannot be denied.

Hendriksen is completely wrong about what he said to Phillips. However, he probably would say the same thing to me since I don’t believe in infant baptism, therefore I’m not Calvnistic or totally reformed. On that last point I would concur, I am in the process of reforming.

No one can deny the great contributions that many dispensationalists have contributed to the church. However, I would also make mention of the fact that their dispensationalism has also been of great concern in both theological and practical matters. Some of these I have made mention of before. So understand that we are dealing here with the message and not the messenger. With that in mind, let’s look at the first point he makes. I’ll put my comments in blockquote.
1. All of the coolest guys are amillennial/"historical" premill/covenant/whatever. I suspect this is the real reason many adopt amillennialism. They want to be just like Augustine, or Calvin, or Owen, or Packer or Waltke or Whoever, or any of all those cool guys. It's just so cool to be cool. I'll admit it -- I've felt that pull. Just give up, give in, join the RHRG (Really Hip Reformed Guys). Then when they mock and make fun of people who still take all of the Bible seriously, it'll be okay. You'll be on the giving end, instead of the receiving end!

Uh, eh, what??? I certainly didn’t come to my conclusions from reading really hip reformed guys on the subject. I came to the thinking that I have through exposition. While I admit, there have been some writings that have aided that, the questions I raised came from Scripture, not the other way around. True, some may be in that camp, but not I.

Take all of the Bible seriously?? Come on, you can do better than that. I don’t know of whom he is referring. Are any of the guys he cites not taking all of the Bible seriously? Or is this simply a silly charge like the “perspicuity” charge towards the guys at Fide-O? I'm sure the dispensationalists, as well as, the non-dispensationalists are taking the Bible seriously.

Plus, prophecy doesn't require hard work anymore. Just shrug and say, "Jesus. The church. Whatever." Here, I'll show you:
o Mount Zion to be made the capital of the earth? "Jesus. The church. Whatever."
o Israel to be fully restored in spite of all her sins? "Jesus. The church. Whatever."
o Wars and conflicts such as have never happened, followed by unprecedented deliverance for the nation of Israel? "Jesus. The church. Whatever."
o Eight chapters of detailed prophecy about a temple such as has never yet been built? "Jesus. The church. Whatever."
See? Cool!

See? Ridiculous. See? Superficial. See? No real interaction with how those passages are actually interpreted. That seems to mock people who have tried to actually interact with the text and see their fulfillments rather than deal with the arguments, and with that I have a few questions of my own:
1. Who is spoken of as the Israel of God in the New Testament?
2. Who are those restored unto God in spite of their sins in the New Testament? BTW, these are also called the Israel of God.
3. Wars and conflicts followed by unprecedented deliverance for the nation Israel?? Does any dispensationalist really believe that? After all don’t they believe that many if not most of the nation they claim with be slaughtered? And then they still have the audacity to say that “ALL Israel” will be saved.
4. Ezekiel’s Temple? Well, again, we might want to see the distinction between the two temples of the New Testament and also I might throw in the fact that towards the end of the Book of Revelation, chapter 21, we are told that NO temple is in the New Jerusalem, which, by the way is the Church, the Bride of Christ (see vss. 9 and following of that chapter), but the text says,But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

And I'll also say that it's largely true that the coolest have been, to say the least, non-dispensationalists. Most of my greatest theological and otherwise-Christian heroes were not dispensationalists: Machen, Spurgeon, Calvin, van Til, E. J. Young, and on and on.

On this we agree.

But then there's that little principle that I also gained at my conversion, and that has saved my spiritual life countless times. I'm a Christian because of Jesus. My judge is God, my rule is His Word. Other believers (dead or living) are important, but not all-important. My business is with God's Word (Hebrews 4:12-13). This focus has kept me Christian through countless instances of treachery, hypocrisy, betrayal, malice -- and I'm not about to leave it when it comes to formulating my theology.

Again, on this we agree.

But if you're going to let peer-pressure mold your theological system, you had best not think too deeply about John 7:48 ("Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?", the Pharisees snort). No, you'll have to embrace your inner approbation-lust, and ignore the fact that it is the opposite of God-centered faith ("How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?" -- John 5:44).
Especially try not to think of your Reformer heroes. In their day, all the coolest guys were Roman Catholic.

Again, I agree. But again, this first point, is simply mocking with no real substance. There are other arguments. I simply wouldn’t buy this kind of argument from non-dispensationalists anymore than dispensationalists, but I find Phillips arguments not compelling. Not only that, but he falls into the very kind of interpretation that those of Jesus day fell into concerning this issue. With that said, please don't anyone take it that I'm saying that Dan is a Pharisee. I am not. I am simply saying regarding dispensationalism, he is in fact imploring the same hermeneutic that the Pharisees and those during the ministry of Christ held to and were constantly being corrected for.

Again, Dan's post can be found here.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

25 Stupid Reasons for dissing Dispensationalism Review

Ok, I know I promised a continuation of Matthew 24, but I got sidetracked while reading Nathan’s latest post and then being directed over to Dan Phillips post on Dispensationalism. I can’t help it, but for some reason when I read Dan’s stuff, sometimes it just seems that he’s trying to get under people’s skin, maybe it’s just me. Anyway, many times I am in agreement with him on subjects that he writes on. However, this post of his will probably be one thing that I will have to critique, for in it is good material from the author to refute. With that said, I want to be clear that the issue concerning my previous post on Psalm 2, in my opinion is the death blow to Dispensationalism. As soon as it has been proven that Christ is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic, as well as, the Davidic covenants, then all the other stuff goes right out the window. This is the definitive issue brothers on this subject. So, I am sorry to run rabbits, but it seems appropriate, at least for me to do so. This first post will simply place my response to just a couple of the arguments he made in regards to Acts 15 and claiming people don’t believe in the perspicuity of the Scriptures, which I thought was the silliest argumentJ Here’s my response.


I was linked from Nathan's blog and read the comments. There is much I would like to respond to. However, I am pretty much taking my time doing that over at my blog via some exposition:)

This last comment, and I don't know who Ruben is:), that you made concerning Acts 15, you made mention of Johnson's quote. The problem as I see it is precisely what you cited. No where in that passage is anything remotely like a "nod to the Jewish faction, assuring them that the nation will have the promised future." As a matter of fact, nothing of the Jewish nation is even mentioned. Simply a mention of the tabernacle of David and this rebuilding is so that the Gentiles may seek the Lord. Surely this would be referenced in other NT passages where the church is spoken of in such terms (ie. Eph. 2:21; 1 Cor. 6; Rev. 3:12). Of course in these passages the believer as well as the church is spoken of as the temple of God. The term used in Acts 15 denotes the movable tabernacle. In either case, the nation is not in focus.

This leads to part of the problem I see where you say others are denying the perspecuity of the Scriptures. Were the Scripture unclear to the Pharisees and disciples during Jesus' time concerning the nature of the kingdom??? It seems their "literal" (and I use that lightly) reading of Scripture led them to the wrong concclusion. Jesus seems to constantly be correcting them in regards to a "physical political kingdom" (see Luke 17:20,21).
Maybe somehow the words of Christ were unclear when He stated,

Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."John 2:19

Yet those around him believed he spoke about the standing temple and not the temple of His body. If you were standing there would you have assumed He spoke of His body? In regards to that several passages that dispensationalists claim are somehow future, such as the reign of Christ from David's throne are simply shot down in the face of apostolic New Testament statements. I point this out in a recent post on Psalm2. There is no reason to assume that we are waiting on Christ to come to a throne in the middle of the desert to reign from earth when He already is seated at the right hand of His Father (Mr 16:19; Ac 2:33; Ro 8:34; Col 3:1; Heb 10:12; 1Pe 3:22) till all His enemies are put under His feet (1Cor. 15) and already has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt 28:18) and is currently ruling the nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 3:27). If this is indeed the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant and I believe it is since the inspired apostle Peter says so in Acts 2, and I quote,

25 "For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’ 29 "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."’ 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

This has been fulfilled. Now I ask anyone in the forum, what is not clear and literal about that passage??? If that is true, then at its heart dispensationalism's foundations crack. Respectfully submitted.

For those who may come here and are dispensationalists, you are welcome to comment. I have no ill feelings toward dispensationalists, unless they are the simply wacky kind (Lahaye, Van Impe, Lindsey, etc.). Please take these comments in the tone they are given and that is that we may arrive at the Truth and a love for it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Many thanks to my brothers and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wow! So it’s been over a month since I’ve actually posted anything and look….the world still turns! This just goes to show that the world doesn’t revolve around me:) Well, I have been extremely busy and out of town a lot, not to mention involved in study for Revelation at our church. Recent comments over at both Nathan’s blog and Gordan’s blog have challenged me and have aided in some of my understanding of eschatology and for that I am very thankful. Many thanks to Hank as well, who has made time for me with several calls and I have always come away very edified.

I would recommend a reading of Nathan’s latest post on Matthew 24. Thank goodness I had not gotten that far in my posts and had to retract something, LOL. It has been beneficial to see what he shared, though I would still, at this point, hold to what I have posted thus far from Matthew 24. I will probably take some of his thoughts in the future and present them a little more fully, after all, he posted the entire chapter in one post! OK, ok, he’s not a MacArthur (expositional dump truck)………….yet, but I do believe that God is using him tremendously now and will continue to do so in the future.

In regards to this issue where I have been corrected, there is one thing that I want to let all of my 4 or 5 readers know and that is this: we are men and at times we can be wrong. Therefore it is good to be correctable and patient in our dealings with one another. For those, my brothers, that I cherish for God’s using them in my life, I genuinely say, “Thank you for earnestly contending for the faith and the truth. Thank you for helping me in my understanding of God’s Word. Thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for your persistence in your own understanding of the Word.”

There are many pastors today who cannot stand the thought of being corrected. They somehow will give lip service to the fact that they don’t know everything, but practically they seem oblivious to the idea. I say, “Let God be true and every man a liar”. With that in mind, I will hopefully post some things this week in continuation of Matthew 24, as well as, some Stonewall Jackson quotes from a book we've been reading.

As a bonus, I'm throwing in a little Thanksgiving treat for you all, the picture of the kids. Last year the kids were all Pilgrims, this year Denise made them all Indians. I know, I know, the boys should have used bow and arrows, but I think muskets were available then, LOL. Also, Dakota celebrated his seventh birthday on the 12th (and yes, my wonderful esposita made that great looking spider-man cake) and also it seems that Ms. Hailey has been wearing herself out as of late, so much so, that she simply passed out in the middle of driving. I hope this isn't a sign for the future.