Friday, December 01, 2006

Dissing Dispensationalism 5

As you can see these are short comments, because as best I can see it, there really isn’t any meat to get into here. But Dan was complaining that no one actually addressed his points, so I am giving it a try. If you don’t know or haven’t seen the his post, you can find it here.


But the Reverend Doctor Professor _____ wrote a 600-page book destroying dispensationalism! Yeah. Have you ever noticed that it takes an awful lot of very detailed, sophisticated argumentation to "prove" that a passage doesn't mean what it says? If we're talking about the meaning of yom in Genesis 1, I can say "It means a day" in four words -- but it'll take hundreds, or even tens of thousands to "explain" that yom doesn't really mean what it clearly seems to mean. Once, I was asked if I could explain what a prophetic OT passage meant. "Sure," I replied. "Means what it says." That was my complete answer, and everyone knew exactly what I meant by it. Ohh boy, but that ticked off a guy whose obnoxious new girlfriend was Covenant Theology. But you know, before I was a Christian, I was in a cult whose answer to every uncongenial passage was, "We have to look for the deeper meaning." Funny how the "deeper meaning" was always the precise opposite of what the passage said, and exactly in harmony with what our cult believed. I left that sort of gameplaying behind with my conversion, and anything that even smells like it to me, smells.

I agree with the first part. Just because someone writes a long book about something doesn’t mean he has accomplished the task he set out to do.

And, yes, I’ve heard that argument before from those against Calvinism too. That doesn’t make the point. While I certainly wouldn’t use the specific argument he addressed, I do think it rather arrogant to deal with the claim on such a level. First there are greater minds than both of ours and to push aside a valid response, such as Dr. So and so’s book on the subject without fully dealing with it is just ridiculous. I wonder how much Dan has had to take steps and long talks to engage those who are opposed to him concerning Calvinism. I’m sure, if it’s like the rest of us, it takes a long time and lots of illustrations and Scripture and metaphors and so on. This doesn’t mean the texts don’t mean what they say.

No one, as far as I know, is looking for a “deeper meaning”, so don’t lump CTs in with that. BTW, speaking of cults, I can point to almost every cult there is in America (Mormon, JW, Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventists, etc.) today and at their heart they have a form of dispensationalism. That is not an argument against dispensationalists, but it is a glaring contrast of the impact that the theology spun out, which coincidentally all these groups, minus RCs, came about at just after the rise of dispensationalism. Hmmmm. I smell a rat!

Speaking of game playing: the whole idea behind a future Tribulation with a pre-trib rapture is rather spurious, don’t you think? Try actually pulling that out of a text in its context. It will never happen.


You can't prove all those dispensational distinctives and prophetic features from the New Testament alone! Um, Bunky? Three words? "Plenary verbal inspiration." Dispensationalists do what all Reformed folks say they do: they believe in the whole Bible. Sort of got that idea from Jesus. So, just as no Reformed guy worth anything would accept such a demand as "Prove sovereign-grace election solely from 1 Chronicles 1:1," so no dispensationalist who believes in the principles of the Reformation should rise to the demand, "Prove every detail of your system from 1/3 of the Canon!" There is no passage that teaches everything that every other passage teaches. If so, God would have inspired a Bible with one verse.

Or perhaps a better statement would be that God did inspire a Bible with one verse. It's just a really, really long verse. And so, no believer in Reformed principles should indulge in trying to impose such a faulty premise. It's simply not Reformed to do so.

First, let me say that I completely cracked up at the “Bunky” line. That was too funny.

However, maybe Dan would like to comment on Psalm 2:7-9 and ask if it means what it says it means. Of course, I believe it does mean what it says it means. However, it would take some explaining for some who would not understand how it is used, such as MacArthur, who Andrew Lindsey pointed out sees this “begotten” part as the incarnation, rather than the apostle’s view which is the resurrection. Again, the problem that I see is that while he is saying the Bible is “one really, really long verse”, he in fact, does separate it out. The issue for those of us who are not dispensational is this: The New Testament interprets the Old Testament (or at least I speak for myself). This is because of the fact that the Old is the shadows and pictures and the New is the fulfillment of those things.

In reality, some things were not fully revealed in the Old Testament, thus the reasoning behind shadows, pictures and allegory and then in the New Testament we see that revelation in fulfillment. Dan then gives us the argument concerning plenary verbal inspiration. I certainly agree with the point he makes concerning interpretation or proof from only a section of Scripture. The problem is not as simple as he makes it though. The issue being brought up is that the NT affirms the promises fulfillments in Christ, not a geo-political entity.

While I understand his point and how it would go against the argument he stated, I don’t understand how it would addressed real questions in regards to what the New Testament affirms specifically against dispensationalism that I would raise. Therefore, if the NT denies to the dispensationalist their interpretation of the Old Testament they would do well to abandon their interpretation, no matter how much they cry foul.


Gordan said...

Dang, Tim!

You're a writing whirlwind these days! I have clearly marked days on my calendar, separated by three weeks minimum, on which I know I ought to check your blog for one new entry (and probably not find one)and today I checked off-schedule to find a veritable plethora of good stuff waiting for me. I feel like Christmas has come early.

I can't read it all this morning, but what I've read, I've totally agreed with. Keep it up.

Tim said...

Actually Bro. I just wrote several of these during my trip last week. I really would like to put a post a day up, but sometimes time just won't allow for it. Of course these dealings with Dan's post are not extremely in depth, but hopefully enough to at least have some disensationalists who might read it at least give the CTs a chance to present their arguments acturately without some of the silly things that are thrown around concerning our view.