May 192017
 

It’s all yours today…

  285 Responses to “Open Blogging”

  1. Interesting thoughts on the church from BF Skinner over at
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/alive-inside/201409/b-f-skinner-s-struggle-god

    “One of the problems of religious communities, underscored and boldly documented by B. F. Skinner, is that in maintaining their structures they often lose sight of the positive relationship of their purpose: Holiness, Goodness, Truth, Justice, and Love.”

  2. Calvaey chapel teaches rapture belief right? Is it true it was basically invented in the early 19th century?

  3. Rapture (harpazo) is stated in scripture. Calvary Chapels adhere to a pre-tribulational version, which is not stated in scripture, but, as the Dallas Seminary theologians say, must be gleaned from between the lines. To my understanding, it was around in some form before the 19th, not taken seriously. As best as I understand it, it was largely fleshed out by John Darby (a cult leader) and promulgated by Scofield (a convict and embezzler).

  4. Dispensational eschatology comes from the early 1800’s…and any attempt to find it earlier brings loud guffaws from serious students of church history…

  5. I have seen people try to claim that dispensationalism was found in early Christian theology

  6. #6 Tony

    You would have to really twist early Church theology to come up with anything that even resembles it…

  7. Descended,

    You just committed the old guilt by association fallacy that makes me, quite frankly, crazy.

    You can’t judge the veracity of a doctrine or set of doctrines by the character of those who discover it.

    It’s either true or it isn’t.

    You also neglect to point out the hundreds of decent God fearing scholars who have embraced and defined this doctrine over the years.

    I disagree strongly with the pretrib stuff…but I disagree with your methodology even more.

  8. well check out this twisting then….. though I need to remind you he also used a vision Oral Roberts had as a citation http://web.oru.edu/current_students/class_pages/grtheo/mmankins/DrHebert/M.A.%20Thesis/MA(Th)%20Thesis.CH-3d%20Direct%20Ref%20to%20Rapture%20by%20Fathers.pdf

  9. Because I haven’t received enough hate mail this week…I highly commend this article about Trump and evangelicals to your reading.

    Send the author your hate mail…I think he nailed it, myself.

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/christians-tempted-by-trump-idolatry/

  10. So basically the rapture belief is at best implied?

  11. Tony,

    So…all of the sources he used are available to read online for free.
    If you were to read those primary sources you would find that in almost every case (I don’t want to go through them all individually) that there is something in the piece that directly contradicts a pretrib Rapture doctrine.

  12. well the guy also says the illuminati is real…. so yeah how did he ever get a degree?

  13. Tony,

    @11… that’s a good way to put it.
    I highly recommend a book by Jonathan Menn called “Biblical Eschatology”.
    It’s an exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) treatment of the subject.

  14. I have seen people try to claim that dispensationalism was found in early Christian theology<<<

    No X 1000

  15. Michael
    Thx for the gentility 🙂 You’re right. It wasn’t the must astute explanation, but, as they say, “Consider the source”.

    I know that leaves us all woefully unable to prasch the gospel :-/

  16. Michael
    Any knowledge of A.J. McLain of Grace Seminary? Opinions? Picked up a commentary of his, The Greatness Of the Kingdom.

  17. can anyone of the PhxP scholars here finish the following sentence with an academic approach (something more than it’s not Tradition)… “Dispensational teaching is dishonest and impossible to justify from Scripture because…”

    i’m not asking for reference to reading material, just a couple sentences that explain your stand… impossible to do? … 🙂 okay, then i’ll settle for reference to your source material, i guess – thanks

    i may be asking from an agitated state of carnality as i’m listening to ancient music – Gordon MacRae singing Oklahoma – love it – accompanied by two navy fighter jets doing a low level practice run down our river valley, just about taking the chimney off of the house where i’m sitting enjoying a beautiful morning with the windows wide open… LOL

  18. More than 40 minutes and nobody has commented on the Trump article yet at #10?

    If there ever wasn’t a greater definition for a lightning rod.

    So we can’t let this go any longer. 🙂

    I understand a good bit why many Christians voted for Trump and have supported him through his brief presidency so far. What I don’t understand and just get flabbergasted by is the way that many will seemingly defend him at all costs. The way that you will get admittances no greater than generalized responses of, yes, he is a flawed man or you don’t agree with everything he has ever said or done, but then seemingly every accusation or criticism thrown at the man is vociferously defended. Everything that Trump is accused of having done wrong, or has even clearly and blatantly done wrong, is a witch hunt, liberal media bias, or fake news, or a big deal being made out of nothing. That we have to keep from getting distracted by all this inconsequential rubbish and stay focused on the important things.

    There can never be an honest moment where there is admittance that the man has some significant moral character flaws and has done or has potentially done some pretty disturbing things, from a moral standpoint and/or from a standpoint of the good of the country. Nope can’t have any of that. Must keep focused on the battle to gain and maintain political power. Must only ever speak of the wrongs done by the other side. Must only be concerned with taking a stand for righteousness if it is the other side doing the unrighteous thing. Must not show weakness.

    Okay, I’m done. Hoepfully, this helps draw out the hate mail for you, Michael. 🙂

  19. KevinH,

    Well said…and probably effective in making my email program smoke… 🙂

  20. Ok one more thing does anyone here know about Jan Markell and Jill Martin Rische? Are they the kind of discernment ministries that Michael had spoken so critically against?

  21. Michael,

    Maybe the smoke will help burn off the Febreze smell. 😉

  22. John 20:29,

    “Dispensational teaching is dishonest and impossible to justify from Scripture because…”

    I wouldn’t phrase it that way…I don’t think that dispensationalists are intentionally dishonest and you can justify damn near anything from Scripture if you try hard enough.

    I’d refer you back to the book I already recommended by Jonathan Menn because the problems get clearly defined when we deal with the eschatology…

  23. Tony @ 21…yes.

  24. Tony (21). I was at a conference hosted by Jan Markel a number of years ago in the Twin Cities (MN). It was focused on end times stuff and pro-Israal stuff. I think her ministry is called “Olive Branch” ministries. I would not characterize her as an ODM. Not sure what she’s talking about these days since I don’t pay attention to that stuff.

  25. KevinH – well i’ll bite, speaking from a scrambled brain this morning, nothing will do that better than 2 fighter jets screaming about 100 ‘ overhead… don’t know the height of our pine trees – they haven’t clipped them yet

    Can there never be an honest moment where there is admittance that the man has some significant moral character flaws and has done or has potentially done some pretty disturbing things, from a moral standpoint and/or from a standpoint of the good of the country?

    i like Trump for the very reason that my daughter can’t stand him – he’s a businessman acquainted with the mindset of modern commerce (how competent he is is yet to be proved and it doesn’t look good right now)… the thing that disturbs me is that we think our politicians are, somehow, superior?… i won’t name names from either side of the aisle, but i don’t think even Febreeze can kill the stench collecting from their grandstanding and pontificating (maybe i’d have made a good one – egads, what a thot! ) – none of it has anything to do with my faith, other than i pray for his administration daily and i do think that there is more virtue-so-called in his cabinet than some we had in my lifetime… so i pray for his administration for the sake of the nation and the Church here in the U.S.
    is his intention to look out for the average Joe and the underdog? i don’t know – i do know that i don’t trust anybody in politics to do what they say they’ll do, tho – either thru chicanery or incompetence

  26. thank you, Michael… proving our pet theories with Scripture is something we and our favorite teachers will be held accountable for, no doubt

  27. Tony, I could be wrong about my thinking she’s not an ODM, since Michael has probably had more exposure (and hence pain) and done more research on ODMs. Just saying from my being at her conference it was more end-times and pro-Isreal talk.

  28. Ok, because she once told this weird story about how she when she was young was an occultist who was able to move a Ouija board pointer with out her hands! Just curious to see if you guys feel that she is dishonest or not, or maybe just plain kooky

  29. Em,

    I have no delusions whatsoever that politicians are superior, although they should be more skilled and knowledgeable in their fields than the average joe. But certainly no superiority in character. And yes, many if not all of them could use a huge dousing of Febreze.

    But what gets me is when people will point out all the wrong on the other side, but will rarely say a peep about anything wrong that happens on their side. And will find every justification and excuse they can for the wrong on their side. All the worse when it is done by Christians, who should be concerned much more with righteousness as a whole, than with any “sides”. And Trump seems to have brought out the worst of both “sides”.

  30. Since this is an open blog and both religion and politics are mentioned… I did read one thing which says a lot:

    “– he’s a businessman acquainted with the mindset of modern commerce”

    I agree with your daughter. If this is, or he represents, the state of modern business ethics (I’m not even mentioning politician’s ethics) we are in a huge mess. I wish I could list just one thing I find compelling positive about our latest President, but I think it was Paul who wrote something about positive thinking.

  31. I find premillennial dispensationalism deeply flawed and not just “another tradition” because it diminishes Christ.

    Traditional Christian eschatology holds that Christ is the fulfillment of all OT prophesy and that he saves all people through his Church – His bride. Human marriage actually is a picture of Christ and His bride the Church.

    Premillennial dispensationalism makes Christ into an adulterer. He’s not fully committed to His Church. He’s not a faithful bridegroom, because he’s got a mistress (i.e., a nation state of Israel) on the side.

    I don’t know how anyone can read the NT and walk away with a theology which doesn’t see Christ saving all humanity through His Gospel proclaimed by His Bride – the Church.

  32. Tony (29). She did not relate that story during the conference. That sounds a bit weird to me.

  33. well I hope Michael if he has the time can also tell me abit more about Markell and friends

  34. Tony,

    She’s a standard right wing, dispy, ODM.

    They raise eschatology to a primary doctrine, thus if you don’t share their eschatological view you’re a devil and damned in their eyes.

    That sort of bogey man story is common in those circles…

  35. Michael, true. She is one of those profoundly pro-Israel people. I left her conference thinking that if you even so much as criticize Israel, you will be cursed or have bad things happen to you.

  36. Michael and Kevin,

    The hate mail can come my way as well. When I saw the article this morning, I immediately sent it out to a couple of friends. Earlier this week I had a conversation with a person VERY well acquainted with the situation in Washington. I came away from a two hour conversation very frightened. I cannot share that conversation here, but I shared it with Michael in confidence. He can share his own reaction… It may be enough to say, we need to be very much in prayer.

    For me, this is the most frightening paragraph in the article referenced above:

    “It will not matter if you are a conservative Christian who spoke out against Trump during the campaign, or who did not vote for him. We are going to own him. The people within US culture, especially among the elites, who hate conservative Christians aren’t going to separate out the Russell Moores from the Jerry Falwell Jrs; it’s going to be on all of us. These diehard Trump-backing Christians will have provided progressives, as well as factions within the GOP who are sick of Christians’ influence in the party, with the pretext they need to crack down. Good luck defending religious liberty when it is associated with Donald Trump, whose only meaningful move on religious liberty has been to order the IRS not to enforce the law against political activity (including fundrai$ing) on the part of churches.”

  37. Jean,

    I think we have to acknowledge that there are capable scholars who are dispensational and try to impute the best of motives to them.

    All theological systems, (including yours and mine) have socks sticking out of the packed suitcase…

  38. Duane,

    I had the same reaction to the conversation you had…which confirmed the reaction I’ve had to this man from the beginning.

    I also agree with the author of the piece that the church will own this debacle for years to come…

  39. Jean,

    I am not the defender of all things dispensational, nor would I have the knowledge base to do so. But I do think you harshly mischaracterize dispensationalism. Are there some on the fringe of dispensationalism who would fit into your characterization? Sure. But I really don’t think the large majority of dispensationalists believe as you represent them here. At least those dealing with any kind of real scholarship.

    Dispensationalists do believe that all humanity is saved through the Gospel proclaimed by the Church and that Israel has nothing to do with it except that Jesus was delivered as a Jew and through the Jewish people.

    However, just as God originally chose Israel to be His people through which he would work and eventually bring forth His Son, the Messiah, dispensationalists believe that God still has a plan to work through them at or around that time of His Return. Do some dispensationalists additionally think that God still shows some ongoing earthly favor toward the people of Israel. Sure. But its not seen as salvific in any sense.

  40. Dan,

    I hear you…and I find that attitude among this group troubling to say the least.

    If you want to send them into a tizzy, ask them to define “Israel”….

  41. Duane, that was the scariest paragraph of Rod’s article for sure.

    Everyone will blame Trump on Christians whether we supported him or not. They look at this bozo and they think: Those stupid Christians elected this man. And for the most part, they are correct, he would never have been elected if the white evangelicals didn’t vote for him en masse.

    What I would like to see is some humility from his supporters. I promise not to say “I told you so” if they humble themselves and admit they made a terrible mistake and that things didn’t turn out quite like they expected.

    He is a horrible, horrible person. May God have mercy on his soul and the souls of those who adore him.

  42. The other thing I would note about dispensationalism is that it’s America’s civic religion…a lot of folks haven’t been exposed to anything else.

    It takes some charity and patience to get a hearing from them…

  43. Xenia,

    But what do you really think? 🙂

  44. I think if people support him because they believe he represents the spirit of American capitalism (“He’s a good businessman”) they have put their hope in the wrong System.

  45. Well, since ther is no teaching in the Bible about a rapture, where Christians are taken from the planet for any period of time before the 2nd coming, then I would say rapture theology is misleading at best and sinister at worse.

    The Thessalonians never asked Paul about a rapture – they asked about the resurrection – there had not been a previous rapture teaching for them to ask about – but plenty had been taught about the resurrection of the dead.

    Their question to Paul is “what about us who are alive at the return of Christ? We have not died, so how could we possibly be resurrected – will we miss it?

    Paul’s answer is not about the rapture as taught by the rapture folks – Paul’s teaching is about the resurrection of the living.

    All of the Jewish stuff that goes on in pre mil dispey stuff is wrong, but it takes a bake seat to the falsehood of the ‘rapture’.

    At least that is the way I see it from the peanut gallery.

  46. Kevin,

    I wasn’t being harsh and wasn’t misrepresenting them. You actually agreed with me:

    “dispensationalists believe that God still has a plan to work through them at or around that time of His Return.”

    Under their scheme, the Church is raptured. Then God goes back to plan A with the Temple rebuilt and the sacrifices.

    Am I not being accurate?

  47. Jean,

    Yes, there is a belief that the Temple will be rebuilt and sacrifices will come back, but there is no belief that God will be bringing about salvation through these things.

    Again, I am not knowledgeable enough to be a fair representative of dispensationalism (nor do I take the label), but dispensationalists believe that any salvation that takes place after the rapture is still by coming to faith in Jesus Christ, not by any other means. And many of those coming to faith in Christ will be Jews. And, yes, they believe Israel will be a hub of political and religious activity during that time period, but any salvation will come through Christ and not other means. And those who come to Christ during that time period will make anew the Church on the earth.

  48. Trump article

    1. Insert Clinton here for the retort to a progressive:

    “Enthusiasm for a candidate like [Clinton] gives our neighbors ample reason to doubt that we believe Jesus is Lord. They see that some of us are so self-interested, and so self-protective, that we will ally ourselves with someone who violates all that is sacred to us—in hope, almost certainly a vain hope given [her] mendacity and record of betrayal, that [her] rule will save us.”

    2. Consider this article for an insightful, opposing look at the “treason” charge against Trump:

    http://carolineglick.com/trump-and-israel-enemies-of-the-system/

    3. This article is more of the finger pointing and bitterness we see arising from both sides of the brethren along the political divide. “Those damn fundies are going to get us all persecuted for real this time” is basically what I took away from it. This is awful. The enemy is us, and the Enemy of our souls is deftly using the anti Trump intelligence community and anti Christ media to turn us on each other.

    4. Gerson: “Third, without really knowing it, Trump has presented a secular version of evangelical eschatology. When the candidate talked of an America on the brink of destruction, which could only be saved by returning to the certainties of the past, it perfectly fit the evangelical narrative of moral and national decline. Trump speaks the language of decadence and renewal (while exemplifying just one of them).”

    Now that is spot on. We are falling for an American Civil “Christianity”, on both sides of the aisle. The gospel of this religion is both social justice and fundamentalist, hyper charismatic and given to worship of the Holy Spirit turning the Triune God on his head. It’s driver is mystic Christian morality, from the fundies to the emergent, in tandem with Americana (and the scripture and relics of Americana). It is supplanting true Christianity with a vicarious spirit, an anti Christ spirit. Thus there is an exposed root of bitterness between the Civil Religious Christian tribes to which we each belong.

    This is a much better explanation than I can give, here:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4-iACystUCM

  49. It seems that, in the prevailing Marxist ideology, from all this chaos is hoped for a new brotherhood of man.

  50. well i just noticed something about Markell’s Ouija board story, I don’t think I ever found another one were the person claimed they moved the pointer on the Oujia with out their hands, even from those that played with it for years!

    Here is a link to it if anyone wants for one reason or another to read it http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs019/1101818841456/archive/1103001892024.html

  51. The classic dispensational view is that the Church is God’s people in heaven and Israel will fill the role of God’s people on earth.

    Scofield and Chafer were big on this.
    This was the view of Walvoord and Ryrie until around 1960 – but they kept getting beat up in debates by a Reformed guy, so they modified their view – put out a new edition of the Scofield Bible (I think around 1965) and moved on as if nothing changed.

  52. MLD,

    I don’t know the history very well so I couldn’t argue with you there. However, I know that any dispensational teaching I have come in contact with over my lifetime teaches that those who come to faith in Christ after the rapture (and a significant portion of those will be those of Jewish heritage) are the ones who will represent God on earth. Not those who are Jewish yet continue to deny Christ.

  53. I would also point out that dispensationalism isn’t a static doctrine…there has been and continues to be a lot of revision and rethinking from its scholarly proponents.

  54. Michael,

    “I would also point out that dispensationalism isn’t a static doctrine…there has been and continues to be a lot of revision and rethinking from its scholarly proponents.”

    Is God’s Word that weak and unsure? How did the Church miss all this, until the dispensation of these “scholars”?

  55. “prevailing Marxist ideology” ?

    Where is that happening?
    What is wrong with wanting peace and righteousness or a recognition of “the brotherhood of man”?

  56. when i look at our government, it’s health and now, much more, its corruption i never once think in terms of getting a Christian in there to fix things…

    and Trump certainly has held his own in the business world of today… whether we like it or not, a form of capitalism – spawned in America – is the engine driving the world today, no matter who is directing traffic – now that is a different dynamic than free enterprise, which is gasping for breathe here in the U.S. today and was never a world economic system that i know of…

    further, i don’t think that Trump is any more immoral and corrupted than any contemporary political hero you might favor (exception, one of my daughters – a woman of strong Christian faith and practice – who has been asked by both political parties in her state to run as an independent for a seat on the council of her moderately large and influential city… i immediately ask myself, is it because they want some other person in and want to dilute the vote? … i don’t trust politicians, period!)

  57. I forget what the newest brand of dispensationalism is called — it will come to me tonight at 2 am while I am sleeping – but whatever they call themselves they are nearly covenental – now that is a strange group.

  58. “Is God’s Word that weak and unsure? ”

    Jean, it took the church 1500 years to come up with Lutheran and Reformed doctrines…and they had the Bible for all 1500 of those years.

    How did the church miss this until Luther and Calvin?

    Even now, most of the church is not Lutheran or Reformed.

    None of us have a complete grip of the truth…though Anglicans are closer than most… 🙂

  59. My mom, who was raised Wesleyan Arminian, has a similar Ouija board story from high school. She has also received physical healing for her child (me) and has been involved in an exorcism. I see no reason why she should lie to me, seeing as how she saved the info until I was older. So I guess Markell and my mom are innocent by association 🙂

  60. @Martin Luther’s Disciple can you elaborate more?

  61. You know what I love, love, love, about being an Anglican?
    I’m going to tell you anyway…
    I can say “you may have a point there” to almost all orthodox groups…and mean it.

  62. MLD,

    Even one of your favorite whipping boys, the Left Behind books, are all about those who come to Christ after the rapture and how they work to try to spread the Gospel while also trying to survive all the turmoil and threats to them. The story totally revolves around them being the ones who are following after God and through which God is working. Yes, there is also some representation of earthly favor to Israel, but anything portrayed through a spiritual or salvific standpoint is through those who come to faith in Christ (the Church).

  63. “I can say “you may have a point there” to almost all orthodox groups…and mean it.”

    Amen. Me too.

  64. Same way the Church missed Luthernism for 1500 years. Come on.

    For Jean and MLD – Quick question, who are the 144,000?

  65. 54 & 55 – comment…
    it isn’t the weakness of the Word, rather the mysteries, the belief that there is always more to learn – perhaps the expectation that as the plan moves on, the prophecies will become clearer?
    that said, i have a problem when anyone becomes adamant about an interpretation that may be true, yet, on the other hand, may be just the way it appears today and will be proven false over time… i just can’t lock myself in, closing the door and telling myself that the early Church Fathers had it – the plan of God – all wrapped and tied – the essential, salvation? they got it, but the next 2,000 years of the Church? hmmm

  66. @Descended except Markell’s claims are far more outrageous it seems

  67. And the early church was not Dispensational, true.

    But they were 100% premillennial.

  68. “it isn’t the weakness of the Word, rather the mysteries, the belief that there is always more to learn – ”

    That’s it…right there…

  69. “Quick question, who are the 144,000?”

    A symbolic representation of the church throughout the ages…or “Gods people” through the ages if you prefer.

  70. #68 Josh

    Not really. That is Phillip Schaff’s argument, but if you look at the main Patristic writers – Cyprian, Ambrose, Athanasius and the like, they tended to interpret the 1000 year reign in an allegorical manner… Not arguing, just saying…

  71. No significance to eschatology then, just a very confusing way of saying “every believer ever”?

  72. ” 1000 year reign in an allegorical manner”

    But they thought it was still to come, right?

  73. Quick question, who are the 144,000?

    A bunch of male Jewish virgins 😉

  74. Agreed.

  75. #68 Josh

    If I remember, Tertullian bought into the idea along with the Montanists – and they were charismatic as well!

  76. It can’t be still to come – the timing of the 1,000 years – no matter what it means, according to Rev 20 begins with the binding of Satan. We see that with the first advent of Jesus. Jesus even tells the story of it happening when he binds the strongman.

  77. well tell us the story so we can compare descended, also Markell has been involved in a lot of sensationalistic and frankly absurd stuff so I trust her less

  78. #73 Josh

    Yes and no… many interpreted it as the reign of Christ in the Church. Therefore, when the year AD 1000 rolled along, many thought it was the end…

  79. @MLD the new form of dispensationalism is now called progressive dispensationalism

  80. MLD – You know that I can’t ever agree with your definition of Satan bound, according to Revelation 20 – nations will not be deceived, etc.

  81. MLD’s binding of Satan isn’t a very strong binding, to say the least… so dependent on the strength of the faith of the individual believer trying to do the binding… or so it seems to me

  82. Josh,
    “nations will not be deceived, etc.”

    That comes from what I heard one Lutheran pastor call “look around theology.”
    When a passage is brought up such as Satan is bound, the retort is “Satan can’t be bound. just look around at what you see…”
    It doesn’t matter what we see, it’s what the word says.

    But hey, just look around.

  83. Josh #81,

    This isn’t an insult, but you are operating from a presupposition regarding what was/is going on with Satan pre and post cross. However, if you look at the spread of the Gospel throughout the world, why don’t you see that the nations are not being deceived by Satan?

  84. I shouldn’t hop on here when I am so rushed. I’ll try to pick back up later tonight. Jean’s #32 is wrong, and I just hope that’s not the popular perception. Obviously, the vast majority of those who see some usefulness in Dispensationalism do not believe that way, at all. I don’t know of any who do.

    It’s really not a big thing. It has some flaws, and I leave those flaws in persuit of better parts of other systems. It’s just a way of organizing “Salvation History” so to speak. It is NOT a system of salvation. Hopefully that made sense. Gotta hit the road!

  85. “No significance to eschatology then, just a very confusing way of saying “every believer ever”?”

    I think it’s eschatologically significant that God will keep His promises to His people and they will all get home before dark at the end of the age.

    That’s pretty much what the book is about…encouraging believers living in a fallen and corrupt world that some day it will all be made right…

  86. I guess the words of the bible can mean whatever you want them to mean…but “deceived” has a meaning that is otherwise agreed upon.

    And I’m late 🙂

    I appreciate the discussion, guys!

  87. “I think it’s eschatologically significant that God will keep His promises to His people and they will all get home before dark at the end of the age.”

    Yes, agreed. That is the main idea, and if a full teaching on eschatology doesn’t teach that, then we are doing it wrong.

    The 144,000 are a detail along the way, but I do think it is a specific end-times detail.

  88. The JWs also think the number 144,000 is a specific detail. Anyone know what the Mormons or Adventists believe on that detail?

  89. Josh – which nations today are deceived by satan? There is a Christian witness in probably every nation.

    Back in Jesus day, there was only a witness in Israel and a few surrounding areas.

  90. Tony,
    “@MLD the new form of dispensationalism is now called progressive dispensationalism”

    Thank you – now I don’t need to have my memory wake me up at 2 am 🙂

  91. The JW’s also believe in the specific detail of the virgin birth.

    So if a cult happens to believe something that matches or is similar in some sense to what some branches of Christianity believe, it very well could be true and shouldn’t negate the belief just because a cult happens to have agreement or similarity on it.

  92. was it true the original dispies taught 2 ways of salvation?

  93. I’m not arguing one way or another as to what the 144,000 represents, just making a point of being careful how we use the beliefs of cults to try to detract from a belief that some branches of Christianity may hold in common or similarity.

  94. And with that I’ve got to run and will probably be out for a while.

  95. Tony,

    According to some of the teaching on this thread, we can’t be sure of the truth, because there’s always more to learn because of the mysteries of the Word.

  96. Tony – I forget the guy who taught Scofield – I want to say Bennet, but it went from him to Scofield down to Chafer. You find the writings down to Chafer it was very much true that they were 2 separate people and each on their own path.
    As I said Walvoord and Ryrie changed
    Hal Lindsey was a DTS graduate before the change – I think in 1955. This is why his type of rapture theology as found in the Late Great Planet Earth and the Road to Armageddon don’t meet with much favor in today’s Dispy community.

  97. “According to some of the teaching on this thread, we can’t be sure of the truth, because there’s always more to learn because of the mysteries of the Word.”

    There are basic primary “truths” we can know and we all agree on.

    There is a vast amount of secondary truths that we differ on, sometimes substantially.

    One of the primary joys of being an Anglican for me is the diversity of thought and doctrine allowed on secondary issues and the embrace that there is much mystery in the Scriptures.

    That joy would not be joyful to everyone…some demand more certainty than I believe the Scriptures allow.

  98. But who gets to determine which are the primary issues and which are the secondary issues? There lies the problem.

  99. I think the early creeds defined those for orthodox Christians.

  100. #100 Michael

    Absolutely… there’s a reason they called it the Rule of Faith (regula fide). It was the primary demarcation line… much of the rest was open for debate and interpretation. The Fathers were not in agreement on every matter of interpretation, nor did they feel that it was necessary to do so. Yet, they still considered the other to be orthodox… We’ve lost that freedom.

  101. “Yet, they still considered the other to be orthodox… We’ve lost that freedom.”

    I’m taking it back! 🙂

  102. I always like this from the creed;
    43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

    44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

  103. Michael and Duane,

    Be honest, including the option “no comment,” but I cannot imagine the church fathers including in the regula fide some of the things that are being proposed as orthodox today, things that diminish Christ and the apostles’ teaching and which diminish the role of the Church in eschatology. What do you think the church fathers would have thought of an eschatology which would resurrect the Temple and the sacrifices?

  104. Duane,
    “nor did they feel that it was necessary to do so. ”

    Yet the creeds were written just for that purpose – against those who disagreed … and those were not only declared ‘unorthodox’ the were called non Christians. So they weren’t that open minded. 😉

  105. #104 Jean

    The Alexandrine school would have been appalled. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that they would have seen it as some form of of the reintroduction of Judaism, or at least Jewish thought, into the Church through a back door. You must remember, during that time, Alexandria retained it’s reputation (especially in the first and second centuries) as a center of Jewish intellectual thought and activity. For most of the fathers, the Church was a new creation. There was no thought of the re-establishment of a Jewish nation. Moreover, such a concept of “nation” (a sixteenth century development) was out of their thinking. The destruction of the temple was seen as an event which confirmed that God was finished with the old covenant and that salvation was found in the new covenant established by Christ. That’s about the best I can offer without going to my books!

  106. #105 MLD

    If you read my post, I was referring to theological activity outside of the regula fide…

  107. Thank you Duane. Yes, the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophesy regarding the destruction of the earthly temple [along with the resurrection of the real Temple] were certainly pivotal moments in Christianity.

    I want to thank adding credibility to orthodox Christianity through your sharing of the witness of the early church. You and Michael bless me daily!

  108. #108 Jean

    Many thanks. You actually pushed my mind in a different direction. There is something about dispensationalism that has the feel of 19th and early 20th century romanticism. Think of Mormons with baptismal lavers set on the oxen in imitation of the Temple; or the Arthurian devotees of the once and future king; or the numerous “kingdom cults” of the 19th century; or the Jehovah Witnesses and the 144,000. I think there’s a common thread here that could be explored. Someone should look at the movement in terms of history, sociology and psychology.

  109. Duane,

    Your #109 is a great observation. Typically new movements arise within the context of a milieu. And in that milieu there are often multiple manifestations. That would make a great study and/or graduate level dissertation.

  110. I like the similarities mentioned of the dispensationalist to the romanticism of the Mormons and JWs.
    Mormons, JWs, Christian Science, and the Millerites (7th Day Adventists) – along with John Darbey once on American soil all came out of the upper northeastern states in the mid 19th century.
    Coincidence? I think not.

  111. skimmed the comments, but one thought caught my attention… i have never heard it taught that the re-establishment of a temple and the O.T. sacrifice has anything to do with the unbelieving Jews’ acknowledgement of and acceptance of the Faith – rather it is an attempt to carry on the O.T. rules and reg.s…
    yet, that said, it is sad that for 2,000 years these determined orthodox Jews have been unable to perform the sacrifice ritual of the once a year atonement – no unblemished red heifer and no holy of holies behind the veil…
    and yet, it should be so clear to them as to what happened when the veil was split supernaturally… an account that can send chills up the spine of a N.T. Believer – but not to those who will not see?

  112. #111 – Salem? LOL
    serious question, what is the significance? what am i missing? … well, what is one thing that i’m missing…

  113. em,
    The Jews could build the Temple tomorrow and begin performing sacrifices exactly to the standards laid out in Leviticus and other books and it would mean absolutely zero to God.
    If Jews want to sacrifice something, they are free to join Santeria – same result – today or after the “rapture”.

  114. Let’s look at that clip from the Athanasian Creed in context…

    (40) From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. (41) At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies; (42) And shall give account of their own works. (43) And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. (44) This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.

    This shouldn’t bother me…unless this does…

    “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.”
    (Revelation 20:12–13 ESV)

    There is a lot of interpretative work left undone…

  115. Good grief people. Can I leave for a few hours without being compared to Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses? For heaven’s sake, you clearly don’t understand dispensationalism, but if you think it is like Mormon’s or JW’s, then you don’t understand them either. I usually want to display a basic understanding of a group of people before condemning them. Some here condemn first, ask questions later, and even when they’ve been corrected 1,000 times, still come back to the same “JW” garbage.

    Apparently some here haven’t read the bible and think that the JW’s invented the number 144,000. No, they certainly misused and perverted it, but the number itself is straight from Revelation. It is first spoken in Revelation 7:4, then again in 14:1-3. Maybe you guys are right and it means nothing. Maybe God was just wasting words when he put it in there. Don’t know, but apparently if you have any thoughts on those two passages you are a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness.

    Have I treated you guys with the same condescension, disrespect, and condemnation that you have treated me?

  116. #114 – well… MLD, i think that is essentially what i said …?… course, your succinctness was better 🙂

    #115 – FWIW and just sayin … again… the only interpretation that has made sense to me is that there are many who never heard the gospel and yet, had it been told to them, they would have embraced it and God will then judge on what’s in your heart, not on the standard of ignorance is no excuse – but, even so i know that God’s thoughts are high above man’s and so …?…
    i think, tho, that righteousness and fairness never are in conflict (by God’s standard, not ours)

  117. if Josh the B is condescending, disrespectful and condemning, count me in with his crowd – i’ll be honored to stand there

  118. Josh,

    My apologies if anything I said came out that way.
    You have a lot of former dispensationalists here and it can be like being a former smoker…it becomes what you rant about the most.

    I was semi dispensational until the bitter end, so I understand both camps.

  119. Who here compared Dispies to Mormons and JWs? – their theology is not the same at all.
    Mormons and JWs cannot be compared – their theologies are not similar.

  120. Is being a former Mormon who witnesses to Mormons to be compared to ex smokers?
    Is a former Oneness Pentecostal who goes back and speaks Trinitarian truth to his former mates to be compared to an ex smoker?

  121. Wasn’t you Michael. I appreciate your kindness, though.

    It just gets tiring. You feel like you build some common ground, have a little Christian charity and understanding, even in differences…

    And then boom. You’re a Mormon again. You believe in more than one way to heaven again. You belittle the work of Christ again.

  122. Em – thank you much. If I have folks like you nearby, I feel pretty good about my position 🙂

  123. “is being a former Mormon who witnesses to Mormons to be compared to ex smokers?”

    Whatever errors there are in dispensationalism are nothing compared to the outright heresy of Mormonism.

  124. So they are on a lesser level of heresy – does that mean that instruction to them is off limits?
    The use of the ex smoker thing is just a way to shut down conversation.

    No one accused Josh of being a Mormon – unless he has a confession to make about his underwear.No one in fact even addressed Josh.

  125. Josh

    I brought this up as a sociological/psychological issue of 19th century romanticism. I was not comparing the theology. I was looking at the issue of unfulfilled dreams, for lack of a better description. If I offended, please be assured it was not my intent. The intent was to say is there something here that needs to be looked at in the broader context of of society and the church. If I was clumsy, again, I would ask your forgiveness with the caveat that this is something that would make for a fascinating study.

  126. “So they are on a lesser level of heresy”

    So what heresy is held by modern day dispensational teaching?

  127. Josh

    Part two… I should have added in the 19th century romantic movement, the Anglo-Catholics in my own Church, LCMS pietism, the ultra-Montane Roman Catholics and much of the missionary movements in the Indian subcontinent and Africa (building Gothic churches in the Congo comes to mind). They are all connected, not by theology but by a deeper motivation that, I think, is worthy of exploration and study.

  128. Kevin I will give a short answer as it is dinner time Yahoo! – How about that there are 2 peoples of God.
    The cry of the dispensationalist is that you must always remember that Israel and the Church are 2 separate and distinct entities. That makes God a liar.

    Note that I said lesser – so perhaps they are just over the line. How about that God still owes the Jews a land promise – even though Joshua is quite clear (and he should know, he was there) that God gave the complete land to Israel during Joshua’s time. For people to say God is still in their debt makes God (watch out here comes a culturally offensive term) makes God an Indian Giver. I think those go beyond mere theological ooops.

  129. MLD repeats the canard that I have addressed over and over before.

    Remember when the octagon pages were created here just to avoid threads from getting dominated with the same old agenda driven misrepresentations of the brethren?

  130. Well Steve, make your case one more time why there are not 2 peoples of God and that we have passed the time of making a distinction between Israel and the Church in prophetic terms.

    Make the dispy case why there is no longer a land promise. Those are my charges, I must have been out of town when you disputed my claims.

  131. MLD,

    I do not know enough in depth to maintain an argument but let me say this:

    Any modern mainstream dispensational teaching teaches that salvation comes only through Christ, thus only through what is held and taught by the Church. Israel cannot bring about salvation in any sense separate from Christ. Dispensationals teach that God still has plans for Israel that will play out in the End Times. But the only relation to salvation is the belief that many Jews will come to faith in Christ during this time. Some dispensationals teach God still has earthly favor on Israel.

    I do not see heresy here. Can it be viewed as errant teaching/belief? Certainly. But I think the heresy charge is going too far.

    As for those who teach/believe that God still has a land covenant with Israel – again that can be viewed as an errant interpretation of Scripture. But heresy? Again I think that’s going too far.

    These beliefs do not deal with primary doctrines (I’ll use Michael’s referral to the creeds here) and I’m not going to charge someone with heresy for differences on secondary issues.

  132. Wow. My post was after McD’s. Then I scrolled through some of the thread. I should have known something was up with so many post on an early open blogging.

    Truly, I am grateful I got sucked into watching YouTube videos of gifted teenage guitarists with my free time today before stumbling across this (ahem) discussion. And I’m sure my absence was appreciated (except maybe by Josh). So a win/win all around!

  133. In prophetic terms, there is a difference between the Church and Israel. It doesn’t mean there are two different people of God.

    Jesus is the Promised Land.

  134. MLD, I assure you the McD’s was the new spell correct after my phone update and not a commentary on the clownish nature of your commentary.

  135. #132 Kevin

    It is not heresy…. full stop. Heresy is the contesting of the rule of faith, and even there we should walk with caution… and grace.

  136. Duane, no offense taken. I know where you are coming from. This has been like a decade long “conversation”, where I have been compared to JW’s and Mormons more times than I can count. I know that was not your intent. It was a very culturally interesting time.

  137. Kevin’s first full paragraph in 132 should end the conversation but it never will. Good job Kev!

    Steve – Always good to see you bud!

  138. #137 Josh

    Many thanks… I can go to sleep tonight in peace…

  139. Well then I rescind my claim that dispensationalist believe there is a land promise outstanding to Israel. This is good news to me. 🙂

  140. Thanks Duane & Josh.

    Josh, you are right that this conversation will never end. At least not until Michael permanently fries his modem and there is no more blog. Or until the dispensationals here or those who feel any need to defend the proper representation of dispensational teaching decide to just stay permanently quiet on the subject. Because the false, exaggerated, and/or over-the-top representations of dispensational beliefs will seemingly occur in perpetuity here.

    This is one of the main reasons why I usually stay out of these discussions. Because they are just an endless cycle of frustration. I got caught up in it this time but think I will take my leave now.

  141. #133 Steve

    I came across this, and have been smiling ever since… https://youtu.be/CJPFimuge24

  142. Well this conversation was well underway before I joined in. My first comment didn’t come until. #45.

    Any claim I make about dispensationalist is readily found in the teachings of Chuck Smith, John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, Chuck Missler, Charles Ryrie through his study bible, Read the notes in the 1901 or is it 1909 Scofield Bible.

  143. “Well then I rescind my claim that dispensationalist believe there is a land promise outstanding to Israel. This is good news to me.”

    nope, MLD, you don’t get in on that as you are part of the Bride of Christ 🙂 whither He goest thou wilt go…

    course the above is not proven doctrine… just theory

  144. Little late getting back here
    Okay here goes
    Marxist ideologies prevail since Dewey and the reformation of American education. Marxist ideologies started in the schools, such was the goal of many of the philosophers he drew inspiration from such as Comte.

    What is wrong with peace and brotherhood? Apart from Christ, which Marxism is, everything! It is positivistic. When it is mixed with Christianity it becomes the Johnny-come-lately ideals of post millennialism and dominionism. It finds no need of God to work among and in men (hence the social justice gospel, the Kingdom building of Chrislam, and interfaith ecumenism) since God has given us certain knowledge in the sciences and expects us to perfect this world. Will Durant, paraphrasing Rousseau, said it this way: “When men try to change an institution without changing the spirit of man, they inevitably resurrect the institution.” I believe that Marxism is antiChrist, and dissolved in Christendom it is that Civic (Civil) Religion you speak of.

    Greetings 🙂

  145. # 142 – that link does make one smile …

  146. Descended,

    That’s the biggest pile left here in a long time.
    Bless God, I’m too tired to care.
    Maybe another time.

  147. I need to note something.

    In the early years of this blog, one of my constant harangues against certain sects was the lack of educated clergy and the pride some took in not having a theological education.

    I was mean as hell about it, too.

    The good part is that I’ve lost count of the pastors who say that I spurred them to go back to school or use online resources to start filling in the gaps.

    I say all this to say here how proud I am of Josh and the fact that he’s in seminary trying to become the best pastor he can be.

    We should have nothing but respect and support for him…even though we have much different theological traditions.

    Josh…blessings on you…we are proud to have you aboard.

  148. #148 Michael

    Could not agree more….

  149. Yeah, figured you’d say that…

  150. Thanks Michael, and Duane. Certainly much of my desire to understand the bible, doctrine, and the history of the church came from discussions was having here. So the res[ect and appreciation is absolutely mutual.

  151. This is the deal of the 2 people of God – in a word picture.
    Imagine 2 parallel train tracks running east and west. On the west bound track is the train called The Church and on the eastbound track is the train called Israel.

    They both serve an equal purpose for God but they are on different tracks going in different directions. Now at some point in the journey both trains pass through the tunnel called Jesus. But they are 2 separate trains, traveling in different directions and they are never joined together.

    The other image is two trains, one track going in the same direction. The train called Israel is the primary train called Train A. But Train A breaks down before it ever gets to tunnel Jesus – so it is put on the side rail. God commissions a new train called Train B (the Church) and runs it down the rail, through tunnel Jesus to complete the mission – and is put out of commission – so that God can get back to the original mission of Train A Israel, run it through Tunnel Jesus and use it for many journeys down the line.

    If only Train A had not crashed and got ‘side track’, well, you get the story. 🙂

    I didn’t mention Josh, so he should not be offended and I didn’t compare him to Train Mormon 😉

  152. And to contrast the two train image, here’s one from Revelation:

    “It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

    One train: 12 tribes of Israel (i.e., the Israel of God), sitting on the foundation of the 12 apostles (i.e., the rock upon which Christ built His Church). The numbering contributes to understanding the symbolic numbering of the 144,000.

  153. MLD – your first example is closer to what Dispensationalism teaches. I don’t know any dispies who talk about 2 people of God. I think you just misunderstood. I know you were the dispy king for 20 years or something, but I think you just didn’t understand. To be clear, there are some errors taught under the tent of Dispensationailsm, but your mscharacterizations greatly add to it.

  154. I was reading Chafer this morning, specifically to see if he bought into to what you say. I don’t agree with all he wrote about the end times, but its not what you say at all.

    One disagreement is where he derives from Ezekiel 40-46 that there will be a new temple during the millennium, and that sacrifices will be reinstated. He does not see these sacrifices as paying for sin, but as a memorial that points back to the cross. He says the OT sacrifice pointed forward to the cross, and the Millennial sacrifices will point back to the cross in remembrance.

    I disagree, and think it is a case of taking certain passages too literally while not weighing them against the larger testimony of Scripture. If there is a millennial “sacrifice”, and it is memorial, I don’t see why that couldn’t be the Lord’s Supper. But, I’m not convinced that the Ezekiel passage is calling for that.

  155. Ezekiel’s temple is not a millennial temple. A temple is not a temple if God does not dwell there. It is more like a vacant Walmart. Is God moving back into the Temple?

  156. Josh, my first example is still 2 people of God. Different in purpose, and relationship to God. Two tracks two diffections… And this is the teaching – check the sources I listed above. Show me the disobey teaching where the Church and Israel all live happily ever after – TOGETHER.

  157. the book of Revelation is not an easy read… but i don’t think it is a series of disjointed vignettes… the book does flow, does have perfect sequencing and does fit the interpretation of a removal of the Church from the planet as it moves into an intensifying downward trajectory into chaos, and then a period of Jesus Christ’s rule on the earth (with Satan bound and out of the way), after which the grand finale … but i’m not here qualified to teach this as a scholar, just saying i have read the book of Revelation, put the events described on paper and, with a couple parenthetical chapters, found that there is nothing that doesn’t slot right into a logical flow … it doesn’t require any word pictures of our making added to what is recorded for it to make perfect sense to a Believer

    is this a wrong approach, a wrong conclusion? of course it is possible, but i just don’t think the book is as obscure and convoluted as some still do

    just sayin … again

  158. The Church and Israel are already living happily ever after in Christ; as do slave and free, male and female, young and old, red or yellow black or white. The problen I see is the “church” within the Church, represented by the wheat and the tares. 🙁

  159. Josh,

    To be fair to MLD, I’ve heard every one of the distinctives he attributes to dispensationalism multiple times over many years.

    To be blunt, I think the system is so convoluted that the rank and file pastor doesn’t understand it.

    Because of the lack of training I referenced earlier, most were just parroting what they heard from whoever ordained them.

    I hope you spend as much time with Bock, Feinberg, and Saucy, as you do the old guys…I think without the better scholars dispensationalism will pretty much disappear over the next decade.

    In any case, I think you’ll be on the defense a lot, but you can handle it…

  160. MLD #156 – Maybe you just scanned my #155 and didn’t see that I said I disagreed with him? That being said, you and I both believe in a bodily return of Christ. Wherever he lives will be the Temple, right? And He will be God living there.

    About the trains, I’m just bot getting the point. I think you lost me. In the Old Tesament, the Jews were called the people of God, right? New Testament, the Church is the people of God, right? There you go, two different “people of God”.

    I don’t know of any Dispies that teach Jews being saved apart from coming to know Christ. If THAT is a teaching you’ve heard on the two people of God, then yes, it’s heresy. I don’t hear people teaching that though.

  161. “I don’t know of any Dispies that teach Jews being saved apart from coming to know Christ.”

    John Hagee

  162. Micahel, I’ve never claimed Dispenationalism is a perfect system, that it is consistent across the board, or that some aren’t butchering it.

    Still, MLD’s claims are exaggerations and misrepresentations. I’ve read more Bock and Blaising this semester than others, but they aren’t far apart from Ryrie, Chafer, and Walvoord. Thay are WORLD’s apart from MLD’s representation of Ryrie, Chafer, and Walvoord.

    2 – How in the world would disp. disappear in ten years?!? Hey, I don’t care if it does. If it loses its usefulness, move on. But you do realize that about 8 of the top ten Conservative Evangelical seminaries are teaching (at leas a moderate form) of dispensationalism, right?

    Now, I do think that we are refining and improving upon the ideas as we go, and for 1,000’s of believers now, it is a presupposition that we bring, because of how the concepts have been ingrained for the las 100 years. Yeah, I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

    And the only place that I’m ever on the defense about it is here. I have lots of conversations with people from different traditions, and we disagree and maybe learn from each other. Only here is there the constant aggression.

  163. Josh, no, you have the people of God – period. Once called Israel now called the Church. One people.
    As small as they were in number Adam and Eve were the first church.

  164. I don’t listen to John Hagee, I’ve only heard of his blood moon garbage, he may very well be a heretic. If that is who MLD is getting his ideas from, he’s listening to a poor source.

    Again, I can find tons of God-hating preachers who call themselves Anglican and Lutheran preaching vile garbage.

    I don’t associate you guys with them because I know better.

  165. #164 – Brother, you just named three of the dispensations. You’re just using different words.

  166. Josh,

    Granted, we probably pay attention to different seminaries.
    I’m just going off my experiences with a lot of people who were in one of the bastions of dispensationalism,Calvary Chapel.

    There are more and more in that group who are rejecting the system,at least in the manner they’ve been taught.

    I think we have regional differences as well.

    I hope my interactions don’t come off as aggressive…I’m just one of those who after years and years have found the system untenable.

    There are still things I don’t understand where I may part ways with my amill friends, but as a whole, I’m moving farther and farther away.

  167. Josh

    If I could weigh in here, dispensationalism tends to look back and then to set history in a particular framework. In both secular and church circles, this was a popular methodology in the early years of the 20th century (think, for example of Otto Spengler and “The Decline of the West”). Among historians, this practice has been long discredited, as you have to read history and then make it conform to a preconceived framework. Are there patterns in history? Certainly. Can all of human history be placed into an artificial framework? No, it cannot. Those who have tried this approach in secular historical work saw it lead to Communism or Fascism, as each had a particular historical/ideological framework into which all history had to fit.

    These days, and for about the last two generations, historians attempt to hear what the “actors” in history actually said, wrote, etc., and to take their words at face value, using them to understand the time in which they lived, wrote and acted on their beliefs. Among most historians today, it is accepted that while there may be patterns and movements in history, there is no single “key” to unlock a secret.

    As a counter-balance to dispensational thought, (and without engaging a slanted denominational view – Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc.) perhaps consider looking at something like, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture ed. by Thomas C. Oden. See what the the writers from the ante-nicene and post-nicene period make of the passages that are fundamental to dispensational thought. I’m in no way saying you have to abandon the system, but seeing the same passages in another light could be helpful.

  168. No, I’m cool with all that. I don’t know what is going in with CC, but I’m betting the majority are still Disp. Of course, you have the gigantic SBC which is far and away dispensational. The four big SBC seminaries have to be among the biggest and best in the country. All some form of Dispensational. Luther Rice, Liberty, Masters, Dallas…and a ton more, all dispensational. Again, it’s not whether you agree with those schools, I just don’t seeing the system going anywhere. Refining? Becoming more moderate? Sure.
    I’m a fairly new Dispy. Last few years really. And I’m learning from scholars, not from John Hagee or Tim Lahaye, or whoever, so maybe that makes a difference. I would say the vast majority of pastors that employ the system don’t really identify with it at all (SBC). They just recognize where it is useful and use it there. And that’s me. Disensational is way down on the list of the things I would identify as. It’s not the first hermenuetic that I turn to. Probably second. But those guys are right in a lot of ways, and they’ve made a system that has helped millions to make sense of the bible. Surely there have been errors. But I can take it for the good and lay aside what is not useful.

  169. #168

    Sorry, it is Oswald Spengler… not Otto. Proves how the brain cells diminish…

  170. Oops #169 was in response to Michael.

    Let me read what Duane has to say 🙂

  171. who were in one of the bastions of dispensationalism,Calvary Chapel.
    ————————————————————————–
    This is something worth repeating and I have written it here often. Yes, CC has been massively pretrib, premill in its emphasis. No doubt. Yes, they see a clear distinction between Israel and the Church, no question. Yes, those are aspects of dispensationalism.

    However, having sat under Chuck Smith for many years (plus listening to all the tapes), going through the CC School of Ministry at Costa Mesa under Chuck Smith, and then eventually going to a dispensational, accredited, seminary where I earned my MDiv, I can attest that Calvary Chapel does not teach DISPENSATIONALISM.

    I challenge anyone to find Chuck even using the word, dispensationalism, on anything like a regular basis – or for that matter to call something “a dispensation”

    In point of fact, as a fairly young believer (who nonetheless had sat under Chuck’s teaching for over two years at the time), in School of Ministry at Costa Mesa in the mid 90s, it was David Hocking who I heard first even say the word or give it a passing mention (in class….once). This was when Hocking had just joined staff as definitely an outsider to CC teachings and I honestly did not know what he was talking about. Dispensations? You mean that word used by Paul a couple times?

    And by this time I was writing papers about the pretrib, premill position.

    Dispensationalism is a hermeneutic for the entire Bible – based on the literal, historical, grammatical interpretive method. Ryrie clearly speaks of this as a sine qua non of the doctrine. Any eschatology flows from this.

    There may be exceptions out there like me (I taught a 10 week series on dispensationalism,at our CC going through each of them in detail during our midweek studies last Fall) – but as a general rule, one is not going to learn about DISPENSATIONALISM through Calvary Chapel pastors. You can argue eschatology with them, but that is about it.

    (As an aside, and in anticipation, anyone ignoring this comment because “eschatology is all that matters in dispensationalism” is showing the problem inherent in having this discussion.)

  172. Duane, I don’t apply it in terms of history. I study from the same church history books you do, some of them recommended directly from you. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen. I’m just unfamiliar with it. When I’m talking about dispensationalism, I am strictly referring to bible / theology, and I do see it as a framework, a lens, through which to see the truth, not the truth itself.

    I’m always open to different views, and I find much that is useful out there. I read at least as much from non-dispy authors as I do from dispies. It just happens to click with me. Makes the most biblical sense…to me. I’ve read some of Oden, but I don’t recall the particular passages. I’ll look into it. Thanks!

  173. Interesting distinction Steve, and correct. Now, like I said, I don’t know what is or is not going on in Calvary Chapel, I take your word for it.

    Dispensationailsm is larger than eschatology. It is basically a hermeneutic, wouldn’t you say?

    (I ask, because Steve is a much more devoted dispensationilst than I)

  174. #173 Josh

    Not to contradict, but you are applying it to history… “salvation history”. Moreover, in dispensationalism one is not only looking back in time (varying covenants, etc) but one is also looking forward in time (eschatology). If it is not about time, salvation history and the future, I’m left wondering what it’s purpose really is?

  175. Josh, as you know many doctrines overlap. And some doctrines (like maybe angelology) are pretty much consistent regardless of the interpretive system.

    I would say at minimum, Pneumatology, Ecclesiology, Soteriology are all aspects that I have seen in CC circles to be affected because of a non-dispensational framework.

    I don’t speak for CC of course. I did sit under Chuck and listen to a lot of messages and was schooled at Costa Mesa though…so I am sharing from THAT perspective. Meanwhile, a guy who sits under my teaching for as long as I sat under Chuck will come away with a very different perspective on the relationship of CC and dispensationalism.

  176. OK, now I’m really going to get in trouble… I found a very straightforward article that, well articulates my view of dispensationalism. Warning… it’s a Jesuit site…
    http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2006/colson_eschatology_jun06.asp

  177. from Dr. Arnold’s reference @ 177:
    “Most Catholics who encounter such misinterpretations usually scratch their heads and steer clear of the biblical books that deal with apocalyptic themes, Daniel and Revelation. They are content to let their non-Catholic friends battle over these confusing matters. ” 🙂

    an article worth the read even though as i skimmed thru, his references seemed from the waning popularity of the “Left Behind” genre

    that said, scholars seem to need labels, categories and boxes for everything – sometimes i’m glad that i’m not a scholar as i can just watch, listen – gleaning as i do so

  178. Duane, I noticed the link above has “eschatology” in the title, and no word of dispensationalism. 😉

    I click and see the title of the article, likewise, seems to equate the two….

    I see the VERY FIRST SENTENCE is talking about the rapture.

    I see the Left Behind books are mentioned before the Bible.

    Isn’t this called poising the well?

    I then see references to Darby, Scofield and then a jump to Hal Lindsey. LOL (Bravo for Ryrie at least making a brief appearance in a footnote)

    Thus my point above….even guys like you push these sorts of articles as “straightforward” and “well articulates”

    How can a scholar like yourself support articles that deliberately do NOT quote dispensational scholars but deliberately do reference the pop endtimes crowd?

    Disappointing. My last word for today.

  179. #179 Steve

    He was addressing, as you saw in the first paragraph, a pastoral concern in terms of his own communion.

    I can support the article because it does articulate a traditional Christian view that is outside the realm of dispensationalism. It’s purpose was not to articulate a history of the movement, which has only been influential in a very small subset of the Christian Church for the last 150 years…

    Sorry for your “disappointment”…

  180. As to that article, I’m fine with not being Roman Catholic.

  181. I’ve never read even one of the Left Behind books, but I’ll cop to being closer to Left Behind theology than I am to Catholic theology.

  182. #181 Josh

    I did attach the proper warning…

    I used to have similar discussions in the old days with Craig Blaising at Patristic conferences. What some here don’t get, is that it’s not about “I’m right and you’re wrong”. It’s about an increase of knowledge for all of us. That comes from letting down the defenses and taking seriously other points of view without resorting to indignation or sack cloth and ashes. Some want to fight (the more personal the better) more than they wish to learn. I’m willing to say, “I don’t know it all”. I know a few things that might shed some light on issues, but I also need the light that others bring… such as your good self!

    Education is NOT about the accumulation of knowledge, it is about learning how to learn.

  183. Duane (183)…I like your comment. I don’t ever participate/comment in debates here on PP because in the past (my college years) I’ve seen debates as nothing more than power grabs and egos on display. I am glad that for the most part people here debate, vigorously at times, but are still respectful and in a learning mode.

  184. All true, though we all filter who we learn from to some degree. I’ve basically got more than I can ever get to as is, and so I’ll probably not get around to modern Catholicism. I am worlds apart from those guys. I read Ryrie and Chafer often, and maybe miles apart on some stuff, but in the same country.

    All that being said, the only reason I comment here is to get the ideas of others. Unfortunately, it seems that a couple are set on misrepresenting my views and I have to go through that over and over, and that’s no fun for me or the reader.
    I like to ask questions, gain a deeper understanding of lots of things. I like to read things that I don’t agree with. The amount of what I know versus the amount of what I don’t know…it would be statistically accurate to say I know nothing. I’m more than willing to look for the flaws and shortcomings in my own views, and work to fix those things.

    I don’t like the constant misrepresentation. I try to be clear about what I think and where that comes from.

    You posted a link that said captured your thoughts on dispensationalism that was largely about Left Behind. So you think Dispensationalism and Left Behind are the same thing? Do you think I’m lying when I say I haven’t read one word of one left behind book? If not, maybe I’m lying about studying at a Dispy seminary fro the last 3 years? Or maybe I’m just lying about what they teach? I assure you Left Behind has never had one mention in my classes.

    Could it be that you, like MLD, really don’t understand what Dispensationalism is? I don’t say that as an insult, only because the article you posted was more about Left Behind than anything I’m learning about.

  185. that, well articulates my view of dispensationalism.
    —————————————————————–
    That’s what you said about the article. Thus my “disappointment”

    But here’s the thing, Duane. I want my view of Calvinism to be expressed by solid Calvinists. I can agree or disagree with them in whole or in part, but at least I would be connected to the actual doctrine. Your article is the equivalent of reading a critique on Calvinism (from a critic) that mentions Servetus in the opening sentence.

    You weren’t around but there was a time on this blog when cartoonish explanations and opinions were expressed by anti-Calvinists and then parroted by other anti-Calvinists. It was common in my tribe and why I began to gravitate to those in my tribe who recognized this folly, and did not join in, (likely because they actually had read Calvin too).

    Remember when we were talking about reading evolutionists in their own words and not just what Ken Ham says about their beliefs?

    I want my view of Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Catholicism, or any of the other “isms” to be expressed by solid proponents of those beliefs.

    If someone wants to understand Dispensationalism at the basics, with one manageable work, I suggest Ryrie’s book by that title. Eschatology will show up about chapter 8. (I’m guessing you have read it, Duane)

    Surely we are capable enough, especially as we have a little theology and education (and a lot of Bible) under our own belts, to read people accurately and fairly, and take issue, agree or disagree, as we feel appropriate.

    My disappointment is that you found appeal in that article with it’s Left Behind, rapture focus and lack of any substantive dispensational thought and reasoning. To your later post, of COURSE it is not about “I am right, you are wrong” and I’m certainly not (nor is Josh) suggesting “I know it all”

    YES. Education is about learning how to learn. We can start by jettisoning cartoonish arguments from critics that are guilty of a handful of logical fallacies before getting through the first page.

  186. I assure you Left Behind has never had one mention in my classes.
    ————————————————-
    Nor mine. In the 3 years of study to earn the MDiv

  187. You must have gone full time 🙂 I’m on about a 5 year plan.

  188. But I’m almost exactly 2/3 done. 33hrs left.

  189. Josh and Steve

    Yes, I’ve read Ryrie, Walvoord, Blaising and a few others. It is simply that while there are some points I can take on board, (and I only speak for myself) I cannot buy the system that is presented.

    As to the article, I really was not interested in the “Left Behind” aspect which seemed to be addressing a pastoral concern (i.e. Catholics reading the books and being confused). I do believe his assessments of the patristic and Augustinian were simple and well stated, as well as his presentation of the Christian tradition on this question.

    Josh, I would not question your integrity anymore than I would question Craig’s, either back in the day or now. I do hold that there is a historiography and methodology in Dispensationalism that I find difficult to accept as valid in my theological world. Nor would I question Steve’s integrity. Yet, for a host of reasons, I am unable to assent to a system that, in my view, is untenable.

  190. I understand, and appreciate honest conversation to expose those places that don’t hold up. I don’t think that everyone needs to be a dispensationalist, though I think it could have helpful points for all Christians. I don’t think I’ve ever made one convert to dispensationalism, or I haven’t tried anyway. But if someone were struggling through one of those biblical sections where it helped me, I’d gladly share.

  191. Josh

    By the way, in terms of modern RC scholarship… Raymond Brown’s books on the birth and death of the Messiah are amazing…

  192. And maybe I should leave now. I’m being compared to Craig Blaising instead of Left Behind and Jehovah’s Witnesses.I think I won 🙂

  193. At 192 – I’ve got my fingers in my ears 🙂 Kidding, I don’t know that I’ll get around to it. I do have some Catholic family, and I have good discussions with them. I’m not the type to say all Catholics are going to Hell, but I am very, very different from them.

  194. #193 Josh

    No winning, no losing… just learning…

  195. I’m posting this from Jean…

    “Please see the 8 page article on the Church in the Book of Revelation. Rather than tell each other what the other believes, which does not seem to be bearing fruit, here is a Lutheran interpretation. If people are truly open to learning from others, here’s an opportunity to do just that. Feel free to respond with questions or reasoned and backed up disagreements on any point.”

    Jean

    http://michaelnewnham.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/08-3-Eschatology.pdf

  196. Thanks Jean, I’d love to read it. “Rather than tell each other what the other believes”

    Exactly! And seriously, thank you for that!

  197. 192
    Yes. Brown’s work on the Passion contributed toward my research for a a chapter of a suffering God.

    I thought this article was interesting regarding the Patristics’ view impassability of God. Any suggestions/thoughts?

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2001/11/does-god-suffer

  198. Even the concept of ‘left behind’ is not biblical. Every time the Bible discusses one being taken and one left it is always the lost who are taken away into judgment and that God’s people are Left Behind.
    How did dispensational theogy mess that up?

  199. That’s an odd interpretation. So, per Matthew 24 when Jesus returns, two will be working in the field, one will be taken, the other left.

    So your interpretation is that When JEsus returns the lost will immediately enter into judgement, and the save will continue working in the field? I ask for clarity.

  200. pstrmike,

    Fantastic article. Thanks for sharing it.

  201. Josh, well I don’t know about left in the field but left in God. The rates are immediately taken and thrown into the fire are taken and the wheat are left to enter God’s rest in the silos.
    Noah was left behind and the rest of world were taken in the flood.

  202. Rates = tares

  203. Josh,

    If recollection serves me (and please take no offense if my recollection is in error), you have spoken well of R. T. France in the past. Here is his commentary on the Matthew passage:

    “Some have therefore suggested that this passage speaks of a ‘rapture’ of the faithful to heaven before judgment falls on the earth. This is not the place to investigate the complex dispensational scheme which underlies this nineteenth-century theory, but it should be noted that insofar as this passage forms a basis for that theology, it rests on an uncertain foundation. We are not told where or why they are ‘taken,’ and the similar sayings in [citation omitted] about people caught out in the course of daily life by the Roman advance presupposed a situation of threat rather than of rescue; to be ‘taken’ in such circumstances would be a negative experience, and Matthew will use paralambano in a similar threatening context in [citation omitted]. The verb itself does not determine the purpose of the ‘taking,’ and it could as well be for judgment [citation omitted] as for refuge. In the light of the preceding verses when the Flood ‘swept away’ the unprepared, that is probably the more likely sense here.”

  204. No offense at all. I think I actually referred to France’s commentary on Mathew here, but I didn’t read that passage so thanks. I think his interpretation is at least honest (minus the strawmen of “complex system” and “19th century”). But at least he acknowledges that he understands why there would be differing opinions.

  205. Josh,

    Commentators all agree there are differing opinions. What their task is to look at the different opinions and knock down the erroneous ones.

    But, since you know more than France, tell us is your rapture, pre-millennial dispensationalism (or whatever you call it) not a 19th century creation? If not then who before that came up with it? Moreover, if the system is not complex, then why did Paul and Jesus and Peter and John fail to mention it?

  206. “…why did Paul and Jesus and Peter and John fail to mention it? [your rapture, pre-millennial dispensationalism (or whatever you call it)]”

    i know this is to Josh, who will answer more intelligently, but…
    why would they have mentioned it?

  207. Charles H. Talbert:

    “Section A [citations omitted] is made up of several parabolic images: the people in the days of Noah [citations omitted], two working in the field and two grinding meal [citation omitted], and the householder and the thief [citation omitted]. All speak of how judgment is coming: unexpectedly. In Noah’s time, the people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage (common ventures of life), completely unaware of the flood that came upon them. The two in the field and the two grinding meal are at work (common ventures of life), totally unaware that a separation is about to be made. The ones taken are those snatched away by judgment [citing Witherington… tares taken, wheat left].”

    Paideia Commentary on Matthew

  208. Umm, didn’t I just say I liked France, and appreciated what he had to say? He was poisoning the well with those two comments, but no big deal.

    For instance : Jean follows a system that wasn’t around until at least 1500 years after Christ, and most of the Christians in the world don’t believe in it. That being said…

    What follows “that being said” is lessened a little bit though, right? Like I said, I’m good with France’s comment on the passage. I don’t know more than him.

  209. #208 – That’s good. I appreciate the passage. I haven’t really though about it that way before. I disagree, but it’s always good to understand.

  210. Now, of course my understanding of the bible is that Jesus, Paul etc. DID mention the rapture, I would argue that the early church was premillenial (with some scholarly support), you can read ideas of dispensations in many of the church Fathers.

    But yes, absolutely, the system was derived by Darby. No one should really dispute that. The question is not if it is new or old, but if it is biblical.

  211. Do you disagree with these scholars with a biblical reason which you’re willing to share, or are you just committed to someone or something? You say on the one hand that your are open to learning, but you don’t demonstrate evidence of actually learning. You will read this as an insult, which I regret, but a lot of people put in good time for your edification, and you just bat it away with “I disagree.” You are not showing a lot of intellectual openness. I’m just being honest here.

  212. If I post scholars that agree with me, will you automatically agree?

  213. “Other early Christian writers also used the story of the flood as a warning to their audience [omit. Peter citations]. Prior to the flood, people were carrying on with all the normal kinds of human activities, including getting married right up to the point when Noah entered the ark. They knew nothing about and were totally unprepared for what was to come when Noah shut himself and his family up in the ark. Similarly, nonbelievers will be completely surprised and unprepared for the parousia of the Son of Man. Notice the use of the language ‘took them all away in v. 39. This prepares for the language about one ‘taken’ and one left behind in [cit. omit.]. The ‘taken’ ones are the unfortunate ones, swept away by judgment. The ones left behind or left standing are the fortunate ones, like Noah. Notice that there is one example involving men and one involving women, suggesting that judgment will affect everyone. The Matthean version involves two men in a field, while Luke has two in a bed. Grinding was a task usually done shortly before dawn. Whatever time of day is envisioned, the participants are unprepared for the judgment that overtakes them.”

    Ben Witherington III, Commentary on Matthew, SMYTH & HELWYS BIBLE COMMENTARY

  214. That’s interesting. I like Witherington, (Methodist, right?) Yeah, I had just never thought about the passage that way. Interesting take.

    I’m afraid you are going to get mad if I don’t fall in lock step with you.

  215. Josh, can you tell me where Jesus spoke of the rapture?
    I already said Paul was answering a question asked about the resurrection and not a rapture in Thessalonians.

  216. Well, you know that I disagree with you on Paul. I of course, would take the Matthew passage in question as alluding to the Rapture. You disagree.

    It’s ok to disagree.

  217. Josh,

    Of the three commentaries I have shared, none of them is Lutheran. I purposely surround myself with solid evangelical scholarly commentaries as a check against a sectarian personal bias. Therefore, when I publish my weekly articles, I endeavor to present a Lutheran view which is defensible within wider Christian scholarship. I don’t write anything unless without multiple sources of support.

  218. That’s good Jean, and I appreciate the commentaries. I am unconvinced of the position, and could post at least 20 non-Baptist sources that agree with me. You and I just don’t agree on this point. That’s OK. I find much value in learning the opposing view.

  219. For anyone (other than Josh) who is interested in the ministry, please learn Paul’s words carefully as you look into theological education:

    “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Cor 3:11-15)

  220. Josh, can you tell me where Paul previously taught about the rapture that the Thessolonians would be asking follow up Or clarifying questions?

  221. Josh,

    Hold your position until convinced otherwise… Just some elderly advice….

  222. Jean – you don’t have to be condescending. Michael welcomes me here and has treated me as brother. I will be a pastor soon. It won’t be at a Lutheran church. It will be at a Southern Baptist church. I believe with all my heart that it is where God has called me. I tried to run and go other places, but the SBC was just home. Would you have me abandon that conviction because a guy on the internet disagrees with me? Weird man.

    MLD – I don’t think the question was specifically about the rapture but about the “Day of the Lord”. In describing that day, he speaks of those in Christ bein called up to meet hm in the air. We call that the rapture.

    Duane -Of course.

  223. I’ve been busy all day but feel like interjecting while I can.

    We all think our positions are “biblical” and we all have scholars within our traditions that use the Bible as the source for their commentaries.

    Calling one orthodox tradition or another “unbiblical” is really not going to aid any learning or conversation.

  224. I can’t get Jean’s swipe off my mind. What an insult. Why would you think that I am building on a foundation other than Christ. Because we disagree about an interpretation of MAtthew 24? REally man. Grow up. The Body of Christ is bigger than LCMS.

  225. “though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

    At least this time Jean found a passage that says I might be saved. Last time I was condemned to Hell.

    Please stop trying to edify me Jean. Please. You have nothing for me.

  226. Josh,

    My #220 was explicitly not written to you or for you. So it wasn’t a swipe at you. You have said you’ve made up your mind. I am honoring that. But perhaps others have not. I was writing for them.

    In the context of the interpretation of Matthew 24, the issue isn’t the foundation, it’s whether the interpretation built on that foundation is of the quality of gold, silver or precious stones, or is it wood, hay or straw? In my opinion called pastors should ensure that they are using materials that will survive (while being refined) the fire which Christian lay people like me face in our lives. But again, I was not directing that comment to you.

  227. That’s just passive-aggressive condescension. Of course I am building my foundation on stuff that lasts?!?! Why would I even bother with education and training if I didn’t care about that? You get fat-lipped because everyone in the world doesn’t agree with you. I am daily mentored by a PAstor with 30 years experience. I have multiple Godly professors who are invested in my life weekly. But I should dump it all because a guy who writes a weekly column on another guy’s blog disagrees with me? Seriously. Open you eyes. That is an awful way to treat people who are just doing their level best to follow the Lord.

  228. After thinking about this for a while and examining my own prejudices, one of the issues here is that the older, established, traditions don’t see dispensationalism as a legitimate, historical, Christian tradition.

    I confess that I often feel the same way.

    This is, as Steve Wright has often said, a form of Christian bigotry.

    We consign it to eschatological wing nuts and theological hillbillies and we don’t respect its scholarship or even it’s existence as a tradition.

    I can defend this, but I should probably repent of it…in any case I certainly need to think about it…Josh is family.

  229. Michael, I appreciate both the admission, and the confirmation that I am family.

    Personally, I don’t mind that people don’t agree with dispensationalism. (I think most don’t understand it, but still). I really don’t. You won’t find me attempting to win converts to that system. I find that it helps with some bible passages that other systems do not. I will use the helpful system in my teaching where applicable. If I am counseling a member who tells me they think Ryrie is garbage, do you think I’ll care one bit? No. It’s all so small and silly to me. I don’t see why there has to be such condemnation over it.

  230. Josh,

    I will take Michael’s 229 seriously and conform my interaction to his advice and standards.

    However, in this discussion, I purposely quoted three respected evangelical scholars outside my tradition, France, Talbert, and Witherington, to provide you with solid biblical scholarships, precisely because I am not one with public credentials. In other words, you are not in the Matthew 24 discussion disagreeing mainly with me, but with the scholars I cited. I have stopped that debate, because you have made clear your unyielding interpretation.

  231. Josh,

    I could go on at great length about why I have pretty much completely disavowed dispensational tenets.

    That’s not the issue that I need to deal with.

    I need to deal with my lack of charity toward a whole group of brethren.

  232. Jean, again. I appreciated the commentaries. Honestly. It does not mean I am going to agree. Scholars don’t agree on the passage. Period. I won’t waste time posting the multitudes of commentaries that back me up, but I could easily. I wouldn’t expect you to fall in line just because I have scholars that back me up. Do you not realize that there are scholars in differing realms of Christianity? And they don’t alwaya agree on everything. It’s OK, usually! It helps us all to grow.

  233. Josh, you have several times mentioned that the early church was pre mil. Do you realize that in the historic pre mil position there is no rapture and none of the Israel stuff. No left behind, no racing to not receive the mark of the beast and absolutely none, zero, nada of the dispensational stuff. The historic pre mil position is identical to the mail position up to the real return of Jesus. The only difference is that pre mil, the church goes into the earthly kingdon and in mail go to heaven. Everyone else goes to he’ll –

  234. Hi Josh,

    I don’t know if we would agree on the definition of “scholar.” Maybe we would and maybe we wouldn’t. I can tell you that I have a pretty high bar. I would expect to see a PhD and peer reviewed writings, at a minimum. Then, I would look for other scholars who commend his/her particular work. I seek out the cream at the top when it comes to theology.

  235. By the way, I have Bock’s 3 volume Luke-Acts set, and I have actually used it in my articles. I may not agree with his eschatology, but when he does good exegesis I will learn from him in a heart beat. I also refer to the NET Bible frequently, which is predominately a DTS creation, because it has very good translation notes.

  236. MLD – yes I realize that and have been careful with my words to only claim what I could back up.

    Jean – you can’t pass up an opportunity to condescend to me can you? I know what a scholar is.

  237. Michael, I am sure you have your reasons. I don’t doubt that they are valid for you. We could all use a little more charity.

  238. Jean uses my mention of RT France, and my admiration of Bock…to tell me that I don’t know what a “real” scholar is.

    What is with you?

  239. Now you’re reading things in to what I said in 235 and 236.

  240. You just don’t realize how pompous you are. Why would you question if know what a scholar is? SOOOO condescending.

  241. But seriously, the good thing about a blog is that I don’t have to subject myself to your hateful, condemning garbage. You can post your cryptic Josh is going to Hell verses all you want. I don’t care. I think some scholar once said something about ther being no condemnation for those in Christ. Not sure. I am pretty stupid after all.

    I’m done.

  242. Would it make folks feel better if I pointed out that dispensationalism should not stand alone. I would put them in the category of the Word Faith movement and those of the New Apostolic Reformation. Fine people, all of them. And since we cannot call any group wrong, I leave it as different.

  243. I mixed in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and a Wendy’s Frosty with my daughter and you guys are still going at it?

    I have to ask. Did the late Gleason Archer surpass that bar of definition for a scholar? Or was he a false teacher in danger of hellfire like some of us ragamuffins around here….

  244. Michael and Duane might be interested that the only 3 commentaries on Matthew I have been reading as I presently teach the book are from John Nolland, Leon Morris, and R.T. France.

    3 Anglicans. 🙂

  245. I like Gleason Archer – good OT scholar.

  246. Getting caught up here. Consider this a teachable moment. Jean, you ready?

    Neither Ryrie, nor Walvoord, nor Pentecost, just to name 3 prominent dispensational scholars, see the rapture in Matt 24 and the Noah stuff. In fact, they specifically speak against it. Those are 3 books at my fingertips but I am sure I could find others if I dug around. (Of course, I knew that already…which is why I read the commentaries I mentioned in the other post, like France and the others, as sermon prep. I already know what ‘my side’ believes)

    Now, you would know that IF you cared to study what you criticize. Instead, you use the words of a non dispensationalist, France, as he generalizes against (whoever) and assume that is sufficient. Not even having the slightest clue that leading dispensational authors, used in dispensational seminaries to teach dispensational pastors, don’t see the rapture there at all.

    By the way…neither do I, and hopefully neither does my congregation if they were paying attention a few weeks ago. 🙂

    I do know it is fairly commonly seen there in CC circles (and I had to deal with that), but like I said earlier, eschatology aside, CC as a rule does not exemplify dispensational teaching.

  247. Steve, Josh made the case that Matt 24 spoke of the rapture.
    But Josh was responding to me asking where Jesus ever spoke of the rapture? Especially a promised semi return 7 years before the 2nd coming?
    But I will take any hint Jesus dropped.

  248. MLD, if you have his OT Survey, go read his view on the last chapters of Ezekiel and a future temple.

    Now, since you did not play the Jean card and argue against the man being a scholar (since you are not blind to his credentials or life’s work) I could now play the second Jean card and sound aghast that a guy like you dare take issue with such an agreed upon scholar…., or we could act like beings with reason who recognizes scholars in all traditions and thus we all are going to disagree with great men, past and present, who nonetheless honor Christ and His word.

  249. MLD, and Josh also earlier said he was not the full fledge dispensationalist, and that he is presently working through his studies.

  250. I do have Archers OT Survey. Will look it up when I return to SoCal Sun evening.
    So did Jesus speak of the rapture?

  251. i know that it is prime to not twist Scripture to fit theory. That said since i am not a scholar, there is one observation that this pew sitter would like to add to this give and take…
    whatever the form of dispensationalism i’ve been exposed to, the sequencing of “end times” and “Day of the Lord,” followed by a millennial reign of our Lord for a period, is logical, it lays out perfectly as it interprets Scripture – no head scratching…
    are these latter day 🙂 scholars slip-shod, undisciplined rebels or intense, disciplined and honest? i’m going with the latter description, anticipating interesting times, but still planting fruit trees…
    when it comes to the mind of God? well, not one of us should be too adamant in our interpretations or in whose interpretations we choose – respectful of all these who’ve devoted themselves to honest study, no matter whether we agree or cannot do so – IMNSHO
    however, if you come knocking at my door with a new gospel…

  252. So did Jesus speak of the rapture?
    ———————————————————
    A great (and typical) question to show the distinction in dispensationalism as a hermenutical understanding of Scripture, versus nothing more than the “rapture teachers” – that is your entire obsession. And it matters not how I answer because you have a John Hagee sermon somewhere…

    I have in the past explained, in great detail on this blog, the teachings of Jesus Christ in the 4 Gospels as to audience, scope and purpose. Only to be met by you and Jean (usually several days later in an unrelated thread) saying “There are some here who do not think Jesus’s words apply to the Church.”

    That of course is not what I think, nor what I teach at CCLE, nor what I write on the Phoenix Preacher blog, and is at best the sin of false witness (and at worse, something..well…worse)

    Therefore, I conclude by now you are either unwilling or unable to understand and will leave you to arguing the little timeline charts about the rapture.

    But yeah, Jesus spoke to the Church about the rapture. His words are a wonderful promise indeed.

  253. Steve, you can’t use that misdirect. It not fair to people who just stop by to read. Josh made a blanket statement that Jesus spoke about the rapture. When I asked where he held up the Matt 24 passage.
    You came along and said Matt 24 does not speak of the rapture. Since I know you believe Jesus spoke of the rapture I am just asking where?
    As I said above I don’t think Either Jesus or Paul did – Paul especially I think was directly answering questions about the resurrection.
    But I can’t hold you down and tickle you until you tell me. 😉

  254. Darn – stuck in moderation for links – I will repeat with no links

    Steve, you can’t use that misdirect. It not fair to people who just stop by to read. Josh made a blanket statement that Jesus spoke about the rapture. When I asked where he held up the Matt Twenty four passage.
    You came along and said Matt Twenty four does not speak of the rapture. Since I know you believe Jesus spoke of the rapture I am just asking where?
    As I said above I don’t think Either Jesus or Paul did – Paul especially I think was directly answering questions about the resurrection. My issue wasn’t the rapture early on, I was going after the mistaken 2 peoples of God.
    But I can’t hold you down and tickle you until you tell me. 😉

  255. “There are some here who do not think Jesus’s words apply to the Church.”

    I think the only time I have said that was your teaching in Hebrews where you said that the new covenant found in Jeremiah was not for the church but for Israel – and then you added that the church would see benefits from that by hanging around Israel – like the benefits would rub off on the church.

  256. and then you added that the church would see benefits from that by hanging around Israel – like the benefits would rub off on the church.
    —————————————————-
    Utter garbage. A complete misrepresentation.

    Anyone who “just stops by to read” can email me if interested. On the rapture, the new covenant, or anything else.

    I’m not going to keep repeating myself here for you and Jean.

    Besides, my views are hardly original or unique. You have a big library and I am sure there are plenty of dispensational authors in it that will explain it to you.

    pastorsteve (at) calvaryle (dot) org

  257. C.S. Lewis once wrote about those who reject the Christian idea of heaven because they don’t want to play harps there all day. “The answer to such people,” he says, “is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them”

    In thinking again of that above summarization about “hanging around Israel” – it truly does boggle the mind that what I have actually taught on the passage (which MLD has heard since he used my Hebrews messages for sermon prep for his study in the book) could be so mangled and presented in such a way. How would/could/did the Church “hang around Israel…??”

    It does make me seriously consider if MLD is capable of taking a step back and reading a different opinion without being in such a frenzied state of misinterpreting what the author is saying so that it fits with his desired mischaracterization.

    I imagine him reading Ryrie’s Dispensationalism for example and continuing saying “That’s not what dispensationalists believe” to its pages as he reads. Because his warped view MUST stand. And he watched John Hagee…

    Back to the Lewis quote, maybe you ought to stop reading (listening) MLD….Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up.

    Good night.

  258. I need to sleep. All I can offer up is that anyone listen to Steve’s study in Hebrews 8 – and I do recommend listening from the beginning – but at the 9 min mark he begins the first of several times clarifying and pronouncing that the new covenant laid out by Jeremiah is not fulfilled in the Church.
    You can listen for yourself – the new covenant around the 20 min mark is a millennial covenant to Israel.
    Our benefit comes by our being grafted into the true owners of the new covenant – Israel.

    I won’t post it as it is Steve’s property. He can link it if he chooses.

    One last point – Steve is correct that in my Hebrews class I used his material for prep – and he knows why. For each of my studies I used a Reformed guy and an evangelical teacher to use as contrast since those are usually the 2 main views my class we get from Christian media – radio, TV and publications.

  259. Woke up this morning to check out this thread… my goodness!

    #225 Josh – “The Body of Christ is bigger than LCMS.” They make up 2.1 million of 2.2 billion Christians on the planet. Sort of speaks for itself.

    #245 Steve Wright – Good Anglicans all… If you can find it, C.K. Barrett (a Methodist, BTW) on the Gospel of John is superlative (I think his best). I knew him back in the day… a great scholar and a Godly man. If you can’t find it, I’ll send you my copy. I think you would really resonate with it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._K._Barrett

  260. I listened again to Steve’s teaching on Hebrews 8. At least he admitted that his teaching runs contrary to the historic teaching and still majority teaching of the Christian Church. Readers can draw their own conclusions as to what a teaching is that goes against the teaching of the historic church.

    The simple fact is that in denying that the New Covenant is for the Church, Steve reduces the Church by teaching that God is working redemption for Jews through a second channel. All Paul’s preaching about breaking down the dividing wall and creating one people out of two is not sufficient. Loads of New Testament writing must be reinterpreted to fit Steve’s teaching.

    Jesus saying the shedding of His blood was “the new covenant in my blood” apparently meant something else (unless there are 2 new covenants). Even the author of Hebrews near the end of the book: “and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” Paul referring to himself as a minister of a new covenant means something else. Jesus personifying “out of Egypt I called my son”, means something else.

    I am trying to give an objective critique of his teaching, so as to facilitate reasoned discussion and to observe the etiquette of the blog.

  261. This is where having conversations with dispensationalist always breaks down. I am not offended by Steve’s teaching in this area, he can teach what he wants. However, I do get mad when someone then says “that is not what I taught and you have misrepresented me.
    Geez- I almost quoted him word for word and documented where I got it from. No matter how it is twisted it is not honest.
    He could have said, “yes that is my position and here is how it is backed up.”

  262. In my story way above of the 2 trains on 2 separate tracks going 2 different directions even as they pass through the tunnel called Jesus – the train called the Church is field by the covenant of the blood shed by Jesus and the train called Israel is fueled by the covenant described by Jeremiah 31.
    2 peoples of God, 2 purposes, and still under 2 covenants. Choo Choo.

  263. One of the major differences in interpretation is, following Jesus’ explicit teaching, that apostolic Christian tradition has always read and interpreted the OT through the first Advent of Jesus Christ and the inspired writings of the NT. The dispensationalists, by contrast do not adhere to this interpretive lens. They read the OT independently.

    Steve shows this in his teaching by asking his students if they independently observe the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s covenant promises in the world they see around them. Asking them: Live by sight, not by faith.

    Rather, the revelation of Jesus Christ in His first Advent and the gift of the Holy Spirit to the apostles opens the OT to a right interpretation, which is that it all points to and is fulfilled in Him.

  264. You dann LCMS Lutherans, don’t you know that you are less than 1% of the Christian population and have no voice?

    Yesterday I called this walk by sight stuff Look Around Theology. “I know what scripture says,… But look around!” 😉

  265. #242 Josh

    I’d not thought of Craig in years. This morning I went into my stacks and found his Aberdeen PhD thesis which he gave me (it was on Athanasius and Contra Arianos.

    The last sentences of the thesis could well be something that all of us should keep in mind:

    “When in his [Athanasius’] writing he reaches the level of formal theological statement, it is not the Arians but the Church which he has in view and the purity and holiness of her faith. As a theologian, he is a pastor. And in and through his polemic, he theologizes with a pastor’s heart.”

    Good words for all of us.

  266. Descended,

    I said I’d respond to your comment at a later date and will do so now.

    You said…

    “Marxist ideologies prevail since Dewey and the reformation of American education. Marxist ideologies started in the schools, such was the goal of many of the philosophers he drew inspiration from such as Comte.

    What is wrong with peace and brotherhood? Apart from Christ, which Marxism is, everything! It is positivistic. When it is mixed with Christianity it becomes the Johnny-come-lately ideals of post millennialism and dominionism. It finds no need of God to work among and in men (hence the social justice gospel, the Kingdom building of Chrislam, and interfaith ecumenism) since God has given us certain knowledge in the sciences and expects us to perfect this world. Will Durant, paraphrasing Rousseau, said it this way: “When men try to change an institution without changing the spirit of man, they inevitably resurrect the institution.” I believe that Marxism is antiChrist, and dissolved in Christendom it is that Civic (Civil) Religion you speak of.”

    Your whole thesis here is based on a belief that somehow Marxism has penetrated the school system and the Church in America and both are compelled by this political ideology.

    This is particularly amusing when evangelicalism is now so steeped in nationalism and Manifest Destiny beliefs that are as deadly as anything Marx thought up.

    Your conspiracy theory friends see evil in places where good is being done and they will give an account for it.

    Social justice in my mind is simply following the commands of the Scriptures in how we are to interact with both culture and the world.

    Look up how many times the prophets speak of “justice” and “righteousness”.

    Read for yourself the commands about welcoming the stranger and standing against corruption and oppression.

    Were the prophets Marxists?

    Was Jesus a secret Commie?

    You have been handed a straw man and then engaged in imputing the motives and political theories imposed upon it onto faithful Christians who choose to stand with all the Scriptures and the the real biblical narrative.

    I try to engage in kingdom building because that is what a representative of the King does…I engage in social justice because that is what the King commanded…I seek peace where possible because that too is a Scriptural tenet.

    Finally, I avoid Will Durant like the plague… 🙂

  267. Good point, Michael. Acts 2 is anything but a GOP convention.

  268. interesting declarations here on this thread…
    the question hangs in the air… is God finished with the Jew? i’d say no, but DURING the Church era, denying Christ will condemn that Jew for eternity… i could be wrong – dunno

    historically, i gather from reading here (and other times and places) the Church taught that we persevere until the end, then BLAM – er something – we go off planet to meet Christ in the air, do a U turn, fall in behind Him (do we get horses?) and come right back down here as He wipes out all the remaining population – the infidels – and prepare to live on the new heavens and earth – er something… okay, that’s possible

    then there are those of us who think that it is more likely that the Church will be called out before the 7 years of intensified tribulation hits the earth (some say before and some say during), but during that time God will open the eyes of “left behind” Jews (some of them) and they will spread the gospel during that time period…

    well maybe, but there is an intriguing passage in the revelation around ch.13 where the Lamb is pictured on Mt. Zion with the 144,000 “learning a new song” that only they can learn … followed by an account of 3 angels predicted to 1-preach the everlasting Gospel to all men, 2-announce (in the prophetic aorist tense) that Babylon is fallen and 3-warn that the worship of the beast will result in drinking the cup of God’s wrath – does this indicate that the whole of the Believing/Redeemed population up to almost the end will be off planet earth? i’m sure everyone who posts here – the teachers and scholars – have their own answer to that…

    my point? i think we have to read, ponder and wait, not declaring adamantly that “our side” has it all nailed down…

    just sayin … again … and again … and 🙂

  269. Michael

    Fantastic response and thank you. If I respond here tomorrow will you care to read it?

  270. I’ll read it at some point…tomorrow is really busy.

  271. Em @ 269 – Great post.

    I do find the different understanding of the Matthew passage very interesting. I think the dispensationailsts who do not see the rapture there is because Jesus mentions it after the tribulation. I’m guessing (but don’t have any post trib commentaries) that posttribbers would use this passage in their favor? I don’t think Jesus was necessarily laying out a sequence, rather speaking topically. His “two in the field, on left behind” seems to be a new point on the topic, rather than the next item on the timeline.

    And, of course, I could be wrong. There are very few things that I hold with 100% certainty, and the interpretation of that passage is not one of them.

  272. Good stuff Duane. Thanks!

  273. Josh @272 – You are correct. I believe Pentecost does a good job (with direct quotes from the proponents) in showing that the posttrib position does look to that passage for affirmation.

    And you also are correct, that (speaking for myself but I think also the reasoning given by the Dallas professors I mentioned) there is something to the chronological development of the message through the two chapters that is significant.

    At least significant to me.. 🙂

  274. thanks for the affirmation, Josh…
    that Matthew chapter does seem to go from laying out what is immediately ahead for the disciples who questioned Him there that day on to generalizing a panorama of what is ahead for the whole Church – as you note a topical highlighting? it makes the 19th chapter of revelation an interesting read for comparisons, i think… some ponders there…

    the question for me today is, how to be watching, being ready with what i see transpiring (even this very day – new toys for the Saudis and we’re all friends with a common cause? maybe – dunno ), and reconciling world events with the caution that i don’t KNOW the day, nor the hour…

  275. My bringing up Matthew 24 was a quick reply to MLD’s question about Jesus on the rapture. It was off the top of my head, as something that I have always understood to be obvious.

    Through the weekend, I’ve had time to look through a ton of commentaries and found that I am definitely in the minority on this view. Not just from the church at large (as Jean showed), but also among Dispensationlists (as Steve showed). It should shock no one that I am perfectly in line with John Phillips commentary, as I have often proclaimed my love for his writing. Even in Phillips commentary though, he takes time to explain why he disagrees with the larger group of dispensational scholars on this point.

    This will probably lead to me changing my view on the passage. It will be difficult, as it just seems so obvious, but will likely come through further study as I have time, and much prayer.

    As it is, I can confidently say that my searching for a rapture in Matthew 24 detracts from Jesus’ main point in teaching His disciples, which was to live alert.

  276. My bringing up Matthew 24 was a quick reply to MLD’s question about Jesus on the rapture. It was off the top of my head, as something that I have always understood to be obvious.

    Through the weekend, I’ve had time to look through a ton of commentaries and found that I am definitely in the minority on this view. Not just from the church at large (as Jean showed), but also among Dispensationlists (as Steve showed). It should shock no one that I am perfectly in line with John Phillips commentary, as I have often proclaimed my love for his writing. Even in Phillips commentary though, he takes time to explain why he disagrees with the larger group of dispensational scholars on this point.

    This will probably lead to me changing my view on the passage. It will be difficult, as it just seems so obvious, but will likely come through further study as I have time, and much prayer.

    As it is, I can confidently say that my searching for a rapture in Chapter 24 detracts from Jesus’ main point in teaching His disciples, which was to live alert.

  277. re: Xenia @ 42

    What I would like to see is some humility from his supporters. I promise not to say “I told you so” if they humble themselves and admit they made a terrible mistake and that things didn’t turn out quite like they expected.

    That organism, the one who now occupies the oval office, whose modus operandi is domination and aggression, win-at-all cost, “I’ll show them” and whose words are full of whining, blaming others, it wasn’t me, it’s their fault, and oh yes, all manner of “I’m going to exact revenge”, that clown who suckered a whole swath of people by base appeals, and who is even now selling out his supporters because this “businessman acquainted with the mindset of modern commerce” has to make bank and stuff his own pockets while he can.

    I find it highly improbable that an entity so devoid of character, utterly lacking in humility, can inspire humility among those who either wholeheartedly supported him, or else held their nose and voted for him because of what possible benefits he might have brought.

    If there is a movement of humility, of repentance that emerges in the conservative “christian” american evangelical movement from this, it would be a miracle. I’d put it up there with changing water in to wine, with spontaneous healing, with resurrection from the dead miracle.

    Xenia, yes, it is something to be hoped for. My sense is that you (and I) will be hoping for a lifetime.

    But yeah, “conservative Christianity will be associated with Trump for the next few years, and no doubt beyond.” Yep. Conservative “christian” evangelicalism, you own him. Or rather, he owns you.

  278. Michael

    On second thought, I won’t waste our time with this rabbit hole. I think you agree with me once in a blue moon, which is sufficient 🙂 Besides, I feel as though you think I’m as sharp as a doorknob 😉 and I am pretty convinced no matter what sources I pull, you have your biases and I have mine and that’s fine. Let each be fully convinced.

    I would urge you to look.into our education reformer John Dewey. Brilliant man, but influenced by Marx nonetheless. I don’t understand how Nationalism or manifest destiny are mutually exclusive to Marxism. Marxist Utopian precepts and philosophies are taught to our children, such as the child being communal property not a parent’s responsibility. I have seen it and heard it first hand, and read about it subsequently. There is as clear a line as can be from Philosophers like Rousseau, Marx, Comte to Dewey. But I am still willing to be wrong now. I hope I am. My son is in high school.

    If you’d like me to re-link teachings of other scholars of your caliber who are spouting this I’d be happy to provide. Otherwise I’m reinventing the wheel.

    Btw, no, the prophets and apostles weren’t Marxists. But if a Marxist (or more specifically in our case today a Communitarian) can use a prophet or apostle to prop up their agenda they will.

    I am not certain I know what you mean by your view of social justice, so, I’ll leave that alone. Obviously the stranger and the poor are to be cared for.

    Good night. God bless you. 🙂

  279. Btw, why is Will Durant the equivalent of rotting to death?

  280. Descended,
    I haven’t followed your conversation with Michael – but I have read the entire 11 volume work of history he and his wife wrote. What was that 10,000 – 15,000 pages?

  281. I don’t know MLD. It certainly seems to be the case. I just discovered a little book called The Story of Philosophy as I was looking through my parent’s books for anything on Rousseau. I think it’s a pretty fun read.

  282. RE my 277: Hmmm. Maybe not so quick on changing my view? A little more investigation has brought me into a whole line of reputable guys (including Bock) who go along with my view.

    Interesting passage, indeed.

  283. Josh, I saw it your way for years. Then I went to the fence, but of course I had to fish or cut bait in teaching the passage. I do think there is a chronological “flow” to the two Matthew chapters that is significant which is why I landed where I did.

  284. Right on. I’m not teaching it any time soon, that I know of. I’ll probably keep it on the fence for a while 🙂 .

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