Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Guts of Classic Dispensationalism

If you are unaware of what classic Dispensationalism is shaped by, then I offer you this post. I will never fully escape Dispensationalism; I am an American Evangelical after all, and it has held more of my life than not (now I am amil), thus far. So I will continue to write on this system of interpretation, as I have a chance; and I will do so in constructive ways ;-).

According to Charles Ryrie here are the 3 most basic ingredients that must be present in order for someone to pop out as an Dispensationalist:

[T]he essence of dispensationalism is (1) the recognition of a consistent distinction between Israel and the Church, (2) a consistent and regular use of a literal principle of interpretation, and (3) a basic and primary conception of the purpose of God as His own glory rather than the salvation of mankind. (Charles Ryrie, “Dispensationalism,” 45)

Jerusalem, 70 A.D.
This provides the rubric from which dispensationalism flows (esp. in its Classic and Revised forms). Each of these points require further explanation, and development; but for now I will just state them up front like this, just in case you are unaware of some of these basic points upon which dispensational theology pivots. In the same flow, let me also list the 7 dispensations usually articulated by both Classic/Revised dispensationalists; again, we will hear from Ryrie:

1.) Name: INNOCENCY –> Scripture: Genesis 1:3–3:6 –> Responsibilities: Keep Garden, Do not eat one fruit, Fill subdue earth, Fellowship with God. –> Judgment(s): Curses, and physical and spiritual death.
2.) Name: CONSCIENCE –> Scripture: Genesis 3:7–8:14 –> Responsibilities: Do good –> Judgment(s): Flood.
3). Name: CIVIL GOVERNMENT –> Scripture: Genesis 8:15–11:9 –> Responsibilities: Fill earth, Capital Punishment –> Judgment(s): Forced scattering by confusion of languages.
4.) Name: PATRIARCHAL RULE –> Scripture: Genesis 11:10–Exodus 18:27 –> Responsibilities: Stay in Promised Land, Believe and obey God –> Judgment(s): Egyptian bondage and wilderness wanderings.
5.) Name: MOSAIC LAW –> Scripture: Exodus 19:1–John 14:30 –> Responsibilites: Keep the law, Walk with God –> Judgment(s): Captivities.
6.) Name: GRACE –> Scripture: Acts 2:1–Revelation 19:21 –> Responsibilities: Believe on Christ, Walk with Christ –> Judgment(s): Death, Loss of rewards.
7.) Name: MILLENNIUM –> Scripture: Revelation 20:1-15 –> Responsibilities: Believe and obey Christ and His government –> Judgment(s): Death, Great White Throne Judgment.
– Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 54

Do these sound familiar? Maybe not all of these, but I would imagine the last 3 that many of you are quite familiar with; at least if you are an American Evangelical. You can see how the cycles of “stewardship” work between each new dispensation. There are certain responsibilities given to humanity in each dispensation; when this group of people fail, they experience God’s judgment, which then also becomes the trigger for the next dispensation to start. Interestingly, the end of the 6th dispensation would come about by unbelief in Christ (by much of the Church); which for the Apostle Paul (like in his epistles to Timothy) coincides with the “Great Apostasy” that will typify the end of days (which many believe we are experiencing right now).

Let me know what you think . . .

PS. Addendum: You know how I just recently said I was going to be writing at my other blog 'Blogic Of Grace', well I lied ;-). I am just going to post here, it gets too confusing sometimes for folk to follow me at two venues. The reason I was going to blog elsewhere is becomes sometimes being known as 'The Evangelical Calvinist' in the blogosphere carries with it unwanted connotations amongst various Christians, and I get tired (some times) of having to explain how EC is different than what people usually think of as Calvinist; and usually what happens is that people presumptuously pigeon hole me, and don't even give me a chance to explain what Evangelical Calvinism entails. Anyway, forget that, I am 'The Evangelical Calvinist' in the blogosphere for better or worse ... ultimately I think, for the better :-)!

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