What is dispensationalism and is it Biblical?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
A dispensation is a way of ordering things-an administration, a system, or a management. In theology, a dispensation is the divine administration of a period of time; each dispensation is a divinel...

July 01 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Philip medium Philip Davies
Dispensationalism is a human theory invented by John Nelson Darby (1800–82) taught by the Plymouth Brethren and propagated through the Scofield Reference Bible. It was completely unknown to the Christian church before the 19th Century. 

It teaches the idea that human history is divided up into seven dispensations. These seven dispensations are not referred to anywhere in the Bible, nor was the idea of dispensations ever taught by Paul or any of the apostles, or any of the founding fathers of the church. Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley had never heard of dispensationalism which was completely unknown to them. 

Dispensationalism teaches that there is not one, but seven different ways of salvation, one for each of the dispensations. People were saved in different ways at different times rather than through faith alone. Dispensationalism also teaches that there are two people of God, rather than one. 

A more useful view of the history of God's dealings with mankind is one that takes its teachings from the Bible rather than from John Nelson Darby. The Bible talks of God's dealings with mankind being on the basis of the six covenants referred to in the Bible:

Adamic covenant Gen 3:14-19 Rom 5:12-18
Noahic covenant Gen 9:1-17
Abrahamic covenant Genesis 22:15-18
Mosaic covenant Ex 19:5
Davidic covenant 2 Sam 7:11-16 New Covenant Jeremiah 31:31-33 Matt 26:28

This more biblical approach to God's dealings with man emphasises that there is only one way of salvation, and there has only ever been one way, namely through faith in God. And that there is only one people of God, the people of faith, the seed of Abraham, and whether Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free, they are one people, saved only by faith in Jesus Christ.

May 04 2015 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Donald Woody Musician/Producer
In answer to your question "Is dispensationalism biblical?" The answer is no.

The Bible does advance, promote or even allude to such a notion. The theory of dispensationalism is part of a larger theological scheme created and promulgated by the 19th century John Nelson Darby along with his 
"end times" interpretation of the book of Revelation, which is also not biblical and is pure human opinion imposed on scripture and not sound doctrine.

Again the bible does support this claim and even condemns it. There are so many errors and lies evoked by the dispensational theory most of which the bible refutes.

One of the most blatant lies of dispensationalism is the that God has 'two' separate people - the Jews and the church. Yet the bible from Genesis to the book of Revelation proves this to be not true.

The status of the Jews as God's select people was not written in stone and was contingent upon on them remaining faithful to the Lord their God. In this, they failed miserably. Moses predicted their demise before they left the wilderness and Rome sealed their fate in AD 70 by divine judgment, disenfranchising them as God's chosen people.

The entire book of Hebrews is dedicated to the fact that the God has one people the followers of Christ. There is no 'Jew or Greek' in Christ - all are one people. 

Finally, the book of Revelation is the unveiling of the fate of two antagonists of God; a harlot and the beast, who are apostate Israel (the former) and the beast being the Roman empire (the latter). God used Rome to destroy the Jewish state and religion to make way for Christ and He destroyed Rome because it is His (Christ's) kingdom that will rule the earth into eternity.

We are in Christ's kingdom (the 1000 years of Revelation) now. It started on Calvary on the Cross. His second Coming will be His physical inauguration, not the rapture, a 7 year tribulation period or the end of the world. The end of the world as we know began over 2000 years ago. Its fruition will be clearly seen at Christ's second and final return for He will never leave again.

That is the blessed, glorious and beautiful message of Revelation and not the gloom and doom of John Nelson Darby.

March 15 2017 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Paula Fether Lifelong student of the scriptures
Yes, it's Biblical. It simply recognizes that though God himself never changes, his dealings with people certainly do. Unless one still lives only on fruit (as before Adam and Eve sinned), they are a dispensationalist.

The separation of Israel and the Body of Christ is also Biblical. The apostle Paul called the latter a "mystery" (something only God knows until it's revealed at the proper time), unknown and unforeseen in the Old Testament. When one looks carefully at Rom. 11 and understands the various covenants (see https://www.fether.net/?LS=FOU&LE=F06), this separation becomes clear.

God is not done with national Israel also because of yet-unfulfilled promises to Abraham, for not only physical progeny but also physical land, ruled by a descendant of David for a thousand years. God keeps his promises, and the ones to come are just as literal and physical as the ones already seen.

November 23 2023 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Profile pic Mark Vestal Proud of nothing of myself. Freed by Christ who did it all!
Studying from a dispensational viewpoint is to recognize and respect the varying entities and instructions from God throughout time. The Bible is a progressive revelation of information to mankind about God, His chosen people Israel, and the church, the body of Christ.

Miles Coverdale, a key translator of the Bible to English, made the following observation:

"It shall greatly help you to understand Scriptures
If thou mark not only what is spoken or written,
But of whom, and to whom, with what words, at what time.
Where, to what intent, with what circumstances,
Considering what goeth before and what followeth after."

The entire Bible is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16), however, we are to also recognize and respect the different administrations of God. This adheres to God's instruction of study by "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15). God remains the same, but there are differences that must be observed in His varying administrations (or dispensations).

The entire Bible is written for us, but we cannot take the entire Bible as being written directly to us. We cannot take what God gave His chosen people Israel and apply their instructions to us, the church. Christ's ministry on earth to His disciples and Israel regarding their coming 'kingdom of heaven' being "at hand", is quite different from what Christ ascended in glory gave the apostle Paul for us today, the church, the body of Christ.

Consider the following sample of verses to determine for yourself whether dispensational Bible study is biblically sound:

Eph 3:1-2
"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:"

Col 1:25
"Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;"

Eph 1:10
"That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:"

Rom 11:5-6
"Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."

Rom 11:11-13
"I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:"

Rom 11:26-28
"And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes."

Rom 15:8
"Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:"

Gal 2:7-8
"But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)"

Col 2:14-15
"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

2 Tim 2:15
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

May 10 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Robert Hibbard Retired Christian High School Teacher
I certainly agree with the criticisms of dispensationalism, but wish to point out that people I have known in this viewpoint are certainly believers in the Lord Jesus. For a short time I was part of a Baptist church that believed this theology and I knew wonderful Christian people there. My biggest disagreement with this view is the separation of Old Testament Israel from the church, as I think Israel was a "prototype," if you will, for the church; "the shadow and the substance (Col. 2:17). Whereas I tend to think unbiblical views are obviously non-Christian, I would place dispensationalism as a different viewpoint in the big Christian arena, as it does believe in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, His resurrection, and coming again.

November 22 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Lane Smith
In my opinion, dispensationalism is a completely false doctrine and lays the groundwork for multiple other false doctrines, like pre-trib rapture and premillennialism, for which there is no scriptural support whatsoever.

There may be very well-meaning Christians who believe in these doctrines, but that doesn't validate the doctrines in themselves at all. All false doctrines are lies and when it comes to something as important as the Bible, a lie leads astray from the truth. 

Anything that leads astray from the truth can legitimately cost someone their salvation by discrediting truth elsewhere in scripture, and by ultimately convincing one of doctrines that lead to the worship of a false image of God. That is idolatry and idolatry is certainly grounds for loss of salvation.

May 13 2024 13 responses Vote Up Share Report

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