Understanding Dispensationalism

If you want to understand clearly the core distinctives of dispensationalism, I have the perfect book for you—Dispensationalism: Essential Beliefs and Common Myths by Michael J. Vlach (Theological Studies Press, 2008). Regardless of where you land on the spectrum of continuity vs. discontinuity—and regardless of whether you consider yourself a dispensationalist, a covenant theologian, or something in between—Vlach’s book will help you understand this theological system better than any other. For my review of Dispensationalism: Essential Beliefs and Common Myths over at Pulpit Magazine, go here. To purchase this book, go here or here. To become really confused about what dispensationalism is all about, go here.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Matt,

    I thought the link you provided regarding against dispensationalism was rediculous. I have read it before and there are so many mischaracterizations. One of the sad things about this website is that you have solid guys (professors, pastors, etc.) who are signing on in support it. I am not saying someone cannot disagree with dispensationalism. All I am asking is that there be an informed disagreement without all the “stereotypes” given to it. As well as interaction with more recent dispensationalists (i.e. Feinberg (s), S. Lewis Johnson, etc).

    One of the things that bothers me most is that they want us to be well learned in their covenant theology (and I do to) to be informed about it, but they are not willing to do the same. The only one who I have truly seen do it is Poythress.

    I want to make sure everyone knows that I know that some dispensationalists mischaracterize Covenant Theology as well. It is not just one sided.

  2. Posted by Caleb Kolstad on September 11, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    I’m preaching through Rev 1:7-8 this Sunday and was reading Beale’s commentary.

    He writes, “But John typically adheres to and consistently develops the contextual ideas of his OT references, and proposed exceptions to this rule must bear the burden of proof.” At this point most Bible students would shout AMEN. This is one of the strong cases for premill theology (in my humble opinion).

    Dr. Beale continues, “Indeed, the nations in 1:7b do not mourn over themselves but Jesus, which fits better into an understanding of repentance than judgment.” OK, fine.

    BUT then he says, “And the extended application of the mourning from the nation of Israel to the believing nations is not an inconsistent development, since the nations are now understood to be the true Israel (note also the emphasis on the salvation of the nations in Rev. 21:24–22:3).Therefore, repentant Gentiles are viewed as fulfilling the Zechariah prophecy at the second coming of Christ.” What happened to burden of proof flowing from the O.T. context?

    Beale continues, “However, the Daniel 7 reference may include the whole course of the church age, during which Christ guides the events of history in judgment and blessing, since the Son of man allusion in Rev. 1:13 has present application (although cf. 14:14), as do the OT references in 1:5–6 and 1:14–20…”

    I look fwd. to reading this new book you mentioned Matt.

  3. Posted by Rich on September 16, 2008 at 2:53 pm


    The Anti-Dispy conference is just down the road from VT. I used to play golf at a course just down the road and it’s on a football game weekend. Should I go and represent?


  4. Rich: By all means go and represent, but don’t expect them to recognize you as a dispensationalist. You don’t fit the caricature.

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