Dispensational Straw Man #137

I’ve come across countless misrepresentations of dispensationalism through the years, but here’s one I’ve never heard before. According to a recent comment over at the Riddleblog: “The dispensationalists teach that God actually had seven plans of redemption, because He had failed in the previous six!” I suppose if I were given a choice between Covenant Theology and a god who’s batting 1 for 7 when it comes to formulating a plan of redemption, I just might opt for Covenant Theology as well.

If you want to understand what dispensationalism actually teaches, I would recommend Dispensationalism: Essential Beliefs and Common Myths by Michael Vlach. See here for an overview of Vlach’s book.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jim M on January 6, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Hi Matt
    Matt don’t you agree there is wide variation within dispensationalism as whole, especially in the world at large (meaning outside the seminaries?
    When I thought this was about the only correct way of understanding end times, most I spoke with and was exposed to, didn’t even think they were dispensational, even though they clearly were. So, I don’t doubt that somewhere along the pike someone did actually think what you wrote. I’m glad there are books, like the one you mentioned, but most don’t care what’s in books, most people I was around didn’t even like the term dispensational, and disliked all categories within theology. This is what leads to wide variations within dispensationalism. Anti doctrinal minds, I’m speaking in generalities, not guys who went to Dallas, or are well read. Most people who call themselves Cov theologians read deeper than the people in general out there. And the system is laid out more fully.
    I forgot to add on my post last time, that Riddlebarger really came very slowly to his understanding of end times. In other words he said one by one he saw the problems within his system as a dispensationalist, the way he explains he was hardcore in his dispensationalism. I know my 2 year plus study on these doctrines was also a slow process to coming to an understanding the way I feel today. John Gerstner’s book was very good in understanding many problems within this system. I’m not dogmatic in what I believe, it is a hard thing to understand, honestly every system has it’s problems. We’ll never really know until “That Day when Jesus returns in His glory” I’d hope you all would be less dogmatic in thinking you are correct 100%. I really tried to study this with an open mind, as I did all doctrines I was exposed to early on. As I said the last thing I wanted to be was amil! I just think it has less problems than the other system’s.
    Grace and peace, Jim M.

  2. There are many well-read, highly intelligent, incredibly scholarly theologians who would disagree that the amil position has fewer problems than other systems. Of course, this doesn’t make revised dispensationalism true, but there are a lot of guys out there promoting Covenant theology that try to give the impression that you can’t be a genuine scholar and be dispensational. (I understand that you aren’t saying that, Jim.)

    I have never seen this particular gross caricature of dispensationalism – and in the 25 years I have been a believer (and I am a DTS grad and a college teacher) I have never run across a teacher, pastor or even untaught student who held to multiple ways of redemption. At the most it has been a question in class. I don’t think many dispensationalists have even considered two different ways (except for dual-covenantalists) for the last 40-50 years.

    Dave James
    The Alliance for Biblical Integrity

  3. Posted by Jeff Dolan on January 7, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Jim,

    Nowhere in the post did Matt say tha he was 100% correct. However, I have encountered those of the amil/covenant camp actually doubt my I.Q. I think that they thought that they were 100% correct without any doubts. Now that is dogmatic.

    Jeff Dolan

  4. Posted by Matt Waymeyer on January 7, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Jim: If you think Gerstner was helpful in terms of identifying the problems with dispensationalism, you really do need to read Vlach’s book.

  5. Sorry about that, big link. Forgot to close my code. =-)

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