Spurgeon on Dispensationalism

Every now and then, I’ll hear someone say that Dispensationalism is not new; that it’s been around since the early church. They may point to stray quotes from Ireneaus and other church fathers to bolster their position. Regrettably, their position rests on an obfuscation on what, exactly, Dispensationalism is.

Will the real Dispensationalism stand up?

Let’s start with definitions.

dis·pen·sa·tion
noun
a system of order, government, or organization of a nation, community, etc., especially as existing at a particular time.

Note that there is nothing specifically relevant to Christian theology in this definition. In other words, if a person reads their Bible, they might naturally observe that different “dispensations” were in effect for Adam and Eve (pre-fall), than for, say, Abraham or Moses or Paul. Does that then make them a Dispensationalist (big “D”)?

In a word, no!

Almost without exception, every Christian scholar of every stripe believes that God uses different distinct epochs/ages/dispensations over human history. A Dispensationalist (Classical and Traditional Dispensationalist) believes much more than this. They believe:

  1. Sharp distinction between Israel and the Church (both in the past and in the future, with God having two distinct plans for the two distinct peoples)
  2. Insistence on historical-grammatical interpretation
  3. Progressive Revelation of God’s glory through history

As Ryrie himself says, “The essence of dispensationalism, then, is the distinction of Israel and the Church. This grows out of the dispensationalists consistent employment of normal or plain interpretation, and it reflects an understanding of the basic purpose of God in all His dealings with mankind as that of glorifying Himself thought salvation and other purposes as well.” This view is affirmed by Scofield, Chafer, Ironside, Hodges, MacArthur and many others.

But what do we do for Believers who affirm points 2 and 3, but not 1? All of Church history prior to the 1800s falls into this group, and we certainly can’t call them Dispensationalists!

Is it really new?

Dispensationalism was started by Darby in the 1800s. Some people would dispute that claim, saying that he merely popularized it. Usually this rebuttal arises when one waters down what Dispensationalists believe.

But here’s a rather telling quote from a contemporary of Darby, Charles Spurgeon:

“Distinctions have been drawn by certain exceedingly wise men (measured by their own estimate of themselves), between the people of God who lived before the coming of Christ, and those who lived afterwards. We have even heard it asserted that those who lived before the coming of Christ do not belong to the church of God!

We never know what we shall hear next, and perhaps it is a mercy that these absurdities are revealed at one time, in order that we may be able to endure their stupidity without dying of amazement. Why, every child of God in every place stands on the same footing; the Lord has not some children best beloved, some second-rate offspring, and others whom he hardly cares about.

These who saw Christ’s day before it came, had a great difference as to what they knew, and perhaps in the same measure a difference as to what they enjoyed while on earth meditating upon Christ; but they were all washed in the same blood, all redeemed with the same ransom price, and made members of the same body.

Israel in the covenant of grace is not natural Israel, but all believers in all ages. Before the first advent, all the types and shadows all pointed one way —they pointed to Christ, and to him all the saints looked with hope. Those who lived before Christ were not saved with a different salvation to that which shall come to us. They exercised faith as we must; that faith struggled as ours struggles, and that faith obtained its reward as ours shall”

Charles Suprgeon
Devotional Classics of C H Spurgeon, p122

Spurgeon’s comment tells us this much:

  • Dispensationalism (big “D”) was new to his day, teaching many new things yet unheard in Christendom
  • Dispensationalism taught the Church did not include OT saints
  • Spurgeon insisted that the OT saints were indeed part of the Church
  • People before Christ did not stand in the same light of revelation as NT saints (ie, progressive revelation)
  • In some way, Israel is not “natural Israel”, but rather, all believers of all ages

Very telling indeed.

14 comments to Spurgeon on Dispensationalism

  • Paul the apostle would concur with Spurgeon. In Romans 9:6 Paul said, “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel”.

  • Darby also taught a futurist interpretation of prophecy,which he got from Francisco Ribera” a Jesuit. Tgst became a part of Schofield’s commentary.

    • admin

      I’ve not read Darby. And I’ve never heard of Ribera.
      Personally, I’d really only care if the interpretation is viable, regardless of source.

      Thanks.

  • BW

    I didn’t know that Spurgeon spoke ex cathedra. Just because he said or thought anything means as little to Biblical truth as what I ate for lunch yesterday. The guy was wrong on so many things. Just look at the above quote. Spurgeon used a made-up covenant (i.e., the covenant of grace) and a made-up definition of Israel. As well, he didn’t realize that the church was yet future at the time of Christ (cf. “I will build my church” Matt. 16:18) since Spirit baptism had not yet happened and Sprit baptism is the only way people become members of the church (1 Cor. 12:13; cf. Acts 11:15–16 “At the beginning”). Spurgeon may have been a compelling speaker, but he was a shallow and ignorant theologian. People need to start using their brains and actually thinking for themselves.

    Honestly, reformed people don’t have any shame in mischaracterizing and lying about dispensationalism. I’ve found that dispensationalists tend to be very forgiving to the reformed crowd, but that is usually not reciprocated (kind of reminds me of American politics, the reformed being the Democrats in that scenario). Do some research, and try to actually give a fair hearing. As far as the sine qua non is concerned, points two and three usually offend reformed theologians. Number 2 simply speaks to consistency. Dispensationalists recognize that covenantalists (and the like) often apply a grammitcal-historical hermeneutic, but they are inconsistent, making exceptions primarily due to genre. Dispensationalists, on the other hand, model their hermeneutic after the examples the Bible demonstrates, such as how Christ interpreted OT passages of Jonah and Adam and Eve and how Daniel interpreted the writings of Jeremiah with literal years. A literal, normal, and plain interpretation is how the Bible has always been interpreted. In fact, it is the same methodology that is applied to the interpretation of the Constitution and federal laws (i.e., originalism). Furthermore, dispensationalists interpret prophecy according to the principles of Scripture and recognize that all prophecy was fulfilled literally. Any supposed “exceptions” are few and far between and are never actually exceptions. Often when reformed theologians examine the use of OT in the NT, they fail to employ a nuanced approach and demand that fulfillment is the only way that the OT is used in the NT (e.g., Joel 2:28–32 in Acts 2:17–21). Yet, the NT often uses OT passages to establish precedent and even to illustrate points.

    The third point of the sine qua non always gets the reformed. I would never deny that reformed theology is concerned with God’s glory. In fact, they incessantly discuss the immense glory God receives through the Gospel, which is overall a good thing, albeit narrow. Reformed theology tends to view God’s plan with only one facet. The Gospel becomes everything and the entire Bible is about salvation from a covenantal perspective (due to the invention of the theological covenants of grace and for many, redemption also). Yet, salvation is not the primary message of the Bible. I would argue that salvation is subservient to the main point of the Bible, which is the program of God’s restoration of physical Creation. Thus, salvation is not the main point of the Bible. The Bible is much more robust than that. God has separate purposes for the family, angels, government, and Israel, none of which are redemptive. For example, government’s design has nothing to do with salvation since governments are run almost unanimously by unsaved men toward goals that, while helping manage mankind’s immorality, do nothing to proclaim or promote salvation, yet they serve God’s purposes (Rom. 13:1–2). As well, Israel’s primary purpose was to bring about the restoration of the physical Creation through the mediatorial, Messianic Kingdom. The Kingdom is not a spiritual entity (since David’s throne is only a literal rule–cf. 1 Kings 2:12), it is God’s correction of earth physically. Thus, it is only an earthly Kingdom that will be ruled by the HaMashiach, Jesus. This is why the church is so important right now because the Body of Christ’s primary mission is spiritual in this age. Reformed theology typically has this completely backward. By conflating the church and the Kingdom they make God’s purposes for the future only spiritual and God’s purposes for the church primarily physical (i.e., social justice).

    Also, the assertion that dispensationalism is new is probably the most foolish argument I’ve ever heard. It makes you sound like a novice. You need to read more. I’m not sure why reformed folks think that holds any weight unless that’s really all they have for their arguments, which in that case, is truly pathetic. I don’t care if it was systematized yesterday. The question is whether it lines up with Scripture. Covenant theology has the same problem since it was formulated in the 1600s. Not too early in church history was it? Regardless, covenant theology and forms of federalism, calvinism, and reformed theology focus on the philosophies of men and then force them upon the text, whereas dispensationalism is the result of inductive (i.e., exegetical) study of the text. I even believe that sometimes dispensationalists have been guilty of deductive theology like reformed theologians (i.e., the dispensations of works, innocence, promise, and government), yet the ditinguishable economies of God in which man is commissioned toward distinct and focused tasks are explicitly enumerated in the text (Eph. 1:10; 3:2, 9). Dispensationalism is thoroughly Biblical because it is an orderly presentation of the Bible’s message, not an intellectual hypothesis about what the Bible could teach (i.e. reformed theology).

    Finally, I have to at least bring up the fact that reformed theology has its roots in gnosticism. All reformed theology relies on Augustine who was an adherent of Manichaeism for more than nine years. Manichaeism developed from Platonic teaching which viewed man and Creation through a dualistic lens. As I’m sure you’re familiar, gnostic teaching (i.e., Manichaeism) elevated the spiritual above the physical. It is unsurprising, then, to see that Augustine implemented this into his theology, though admittedly not to the extreme of full-blown gnosticism. Yet, convenantalism and all brands of Augustinianism have been plagued by this ever since. Amillennialism especially derives from gnostic dualism. Yet, God said the Creation was very good in Genesis 1:31 and His intention is for the Creation to be restored through the Millennial Kingdom. Dispensationalism, while suffering abusive lies that it is a “carnal” teaching (A.W. Pink wasn’t even that nice)is the only teaching that properly balances God’s intention for man spiritually as well as God’s plan for the physical Creation. It’s no wonder that reformed theology has such strong ties to theological liberalism and Hegelian dialecticism since it really has its roots in gnostic skepticism.

    I have made generalizations and not every detail is equally applicable to everyone who is reformed. With that, I hope next time you can offer something with at least a grain of Biblical and intellectual integrity.

    • admin

      BW – thanks so much for taking time to respond to my post. I greatly appreciate it.
      I’m sorry you’re so put out by it. Perhaps some clarification is in order.

      – This post is not about Reformed Theology (or Covenental Theology) vs Big D Dispensationalism (Classical and Traditional Dispensationalist). I appreacte your vast knowledge in comparing those subjects …but that’s not what I was writing about.

      – This post is also not about whether or not Dispensationalism is correct.
      Personally, I think Dispensationalism is not the best way to understand Biblical revelation, and find some parts of it strain credulity beyond my breaking point (eg, what is the Biblical basis for insisting that the Church started at Acts 2 and ends at the pre-trib rapture. Although I held that view until my late 20s, I now can’t support it from Scripture w/o a good dose of eisegesis. I see the Church as being all believers of all time). But I’m on no crusade to have Dispensationalism dismantled, or thrown out of the Church. ..and this post is not about exploring the Biblical accuracy of Dispensationalism. (again, emphasis on Big D Dispensationalism)

      – This post is about whether or not Dispensationalism (the JN Darby / Ryrie variation) is new in Church history, and

      – whether Dispensationalism (Big D) is sufficiently distinct from a general sense of dispensations in Bible history. To this end, I’ve talked at length to commentary authors, scholars and professors who affirm Dispensationalism, and even quoted from Ryrie to bolster my point: namely, that one can affirm general dispensations in the Bible (as several early church fathers did) without being a full-bore JN Darby / Ryrie Dispensationalist. Sorry, but Eph 1:10; 3:2, 9 do not go far enough to seal the deal for a Darby/Ryrie brand of Dispensationalism. Yours is a huge stretch …one that many Dispensationalists don’t mind making. But as I read pre-Darby commentaries on these verses, I fail to see how anyone could see these verses as “explicitly enumerat[ing]” anything, let alone specific Darbyesque Dispensations. These verses strike me as general references to various ‘administrations’, with no clear explanation as to what an ‘administration’ is.
      Is it a hard distinction between the Church and Israel? Doesn’t say.
      Is it a doctrine that has a different eschatology for the Church than for Israel? Doesn’t say. Etc, etc, etc.

      – This post is also about the reactions of prominent saints (namely Spurgeon) when they first heard Darby speak on Dispensationalism in the mid 1800s. The reason I included Spurgeon is because many Dispensationalists I know hold Sprugeon in high regard. And they’re shocked to find that he (and many others) held Dispensationalism in contempt.

      – And it is most definitely about what we should call people who affirm a general sense of various dispensations in Bible history, but reject Darby/Ryrie Big-D Dispensationalism – people like me who believe the Church started with the first believer (Adam or Abel); who believe ALL saints (OT, NT, Jew and Gentile from east and west) will be on the earth during the Millennium alongside those believers who survived the Great Tribulation (Matt 8:10-12); who reject the idea that NT saints (whom they call “the Church”) will be in heaven but OT saints and Jewish converts (who are not part of “the Church”) will be on the earth during the Millennium.

      – – –

      In the final analysis, we have one requirement for any new doctrine we come across: search the Scriptures to see if these things are true [which, I must add, is not the same as “Search the Scriptures to see if these things are NOT true”]. To that end, you’re right: it actually doesn’t matter whether or not a doctrine came late in church history. It doesn’t matter whose pen it came from. It doesn’t even matter the gender of the person delivering the doctrine. It only matters whether it agrees with Scripture. After all, we don’t want to commit genetic fallacies, right?

      So I confess I find it somewhat odd that you reject and find foolish my claim that Dispensationalism is new – yet provided no support for your assertion. Perhaps you ran out of time and energy? 🙂 I find myself echoing Erasmus: “We require arguments, not assertions!” Tossing up a couple of references to vague administrations/dispensations merely acknowledges that some kind of dispensations exist, but is NOT full-bore Darby/Ryrie Dispensationalism. Not even close! Go back and read my quote from Ryrie. I challenge you to provide Biblical support for this.

      And if that weren’t bad enough, your last paragraph plunged straightaway into the error of genetic fallacies: “Augustine was a Manichean for a time, it had to influence his teaching, therefore nothing he says should be trusted”.
      How does that follow?? Can a person never repent for heresies?? I thought we weren’t supposed to engage in genetic fallacies.
      So I admit I find myself mildly amused. Just curious: do you actually know how much of your own worldview is influenced by Platonic or Aristotilean thought? Was Paul’s? He affirmed Greek philosophers (Epimenides abnd Menander to name a couple), and even said they were correct on occasion. Should we abandon Pauline doctrine because of his past? After all, you do know he was a Christian-killing Pharisee for several years, right? And surely that influenced his winner-takes-all-let-God-sort-em-out stance against enemies (1 Cor 16:22; 1 Cor 5:4-5) One wonders: would Greeks have assumed Jesus knew a thing or two about Aristotle because He emulated his peripatetic style of teaching? I admit that Hegel is new to me in my study of the history of philosophy, but didn’t Jesus use something akin to Hegelian dialecticism when refuting the Jews in John 10? Didn’t WL Craig use it to answer Euthyphro’s Dilemma?

      I have not addressed every detail you’ve laid out. With that, I hope next time you can focus on the point of the post with at least a grain of focus. And it wouldn’t hurt to know that tend to keep my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.

      Ever onward, ever upward.

      Thanks!!

  • BW

    Hi Admin,

    I do also appreciate your reply, specifically because I feel that you took the time to put forth something substantive. I wish more debates on the internet could be characterized by thoughtful replies, rather than half-cocked insults. I commend you for that.

    I also want you to know that simply because I disagree with reformed theology (and you), I do recognize those who believe the Gospel as my brothers in Christ. The test of brotherhood is the person and work of Christ received through faith alone. Yet, disagreements such as this one are similar to the relationship between brothers by blood. As I was growing up, my older brother and I fought often, but our relationship remained the same–He never stopped being my brother. While I never want to treat my brothers and sisters in Christ like I treated my brother , there is a legitimate place for sharp disagreements over important issues. Certainly, the total structure and message of the Bible is an important issue. With that, here is my reply.

    Now…

    1. You are correct to point out that your post was not on the validity of dispensationalism or reformed theology (I use “reformed” as a catchall). My intention is not to argue by appealing to dichotomies as if because one can be proven false, that validates the other. However, as you will see, dispensationalism stands in a realm all its own since it is the only approach to Scripture that follows a consistently literal interpretive method; all other approaches fall along a spectrum of allegorical interpretation.

    As regards the point of your post, your statements brought both dispensationalism and reformed theology into focus (you cited Spurgeon who made his arguments by appealing to covenant theology) and your primary argument was apologetical in nature. Your argument was meant to give support to the tired and flimsy argument that dispensationalism is new, and therefore, the thinking goes, those areas in which dispensationalism treads unprecedented ground in church history should be rejected. It is common knowledge to those who’ve studied this arena of theology that the charge of recency is a primary argument for reformed theology when arguing against dispensationalism. On this basis, my focus on addressing the errors of reformed theology and supporting dispensationalism was quite valid and was able to bypass this red herring.

    In other words, my arguments were on topic and deliberate. I did not misunderstand your points.

    2. The fact that the church began in Acts 2 is quite apparent in Scripture––to at least the same degree as the Triunity of God. Here’s the evidence:

    (a) Christ first revealed that He would build a new body of believers in Matthew 16:18. Not only did He use the future tense (indicating the building had not yet been started), but in Ephesians 2:20, Paul describes this structure as having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ as the cornerstone. Now, while this is an analogy and every piece should not be taken too far, Paul uses this picture to explain what God is now doing in the world through a NEW group of people which includes believing Jews and Gentiles together as members of the Body of Christ. Such a body could not be built before Christ as He is the cornerstone or before the apostles since they were part of the foundation. This is the most straightforward and natural reading of both passages.

    (b) 1 Corinthians 12:13 states: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” Paul says later in Colossians 1:18 that this body is the CHURCH. Therefore, to be a member of the church, one must be baptized by the Spirit (i.e., immersed into Christ) from which Paul derives the powerful prepositional phrase “in Christ.” In only two short words, Paul was able to summarize the immense doctrine of the church. Spirit Baptism into Christ is how one becomes a member of the church.

    (c) Now, taking the two facts already established, Peter’s words in Acts 11:15–16 tie it all together. Notice that Peter recounts how the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentile believers exactly as happened in Acts 2 to the Jews gathered at the Temple for Pentecost. Interestingly, Peter said that Acts 2 was “the beginning.” But what was it the beginning of? He goes on in verse 16 to explain how he remembered Jesus saying that they would eventually be baptized by the Holy Spirit, to which Peter identifies as having happened at the beginning in Acts 2. Therefore, Acts 2 was the beginning of the baptism of the Spirit which means it was the beginning of the Body of Christ.

    This is the plain, face value of these passages. To assert a different view of the church’s beginning than espoused here places the burden on the one asserting it. And in light of the overwhelming evidence––of which I again point out is of the same kind and weight as God’s Triunity––any such assertion is erroneous.

    3. As far as the pretribulational Rapture, the evidence is abundant as well. I’m not sure why this is such a divisive issue or why reformed theologians look down their noses at dispensationalists (perhaps because Left Behind became a bestseller and the “scholarly” laugh at it as though somehow a fictional depiction of prophetic events invalidates those events; the logic doesn’t add up) for holding to a pre-trib view, but this view is not only valid but the natural way of reading the text.

    First, Paul reveals this event in detail in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51–53. He wrote 1 Thessalonians first so by the time he wrote 1 Corinthians, he was filling in more detail. He describes this event as the resurrection of the dead and the translation of living believers into glorified bodies. He explains that Christ will return at which time the dead will rise and those living will be translated and they will all be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. That words “caught up” are the translation of the Latin word “rapio” which is a translation of the Greek word ἁρπάζω. As well, Paul includes a cognate of that technical prepositional phrase “in Christ” when he says those who have died “in Jesus” will be raised from the dead (1 Thess. 4:14), indicating that he is referring to those who were baptized into the Body of Christ which began in Acts 2.

    Second, Paul referred to the coming of Christ for His church as the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). He explains that God’s grace has instructed believers to be looking forward to this blessed hope. Since it is a participle, it states how believers are to live godly throughout the present age, meaning this is to be the continual longing of the believer throughout the age. This indicates that the blessed hope can happen at any moment, including right now as I type this. Yet, Christ’s return to earth (which the Rapture passages never describe––they merely describe Him returning to the air to meet His church) comes roughly seven years from the beginning of the Tribulation (Matt. 24:29) which is marked by the firm compact made with Israel by the lawless one (i.e., the Antichrist; Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3). However, we certainly are not in the Tribulation since such a compact has not taken place, nor is there a temple in Israel within which the lawless one will desecrate the altar.

    Third, Paul made it clear that believers will be spared from the time of God’s wrath. In 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Paul explains that the Thessalonians were waiting for Jesus Christ who would rescue them from the wrath to come. That the wrath to come refers to the Tribulation is brought out both by Paul’s attachment of it to Christ’s return (since at Christ’s return to establish His literal Kingdom upon the earth, God will cease pouring out His wrath) and the fact that Paul explains this wrath in 1 Thessalonians 5 as the Day of the Lord. Additionally, Revelation 6:16–17 indicates that God’s wrath is poured out on the earth during the Tribulation as unbelievers cry out to the mountains to hide them from the Lamb’s wrath. Paul states this point again at the end of 1 Thessalonians by explaining that God has not destined believers for the wrath of the Day of the Lord, but the rescue of Jesus Christ. Therefore, God’s intention for believers is to remove them from the earth so that He can deal with mankind in wrath, something Paul makes very clear.

    This doesn’t even begin to exhaust the arguments FROM Scripture that indicate that the Rapture precedes the Tribulation. For those who hold alternate views, especially those who are amillennial, postmillennial, or hold non-futurist views of eschatology, they must step past a simple and plain reading of the Scriptures. Again, the burden of proof is on them. Both the beginning of the church in Acts 2 and the pretribulational Rapture are the straightforward readings.

    4. Examining whether dispensationalism is new in church history goes back to my original point––what does it matter? Why are you even wasting time on this? I do think historical studies have some value, but when discussing frameworks for understanding the Bible which have antecedents in church history (both covenant theology and dispensationalism do), arguments from church history hold little weight. Anytime someone distinguished the church from Israel as distinct entities, they were espousing the basic idea of dispensationalism. Yet, your post was apologetical in nature.

    Now, by tying dispensationalism to Ryrie and Darby, you effectively push the argument away from the teachings of dispensationalism and onto the people and their particular views. Where Darby and Ryrie derived their ideas from the text, they were right. Those places where their views were built on deductions, they went too far. By and large, especially Ryrie, they were spot on in reflecting the teachings of Scripture. Regardless of whether their views were held earlier in church history, which they were from the earliest days.

    5. No dispensationalist who has done his homework would argue that affirmation of “dispensations” equates to dispensationalism. I think this is what confuses so many people on the topic. Perhaps if we used a term like “arrangements” or “administrations” there would be less confusion. Dispensationalism is not focused on the “seven” dispensations that are the caricature of it. Dispensationalism focuses on three different administrations in which God accomplishes His purposes through man. The main point is that God requires different things from His administrators in these administrations. Thus, one cannot go to the Old Testament to find out about church-age truth and practice. One also cannot go to Kingdom related passages and find church doctrine and practice. But to argue that no one in church history before Darby held to distinctions like this is absurd. They most certainly did.

    The Syrian and Alexandrian schools were opposed to one another with the former interpreting the Bible literally (i.e., normally) and the latter interpreting it allegorically. From the Alexandrian school came Origen and Augustine, the father of Roman Catholic (though soteriologically they’ve swung toward Pelagianism over time) and reformed theology. Allegorical interpretation, which interpreted the church as the fulfillment of the Jewish covenants, came from Alexandria and is carried forward primarily by covenant theology today. The Syrian school in Antioch, however, was chiliastic (i.e., premillennial) and saw Israel as distinct enough from the church that they believed Israel would be restored and saved at Christ’s return. The finer details were unpolished, but the distinction was there. While some modern frameworks (e.g., new covenant theology, progressive dispensationalism) could in part find their heritage in the Syrian school, the literal approach is closest to classical/traditional (I wish “traditional” was not the accepted term) dispensationalism. As well, men like Hippolytus, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus presented interpretations (e.g., Dan. 9:24–27) that are the same, though less refined, as dispensational interpretations today.

    You can say “sorry, but Eph 1:10; 3:2, 9 do not go far enough to seal the deal,” but they do in fact. Denying it doesn’t remove Paul’s point. The administrations that Paul discusses refer to the three dispensations I’ve already discussed: Law, Grace, and the Kingdom. In Ephesians 2:2 and 9, Paul identifies an arranged order which operates by grace (i.e., a favorable and liberating disposition) and functions through the mystery––the new body of Jews and Gentiles. It’s no more complicated than that. God currently deals with man favorably through His Body, the church. Part of that favorable disposition is that God now fulfills His purposes through man without binding His administrators under a heavy burden (Rom. 6:14). So the dispensation of Grace is a Biblical administration. And by distinguishing this as a new administration that had been hidden previously, Paul establishes that there was an administration that operated differently before Grace. It is clear from his writings, particularly Galatians, that this administration was Law. I’m sure you and I wouldn’t even disagree over this. Yet, I recognize these administrations as being distinct and because of the new entity that began within this new administration of Grace (i.e., the mystery church), I understand that Israel and the church are distinct and functioned under distinct administrations. It’s that simple. To take the New Testament any other way places the burden on you. The straightforward, literal reading is that Israel’s covenant promises will be fulfilled to and through Israel and that the church’s spiritual promises will be fulfilled to and through the church. Very simple; very straightforward. To define these entities in any way other than according to their plain meanings moves outside of God’s authority over His Word. Remember, just because Paul states that Christians are related spiritually to Abraham by faith and therefore will be blessed by the promises made to Abraham does not mean that they have overtaken the covenants. Paul never says that the church is related to Jacob. Neither does the New Testament say that we are related to the covenants––it says Gentile believers are related to the promises; the difference between Genesis 12 (promise) and Genesis 15 (covenant). The only place the New Testament speaks of the New Covenant is in relation to Israel, aside from 2 Corinthians 3:6, (e.g., the book of “Hebrews”––that’s what a Hebrew is, even when they believe in Jesus Christ; and the Gospels which were dealing with Israel during the Passover Seder, a Jewish feast). The subject matter of Hebrews makes clear that the audience was Jewish since the writer makes a lengthy treatise on the Law in the Mosaic Covenant in relation to Christ. That is not something Gentile believers have ever related to. And as far as 2 Corinthians 3:6 is concerned, that passage says it has made us “servants” of the New Covenant. In other words, we are serving the nation of Israel and preparing the way for the New Covenant by provoking them to jealousy.

    To say “Is it a hard distinction between the Church and Israel? Doesn’t say” begins with a false premise––that Israel and the church overlap. By the very definition of these two entities––”church” being a different word than “Israel” and both having distinct meanings––continuity is a conclusion superimposed on the text. This is what I find unbelievable about those who reject dispensationalism––they always act as though dispensationalism is contorting the text WHEN DISPENSATIONALISM IS SLAVISHLY DEVOTED TO THE PLAIN FACE VALUE OF THE TEXT. Which approach submits to God’s Word more, the one that departs from a plain reading or the one that just takes Israel to mean Israel and the church to mean the church?

    6. You used Spurgeon to argue your point, asserting: “In some way, Israel is not ‘natural Israel’, but rather, all believers of all ages.” You provide no proof for that statement. You just appealed to Spurgeon and instead of writing a conclusion you let him have the last word as though he was authoritative. Hence, why I made the tongue-in-cheek statement about Spurgeon speaking ex cathedra. All you say is “very telling indeed” as though the evidence spoke for itself. True, Spurgeon was opposed to and taken aback by dispensationalism, but asserting that Israel is not “natural Israel” (which again is not stated anywhere in Scripture but is a deductive argument based on allegorical assumptions that step past the face value of the term Israel) on the basis that Spurgeon said it is worthless.

    7. Again, suggesting that the church began with Adam or Abel or in the Old Testament is not from the text of Scripture. That is so obviously an extra-Biblical deduction. There is not a single passage in the Bible that says anything remotely close to that. You have to force that upon the text which is the definition of eisegesis. The church is found in the NT, not the OT. Therefore, your view is an extreme leap.

    8. You are correct that I did not give positive proof as to dispensationalism not being new. That was my mistake. I worded my statement in such a way that it didn’t reflect what I was getting at. Nearly every doctrinal position has been a development of the past and neither reformed theology or dispensationalism as taught today can be found throughout the majority of church history. Yet, they both can point back to their major underpinnings in the past. I guess what I’m saying is that dispensationalism is no different than other theological frameworks regarding its history. It’s a moot point.

    9. With regard to genetic fallacy, your entire argument was related to genetic fallacy, in that if dispensationalism has no genesis in church history, it’s teaching must be a new invention not from God. Just because philosophy courses and YouTube have popularized the topic of logical fallacies in recent days doesn’t mean people really understand when and how to apply them. An argument that commits the error of genetic fallacy points to a view’s ORIGIN as the determination of whether it’s valid or false. A genetic fallacy does NOT account for the current form of a view or for the development of that view over time. It appeals solely to the consensus of its origin without regard to whether it reflects that or developed in a way that was consistent with its origin. Make sure you understand logical fallacies well before you quickly dismiss an argument based on one. Appealing to logical fallacies to dismiss an argument can be a logical fallacy in and of itself.

    The fact is that reformed theology today STILL propagates a major component of gnostic teaching. You put words in my mouth by saying “Augustine was a Manichean for a time, it had to influence his teaching, therefore nothing he says should be trusted.” Those were not my words. I’m not saying “it had to influence his teaching,” I’m saying it did influence his teaching. I also never said he was wrong about everything. The fact is that he used a gnostic framework to build his system of theology. As an example, JWs aren’t in error on every single view they hold, but I would never listen to their teaching because their structure of theology is thoroughly corrupted. So is Augustine, though to a lesser degree since he did reject the extremes of Gnosticism. Deny it if you want, but the duality of the material world and the elevation of the spiritual over the physical comes directly from Gnosticism. As well, Augustine and Origen carried this into their interpretive schemes. This is well documented and even a cursory reading of “The City of God” evidences his tendency to seek a higher spiritual meaning than the face value of the text. This can be traced through church history. The connection between Augustine and Gnosticism as well as the connection between Augustine and the reformers is sufficiently documented. You can reject that there is any importance to that, but the connection is there. Reformed theology places emphasis on the spiritual and allegorizes the text. This developed, though with refinement, through the Alexandrian school who produced many gnostics including Augustine. And Augustine, who did “repent of heresies” in regards to denials of Christ’s person, employed his Manichean training to his interpretation of the Bible as a whole.

    10. To some degree, Greek philosophers were influenced by Tanakh-believing Jews, just as the Greeks Hellenized some Jews. Furthermore, God has generally revealed Himself in the Creation and man’s conscience. To the extent that a Greek philosopher was influenced by these sources, I believe they could hold some merit. So, yes, Greco-Roman influence is a large part of society today. As to the Greek philosophers Paul appealed to, he was not vindicating their worldview, he was merely appealing to a single point of similarity––much like when evangelizing someone from another religion, you can often find a point in their philosophy that is generally true and launch from there. Yet, that is a far cry from vindicating their worldview. What I’m speaking of with Augustine isn’t merely him finding a point of similarity between Gnosticism and a Biblical worldview, he borrowed the whole framework. As well, Paul’s past was built around the Tanakh, though a corrupted application of it. By the time he became a Christian, he wasn’t carrying in a false framework, he was carrying the OT Scriptures and a worldview that was built out of them. His biggest hurdle was stripping away the self-righteousness that Judaism had developed, which he did.

    Also, Jesus did not use Hegelian dialecticism in John 10. Hegelian dialecticism is the view (in a nutshell) that a continual chain of compromise of conflicting views leads to truth so that no view by itself can be held as true, but each time it comes into conflict with its opposite, it is forced to compromise (i.e., synthesize) and becomes a closer refinement toward truth.

    As far as William Lane Craig and Euthyphro’s dilemma, that is a perfect example of senseless philosophizing. The Scriptures do not answer the question. Whenever the Scriptures are silent on an issue (related to theology, faith, and practice), it’s best to leave it alone. Philosophy is the Achilles heel of Christianity. Philosophy may derive from the Greek words meaning “the love of wisdom” but it has come to mean “the love of man’s speculation.”

    “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Col. 2:8).

    11. Finally, I did focus on the post with a “grain of focus.” I just discussed necessary points directly related to the point of your post that went beyond the narrow polemical handcuffs you’d like to place on me. My statements were relevant and gave the necessary background against your argument.

    I cannot stress this enough:

    The burden of proof is on you and all who hold views that step past the plain statements of the text.

    It is incredibly frustrating that the reformed crowd has framed things in such a way that they talk about dispensationalism like it’s this extreme leap when it merely takes the Bible at its word. Even if you reject dispensationalism at least be honest enough to recognize that it does take the text in the most straightforward way: Israel means Israel, the church means the church, the Millennial Kingdom means the Millennial Kingdom, the New Covenant is for Judah and Israel because it says it is made with “Judah and Israel,” the Millennial Temple will be a literal temple with literal sacrifices because it says it will be, one-thousand years means one-thousand years, so on and so forth.

    The fact of the matter is that dispensationalism is valid regardless of its late FORMAL development in church history. It’s major tenets, however, have been a part of Christianity since its earliest days.

    Every person has a decision: will you let the text speak and take it at face value or will you make the text say what you see fit?

    With that, I pray the best for you. I also pray that you will not be an old man by the time you reach the end of my lengthy rebuttal.

    In Christ,
    BW

    • admin

      Thanks for the kind words, etc, etc, etc.

      > However, as you will see, dispensationalism stands in a realm all its own

      I assume you mean “Big D Dispensationalism”??
      (respectfully, I must insist we make a distinction between (Big”D”) “Dispensationalism” and “affirming dispensations”, just as you automatically make a distinction between “Covenant Theology” and “affirming covenants”. EG, you surely believe there are various distinct covenants in the Bible [Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, New, etc], yet you do not subscribe to Covenant Theology proper. Likewise, any Christian worth his salt will believe there are various distinct dispensations of some sort [pre-flood; post-flood; Law; grace; millennium] even if they reject Dispensationalism proper. These nuances are critical if our conversation is to be productive. Thanks.)

      > since it is the only approach to Scripture that follows a consistently literal interpretive method; all other approaches fall along a spectrum of allegorical interpretation.

      Usually when I hear someone say something like this, it usually ends up meaning “I like the list of passages that I take literally and the list that I take allegorically. I don’t like the passages that you take literally and allegorically”. Never have I ever met anyone who follows a “consistently literal interpretive method” while also being capable of showing how AND why other people’s methods are inconsistent.
      (Here are just two examples of many:
      – show me how/why you don’t take the 1st half of Jn 6:53 as literal, yet take the 2nd half literally. Be sure to explain the differences between Lutheran and RC positions, and show how yours is *hermeneutically/exegetically* superior to both. Forgive me for not holding my breath. 😉 [you don’t actually have to do that exercise. I’m just making a point]
      – Another example closer to Dispensational issues might be Ps 51. Please explain why “take not thy Holy Spirit from me” (v11) is literal (not hyperbole) and therefore affirms your Dispensational presupposition about the work of the Holy Spirit, but in the same chapter we read “against You only have I sinned” and somehow it is *not* literal (ie, it is hyperbole). Please justify your claim that the same chapter presents both literal and hyperbolic phrasing, and that your “consistently literal interpretive method” properly knows when phrases in the same chapter (or verse!) should be properly rendered as literal or hyperbolic/allegorical.
      I’ve never met anyone who could do it without referring to a chart/diagram/paradigm.
      Mind you – I’m not against having a paradigm; I’m against people who act as if their conclusions are purely and always driven by exegesis w/o needing to rely on a paradigm, when in fact they are.)

      > (you cited Spurgeon who made his arguments by appealing to covenant theology

      We disagree on Spurgeon’s “appealing” to covenant theology. (The pharse “covenant of grace” has bona-fide meaning outside of CT proper.)

      > Your argument was meant to give support to the tired and flimsy argument that dispensationalism is new, and therefore, the thinking goes, those areas in which dispensationalism treads unprecedented ground in church history should be rejected.

      But it is indeed new (as *proven* by Spurgeon’s comments. If Spurgeon isn’t enough for you, try showing me that the Puritans believed Dispensationalism (emphasis on BIG D!!). Orthodox Church. Anabaptists. Etc, etc, etc. None of them affirmed a Ryrie-eque Dispensationalism). And if those groups aren’t good enough for you, look at your own writing: you pretty much concede that Dispensationalism is new.
      BTW, I didn’t imply your “therefore”. You’re putting words and meaning in my mouth.

      > He would build a new body of believers in Matthew 16:18

      Actually, no He didn’t. He said He would “build My church”. Nowhere did He say “new”.

      If future tense means “not yet started”, then I guess you believe past tense means ‘already completed’, and Isaiah 53 means that Jesus was already crucified prior to 750AD. How’s that for plain reading?
      We could do this all day, btw. Many statements in the Bible have verb tense, but our theology brushes over them w/o necessitating that they strictly mean past or future tense.
      More importantly – You have to remember: Jesus’ disciples already believed they were part of the ‘ekklesia’. They’d heard it read every Sabbath in the synagogue ever since they were kids (there are dozens of references to the ‘ekklesia’ of the OT). It would never enter the disciples’ minds that Jesus was somehow talking about a “New and never been seen before ekklesia”. ..nor did Jesus say so.

      > but in Ephesians 2:20, Paul described…

      Is Paul describing a “new and improved” ekklesia, or a “brand new, never been seen before” ekklesia??
      Your Dispensationalism compels you to read it as the latter, but good luck proving it with the text. I say this because the same book, chapter 3:6, makes it abundantly clear that Paul is talking about the same Body that existed in the OT, now being augmented with a new people: the Gentiles. The Ephesians would never have understood Paul to be talking about a “brand new, never been seen before” body. Like the disciples and apostles before them, they knew what an ekklesia was.
      Worse, Eph 2:19 works against your reading of 2:20. Paul is saying “you are no longer strangers and aliens [on the outside of the PRE EXISTING OT BODY OF BELIEVERS], but are now fellow citizens with the [OT] saints and members [of equal standing with the existing OT saints] of the household of God”.
      (BTW, don’t accuse me of eisegesis just because I’m using brackets. I’m being clear. The brackets method cuts both ways. If you wrote the verse with brackets to bolster your position, I wouldn’t accuse you of eisegesis unless the thought could not be found anywhere else in Scripture.)

      > Such a body could not be built before Christ as He is the cornerstone

      Huh. You mean the same Christ who walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden; sat with Abraham; rained fire on S&G; compelled Moses to forsake the riches of Egypt (Heb 11:26); the cloud that led the wandering Israelites; the rock that watered the thirsty Israelites; called Joshua to battle against Jericho .. you mean that Christ? Of course He was in the OT. He made the whole universe (Jn 1:1-3). How/why would He not be active in the OT?

      > This is the most straightforward and natural reading of both passages.

      Except my reading is even more straightforward than yours. Now what?
      (see my point above about liking your list of verses that you don’t take literally 😉 )

      > Spirit Baptism into Christ is how one becomes a member of the church.

      Now all you have to do is prove that the Spirit never baptized anyone prior to Acts 2. Good luck with that one.
      – If you want to wave Ps 51:11 as your flag of triumph, you have to *first* prove that David is *not* being invoking hyperbole.
      – You also have to show that the Holy Spirit’s ‘washing’ is not the same as baptism. I’ve no idea how you’ll defend that position.
      – You also have to explain why Acts *never* says that the Holy Spirit was *in* anyone; always *on*. Shouldn’t Luke have known better. Or worse, Shouldn’t Jesus Himself have known better??? Try taking Acts 1:8 literally. Jesus says “on”, not “in”. Since you’re all about “consistent interpretation” I’d like to challenge you from now on to be like Luke and Jesus and only say that the Holy Spirit is “on” NT people. Go for it. 🙂 (I’m well aware of Jn 14:17, btw. The problem is that there are many OT passages that also say that the Spirit was *in* people as there are post-pentecost passages that say the Spirit was “on” people. How do you explain that? I don’t know what the answer is to that one, but I’m pretty sure it is *not* a reference to permanent indwelling. I bet it’s more likely a reference to “powerful indwelling”)

      >Interestingly, Peter said that Acts 2 was “the beginning.” But what was it the beginning of?

      Well, let’s Ask Peter himself. On the Day of Pentecost did he stand up and say “This is the beginning of the Church Body, an event never seen before in the history of humanity!”? No. He said nothing of the sort. Instead, when asked, he said this:
      [+]But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: ​​​​​​​​“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, ​​​​​​​that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, ​​​​​​​and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, ​​​​​​​and your young men shall see visions, ​​​​​​​and your old men shall dream dreams; ​​​ ​​​​​​​​even on my male servants and female servants ​​​​​​​in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. ​​​ (Acts 2:16-18)

      It was the beginning of “the last days”, where an ordinary Joe (and ordinary Jane) would now participate in prophesies, dreams and visions. In the OT, the supernatural works of the Holy Spirit (prophesies, dreams, visions) were sparingly given out pretty much only Prophets, Priests and Kings, not regular Joes.
      But not so in the last days; the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit would be POURED out. To all kinds of people.
      That’s what Peter is telling them.
      IMHO, this is a far more “plain” reading than your “plain, face-value” reading that dismisses Peter’s use of Scripture and phrases about “young men, old men, servants” etc, and invents text about “this is the day that the Church has started! Let us rejoice and be glad in it”

      > To assert a different view of the church’s beginning than espoused here places the burden on the one asserting it

      No problem.
      To wit – the word “ekklesia” shows up dozens of times in the OT. As you surely know, the 1st century Jew used the Greek LXX as their Bible. They would have thought nothing of hearing that they were part of the “ekklesia”. The burden of proof is on you to show that Peter’s use of “ekklesia” 1) no longer refers to the same thing they thought it did ever since they were kids; 2) now refers to a new, never-before-seen body of believers.

      Respectfully, the only way you arrive at your “overwhelming evidence” is by being oblivious of other perspectives that don’t share your post-1820 presuppositions.

      > As far as the pretribulational Rapture, the evidence is abundant as well.

      What you call “evidence”, I will (easily) demonstrate as short-sighted presupposition. (not trying to be rude; just trying to be brief). And my take on it has nothing to do with Reformed perspectives or even Dispensationalism (after all, there are post-trib Dispensationalists). It has everything to do with what the Bible “plainly” (if I may use the word 😉 ) says.

      > Paul reveals this event in detail in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–17

      No, actually, he doesn’t.

      Re-read the passage and ask yourself this one question: after Jesus meets the saints in the air, *does He go back up to heaven, or does He continue down to earth?*

      The text DOES NOT SAY! Therefore, respectfully, you cannot say.

      – If Jesus goes back up into heaven, then you have either a pre-trib or a mid-trib. The ball is still in your court to go the next step to prove that it’s pre-trib and not mid-trib, as they both can’t (surely!) be true.

      BUT…

      – If Jesus continues on down to earth, then you have post-trib rapture and definitely NOT a pre-trib or mid-trib rapture.

      But like I said, 1 Thess 4 does **not** say whether Jesus goes back to heaven or continues on down to earth. So the passage can ONLY be used to support the fact that there is a rapture (as you clearly demonstrated). But the passage is silent on what Jesus does next, so it CANNOT be used to ‘prove’ pre, mid or post trib rapture.
      Via your special powers of ‘clear reading’, you *assume* that Jesus goes back up to heave, so… the ball is in your court to prove from 1 Thess 4 that it means “so then we will always be with the Lord [in heaven]” and not “so then we will always be with the Lord [on earth]”.

      > Yet, Christ’s return to earth (which the Rapture passages never describe…

      Take another look at 2 Thess 1. Where are the Thessalonian saints when Jesus comes in blazing glory to destroy His enemies?
      They’re on earth. Read it and pay close attention to v7: when do they receive the relief?? 7 years before Jesus comes in blazing glory?? No. They receive it *when* He comes.
      So why is the Thessalonian church on earth if the rest of the Church was raptured 7 years prior?? Are we going to now hear that 2 Thess is actually written to the GT saints??

      > Third, Paul made it clear that believers will be spared from the time of God’s wrath.

      Oi!
      – Please demonstrate that this “wrath” is not the same wrath of Luke 3:7 or Jn 3:36(!) or the condemnation of Rom 8:1. I ask because 1 Thess 5:9 juxtaposes “wrath” with “salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ”. This “plainly” means that you either get one or the other; meaning you don’t get both. Yet according to you, there are saints in the GT. Why are they getting both wrath AND salvation?
      – If “salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” only means “rescued from the GT”, then -bingo- you have found a verse on which you inexplicably sprinkle your magic allegory dust. Because in every other verse I’ve seen (Acts 13:47; 2 Tim 2:10; 2 Tim 3:15; 2 Pet 3:15, etc), salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ means being saved from hell.

      > 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Paul explains that the Thessalonians were waiting for Jesus Christ who would rescue them from the wrath to come.

      Yes. To save them from Final Judgment at the Second Coming – same thing Paul refers to in 2 Thess 1. (See also Rev 19).

      > Additionally, Revelation 6:16–17 indicates that God’s wrath is poured out on the earth during the Tribulation as unbelievers cry out to the mountains … God’s intention for believers is to remove them from the earth so that He can deal with mankind in wrath,

      Sure. That’s one kind of wrath.
      But did you also notice Rev 6:9ff, where **saints** from the GT were martyred, and begging for God to pour out vengeance on those who persecuted them? They were told to wait (till Rev 18), when they’re told that the time has come for wrath and vengeance, and they are to rejoice. And what do the saints of heaven do? They rejoice to see God destroy their enemies. See Rev 18:20ff, and Rev 19:1-10. They’re rejoicing to see Jesus come destroy His enemies, JUST LIKE THE Thessalonian saints in 2 Thess 1:8ff.
      So I repeat: When do the Thessalonian saints get their relief from their persecutors? When Jesus comes. NOT 7 years earlier. Sorry. No pre-trib rapture.

      For being “very clear”, you’ve got it all mangled.
      What you’ve unwittingly ended up with is a circular set of arguments. You believe:
      – 1 Thess 4:17 means pre-trib rapture (even though it doesn’t say so), because…
      – 1 Thess 5:9a “wrath” means GT and not hell (even though it doesn’t say so), because…
      – 1 Thess 5:9b “salvation” means exempt from GT and not heaven (even though it doesn’t say so and everywhere else it means heaven), because…
      – 1 Thess 1:10 “wrath” means GT and not hell (even though it doesn’t say so), because…
      well ..well.. because it’s describing the pre-trib rapture, of course, as we saw in 1 Thess 4!!

      Nice.
      Next we’ll hear how you prefer a plain reading of Scripture. 😉

      > Again, the burden of proof is on them.

      Accepted. So I’ll repeat for clarity:
      – In 2 Thess 1:5-12 the Thessalonian saints get relief from their persecutors **when** Jesus comes in blazing glory at His Second Coming, not 7 years prior. Ergo, Post-trib. I know of no way to work around this, so technically, this is the end of discussion. (this was the passage that cinched it for me, btw)
      – Saints are martyred in the GT (Rev 6:9-11). Why should I believe the Church is not there if saints are there?
      – If the absence of the word ‘ekklesia’ past Rev 4:1 “proves” the Church is no longer there, then the presence of the word “ekklesia” in the Greek OT “proves” the Church is there. If you disagree, please stop carrying on about “plain reading of Scripture” and “consistent interpretation”
      – Nowhere in Scripture does any saint or prophet describe the NT ‘ekklesia’ as being completely different from the OT ‘ekklesia’ that everyone already knew about. Indeed, Eph 3:6 directly implies that it’s an upgrade to an existing (“same”) Body.
      – Matt 24, Jesus plainly says that *after* the Great Tribulation, the saints will be gathered in the air. (I just shake my head that many Dispies dismiss it by saying “Matthew was written to Jews ONLY. Luke was written to Gentiles!” Ok, so why does Luke’s Olivet Discourse say the same thing? [crickets]
      -“The Father loves the bride and would never batter the Bride of Christ”, some say. What!?? (True Confession: Sometimes I want to throw Foxe’s Book of Martryrs at these folks so hard it hits them on the head and gives them a concussion. The audacity to suggest something so outrageous and insulting to all those who have suffered and died for His name’s sake. Clearly they have NO clue that Jesus said the exact opposite in Matt 23:34-35. If the Father wouldn’t cause the Bride to suffer, do you think He also wouldn’t cause the Son to suffer? Foolish men! Dullards and slow of heart! Slow to believe all that Scripture has said)
      – Rev 4:1 is the rapture?? Puh-lease! We’re supposed to be looking for the *last* trumpet, not just any trumpet.

      >4. Examining whether dispensationalism is new in church history goes back to my original point––what does it matter?

      Because Dispensationalism is off-track from what the Bible teaches. So it matters. Do you teach that:
      – the NT Church will reign with Christ in heaven while the Jews will reign with Christ on the earth during the Millennium? How does that work?
      – are the Jewish Apostles part of the NT Church or the OT saints? (who will they reign with?)
      – the Christ-believing Jews who died before Pentecost – are they part of the OT believers (who will reign on the earth with Christ) or NT Church (who will reign with Christ in heaven)?

      > Why are you even wasting time on this?

      (says the guy who wrote 2 rather long, detailed responses?? Curious: Are you allowed to ‘waste time’, but I am not?? )

      > 5. No dispensationalist who has done his homework would argue that affirmation of “dispensations” equates to dispensationalism. I think this is what confuses so many people on the topic.

      Then it would appear that you’ve confused yourself. Spurgeon was reacting against the new doctrines that Darby was teaching. He was not alone. You’ll need to differentiate between the (small d) dispensations and Darby (big D) Dispensationalism and/or show that Spurgeon was wrongfully reacting against both if you want to make any points for #5.

      > Thus, one cannot go to the Old Testament to find out about church-age truth and practice.

      Welllll.. Baptism and Communion and a few other things, yes, but before we spend a whole lot of time on that thought, let me ask you: what does Paul mean when he says “wise for salvation through Jesus Christ” (surely not “spared from the GT”) and “competent, complete”?
      I refer, of course, to Paul’s instruction to Timothy in 2 Tim 3:10-17. Paul is directly describing the OT Scriptures that Timothy grew up with. He is *not* (directly) talking about the NT. (Sure, he’s including them by extension, but he’s directly talking about the OT Scriptures). Think about what Timothy had on hand: (Greek) OT Scriptures; maybe 1 or 2 epistles from Paul; Probably a couple of Gospels, maybe. Yet look at what Paul says the OT can do for Timothy.

      > But to argue that no one in church history before Darby held to distinctions like this is absurd. They most certainly did.

      You presume too much from my original post. I thought my Ryrie quote was sufficiently clear.

      > Yet, I recognize these administrations as being distinct and because of the new entity that began within this new administration of Grace (i.e., the mystery church), I understand that Israel and the church are distinct and functioned under distinct administrations. It’s that simple.

      Is it?

      What is “Israel of God” (Gal 6:16)? Who are those who truly “belong to Israel” (Rom 9:6)? (does it include the Jewish apostles? Those who died before Pentecost?)
      What two groups are the “same Body” in Eph 3:6?
      Why do those “in Christ” get the promises of Abraham (Gal 3:29)? Do those who truly “belong to Israel” also get those promises?
      *Prove* (don’t just assert) that “Israel of God” has no overlap with those who truly “belong to Israel”.
      My view is simple: ALL believers are part of the Church. Yours .. not so simple.

      > Remember, just because Paul states that Christians are related spiritually to Abraham by faith and therefore will be blessed by the promises made to Abraham does not mean that they have overtaken the covenants.

      Not ‘overtaken’. Shared. Alongside OT believers in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus said so Himself. (See Matt 8:5-13. The phrase “east and west” means Gentiles.)

      > Paul never says that the church is related to Jacob.

      Nor does he say that the church is NOT related to Jacob.
      Sorry, but you get no points for that one ..unless you want to calim that you can argue from silence but I can’t.

      > the difference between Genesis 12 (promise) and Genesis 15 (covenant)

      Interesting.
      But I reject the distinction because Gal 3 seems (can I say “clearly”) to conflate “promise” (v16) and “covenant” (v17) as if there is no distinction. I’d be interested to hear more about why you think the two are not the same. (mind you, the same promises were repeated to Isaac and Jacob)

      > [anti-Dispensationalists] always act as though dispensationalism is contorting the text WHEN DISPENSATIONALISM IS SLAVISHLY DEVOTED TO THE PLAIN FACE VALUE OF THE TEXT.

      ..until it’s not.

      > Which approach submits to God’s Word more, the one that departs from a plain reading or the one that just takes Israel to mean Israel and the church to mean the church?

      Mine. It submits to God’s Word more (as I have demonstrated 😉 ).

      > 6. You used Spurgeon to argue your point, asserting: “In some way, Israel is not ‘natural Israel’, but rather, all believers of all ages.” You provide no proof for that statement.

      Go look up all uses of “Israel” in Scripture. You will see (at least) 4 distinct uses.
      – Israel the man
      – Israel the people
      – Israel the Northern 10 tribes
      – Israel of God (which I take to be true believers of all time, based on Rom 2, Rom 9 and the context of Gal 6:15-16)
      Do I really have to prove this?
      (Think: Whatever Paul means by that phrase, he is talking to Gentiles, and he is not referencing any of the 3 previous “Israels”. He either means “gentile believers since Pentecost” (which strikes me as arbitrary) or he means “gentile believers of all time” (so..why call them “Israel”?) or he means “all true believers of all time, Jew and Gentile”. Considering the context and point of Galatians, I’m going with the latter. And I’m not alone: You’ll find this same reading if you read commentaries prior to the 1800s.)
      Oh, btw, If you acknowledge that there are indeed 4 distinct “Israels”, regardless of what the 4th “Israel” is, you might be guilty of allegorical interpretation. Again. 😉 )

      > 7. Again, suggesting that the church began with Adam or Abel or in the Old Testament is not from the text of Scripture.

      Again, suggesting that the church began with Pentecost is not from the text of Scripture.
      So… whatnow? More arguments from silence for you but not me??

      > There is not a single passage in the Bible that says anything remotely close to that. …The church is found in the NT, not the OT.

      …until you read the Greek Septuagint – the same Scriptures the NT believers read.
      (It seems rather odd to me that a lerned person like yourself doesn’t know this. The ekklesia is metioned dozens of times in the OT, as Jesus treats Ps 22 as being about the Church (big “C”)! See also Heb 2:12 (KJV!!) and read how Jesus applied it in Matt 26:30). (There’s more on this, btw.)

      It was precisely this point about the Church beginning at Pentecost that Spurgeon found so strange. ..so how it is that I’m forcing it on the text when every good Greek 1st century person had no reason to believe it didn’t exist in the OT and Spurgeon (and many others) thought Darby’s teaching was new and strange??

      > Therefore, your view is an extreme leap.

      Yep. It’s quite a jump from Dispensationalism all the way back to the way the Church has always understood these things 😉

      > 8. You are correct that I did not give positive proof as to dispensationalism not being new. … dispensationalism is no different than other theological frameworks regarding its history. It’s a moot point.

      Not when it comes to seeing the Church and Israel as distinct non-overlapping entities with, as Ryrie calls it “God having two distinct plans for the two distinct peoples”. It’s not moot – it’s precisely the point, because it IS different.

      > your entire argument was related to genetic fallacy, in that if dispensationalism has no genesis in church history, it’s teaching must be a new invention not from God.

      That’s not what I said or meant. In my reply to you, I’m not discrediting Dispensationalism due to its origins; I am discrediting it due to its lack of sound exegetical foundation AND THEN pointing out that prominent people in Church history thought it a strange new doctrine. (or to be less coy, I’m demonstrating that my conclusions are right, and, util Darby, was always seen as right)

      > Make sure you understand logical fallacies well before you quickly dismiss an argument based on one.

      Gettier assures me I’ve got this problem figured out, and that I’m justified in believing my position is true. [sorry – I couldn’t resist]

      > Augustine was a Manichean for a time, it had to influence his teaching, therefore nothing he says should be trusted.” Those were not my words. I’m not saying “it had to influence his teaching,” I’m saying it did influence his teaching. I also never said he was wrong about everything.

      Ok ..so remind me again: specifically, which parts of my position are Augustinian/Gnostic and should be rejected? (I’m well aware that Luther and Calvin liked Augustine. But what of it? You’ve made no mention of which of any of *my* positions are Gnostic/Augustinian. Be specific, please.)

      > Hegelian dialecticism is the view (in a nutshell) that…

      I’ll defer to your take on Hegel. It’s not a particular topic of interest to me.

      > “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Col. 2:8).

      mmmmmmm… I don’t think that’s a good translation. On this one, Paul’s point is better rendered in the NIV:
      [+]​See to it that no one takes you captive through **hollow and deceptive philosophy**, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Col 2:8)

      Think of it this way:
      – Find out how God thinks (I guarantee you it’s wise)
      – Call it (and nothing else) the gold standard of philosophy
      – Love it and Pursue it (Jer 9:23-24), and let every man be a liar
      Voila – Pure and true philosophy.
      We’ll never reach that gold standard, of course – but that’s no excuse to diss “philosophy”, ipso facto. It just means there are a lot of confused pseudo-philosophers out there. A lot of *vain* philosphy. And Paul is telling us to avoid *vain* philosophy.

      (So..how do you answer the Euthyphro Dilemma? There are only 3 options that I know of, and If your answer isn’t like WLC’s I have to wonder about you. Brother to brother, of course)

      > dispensationalism …merely takes the Bible at its word.

      Like how the Word plainly says the Thessalonian church will be on the earth when the Lord comes in blazing glory to destroy His enemies -> Post trib rapture? Will you take that passage at it’s word?

      > at least recognize that it does take the text in the most straightforward way

      Nah. That’s why I don’t teach it any more.

      > Israel means Israel

      Ok, but which one? There are 4?

      > church means the church

      ..until you see it in the OT.

      > the Millennial Kingdom means the Millennial Kingdom

      No disagreement there.

      > New Covenant is for Judah and Israel because it says it is made with “Judah and Israel,”

      ..until Jesus mentions “new covenant” in Luke 22, the Gospel for the Gentiles, and Paul writes to Gentiles, speaking about it as current for his “dispensation”.

      > Millennial Temple will be a literal temple

      Yep!

      > with literal sacrifices because it says it will be

      Yep!

      > one-thousand years means one-thousand years

      Yep!

      > so on and so forth.

      Welllll.. you’re not batting 1,000, so I’ll reserve judgment till you enumerate the rest of the so ons and so forths. 😉

      > will you let the text speak and take it at face value or will you make the text say what you see fit?

      Funny – I was going to say the same thing myself. 😉

      > I also pray that you will not be an old man by the time you reach the end of my lengthy rebuttal.

      It was close! (well.. my kids say I’m old, so maybe it’s too late)

      In conclusion…

      – I have no problem with the phrase “NT Church”. I see it as the wholesale adding of Gentile believers into the existing Body of Believers from Adam till now (whereas previously, the Body was made up of almost exclusively Jews – a subset of Jews, mind you – and Gentiles were added in rarely). All one Body, as Paul says in Eph 3:6.

      [+]There is ONE BODY and one Spirit -just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph 4:4-6)

      Not 2 bodies.

      – I do have a problem with “Church” -ie, the Body of Christ- as being a group of people not including the OT saints and not including the GTribulation saints. I find the idea abhorrent and repugnant, actually.

      – Whereas I love the idea of the pre-trib rapture (I’m a chicken), I find no basis for it in Scripture! So I shake my head when people affirm the view while claiming to hold a “plain reading of the text” when clearly they’re doing nothing of the sort.

      – And bonus points: for those who believe the OT saints are a different category, would they also use Heb 2:16 to say that saints prior to Abraham belong to YET A DIFFERENT group of believers? After all, that would be a “plain reading of the text” (see also Matt 8:11-12)

      Good stuff. We should do this more often! In person, even.

      Peace!

  • BW

    *Correction: in #5 it should be Ephesians 3:2 and 9.

  • BW

    I’ve tried posting my reply but it will not let me.

  • BW

    I haven’t had much time to spend on a response, but I believe it’s important to refute your statements. The response you sent was littered with faulty reasoning and errors. That’s not to say anything negative against you personally. In fact, I can tell you are very intelligent and have a strong grasp of the subject at hand, yet even the best and brightest can make monumental errors with faulty foundations (e.g., Stephen Hawking, Sam Harris, etc.).

    With that said . . .

    1.Yes, I mean “Big D Dispensationalism,” although editorially, it should be lowercased. But yes, I’m speaking specifically of the formal system of dispensationalism, and I have in no way conflated those who hold to dispensations with those who are dispensationalists. Not sure why you are wasting time on that because it doesn’t further any of your arguments.

    Also, distinguishing between dispensations and dispensationalism and between covenants and covenant theology are not equal comparisons. In covenant theology, their framework is not formed using the Biblical covenants. It is formed using theological (i.e., theoretical) covenants. In dispensationalism, the framework is built on Biblical dispensations——Law, Grace, and Kingdom. Those are Biblical dispensations.

    So stop wasting time on something that is irrelevant. I’ve never once presupposed that those who reject dispensationalism reject dispensations. Get it together.

    2.As far as literal interpretation is concerned, these are not my opinions. And while there is always some level of subjectivity (simply because we are fallible humans), it is possible to be consistent in distinguishing the usages of conventional language and figures of speech.

    A good rule of thumb is to always take the text at face value (i.e., by the letter——literal) unless something is obviously a figure of speech. For example, when Jesus called Herod a “fox” (Luke 13:32)——I’m sure you would agree that He was using an on-the-nose figure of speech. There is no difficulty in understanding that He was not actually asserting that Herod was a mammal in the Canidae family. He was making a vivid illustration of Herod’s character. We both recognize that, and we don’t even need to argue over it. Yet, figures of speech must always be this obvious or there should be CLEAR contextual data to indicate otherwise. The default understanding of Biblical language should always be literal.

    So, no, I’m not just flying by the seat of my pants and arbitrarily interpreting passages based on whatever fits my system. That is my whole point. I interpret literally, and my system is built from that. That’s not to say I never make mistakes, but I can honestly say that I take the text literally and build out from it. I hope you see that there is a difference between that and the systematic theology (i.e., deductive philosophy) of other camps.

    I hope you also realize at this point that literal interpretation accounts for valid figures of speech, for which there are a plethora (Bullinger——a hyper-dispensationalist who was rigidly literal——identified almost 200 legitimate figures of speech). But they must be legitimate, and they must be based on the contextual data, not informed by a system. I’ll admit that this approach does make dispensationalism a tedious approach because it must take the text on a contextual by contextual basis before erecting a system, and it must continually be checked in light of context. I often explain it as a zoom-in-zoom-out method of systematic exegesis because it repeatedly focuses on the narrow and expands to the broad and then back to the narrow again. Furthermore, dispensationalism cannot be STATIC because the data of the Bible is inexhaustible in depth. The truth of the Bible is unchanging and is objective, but a systematic formulation will not be definitively determined. As regards the fundamentals of the faith, we can be sure of the static nature of those teachings, but in developing a thorough systematic understanding of the Bible’s content, stasis will never avail itself to the honest interpreter. That is why you may hear certain dispensationalists refer to themselves as “ever reforming.” Dispensationalism must be a slave to the data of the text without respect to human philosophy.

    As for the texts you cite:

    First, John 6:53 is not difficult. Jesus tells us that His words are “spirit” in verse 63. Right there in the text He gives the key. Also, even if He didn’t say this, the data is abundant to indicate that He spoke figuratively about eating His flesh and drinking His blood——none of His disciples ate Him, there would not be enough of His body to feed millions of people for 2,000 years. As well, this was one of the I AM statements in John——He also said He was a door, a light, and a vine. Again, no one struggles to identify those as figures of speech.

    As far as the Lutheran and Roman Catholic positions, “mine” is superior (it’s really not mine, but the approach of literal hermeneutics) because the text doesn’t say anything about communion. The fact that they use this text to support their views on communion is absurd because the text never addresses this——it’s NOT even about communion. I know they will say that because it was Passover, and Passover became communion (big assumption there), then it can be read back into this passage, but that is obvious eisegesis. Take the text at face value. Jesus was using Passover to illustrate a spiritual truth about Himself. Simple.

    I hope you’re honest enough to see that what I’m talking about is different than what other theological systems do. This is taking the text at face value——using historical and contextual data to interpret the passage on its face.

    Second, Psalm 51 is also easy. It’s hyperbole. That simple. Are you really not aware that figures of speech are legitimate conventions of language and something that dispensationalists are probably the best in the world at recognizing? You don’t honestly believe that if someone hyperbolizes a statement in a discourse that nothing else in the discourse can be straightforward, do you? Yet, why would you and I both understand that David’s statement was hyperbole the moment we read it? Because there is historical and contextual (OT context) data to indicate that his sin was against both God and Uriah. Why are you acting as though this is difficult?

    I don’t have to follow a paradigm——I do have to understand language——to interpret a passage. I must simply be careful and study. It’s not easy in the sense that I have the work of carefully examining the data, but it is easy in the sense that I have an objective text to work with. Also, I’m not cutting down those who approach the Bible less literally in the sense that I think I’m superior or that they’re unintelligent. It’s not about that. It is about consistency and hermeneutics and submission to God’s authority. Only taking the text at face value submits to God’s authority since anything else places the interpreter (falsely) in a place of superiority over the text. In fact, while you argue that dispensationalism is no more literal than other approaches and arbitrarily comes to conclusions about literal/figurative, those who actually are leaders in this realm of debate (non-dispensationalists) fully recognize that dispensationalism is rigidly literal. For example:

    “One of the most marked features of premillennialism in all its forms is the emphasis which it places on the literal interpretation of Scripture. It is the insistent claims of its advocates that only when interpreted literally is the Bible interpreted truly; and they denounce as ‘spiritualizers’ or ‘allegorizers’ those who do not interpret the Bible with the same degree of literalness as they do. None have made this charge more pointedly than the dispensationalists” (Oswald T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church, p.17).

    “Literal interpretation has always been a marked feature of Premillennialism; in Dispensationalism it has been carried to an extreme. We have seen that this literalism found its most thoroughgoing expression in the claim that Israel must mean Israel, and that the Church was a mystery, unknown to the prophets and first made known to the apostle Paul. Now if the principle of interpretation is adopted that Israel always means Israel, that it does not mean the Church, then it follows of necessity that practically all of our information regarding the millennium will concern a Jewish or Israelitish age” (Oswald T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church, p.244).

    “Here is the basic watershed between a dispensational and a non-dispensational theology. Dispensationalism forms its eschatology by a literal interpretation of the Old Testament and then fits the New Testament into it. A non-dispensational eschatology forms its theology from the explicit teaching of the New Testament. It confesses that it cannot be sure how the Old Testament prophecies of the end are to be fulfilled, for (a) the first coming of Christ was accomplished in terms not foreseen by a literal interpretation of the Old Testament, and (b) there are unavoidable indications that the Old Testament promises to Israel are fulfilled in the Christian church” (George Eldon Ladd, “Historic Premillennialism” in The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views, p.27).

    These men are not alone in this opinion. Scholars across the board recognize that dispensationalism is rigidly literal. Why are you arguing this?

    3. True, the covenant of grace is not one and the same as covenant theology, just as a distinction between Israel and the church isn’t identical to formalized dispensationalism, but dispensationalism was built from that distinction. The covenant of grace is an extra-biblical concept and is a building block of covenant theology. Also, Spurgeon was a covenant theologian, though he was very confused on theology overall.

    4. My goodness. . . okay, I honestly don’t care whether it’s new or old. What do the Scriptures say? By the way, just because Spurgeon was ignorant of something (in this case, ignorant of its development and constituency), doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. You are acting like Spurgeon was omniscient. He was certainly ignorant of many things and dispensationalism was one of them.

    Additionally, do you recognize that truth is outside of a formulated system? The way you are arguing sounds like unless something was formalized, it didn’t exist. Did men not have inalienable rights prior to the constitution? Was God not Triune prior to the Council of Nicaea (by the way, the church councils are a joke to me; the fact that they got some things right is almost miraculous considering the horrendous theology of the churches during those centuries)?

    So when dispensationalism (“Big D”; haha) was formalized is irrelevant to the truth it teaches. I do not care about dispensationalism apart from the truth it teaches. Others may be more loyal to the name and system itself, but just so you’re aware, I only care so long as it presents truth.

    So I will agree that dispensationalism has been developed only formally since the 18th century, but quit equating its recency as a system to the age of its truth. If you aren’t trying to do that, then I think you’re wasting your own time even discussing this subject.

    5. Oh yes, Matthew 16:18. True, He never said “new.” He said “build.” And He said “will.”

    Let me explain: your argument is built on faulty understanding. Matthew was written in Greek. Isaiah was written in Hebrew. Using those passages as a GRAMMATICAL comparison is erroneous. This is why the literal-GRAMMATICAL-historical method of interpretation is so important. In Greek, verbs contain something called aspect. Whereas in English, our verbs primarily contain tense and we must use modifiers to bring out aspect, in Greek, verbs contained both and often aspect dominated. Aspect basically tells how an action was completed in time. So a present tense verb used with durative aspect tells you that the action was in process. But it is important to note that while tense is determined morphologically, aspect is determined primarily syntactically. But all tenses do not contain the same range of aspect.

    As it relates to the discussion of Matthew 16:18, the future tense is one of the easier tenses to indicate aspect for because it is placed in future time. Thus, because it has not yet happened, it primarily uses aoristic aspect. Aoristic (sometimes referred to as gnomic) aspect shows the action without regard to the way it was completed in time. Therefore, all an aorist aspect tells you is that the action is done. In the New Testament, there are examples of past tenses used for future actions (e.g., Revelation), present tense for past actions (e.g., the Gospels), and other variations of duratives, gnomics, and pefectives. Aspect must always be indicated by context.

    Matthew 16:18 employs this future tense in a conventional way (aoristic aspect), simply to state an action that will take place without any further detail. The context makes it clear that Jesus is speaking of future events because His other statements speak to things that will happen in the future——Hades WILL not prevail; Jesus WILL give the keys; then in the next section, He tells of His FUTURE death. A straightforward reading indicates that what Jesus is discussing is future. Whether that action has any relation to the past is another issue, but what He is saying describes an action to be completed in the future. What you refer to in Isaiah 53 is very different because it is not a direct discourse, it was in Hebrew, and it was written with a very different purpose. The two cannot be used to inform one another grammatically.

    Your statement “we could do this all day” is silly because you would keep using erroneous examples. Just take the text at what it says. You should never brush over grammar in the Bible. I assure you that context will always indicate how a verb should be understood in time and aspect.

    Certainly, the disciples understood the term ἐκκλεσία, but it was not used as a technical term as it is today and used by Paul (i.e., “church”). To these “dozens of references” to THE ἐκκλεσία of the OT——no. That is not true; there was no THE ἐκκλεσία. There were many different assemblies, but there was not this one specific assembly that was known as THE assembly. There are almost 100 uses of the term ἐκκλεσία in the Septuagint, but they refer to a broad range of groups, only occasionally related to Israel. In fact, if anything, Israel would have understood synagogue as the term for the assembly of Israel, since that is actually the term they used of their local assemblies. Even the term synagogue, however, was not a technical term that referred to Israel. קהל (the term translated as both ἐκκλεσία and συναγωγή) was not a technical term, as it was used to refer to a broad range of assemblies without specific definition ever being given to the term itself. It is not until after Christ’s statement, particularly in the writings of Paul and in Acts (though on several occasions it was still used generically——cf. Acts 19:32), that the term began to take on technical meaning which is evidenced by the great specificity with which the term is developed. No such development exists in the Old Testament for the term.

    6. What a ridiculous question. My “dispensationalism compels me”? Give me a break. This is my whole point. I’m compelled by nothing but the text. The simplest reading is that it is talking about a new structure.

    “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one NEW man” (Eph. 2:14–15).

    To your point above about Jesus not saying the word “new,” Ephesians 2:15 makes it clear that this is new.

    To illustrate this, if I were talking about a building, and I told you that it was built on the FOUNDATION of cement with a granite CORNERSTONE, would you naturally understand me to be saying that the construction was for a new structure or improvements to an existing structure? He refers to the foundation and the cornerstone——the most basic parts in a building project.

    I’m not saying the picture is meant to compare every detail, but the most straightforward reading is that Paul is talking about the initial construction of a building. If there were a compelling case to take it otherwise, I would listen, but there isn’t.

    I charge you that your continuity of Israel and the church compels you to understand Ephesians 3:6 in that way. All Paul says is that Gentiles are fellow heirs and members of the body——the church, not Israel. This relates to the discussion of Peter in Acts 11, AFTER the church had been born in Acts 2. He is making the point that according to times past, no one would have thought that Gentiles would be related to Israel’s HaMashiach. You say, “chapter 3:6, makes it abundantly clear that Paul is talking about the same Body that existed in the OT.” How ridiculous, it’s like you can’t even stop yourself from reading into the text. Where does Paul say the body existed in the OT? He doesn’t, yet you are compelled by your continuity to see it this way. Otherwise, it all falls apart. I don’t have to read anything of the sort into the text. I can just read it straightforward. It was previously unrevealed that Gentiles would be fellow heirs and members of Christ’s body. Simple.

    You assert again that the disciples knew what an ἐκκλεσία was. Yep, an assembly. You are so extremely biased in your interpretation.

    And I must point out your eisegesis because even you know you’re guilty of it, which is why you ask me not to “accuse” you of it. You say, “you are no longer strangers and aliens [on the outside of the PRE EXISTING OT BODY OF BELIEVERS].” That is so obviously reading into the text because it does not say that. It simply points out that they are not far off anymore and share in heavenly citizenship with the saints. These Gentiles become fellow citizens WITH believing Israel, not OF Israel. As well, you include “OT” in brackets to modify saints. Read the passage again. That’s not who he is referring to. He is referring to living saints since he is talking about living Gentiles being made fellow citizens with them——present tense. Your approach just adds so much to the text and creates confusion. Notice how I only have appealed to the text and not a system of theology. You had to read pre-existing body and OT saints into the text. That is horrible eisegesis.

    By the way, eisegesis doesn’t occur only when a “thought could not be found anywhere else in Scripture.” It is ANY time you read ANYTHING into a text that is not there. You have to remember that what the text means is objective and outside of our beliefs about it. Just because Jesus is God doesn’t mean I can read it into a text that doesn’t really say that. That would be eisegesis——especially because I would literally be able to say “I see Jesus” . Sorry for the bad pun.

    As well, just because a passage relates to another concept, does not mean that concept can be read into it just because it is taught elsewhere in Scripture. The goal is to deal with what the text actually says.

  • BW

    [continued]

    7. This is something that is so sloppy. Yes, theophanies and Christophanies are legitimate events in the Old Testament, but you are taking these too far. You do not know whether it was the Second Person of the Godhead that walked with Adam and Eve. It doesn’t say. As well, even though it’s called a Christophany doesn’t mean that Jesus was the HaMashiach yet. Eternal Son——yes. Eternal Messiah——not in the past. Eternal man——not in the past. He had to be made Christ (Acts 2:36). Yes, He was predetermined to be the Christ, but He was also predetermined to be made man. Yet, He had to become man to become Messiah. For the church to be built on the Cornerstone, the Cornerstone had to come. Yes, Christ as God was active in the OT, but this is just another embarrassing example of your eisegesis. You literally cannot support your position without assuming things from silence. You have to read what is not there into the text everywhere you turn. Stick with what the text says, not your speculations; not reading between the lines.

    8. I don’t just say my reading is the most straightforward without substantiating it. You can go back and see that I develop why it’s straightforward. It’s because I’m not speaking beyond the text. I don’t have to appeal to supposed sub-text. This stuff is not as subjective as you are pretending, and if you have just a little intellectual honesty you’d admit that I’m taking what is there. You’re reading between the lines——”pre-existing body”; Christophanies; and so forth.

    9. “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matt. 3:11).

    Notice that Jesus said this still was future in Acts 1:4–6: “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, which, He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’”

    I don’t have to prove any of the things that you are proposing. I just proved it above. The text itself is OBVIOUS on this——”One Who is coming”; “will baptize”; “you will be baptized. . . not many DAYS FROM NOW.” This is kindergarten stuff. I feel like I have to ask you, “Now, Billy (sorry I don’t know your name), what does it say?” Just read it and take it at its word.

    I don’t have to defend the positions you’re supposing. Psalm 51:11 is unrelated to Spirit baptism. Distinguishing washing from baptism is a contrived problem. I don’t have to show that those are distinguished. 1 Corinthians 12:13 is the key, but you need to pay attention to what Paul says, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether JEWS or GREEKS, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” According to Paul in Ephesians 3, the shared membership (Jews and Gentiles) was a “mystery” hidden in ages past, meaning Spirit baptism could not have occurred before the shared membership of Jews and Gentiles. In Ephesians 2, it states that Gentiles were previously far off (v.12), but that now they are made a new man in one body. Obviously then Paul is describing a baptism that could not have taken place prior to the shed blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13). Seems pretty simple when you actually look at the text instead of creating false dilemmas.

    Also, the problem you present about the book of Acts never saying the Spirit is “in” anyone is unrelated to Spirit baptism. You are talking about indwelling. Two different things. Spirit baptism immerses believers into one Body——the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). You seem to be confusing that with indwelling, as evidenced by your comment about Acts 1:8. You are not acknowledging that the ministry of the Spirit is multi-faceted. He doesn’t do just one thing. Even Jesus says that He would be in us, and yet we know we are baptized into His Body. Even if the Spirit did indwell people prior to Pentecost, which I argue He didn’t, that is different than Spirit baptism which places people into the Body of Christ. You are conflating the two. One is the Spirit taking residence within us and the other is the Spirit placing us in the Body of Christ.

    10. One problem with you asserting that Acts 2 is the fulfillment of Joel 2——look at Joel 2 some time and give it an honest study. Those events in no way took place in Acts 2. If you assert that Acts fulfilled those events, then you necessarily make the words of Joel meaningless. There is a lot of information provided about what will come. I wouldn’t deny for a minute that Peter’s use of Joel 2 is one of the more difficult passages——but it is difficult for all parties. From the evidence, it appears that Peter was using this passage as precedent for the event taking place. In other words, the men were caught off guard by the manifestation of the languages, and Peter was establishing precedent for such a miracle. I’m not going to argue that definitively, but I would assert that that was Peter’s intention.

    Regardless, even if Peter’s point were that “the beginning” was the Last Days, it doesn’t negate the fact that he identifies the baptism of the Spirit as taking place in Acts 2. So, all you’ve done is argued against “beginning” referring directly to the beginning of the church, but the baptism of the Spirit still took place then, which 1 Corinthians 12:13 tells us is the Body of believers, identified as the “new man,” made of Jews and Gentiles who were only introduced into this Body after Christ’s death.

    You also can claim that “this is a way more ‘plain’ reading,” but you disregard important language from the passage——”all flesh”; “every”; and then not to mention the celestial signs. There is nothing in the text that would indicate these are to be taken figuratively. By the way, who is the one who dismisses the text? The one who takes Joel seriously and understands Peter’s use of Joel as honoring both texts or the one who doesn’t really honor Peter because he still takes Peter’s words allegorically and completely disregards the context of Joel and the details therein? Hmm. . . seems pretty obvious.

    11. Again with ἐκκλεσία in the OT. The Tanakh was written in Hebrew so the Septuagint at best can only indicate word usage, but it cannot establish Hebrew word usage. Now if קהל was transliterated into Greek in the NT and was defined as having been a direct reference to Israel, then we’d be discussing something totally different. But that is not the case, and ἐκκλεσία carried a generic usage until Christ began to speak of a defined congregation in Matthew 16.

    I’m sorry but, you make an ignorant assumption when you say, “The burden of proof is on you to show that Peter’s use of “ekklesia” 1) no longer refers to the same thing they thought it did ever since they were kids.” You have made a huge leap. Simply because the word was used in the Septuagint, in non-defining ways, does not mean that Peter or any Jewish person viewed the word ἐκκλεσία as a technical reference to Israel. Your errors are embarrassing.

    I’m certainly not “oblivious” to other perspectives, considering the rise in New Calvinism and reformed theology as well as the apathy among what are supposed to be dispensational churches, has made it so that the reformed perspective at least for now is far more represented. I read widely and engage opinions that are quite different than my own. You don’t have to acknowledge that the evidence is obvious, but I assert that it very much is.

    12. Now, the “event” I refer to isn’t the timing (i.e., pretribulational). I’m referring to the Rapture itself in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. This text 100% reveals the Rapture, considering the very word is used here——ἁρπάζω. The Latin translation of this verb is rapio which means “to snatch up,” from which we get rapture.

    We are in agreement that the text doesn’t say where they go after. If you thought that was my point, then you need to work on your reading skills. I never based the timing of this event on this passage alone. I believe my main point was to clue you in on that technical phrase “in Christ” which is a synonym for Spirit baptism into the Body of Christ. Paul uses a cognate form which is “in Jesus” to refer to those who are members of Christ’s body but had passed away. This distinguishes them from OT saints. Yet, I didn’t build my argument on the timing from 1 Thessalonians 4:17; just established the event itself and the group of people in focus for the event.

    John 14:2–3 is really helpful here as it does strongly indicate that when Christ returns for His believers, He will bring them to Heaven. Look at His words: “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Notice how Christ connects the Father’s house to preparing a place to coming again to “receive you to Myself.” True, this passage doesn’t say when this happens, but what it does say is that when Christ returns for His believers, He will bring them to the Father’s house——in Heaven. At Christ’s second coming, however, Christ will return to the earth to wage war against the nations and then establish His Kingdom on the earth. John 14 indicates that He is discussing a different return in which He gathers His believers and brings them to Heaven.

    That strongly refutes the concept of a posttribulation position.

    As to 2 Thessalonians 1:7——yes, that is one of the few difficult passages for pretribulationism to account for. I’ve preached through it and did not avoid the issue. My position stands on what I believe are overwhelming facts from the rest of Scripture in favor of the pretribulational position, and I understand that this passage only vaguely alludes to the issue at hand. Notice that John 14:2–3 addresses this issue more directly as it actually speaks of Christ’s return for His people. 2 Thessalonians 1, which discusses Christ’s revelation to earth (obviously His second coming), only addresses His people by mention of giving “relief” to them, which is very indirect to the timing of the Rapture. Now, you have to define what giving relief is.

    I would compare this passage to Revelation 6:10 in that obviously there are saints in Heaven in the Tribulation who are not at rest with the injustice they experienced and they still, while safe in the harbor of Heaven, are longing for justice. I’m not arguing that this is an iron-clad argument, but you must see that the reality is true that a saint at rest in Heaven could still long for the relief of justice as demonstrated by Revelation 6:10 and that 2 Thessalonians 1:7 does not give a thorough explanation in relation to the Rapture event so as to preclude pretribulationism. If that is the best argument you have, it’s not strong enough.

    13. I built the rest of my argument on the blessed hope (Titus 2:13)——which you failed to address regarding the clear imminency——and the rescue from wrath (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9). To this you ask me to establish that wrath is not the same as final wrath (i.e., either Great White or Sheep and Goats——depending on if you distinguish these events as I do). All I have to do is point out the context of both passages——1 Thessalonians 1:10 relates the wrath that is in focus to the waiting for “His Son from Heaven.” Clearly this brings the return of Christ into focus as the event that rescues from wrath. Second, 1 Thessalonians 5:9 is in the context of the discussion of the Day of the Lord and its destruction——or the Tribulation and God’s wrath. This again makes it plain that the wrath in focus is that which pertains to God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth——not Great White Throne from which all believers are saved. Also, you say that wrath and salvation are juxtaposed, but you fail to see your flaw. You assume that every time the word salvation is used it refers to eternal spiritual salvation. The term σωτηρία simply means “rescue.” So literally Jesus Christ provides rescue from eternal damnation and the wrath of the Tribulation. Those who are Tribulation saints will be saved from eternal damnation, but they will not be rescued from the wrath of the Tribulation. Don’t use one-dimensional definitions——especially with the word σωτηρία.

    You say in every other verse it means being saved from hell but “saved through our Lord Jesus Christ” is not a technical phrase. It simply speaks of rescue and then uses a preposition of secondary agency to show the One through Whom the rescue is accomplished. That is a sad argument and one that really falls short when you consider the CONTEXT of 1 Thessalonians 5:9, which is discussing God’s destruction being poured out upon the unbelieving world. Context is THE determiner of word usage, which is true of σωτηρία.

    14. You make an assumption in 1 Thessalonians 1:10. All it says is that they will be rescued at His return. Stop assuming what the text doesn’t say. The pretribulational position holds that He returns twice——once to the clouds to rescue His church and once to the earth to destroy the nations. Just because it speaks of His return does not exegetically demand that it is His second coming. Bad argument again.

    15. This is great because you literally just use the point I made above but skew it. Yes, they get their relief at Christ’s second coming, but that’s not the point. The point is that, although they are in Heaven and are not subject to affliction and suffering any longer, they are still not in a state of relief. You literally just dismissed 2 Thessalonians 1:7 yourself as an argument against the pretribulation position. You’ve acknowledged my point and removed your only moderately strong verse.

    Then you say, “No pre-trib rapture. . . For being ‘very clear’, you’ve got it all mangled.
    What you’ve unwittingly ended up with is a circular set of arguments.” What an assertion! Your standard for victory is far too low. You’ve established nothing and only contributed shallow arguments to this discussion. Regarding circular arguments——that is a cheap dismissal of valid exegetically based arguments. I never have made any of the assumptions you’ve claimed——you might want to work on your reading comprehension because I never assumed that 1 Thessalonians 4:17 gave the timing of the Rapture, and I never based any of the other passages on the belief that 1 Thessalonians 4:17 presents a pretribulational view. You really either have no integrity or you think I’m stupid. Sadly, you’ve made a fool out of yourself because you didn’t understand my arguments. I’m basing my arguments on the text, with substantial weight given to CONTEXT. You may disagree with my conclusions, but an intellectually honest individual could not deny that I’m basing my definitions for wrath and rescue on the context of those passages.

    16. So again to your only text——2 Thessalonians 1. You say, “I know of no way to work around this, so technically, this is the end of discussion.” Again, what a shortsighted claim of victory. Any person who is looking for a “work around” exposes that they are not taking the text seriously. No one should ever be looking to work around the text using their theology. I don’t care about dispensationalism or any other theology if it is not exegetically built——not worked around. If 2 Thessalonians 1 is what clinched it for you, then you need to check your criteria for dismissing pretribulationism. This passage should not clinch anyone’s position since it only incidentally (and does not really) relate to the timing of the Rapture discussion. To place this as the definitive passage for you exposes hermeneutical weakness. Clearer and more direct passages should hold much more weight.

    The fact that saints in Heaven who have been freed from the suffering and persecution of this world can long for the relief of justice should indicate to you that your assumption about 2 Thessalonians 1 needs help. If that is your best argument, it falls very short.

    Then you jump into the absence of the word ἐκκλεσία. I never made that argument, yet you attack it as if you are attacking my arguments. Weak. Also, the presence of the word ἐκκλεσία in the OT, as I discussed above, occurs well before that term was used to refer to a definitive group of people in a technical way. As to the lack of the church in Revelation beyond 4:1, arguments from silence cannot truly meet the criteria of definitive proof. However, they certainly can hold tremendous weight in circumstances in which something is so expected that it can be regarded peculiar to find it absent. Still, it doesn’t meet the level of proof, but it does hold a great deal of weight. The fact that the term ἐκκλεσία is used 19 times in the first three chapters and is not used once throughout the entire period of Tribulation described in the following chapters, only appearing again at the very close of the book, is quite substantial. It appropriately supports the pretribulational position, though not proving it.

    Regarding the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and Mark. They were all written about the Jewish people as the administrators of God’s program. They all discussed Israel and therefore the Olivet Discourse most certainly is discussing events pertaining to Jews only. Notice Jesus’ discussion is about the elect (Deut. 7:6–9; 14:2). Yet, who are the elect? All the clues are given in Matthew 24 that He is speaking of the Jews——”holy place” (v.15), “Judea. . . to the mountains” (v.16; this refers to Israel’s flight to the wilderness in Revelation 12:6, 14), “Sabbath” (v.20). The discussion identifies the elect as thoroughly Jewish which is why they are able to be deceived (v.24). I don’t know about you, but I don’t worry about the Sabbath, have a temple with a holy place, and I don’t live in Judea and won’t be fleeing to the wilderness.

    Also, God did not pour out His wrath upon those listed in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Your logic is really lacking——and the superiority in your tone is nauseating. No pretribulationalist argues that God said Christians wouldn’t suffer. Understand what you’re talking about before you act superior. Pretribulationists argue that God Himself does not pour wrath upon Christians, but they do suffer. It’s an important distinction.

    17. This point is hardly coherent. My argument was against your examination of whether it was new in church history, and that its age as a teaching is irrelevant. Whether it is new or not has no relation to whether it is “off-track from what the Bible teaches” or not. You can assert that it is, but that isn’t an argument.

    To your questions: The church will reign on earth during the Kingdom in glorified bodies, and Christ will reign from David’s throne in Israel; the Apostles are part of the church, but they will reign under Christ over Jews and Gentiles; Christ-believing Jews who died before Pentecost (e.g., John the Baptist) are part of Israel, not the church. You act as though because these questions don’t make sense to you, they are invalidated. The test of truth is whether the Scriptures teach it, not whether it makes sense to you or anyone else.

    18. My point wasn’t to say that discussing the validity of dispensationalism is a waste of time; my point is that the discussion of its age in church history is a waste of time. Do you see the difference or do you struggle that much to make simple distinctions

    19. Again, I’m not confused——you must be. Spurgeon was not omniscient. Simply because he had never been acquainted with dispensationalism before doesn’t mean it wasn’t taught in some form or that its basic tenets weren’t held throughout church history by some. What a failed point you try to make. I’m sure there are many learned Christians who are ignorant of many different teachings. The same was certainly true of Spurgeon on a number of things. Spurgeon was reacting against dispensationalism no doubt, not dispensations. What a ridiculous point.

    20. “Wise for salvation” is not difficult to explain. Clearly, Paul is referring to the OT. Yet, how could Peter say that the OT prophets searched to know about Christ if the OT could make them wise to that information? It’s simple, the OT bore witness of a coming Messiah, and when Messiah came, the apostles used the OT to establish that Jesus was the perfect fulfillment of OT prophecy, making those who would listen wise to salvation.

    Also, baptism and communion are not OT practices. Βαπίσμα is never used in the OT. Communion was instituted by Christ using the Passover Seder.

    21. Your Ryrie quote was about the sine qua non—which I dealt with in the first response I gave. (1) Only dispensationalists are consistently literal, including in prophetic passages; (2) only dispensationalists distinguish Israel and the church as distinct groups of people who serve to fulfill important but distinct parts of God’s Program for Creation; and (3) only dispensationalists account for a multi-faceted Program in which God is glorified rather than a single soteriological Program for His glory.

    22. How about this, the Israel of God is. . . Israel! How difficult is that? There is a reason that reformed scholars no longer use Galatians 6:16 as an argument——because they realize it holds no weight. You need to move past that one. When Paul discusses not all Israel being Israel, as consistent hermeneutics would teach you, he never means a person who is not an Israelite. He is speaking of a narrower group within Israel. So it is a narrowing——not an expansion, not a replacement. Instead of all Jews being the Israel of God, it is only the believing Jews.

    The two groups are Jews and Gentiles. Also, those who are heirs to the promises of Abraham are not the same as those who are party to the Abrahamic Covenant given to Israel. It would be one thing if he said that they were heirs to the covenant of Abraham or if they were heirs to the promises of Jacob. That is not the same thing as in Galatians 3:29. Learn to read and pay attention to the details.

    23. Not “share” covenants——the NT never says that the church shares in the covenants. You need to pay more attention when you read the Bible. You are reading a lot into it.

    24. “Nor does he say that the church is NOT related to Jacob.” What you are doing is the definition of eisegesis. In other words, “well, the Bible doesn’t say it’s not, so I’ll teach it anyway.” That is terrible. That’s basically what the JWs do with claiming that Jesus is the archangel Michael. They could say, “well the Bible doesn’t say that He’s not Michael, so. . .”

    Again, my argument is not from silence. If the Bible doesn’t teach something, we must not teach it. Period. It doesn’t say we’re related to Jacob; thus, we’re not related to Jacob.

    25. The distinction is that Genesis 12 is not the covenant. God merely makes promises to Abraham, which while binding, are not formally covenanted. Genesis 15 contains the covenant. In other words, those promises made to Abraham are general, and while they are brought into a covenant, they were made outside a covenant. Galatians 3:16 and 17 do not conflate the two since they actually distinguish them. Therefore, we can benefit from the promises without receiving the covenant.

    26. “Until it’s not”; you’ve failed to support your claim. Just be honest.

    27. Another cheap assertion. Dispensationalism comes from an objective analysis of the text. You can disagree, but it really does. Consistent literal interpretation places the interpreter at the mercy of the text, not the other way around.

    28. Yes, Israel does refer to several different groups——all blood-related to Israel as defined in the OT. Your fourth usage is erroneous and not established by the text, but rather by philosophical presupposition. Israel of God is the believing remnant of Israel.

    Nothing allegorical about that. That’s an ignorant point. I don’t think you understand even what allegorical interpretation is (probably why you are guilty of it). There is something called semantic range——a legitimate feature of word usage. If you knew about it, you probably wouldn’t think every use of ἐκκλεσία meant the Christian church and every use of σωτηρία meant spiritual salvation. A little study in linguistics would probably go a long way for you.

    29. Except I made an exegetical argument with precise data to establish that the church began at Pentecost. That is something you have utterly failed to do regarding your claim about Adam or Abel.

    30. I read the Septuagint. You just don’t understand word usage. Interesting the only books you cite are Hebrew books——Hebrews and Matthew. Both were speaking of the Jews in relation to Jesus.
    I’m sure you know every “good Greek 1st century person” and what they thought. Come on, are you serious?

    31. Nice try.

    32. Dispensationalism being supposedly “new” is the moot point I was referring to. Why can’t you understand what I’m talking about? Whether people held that or not throughout church history is irrelevant. It’s what does the Bible say——which is affirmative of the dispensational view.

    33. Okay, whatever you say. Where you’re wrong is that it is built upon rigorous exegesis.

    34. Always looking to man-made philosophy and men to validate your views. Gettier——really?

    35. The main part of your view (from what you’ve revealed in our conversation) that is Gnostic is the spiritualization of Israel as the church. Spiritualizing the text away from physical earthly fulfillments is markedly Gnostic.

    36. I only brought up Hegelianism because it is a byproduct of reformed theology, like many other liberal and higher critical views. Yes, it is not interesting to you because you have far more pressing concerns, such as Euthyphro’s Dilemma (haha).

    37. Makes sense you prefer NIV. I’m just kidding, but truly the NASB is a superior translation, and it is quite faithful to the Greek text. The NIV, not as much. Not sure that really makes a big difference here. So, rather than listen to Paul’s point (cf. 1 Thess. 2:13), you’d rather engage in human philosophy to eventually attain to the standard of God’s philosophy. Guess what, you don’t have to. You already have God’s philosophy in the Bible. When it comes to theology, faith, practice, there is no room for human philosophy. When it comes to cooking food or other such things, go ahead, knock yourself out on “philosophy.” Get your priorities straight.

    My answer to Euthyphro’s Dilemma is this: I don’t care because the Bible doesn’t answer it! Why are you wasting your time?

    38. To the rest of your comments——Luke 22 and the New Covenant establishes nothing against dispensationalism. It merely records Jesus’ statement about His blood being the ratification of the New Covenant. This is why I find reformed thinking so ignorant: because they have no nuance. Just because Jesus’ blood ratified the New Covenant for Israel doesn’t mean that the New Covenant is salvation for all mankind. Remember that a covenant is ratified, and then it must be fulfilled. That fulfillment must be the national regeneration of the Jewish nation. Jesus’ death on the cross was a multi-faceted event that accomplished more than just salvation, it accomplished the purchase price of the earth——a non-soteriological accomplishment——and it guarantees the future salvation of Israel.

    In conclusion, your reasoning is just bad. Your arguments don’t pass the test, and you’ve failed to make careful and fair rebuttals.
    I do enjoy the topic, and I believe it’s very important. I don’t mean anything personal. I hope you know as a brother in Christ that I value our shared inheritance, but I sincerely believe you’re wrong on this. Thanks.

    • admin

      Hi BW. Thanks for taking time to write all this stuff during the Christmas holidays. I hope you didn’t miss out on important family time.

      Some thoughts:

      > The response you sent was littered with faulty reasoning and errors.

      🙂 You don’t say?? Stay tuned:

      1. & 2.
      By the way, would you consider yourself a Classical, Modified or Progressive Dispensationalist or some other type of Dispensationalist? (https://carm.org/dispensationalism). Oh…. and not that it matters, but I double-checked and confirmed your Oswald T Allis quote: sure enough, he did capitalize “Dispensationalism” in his book. Given your extreme aversion to capitalizing the word, I thought it was interesting that your own source (like mine) tended to capitalize the word. Curious, huh?

      > A good rule of thumb is to always take the text at face value (i.e., by the letter——literal) unless something is obviously a figure of speech.

      I’m good with that — just note that you and I don’t always consider the same thing to be “obvious”, and I can’t get you to realize/admit that your dispensational paradigm drives you to see certain texts (and not others) as “obviously” so.

      > First, John 6:53 is not difficult. Jesus tells us that His words are “spirit” in verse 63.

      So is the whole chapter “spirit” words? If not, 1) which words are spirit and which words are literal, and 2) how do you know?
      Check it out in reverse order (contextual proximity), we have:
      – words about ascending to heaven (is this literal or spirit? I say literal)
      – words about believing and having eternal life (I’m going with literal)
      – words about eating flesh/drinking blood (I disagree with Catholics. I say it’s metaphorical [Roman Catholics doctrine on transubstantiation teach it’s literally spiritual; that we are eating the literal and actual essence of Christ)
      – words about losing nothing and raising it on the last day (I say literal. what say you)
      – words about being the bread of life (I say figurative)
      – words about being taught by God (I say literal)

      So we have literal; literal; metaphorical; literal; figurative; literal. That’s me.

      In this Jn 6 example, I’m trying to make a points here:
      a ) I’ve known for decades that Dispensationalists claim they take passages literally. The key is that they make this claim in light of Amil and Postmil views, usually with respect to eschatology (as your Allis quotes make this clear). Dispies are usually careful to NOT make this claim as a guiding principle for ALL Biblical interpretation. Please grasp that point.
      b ) Roman Catholics take Jn 6 more literally than you do. Yet even they don’t take the passage as literally as possible, as, say the 1st century Greco-Romans did. They accused Christians of cannibalism!
      c ) Every Christian has to wade through Jn 6 and decide what is literal and what is not. Even you. Something external to the passage drives your paradigm, and because you are not taking it as literally as Roman Catholics and Greco-Romans do, your claim that you take passages as literal as possible is demonstrably false. So your repeated claims to “take the text at face value” are hard to swallow: you don’t even practice what you demand.

      > I know they will say that because it was Passover, and Passover became communion (big assumption there)

      Wow. That’s bizarre. Why do you say it’s a “big assumption”??? After all, the first Communion was held on the day of Passover **as a subset of the Passover meal itself**. The thematic connections between “Passover”, “Lamb of God dying for the sin of the world” and “communion” could not be more explicit and intertwined.
      Surely you didn’t mean what you just said…

      > Second, Psalm 51 is also easy. It’s hyperbole.

      I’m afraid you’ve missed my point. Please take 10 minutes to read *all* of Ps 51, using 2 colored pencils. Underline every literal phrase with one color and every hyperbolic phrase with another. Then explain the multi-colored passage you’ve created, paying special attention to *why* you chose the colorings you did.
      Simple point: Your theology *drives* your interpretation of this passage. Not the other way around. In fact, “taking the text at face value” would render v11 as an imperative for which we cannot infer an ability. (See Martin Luther’s “Bondage of the Will”, where he rebukes Erasmus from making the same error in basic logic). Long story short, there is *no* “historical and contextual (OT context)” that the Holy Spirit did not indwell OT saints, yet it is one of the main tenants of Dispensationalism, based on a very dodgy interpretation of one NT verse in John and a peculiar reading of Acts 2. So much for “take the text at face value”. You’re following a paradigm without realizing it.

      4.
      > 4. My goodness. . . okay, I honestly don’t care whether it’s new or old. …just because Spurgeon was ignorant of something (in this case, ignorant of its development and constituency), doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. ..The way you are arguing sounds like unless something was formalized, it didn’t exist. Did men not have inalienable rights prior to the constitution? Was God not Triune prior to the Council of Nicaea… I will agree that dispensationalism has been developed only formally since the 18th century, but quit equating its recency as a system to the age of its truth…

      Hang on to that thought. It will be your undoing. Read on.

      5.
      > …he term began to take on technical meaning ..

      I would phrase it slightly differently. I would say the term as used in Paul’s writings began to be more restricted in its use and meaning.

      > There are almost 100 uses of the term ἐκκλεσία in the Septuagint, but they refer to a broad range of groups, only occasionally related to Israel.

      True. But there’s more to it: because you claim the Church did not exist prior to Acts 2, the ball is in your court to show that the term ἐκκλεσία in the Septuagint **never** refered to the Church /aka the Body of Christ. Hebrews’ quote of Ps 22 (and practiced by Jesus) demonstrates that there is at least one connection between ἐκκλεσία and the Church. That calls into question the many other uses of ἐκκλεσία, and whether or not they referred to the Body of Christ. Again, as I aptly demonstrated, it would have never dawned on the disciples that Jesus was talking about some unknown/unforseen ἐκκλεσία in passages like Matt 16 and Matt 18. The burden of proof is on you to back up your assertion.

      6.
      > 6. What a ridiculous question. My “dispensationalism compels me”? Give me a break. This is my whole point. I’m compelled by nothing but the text.

      Then you are ignorant of the text. No offense.

      > You say, “chapter 3:6, makes it abundantly clear that Paul is talking about the same Body that existed in the OT.” How ridiculous, it’s like you can’t even stop yourself from reading into the text. Where does Paul say the body existed in the OT?

      Curious: Why did you not quote Eph 6 when rejecting my interpretation in order to affirm your eisegesis of it? Here it is:

      [+] This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the SAME body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Eph 3:6)

      If a “plain reading” of Scripture doesn’t convince you that the “same body” is the same one that existed in the OT, then let’s look at another place in Scripture where the same truths about Christ’s pormises are elaborated to a different audience:

      [+] So then, those who are of faith are blessed ***along with Abraham***, the man of faith. (Gal 3:9)

      [+] so that in Christ Jesus ***the blessing of Abraham*** might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:14)

      [+] And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:29)

      The “same body” is about ALL who inherit the promises of Abrham (see also Heb 2:16).
      That includes both OT believing saints (predominantly Jews, with a smattering of Gentiles) AND NT believing saints (predominantly Gentiles, with a smattering of Jews). I’m not reading anything into it. I’m taking all of Scripture at face value.

      And it’s not just me saying that Eph 3:6’s “same body” includes OT saints. Here are a few comments from different theologians in different centuries:

      – – – –

      John Gill:
      and of the same body: coalesce in one and the same church state, with the believing Jews, under one and the same head, Christ Jesus, and participate of the same grace from him, being all baptized into one body, and made to drink of the same Spirit, and enjoy the same privileges and immunities.

      Albert Barnes:
      Verse 6. That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs. Fellow-heirs ***with the ancient people of god–the Jews***–and entitled to the same privileges. Rom 8:17; Eph 2:13-18
      [note that he reads Eph 2 the same way that I do]

      Adam Clarke:
      His promise in Christ] That the promise made to Abraham ***extended*** to the Gentiles, the apostle has largely proved in his Epistle to the Romans; and that it was to be fulfilled to them by and through Christ, he proves there also; and particularly in his Epistle to the Galatians, see Ga 3:14. And that these blessings were to be announced in the preaching of the Gospel, and received on believing it, he every where declares, but more especially in this epistle.

      Meyer’s NT Commentary:
      σύσσωμα denotes belonging jointly to the body (i.e. as members to the Messianic community, whose head is Christ,…)

      Scofiled is the odd man out. :
      The mystery “hid in God” was the divine purpose to make of Jew and Gentile a wholly new thing–“the church, which is his Christ’s body,

      – – – –
      Of all my commentaries that address the specific point, only Scoffield alone sees the Body as a “wholly new thing”

      > All Paul says is that Gentiles are fellow heirs and members of the body——the church, not Israel.

      Ah.. so Abraham’s offspring in the OT are members of the Church? Is that what you’re saying? If so, then we agree, actually. NT saints (Jew and Gentile) are of the same body as OT saints (Jew and Gentile).

      > And I must point out your eisegesis because even you know you’re guilty of it, which is why you ask me not to “accuse” you of it. You say, “you are no longer strangers and aliens [on the outside of the PRE EXISTING OT BODY OF BELIEVERS].”

      You mistake my efforts at clarity for eisegesis.

      Me: “you are no longer strangers and aliens [on the outside of the PRE EXISTING OT BODY OF BELIEVERS].”

      You: “you are no longer strangers and aliens [on the outside of the BRAND NEW, NEVER-BEFORE SEEN BODY OF BELIEVERS].”

      My clarity dovetails with other passages and commentaries. Yours does not. It’s as simple as that. I’m actually a little saddened that you can’t see the obvious effort at clarification.

      Now let’s circle back to the point you labored on in #4: when explaining the recency of Dispensationalism, you argued that just because a description is developed later in church history doesn’t mean the thing itself didn’t exist earlier, right? So it is with the Church (aka Body of Christ). It existed in the OT. It’s Jewish (+Gentile) composition wasn’t developed (revealed) until the NT.

      Cuts both ways, my friend.
      Checkmate.

      7.
      > You do not know whether it was the Second Person of the Godhead that walked with Adam and Eve. It doesn’t say.

      Necessary inference.
      “No man can see God and live.” They lived after seeing God in their fallen state; ergo, they, like Jacob who wrestled with the Angel of the Lord (aka “God”), did not see the Father; they saw the Son.

      (You opened your comments with an appeal to logic. The fact that you don’t seem to understand necessary inferences would suggest you have never studied logic. Have you?)

      9.
      > Notice that Jesus said this still was future in Acts 1:4–6: “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, which, He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’”

      What are you saying?
      – the discples weren’t saved at that time?
      – Nicodemus should not have understood what Jesus was saying about being born again in Jn 3 even though Jesus said he should have understood it based on OT teaching?
      – baptism by the Holy Spirit can always/only mean one thing?
      – That when the Holy Spirit baptized with “Holy Spirit and fire in Acts 2, He came with a winnowing fork is in His hand, cleared the threshing floor and gathered His wheat into the barn, but burned the chaff with unquenchable fire” ..this took place in Acts 2???

      Tell me again how you read everything at face value.

      Respectfully – you need to read more.
      Of course **a snippet** of JTB’s comment was fullfilled at Acts 2. But how does that necessarily mean that the Church began at Acts 2? Or that the Holy Spirit never baptized anyone (in any way/shape/form) prior to Acts 2?
      Remember – Jesus expected Nicodemus, a teacher of the OT Scriptures, to **already know** that baptism by the Holy Spirit was a prerequisite for entering the kingdom of heaven. Connect those dots, my friend!

      > According to Paul in Ephesians 3, the shared membership (Jews and Gentiles) was a “mystery” hidden in ages past, meaning Spirit baptism could not have occurred before the shared membership of Jews and Gentiles. I

      Once again, let me point out that your own train of logic regarding the formation of the Church *directly contradicts* your own train of logic regarding the formation of the doctrine of Dispensationalism.
      You are internatlly inconsistent in your epistemology.

      > Seems pretty simple when you actually look at the text instead of creating false dilemmas.

      🙂 What you call “false dilemmas” is actually a result of your inability to spot your own presuppositions.

      > ever saying the Spirit is “in” anyone is unrelated to Spirit baptism. You are talking about indwelling. Two different things.

      But my point stands. Dispensationalism requires the teaching that the Holy Spirit never indwelled anyone prior to Acts 2. A simple straightforward reading of the Bible easily demonstrates otherwise.

      > You are not acknowledging that the ministry of the Spirit is multi-faceted.

      Funny you should mention it. This is my point about Acts 1:4.

      > You are conflating the two. One is the Spirit taking residence within us and the other is the Spirit placing us in the Body of Christ.

      I see them as necessarily related, and you cannot have one without the other. That is, a person cannot be indwelled if he is not in the Body of Christ; and all persons in the Body of Christ are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. This is true from Adam to you and me.

      Do you have Scripture that says they are actually not necessarily related? I know of none, but I’m willing to be corrected.

      > One problem with you asserting that Acts 2 is the fulfillment of Joel 2——look at Joel 2 some time and give it an honest study. Those events in no way took place in Acts 2.

      Uhhhh… Peter himself said Acts 2 was the fulfillment of Joel 2. Don’t deny it; Stick with the plain reading, my friend 😉
      So what if only part of Joel 2 is fulfilled at that time is not my point. Prophecy rolls like that all the time (including JTB’s prophecy about Jesus and the Holy Spirit in Acts 1:4 and Acts 2).

      > Peter was establishing precedent for such a miracle. I’m not going to argue that definitively, but I would assert that that was Peter’s intention.

      Nah. Go with Peter’s actual words. He meant what he said:
      “Brothers – what you’re seeing here is exactly what Joel prophesied: THE BEGINNING OF THE LAST AGE!! …y’know… the ‘last age’ that begins with the Holy Spirit being poured out on regular joes and janes prophesying, and ends with the sun turning to darkness when the Lord comes.. That ‘last age’! Well, this is it!! You’re seeing it begin right here, right now, starting with these regular joes and janes prophesying in the Spirit.”
      (For context, read Jewish literature written in the intertestamental period. Thee authors were rather preoccupied with ‘the last days’ and wondering what it would look like and when it would begin. Note too that the Disciples wondered about it and privately asked Jesus the question directly in Matt 24
      [+]As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” (Matt 24:3)
      Peter is speaking to a common 1st century Jewish discussion, and saying “It starts NOW!!”

      > then not to mention the celestial signs. There is nothing in the text that would indicate these are to be taken figuratively.

      The silence is deafening. Since the sun did not turn black and the moon did not turn red that day, we conclude they’re either figurative with no real explanation forthcoming, or they’re future.
      I go with the latter.

      > one who doesn’t really honor Peter because he still takes Peter’s words allegorically and completely disregards the context of Joel and the details therein? Hmm. . . seems pretty obvious.

      For the record, I have NO idea what you’re talking about. I take Peter’s reading of Joel quite literally. I do indeed believe the sun will one day turn black and the moon will turn red on That Day (at the end of this age, sometime around the time when Jesus takes the winnowing fork in His hand and burns the chaff).

      > I’m sorry but, you make an ignorant assumption when you say, “The burden of proof is on you to show that Peter’s use of “ekklesia” 1) no longer refers to the same thing they thought it did ever since they were kids.” You have made a huge leap.

      Not at all. The burden of proof is still on you to show that a common word had new meaning. You have not done so. I have already cited several commentaries that explicitly state that the One Body pre-existed Acts 2. The embarrassment is yours alone (and Scoffield’s).

      > 12. Now, the “event” I refer to isn’t the timing (i.e., pretribulational). I’m referring to the Rapture itself in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. …If you thought that was my point, then you need to work on your reading skills.

      I may need to work on my reading skills, but that is not the issue for this point. You need to work on your memory skills:

      Allow me to quote you, with emphasis added to jog your memory:

      As far as the *pretribulational* Rapture, the evidence is abundant as well. I’m not sure why this is such a divisive issue or why reformed theologians look down their noses at dispensationalists … for holding to a **pre-trib** view, but this view is not only valid but the natural way of reading the text. .. First, Paul reveals this event in detail in ***1 Thessalonians 4:13–17*** and 1 Corinthians 15:51–53.

      Both references mention the rapture. Neither exclusively supports a **pre-trib** view of the rapture.

      My rebuttal was spot-on.
      Your memory is incorrect. (This does not bode well for you, as you’ve done this multiple times)
      Your Bible passages do not support the “*pretribulational* Rapture”
      As a courtesy, I’m going to assume you’re so used to thinking “pretrib rapture” that anytime you think “rapture” you immediately think of “pretrib rapture” and not “posttrib rapture” (even though the Bible spells out posttrib rapture time and again).

      > John 14:2–3 is really helpful here as it does strongly indicate that when Christ returns for His believers, He will bring them to Heaven.

      Not necessarily.
      When Christ returns (Rev 19), His saints are with Him and [drumroll, please] He brings many mansions down from heaven to earth (Rev 21:2).
      Nowhere does it say that resurrected saints are raptured **and brought up to heaven**. That’s why I don’t say it.

      > John 14 indicates that He is discussing a different return in which He gathers His believers and brings them to Heaven. That strongly refutes the concept of a posttribulation position.

      It’s an argument from silence! They are never certain, and surely never “strong”.
      The passage doesn’t mention the Rapture. Nor does it mention the Tribulation. Nor does it mention the Resurrection. Nor does it mention the Wrath to Come.
      If you’re going to use that passage to “prove” any point about the timing of the rapture, all those pesky details have to be supplied by the listener, and arranged in a particular order which is nether supplied nor hinted at in this passage.

      > I believe are overwhelming facts from the rest of Scripture in favor of the pretribulational position

      There is nothing vagely resembling “overwhelming” in John 14.
      So I go the other way: I see 2 Thess 1:7 (and Matt 24:29-31) as overwhelming, as they explicitly state where believers will be when Jesus comes and when the tribulation will be when saints are caught up in the air. The other passages are vague. It’s far easier to view the vague passages aligning with the clear, rather than forcing a pre-trib view on vague passages and then being stupefied at the passages that clearly work against a post-trib view. No difficulties at all.

      > Notice that John 14:2–3 addresses this issue more directly as it actually speaks of Christ’s return for His people.

      Insofar as you have to employ several arguments from silence in order to make it support your view ..ummm, yeah, sure.

      > Now, you have to define what giving relief is.

      Paul does so: they were suffering and afflicted (v5-6), and the afflictions stopped when Jesus came in blazing glory. The cessation of the affliction is the relief.

      > but you must see that the reality is true that a saint at rest in Heaven could still long for the relief of justice as demonstrated by Revelation 6:10 and that 2 Thessalonians 1:7

      Hmmmm.. Definitely a streeeeeeeeetch.
      BTW .. I note that they were martyrs in the Great Tribulation ..and they went to heaven. Are they part of the Body of Christ??

      > If that is the best argument you have, it’s not strong enough.

      I literally laughed out loud when I read this. Sorry, but you crack me up.
      My conclusions of 2 Thess 1:7 (which you claim causes problems for your view) far stronger than John 14:1-3 which doesn’t even mention (directly or in passing) rapture, tribulation, Second Coming Judgment. Likewise, Matt 24:29-31 explicitly states a pre-trib rapture!
      There is *NO* pre-trib passage that you can give me that causes any problems with my view. I need no special reading or bending of Scripture. It’s all there.

      > 13. I built the rest of my argument on the blessed hope

      Sorry, but this equally endorses pre-trib and post-trib (and any other eschatology that includes a Second Coming).

      > the rescue from wrath (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9).

      Sorry, but you’re not reading properly. I did indeed already address this.

      > To this you ask me to establish that wrath is not the same as final wrath (i.e., either Great White or Sheep and Goats——depending on if you distinguish these events as I do)

      No, I said that the wrath they were saved from was not the GT, but “To save them from Final Judgment at the Second Coming”, and I pointed to Rev 19.
      [+]From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. (Rev 19:15)
      (Although in retrospect, I should have been more clear; the Final Judgment is the GWT, where the occupants of hell are thrown into the Lake of Fire. Whereas, at the Second Coming, many of Christ’s enemies are slain and thrown into hell to await Final Judgment. In either case, the ‘wrath’ of 1 Thess 5 is NOT the GT, as believers – those saved by the Blood of Jesus Christ – are in the GT and being killed in it.)

      > This again makes it plain that the wrath in focus is that which pertains to God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth——not Great White Throne from which all believers are saved.

      False dichotomy.
      The “wrath” of 1 Thess 5 is the same wrath of Rev 19 that precedes the Millennium of Rev 20. All believers are spared that wrath too, y’know. They’re cheering on the Messiah in Rev 18 and 19 ..just as 2 Thess 1 says.

      > You assume that every time the word salvation is used it refers to eternal spiritual salvation.

      Of course I don’t.

      > So literally Jesus Christ provides rescue from eternal damnation and the wrath of the Tribulation.

      “Jesus saves His people from their sin and eternal damnation and the tribulation. Except those sains in the GT. Jesus only provides them rescue from eternal damnation.” ..says no verse anywhere.

      > You say in every other verse it means being saved from hell but “saved through our Lord Jesus Christ”

      Except I **DEMONSTRATED** that every verse using that phrase [and any reasonable approximation of that phrase] is speaking of eternal salvation. Show me anywhere where it clearly doesn’t and I’ll grant your reading of 1 Thess 5 has merit. Until then, I’m going to assume this phrase is no different than all the rest.

      > falls short when you consider the CONTEXT of 1 Thessalonians 5:9,

      There you go again with your circular reasoning”
      -How do we know 5:9 is about the GT and not the Second Coming Rev 19 wrath? Because 1 Thess 4:17 is about the PRE TRIB rapture. CONTEXT!!
      -How do we know 4:17 is about the PRE TRIB rapture and not the Second Coming Rev 19 wrath? Because 5:9 is about the GT and not Rev 19. CONTEXT!!

      Funny how you claim you’re not using circular reasoning. Follow your own bouncing ball:
      – You claim 5:9 is pre-trib due to proof of CONTEXT, but…
      – when we examine the context starting at 4:16, you claim 4:16-17 isn’t necessarily pre-trib, but…
      – you point to a special eisegetical reading of 5:10 to affirm that the context is indeed pre-trib
      CONCLUSION: 5:9 is pre-trib because of the “context”.

      Yah. Ok. Let me know when your merri-go-round stops.

      > an intellectually honest individual could not deny that I’m basing my definitions for wrath and rescue on the context of those passages.

      I agree that you’re basing your definitions for wrath and rescue on an IMAGINED context of those passages.

      > 14. You make an assumption in 1 Thessalonians 1:10.

      Not really. I’m making a claim. No matter; I back up my claim with more clear Scripture that CLEARLY STATE the points I’m making.
      You, on the other hand, don’t declare your assumptions – you assume them to be the only view. And then for support, you point to VAGUE passages that could support any number of views, but pull them in because you have painted them with the same pre-trib brushstrokes. ..and then blame me for eisegesis? Ha!

      > Yes, they get their relief at Christ’s second coming, but that’s not the point. The point is that, although they are in Heaven and are not subject to affliction and suffering any longer, they are still not in a state of relief. You literally just dismissed 2 Thessalonians 1:7 yourself as an argument against the pretribulation position.

      Nope. You need to re-read the passages.

      1. The 2 Thess 1 saints get reflief from their *affliction* when Christ returns in blazing glory. You’re reading it the same way I do, that’s why the passage causes you problems for your view. Are saints “afflicted” in heaven as they await vengeance? I would say no; it seems you concur.
      Are heaven’s martyrs *concerned* and *pining* for justice? I would say yes. But “afflicted” and “concerned” are not the same. No conflict.

      2. The 2 Thess saints that are ON THE GROUND when Christ comes to give them relief. They are not in heaven. And if they’re GT Saints ..then Paul is saying that his reading audience, the Thessalonica church, will go through the GT. Do you want to go there? Surely you’re not a Preterist, are you?

      > Any person who is looking for a “work around” exposes that they are not taking the text seriously.

      Hm. Strange.
      I test all things to see if they are true. This includes testing ways to work around passages, and then dispassionately examining the work-around to see if it strains credulity. Surely you do something like this yourself, right? I hope so.

      > This passage should not clinch anyone’s position since it only incidentally (and does not really) relate to the timing of the Rapture discussion.

      It places Paul’s audience, the Thessalonica church, suffering on the earth at the time of the Second Coming.
      Necessary inference requires that I conclude there is no pre-trib rapture.

      > Clearer and more direct passages should hold much more weight.

      Like your multiple arguments from silence in Jn 14:1-3. Hahahahahahaha! Yeah, that was funny.

      > persecution of this world can long for the relief of justice

      What does it mean to “long for the relief of justice”? I’m not familiar with the phrase.
      “Pine for justice”; “cry for justice”; “hope for justice” – sure. But “relief of justice”? Hmm. Sorry, dunno what that means.

      > Then you jump into the absence of the word ἐκκλεσία. I never made that argument

      It’s a preemptive argument. Most Dispie pre-tribbers (including Greek profs from my Bible college days) rely heavily on the fact that the Church is not mentioned after the “rapture” of Rev 4:1.

      > The fact that the term ἐκκλεσία is used 19 times in the first three chapters and is not used once throughout the entire period of Tribulation described in the following chapters, only appearing again at the very close of the book, is quite substantial. It appropriately supports the pretribulational position, though not proving it.

      Ahh. So you do give credence to the arument. Guess I was right after all.

      > They all discussed Israel and therefore the Olivet Discourse most certainly is discussing events pertaining to Jews only.

      Balderdash! There are plenty of subjects all throughout Matthew’s Gospel that *you yourself* would claim does not only pertain to Jews only.
      -Discussions about the foundation of the Church in Matt 16
      -Operations of Church discipline in Matt 18
      -Separation of sheep and goats in Matt 25
      etc, etc, etc. Those are not Jewish-only events, so why is Matt 24 a Jewish-only event?
      The burden of proof (not speculation!) is on YOU to show that Matt 24 suddenly, magically somehow ONLY refers to Jewish believers and not all believers. And don’t stop at (Jewish) ‘sabbath’, (Jewish) ‘temple’ and (Jewish) ‘mountain’. Explain how the (Jewish) elect are gathered from the 4 winds.
      Good luck.

      I take the passage to be speaking of BOTH the Jewish Church in the persecution of 70/90AD and the saints in the Great Tribulation. and AFTER the great tribulation, the elect (all living believers at the time) are raptured (gathered in the 4 winds).

      > God did not pour out His wrath upon those listed in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

      I didn’t say he did. (Are you sure you’re reading me correctly?)

      > Your logic is really lacking

      Says the man who calls circular reasoning “context” and arguments from silence “strong proof”. Okaaaay.

      > ——and the superiority in your tone is nauseating.

      Pot – meet kettle. You’re cracking me up.

      > No pretribulationalist argues that God said Christians wouldn’t suffer.

      Which is why I never said this. Re-read my comments.

      > Pretribulationists argue that God Himself does not pour wrath upon Christians, but they do suffer.

      Many Pretribulationists claim “God would never harm His bride”, and use that line as a defense against the Post-trib rapture. Google it. Yet Matt 23 paints a starkly different picture, where Jesus sends His people *so that* they will be tortured and killed. AND there are saints getting killed in the GT. So why should that line of thinking preclude us from believing the Church will go through the rapture?

      > The church will reign on earth during the Kingdom in glorified bodies, and Christ will reign from David’s throne in Israel; the Apostles are part of the church, but they will reign under Christ over Jews and Gentiles; Christ-believing Jews who died before Pentecost (e.g., John the Baptist) are part of Israel, not the church. You act as though because these questions don’t make sense to you, they are invalidated. The test of truth is whether the Scriptures teach it, not whether it makes sense to you or anyone else.

      Except Scripture only teaches the First half of your statements. It never teaches the latter half. It never teaches that pre-Pentecost believers are part of Israel and not the Church.The fact that you’ve skipped so many related questions shows you might actually be the one unable to make sense of these things:

      – what about pre-Abrahamic believers? They’re not Jews!
      – What about the Gentiles like the Gibeonites? Rahab? Ruth? Tamar? Uriah? Aranaugh? They’re not Jews! Do they reign with Christ?
      – I thought you said the saints are in heaven with Christ in those manions He built!!
      – Does the Church rule over the OT Jewish saints (like JTB)? Do they reign over the OT non-Jewish saints too? What does it mean for the Church to rule over the OT saints??
      – Do the martyred GT saints rule over anyone at all? If so, whom?

      > 19. …Simply because he had never been acquainted with dispensationalism before doesn’t mean it wasn’t taught in some form or that its basic tenets weren’t held throughout church history by some.

      My point is simpler than that. Many Dispies hold Spurgeon in high regard; he mocked essential tenants of Dispensationalism and called it bizarre and new. That’s all.

      > 22. How about this, the Israel of God is. . . Israel! How difficult is that?

      Overly simplistic, if you want my opinion. Why didn’t he just say “Israel” like he does many other places? The text seems to suggest that he’s talking about all believers of the “new creation” (v15). Don’t forget that Isaiah 44 spills a lot of ink talking about “My People Israel” and yet includes Gentiles adhering themselves to the name of Israel (v5). Long story short, I’ve got a bunch of commentaries that I’d up up against you any day of the week, but /shrug.

      > eutics would teach you, he never means a person who is not an Israelite. He is speaking of a narrower group within Israel.

      Either that, or he’s speaking of an overlaping group which also contains of a subset of that “narrower group within Israel”.
      I say “overlapping” because the promises of v4 (which is the focus) also belong to Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Aranaugh, and many other OT Gentiles, do they not?
      And if not, then you need to ALSO explain WHO WILL REIGN OVER THEM, AND/OR WHO WILL THEY REIGN OVER?? Like I said: not so simple on your view.
      So I say they’re are part of that “narrower Israel”. (You’re a logic guy, right? Draw a couple of Venn diagrams (“all S are P” and “some S are P”) to show the relationship between OT Gentile Saints, OT Jewish Saints and NT Church Saints ..and then depict it in the Millennium. Problems abound for your view.)

      > 23. Not “share” covenants——the NT never says that the church shares in the covenants. You need to pay more attention when you read the Bible. You are reading a lot into it.

      Semantics.
      You need to show how your view doesn’t make a mess of the Matt 8 passage I put forward. You did not do so.

      > 24. “Nor does he say that the church is NOT related to Jacob.” What you are doing is the definition of eisegesis. In other words, “well, the Bible doesn’t say it’s not, so I’ll teach it anyway.” That is terrible.

      Wrong.
      Remember – my premise is that the word ekklesia was ALREADY known to the disciples, and included “the assembly of God’s people” (see Heb’s reference of Ps 22). When you come along and say that “Paul never says that the church is related to Jacob”, you are invoking an argument from silence. I, on the other hand, am continuing that which I have already asserted and demonstrated, unflapped by your argument from silence. There is no eisegesis here! (you keep using that word – I don’t think you know what it means)

      > Therefore, we can benefit from the promises without receiving the covenant.

      That’s actually a very interesting point, but I’m not so sure Paul doesn’t conflate them:
      – Starting with v15, Paul doesn’t seem to make much distinction between the “promises” and the “covenant”.
      – v16 is a quote from the covenant of Gen 15 “to your offspring..”
      – “the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.”

      So
      1. it seems to me that the covenant is inseparable from the promises
      2. nowhere in the OT or NT do we read that the Abrahamic Covenant ended
      3. What “covenantal promises” do the believing (or non-believing) Jews get compared to “non-covenantal promises” that the believing Gentiles get? If they’re coming in from the East and West and sitting with Abraham, eating side-by-side with him.. I struggle to see how they are not benefitting from all/every promise made to Abe ..which is basically what Gal 3:29 says.

      > If you knew about it, you probably wouldn’t think every use of ἐκκλεσία meant the Christian church and every use of σωτηρία meant spiritual salvation.

      Good heavens! Wherever did I say that?

      > A little study in linguistics would probably go a long way for you.

      I speak 2 radically different languages fluently, have lived on 2 different continents, and have visited ~35 countries on 4 continents. I’ve not studied lingustics formally, but my daughter has a degree in lingustics. I think I kinda/sorta know a thing or 2 about languages. But thanks for the heads up.

      > Dispensationalism comes from an objective analysis of the text.

      So for 2,000 years, the Church was unable or unwilling to engage in an “objective analysis of the text” because … why?
      (it’s not proof one way or the other – just curiosity on my part)

      > Your fourth usage is erroneous and not established by the text, but rather by philosophical presupposition. Israel of God is the believing remnant of Israel.

      …despite the fact that many scholars have affirmed my view for millennia. But, ok, I guess you know better.

      > Always looking to man-made philosophy and men to validate your views.

      “corroborate”, not “validate”.
      And this is better than being oblivious to one’s paradigm and/or assuming one’s paradigm to be the only existing paragidm. (which is what you do, btw)

      > Guess what, you don’t have to. You already have God’s philosophy in the Bible. When it comes to theology, faith, practice, there is no room for human philosophy.

      You misunderstand my point. I’m using the NIV because it articulates the point Paul is making. As you point out, ANY view will be part of a philosophical worldview. We are to avoid man’s *vain* worldview/philosophy, and adhere only to God’s. But just because we can assign a man’s name to a philosophical particular doesn’t mean it is man’s *vain* philosophy, in opposition to God’s. I’m of the opinion that all truth is God’s truth (a man first coined that phrase. Get it?) And if you agree to that, you’re not affirming man’s *vain* philosophy; you’re affirming God’s truth ..which happens to be expounded on by a man. No problems.

      > My answer to Euthyphro’s Dilemma is this: I don’t care because the Bible doesn’t answer it! Why are you wasting your time?

      Your response fails to understand the nature of God with respect to nature of goodness (and truth, beauty and morality). I cringe that you don’t care and think it’s a waste of time.

      > Just because Jesus’ blood ratified the New Covenant for Israel doesn’t mean that the New Covenant is salvation for all mankind.

      Sorry, but that statement is too ambiguous.
      Are you saying that people can be saved outside of the New Covenant? Or are you saying that the New Covenant does not save every man/woman/child everywhere (Universalism)?

      > but I sincerely believe you’re wrong on this. Thanks.

      I’m sure.
      But I sincerely believe I’ve shown you from Scripture and reason why your pre-trib rapture doesn’t pass muster. I think I’ve also shown:
      -Dispensationalism (big “D”) was new to Spurgeon’s day, teaching many new things yet unheard in Christendom
      -Dispensationalism taught the Church did not include OT saints
      -Spurgeon insisted that the OT saints were indeed part of the Church
      -People before Christ did not stand in the same light of revelation as NT saints (ie, progressive revelation)
      -In some way, Israel is not “natural Israel”, but rather, all believers of all ages

      And that was the point of the article. You did not refute any of these points.

      Peace.

  • Patricia McEntire

    you guys are AWESOME!!!!!! thanks for taking the time to discuss with one another the things of God. Its gonna take me a while to read it all in detail, but what I was able to read already taught me so much about the scriptures. Thank you and God bless you both abundantly. I am looking forward to meeting you both in Heaven where we will find out all the details about these points and have a blast worshiping our Lord for ever.

    Blessings,

    PM

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