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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dispensationalism, Missions, and Israel, Part I

Repost from April 20, 2007
John Nelson Darby's grave siteImage via Wikipedia
For some reason, I'm having a real problem with people continuing to hold on to the false doctrine of dispensationalism, no matter what evidence is presented to them from the Bible that it does not exist. A few points:
  1. According to dispensationalists, the church only exists in the New Testament. This is false. The Greek word, Ekklesia, literally means an assembly of the called out ones, or something to that effect. It's the word used by Jesus when He said that He would build the church upon Himself, the rock. I believe He was acknowledging the church as already existent, even though He had not sacrificed Himself yet. Perhaps the strongest case for the church existing in the Old Testament can be made from Psalm 22:22 and Hebrews 2:12. The writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 22:22 when Jesus says that He will tell of my name among the "congregation" (church). The word used in the Greek in Hebrews is Ekklesia. In the Septuagint (Old Testament translated to Greek), the word in Psalms for congregation is also Ekklesia. I could go further and show that all the words in the Old Testament used for congregation/assembly of Israel could be translated to also mean church, but I don't think I have to. I encourage you to do this study on the meaning of church in the Bible.
  2. Individualism, I believe, is one of the biggest dangers to Christianity in the past 150 years or so. Ever since Charles Schofield published his notes on dispensationalism and the return of Christ from John Nelson Darby. We want to make the Gospel personal to each one of us. In some sense, it is personal, but God is a communal god, desiring community. This is why He is a trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God desires peoples to be saved, not people. Jesus Christ is not our "best friend," so to speak, as the American church likes to make it out to be. Dispensationalism is all about me, but it offers "cheap grace" to the sinner. By "cheap grace," I mean that, under the dispensational system, one is saved by merely professing, but typically there is no heart changed. You can continue in sin, but you are now saved. A few conditions are that you must support any nation that claims to be Israel, and you cannot speak against Israel. Your salvation might be in jeopardy if you don't. After all, God says that He will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel, right? Wrong. Go back and read Genesis 12:1-3 again. It doesn't actually say that.
This has been part 1, as I have not had time to fully put all of my thoughts down at this time. When I have more time, I will post part 2 soon. Of course, I will probably get labeled as a heretic and not loving God's people and such, but hey, that's life when you're attempting to destroy and 150 year old doctrine.


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