Monday, September 8, 2014

5. Trace dispensational thinking from Paul to you.

5. Trace dispensational thinking from Paul to you.

Most of the charts and lists of those who believed in dispensationalism go like the one done below by Dr. Ken Blue in his booklet "Dispensationalism Misunderstood".

"Justin Martyr (AD 100-165): according to Crutchfield, Justin believed in four phases of human history in God's program. The first was from Adam to Abraham; the second was from Abraham to Moses; the third was from Moses to Christ; and the fourth was from Christ to the eternal state.

Irenaeus (AD 120-202): The dispensational scheme of Irenaeus is four in number. They are: 1. From the Creation to the Flood. 2. From the Flood to the Law. 3. From the Law to the Gospel. 4. From the Gospel to the Eternal State. He taught that there were four zones of the world and of mankind. He saw a connection between these zones, the faces of the "four living creatures", the four gospels and the four dispensations.
"Some Fathers set forth only four such dispensations, others came very close to making nearly the same divisions modern dispensationalists do," says Crutchfield. He continues, "Irenaeus, Victorinus of Petau, and Methodius' number of dispensations is artificially restricted to four ... the dispensations are most often spoken of the early fathers in terms of the prominent persons." He lists the persons as; Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Christ. "Dispensational divisions were customarily made along the boundaries of these five men's lives and times," concludes Crutchfield.

Scofield more closely follows this pattern. Dr. Scofield taught: 1. Innocence (Adam), 2. Government (Noah), 3. Promise (Abraham), 4. Law (Moses), 5. Grace (Christ).

It was John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) who first gave systematic form to the ages and dispensations. However, he was by no means the first to discover different ages and dispensations in God's Word."---- Dr. Ken Blue  "Dispensationalism Misunderstood"

Of course the body of Christ has always possessed some level of dispensationalism in that they have believed the gospel of the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 1-5) rather than the gospel of the kingdom (Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38, Matthew 6:14-15, Acts 3:19) whether they knew that there were different gospels or not.

The more recent and well known dispensationalists were these:

Ethelbert Bullinger (1837-1913), Charles Welch (1880-1967), J.C. O'Hair, Cornelius Stam, and Charles F. Baker. Bullinger and Welch held to the "Acts 28 position" (starting the body of Christ at Acts 28) while O'Hair, Stam, and Baker held to the correct position of "Mid Acts Dispensationalism" (starting the body of Christ at Acts 9). [Note: some MAD start the body of Christ at Acts 13]

There were also Acts 2 dispensationalists such as Harry Ironside and Clarence Larkin.

I believe that God gave the mystery dispensation of grace through Paul at Acts 9 (Ephesians 3:1-9, Colossians 1:25-26, Romans 11:25) and that it was from his conversion that he became the pattern for those who would believe the gospel after him (1 Timothy 1:14-16, 1 Corinthians 3:10). The grace dispensation had already been given through Paul BEFORE Acts 28 (Romans 6:14, 1 Timothy 1:14-16, 1 Corinthians 3:10) and Israel had already been blinded with the mystery dispensed (Romans 11).

Dispensationalists have always been a small group, but there have never been enough followers of Paul even in the 1st Century.

2 Timothy 2:
[10] For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
[11] Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry

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