Muliple ways of salvation in Dispensationalism - information needed

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leierbag

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi, in "Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth: A Critique of Dispensationalism" by John H. Gerstner, a publication not available in South Africa, one of the important topics must be the different ways of salvation in different ages as put forth by the dispensationalists which are contrary to the word of God. I wonder if someone could assist me on this, maybe there are links to his arguments or blog-posts or discussions. A friend of mine is a hard-line dispensationalist unaware of [or blind to] the errors and I am providing him with data which might be used by our Lord to open his eyes.
in Christ
Gabriel Smit
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It is old school dispensationalism that Gerstner takes on. It's not as applicable today.
I'd point your friend to some good exegesis of Daniel 9, Romans and Ephesians to break the whole seven years, end of the world garbage that it basically is now.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Senior
I would be surprised to find a dispensationalist today who holds that view.
Perhaps not in the academy or amongst more well-known teachers, but you’d be surprised by what beliefs are held in many local churches, particularly in the rural southeast. You’d be shocked to hear what I learned in Sunday school as a child.
 

koenig

Puritan Board Freshman
This is all observations from having dispensationalist in-laws, so take it with a grain of salt, but...

We read them some of Keith Mathison's quotes of Dispensational authors in his Dispensationalism book, specifically regarding Israel having a separate path to salvation. They reacted strongly against it, suggesting that either he took them out of context and agreeing with us that this would be wrong. Either way, they weren't on board with that. It sounds like the David Jeremiah side of things is about evangelizing Israel with the one gospel, not admonishing them to be saved by their law.

They would say that the Jews of old were under law and we're under grace now, and so they'd make a distinction between that time and this time--but they wouldn't strictly insist on the "seven dispensations" framework.

They're far more eager to defend the rapture as an absolutely essential thing. In their mind, the possibility that Christians might have to go through The Tribulation is a straight-up denial of God's promise to his people, and they can't understand why any Christian thinks there's interpretation to be done here; either you believe it or you're a theological liberal.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Perhaps not in the academy or amongst more well-known teachers, but you’d be surprised by what beliefs are held in many local churches, particularly in the rural southeast. You’d be shocked to hear what I learned in Sunday school as a child.

I get that everyone's anecdotal experiences are going to be different, but if we are going to reference academic works by Gerstner, then they must be contrasted with academic works by modern dispensationalists. The comparison cannot be academic Reformed vs. lay Dispensational.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Senior
I get that everyone's anecdotal experiences are going to be different, but if we are going to reference academic works by Gerstner, then they must be contrasted with academic works by modern dispensationalists. The comparison cannot be academic Reformed vs. lay Dispensational.
Of course, I get that, but 1) your previous comment seemed rather general and sweeping, and 2) the OP is asking for academic works for the sake of debating a fellow lay person. It’s pretty understandable to assume when you said you can’t imagine “a dispensationalist today” that holds to such view, that you were speaking broadly—i.e., any dispensationalist. I was just offering some counter examples for the the sake of the thread. I guess I misunderstood.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Of course, I get that, but 1) your previous comment seemed rather general and sweeping, and 2) the OP is asking for academic works for the sake of debating a fellow lay person. It’s pretty understandable to assume when you said you can’t imagine “a dispensationalist today” that holds to such view, that you were speaking broadly—i.e., any dispensationalist. I was just offering some counter examples for the the sake of the thread. I guess I misunderstood.

Right. I meant "scholarly dispensationalist." I understand (though I have never met) that some lay might hold that OT Jews were saved by law. I also don't know how helpful an academic work is in explaining things to a lay person.

And the OP mentioned Gerstner's work, which is almost uniformly admitted on all sides to be a bad work.
 

Jo_Was

Puritan Board Freshman
Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God? by Keith Mathison is a helpful resource to discourse on the topic. Very readable and approachable for those witnessing. I believe koenig referenced it above.

Honestly, as hinted at in discussion, there is a wide variety in the nuances that laypeople have than the generalizations of thought beliefs that they may have. Pre-mil Dispensationalism looks a little different in a run of the mill SBC church and looks a little different in a broadly evangelical non-denom and looks a little different in a fundamentalist pentecostal church in the middle of nowhere. So, in my own coming from a dispensational background and discoursing with family members, the MOST HELPFUL thing for me transitioning out of dispensationalism was realizing the positive affirmations of the Bible and what it does hold about the people of God--namely: Covenant theology. Covenant theology is really what helped everything to "click" for me. Much of dispensationalist thought is assumed in broad evangelicalism--so much so that even non-churched people and agnostics/atheists believe the likes of Tim LaHaye and broad dispensational ideas to be de facto for Christians. This means that many people have just simply not really considered what their view is, and that their are, in fact, other views. This means that not every lay-person is cognizant of the theological nuances and details of their thought--just that they know something about Israel being important, the rapture being important, etc. They might not connect these ideas to the "dispensations" though the dispensations do affect where conclusions are drawn on aspects like how we view Israel in modern times, how we consider eschatological matters.

So, at the end of the day, I find it most helpful to draw out what Scripture positively shows about God's covenant with his people and the connection between the OT and NT, the connection between Israel and the church, etc and how our view of the "story" of God's redemption through covenant alters our perspective on how we may view these other aspects. Once you're seeing the positive case, it's easier to then have the "contrasting" conversation of how it's different than dispensationalism, and how its conclusions will be different in regards to other areas as well.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The best thing to do is to explain to the lay person that older views did hold to multiple salvation but Dispensationalists today don't believe that. I would briefly explain the differences between older views, progressive Dispensational, and covenant and why covenant seems to make best sense of the data.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Attacking people for views that they do not hold isn't a very promising method of argumentation, it seems to me. Few people today refer to the Old Scofield and Chafer, which are the main sources for that. And even Scofield and Chafer were inconsistent on the subject, seeming to teach it in one place but denying it elsewhere. Dallas Seminary abandoned that that over a half century ago. It seems to me that about the only people who will be convinced by Gerstner type arguments are those who are looking for a reason to jump ship. Basically, it is an attempt to convince people that xyz is what their view necessarily entails, but I don't think that many people will find it to be persuasive, even if they are five pointers.

When you're dealing with biblicists, you will need to show them their error from the Bible.

There's a whole big wide world out there and I've only been exposed to a sliver of it firsthand, but I don't know that there is much systematic teaching of dispensationalism in the churches today. It is probably most common among certain independent fundamentalists and "free grace" churches, the latter of which are few and far between in many areas. It is becoming more and more rare among Southern Baptists. Most "dispensationalists" today probably couldn't even tell you what the traditional dispensations are. Many laypeople will not even be familiar with the term. Their main issues are Zionism and the Rapture. They think that a rejection of Zionism (aka "replacement theology") makes God a liar and they believe that the Bible promises that the Church won't see wrath (Rev 3:10) and maybe also that the rapture is necessary to keep the church and Israel separate. There is not much more to it with most laypeople and even a good many pastors.

Taylor is right about laypeople here and there, (mostly geriatrics in my experience) but I've also heard Reformed laypeople say that they wish that Israel would be destroyed so that dispensationalism would be discredited. A good many NAPARC churches seem to be chock full of Doug Wilson fans too. So a Baptist could say "See, I told you that FV and pedocommunion are the logical conclusion of Reformed covenant theology!!!" if what laypeople say is to be taken as the test.
 
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