What Was Your Last Straw for Dispensationalism?

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J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Sophomore
For those of you who were raised and/or held to Dispensationalism, what was the last straw to break your resolve in it?
 

EuphratesRiver

Puritan Board Freshman
In my experience, it was the fact that I couldn't find proof text for most of it. This was one of the earliest periods of my life when I began studying the bible in my private time. For a long time after my conversion I would just attend the weekly bible studies in the former church I became a new member of, but I never considered doing it by myself until the leading pastor of that congregation gave me a study bible as a baptismal gift. He didn't think I would branch out to other commentaries in my burning desire to learn more.

However, despite that I no longer leaned toward dispensationalism in my thinking, it took me years to figure out that there were other views - let alone what Reformed theology was.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Revelation begins by saying we are blessed who read it. Dispie-ism is too confusing to be a blessing. Case closed.

Waldron's "End Times Made Simple" really helped me too.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Dispensationalism is confusing and convoluted. It doesn't take into account different literary genres in the Bible. It is a novel doctrine. Some versions of it posit salvation by works.

But I began to abandon Dispensationalism, really, only after coming to Calvinism. One by one the dominoes began to fall, and the Dispensationalism which I held only by default fell with them.
 
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B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
For those of you who were raised and/or held to Dispensationalism, what was the last straw to break your resolve in it?

I wasn't raised in it and I've never held to it, but I belonged to a Baptist Church once that taught and promoted this erroneous view. The last straw that broke my resolve in being able to coexist and endure was when the pastor decided to preach expositionally through the Book of Revelation. Those crazy Clarence Larkin charts still haunt me.

However, probably the funniest encounter I had with dispensationalism was visiting a PCA church and noticing a pair of Charles Ryrie Study Bibles on the lost and found table in the foyer. I figured the owners were either 1) raptured during the worship service or 2) tasted a bit of covenant theology and ditched them then and there. Lol.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Could you expand? Was it a dispensational commentary on Revelation?

As a Dispie I found Revelation useless, utterly contrary to the statement at the beginning of the book that one is blessed if he reads the book. So much speculation, weird ideas, and nothing really spiritual or edifying in any of it. So I decided, "If my view of Revelation makes it practically useless, then I cannot be right."

Waldron brought wonderful clarity to the whole subject. He laid out eschatology in a clear, simple, understandable manner so that I could say I got it.

That, and seeing how utterly new dispensationalism was in time. And as I grew in Reformed theology and seeing the bridge between the OT and NT, Dispie'ism fell off rather easily.
 

Chad Hutson

Puritan Board Freshman
Born and raised in an area that is 99% dispensational, I never knew there were any other views. However, two things about dispensationalism troubled me: 1) without my Scofield Bible notes, it was difficult to keep it all straight; 2) the preoccupation within Christian circles with the Rapture and Revelation always bugged me.
But the straw that broke the camel's back was thinking through the notion that somehow God deals with Israel differently than He does the church. I couldn't accept that God will once again accept animal sacrifices in a rebuilt earthly temple. It seems scandalous to me and denigrating to Christ's all-sufficient sacrifice of Himself that animal blood would once again be required.
I once preached that it was "a doctrine that damages the church," and by God's grace our church's collective eyes were opened. Never looked back.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
I thoroughly enjoyed the Left Behind series. Not because of its literary value (scant, if any) but because I enjoy science fiction.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I wanted to know where explicitly it said that there would be a seven year tribulation that fulfilled Daniel's 70th week. It was merely asserted continually that Daniel 9 had to correspond, and it had to be 7 years. I had no clue as how exactly they got there.
In search of this elusive intertextuality I looked in older commentaries on Daniel 9 and they saw Christ, not the antichrist, making the 'strong' covenant with the many. It made perfect sense. From that point forward I came into Reformed theology as a whole as well as amillennialism through Kim Riddlebarger.
 
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Joseph Knowles

Puritan Board Freshman
Dispensationalism is confusing and convoluted. It doesn't take into account different literary genres in the Bible. It is a novel doctrine. Some versions of it posit salvation by works.

But I began to abandon Dispensationalism, really, only after coming to Calvinism. One by one the dominoes began to fall, and the Dispensationalism which I held only by default fell with them.
This is more or less the same as what happened with me.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
Those crazy Clarence Larkin charts still haunt me.
What? You mean charts like this one? What's crazy about that? :lol:
42008fc119d15872699b8a410c95186a.jpg
 

dnlcnwy

Puritan Board Freshman
For those of you who were raised and/or held to Dispensationalism, what was the last straw to break your resolve in it?
I happened to pick up a copy of an abridged version of Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I went back and re-read Revelation in light of that and it became patently obvious to me that the apocalypse was a spiritual metaphor for the conflict between the early church and the Roman Empire.
 

RJ Spencer

Puritan Board Freshman
I was a teenager when I first started to notice the errors of dispensationalism.
But the Final straw was a proper exegesis of Galatians 3.
Also, Amos 5:18 is very interesting, if they view the rapture as the day of the Lord how do they explain this?
My father in law is still a charismatic dispensationalist. I asked him "If Jesus doesn't return within a hundred years of Israel becoming a nation wouldn't that prove dispensationalism to be false?" He said no, but they use the 'this generation shall not pass away' verse to mean the generation that is on Earth at the time of Israel becoming a nation. If that generation passes away I believe that a large majority of people will abandon the dispensationalist cult.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Apostolic hermeneutic. While reading through the Bible in a dispensational college class one time, I suddenly realized we weren't reading the OT like the Apostles.

At that point, I knew something was wrong with the whole system. But like others here, it would take me some time and study to discover the alternatives.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
The fact that the cult church I grew up in believed in Dispensationalism and I very much disliked that movement....ok, no straw for me I just always thought Dispensationalism was junk.
 

StephenMartyr

Puritan Board Freshman
But the straw that broke the camel's back was thinking through the notion that somehow God deals with Israel differently than He does the church. I couldn't accept that God will once again accept animal sacrifices in a rebuilt earthly temple. It seems scandalous to me and denigrating to Christ's all-sufficient sacrifice of Himself that animal blood would once again be required.
I once preached that it was "a doctrine that damages the church," and by God's grace our church's collective eyes were opened. Never looked back.

This is what partly put me off. I don't think I was raised in a 100% Dispensationalist church, but I know some we've been to that have had the idea that the church started at Pentecost. I don't like that idea as to me it totally skews up the whole Bible.

Dispensationalists believe God will once again accept animal blood sacrifices?!?!

What about:

Isa 66:3 “He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck; he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig's blood; he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol. These have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations;..."

Mic 6:6 “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Mic 6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
Mic 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Heb 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,
Heb 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
For those of you who were raised and/or held to Dispensationalism, what was the last straw to break your resolve in it?
Trying to understanding just why there had to be sacrifices restarted up in the restored Temple in the last days. I was once a devout Dispensational premil, pre trib rapture and all, but now a Covenant theology premil.
 

Paul1976

Puritan Board Freshman
As a Dispie I found Revelation useless...

My experience was very similar to Harley's. I had heard very little about other systems except that they were extremely liberal since they didn't take the Bible literally. Although I was really interested in end times prophecy as a teen, I lost interest in my early 20's since the various interpretations and readings kept making less and less sense. So, Revelation (and other sections of scripture) became useless confusing books. Hearing a really great sermon series on John's Apocalypse from an Amil perspective was [my apologies in advance] a revelation. The book was suddenly practical and vibrant. I was beginning to teach in small groups at the time, and, as a dispensationalist, I wouldn't have touched Revelation with a 10 foot pole. No particular dispensational view seemed convincing enough that I could have taught it with any sincerity. I could happily teach Revelation now. (My pastor preached through it relatively recently, although before I joined the church, so it wouldn't be appropriate to teach, but I look forward to an opportunity to do so.)

That was around 5 years ago. I still label myself as a "cautious Amillennialist," by which I mean that I am not settled on Amillennialism. Basically, read from an Amil perspective, prophecy is SO much clearer that there is zero doubt in my mind that the dispensational perspective is wrong. That means that the Amil perspective must at least be closer to the correct view, but I remain open to Historic Pre and PostMil views.

I wish I could say that I rejected Dispensationalism for better reasons. Dispensationalism is fundamentally an error in requiring scripture to be read through too literal a set of lenses. I can now see how this causes significant doctrinal problems throughout scripture. Most contemporary dispensationalist, at least from the tradition I grew up in, seem so confused themselves on the clearly unbiblical results of a dispensational reading that they don't really deal with these often. But, two distinct peoples of God today, salvation by means other than grace through faith in other dispensations and other issues are huge problems that prevent a correct understanding of scripture. I can now see that dispensational eschatology is one of the less harmful aspects of the system.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
But I began to abandon Dispensationalism, really, only after coming to Calvinism.
tasted a bit of covenant theology
I always find the Calvinistic Dispensationists (such as those at the Masters Seminary) a strange group because surely, Calvinistic theology is more akin to Covenant Theology than Dispensationalism.
Some versions of it posit salvation by works.
That might be true of the first Scofield Bible but the second Scofield Bible of 1967 expressively denied the idea of salvation by works. I understand they clarified this because of the concerns raised about the first Scofield Bible.
As a Dispie I found Revelation useless, utterly contrary to the statement at the beginning of the book that one is blessed if he reads the book. So much speculation, weird ideas, and nothing really spiritual or edifying in any of it. So I decided, "If my view of Revelation makes it practically useless, then I cannot be right."
Thank you for the clarification. I read Robert Thomas' commentary of Revelation when I was a dispensationalist. It is an extensive, exegetically serious commentary. But I came to realise he was not consistent with his own literal arguments. For example with the Binding of Satan in Rev 20, he acknowledged this was not a literal binding because Satan was a spiritual being. What happened to his 'consistent' literalism?
That, and seeing how utterly new dispensationalism was in time. And as I grew in Reformed theology and seeing the bridge between the OT and NT, Dispie'ism fell off rather easily.
Same. A robust covenant theology helped too.
Dispensationalists believe God will once again accept animal blood sacrifices?!?!
This argument also helped me reject dispensationalism. Think about it this way. If Christ has come in all His fullness as the book of Hebrews clearly states, and His sacrifice is final, perfect and complete, then it follows that dispensationalism has a weak Christology. There is a further problem for Calvinistic dispensationalists. The logic of Calvinism is that redemption is progressing forward to the grand consummation in the new heavens and the new earth. But Calvinistic dispensationalists want us to take a historic redemptive BACKWARDS step to animal sacrifices in a future millennium. Also, ask dispensationalists what is the purpose of animal sacrifices in a millennium. They generally say they will be a 'memorial to Christ's sacrifice' because Christs once for all sacrifice is clearly taught in scripture. Ask them where they LITERALLY find this in the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel says nothing about a memorial sacrifice. They use the book of Hebrews to 'modify' the interpretation of Ezekiel. But Reformed people do this to 'modify' the interpretation of Ezekiel. This is a redemptive-historical hermeneutic. It is the Reformed approach that is consistent :)
Covenant theology premil.
Why not amill? I cannot see a theological reason for a millennium for a non dispensational premill view. At least a dispensational premill has a reason for a millennium even if it is misguided.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
I always find the Calvinistic Dispensationists (such as those at the Masters Seminary) a strange group because surely, Calvinistic theology is more akin to Covenant Theology than Dispensationalism.

That might be true of the first Scofield Bible but the second Scofield Bible of 1967 expressively denied the idea of salvation by works. I understand they clarified this because of the concerns raised about the first Scofield Bible.

Thank you for the clarification. I read Robert Thomas' commentary of Revelation when I was a dispensationalist. It is an extensive, exegetically serious commentary. But I came to realise he was not consistent with his own literal arguments. For example with the Binding of Satan in Rev 20, he acknowledged this was not a literal binding because Satan was a spiritual being. What happened to his 'consistent' literalism?

Same. A robust covenant theology helped too.

This argument also helped me reject dispensationalism. Think about it this way. If Christ has come in all His fullness as the book of Hebrews clearly states, and His sacrifice is final, perfect and complete, then it follows that dispensationalism has a weak Christology. There is a further problem for Calvinistic dispensationalists. The logic of Calvinism is that redemption is progressing forward to the grand consummation in the new heavens and the new earth. But Calvinistic dispensationalists want us to take a historic redemptive BACKWARDS step to animal sacrifices in a future millennium. Also, ask dispensationalists what is the purpose of animal sacrifices in a millennium. They generally say they will be a 'memorial to Christ's sacrifice' because Christs once for all sacrifice is clearly taught in scripture. Ask them where they LITERALLY find this in the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel says nothing about a memorial sacrifice. They use the book of Hebrews to 'modify' the interpretation of Ezekiel. But Reformed people do this to 'modify' the interpretation of Ezekiel. This is a redemptive-historical hermeneutic. It is the Reformed approach that is consistent :)

Why not amill? I cannot see a theological reason for a millennium for a non dispensational premill view. At least a dispensational premill has a reason for a millennium even if it is misguided.[/QUOTE
I really liked what GE Ladd wrote in his NT Theology, and in The Blessed Hope, and how Spurgeon viewed this issue. Also, the Systematic Theolgy written by James Noice showed me that one can hold with Covenant Through and still be Premil, as akdo many Reformed Baptists like Thomas Schrivner teach a robustbpremil position.Belivebthay while many Reformed seem to tie together all premils must also be like Dr MacArthur holding to Didpy views, one can be a Covenant Theology Premil.
I also see the first resurrection as being when glorified into risen physical body state St Second Coming event, do for see Revelation 20 as describing literal Millinium time here ipn the Earth, as when Jesus comes to Earth in vfillnedd, and His kingdom comes and His will is done on Earth as now in Heaven.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
One can still hold with Covenant Theology and hold to historical premil, as many have and still do, as those such as I listed have had no problem in reconciling the 2 positions.The Theology Dr J Oliver Buswell also helped to clarify this for me.
 
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Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
One can still hold with Covenant Theology and hold to historical premil, as many have and still do, as those such as I listed have had no problem in reconciling the 2 positions.ThecSystenatib Theology Dr J Oliver Buswell also helped to clarify this for me.
You did not answer my question. I said the dispensational premill has a reason for their premill theology - ie, 1000 year milennium for National Israel. But what is the purpose of a millennium for a non dispensational premill?
 
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