Dispensational View?

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4ndr3w

Puritan Board Freshman
I was emailing a friend that I haven't talked with in quite some time. I know that he definitely has a type of dispensational theology, although he really doesn't know it. We were talking about what it means to be "Born Again" and I mentioned Ezekiel 36:26-27 and his response was:


Just a surface observation, I am not sure the Ezekiel reference is a good [sic] to describe post Pentecost being born again. The process of being born again, is the process of a spiritual rebirth. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the spirit it spirit. I do not wish to technically [sic] this, but my rebirth came upon my receipt of the Holy Spirit. There obviously was a process that occurred before that to where I turned from the things of self, and the things of this world, and had longing for the things of God and a relationship with Him. That journey is going to be different for all of us, and I don't pretend to totally understand all that is going on. I know there are great spiritual battles going on between the enemy and His heavenly hosts, the enemy trying to take my fleshly desires and turn me away from God (both before and after being born again), and but after being born again, He that is within me is greater than he who is in the world.

My reply was meant to be brief and to the point:

Here in the reference to Ezekiel 36:26-27 it not only expresses a new spiritual birth (I will... "put a new spirit in you") but also a change of heart ("I will give you a new heart"), one that loves God, is no longer at enmity with Him, and desires to follow His commands. Man would no longer be a slave to sin or dead in sin and it is by God's Spirit that we persevere ("I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes and you
will be careful to observe My ordinances."). Pre- or post-Pentecost, what is the difference? Does the Pentecost change something?

To which he replied as follows:

I said I was not sure if the Ezekiel passage was a good one to describe being born again. You could also read that I am not sure it is not a good passage as you have used it. Just giving you my immediate reaction, not a result of study. If it is a prophetic of what it means to be born again after Pentecost, then perhaps it is. I just don't know that it is. Otherwise, the old testament saints did not experience being born again. I am not speaking as being knowledable in Ezekiel, but I suppose I felt that most of its prophecy is concerning the nation of Israel, and not the individual members of the Church. Again, just talking from a general understanding, so don't take my words as a disagreement, more just a wondering if that passage can be applied to a new testament Saint.

Has anyone heard anything like this from dispensationalists?I would not label him charismatic. He usually attends non-denominational baptist churches. Is this an injection of dispensationalism? Thoughts?
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Not that exact argument, but all Dispensational's are afraid of ever applying anything they attribute to National Israel to the church. You're friend sounds open for discussion, but he is still cautious that you not apply any prophecy regarding National Israel to the church.

your friend said;

felt that most of its prophecy is concerning the nation of Israel

And there is the problem!

It's a fear and in my opinion a dangerous one. Dispensationalists place so much emphisis on the future of National Israel that they reject any passages they have set aside for them as being anything but for National Israel.

Good luck tearing through his protective wall, I have had terrible luch doing so. (Yes, I know it is God who must tear through it, just trying to explain my personal experiences)
 

turmeric

Megerator
What is the source in your opinion of this fear? I used to experience it. It seems very non-evangelical, i.e.not a Gospel way of looking at things. I still experience it at times.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Well, that's a tough call because I can experience it some myself while getting ready to give the answer I suspect! :lol:

I suspect it is the enemy!

I feel Satan used a devotion to the idea that God has 2 peoples, and a strong excapist desire (rapture) within me, to drive the dispensational belief into me so deeply that I would have fought tooth and nail for it.

The fear remains in former Dispensational's like us, simply because it was so ingrained into us. To me, it's another sign of how wrong it is! We held our former eschatological opinions so firmly that to deny them was turnabout to denying salvation through grace alone! Most Dispensational's I know still hold them that strongly and many will openly say so!

This is also how I know that it is the Lord almighty who is opening my eyes today! There is no way that I, by my own accord, would turn away from a belief I held so firmly for so many years.

I hope other former Dispensational's post their opinion on this as I would love to read them!
 

4ndr3w

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by houseparent
Not that exact argument, but all Dispensational's are afraid of ever applying anything they attribute to National Israel to the church. You're friend sounds open for discussion, but he is still cautious that you not apply any prophecy regarding National Israel to the church.

your friend said;

felt that most of its prophecy is concerning the nation of Israel

And there is the problem!

It's a fear and in my opinion a dangerous one. Dispensationalists place so much emphisis on the future of National Israel that they reject any passages they have set aside for them as being anything but for National Israel.

Good luck tearing through his protective wall, I have had terrible luch doing so. (Yes, I know it is God who must tear through it, just trying to explain my personal experiences)


Thanks Adam.

It seems you have hit a bullseye without knowing the context of our other letters. He is very careful to protect his dispensationalism and when I asked him more about it using the word \"dispensationalism\" he said,

\"I don\'t have a handle on what dipensationists believe, I only know what I believe.\"

I know he reads a lot Tim Lahaye, Woolvard, etc. He, several years back, listened to Dr. Kennedy concerning Post-Mill when he decided to re-think his position on eschatology. He stayed pre-mil. Here\'s what he had to say:

I heard James Kennedy present the post-trib position, and that is what caused me to pause and re-examine. I did, and I came back to my pre-trib with an asterick. And since, for other reasons, I feel James Kennedy has gone off the deep end, and has lost my respect.
My asterick is, I believe the end times are going to play itself out differently than any of us think. I like my pre-trib position, because I believe scripture teaches to be ready for His return at any time, and does not teach to not concern yourself with waiting until after the bad guy appears. My limited understanding leads me to pre-trib, and I comfortable with it, because I believe He wants me to believe in His emminent return, whether or not my eschatology position is right or wrong. My asterick implies I don\'t know when He is comming, but I want to be ready. It implies I can accept the fact that it may be later in the eschatology sequence than I currently believe. But I believe my position is better than one who claims he knows the bad guy has to appear first before Christ raptures His church.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Yep...

His whole mistake is looking for a "bad guy" at all. The "bad guy" has come and gone. If you can get him to see that his opinions may change greatly!

My limited understanding leads me to pre-trib

Well, there you go!
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
I wish it weren't so but ...I can really relate to what you're getting at on this post.

There are a few things that struck me in your friend's response and your observations:

"the old testament saints did not experience being born again."

"...most of its prophecy is concerning the nation of Israel."

"...post Pentecost being born again."

"...my rebirth came upon my receipt of the Holy Spirit."

and your observation:
"...he definitely has a type of dispensational theology, although he really doesn't know it. "

All of these responses from your friend are issues that I wrestled with within myself while reading the Scriptures and...could never get a satisfying answer for whenever I raised the questions. It almost seems like a replay of my own mindset at different times.

The thing that REALLY hacks me off about dispensational proponents is the way that (in my experience) they don't even acknowledge that there is a completetly different framework from which to view Scripture from. It seems that most are content to leave you in the dark about historic theology -as if they are the only thing that exists or has ever existed.

This is a big issue with me in thinking that it is wrong...compare that with how many reformed books are CONSTANTLY comparing and contrasting themselves with Dispensationalists, RCs, etc.
I pointed this out to a friend of mine just this week and he agreed that it seemed rather shady...like (you've) got something to hide.

Adam,

"We held our former eschatological opinions so firmly that to deny them was turnabout to denying salvation through grace alone! Most Dispensational's I know still hold them that strongly and many will openly say so!"

Once again I've been there also...and yet it so absurd at this point...eschatology is important, but to anathematize someone for a disagreement there is perverse (and it happens ALL THE TIME).

I used to deal with all of these secret fears that you mention now I just get plain angry.
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib...

There was a point in my early Christian walk that I was so mesmerized by "end-times" teaching that I knew where to find fresh water springs, secluded wooded areas as potential squatting grounds, edible wild herbs and plants, etc, etc all up in northern NY. I was ready for a literal hell to break out on earth. When Rabin was assasinated I was freaking out.
The pessimism in dispensationalism practically smothered me.

Now, looking back, besides feeling really foolish...I don't know who to be more angry at ...myself, or all of these prophecy teachers I gave my ear to.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Presuppositions (and we all have them) are difficult to deal with. In my experiences at dispensational churches, the Bible study began after the dispensational distinctions or framework was laid. Among other things, it was always assumed that the church and Israel are completely separate entities and that the church is a parenthesis in God's plan which was not revealed in the OT. A lot of emphasis is place on

Eph 3:3-6 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

In their view, they take this passage to mean the church age wasn't revealed in the OT. Since its the apostle Paul who wrote these words, its understandable that they might be hesitant to explore ideas that seem to go against the apostolic authority of that (and other) passages.

[Edited on 12-27-2004 by blhowes]
 

4ndr3w

Puritan Board Freshman
Here is another quote from him that some of you might be interested in.

I recall that in Romans 9-11, Paul refers to when the age of the Gentiles is complete, God will return to work through the nation of Israel. I have believed this might mean the church age comes to an end (rapture), and the 70th week of Daniel begins (after a long break). That works for me right now, and is consistent with those theologians I most respect at the moment. I am droping names, not because they have convinced me, but I have heard them teach and their position is the same as mine. David Hawkins, Chuck Swindol, David Jeremiah, are a few. I have a lot of respect for these men, and I have inside information on the intelligence and study habits of Chuck.

I am certainly open to suggestions considering "careful" approaches as I don't want to drive him away. He is a dear friend and though I don't care for some of his theology I do have a great respect for him. Would it be unadvisable to start explaining what dispensationalists believe, reflect on what he believes and work towards how the framework is dangerous?
Any suggestions? Adam? Christopher?
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
I would just share your opinion and the reformed positions. When I was dispensational I had NEVER heard of other positions! I thought everyone believed in the rapture and great tribulation, they only differed on the timing of the rapture!

I would congradulate him on respecting the teachers he does, and ask him if he would be willing to hear your views and as well as some other good teachers.

In my former situation, I would have listened to you because I would have thought I was ready to debunk you (ask Paul here!) If the Lord is working on him in this area right now, his eyes may be opened as he reads what it is you believe.

Remember to pray too of course!
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hey Adam...I counted 3 exclamation points in that last post.

Andrew,

like Adam, I too had never heard of any other positions among godly folks -I just assumed everyone else was apostate after the liberal mindset or Roman Catholic.

Along with the other things that I pointed out in my earlier posts one of the peculiar things that I noticed about many Dispensationalists is their complete disregard for history and precedent. I think this has to do with the fact that they are convinced/obsessed that THIS is the last generation ...so why bother quibbling over such trifles as say...the reformation or any past religious controversies, etc.

I don't know if your friend is a reader or not...or interested in historical personalities and events but, for me, a little bit of study of history really caused me to question a lot of things about today's church and the idea that we are somehow more depraved than say...England just prior to Whitefield or Europe during the black plague when 1/3 of the population was wiped out and there were all kinds of bizarre religious activity going on.

It seems also that Spurgeon is something of a gateway for today's church to the reformers and puritans. He seems to have universal appeal across denominational distinctions and therefore you could catch him with his defenses down. If you could find something by him (or about him) that speaks to his Calvinistic viewpoint it might be compelling enough for him to consider that it is (your friend) who has the aberrant viewpoint. Spurgeon is like ...a stealth Calvinist missile. Perhaps he can be used to explode your friends Dispensational mindset.

Unfortunately, I can't recommend anything by him as I'm not really that knowledgeable about Spurgeon's works. I'm sure there are plenty here on the board who could.
 

4ndr3w

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks again Adam and Christopher. I'll try to keep you informed to my progress, that is, if I don't blow it. Ahh, I'll tell you even if I blow it. It'll be a learning experience for others like me.

Yes, I know it's God's work... I mean concerning from my viewpoint.

[Edited on 28-12-2004 by 4ndr3w]
 

Fernando

Puritan Board Freshman
books

A good book to get started on Spurgeon is Iain Murray's "The Forgotten Spurgeon." If that whets the appetite, you might want to dive into Spurgeon's "Autobiography." This is available in abridged form from Banner of Truth in two volumes.

Arnold Dallimore wrote a good two volume autobiography of George Whitefield that is well worth the read. He makes the point in volume one that England was in a sorry spiritual state just before God brought revival and awakening. This scenario of bad leading to better is contrary to the usual "things can only get worse and worse" viewpoint of dispensationalism.

[Edited on 28-12-2004 by Fernando]
 

BlackCalvinist

Puritan Board Senior
Originally posted by houseparent
I would just share your opinion and the reformed positions. When I was dispensational I had NEVER heard of other positions! I thought everyone believed in the rapture and great tribulation, they only differed on the timing of the rapture!

That's weird. I heard of at LEAST all the different positions in regard to eschatology (i.e.- Pentecost's mammoth volume 'Things to Come' touches on 'other' views, as does Ryrie's Dispensationalism Today (65) and 'Dispensationalism' (94 edition), not to mention Ryrie's 56' booklet 'The Basis of the Premillennial Faith').

Even dealing with Ice and others, you'll see charts and such outlining the differening eschatalogical and soteriological systems.

I guess it also depends on who you read. There are probably a few reformed writers who never mention other systems as if they don't exist just the same.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Those books you name mention partial preterism, the fall of Jerusalem, and AD70 in them?

THat's surprising if so. I read LaHaye, Lindsey, Van Impe, and a few others when I was a Dispie and never heard saw those mentioned...ever.
 
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