Not everything is rosy in the Dispensational camp. I would not put the fact that Dispensationalism, by that name, is only 150 years old into the unpleasant truths category, but it is a truth, and some try to make it seem really unpleasant.
It is truly unpleasant to consider who some of the groups are that claim allegiance to Dispensationalism. Not only among Baptists, there are multiple Pentecostal and Charismatic groups that refer to themselves as such, and even a variety of cults. But “a distinction needs to be made between what certain dispensationalists believe and what is inherent to the system” (Vlach, 48). We are perhaps most famous, these days, for the Left Behind series. Ha. But as John MacArthur observed, Covies embrace a different sort of fiction about what happened AD 70.
It is also truly unpleasant that there are hyper-dispensationalists. Every group has soup to nuts, and Dispies have their fair share of nuts. I mentioned some of them in the previous post as those who claim that some parts of the Bible aren’t for us in any way.
It is also truly unpleasant that many Dispies are just unpleasant to be around. Some of their end-times charts are nice, but not all of them are nice. They tend to be divisive, both in terms of exegesis and fellowship. They make too big a deal about their perfect understanding, and sometimes look silly. It regularly appears as smoke-out-the-ears, red-in-the-face fussy.
Perhaps the worst part, as far as I’m concerned, about most Dispensationalists is that they are dualists. I’ve been whacking at that for a while, and it’s why we think the Kuyperian adjective is such a needed corrective. For those who claim to be reading the Bible well, they need to keep reading it. For all the good points they make about God’s plan for Israel, past and future, they miss God’s revelation about our present responsibilities, both Jews and Gentiles.
Taking a step back, dualism may be prevalent among Dispies but I’d argue it is not in tune with the teaching. Dualism is actually more consistent with the roots of Covenant Theology, since Covies must take the physical promises given to the nation of Israel in the OT and see a spiritual fulfillment in the church. Dispies, who take all the physical and temporal promises as legit, should at root be not dualists. Historically both groups have been inconsistent. It’s another example of how everyone can be wrong about something.
With all that said, I still identify as a Dispensationalist (my preferred pronouns are Literal/Premillennial). In fact, when Dispensationalism is defined correctly, there are some indispensable things about it, which will be coming up next.
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