The following point precipitated a response from a dear sister in Christ.
Dispensationalism – divides the bible into 7 arbitrary dispensations. Fatalists that believe they qualify for an additional secret rapture. Often avoiding political and social reform as moot. Separates Jews into an additional category of believer/non-believer.
The person that responded (together with those that support her) are obviously dispensationalist. To them dispensationalism provides the peace and order they need to understand how everything fits together.
Here is how my friend responded.
Thank you for your response.
I have great admiration for the Bereans because they listened to Paul without bias. In other words they did not accept or reject his message until they verified it.
They did not allow their gestalt to hold them back.
Your experience in various churches seems similar to mine. From your writing I can see that you seek the truth, an admirable quality.
In science we have a mantra that says; “base your theory on the data, not your data on the theory”. Scripture says the same, i.e. a fact must be based on evidence not speculation. I like the Bereans because they did not attach too much value to their status quo, they were quite willing to abandon their current thinking based on evidence not sentiment.
He examines the origins and beliefs of Dispensationalism without rhetoric and speculative thinking (just like the Bereans). I investigated further and found that dispensationalism is relatively new (since about 1830).
It originated from a small group of English people who mostly rejected it later. However, a discontented probate by the name of Darby took it to Ireland where it was again rejected and then to America.
Dispensationalism became widespread in America through the Scofield bible. Scofield was a disbarred lawyer who agreed with Derby. They printed their own bible with dispensationalist teachings in the footnotes. They supplied their bible to the various great revivals like Azusa street. Thousands and thousands of new believers unquestioningly read the Scofield bible with its footnotes, hence the origins of dispensationalism in America.
My investigations led me to understand that two main schools of thought exist in this respect. 1) Dispensationalist and 2) Covenantist.
Up until recently I did not know that I had a choice. The Bereans were given a choice, how many evangelical churches offer the same?
An ethical pulpit would teach both sides of the argument and leave the choice to the congregation. It’s even OK to announce that a church tends towards dispensationalism, or informs the congregation when it teaches something with a dispensationalist bias. Where I come from that is called good manners and honesty.
I find it amusing that nearly every Church I’ve attended is convinced that they are the keepers of the absolute truth. Some churches (more and more so the evangelicals) are becoming isolationist in this respect and confuse God’s anointing as God’s endorsement. This kind of thinking allows us to believe that the way we read the bible is beyond question. Thankfully there’s an emerging generation applying basic thinking skills to the bible and not finding what they are taught, but what’s actually there.
What we choose to believe is our own and must be respected whether dispensationalist or covenantist.
Denying people the ability to choose is sinister and un-Godly.