Skip to comments.The Logical Fallacy “Tribulations vs. Victory”
Posted on 04/13/2011 6:29:05 AM PDT by topcat54
That is exactly what postmillennialism believes about the victory of the Gospel. History will see the progressive triumph of the Gospel not only over individuals, families and churches, but also over nations, cultures, and governments. Nation after nation will submit to Christ; they will change their customs, mores, and legal systems to reflect the Law of God. More and more the Gospel will change the hearts of men but also their institutions and their societies; more and more the Biblical worldview will become the operational worldview for the powers and authorities in the land. The church will experience its ups and downs, but the Word of God preached to individuals and societies will never return empty to God.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanvision.org ...
"For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." (Luke 21:22)
What is that supposed to mean?
Are we to institute the burning of offerings on undressed stone altars supervised by a heriditary priesthood?
The stoning to death of adulterers and also those who curse their parents?
Or will really "let him who is without sin cast the first stone?"
The trouble with a theocratic government (or one endorsed and blessed by theocrats) is all those so far have been run only by men who claim to have a direct line to God or His instructiions,yet those men have imposed much misery and suffering in His name.
Kings ruling by divine right have sent tens of millions to their deaths ,and to be fair,are only recently surpassed in the last century by the atheistic socialists who bathed the modern world in the blood of a hundred million on the battlefields and nearly matched that number in the abortion mills of the world.
Deviating from the topic. No, Kings sent far lesser to their deaths than democracies did and far, far less than the socialists (as you correctly pointed out) -- not 10s of millions (unless you include WWI which I think you are, correct?)
Boy, I wish that the Post-Millenial dream were reality. I think every true believer would rather live in a world that were more and more under the control of Christ. However Biblically and empirically speaking, the “Time of Jacob’s trouble” is fast approaching and most believers are blissfully ignorant. True Christianity (that is, not Homo-Christianity or Syncretized-Christianity) is rapidly becoming a “hate crime”, or “Religio Illicitas” (ask the Egyptian Christians). Come quickly Lord Jesus!
Im convinced that there is something so utterly devastating that is being covered up that even the likes of Beck, Rush, Levin and all the other people who would normally investigate have been cowering in fear.
I'm no fan of pure democracies,either.
But you might count up all the deaths in war pre-1920 ,and lay them at the thrones of history's kings.There were precious few areas where a king did not rule .
So exactly WHICH version of God and His rules do you advocate as the template for society?
Remember there is much disagreement amongst those who call themselves Christians about just what He wants us to do.
You could even simplify it "love one another as you do yourself" but then some people will insist on "tough love" requiring long lists of behaviorial,dietary, and myriad other rules as necessary for your own good.Pharisees come to mind?
I'd prefer a government which neither murdered nor allowed murder to go unpunished;neither stole nor allowed theft to go unpunished,did not punish thrift and reward sloth;neither promoted gambling,intoxication,or licentiousness, nor denigrated those who keep themselves under control.
For human society on this earth, I personally advocate the American republican form as the best with the caveat that it is still imperfect, but less imperfect than the alternatives. The reason for the imperfection is that we've human.
The "love one another" or extreme anarchistic communism may have worked in kibbutzes or monasteries but cannot work in the real world
It is a strong apologetic for Christianity. But Van Til identifies true Christianity with Reformed Theology. I think he said something along the line of that any Christian theology that is not Reformed theology is a deformed theology.
I, as a Darbyite, Plymouth Brethren, premillenial, pretribulational dispensationalist on the other hand.... just joking - sort of.
Dispensationalism is too often identified with caricatures of premillenial teaching.
But dispensationalism does offer some solutions to questions like the difference between Israel and the Church; Israel in prophecy; the second resurrection; and others.
One Reformed hermeneutic principle I found interesting is the tenet that Satan is bound at this time, based on the saying of Jesus in the Gospels. That was used to support an amillenial doctrine. But then what of James or Paul? They say something different. So the statement of Jesus must have been prophetic. That is one of the kinds of things that dispensationalism tries to answer.
Then there is the idea that eventually the world will become Christianized eventually. I cannot find any satisfying support in Scriptures for that idea. But on the contrary dispensationalism does seem to have a better answer in the tribulation and imposition of the Kingdom.
Nevertheless, dispensationalism is not without problems itself. It has some good answers, but like any theology it is a man-made finite system of human thought and understanding. Phillip Schaff makes a very good point that the varying theological systems, ie: denominations, each have some contribution to make to the collegiality of the Church's understanding. That seems like a more positive approach than denominational strife. But it's not as easy. However we have a mandate to "strive to maintain the unity of the faith". After weeding out heresy it becomes incumbent upon us to carefully consider other points of view.
I hope you don't take anything I say as contentious, I just wanted to reply to your tagline and suggest a moderating approach to things.
Actually, we don't need to re-invent the wheel. Common law is the application of God's law to local circumstances over the course of 1,500 years. As Harold Berman pointed out, we have been transitioning out of common / Biblical law and into statist / statute / lawmaker-made law for the last 150 years. As we've lost our grip on God's laws, tyranny has increased.
You see, every law order is a theocracy, with some standard for declaring some things good, and others ungood. Which standard should we point to, even if imperfectly? Which god should call the shots in public life? If your confession is that "Jesus is Lord," the answer to these questions is a no-brainer.
Since the last 150 years some things are "double plus ungood". My confession is that Jesus is Lord.
As you point out, since around 1900 we've moved into an age never before seen, except maybe the first thousand years leading up to the flood, where nations and societies have kicked God out of their thinking and living. And also as you point out, the common law, which was a reflection of that effort to "find" just law, has been replaced by the liberal "realists" and "theorists" resulting in unjust laws (that favor the "rights" of the State over justice to the individual): what Blackstone calls, "No law."
Do you have an idea what is the nature of the “something”?
I truly wish I did. We can only conjecture and I have my ideas but until we actually see the long form and other documents I dont think there is really any way to know. My take on it is that he is not even a citizen of this country. I think he traveled on an Indonesian passport and received aid as a foreign student.
What is that supposed to mean?
It means Bojidar Marinov doesn't understand amillennialism and doesn't expect to see the Parousia within the next millennium.
Both Dispensationalism and Post-millennialism are characterized by poorly substantiated hypothetical premises. In the former, the Bible is considered to be mainly irrelevant for the church, teaching little about Christ and nothing about His bride yet is written primarily with an eye towards apostate Israel, "left behind" reprobates and identifying and chronicling the day-to-day activities of the Man of Sin. PM rejects the idea that Christ returns to save the Church, rather they claim that Jesus returns to a saved Church; that is, no matter how bad things look at anytime in history the present or future, someday, maybe millions of years from now, the LORD will return to an earth that is almost all populated by the Church.
Postmillennialism embraces the idea that no matter how bad your rear-end is getting kicked in, that ultimately God wins in the form of most of the people on the earth are saved. That is how victory is defined. There is no Scripture to clearly support this, yet there are enough passages that, with the proper amounts of eisegesis, can be wrested to produce that particular desired view.
Imagine a football team that regularly gets stomped on the playing field, game after game, season after season. Players are routinely mangled up so bad that their careers are prematurely ended (aka "martyrs"). Nevertheless, the coach keeps reminding the bandaged up and wounded players that "this drubbing builds character", and "the other team is so intimidated by you that they bring their best game every time we meet". All of this may be true, yet the team still has a growing roster of players willing to play the game and get creamed each game. The coach says "we will eventually win the Super Bowl" despite countless years of failing to even make the post-season.
The Post-mills pretend the goal of the game is to win the Superbowl. Most people would think that is the point of the game. PostMills keep saying "ok we got our ass kicked in this week, just like every other week, but NEXT week we are going to school the other team."
Dispensationalists are the ones who are always begging the coach to forfeit the game the instant any actual effort is needed, or if they are uncomfortable with the way the game is going. They know they suck. They rarely if ever practice; couldn't care less about learning the play book; are far more interested in strutting around and posing in the uniform while trash talking the opposition. They love the hope that by playing for this team they will get the Lexus in the driveway and bed down the cheerleaders. Their thinking is, why sweat it when the other team is going to cheat? Lets just wait until we get our ringer player to walk on to the field and he'll win our games for us, we don't have to do anything.
Amillennialists don't worry about the score, we simply care did all who were drafted to play get to go on the field and play to the best of their abilities? Because when all that were to ever play get their chance, then, and only then, will the franchise be dismantled. We play because we love our coach and we train and struggle because yes, we would like to win, and occasionally do; but as the old adage goes "It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it matters how you play the game." PostMills and Dispies seem to miss that concept.
As you point out, since around 1900 we've moved into an age never before seen, except maybe the first thousand years leading up to the flood, where nations and societies have kicked God out of their thinking and living.
How would you characterize the love for the Almighty by the people of the world from Noah through Pentecost?
Each iteration of "history repeating itself" is better characterized by comparing history to the movie "Groundhog Day" where Satan is "Phil Connors" and each iteration is an opportunity to tweak his approach to bed down Rita.
Postmillennialism is nothing but a private interpretation, a theory of men, in other words. A theory read into the word of God. One would have to be blind to see that the second coming of Christ in Rev. 19 has immediate reference to the first resurrection and the millennial reign of the chapter 20.
The sequence is plain enough in Rev. 19 & 20. It, however, doesn’t fit their theory, so they have to wrest the word of God to make it fit their theory. They swim these threads like sharks deceiving the gullible with their theoretical sophistry.
The prophets certainly prophesied the millennial following the coming of the Messiah in judgment. They weren’t pushing a man made theory, their’s was the true word of prophecy, not a private one of men, but of the Holy Spirit. John’s apocalypse...same thing, there is your true word of prophecy.
2Pet 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
I left out the word “not” here. I better get it in before the Rushdoonies ding me.
“One would have to be blind NOT to see that the second coming of Christ in Rev. 19 has immediate reference to the first resurrection and the millennial reign of the chapter 20.”
One would have to be blind, in other words, not to see that the second coming takes place BEFORE the millennial.
They when you say that Dispensationalism teaches little about Christ, that is very incorrect. Christ is given the preeminence in all things.
And to say that Dispensationalism says nothing about His bride, that is the Church, is absolutely incorrect also. Dispensationalists for the most part teach in depth about the Church.
Then you say that eschatology is the main focus of Dispesationalism. In fact it is not the main focus, although it may be the most "spectacular" and easy to grasp part of Dispensationalism. And it certainly has been taken up by many who have little to do with actual Dispensational theology. And it has certainly been misused by many. But that isn't Dispensationalism. To characterize Dispensationalism the way you have is simply incorrect.
Your claim is so vague that every eschatological system would qualify.
Not so much a love for God necessarily, though that's in there too. More of a fear of God and a sort of "God-consciousness," first in Abraham and Israel and later in the incorporation of Christianity (however perverse it may have been) into the life of the State and the King, justifying their acts by "divine right." Point being, in ages gone by, because of this God-consciousness, there at least was an attempt to seek and reconcile behavior in light of an awareness of the existence and a certain fear of God.
Today's a whole different ball game. God is not in their thinking. Western law has turned from its foundations of natural and divine law. We are living in an age that has declared God to be dead, something that as far as I know, has never been done in recorded history . (Usually history shows anybody declaring something like that would be killed as a heretic.)
I don't understand how you can say that Dispensationalism considers the Bible "mainly irrelevant" for the Church
Good question, I can easily write a book or two on the topic. Like everything else, definition of terms is rather important. For example, when speaking of "Dispensationalism" does one limit the scope to what is specifically an academic definition, or does one look at how it is practiced and taught in the wild, or as it effects and steers the thinking of the American Religion? There are some Dispies who agree with idea but don't dwell on it while others devote their lives to Dispensational teaching as a world view template.
What is common among these variants is a redefinition or denial of the universal Church which is inherent in the fundamentals of Dispensationalism, where the Dispy definition of Church doesn't even find itself in thought or form until the "Church Age" ("Grace" for the 3 Age dispy, "Ecclesial" for the 4) whereas orthodoxy has Abel as the first member of the Universal Church Age.
This foundational error causes the entire structure of the Dispensationalist's overall Christology to be defective. So when the Dispy reads about the Temple in Ezekiel, no thought whatsoever is given to Jesus Christ or The Church, but to some building constructed by reprobates to be inhabited by Satan incarnate for celebration of the obscene and blasphemous. This error is repeated throughout the reading of the OT, the Olivet Discourse and the Revelation, always deleting from thought or mind Jesus Christ or the Church and replacing it with reprobates and demons. In fact, it is so blind, when the New Jerusalem is actually identified as The Bride of Christ aka The Church, Dispies irrationally continue to believe that a physical metropolis of buildings thousands of miles in width, breadth and depth will literally descend from the sky like some scene from the movie "Independence Day".
The insane move to erase The Church from the Bible doesn't even stop there. The seven literal churches in Asia who were the designated recipients of the Revelation are considered by Dispensationalists as nothing more than cultural metaphores where today's Western culture is labeled "Laodecian", that is, the Dispensationalist claims that the Revelation written for the literal Laodecian Church was not for the Laodecian church, nor for any Christian in the past two thousand years, but for the Hal Lindsey generation, and for what purpose? So that Free Will Enthusiasts would hijack 3:20 as some sort of proof text for a milk-toast god?
And to say that Dispensationalism says nothing about His bride, that is the Church, is absolutely incorrect also. Dispensationalists for the most part teach in depth about the Church.
The depth of a thimble or mud puddle? Dispensationalists deny the existence of The Church, at best relegating it to a "parenthesis" or "the valley between two hills" a literal afterthought, spiritual Bondo to patch up the wrecked hulk of Israel until the new sheet metal can descend from the heavens. Dispensationalists don't teach about the Church because they systematically have been striving to remove all traces of The Church from the Scriptures. Who is the "apple of God's eye" in Zecharaiah 2:8? The Dispensationalist will fight tooth and nail against anyone who claims that God loves and cherishes His Church and thus they will scream obscenities at anyone who says Zec 2:8 is anyone but tomorrow's Jews physically inhabiting that scratch of land in the middle east. Dittos with every other promise or statement of love or affection for the Church, the Dispensationalist with great zeal and enthusiasm tears away those promises and hands them to a group of people who unrepentantly murdered God's Son.
Then you say that eschatology is the main focus of Dispesationalism. In fact it is not the main focus, although it may be the most "spectacular" and easy to grasp part of Dispensationalism.
That is a rather naive look at that system.
Because Dispensationalism has stolen away all the promises and words of love God has for the Faithful, the American Religion has to make things up to fill the obvious void. Things like "The Rapture" are foolish vanities cobbled together through the art of Fragmented Prooftext Theology, and even through bogus teachings of a Rapture, the point and purpose is two-fold, to appeal to the entitlement endowed narcissistic personalities of the Dispensationalist, but more importantly, to rid the Earth of the Church so that God can get back to what is really important to him (according to the Dispies) and that is to butcher 2/3rds of the ethnic Jews.
Deviating from the academic to the practiced form of Dispensationalsm, one simply needs to look at today's books and listen to the sermonettes performed on the stage to know that there is no love for the Church. Lets take the book "Purpose Driven Church". One would think that it is a book that celebrates the Corpus Christi. That one would be wrong. It is a book largely designed to form socialistic cliques banding together to serve the State, or a not so veiled attempt to recreate the new Soviet Man.
Salvation is about the individual, I get that. Yet the sermonettes are also individualistic in the sense of self-celebration, appeal to vanity and inducing an ethical consciousness. As others have correctly observed it, the "Church" as seen by the American Religion is about the individual, the Big Boxes are nothing more than venues that serve to showcase a charismatic personality such as Joel Osteen, Ed Young Jr, John Hagee and other unrepentant sinners. Its now Moralistic Therapeutic Deism on one side, and God as my personal cosmic butler on the other - both concepts as a matter of their fundamentals ignore The Church.
The sermonettes and songs are aimed at appealing to the vanities of the individual. There is no talk about strengthening the body except when its time to raise money for the new gym or underwrite yet another pointless foreign youth "ministry" trip. If there is any talk about Christians in the Collective it is usually about the predominant secular culture, not about the Holy Bride of Christ. Prayers are for the individual, appeals to morality and righteous living are in support of a self made covenant of complex quid pro quos to God ultimately exchanging works for personal gain - not for the growth, security and strength of the Church.
When the American Religion does a food drive, or opens the facilities up for Easter Egg hunts, Harvest Festivals and other grab-ass, its NEVER about strengthening the Church, it is always about the secular community. Even the foundational model for how the morning worship services are laid out has absolutely nothing to do with building The Church - how can it when the primary focus is to appeal to the unregenerate - who by definition are opposed to The Church? If a "pastor" says that his "church" is "Seeker Sensitive" it is an admission that the pastor hates the church and would rather appeal to the sensibilities and prejudices of the unwashed, he willfully starves the sheep so that he can squander the congregation's time and money on the goats.
If you think that I am wrong, please give me specific examples of how Dispensationalists don't have a latent contempt for The Church. If you think you found an example, I lay odds it is because your definition is quite different from orthodoxy.
Prime example of the sophistry I was talking about. Nothing vague about Rev. 19, 20. No man made “system” there.
It sounds like you're calling Dispensationalism the “American Religion”. Is that correct?
If it is, does that reflect a distaste for things American? Is it an insult? I don't know, I could be wrong, just asking.
I would hardly call Dispensationalism the “American Religion”. Some parts of Dispensationalism have been widely adopted across denominational lines, but that hardly qualifies it to be called the “American Religion”.
And as some tenets of Dispensationalism have spread they have been misunderstood, distorted, and taken on a life of their own. But that is typical all across the board when there isn't a central authority controlling orthodoxy, say for example the Papacy using the Inquisition.
So I have to say the old saw about wrong use not negating right use holds. I do agree that there is less rather than more good theology as a rule. But I think Phillip Schaff made a good point in volume VIII of his history about the contributions of various denominations to the overall benefit of the Church.
I am curious about who all these “dispies” are that you're talking about. It sounds like you must have a lot of close contact with them, are you in the mission field, or are you a church worker? You seem to know a lot about them. Or are you referring to some well known like the ones you mentioned. If you are, they don't really reflect actual Dispensationalism. They've adopted some of it.
You know Cornelius Van Til, “Defense of the Faith”? I'm thinking about his illustration of the two 14 story buildings across the plaza from one another. He said a fruitful discussion could only be had by coming down from your building and crossing the plaza to the other building. Otherwise it is more like shouting at each other from upper windows across the plaza.
About the Church. It is a “new” thing. It has a discrete starting point in time. It is distinguished from Israel. There are prophecies that pertain to Israel and prophecies that pertain to the Church. I suggest the following as a starting point for these ideas.
When you mention that the Church doesn't find “form” until the Church age, that is at the heart of Dispensationalism. That is a correct statement. But it is incorrect to say that it isn't “thought” of until then. There are many prophetic statements about the Church in the Old Testament, Malachi being a significant one (for Roman Catholics especially).
And remember that Jesus said He would “build” His Church. A future activity at the time He said it.
It is correct that Dispensationalism essentially holds that the Church takes form in Acts chapter 2.
That it is a “new” thing is born out by the “indwelling” of the Holy Spirit in believers in Jesus. That never was the case for Israel, or anyone, in the Old Testament. But remember, it is not a “new” idea with God, it is His eternal decree to conclude all things in Christ. But it was “hidden” for ages until the time it was to be revealed. “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Ephesians 1:10)
And this, “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 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: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:1-11)
God is doing something “in the dispensation of the fulness of times” - something that has a discrete starting point.
God is gathering “together in one all things in Christ”.
God revealed this mystery to Paul: “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery”. This is after Acts chapter 2. It has a discrete point in time also.
The mystery is that gentiles should be “fellowheirs” with believing Israelites in the “same body”. But that body isn't Israel in the flesh, see Romans 9:4-5.
That body is the Church: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
Then of course Paul in Romans has an extended discussion. Starting in chapter 9 and going through chapter 11.
“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5) This is just one important point: the Covenant of the Law is with Israel, not the Church. If we don't distinguish between Israel and the Church, what about the Law? If the inclusion of gentiles is into the already existing Church, when did the Covenant of the Law stop applying to the Church? This is soteriologically vital. It is grace vs law. What then is salvation?
“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Romans 9:6-8) Here is an important point, the nation of Israel is not the Church - the “children of the promise”. So there is that which is Israel, the nation, that is of the flesh.
“And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.” (Romans 9:26) Israel is God's people, gentiles were not. Now they are to become God's people in another way. Something new. Are they included into Israel? Or into the Church? When did Israel stop being called Israel and become the “Church”?
Note the words, “And it shall come to pass ... there shall they be called ...” A future event, something not yet in existence. A mystery revealed to Paul in the New Testament.
“What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. “ (Romans 9:30-31)
Gentiles attain righteousness by grace: the Gospel.
Israel has not attained righteousness by the Law.
New Covenant, Old Covenant. The Church, a “new” people united with a reminant of the “old” people on the basis of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Not on the basis of birth into a nation, or by observance of the Law. And something held as a mystery in the Old Testament, the subject of prophecy, not yet revealed.
“But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” (Romans 10:19-21)
A “foolish nation” vs the nation of Israel. There is quite a distinction between the two “nations”. The Church, again, is the union of believers in Christ, not an “earthly nation” which one is a member of by birth.
Romans chapter 11 is big, but in brief there is this idea:
“I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. “ (Romans 11:1)
Paul's answer is no, they're not utterly cast away, there is a remnant, “according to grace”
“But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” (Romans 11:4-5)
So, not all of Israel is included in the Church. There is not an identity between Israel and the Church.
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Romans 11:6-7)
Israel “hath not obtained”. However the “election hath obtained it” - the Church.
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” (Romans 11:11) Israel has “stumbled”, Gentiles have received “salvation” by it. Israel will be provoked to jealousy.
“Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?”
This has two ideas, Israel is not “in” the Church. And Israel will be restored: “how much more their fulness?”.
“For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”
Again, here is the future glory of Israel being restored. When is that? It is eschatalogical.
From verse 15 Paul goes on to talk about the “natural” branch: Israel, being broken off. And a wild branch being grafted in: gentiles. This refers to Christians, who are the body of Christ, the Church. Christ is the “root and fatness of the olive tree” (verse 17)
So Israel is distinct from the tree, which is Christ. Israel is a branch that can be broken off, and re-grafted in the future. While the gentiles are also distinct from the tree, which is Christ. They are a “wild” branch grafted on. Something new, the Church.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25)
There is a “fulness” for the gentiles. And after that a restoration of Israel, or a remnant. Paul refers to the “mystery”, which he also speaks of in Ephesians.
At any rate, reading through these passages in Romans it seems that there is a distinction between Israel and the Church. The Church has a starting point. Then there is the “fulness” after which a remnant of Israel is restored. So there is a “restoration”.
Now if there is a “restoration” for Israel, they must be in a position different then what it will be in the future. This is the distinction between Israel and the Church.
This distinction is important to understand, for many reasons. There are the Old and New Covenants. The Law and the Promise. There are threads in prophecy that become difficult to follow without keeping in mind this distinction.
Gentiles are not made members of Israel. They are included in Christ's body, the Church. As are believing members of Israel.
There is a “time” for the Church, in the “fulness” of the Gentiles and until the restoration of Israel. Now that is what some have referred to as the “parenthesis of the Church age”. I agree some people haven't been careful with that idea and have inflated it to say things that aren't justified by Scriptures. But there is certainly a “time” with a discrete beginning and a discrete end, to wit the restoration of Israel.
So given the above, I don't understand why you talk about the Church being “erased” from the Bible. You mention a redefinition of the “universal Church”. What exactly do you mean by “universal”. Given the above that there is a discrete beginning for the Church, a mystery hid for ages, you cannot be saying that Old Testament saints were, during their lives, members of a then present Church? The Church to them was eschatalogical. Jesus preached to the captives, which I take that He drew into Himself those Old Testament saints, their once future salvation was then realized after His death on the cross for the sins of the world.
The above should be enough for now, you are covering a lot of territory and I think focus on one point is more appropriate.
But I would like to cover just one more thing. Dispensationalists say that Zechariah 2.8 is eschatalogical, and refers to the future restoration of Israel. And this restoration is subsequent to the return of Christ, when He sets up His Kingdom on earth.
But, Dispensationalists don't “scream obscenities” at those who disagree. How can you say things like that? Who are these “dispies” you're talking about? I've never heard anyone “scream obscenities”. Nor have I ever heard anyone “tear away promises” of God to the Church. If that is what you call distinguishing between the earthly nation of Israel and the body of Christ, the Church I think that's pretty extreme language. (On the other hand, Basses book, “Backgrounds to Dispensationalism” has what amounts to an ad hominem attack on Darby and associates.)
By the way, who is that “group of people who unrepentantly murdered God's Son.” who live in that “scratch of land in the middle east”? Do you mean Israel?
If you do that is off base. First, Jesus wasn't “murdered”. He laid down His life, no one took it from Him. “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. “ (John 10:17-18)
Jesus laid His life down.
Jesus took it up again.
He gave His life for the sins of the world. Therefore because “all have sinned”, all have been guilty. You could say we - all, the entire world of humanity - are the ones who “murdered” Him, except for the simple fact that He wasn't murdered. He laid His life down Himself, He “gave up the Ghost” according to Scriptures. Then He took it up again, according to Scriptures. This is important. When you talk about Christology, this is an important fact, it needs to be understood.
At any rate, an orderly and reasonable discussion is difficult when you're saying things like, “entitlement endowed narcissistic personalities of the Dispensationalist”, and using words like “butcher”.
It's also difficult to follow when on the one hand you talk about “dispies” being formed into “socialistic cliques” to “recreate the new Soviet Man.” Then on the other hand calling them excessively individualistic narcissists.
All in all you seem to be really incensed about some particular churches and books and certain individuals. A cooler, less abusive language goes a long way in making one’s point. I've tried to focus on one important aspect of Dispensationalism, the distinction between Israel and the Church. This indicates that the Church has a discrete starting point in time. From this idea other ideas may follow. It is one way to begin to understand prophecy. It helps us avoid applying things to that which they don't apply, therefore correctly understanding things.
Dispensationalism is developing, it is not what it started out as, there is new thinking and modification due to critical examination. My point of view is not unique. What you are calling “orthodoxy” really isn't. In particular there is no “latent” contempt for the Church. Epp is not the epitome of orthodox Dispensationalism. The views he popularized have undergone much critical thought. And just because some people take that kind of thing to extremes doesn't discredit Dispensationalism. There are “new things” in the New Testament.
Covenant theology has some difficulties that Dispensationalism does solve, one of which is the Church/Israel distinction. Covenant theology also has it's abuses (Let me just add that I've lived my whole life among the Reformed, Christian Reformed, and Dutch Christian Reformed - all of whom I have deep respect for.) A common criticism is that it tends to weaken Evangelical work because of it's particular take on election. Which is also why infant baptism is practiced. And then there is the criticism that because it conflates Israel and the Church it takes to itself promises made to Israel. This leads to many more difficulties eschatalogically. One last thing I'd mention is the idea that the Church will eventually grow to fill the world. That by Gospel preaching everyone will eventually become Christian, thus the Kingdom of God is established upon earth. No matter how one reads prophecy, especially the Revelation, I cannot find any warrant for this idea. It is at complete odds with prophecies about the return of Christ.
You mention “mega” churches, and the attempts to attract “seekers”. I understand your criticism, I even agree in part. But I have to reject the way you put it. It is too much like a railing accusation to be useful. Again, a calmer laying out of reasons gets more mileage.
Anyway, sincerely yours.
Easier said than demonstrated.