Skip to comments.Literal Hermeneutics, Theological Method, and the Essence of Dispensationalism
Posted on 03/03/2014 8:35:17 PM PST by dartuser
As one evaluates the current debate between dispensationalism and nondispensationalism, the pervading notion seems to be that dispensationalism is in the midst of an identity crisis. While as a whole the evangelical community is seeking for some common ground in eschatology, certainly a worthy aim, this paper seeks to contribute some understanding to the essence of dispensationalism ...
This scholarly paper, which is not easy to read without some knowledge of the apparent theological background, highlights the differences between the dispensational framework and the non-dispensational (usually referred to as covenant or reformed theology) view.
The author makes the case that literal interpretation of the text is not the main difference, as each school of thought would adhere to their view of literal methods. Rather, the difference lies in the underlying theological method which involves the NT use of the OT as well as the priority of the testaments.
Though both camps can disagree vigorously over particular passages, esp. concerning the interpretation of prophecy, it is refreshing that at least the two sides can understand how the other develops their view in light of this paper. It provides a serious explanation of why dispensational and non-dispensational methods arrive at differing conclusions.
Since the author is a leading dispensational theologian he provides his view on why the dispensational framework is superior.
PS: I had the day off due to horrid weather today in the East ... I should not be expected to post with the same frequency in the coming days.
Thanks for the recent posts. Will dive into this tomorrow. The other one on the church fathers was very good.
The big controversies within Dispensationalism are a traditional dispensational position versus what is called Progressive Dispensationalism. I’m not going to even try to go into it as it is difficult to get the scholars to pin down exactly what defines their views. Safe to say that Progressive Dispensationalism is a bridge between a more Reformed or Covenant view and often people eventually slide down the slope to move to eventually embrace the Reformed or Covenant views.
My personal views are Historic Premillenialism which is a not stict Dispensationalism and is more aligned with a post-trib or pre-wrath rapture understanding. I prefer this position and I think it satisfies quite a literal hermeneutic and prophetic understanding as I understand it and feel the Spirit reveals.
I think it is somewhat of a false dichotomy to present the only alternatives as either classical Dispensationalism or Reformed/Covenant theology.
How a person believes God deals with Israel and the Abrahamic Covenant and whether it is still in effect is a major issue between the two. Replacement Theology/ Supercessionism is kind of the often unspoken issue at the heart of the conflict at least today. Obviously, there are other issues but they center more around what aspect theologically does the Church emphasize in its understanding of systematizing and interpreting scripture and how much weight is given to tradition and man-made conferences. During the time of the Reformation Ecclesiological and Soteriological issues ruled the day and very little was said about prophecy or end times views. But that was their day and generation and different aspects affect this generation as it should be.
Self ping for later. Great article! Thanks for posting it.
Thanks read it. Puts some of your comments on other threads (most astute) in much better context. Have not focused on the issue of the “theological method” as the author has. Interesting and most valid approach.
I agree with the above assessment.
You can certainly see the end result of the different theological methods in the recent eschatology threads.
Indeed. Two distinct theological methods (worldviews) which march in different directions from the "get go." No wonder we all spend hundreds of posts "talking past" others.
To put it in Army terms...We all quibble on the tactical level here on the RF ref. eschatology, when the divide is deeper in the operational and grand strategy levels. This article helps scope the problem. But no doubt we will still all quibble on the small unit tactics:)