I found this idea on one site:
Literal: The plain and simple meaning of the text. Jesus supported the literal method, among others.The author is trying to make a point of the (unsupportable) conclusion that the Church used the literal method to interpret the Bible until the 2nd or 3rd centuries when the allegorical method took over.
If you are a Christian that believes in a literal 1000 year reign of Christ it should be interesting for you to know that this truth was basically hidden for over a thousand years before the reformation because of a decision made early on not to interpret Bible prophecy literally.
The irony in this authors comments is that while the author decries the allegorical method because it requires a secret meaning that only the super spiritual can understand, he fails to realize that this dispensational way of interpreting the Bible requires it own gnosis, or secret meaning. After all, the secret pre-tribulational rapture that is so prominent in futurist thinking, is unknown in the Church until the 19th century. Even then it took decades for it to permeate out into a larger community. It has never been universally recognized by the Church, but is largely relegated to Bible colleges and independent churches of the no creed but Christ genre.
The author tries to link the rise of dispensationalism to the Protestant reformation, but the fact is that almost every Protestant church or denomination with legitimate, direct ties to the reformation (from Lutheran to Reformed to Presbyterian) has rejected and warned its members about the many, pernicious errors of dispensationalism.
The bottom line is that the literal method (as presently expressed) was not the method of Jesus, nor of the apostles, nor of the early Church fathers. The literal method was the method of various heretical groups, like the Ebionites and Arians.
If you wish to understand the relationship between futurist dispensationalism and the literal method I suggest you read Dispensationalism: Consistent Literalism by Grover Gunn, or The Myth of "Consistent Literalism" by Jack Van Deventer.
Van Deventer concludes his article with this statement:
These inconsistencies have caused many to distance themselves from dispensational literalism. Various "progressive dispensationalists" have rejected "as inadequate the strict literalist hermeneutic of earlier thinkers [and] no longer adhere to the sharp distinction between Israel and the church, but place both under the one program of God for the world. . . ." Others have rejected as "too simplistic" the literalism of their predecessors. This confusion over literalism has dispensationalists debating among themselves, searching for definition, and questioning the essentials of their system.
Just like the Catholic Church has warned all of its members about the many, pernicious errors of the Reformed Church and the Orthodox Jews have warned all of its members about the many, pernicious errors of Christianity.
Considering most dispensational theologians from DTS for the first century were themselves Presbyterian ordained ministers, I think I see a trend here.
Here, you're mistaken again...There is no 'secret meaning' that only the super spiritual (whatever that is) can understand...If you follow Origen, the author of allegorical interpretation, you'll see that he and his ilk did NOT have a meaning for everything he called allegorical...He just pretended for the most part that it didn't exist...He was clueless, OR, he didn't like what he read and convinced that Church to ignore those scriptures...
he fails to realize that this dispensational way of interpreting the Bible requires it own gnosis, or secret meaning.
Absolutely,,,NOT...Dispensationalism is the only way everything fits...With your method (whatever that is) you have to claim God was mistaken when He said a millennium is a thousand years...Or He just pitched out a meaningless number...And then you have to throw out Romans 11...
With Dispensationalism, you can read the plain speaking in Romans 11 and see that God will turn back to Israel...And when does this happen??? Well in the millennium, of course...It all fits...
And you know what??? It ain't no secret...It's right there in your face, to accept, or reject...
You remember reading that Jesus said, Don't be ignorant...A day is equal to a thousand years??? Jesus knows exactly what a thousand years is...And when He says a thousand years is a thousand years, you can take that to the bank...