Posts Tagged ‘Baptist’

A Problem for Dispensationalism: Zion

February 13, 2010

What is “Zion”?

Dispensationalism quickly answers, “Jerusalem”.

Now Dispensationalism has a problem.  Not only does the New Testament forthrightly define Zion as the Church, but the Old Testament frequently refers to Zion in an idealistic, metaphorical way, pointing to a place of eternal wonder and perfection.  This certainly does not, nor did it ever, describe the earthly Jerusalem.

William Gadsby, an early 19th century Baptist Pastor, preached a sermon called “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities.

Here is the first paragraph taken from the web site

By Zion I understand the real church of Christ, and, in the strictest sense, the whole body elect, chosen, and secured in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world: “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Ps. 132:13,14) So that Zion is the spiritual property, the glorious church, and the eternal residence of Jehovah. Here the Lord not only declares but subscribes his name, and maintains all the honours of his glorious nature; and to this blessed Zion every real believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is brought by the power of the Holy Ghost; as it is written, “But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” (Heb. 12:22-24) From this statement we learn that Zion is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the glorious vision of peace, where God lives and dwells as the God of peace, and that it consists of an innumerable company of angels; and if by angels the glorious angelic host above is intended, they are an innumerable company indeed; for “the chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels;” (Ps. 68:17) and the mountain was full of them for the protection of Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17)

I would invite my dispensational Baptist friends to click on the link and read the rest of the sermon.

It’s interesting that dispensationalists like to brag about their version of the faith being “old fashioned”, yet even the most shallow review of Baptist history reveals that no Baptists believed in the dispensational scheme before the 1920’s.  The true “old fashioned” version of Baptist theology is Covenantal, mostly in the Amillennial mode, and to a lesser degree, in the Historic Premillennial mode, but never is it Dispensational before World War I.

The true Old Fashioned Gospel tells us that God has made “of twain” (Jew and Gentile) “one new man” (The Church) (Eph 2:15).  With the finished work of Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek” in the eyes of God (Gal 3:28).  The hope of salvation for the Jews is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, not Moses.  They are commanded to enter into the New Covenant in His Blood, signified by Baptism and Lord’s Supper.  They are not to continue in Temple worship, or offer sacrifices of any sort, lest they tread the Blood of Christ under foot.  They must repent.  They are not God’s people by the blood of Abraham.  Only through the Blood of Christ may they be restored to God.  This is “dispensational” truth.  The old dispensation is over, and the new has been inaugurated.  The old dispensation is over, God ain’t goin’ back to it.  Jews must be “born, not of blood [Abraham’s], nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).


The Twelve Doctrines of Christmas!!

December 22, 2009

Check this out, very funny.  My fellow theologically-obsessed brethren will get a big laugh out of it.  The non-theologue will say, “huh?”.

I Love Dispensationalists…

October 20, 2009

…just so you’ll know, I don’t have it out for dispensationalists.  Some of them are among the men and women I respect the most of all people I know on earth.

People like John MacArthur cause me to glow with pride when I see him on national television upholding the truth of the Bible and telling millions of viewers that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.  And the contribution of one of his associates – Phil Johnson – to the propagation of truth is inestimable.

Another that comes to mind is Charles Stanley, whom God has used to bring untold thousands into the faith of Christ.  I could name so many more.

I spent over twenty years as a member, teacher, preacher, deacon, and pastor of Independent Fundamental Baptist churches.  Though I have moved on to a different identity (Independent Reformed), I still hold great respect for some of those fundamental men that stood, and continue to stand, boldly against the allurements of this evil world.  All of them were dispensational – and some of them were true, great, men of God.

But I believe they are very, very wrong in their dispensational theology.  I know it hurts my dispensational friends to read this.  They may consider me to be a traitor, a liberal, an “allegorist” – but none of this is true, and I only wish they might see these things clearly.

And though I love them, I don’t know if I could work together with them in a ministry or church.  Not because of feelings – no, not that at all, for my feelings tell me to put it aside – but because of the complete contradiction that the dispensational system brings against the covenant system.  Not only that, but once someone comes to understand the role of the Church in God’s plan, you simply cannot bear the thought of the Church being made a sort of afterthought necessitated by the refusal of God’s “real” people (the biological descendants of Abraham) to accept their Messiah.

The Bible is so filled with the certainty that Christ and His Church is the fulfillment of all things promised to Israel, I don’t know how it can be missed, even though I have to admit that I read the Bible for years and missed it the whole time.

The funny thing is, when I first became convinced of the truths of the theological system commonly called “Calvinism”, I knew I had entered a completely different way of seeing and understanding the scriptures.  But even then, I never imagined that I would ever be any thing but a dispensationalists – a Calvinist, yes, but a Dispensational Calvinist, much in the line of John MacArthur. 

Only by way of a sort of academic pursuit did I come to press myself to make an attempt at understanding Covenant Theology.  Hear a little, there a little, and the whole idea began to take root.  And over a long period of time, and with much less hoopla, my change from dispensationalism to covenantalism followed the pattern of my change from Arminianism to Calvinism.  By and by, and alas, I was convinced, and am this day more convinced than ever, of the overwhelming biblical evidence and truth of that way of understanding the scripture that is called “Covenant Theology”.

To my dispensational friends I say as Paul said, “Am I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”*


*Gal 4:16

Why Can’t Dispensationalists Agree on the New Covenant?

September 25, 2009

A large group of dispensationalists gathered together recently in an effort to pound out a definition of the biblical words “new covenant.”   More information about that meeting can be found here:

Why is so hard for dispensationalists to define these words that have been in the Bible for two thousand years?

One reason for this difficulty is that they can see the implications of a proper understanding of the new covenant.  Many dispensationalists, if not most,  place the New Covenant:  1)  In the future; and 2) for Jews only.

Now, understanding the New Covenant is not that difficult.  The plain fact is that the new covenant is the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ for all of God’s people, both Jew and Gentile, and the calling of those diverse nations into one body through faith in Jesus.  Even the most casual reading of the Pauline epistles and the book of Hebrews will reveal this.  It seems highly perplexing to me that the dispensationalists like to champion the cause of “plain interpretation” of biblical passages, yet they can’t seem to apply it to passages that are the most plain and easy to understand.

The problem is, this simple definition of the New Covenant crashes many of dispensationalism’s theories.   You see, the dispensationalist MUST find a way to re-divide the Jews from the Gentiles after the “Church Age”.  The dispensationalist MUST find a way that God will some day in the future save people by human DNA instead of by grace.

It is a sad commentary indeed when one attendant pastor admits his ignorance of this crucial New Testament doctrine:

“In two weeks I need to stand before my congregation and lead a communion service,” Workman said. “I need to be able to explain what Christ meant when he said, ‘This is the new covenant in My blood.’” 

Very sad.  O!  If my brethren were to just open to Augustine, or Calvin, or Henry, or the Westminster Divines, or Gill, or the 1689 Baptists – they could save themselves so much time and so many headaches. 

Here is Gill’s comments on Hebrews 8, provided for my dispensational friends:

God promises a “new covenant”; so called, not because newly made; for with respect to its original constitution, it was made from eternity; Christ the Mediator of it, and with whom it was made, was set up from everlasting; and promises and blessings of grace were put into his hands before the world began: nor is it newly revealed, for it was made known to Adam, and in some measure to all the Old Testament saints, though it is more clearly revealed than it was; but it is so called in distinction from the former administration of it, which is waxen old, and vanished away; and with respect to the order of succession, it taking place upon the former being removed; and on account of the time of its more clear revelation and establishment being in the last days; and because of its mode of administration, which is different from the former, in a new way, and by the use of new ordinances; and because it is always new, its vigour and efficacy are perpetual; it will never be antiquated, or give place to another; and it provides for, and promises new things, a new heart, a new spirit, &c. to which may be added, that it is a famous, excellent covenant, there is none like it; just as an excellent song is called a new song. The persons with whom this covenant is promised to be made, are the houses of Israel and Judah; which being literally taken, had its fulfilment in the first times of the Gospel, through the ministry of John the Baptist, Christ, and his apostles, by whom this covenant was made known to God’s elect among the twelve tribes; but being mystically understood, includes both Jews and Gentiles, the whole Israel of God; Israel not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; such as were Jews inwardly; God’s elect of every nation: the word suntelesw, rendered, “I will make”, signifies, I will consummate, or finish, or end, or fulfil it; which shows the perfection of this covenant, and the imperfection of the former; and that what was typified in the first is fulfilled in this; and that it is now established and ratified by Christ; and is so finished, as to the manifestation and administration of it, that there will be no alteration made in it, nor any addition to it: the time of doing all this is called “the days to come”; the last days, the days of the Messiah, which were future in Jeremiah’s time: and a “behold” is prefixed to the whole, as a note of attention, this being an affair of great moment and importance; and as a note of demonstration, or as pointing to something that was desired and expected; and as a note of admiration, it containing things wonderful and marvellous.

So simple.  So plain.  So true.

By the way, please forgive if I seem to be taunting  dispensationalists a little.  No disrespect intended.


The Decree of God

March 6, 2008

Here is my summary of Chapter 3, “The Decree of God”, from the 1689 London Baptist Confession.  You can see the text of the confession on the Confession of Faith page on this web site.

God does not learn things – on the contrary, He decrees things.  One of the basic attributes of God is His omniscience (all-knowing).  If God knows everything, past present and future, then it follows that He can not learn anything.  God knows what He knows, not because He learned what would happen, but because He decreed what would happen. 

Nothing happens that was not decreed by God.  Nothing.  The events of time are not left to blind chance, and neither is the Kingdom of God built by blind chance.  It’s all by design and has a purpose.

Does that make God a sinner?  After all, if everything is decreed, that means that evil and sin is also decreed.   While it is true that God decreed evil and sin to come to pass, we must be careful to know that while God created man with the potential for sin, He did not cause him to sin.  God created Satan, but He did not make him sin.  It can even be said that God created evil, but He did not create sin.  Sin came into the world by the disobedience of Adam, who sinned by his own free choice.  

Yet this was all planned and decreed to happen for a purpose.  The purpose of evil and sin is to make redemption necessary for man to worship God, which worship is to the Glory of God.  Only a redeemed sinner can worship God with a greater heart of praise than the angels.   

Acts 15:18  Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Rom 11:36  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.  Amen.

An Exceptional Sermon

February 7, 2008

Here is a link to a great sermon by Jeff Noblit of First Baptist Church of Muscle Shoals, Alabama.  It covers the issue of how a person is saved, and how they may have assurance that they are saved.