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Posted 4 Nov 2010 at 15:48 PM by eleazar


recent Trends Between “Evangelical” and “Fundamental” dispensationalism

Hybrid dispensationalism – never heard of it

During the latter half of the 20th century an effort was begun to homogenize Protestant, indeed all Christianity into a group known as evangelicals. The evangelical strategy was for the lines of separation, which usually involved borrowing a factor of the covenants God made with Israel; were to be obliterated by compromise, in order to seek a union for unity. Some pursued this goal with good intent. They saw the error of denominationalism (Rom. 16:17) and wanted to see the church strengthened as the Lord had directed from heaven (Eph. 4:3). Others pursued this goal with different intent (See 1 Cor. 14:. To use a metaphor, we know that when dairy products are homogenized, they are pasteurized, first. Pastuerization removes several characteristics of the original and creates a “safe” product. Just so, the pasteurization of the teaching in much of the Christian community has done more to encourage the homogenization of Hybrid Dispensationalism (HD) than to encourage a beneficial wave of non-denominationalism. This in turn has discouraged the efforts sought for the above strategy and is turning the church towards a 21st Century Gnosticism. A Gnosticism of progressive discouragement of the literal interpretation of the Bible.

After all, dispensationalism is a legitimate and conservative viewpoint. Another Christian does not have to agree with it, but he should represent it fairly. This is simply a matter of Christian integrity – Charles Ryrie – (Luke 6:41)

Hybrid dispensationalism – what is it?

It is the position that is generally promulgated by Acts 2 dispensationalism, which essentially postulates that Paul's ministry was an outgrowth of the church at Jerusalem's outreach and that nothing Paul preached was different from what was in the mind of Peter and the eleven apostles at Pentecost. Of course they never proclaimed these truths during the early Acts and “allowed” Paul to proclaim what they supposedly knew in mid and later Acts. It is a hybrid because it discards clear statements by Paul in Acts (13:45&46) and his epistles (Eph. 3:1-9, Rom. 16:25 & 1 Tim. 1:13-16 to name a few), that his revelation was unknown apart from his calling and ministry. Further, it presumes that Peter and the eleven were proclaiming the salvation message of Paul's epistles rather than a need for Israel first to come to Christ as messiah (Acts 3:19-21) and then the world could enjoy the blessings of Isa. 65&66 and similar millennial prophecy. It is deemed “hybrid”, because it takes features of God's prophecy and mystery programs and mixes them into a system of theology somewhat akin to modern covenant theology.
Take a look at any doctrinal statement of an Acts 2 organization and they consist of what we call 1) standards of the faith and 2) policies of the members. Standards of the faith are contained in the creeds and are fundamental to Christian fellowship, for example: The trinity of the Godhead; the inspiration of Scripture; the virgin birth; the vicarious death and resurrection of Christ and His return in glory. The failure to believe any of these is a failure to believe all of them. The policies of the members are those teachings, which have been established and are maintained by consensus. For example, there is the belief that the Body of Christ constitutes “a nation of priests”(1 Pet. 2:9); this statement applies to restored Israel (Ex. 19:6) not the Body of Christ, where only one mediator exists (1 Ti. 2:5). Failure to believe these policies generally results in withdrawal of fellowship and that withdrawal an unscriptural practice.

the effect of Hybrid dispensationalism

With the commercialization of the National Information Infrastructure, commonly called the internet, we can access a great many statements of faith, guiding principles, et al. Embarrassingly to most folks is that they are very similar, which means that they have pretty well become one denomination, but they are NOT non-denominational. Subjects that need to be examined, remain ambiguous and unresolved. The following are a very few examples:

1) Studies on dispensationalism indicate, that the key to understanding the subject is to differentiate Israel and the Church, but definitions provided are either poor or missing altogether. Often times identifying restored Israel (the bride (Rev. 21:9)) as the Body of Christ (Eph. 5:27).
2) Every statement of either hybrid dispensationalism or covenant theology indicate that there are two church ordinances – water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Now we are assured that Paul commands the observing of ordinances (1 Cor. 11:2), but in this same epistle he is pretty clear that baptism and fine oratory diminish “the gospel” (1 Cor. 1:14-17). We can ask, “are the ordinances Paul commands to be observed what were commanded at the council of Jerusalem?” The answer is “not likely (Acts 15:29) for not even circumcision is commanded” and this from Peter and the eleven “men full of the Holy Spirit”.
The men who were sent to the circumcision (Gal. 2:2-9) never indicate that these are the two abiding ordinances for the dispersed of Israel. Also please note that the Lord’s Supper is never an ordinance, but it is a memorial. Now there are indeed traditions delivered to the church and several can be found in Romans 12 & 13.
3) Statements from most groups indicate that the mission of the church is that, which is found at Matt. 28:19 & 20. It seems to be the most widely accepted, even though this commission REQUIRES water baptism and abiding the Law of Moses (Matt. 23:1-3). All this in spite of the fact that there are many commissions after the resurrection (See Mk. 16:16-18; Lk. 24:47-49; Jn 20:22&23; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor 5:14-21; Eph. 3:8&9). With all these choices the legalistic commission of Matthew is the only one agreed upon?!?
4) The division of Scripture into Old and New Testament is the highest level of Bible study that hybrid dispensationalism achieves to. This in spite of the fact that the Lord Jesus, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John and Paul give no such priority. The Lord emphasizes the Law and the Prophets and Paul emphasizes the contrast between law and grace and most importantly THE MYSTERY as the completion of God’s plan (Col.1:26).

in conclusion

Hybrid dispensationalism is destroying the scholarly pursuit of what Paul called “testing the things that differ” (Phil. 1:10). Hybrid dispensationalism is the outcome of an “evangelical” dispensationalism. Over the last thirty years or so, examining church policy would seem to equate to “false teaching” or “apostasy” in most denominations. Actually the Greek word epecho at Rom. 16:17 means, that these matters need to be in our focus. They need attention because God detests ignorance on any matter of faith (See Acts 17:30; 1 Cor. 10:1; 12:1; 2 Cor. 1:8; 2:11; & 1 Thes. 4:13). If hybrid dispensationalism is the only accepted approach to studying the Word of God then no more Martin Luther’s dare follow their conscience and the teaching of Scripture. A warning here is appropriate, and that is; with hybrid dispensationalism, do not expect a diminishing of the cults or “isms”. The only solution to them is that each believer must be encouraged to obey 2 Ti. 2:15. Armed with this injunction alone and the power of God’s Spirit, there will be educated professors and possessors of the Word of God.

PAUL'S exhortation to the younger preacher, Timothy, has come home to many with great power in recent years. As a result, there has been a return to more ancient methods of Bible study, which had been largely neglected during the centuries of the Church's drift from apostolic testimony. Augustine's words have had a re-affirmation: "Distinguish the ages, and the Scriptures are plain." And so there has been great emphasis put in many quarters, and rightly so, upon the study of what is commonly known as "dispensational" truth. This line of teaching, if kept within Scriptural bounds, cannot but prove a great blessing to the humble student of the Word of God who desires to know His will or plan in His dealings with men from creation to the coming glory. – Harry Ironside
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  1. Old Comment
    spanner's Avatar
    Good article, it is very hard to "get across" or to reach those who have become convinced that they or their group have claimed and assumed the covenant role that was given to Israel. There seems to be a total disregard for the prophecy in the old/new testament, especially, the old testament, on what the 1,000 year reign of Christ is, in reality. It is even more difficult to get those who subordinate themselves and others under the realm of "figurative or symbolic" interpretation, as they cannot discern that in doing such, it is every man/woman for them self, so to speak, concerning the interpretation, as per, one man/woman's apple is another person's computer, and disallows that God has set forth, in His own Word, the interpretation, but they look toward history, etc.., not in realization, that history has and can be altered, but even if not, God still is the interpreter in His own Word. I am not convinced however, due to the political establishment of the day that those who hold the "covenant theory replacement theology" practice what they preach, and do not go about restoring the Kingdom to Christ, but instead, have purchased themselves a blind, liberal view of political theory and not Biblical mandates. As the homogenization has occurred within the beliefs, not faith, so too, has it been accomplished to the interpretation of God's established Word, leaving one at odds to run to and fro with the Greek and Hebrew form of language usage, and take bold afronts to the Bible that was once interpreted word for word of both the Hebrew and Greek. Irregardless, enjoyed the read and look forward to more, we cannot re-do or "save" communities, i.e. the world, but one person at a time, beginning with myself.
    Posted 11 Nov 2010 at 13:59 PM by spanner spanner is offline

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