DISPENSATIONALISM – A HERETICAL TEACHING

I have been wanting to do a post like this for awhile now, but have not been able to find the words. Dispensational theology is quite intricate and confusing and I have found it difficult to explain. Again I was in a position the other night to explain dispensationalism and I found it difficult to briefly state the facts.

I finally said  …

… you understand the errors of Catholicism, right, well dispensationalism, like Catholicism, is a theology composed of a group of teachings that are superimposed on Scripture, thereby distorting Scripture. The sum of it’s parts make the whole.

It seemed that statement brought some clarity. Now what are the parts, or separate teachings, that when put together can be labeled dispensationalism?  This is by no means a comprehensive explanation, just my humble attempt at a general outline to give some idea of what these teachings are about.

Again, dispensationalism is a heretical “ism” just as Catholicism and Mormonism. Although these “isms” all adulterate the pure Gospel with very different teachings, they all do it by twisting Scripture and adding man made teachings to God’s word. These man made teachings distort God’s truth and promote heretical lies to the detriment of souls.

Again, as in the other “isms” such as Catholicism and Mormonism, there are a group of separate teachings within each belief system that when put together become the whole. For example, if asked to describe Roman Catholicism I would list the heresies taught by the Roman Catholic Church, such as baptismal regeneration, sacramental salvation (meaning salvation by works), Mary as mediator and at times even co-redeemer, the doctrine of transubstantiation (which means that the priest has the power to change the communion bread into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ), worship of the communion bread (called adoration of the blessed sacrament), the sacrifice of the Mass (which is the sacrifice of Christ repeated during each Mass), and claiming that the Pope is Christ’s vicar on earth (Christ’s representative on earth), just to name a few. As Catholicism is composed of all it’s components, so are the other “isms.”

What follows are some of the components, and heretical teachings, of dispensational theology. There are variations within the system, and some teachings are more extreme than others.  (Dispensationalists do not agree on every point.)  One false teaching hinges on another, like a chain link fence.  I think if we take them one piece at a time, like a puzzle, and put them together, then we’ll get the picture.

1. Dispensational teachings gained popularity in the 1800′s through the ministry of a man named John Nelson Darby.  They were further popularized by Cyrus I. Scofield, especially through the very popular Scofield Study Bible. The Scofield Study Bible is used in most bible schools today. The footnotes of this study bible contain dispensational theology. That’s like having a study bible with footnotes containing Roman Catholic theology or Mormon theology.  Get the picture.

2. Dispensational theology makes an unbiblical separation between the church and true Israel.  They erroneously teach that God has two separate plans, one for the church and one for Israel. Therefore they teach that the promises made to Israel are only for Israel, and are not fulfilled in Christ and the church.

In contrast to dispensational error, the bible teaches:

Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Galatians 3:26-29 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

3. Dispensational theology falsely teaches that God has 7 dispensations of time and deals with mankind in different ways during each of those 7 time periods or dispensations, rather than teaching true biblical Covenant Theology (old Covenant with it’s types and shadows, new Covenant fulfillment of all those types and shadows).

4. Dispensationalism falsely teaches that Jesus Christ came to set up an earthly kingdom but the Jewish people refused His offer, therefore God put “plan B” into effect. This imagined “plan B” was the church, and a pause in God’s original plan. (These teachings are not found in the bible. The truth is that the Jewish people were wrongly expecting an earthly Messiah.  Jesus said His Kingdom is not of this world.  God’s plan was not interrupted, and the idea that the church was a deviation from God’s original plan is found nowhere in scripture.)

In contrast to dispensatinal error, the bible teaches:

John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

5. Dispensational theology erroneously teaches that at some point in time God will remove the church and go back to His original plan.  The false secret rapture teaching is based on the false “plan B” theology. See Dispensationalism & The Rapture

6. Some of dispensational’s more extreme false teachings proclaim that:

(a) the teachings in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are not for the church but for the Jewish people because they were under the “works” of the law and not under grace;

(b) the words of Jesus Christ are not for the church but for the Jewish people because they were under the “works” of the law and not under grace.

(c) baptism and the Lord’s supper are not for the church but for the Jewish people because they were under the “works” of the law and not under grace;

(d) repentance is not for the church, because it is a “work” and is not for the church but for the Jewish people because they were under the “works” of the law and not under grace.

In contrast to dispensational error, the bible teaches:

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Hebrews 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

7. Dispensationalism also falsely teaches that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were only for the Jewish people, and not for the church today.

In contrast to dispensational error, the bible teaches:

1 Corinthian 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1Corinthian 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

1Corinthian 12:9  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

8. Dispensationalism also falsely teaches that the Jewish people are still God’s chosen people even though they reject their Messiah and do not believe the gospel.

In contrast to dispenstional error, the bible teaches:

1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

9. See also . . .

Daniel’s 70 weeks, future or fulfilled?

Daniel 9:24-27

Dispensationalism’s false teaching, like leaven, permeates where the true gospel is preached.  It’s teachings, at least in part, are within many, if not most, of today’s mainstream “born again” churches and bible schools.  Believer, beware of this deadly heresy!

About Cathy

I am a born again Christian. I was saved in 1988 at the age of 38. My mother came to the Lord in her old age, in her 80's. Her name was Giannina which means "God is gracious."
This entry was posted in Christian Zionism, Christianity, Church, Mormonism, Prophecy, Religion, Roman Catholicism, Salvation, Zionism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to DISPENSATIONALISM – A HERETICAL TEACHING

  1. Ben says:

    Thank you for sharing your take on dispensationalism. I agree with you. As a newcomer to the faith I often get confronted with these false dispensationalist teachings (mostly pre-trib) through other ‘christians’ who insist that it is a Biblical view. They almost make me feel like an inferior christian if I don’t confirm their beliefs. Also, I have noticed that dispensationalism seems to be rampant in churches nowadays. I never believed any of it, but still, it is quite hard for me to refute these doctrines because I don’t know Scripture as well as many of these dispensationalists claim to. They seem to have an dispensationalist answer for everything. But when I closely examen their doctines, I came to realize their doctrine is like a house of cards. I tend to view dispensationalism as a collection of intertwining false, unbiblical teachings. They all depend on each other. Take one out, and the whole thing comes down. I have debated some dispensationalists on their views, only to discover they can really get very angry when you don’t believe their doctrines. One of them angrilly called me a ‘calvinst’. (Although I never read any of John Calvin’s work) I just choose to stick to the simple truth taught in Scripture that God has shown me through His grace and mercy. Dispensationalism are doctrines of men. And christians do not follow doctrines of men. We follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is the Truth, the Way and the Life!

    Ben

    • Cathy says:

      Praise the Lord that He has given you discernment. Hold on to it and never let it go. It is not popular to come against dispensationalism. Many if not all churches have been tainted with this false doctrine in some way. Be encouraged. There are others who see the error and are speaking out.

      Stephen Sizer has some very good material on this particular topic …

      http://www.sizers.org/zcs.pdf

      Also the topic is addressed often at …

      http://pjmiller.wordpress.com

  2. Cathy says:

    My husband and I became aware of the errors of dispensationalism when a relative became heavily involved in dispensational teaching (and still is). It prompted us to search the scriptures. It definitely is disastrous error that we want to help believers avoid.

  3. Peter Ivanchuk says:

    Thank you for the sound teaching.
    Dispensationalism is a disaster for many christian;unfortunately they read the
    Bible through the very wrong glasses…
    God bless you.

  4. Sheryl says:

    My husband just gets worse. It has now been over 10 months since he got caught up in disp nonsense . He will not allow us to go to church or even lead family worship. He sneaks around buying tracts and emailing some of these misled people who encourage him in his errors. He says we must go through Paul to have Christ :( I have gone so far as to block the internet. he now has told my kids he is going to go by a phone with internet so he can continue in his false pursuits. its like he is an addict or in a cult! Please continue to pray that he will see the truth before he destroys our family.

    • Cathy says:

      My heart goes out to you Sheryl. As I said before, we have a family member who was sound in doctrine until they became acquainted with dispensationalism. We will pray for your husband and family. I encourage you to draw close to the Lord for your peace and strength. I know that this type of trial can be devastating. Hang on …

      1 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds:)

  5. Eddie Copeland says:

    I just want to say AMEN to you!

  6. Cathy says:

    Thank you PJ for your prayers and comforting words. It really means a lot to me to hear from the body of Christ in times like these.

    Blessings to you my sister …

  7. Cathy says:

    Sheryl, I sympathize … we also have a family member who has become caught in the dispensational trap. In addition to what you mention, unnecessary water baptism and communion, we have been told the gospels and the words of Jesus are not for us. How tragic. We can cry out to the Lord in these extremely difficult situations. May the Lord mercy upon us all.

  8. Sheryl says:

    HELP. My husband has become caught up in this dispensational “paul only movement”. This includes such nonsense as no water baptism (its unnecessary), no communion, (again unnecessary)

  9. Cathy says:

    Great points … so true … thank you for your comment.

    An interesting post here shows what is going on in the evangelical church …

    http://pjmiller.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/waiting-for-armageddon/

  10. Benjamin says:

    I am sure Robert is sincere in his comments. The question I would like to pose is how he interprets the “one body” descibed in the Ephesian letter? How is it possible to have two “peoples” of God in the present “dispensation”, one without Jesus Christ the only Savior? How does he interpret the Sermon on the Mount? Why would Jesus have taught this 2000 years ago if it will only apply to a future earthly kingdom. Do we need to rip out Christ’s teachings as well as the Ephesian epistle from Scripture to believe that Zionism is God’s plan? What do you understand when John says that those who do not confess Christ is antichrist (1 John 4:3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world). If you, as you state, hold to salvation by grace through faith in Christ how can you aknowledge a people who do not believe in Christ to be children of God? Only those who have received Christ as Savior have the right to be called children of God. John 1:12-13: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent,[c] nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” If you believe in the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture how do you hold onto the notion of two seperate peoples of God. There can only be salvation for Jews and non Jews alike through Christ alone, in the previous “dispensations” 1 Cor 10:4 “for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was CHRIST”, as well in the present and future “dispensations”.

  11. Cathy says:

    I understand that all dispensationalists are “not created equal” however I stand by what I have written, not because I wrote it, but because it is true and it is biblical.

    Regarding “godly men and women who have done great things for God” I would say that error is error regardless of who practices it. Doing “great things for God” in no way diminishes the deadly effects of false doctrine.

    I personally know believers who mistakenly believe it is “godly” to bear arms (and kill) and fight alongside the Israeli army because they believe the unbelieving and unconverted people of modern day Israel are God’s chosen people.

    I personally know believers who mistakenly believe that the Muslims, Arabs, etc. are the “bad guys” and the people of Israel are the “good guys.” As a result many are opposed to any peace process in the Middle East. This is all “political” … not “gospel” … which is another issue.

    I personally know a believer who mistakenly thinks that the words of Jesus are not for the Christian …. an error they learned from a dispensational teacher.

    I personally know a believer who, because they have embraced dispensational theology’s twisting of the meaning of grace, thinks that a believer can live in habitual unrepentant sin and still be saved.

    And yes, there are no more animal sacrificies … but … salvation has always been by faith.

    Also, a completely literal interpretation of the bible can and has led to gross heretical teachings such as Roman Catholicism’s transubstantiation and baptismal regeneration.

    It seems one false doctrine often hinges on another. Some believe the error that a believer can never fall away from the faith. Perhaps this is at the root of the problem.

    I highly recommend that you read Stephen Sizer’s book “Zion’s Christian Soldiers.” Sizer explains in more detail, and much better than I, the truth about this topic. When I came across Sizer’s book the Lord had already shown me, through the Scripture, the segments of dispensationalism that I myself had ingested.

  12. Robert says:

    H-m-m… Well, as a Bible teacher for over 40 years–and a dispensationalist–I’d like to make a few observations from the other side of the hill.

    1) I do think words such as heretic and heretical are not a fair description of dispensational teaching and its adherents–at least the many that I know. There are about ten basic areas of theology (soteriology, ecclesiology, etc.), and as a dispensationalist I hold an orthodox position on them all. I believe in the inspiration of Scripture, the deity and virgin birth of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, and so on. I have preached in churches that hold an amillennial position, and had good fellowship with believers there. We have many areas of agreement.

    2) In a sense, all orthodox Christians are dispensationalists. We all believe that God’s requirements for believers changed after the death and resurrection of Christ. Otherwise, we’d still be bringing animals to be sacrificed. Not all dispensationalists follow Scofield’s seven dispensation outline.

    It is mainly, as you point out, that dispensationalists believe God still has a plan to be fulfilled with the nation of Israel. But that should not be labeled an extra-biblical teaching. God’s program for the Jews is clearly spelled out in Scripture again and again. Where we differ is in the interpretation of such passages. Even some amillennialists will admit that if one holds to a consistently literal interpretation of the Word of God, he will arrive at a premillennial position.

    3) You make a number of accusations that are not true of any dispensationalists that I know of. For example, I do not believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were only for the Jews. Nor do I adhere to the ultra-dispensational view that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are not for the present time.

    4) Many godly men and women who have done great things for God, by His grace, have held to a dispensational position. The Bible school movement, and foreign missions have been advanced by such people to the salvation of countless thousands. To label their beliefs as “deadly heresy” suggests you may need to do a bit more research on the subject.

  13. Peter Ivanchuk says:

    Thank you for a Godly teaching. Dispensationalism is a big heresy.

    God Bless you,

    Your brother in Christ,
    Peter Ivanchuk

  14. Stephanie Campbell says:

    Hi,
    I have been encouraged by many of your articles here, especially seperating from Christmas, as my husband and I have been for the past few years…and no it is not easy, and it is usually other Christians that try to make you feel bad etc.

    This article has confused me, probably my fault not yours…okay this is new to me….are you saying there is no any minute rapture??? Help! I have often been confused by the second coming, I believe that, but the part that always struck me funny was a bunch of people accepting Christ after the rapture???? Any help would be great, please feel free to e-mail me. Thank you so very much.

    On another note, how do you handle people sending Christmas cards, when you have already explained you choose not to celebrate? and I have been told by other Christians that you should keep it to yourself that you do not celebrate or you are a stumbling block???? that leaves me in a situation…when someone says “Why don’t you celebrate or decorate etc? they say I am a stumbling block and use a scripture about keeping it between you and God. Thanks again.
    Love in Christ,
    Stephanie

    • Cathy says:

      I am glad Stephanie that you were encouraged by the articles on Christmas. Believers need encouragement if they have withdrawn from the Christmas celebrations, I know we do, my husband and I, and your comment has done just that.

      We don’t see ourselves as being stumbling blocks for not celebrating Christmas. We see ourselves as standing for biblical truth. I know that we are probably often misunderstood, and other believers may think that we are being “legal” but that is not the case at all. While we are all responsible for ourselves before the Lord, I do believe many pastors will bear the responsiblity for leading a multitude of sheep astray on this topic, and many other false doctrines as well. We have found that as time goes on it becomes a bit easier to be in the minorty. Again, I say be encouraged, you are on the right track.

      I don’t send out Christmas cards and because of that I do not get many, but I do get some. In the past, at the end of the year, once in a while I have sent one or two “thinking of you” type of cards to the few that have been persistent, just as an expression of love, knowing they don’t understand. I have found that believers are not open to hearing anything negative about Christmas so I don’t talk about it anymore, but obviously I do write about it. [We are to be salt and light, let our light shine, not keep truth to ourselves. We need widsom, yes, but shine we must :-) .]

      * * *

      Scripture teaches a “rapture” but it will be at the second coming of the Lord. Scripture does not teach a “secret rapture” where there will be people “left behind.” The “secret rapture” is a product of dispensational theology. Dispensationalism is a confusion theology that has superimposed it’s false teachings upon bible truth. The secret rapture is taught in the fictional “Left Behind” series.

      Here are some links. I hope some of your questions will be answered.

      http://giannina.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/there-is-no-secret-rapture/

      http://giannina.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/the-rapture-at-the-second-coming/

      Feel free to ask more questions if you need to, and I will try to help. It took me quite some time to unravel dispensationalism’s errors. It is the greatest heresy of our day.

      Blessings,

Comments are closed.