Dispensational theology is multifaceted and can be difficult to explain. This was my response when someone asked me to explain Dispensationalism…

“You understand the errors of Catholicism, 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. What are the parts, or separate teachings, that when put together can be labeled Dispensationalism?  The following is by no means a comprehensive explanation, just an attempt at a general outline to give some idea of what these teachings are about. There are variations within Dispensationalism. Dispensationalists do not agree on every point, and the Ultra or Hyper-Dispensational teachings are the extreme.


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 by many Pastors and in many Bible Schools today. The footnotes of the Scofield Study Bible contain Dispensational theology. That would be like having a Study Bible with footnotes containing Roman Catholic theology.


2. Dispensationalists teach that there are two separate people of God, Israel and the Church. 

The Bible teaches the exact opposite.

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.

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.


3. Some Dispensationalists teach that Jewish believers were saved by keeping the law, and the Church is saved by grace through faith.

The Bible teaches that salvation has always been by grace through faith.

Galatians 3:6-9 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Hebrews 11:1-2 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Romans 4:1-7 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

Romans 11:1-6 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.


4. Dispensationalists teach that Jesus Christ came to set up an earthly kingdom but the Jewish people refused His offer, therefore God paused his original plan, and put a temporary “plan B” into effect. “Plan B” we are told is the Church and the Cross. (The secret rapture is based on this false teaching. See link below)

The idea that God’s plan was interrupted, and the idea that the Church and the Cross were deviations from God’s original plan is found nowhere in Scripture. The Bible tells us cross was foreordained before the foundation of the world. The Bible also tells us that the Jewish people wanted and were mistakenly expecting an earthly Messianic kingdom. Jesus said His Kingdom is not of this world. 

1 Peter 1:19-20 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

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. Dispensationalism secret rapture.

See Dispensationalism & The Rapture


6. Hyper-Dispensational’s more extreme false teachings consider that certain Scriptures are not for the Church because they consist of “law” and not grace. For example…

(a) The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the words of Jesus Christ are not for the Church.

(b) Baptism and the Lord’s supper are not for the Church.

(c) Repentance is not for the Church. 

(d) The Lord’s Supper is not for the Church.

(e) The new birth teaching in John chapter 3 is not for the Church.

In contrast the Bible teaches…

(a) The four Gospels and the words of our Lord Jesus Christ are for the Church.

1 Timothy 6:3-5 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

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;

(b) Baptism is evangelical, not legal, and is for the church.

See… Baptism

(c) Repentance is for the church.

Luke 24:46-47 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

(d) The Lord’s Supper is evangelical, not legal, and is for the church.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

show: proclaim, declare, preach, speak of, teach and promulgate

(promulgate: to announce, circulate, declare, proclaim, promote, publicize).

(e) The words and teaching of Jesus regarding the need to be born again is for every living person today or they will never see heaven.

See… John chapter 3


7. Dispensationalists teach that the Jewish people are still God’s chosen people even though they reject their Messiah and do not believe the Gospel.



8. More on the topic at the links below…

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 of today’s mainstream “born again” Churches and Bible Schools.


    • I have often wondered how they can be God’s people when they reject Him..
      “7. Dispensationalists teach that the Jewish people are still God’s chosen people even though they reject their Messiah and do not believe the Gospel.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s true, and that part is so simple to understand, right?

        What we don’t seem to hear too often is that Jesus said that a cup of cold water given to one of His children would not go unrewarded. His children, whether Jew or Gentile.

        Liked by 3 people

    • I have been studying this for a long time. One of my relatives got really deep into dispensationalism, the worst of the worst of it, and that’s what started my/our searching for truth. Take your time and be blessed! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. 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!


    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.

      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.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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:)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 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)


  5. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

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