Dispensational theology is quite intricate and confusing, and it is difficult to explain. In response to someone’s question about Dispensationalism, this was my response…
… 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. 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 an 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 corrupt God’s truth and promote heretical lies to the detriment of souls.
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 a 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 dispensational teachings. Dispensationalists do not agree on every point, and Hyper-Dispensational teachings are the extreme.
One false teaching hinges on another, like the links in a chain. 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 the Scofield Study Bible contain Dispensational theology. That would be like having a study bible with footnotes containing Roman Catholic theology or Mormon 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 (Hyper-Dispensationalists) teach that Jewish believers were saved by keeping the law, and the Church is saved by grace.
The Bible teaches that salvation has always been by grace.
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 11:2 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” were are told is the Church and the Cross.
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.
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.
The Bible tells us that the Jewish people were wrongly expecting an earthly Messiah. Jesus said His Kingdom is not of this 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. Dispensationalists teach that at some point in time God will remove the Church from this world and go back to His original plan with the Jewish people. The false secret rapture teaching is based on the false “plan B” theology.
6. Hyper-Dispensational’s more extreme false teachings proclaim that certain Scriptures were only directed to the Jews and not to the Church such as…
(a) The teachings in the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are not for the Church.
(b) The words of Jesus Christ are not for the Church.
(c) Baptism and the Lord’s supper are not for the Church.
(d) Repentance is not for the Church.
(e) The new birth (being born again) is not for the Church.
In contrast to Dispensational error, the Bible teaches:
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;
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.
Baptism is evangelical, not legal, and is for the church.
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).
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.
See… A CUP OF COLD WATER
8. More on the topic at links below…
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!