DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY, CAN YOU IDENTIFY THIS FALSE DOCTRINE IF IT CROSSES YOUR PATH?

I was listening to a preacher on a live call in program on YouTube the other evening when a new believer came on. The new believer started out by saying that he understood that “Paul’s Gospel” is now the Gospel for the church (meaning that Paul’s Gospel was not the same Gospel that Jesus and the apostles preached). He was quickly corrected, but is was clear that the preacher and those with him were not aware that this new believer had been learning Dispensational theology. They attributed his faulty theology to being young in the Lord and to the fact that he didn’t have a church. He was told to quickly plug into a church so that he would learn and become sound in doctrine. But what church to join he wasn’t told, just join a church! How dangerous is that? 🤦‍♀️ I wanted to jump into the screen and tell them to warn this new believer in Christ about the error he had embraced! I obviously couldn’t, so therefore this post. If you become familiar with and can recognize any one of the false teachings in the post below, you will then know the source, Dispensationalism. The following was posted in 2008. I am reposting with some editing.

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DISPENSATIONALISM: A HERETICAL TEACHING

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.

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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.

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2. Dispensationalists teach that Jesus preached law and Paul preached grace, and therefore they preached two different Gospels, and that only “Paul’s Gospel is for the church today.

The Bible teaches this about Jesus…

John 1:14 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

The Bible teaches this about Paul…

Galatians 1:23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

3. 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.

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4. 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.

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5. 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.

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6. Dispensationalism secret rapture.

See Dispensationalism & The Rapture

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7. 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 or they will never see heaven.

See… Have You Ever Been Born Again? and John chapter 3

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8. 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

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9. More on the topic at the links below…

Daniel’s 70 weeks, future or fulfilled?

Daniel 9:24-27

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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.

20 thoughts on “DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY, CAN YOU IDENTIFY THIS FALSE DOCTRINE IF IT CROSSES YOUR PATH?

  1. Thanks for highlighting this Cathy. This is clearly a terrible heresy in all its facets, although I’ve never known much about it in the past. John Nelson Darby did write many good hymns and I don’t know what he would think of the present day “Exclusive Brethren” who have their roots in his teachings. I would consider them a cult and have previously blogged about them… and I certainly don’t agree with any form of dispensationalism. His wealthy family owned Leap Castle in County Offaly, Ireland and he was educated in Trinity College Dublin, eventually having a curacy in the established church. Rightly so, he saw that the latter weren’t preaching the gospel but it’s terrible how eventually, error, as you’ve described it, can enter someone’s thinking like this.

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    • Thank you Elizabeth for your interesting addition to this topic. I first became aware of Dispensationalism when someone we knew told us the words of Jesus were not for us. I couldn’t understand how someone who proclaimed Christ could believe such a thing. I was flabbergasted! Yes, it is terrible and astonishing how the mind can accept and believe such nonsense.

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  2. I read The Late Great Planet Earth many years ago. I also believed in the secret rapture. Learning the unbiblical source of the rapture teaching helped me to understand that it wasn’t true.

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  3. Hi Cathy. Quite a thorough post. I don’t think I can add anymore than what I had written as a comment on your Calvinism post, except back in the mid 1980’s we had a book called Dispensational Truth by Clarence Larkin. My husband and I had been drawn into that theology back then, along with the rapture doctrine. We came out of that in the mid 1990’s. Then we had been searching for the Truth until 1997. Started reading the KJV bible since then. From that time we had gone to alot of Prophecy Club conferences and listened to many speakers. We gleaned what we could, moved on and kept searching. I love the verse in Jeremiah 29:13 where it says “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

    We had learned in the process of time that the pure simple Truth of Christianity is not a religion it’s a reality. All others are ‘denominations’ which means division; and boy are they divisive, and too predictable and structural, which the Holy Spirit isn’t and cannot be put in a box or on a planned out program sheet…hmm, I guess I did have more to add…. God’s blessings to you Cathy. Have a great week. ♡
    Susan

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    • Susan, I’m so glad you came out of Dispensationalism. We never had the book, but we are familiar with the book that you mention. Larkin believes and teaches Dispensational theology. I’m so glad you came out of that! Not many do, or so it seems. And I know what you mean about the division in the church. These are the days we are living in. And didn’t Jesus say for us to “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Praise God for The truth of His Word! Blessings to you and yours as well.

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      • Agree, we should take heed to every Word that is written as not to be deceived. I also took note of these times we’re in, with so much division. It is a sign of the times Jesus said to take heed of. Jesus said Himself He would bring division. For instance it is written in Luke 12:51 “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:” (division even among our own family members) and also in Matthew 10:34 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (same as above reference). All we have to do is look around. Christian persecution is ramping up even among family members. The love of many are waxed cold. There are so many dry bones in the Valley of decision and in the land of confusion. I am praying that they become cognizant enough to wake up out of the stuper they are in, and be embraced by the Light and Love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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  4. WOW! You have shed a light on many false doctrines not just Catholics follow,but sadly many religions who teach doctrines far from the truth of scripture. Don’t even get me started on the fake rapture so many buy into…… There are times I must say HOW CAN ANYONE EVEN BEGIN TO BELIEVE THIS STUFF and then realize they have to be keeping their bibles and minds closed to the truth, because scripture does not teach a secret rapture anywhere. This was such a good article Cathy!!! Stay close to the one who has called you, your writings show His truth so many times. Blessings. You have touched on so many things here I have to reread.
    Julia

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    • Julia, many years ago we came across some of the more extreme teachings of Dispensationalism and wanted to know where these strange teachings came from. That is what began our search. When we eventually found the source, and learned more, we realized that we had embraced some of those false teachings ourselves because that is what we were taught in the church we were attending at the time. All the glory to Jesus for His mercy and kindness to all of His children. 🙌

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    • Hi Julia. Before my husband and I met, we both had read Hal Lindseys book The Late Great Planet Earth, and started our quest with what he was teaching. We were both studying the second coming and believed in the pre- trib rapture. I’m thankful God had brought us together at the same level because we grew in our relationship with the Lord togeher. You probably are aware of Hal Lindsey’s teaching included the second coming and the pre-trib rapture. So when we met we had that much in common and we stayed at that level for awhile, until as time passed, it started not to make less sense to us anymore. We woke up. 🖒. I could never support the Left Behind series enither. Personally I thought it was a very selfish thought to be taken out with unsaved people left behind, even though I hadn’t realized it at the time it was a false teaching. I would have preferred to stay behind and help other people come to know Jesus Christ. So fast forward years later, I am so very thankful to God for finding, teaching, and guiding the two us stray sheep back into His flock. Psalm 32:8. 🐏🐑🙌….God bless you sister. ❤

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      • Yes I am familiar with Hal Lindseys teaching, and sadly thought it was the truth at one time as well. I love how God watches His children and when He see we are on the wrong path sees to it we are guided to His truth and opens our eyes so we are not taken by a lie!!!!!! So good to see you and your husband are on the same page in Christ! I too never supported the left behind series or the rapture,as it’s just not biblical. God Bless both you and your husband in your walk with our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.
        Julia

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