Answering the “95 Thesis Against Dispensationalism” (1)

Introduction to this Series

Monergism.com, that excellent source for all things Reformed and Covenantal, has recently posted some more rebuttals of Dispensational Theology on its website.  Included is a set of 16 lectures by James Grier and a series of  “95 Theses Against Dispensationalism” brought together by a group of believers (mostly if not all of them Partial Preterists) calling themselves by the collective nom-de-plume, ‘The Nicene Council.’  There is also a DVD out criticizing this pernicious doctrine to which I and many others hold.

From other posts I have made it clear that I believe the title “Dispensationalism” is unfortunate, in that it focuses attention more on the proposed economies within the history of revelation and away from the identification and outworking of the biblical covenants.  This leads to misunderstandings and some lack of priority even within the ranks of adherents of the system. 

It is too late to do much about that however, and so I will continue to use the name “Dispensationalist” to define myself and my position in this post and the ones to follow (DV).

What I would like to do is to try to answer the 95 Theses one by one.  I do this not because I am spoiling for a fight.  What use is that?  No, I simply wish to respond to these brethren and in so doing, perhaps help myself see my adopted position more clearly, and help others, pro and con, who stop by to do the same.

Let me start off by saying that just as Covenant Theology (CT) has its proponents who do less than justice to its tenets, so too does Dispensational Theology (DT).  Therefore, the erroneous views of men like John Hagee or ultra-dispensationalists are not going to be indulged in these posts.  Nor will I be detained by so-called “Progressive Dispensationalism”, which, in agreement with CT’s like Mathison and Poythress, I believe is not really Dispensationalism at all.

I will just be concerned with mainline classic dispensationalism as it has been represented by men like Darby, Scofield, Peters, Chafer, Sauer, McClain, Walvoord, Pentecost, Ryrie, Ice and Fruchtenbaum.  Where I believe these men to be in error, I will state my disgreements where and when it is deemed necessary.  Covenant theologians differ among themselves as much as Dispensational theologians do, but all agree that there are certain vital ingredients in each system which can be identified and tested.

Perhaps after this series I will interact with Grier’s critique…we’ll see.  Watch this space…

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3 comments

  1. You mentioned dispensationalism as being a “pernicious doctrine;” I agree, however, I also know (being a recovered dispensationalist) that dispensationalists are sincere and most I’ve encountered deeply love the Lord.

    I think it is important to appreciate that reformed theologians realize that God worked in different economies within the history of revelation, and dispensationalists recognize that Yahweh is a covenant-making God. So let’s keep in mind while disagreeing here, that this is an in-house scuffle. You seem to have set this tone, which is important.

    Brothers fight, sisters bicker, but they remain family for a lifetime. Whatever happens here in these discussions, let’s remember the big picture — “iron sharpens iron” (Prov. 27:17).

  2. Well, I was being ironical. But I agree with your sentiments and I thank you for them. Btw, I do not believe Covenant Theology is pernicious. I just think it is wrong. Appreciate the remarks.

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