Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Spurgeon on Dispensationalism

"We have even heard it asserted that those who lived before the coming of Christ do not belong to the church of God! We never know what we shall hear next, and perhaps it is a mercy that these absurdities are revealed one at a time, in order that we may be able to endure their stupidity without dying of amazement" (Vol. 15, 8).


The Taras Family said...

Can you clarify which class of dispensationalism you (and Spurgeon) are refering to? Since dispensationalist and Covenentalists all have their extremes- (ie. some covenental peeps believe in infant baptism...but not all they just kinda get lumped together) :)

justin said...

Spurgeon is here referring to the Dispensational Premillenalist position that the Church and Israel are distinct.
My understanding is that this is a basic teaching of dispensationalism.

The Taras Family said...

Yes, that is true. I guess I was thinking that you were saying dispensational view doesn't consider those in the OT to be OF God. Im studying Heb 11 right now and I know that is not true! And honestly, I thought the quote was a little harsh...but thats just my opinion..you can post whatever you like.

Chase said...

How orthodox/heretical would you consider it to say that those in the Old Testament were not in the Kingdom of God?

The Taras Family said...

Chase- are you asking me that quesiton or Justin?

Chase said...

I was asking Justin, but I'll take an answer from either of you. I guess when one asks a question on a blog, he or she is throwing it out for whomever will respond.

justin said...

Chase and Sarah, I'm not sure I know the answer to Chase's question.
I think the Bible presents one people of God, together called "the church," previously called "Israel." This is mainly why I reject dispensationalism.

Sarah, sorry that you think the quote is harsh. However, the quote is insightful. Spurgeon found the idea unthinkable.

The Taras Family said...

Yeah, I thought you were asking Justin... I dont have an answer for you.. havent really studied it that much to be honest, but I do know that there were those who were obviously a part of the family of God. It says that some of them "walked with God" like Enoch...and God considered them righteous...so they would have to be believers for God to consider them righteous.

Justin, Im not upset with you or anything. I guess I just really didnt think it was the most gracious quote I have ever heard. Spurgeon is basically saying that dispensationalists are stupid. I just feel its quotes like this that are harsh that cause divisions. I just dont see the good that comes from arguing over this issue. At best we might change someones mind to our thinking. At worst we offend people and put up walls. I dont understand why this topic is so important among believers today. We should just rejoice in the fact that we are unified with Christ...and have peace with all men as much as possible. Love each other and stop worrying about the "extras".

I guess I would say that we are dispensationalists in that we believe that the church and Israel are seperate. But I would NEVER label myself with any man made system. I think that any system made up by man (even if based on scripture) is bound to have flaws somewhere. Simply because we are flawed. I know that I have wrong thinking somewhere along the line. I may not see it off hand, but for me to think that I dont is arrogance... I believe in the Solas of reformed theology...but I would never label myself as reformed bc there is some baggage that comes with that....which is why I asked the first question. THere are always extremes in all cases. But it just kind of struck a cord when I read that quote. I would never call a Covanentalist stupid just because I dont agree or see thier side of things. I probably should have not said anything at all...I should have just let it go. So please forgive me for taking offense to it all. I should have been quiet on this one....

Cavman said...

The dispensationalism to which Spurgeon refers would be the original put forth by Darby's branch of the Brethren. Like Spurgeon, George Mueller rejected it.
Spurgeon reacted so strongly, I imagine, since it was innovative. Today's dispensationalists live in a nation where it has been the dominant theological system for nearly 100 years.
The fact that the NT writers violate the dispensational hermeneutic should be telling. They applied many OT promises to the church- assembly- not just to Messiah.

Chase said...

Justin, I am in agreement with you. The reason I asked is that Jesus SEEMS to speak of John the Baptist as someone outside the Kingdom. I find His statement interesting and a little perplexing.

a guy said...

Hi Chase,

Perhaps it should be said that "Jesus speaks of John the Baptists outside the [new] covenant". Jesus inaugurates a covenant in His own blood, that is unlike the old one (one aspect of this is what the paedobaptists not only forget, but ignore: because whereas the Old Covenant included believers and unbelievers so long as they kept the conditions of the Law--though, as Paul said, salvation [has always been] through faith, that is, it's Paul who grounds salvation in grace through faith by looking to Abraham's example!--in the New covenant it is composed only of believers (those fully persuaded, fully trusting), it is not a mixed-community: the visible part of it may include the deluded and false brethren, sure, but it shouldn't on our watch (i.e. anything that requires discipline/removal, etc.), and the main point is that the community itself is a spiritual communion and fellowship in which the unbelieving haven't fellowship: it's composed of the faithful alone. Covenant Theology rightly points-out the distinctions between them, the former being conditional (but impossible to keep, to show us our need), the latter being all up to God (not us), and manifesting God's grace exceedingly; the paedobaptistic Reformed spin is that they teach it is a covenant including believers and unbelievers, (the latter not for salvation), the baptist affirmation is that it is entirely spiritual despite that physically the two can be mixed-up.

People so often think of a "covenant" with God as something made for making salvation possible, but I think it's elevating salvation to more importance than worship and communion with God, and missing the point greatly. I think little bits from this kind of thinking pervade our own thinking generally even when we don't realize it (at least, that's what I see), such that it's a hindrance: not surprising in the dispensationalist-steeped America.

Remember, John the Baptist is heralding the arrival of a new one; he is still part of the Old Covenant, but He's announcing the New. He is the Lord's sheep, He's part of the fold, but He's the last of the Old Covenant's prophets.

It's interesting, I've read from Messianic Jews that some ancient Jewish texts talk about the Messiah "bringing a new Torah". I would be wary (and probably renounce) any teaching that tried to simplistically make this equivalent with the NT itself, though perhaps with its teachings would be fine--but even the NT does not disabuse the old, and perhaps they were being a little uncareful with words (though the ancient Jewish use of Torah has many senses, nuances, broader application, etc., than in English). Yet Jesus is spoken of (even by the ancient pagans commenting on the Christians) as having delivered a (his) law (of sorts) which they kept.

Thanks for the posting Justin, and I have the following to point you to (my own post on something),


and this (for the links I posted in it, I think you'll greatly enjoy them as related to this subject!):