Ultradispensationalism and its problematic bedfellows

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Ultradispensationalism and its problematic bedfellows

Grumman Tomcat
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February 9th, 2018, 5:35 am #1

Ultradispensationalism makes its bed with other strange ideas I have observed.  Flat Earth is all the rage in its circles right now.   This model is a gross discredit to Christians.  I cannot understand how someone in this modern day an age can subscribe to it.  The thinking is illogical and convoluted.  Debating them is frustrating.  They will not listen to reason.

E.W. Bullinger, not to be confused with Heinrich Bullinger, subscribed to FE.  He was a member of the Universal Zetetic Society an FE organization.  Bullinger other views were also accentric and heterodox.  He held the notion that Jesus was crucified with four criminals and that Jesus died on a Wednesday and not on a Friday.

Another bedbellow of Ultradispensationalism is annihilationism.  Bullinger himself does not seem to have taken a complete dive into this deception but he did argue for the cessation of the soul between death and resurrection.  Many of those that followed his doctrines did hold to annihilationism.  In short annihilationism is the belief that the soul becomes extinct at the judgment.  Only those that are redeemed and go to Heaven continue to exist. This deception cheapens the need for salvation.

Bullingerism also cheapens the four gospels and focuses its lens on the writings of Paul.  It states that the church began at the end of the book of Acts.  A variant that came out of Ultradispensationalism is Mid Acts Dispensationalism--Hyper Dispensatonalism, which is the hybrid we mainly see today.  It's adherents still often hold to FE and annihilationism.
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But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
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Ask Mr. Religion
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Joined: July 28th, 2008, 9:13 am

February 9th, 2018, 9:19 am #2

You are correct in your observations, GT. Seems to me that once one starts down the road of dispensational "right dividing" just about anything goes, no matter how odd the belief. Attempts to pin down ultra-dispensatinal Mid-Acts folks is about as bad as getting the Roman Catholic to be clear about what they believe.


From what I have been able to gather from reading many MAD discussions the following seem to be close to what they believe:

!. Dispensational Theology distinguishes between Israel and the Church
2. Unaware that Jesus will be crucified, the 12 preached the gospel of the kingdom
3. Isaiah chapter 53 a key focus area
4. Rightly dividing the word: A scriptural necessity
5. The new covenant did NOT begin with the birth of Christ
6. Circumcision: The TOKEN of the Abrahamic Covenant
7. The children of Israel were to SEPARATE themselves from the Gentiles
8. God promised to BLESS those who blessed Abraham's "seed", the nation of Israel
9. Gentiles were excluded from Christ's earthly ministry
10. In Acts 10, Cornelius does not portray today's salvation of Uncircumcised Gentiles
11. Even in Acts 3, Israel was STILL the "seed" through whom the nations were blessed
12. The "Great Commission", being prophetic, was interrupted
13. The "dispensation of grace": Prophecy interrupted; an unprophesied mystery begins
14. Grecians, in Acts chapters 6 and 11, were Greek-speaking JEWS, not Gentiles
15. The book of James was not written to Gentiles
16. The Apostle Paul - 14 passages which state that he is the Lord's Spokesman to the Gentiles

The talking points above sort of reminds me of the blind men and the elephant thinking there are actually parts and not one whole.

The dispensationalist's Zionism is constructed upon a novel hermeneutic in which all Scripture is generally interpreted in an ultra-literal sense; the prophetic parts of Scripture are seen as pre-written history; and eschatologically are believed to find their fulfillment in the interpreter’s generation. Despite claims by dispensationalists that their system has ancient historical precedent, the plain fact is the origin of this literalist hermeneutic can be traced to the early 19th Century and in particular to the writings of Hatley Frere, George Faber, Lewis Way, Edward Irving and those who attended the Albury conferences from 1826. [See: D. W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, A History from the 1730’s to the 1980’s, (London, Unwin Hyman, 1989), p 88; Edward Miller, The History and Doctrines of Irvingism, volume 1 (London, Kegan Paul, 1878), p 36; Lewis Way, The Latter Rain, 2nd edition (London, 1821).]

John Nelson Darby, who subsequently pioneered this hermeneutic in a more explicitly futurist and dispensational form, summed it up in one sentence when he admitted, ‘I prefer quoting many passages than enlarging upon them.’ [See: Darby, Collected Writings, edited by William Kelly (Kingston on Thames, Stow Hill Bible and Trust Depot, 1962) 11, p 363.] 

Based on his commitment to literalism, Darby formulated the doctrine of Dispensationalism and the rigid distinction between Israel and the Church which forms the basis of much contemporary Christian Zionism. Following Darby closely, it was Cyrus Scofield who first distilled and codified this literalist hermeneutic. 

In my opinion, Dr. John H. Gerstner's book, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth, is one of the best treatments of the whole system of dispensationalism and why it is seriously wrong. 

Another good read is Poythress' Understanding Dispensationalists, also available online at: https://frame-poythress.org/ebooks/unde ... tionalists. Note that Poythress has found found two texts to be of particular usefulness, Heb 12:22-24, and, subordinately, 1 Cor 15:51-53, when trying to persude dispensationalists for non-dispensationalism. He spends a great deal of time explaining how such a dialog would proceed. Getting the dispensationalist to actually think about how their hermeutics function is key to unraveling them from their views. The path out of dispensationalism is usually a lengthy process, for example: https://davidwesterfield.net/2015/06/a- ... terianism/ .
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SupermanFan
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February 9th, 2018, 4:06 pm #3

Grumman Tomcat wrote: Ultradispensationalism makes its bed with other strange ideas I have observed.  Flat Earth is all the rage in its circles right now.   This model is a gross discredit to Christians.  I cannot understand how someone in this modern day an age can subscribe to it.  The thinking is illogical and convoluted.  Debating them is frustrating.  They will not listen to reason.

E.W. Bullinger, not to be confused with Heinrich Bullinger, subscribed to FE.  He was a member of the Universal Zetetic Society an FE organization.  Bullinger other views were also accentric and heterodox.  He held the notion that Jesus was crucified with four criminals and that Jesus died on a Wednesday and not on a Friday.

Another bedbellow of Ultradispensationalism is annihilationism.  Bullinger himself does not seem to have taken a complete dive into this deception but he did argue for the cessation of the soul between death and resurrection.  Many of those that followed his doctrines did hold to annihilationism.  In short annihilationism is the belief that the soul becomes extinct at the judgment.  Only those that are redeemed and go to Heaven continue to exist. This deception cheapens the need for salvation.

Bullingerism also cheapens the four gospels and focuses its lens on the writings of Paul.  It states that the church began at the end of the book of Acts.  A variant that came out of Ultradispensationalism is Mid Acts Dispensationalism--Hyper Dispensatonalism, which is the hybrid we mainly see today.  It's adherents still often hold to FE and annihilationism.
Those holding to such a bad theology would have to exclude both communion and water baptism for the Christian, as both to them would be under the Jewish administration time, and they also would see just the Epistles of Paul as for us today to be studying and taught from.
David Chase
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Utica StoneyCreek Baptist Church
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Grumman Tomcat
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February 9th, 2018, 8:33 pm #4

I have observed this on sites populated by Hyper Dispensationalists,that they will outright condemn people that practice communion and baptism, which are are both mandated in Scripture.  They have the tendency to ignore truth when its right in front of their faces, and turn right around and embrace fool notions.  The one that they seem to be harping on right now is FE because it supports conspiracy theories, which is another thing they are drawn to like flies.  Dispensationalism and conspiracy theories fit together hand and glove.

I was raised in the shadow of the conspiracy nonsense.  I watched it not pan out growing up.  It has caused me to reject conspiracy theories and in turn most of the tenets of dispensationalism.  I am leaning more toward Amillennialism now.
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But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run,
and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31​
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SupermanFan
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February 9th, 2018, 9:06 pm #5

They seem to be a modern Gnostic Christian group, as to them, Paul had extra special revelation knowledge form God.
David Chase
Pastoral Prayer team
Utica StoneyCreek Baptist Church
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David
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February 15th, 2018, 10:12 pm #6

15. The book of James was not written to Gentiles
Only James?  One I as in contact with on another board said that none of the Old Testament, all four gospels, James ,as well as 1 and  2  Peter were not for Christians.
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SupermanFan
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February 16th, 2018, 3:35 pm #7

James was dressed towards the Jewish tribes scattered abroad, but does not mean that God did not intend it to be read and heeded by Gentiles also!
David Chase
Pastoral Prayer team
Utica StoneyCreek Baptist Church
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nikolai_42
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nikolai_42
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Joined: October 4th, 2013, 5:12 pm

February 19th, 2018, 7:35 pm #8

Ask Mr. Religion wrote: You are correct in your observations, GT. Seems to me that once one starts down the road of dispensational "right dividing" just about anything goes, no matter how odd the belief. Attempts to pin down ultra-dispensatinal Mid-Acts folks is about as bad as getting the Roman Catholic to be clear about what they believe.


From what I have been able to gather from reading many MAD discussions the following seem to be close to what they believe:

!. Dispensational Theology distinguishes between Israel and the Church
2. Unaware that Jesus will be crucified, the 12 preached the gospel of the kingdom
3. Isaiah chapter 53 a key focus area
4. Rightly dividing the word: A scriptural necessity
5. The new covenant did NOT begin with the birth of Christ
6. Circumcision: The TOKEN of the Abrahamic Covenant
7. The children of Israel were to SEPARATE themselves from the Gentiles
8. God promised to BLESS those who blessed Abraham's "seed", the nation of Israel
9. Gentiles were excluded from Christ's earthly ministry
10. In Acts 10, Cornelius does not portray today's salvation of Uncircumcised Gentiles
11. Even in Acts 3, Israel was STILL the "seed" through whom the nations were blessed
12. The "Great Commission", being prophetic, was interrupted
13. The "dispensation of grace": Prophecy interrupted; an unprophesied mystery begins
14. Grecians, in Acts chapters 6 and 11, were Greek-speaking JEWS, not Gentiles
15. The book of James was not written to Gentiles
16. The Apostle Paul - 14 passages which state that he is the Lord's Spokesman to the Gentiles

The talking points above sort of reminds me of the blind men and the elephant thinking there are actually parts and not one whole.

The dispensationalist's Zionism is constructed upon a novel hermeneutic in which all Scripture is generally interpreted in an ultra-literal sense; the prophetic parts of Scripture are seen as pre-written history; and eschatologically are believed to find their fulfillment in the interpreter’s generation. Despite claims by dispensationalists that their system has ancient historical precedent, the plain fact is the origin of this literalist hermeneutic can be traced to the early 19th Century and in particular to the writings of Hatley Frere, George Faber, Lewis Way, Edward Irving and those who attended the Albury conferences from 1826. [See: D. W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, A History from the 1730’s to the 1980’s, (London, Unwin Hyman, 1989), p 88; Edward Miller, The History and Doctrines of Irvingism, volume 1 (London, Kegan Paul, 1878), p 36; Lewis Way, The Latter Rain, 2nd edition (London, 1821).]

John Nelson Darby, who subsequently pioneered this hermeneutic in a more explicitly futurist and dispensational form, summed it up in one sentence when he admitted, ‘I prefer quoting many passages than enlarging upon them.’ [See: Darby, Collected Writings, edited by William Kelly (Kingston on Thames, Stow Hill Bible and Trust Depot, 1962) 11, p 363.] 

Based on his commitment to literalism, Darby formulated the doctrine of Dispensationalism and the rigid distinction between Israel and the Church which forms the basis of much contemporary Christian Zionism. Following Darby closely, it was Cyrus Scofield who first distilled and codified this literalist hermeneutic. 

In my opinion, Dr. John H. Gerstner's book, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth, is one of the best treatments of the whole system of dispensationalism and why it is seriously wrong. 

Another good read is Poythress' Understanding Dispensationalists, also available online at: https://frame-poythress.org/ebooks/unde ... tionalists. Note that Poythress has found found two texts to be of particular usefulness, Heb 12:22-24, and, subordinately, 1 Cor 15:51-53, when trying to persude dispensationalists for non-dispensationalism. He spends a great deal of time explaining how such a dialog would proceed. Getting the dispensationalist to actually think about how their hermeutics function is key to unraveling them from their views. The path out of dispensationalism is usually a lengthy process, for example: https://davidwesterfield.net/2015/06/a- ... terianism/ .
Patrick, GT (and anyone else who can contribute) - is there a really good work on some of the harder prophetic utterances of the OT concerning Israel? One thing that comes to mind immediately is the so-called Russia war that Ezekiel supposedly prophesied (and is still being looked for by futurist dispensationalists). My history isn't nearly what it should be, but I don't recall anything on this (and other prophecies that don't place well, historically - such as much of Zechariah) from a non-futurist dispensationalist perspective. For my part, I am of the mind that some of the name-equivalencies they want to put on the text are already questionable. Gog and Magog, for example, are cited in Ezekiel like this :

 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
 And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
   Ezekiel 38:2-3

....which leads many to identify them as specific nations and/or geographical regions. As I read it, there are (at least) 2 problems with that :

1. Revelation cites Gog and Magog (again, together) and it is not (clearly) the same way :

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
   Revelation 20:7-8

This is - at the very least - a reference to the nations of the world or to a specific people. Not a (modern) national or geographic entity. At best, they are identified with the descendants of Japheth.

2. Revelation cites Satan as deceiving the nations - Gog and Magog being the object of this deception. One would have to believe that Satan is only going to deceive a certain people. Revelation 18:23 and Revelation 20:3 seem to indicate that the deception is global - all those that are not written in the Lamb's book of life. So if it is an identification of a people, it seems more to be a spiritual identification. And I would think that NOT inconsistent with the way Ezekiel has already prophesied (for example) to the King and Prince of Tyre in Ezekiel 28. He speaks to the Prince of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:1-11) and to the King of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:12-19). Because of the way Revelation words it, I am currently inclined to think that this could be something at the end of this age -- possibly speaking about the World Wars that we have already seen (with more to come, I would think).

But even with that, Ezekiel 28 seems to speak of Israel in a national sense. So is this something that can be viewed historically? That's part of my eschatological struggle and would love to hear from anyone who can deal with it thoroughly and convincingly. Ezekiel 38 certainly has a last days flavor about it...
If God promises life, He slayeth first; when He builds, He casteth all down first. God is no patcher; He cannot build on another's foundation. - William Tyndale
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nikolai_42
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February 19th, 2018, 7:41 pm #9

Grumman Tomcat wrote: I have observed this on sites populated by Hyper Dispensationalists,that they will outright condemn people that practice communion and baptism, which are are both mandated in Scripture.  They have the tendency to ignore truth when its right in front of their faces, and turn right around and embrace fool notions.  The one that they seem to be harping on right now is FE because it supports conspiracy theories, which is another thing they are drawn to like flies.  Dispensationalism and conspiracy theories fit together hand and glove.

I was raised in the shadow of the conspiracy nonsense.  I watched it not pan out growing up.  It has caused me to reject conspiracy theories and in turn most of the tenets of dispensationalism.  I am leaning more toward Amillennialism now.
GT...Good observation! As someone who has a natural inclination towards conspiracy theories (not sure if it's a personality trait or what), I've found myself giving less and less heed to them. Not because they are all dead wrong, but because I have found nothing but atheism in their influence. I'm not saying all who ascribe to them are atheists or even deny God, but it almost always serves to create a fear of man at the expense of a fear of God. Isaiah (in my opinion) addressed it perfectly in his prophecy :

Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces.

Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.
For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,
Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.
Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
   Isaiah 8:9-13

 The Lord does not deny that conspiracies exist but warns strongly against giving them mind.
If God promises life, He slayeth first; when He builds, He casteth all down first. God is no patcher; He cannot build on another's foundation. - William Tyndale
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Grumman Tomcat
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February 20th, 2018, 2:06 am #10

The Flat Earth stuff that the Hyper-Dispensationalists tout really gets me.  How can someone in this day of air travel and space flight believe this stuff?  We have thousands of pictures of the earth taken from space in the national archives.  If you have flown in a plane or been on the top of a tall mountain peak, the curvature of the earth is apparent.  The Book of Proverbs has a lot of say about people who are willfully foolish.

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? - Proverbs 1:22

The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. - Proverbs 15:2

The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. - Proverbs 15:14

Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly. - Proverbs 16:22
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But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run,
and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31​
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