[House Church Talk] Dispensations - Ross

flash flash at mbz.org
Thu Jan 29 14:25:53 EST 2004

> You have done a good job showing that dispensation is a good Bible word and
> that it can refer to an administration or stewardship. Naturally, such an
> administration will cover a period of time, but it is better to define it in
> terms of an administration which entails its own administrative guidelines,
> or house rules in keeping with the figure of the house steward.
> Now, various ministers have come up with various dispensational schemes and
> the most infamous is Scofield's due to his popular study bible. He defined
> dispensations with respect to periods of time, but like I mentioned, it is
> better to define it in terms of a particular administration of God.
> Going back to Eph 3, Paul talks about the secret(mystery) dispensation of
> God given to him to administer the grace of God to the Gentiles. Back to Eph
> 2 for a simple and Biblical scheme. Eph 2:7 talks of "the ages to come", Eph
> 2:11, 12 speak of "time past", and Eph 2:13 talks about "But now". In "time
> past" there is the raising up of Israel, circumcision, law keeping etc. in
> order to not be "cut off" from God's congregation. But we have the record of
> Israel's fall and the putting away of the ordinances such as seders,
> circumcision, baptisms et. al. in the book of Acts. Israel was to be God's
> nation of priests and kings over the Gentile nations, and of course, ritual
> purification via baptism was the order for any Israelite who wanted to be in
> line with God's plan for them to be a preist. But the leadership rejected
> their Messiah and removed their nation, as a covenant nation, out of the
> will of God in violation of the covenant.
> "But now" God has put a different administration in place via Paul. One
> without Law keeping and all its ordinances. One where God, also being free
> of the covenant, could bless the Gentiles and Israel too, now that their
> priviliged status was revoked, through an administration of grace to all
> individuals rather than through a covenant with a nation intended as a
> channel of blessing to the rest of the nations. Now they were on common
> ground with a common salvation identified with Christ in a new corporate
> creation, or entity if you will, called the Body of Christ. Salvation by
> grace apart from works like baptism and circumcision and any Law keeping!
> That's the short answer and I know there are other questions but I am going
> to break it off here for now.
> In Christ,
> Ross Purdy

If it is possible that there are other explanations than the ones you provide here, Ross, there
can be some dialog about the issues some of us have with dispensations.  However, if these are
the only means of explaining things, then there is no dialog.

For instance - you mention rejection of "their" messiah.  So, then "the" messiah kinda took me,
a gentile, into the fold as somewhat an afterthought.  I find that offensive and also I think
that there is ample bible evidence to indicate that "the" messiah, while coming thru the line
of David and thus as promised into Israel, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is "the" messiah -
not "their" messiah.  While this mindset is probably not totally indicative of
dispensationalism, it certainly highlights the "us" and "them" demeanor of dispensationalism.
I take the "us" and "them" mindset also - but only as the bible presents it.  There are those
who are lost, and those who are saved by grace - and that indicates a glorious "us" and "them."

Another tenet of dispensations is the issue of time periods or dispensations.  The term is very
much so in the bible, but the application of that term to the way in which God relates to man
throughout history seems faulty.  Indeed, I think it is possible to understand grace in the OT
and also to see grace distributed to gentiles as well as Israel.  That type of understanding
begins to be consistent and not dependent on dispensation or times of "testing" which is also
particular to dispensationalism.

Yes, we could go on and never get anywhere.  I find it interesting, but generally, I have
found, dispensationalists consider all who do not "toe the line" to be nothing more than
"infidel" which then becomes very denominational.

Dan ChicagoArea

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