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A Study of Dispensationalism
by Arthur Pink

"But there is further reason, and a pressing one today, why we should write upon our present subject, and that is to expose the modern and pernicious error of Dispensationalism. This is a device of the Enemy, designed to rob the children of no small part of that bread which their heavenly Father has provided for their souls; a device wherein the wily serpent appears as an angel of light, feigning to "make the Bible a new book" by simplifying much in it which perplexes the spiritually unlearned. It is sad to see how widely successful the devil has been by means of this subtle innovation."

Culture

Judge Roy Moore and the Failure of Modern Evangelical American Christianity

Nat Carswell


The Problem

For the last few weeks, Americans have been confronted with an event of seminal proportions. Not that the events surrounding Chief Justice Roy Moore’s attempt to have the Reader’s Digest version of the Ten Words of Yahweh enshrined in the Alabama Supreme Court building is in any way a new event-but it is illustrative of the situation in which modern evangelical New Testament American Christians (MENTACs) find themselves.

I am not particularly concerned about the reactions of the culture as a whole-they are predictable, only the various reactions of God’s people. I won’t bother to discuss these reactions in depth. It is, however, interesting that they seem to be variations on several themes:

- Blind boosterism of Judge Moore
- Embarrassment
- Ambivalence

The questions that must be asked are crucial. Is God’s Law relevant today? Are we (Christians) to quietly submit to the culture? The answer to all of these questions is indeed the heart of the Gospel. Every culture has a god which will be acknowledged. The god of post-modern American/Western culture is no longer Yahweh but Demos (the common people; the populace1 ). Viewing the current disposition of each of the Ten Words is quite instructive:

Preamble: I am Yahweh, your god, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Were you to have asked the average person the origin and meaning of these words 50 years ago, I suspect that almost all Americans could have given an answer which would have had a modicum of accuracy. Today I suspect that it would be difficult to find a majority of confessing Christians who understand the impact of these words.

I.-III. Each of these words has been neutered because our culture no longer recognizes the God of the Hebrews as our Law giver. They are irrelevant. Here is the really stunning thing-If the things I say are irrelevant, then I am irrelevant. We have declared Go to be an irrelevancy. Even Christians have been taught to despise God’s Law and see it as something “dangerous” or “shameful”. Clearly these first three words have no place in our current culture.

After all, we live in a world that encourages us to live compartmentalized lives and that allows each of us to have several spheres in which we operate. We are modern western men & women-not savages and have no need to be cautioned against idolatry-do we?

We have no idea to what the Third Word refers-we think it means not to use profanity-we are Biblically ignorant disciples taught all too often by those whose first concern is not offending anyone within earshot-a direct violation of the First Word!

IV. With the passage of the first three words, we find ourselves in a 24/7 culture-never stopping to rest, think or worship. This is quite interesting in light of the tenth word. We have become slaves of that which we worship.

V. The state increasingly has taken the place of parents and parents increasingly regard their children as an afterthought. Your daughter may obtain an abortion without your consent and if you discipline your child with the rod, you are in danger of having your son or daughter taken from you. Students are not required to show respect to teachers or others in authority. Do Christians teach our children to rise when an adult enters the room?

VI. Our culture practices the wholesale slaughter of the unborn to the tune of 1.5 million abortions a year and those who oppose this are referred to as “Neanderthal reactionaries” or worse.

VII. Adultery is no longer even frowned upon in many circles much less prohibited by law.

VIII. Our very government practices the theft of the increase of your hands by confiscatory taxation.

IX. We live in a culture that wonders what “is is” and in which you are increasingly at risk of lawsuit for speaking the truth. Political correctness is the coin of the realm not veracity.

X. Our entire economy is predicated upon covetousness.

I have reframed from listing each of the commandments for a specific reason. How many Christians can actually identify the Second Commandment without referring to a Bible? Do we write God’s Word on our hearts, today?

The MENTAC church has bought into this culture with a frightening totality. We are its slave. Why should the culture do anything but sneer at us and see us as anything other than mindless fanatics and whiners practicing irrelevancy or impotent fools too weak to stand for anything as they see us in the store on Sunday after we have attended our entertainment oriented seeker friendly non-worship services.

Christianity has literally become a joke to the culture-a lost and dying generation and we, the Church, have its blood upon our hands2 . If we as God’s people have no respect for the One to whom we belong and for His Laws, why should anyone else?

Our Calling

God’s Word is quite complex and woven together as a beautiful tapestry. It is unrivaled in its beauty and incisiveness. It, indeed, cuts to the innermost parts of our being and leaves us standing with heads bowed without excuse before the One to whom we owe our entire devotion and substance. How, then, has the Church allowed herself to become so marginalized and impotent within a culture founded upon this very foundation? There have been volumes written on this subject, but I believe the answer is actually quite simple.

While God’s Word is, indeed, complex, it is also rather simple and focused. Christ, himself the “Word”, stated in Matthew 18:11 that “..the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” This theme runs through His entire ministry. The entire theme of Scripture from Genesis through Revelation is essentially the same-“I will be your God and you will be My People.”

We are called as the Church to a ministry of militancy-not militancy of the sword or of the courts/civil government-but a militancy of the Word of God which is “sharper than a two edged sword.3 ” The early Church fathers appeared to understand that our first calling was the clear teaching/preaching of God’s Word. Now, however, we have bought into one of several truncated views of Scripture each of which ultimately asserts that the Church of Jesus Christ must ultimately fail and that increasing failure, disappointment and persecution must be our lot until Christ intervenes. We hold dearly to this in spite of the clear teaching of Scripture to the contrary that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against [the Church].”

History records that within the first century after the resurrection, the entire known world was becoming Christianized. The watching world was amazed by the love and devotion manifested by those who called themselves by the Name of Christ.

Even today we sing hymns that compare the Church to a “mighty army”, acknowledge that “this is my Father’s world”, and the entire hymn “Joy to the World” is a paean to the idea of the triumph of the Second Adam through the Bride filled by His Spirit faithfully propounding and living out His Word within the World which He has purchased by His own blood!

The Great Commission tells us that “All authority has been given to Me (Jesus) in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations (bring all nations under the discipline of God’s Word), baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you….4

Read this. It is not a suggestion to hand out a few copies of the Four Spiritual Laws. This is something much more. No one cares for your Four Laws if they don’t recognize Yahweh’s Ten!

What Does This Look Like

How does God tell us to conquer the world? “’Not by might or by power, but by My Spirit’, says the Lord of Hosts.”5

We will not conquer the world ( and we are clearly called to do so) by strong arming it through the legal system or the political system. We will not conquer the world by demonstrations and civil disobedience. These are the world’s tactics. Certainly as we are called, we should serve our communities in governmental and other capacities, but we will not change the culture at the ballot box.

What is God’s formula? Christ tells His people that they are a city set on a hill-the City of God, not made with human hands. We are the light of the world. We are to be salt and light. Only Christians have the water of life! This is the Word of God preached from our pulpits-let the Spirit and the Bride (the Church) say “Come!” His sheep will hear his voice!

The other part of this equation is our quality of life. Not that we drive better cars or live in bigger houses-this is the way the world sees. To really understand, we need to look at a little regarded passage in Deuteronomy 4. Look what God says to His people through Moses:

“Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this is a wise and understanding people.’

For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him.”

You see, if I really want this culture to change, I must begin to incorporate those things which God has delivered to me into my own life-the picture is that as I obey, the world will see the quality of my life and want what I have! I won’t have to force it on them-they will seek me out and beg for it!

 

1The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Company

2Ezekiel 33:1-6

3Hebrews 4:12

4Matthew 28:18b-20a

5Zechariah 4:6

 

  Nat Carswell is a business consultant in Louisville, KY and a Ruling Elder in The Presbyterian Church in America.
 
 
 
REVIEWS

By Nat Carswell

When confronted by the type of inanity which so dominates the Modern Evangelical New Testament American Christian (MENTAC) landscape today, one is tempted to become cynical and angry-sins as grievous as the inanity itself.
 
CONTRIBUTORS
Rev. Paul Alexander
Rev. Greg Bahnsen
Nat Carswell
Gordon H. Clark
Edward Dalcour
Kevin L. Clauson, M.A., J.D.
Rev. William Einwechter
J. C. Evans
Kenneth Gentry
Perry A. Hess
Michael S. Horton
Ronald Kirk
Amanda Krystaponis
Rick Martin
Charles A. McIlhenny
Larry J. Michael, PhD.
Wil Pounds
Eunice V. Ray
Colonel Ronald D. Ray
Ernest Reisinger
P.Andrew Sandlin
Steve M. Schlissel
Geoff Thomas
Sarah Thomas
K. Cody Vest
 
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