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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."

Theology

A Supernatural Faith

K. Cody Vest | An overwhelming fact in the Christian faith is the continuing relevance of the Word of God for all of life.


An overwhelming fact in the Christian faith is the continuing relevance of the Word of God for all of life. It is foundational to the Christian faith. It is, then, no surprise that the troubles of this present age are so clearly addressed in the Holy Scripture. Indeed there is nothing new under the sun.

The shame of the present distress is that believers of all ranks have been blind to the growing desperation of the Church. In an age of toleration the Church has become but a product of an antitheistic philosophy. The Church visible has in many ways switched its allegiance. It desires to become naturalistic.

The modern age has seen a great compromise in the Christian faith and a full reversal of what has been historically (and moreover biblically) called the Gospel. In the hopes of finding common ground with the unbeliever the believer has become a practicing atheist (anti-supernaturalist.) The modern man must submit to science, empiricism, proofs, and various other idols if he is to be heard. The distress lies in this: the Church has changed its message in accord with this demand.

For any modern man to accept the claims of the gospel they must be “rationally proven” and empirically tested. In other words the modern man makes the Word of God suspect until thoroughly tested and examined for authenticity. In yet another way, this man makes himself god over God, for the judge is not the judged.

This is really nothing new, in fact the unbeliever’s psychology has not changed since the fall of Adam (Romans 1:18-21). In fact, the Jews of Christ’s time demanded signs (science) and wonders (empiricism) to confirm His Word, but His response in no way resembles our modern inventions, “ a wicked and adulterous nation demands a sign.” O, how the modern believer is repulsed by such a response. Indeed, the Christian would desire that Christ prove His claim to truth by “historically verifying” each successive word or philosophisizing some proof of His own authenticity. But this is not the way God speaks of Himself. God’s Word is God’s Word because God says it is God’s Word.

Immediately, a question is retorted, and this same inquiry is the root of the present distress, “Are you asking Christians to accept an irrational logic? Must the Christian accept things simply because he is told to?” Yes, if God says it! The fact that this debate has raged among believers so long shows the absolute impotence of the modern Church. This faith resembles the prophets of Baal atop Mount Carmel more than the Biblical faith. The world knows that the Christian faith is supernaturalist and accordingly it is repulsed. The most disturbing fact related to this assertion is that the Church is evermore repulsed by it’s supernatural foundation as well.

Much of the reformed community has retreated from the culture and left heretics to harvest the fields. This is manifest in multiple ways, but two draw great attention as this subject develops.

First, it is considered foolishness and anti-Christian to insist that a man’s reason (and heart) is so radically fallen that he cannot accept the Gospel unless God works regeneration in his heart. This is affirmed by the fact that classical and evidential apologetics are still practiced in Christian circles. One must first affirm a semi-rational mind before the apologetic argument can begin. The apologist presupposes his reason could convince the unbeliever’s reason and thus convert the soul. This is emphatically unbiblical and affirms atheism at the outset.

The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting (restoring) the soul
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes
(Psalm 19: 7-8)

The Christian believes that the Word of God is his starting point for the conversion of the sinner. He is not interested in vain philosophies but only in the Word of God. The Lord does not say that the philosophy of this world is perfect, converting the soul. No rather He scoffs at the world’s philosophy, “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (1 Cor. 1:20) Has He not given the enemy into our hands? We must take the weapons issued to us by the Commander of the Army of the Lord. Accordingly, if the Christian insists on fighting this battle with only the weapons the world will permit then he must accept his defeat. When the Church no longer seriously considers its supernatural power and authority it becomes impotent.

Secondly, it is widely held that men, if they do not work to keep it, their faith is in constant danger. This is not the Gospel, but this is what the world hears from the modern pulpit. Instead of the believers being sure of their faith because it is God given and God sustained (again of supernatural origin) they are taught to doubt1 . The modern man refuses this man-made gospel because it has absolutely no power to convert the soul. Only Christ has authority and power (Matt 28:18-19); no one else possesses any measure. When the pulpit is void of biblical truth the result is antinomianism and faithlessness.

These errors are due to one sin: the Church’s antipathy to the Word of God. The modern Church is not prepared to stand behind the Scriptures as its only source of truth. The war between Christ and His enemies is not a natural war but a supernatural one and demands a supernatural weapon. The believer is never disputing with an individual who can see, hear, or reason correctly. The unbeliever’s confusion and ignorance is supernaturally implanted in his heart from the fall of Adam.

They do not know or understand [why?]
For He has shut their eyes, so they cannot see,
And their hearts, so they cannot understand.
(Isaiah 44:18)

When supernatural power is nullified then all that is left is loss and death. The unbeliever’s blindness is due to a supernatural implantation of Adam’s sin. Thus, there is no convincing or converting aside from a supernatural work to reverse the cataract. It then stands that since men are blind there is but one option for their salvation:

I will bring the blind by a way they did not know
I will lead them in paths they have not known.
(Isaiah 42:16)

The Lord must work upon their hearts and lead them. The evangelizing believer is but a tool. So too, the Word of God must be accepted and believed on its own supernatural authority. The believer will not convert the pagan without supernatural action neither will he convince the unbeliever of the truth of God’s Word by natural means. The true church is not afraid to assert its heavenly citizenship and authority. In fact, the Church knows her destiny is victory, indeed, it shall persevere for it is not of man nor does it derive its power from men but from God, who forever possesses the kingdom, all power, and authority.


1 Cf. Steve Schlissel’s sermon entitled “Covenant Hearing,” which can be found at sermonaudio.com. His keen insight and refutation of this new doctrine of doubt (even as it is found in reformed circles) is quite intriguing and convicting.


  Cody Vest is currently seeking a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Theology with special emphasis in Philosophical Studies at Christ College in Lynchburg, Va. He is a member of Community Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Louisville, Ky.  

 

 

 

ALWAYS BEING READY TO MAKE A DEFENSE

In the first century the axiom of the church was: "Contend for the Faith" (Jude 3), but regrettably that has changed. The Apostle Paul tells the church to: "Refute those who oppose sound doctrine" (Titus 1:9). If Christians do not speak out against false teachings that confuse as well as deny definitive Christian theology; the false teachings will be construed as truth. To be sure, essential substantive Christian doctrine is not the popular message that is pervaded in most mega-Christian revivals. The doctrines that fill the pages of Scripture, however, are: the Tri-Unity of God, the full Deity of Jesus Christ, and Justification through faith alone.
 
CONTRIBUTORS
Rev. Paul Alexander
Rev. Greg Bahnsen
Nat Carswell
Gordon H. Clark
Edward Dalcour
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
Peter J. Wallace
 
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