DISPENSATIONALISM DISTORTS CHRIST’S RULE

PMT 2015-109 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. Crown

In this and the next few blog articles, I will be highlighting three types of distortions involved in classic dispensationalism, the most wildly popular eschatological position in the modern evangelical market. These distortions are harmful to a balanced Christian worldview. In this brief series, I have chosen to cover classic dispensational errors in the areas of christology, redemptive history, and contemporary historical progress. There are, of course, many other areas that I could consider.

Before I begin considering these, it should be understood that, as in any system, there will be some internal disagreements among its adherents. The aspects I have chosen for scrutiny are broadly popular, even if some of the details of the following features are debated by dispensational theologians. I would also note that I will not be dealing with the latest variety of dispensationalism, “progressive dispensationalism.” This is because I am more concerned with the enormous influence of the older form which lies behind many multi-million selling books found in Christian bookstores everywhere. It’s influence is as large as it sales are enormous.

Classic dispensationalism denies the contemporary presence of Christ’s kingdom, despite the clear teaching of Scripture. Thomas Ice writes that: “Whatever dynamic God has given believers today does not mean that the Messianic kingdom is here. We see it as totally future.” [1]three views millennium


Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond
(ed. by Darrell Bock)

Presents three views on the millennium: progressive dispensationalist, amillennialist, and reconstructionist postmillennialist viewpoints. Includes separate responses to each view.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


The dispensational view requires Christ’s physical presence or earth to rule over His kingdom. Dispensationalists often say, “You canoed have the kingdom present without the presence of the king.” Of course, an immediate problem with this statement is that Satan has an evil kingdom present (Matt. 12:26; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), even though he is only spiritually present (Eph. 2:2; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 6:12). But a more serious problem is that Christ clearly taught that He established His kingdom when He came to earth. Let us survey some of the evidence.

In Mark 1:14-15, early in His ministry, Christ said: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” Notice that the prophetically decreed time had come; the kingdom was declared near at hand -not 2000 (or more!) years away. A little later in His ministry, as he exercised power over Satan, the Lord noted: “if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matt. 12:28).

Christ even prophesied that its coming with great power would be witnessed by His hearers: “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power” (Mark 9:1).[2] There seems no way around the fact that some that literally stood in Jesus’ presence would live (“not taste death’) until that time. Although by the very expression, it is implied that some would, in fact, taste death before that event. Consequently, Christ teaches that the kingdom’s coming “with power” would occur in that generation, even though it would be somewhat later than when Jesus spoke (and, hence, not the Transfiguration of only six days later).

Thus, in Colossians 1:13 Paul writes of our present salvation: “He hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” John agrees in Revelation 1:6, 9: “And He hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father. . . I John, who also am your brother, and companion in the tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.” In tact, we are now ruling with Christ, for Paul says in Ephesians 2:6: He “hath raised us up together, and made us sit Mathison Dispensationalismtogether in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (cp. Rom. 6:5; 8:17: Col. 2:13; 3:1-3; Rev. 20:4).


Dispensationalism
(by Keith L. Mathison)

An important critical evaluation of dispensationalism from a Reformed perspective.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Dispensationalism distorts Christ’s teaching about the coming of His kingdom, despite the clarity of His teaching on the matter. In other words, a major reason for Christ’s first coming was that he might be gloriously enthroned as Messianic king (Isa. 9:6,7; Luke 24:26; John 12:23; 17:5; 18:37; Acts 2:30-34; 1 Pet. 1:1 1), which understanding is lost in classic dispensationalism!

In my next article I will conclude the study of the Christological distortions in dispensationalism.

Footnotes

1. H. Wayne House and Thomas D. Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1988), 220.

2. There seems to be a distinction necessary here between the kingdom’s coming (which in Luke 17:20-21 is subtle and present, see later discussion) and the kingdom’s coming “with power” (which comes in the destruction of the temple in a very dramatic way in the near future from Christ’s perspective).

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