Monday, November 27, 2006

Dispensationalism, Progressive Dispensationalism, Covenantalism and New Covenantalism

I mentioned that a friend of mine asked me to mentor him in theology and wanted to start with eschatology. I was - at first - less than thrilled with that beginning point because I feel it's my weakest area theologically, but I've been enjoying it and learning. Of course, this has backed me into the dispensationalism/convenantalism conversation and I've begun building out a faithmaps page on these great systems (and their children systems).

If you know of online articles or summaries or charts dealing with any of these systems that you would recommend i link to on, please let me know in comments.



Gregg said...

Steve, I would encourage you to read George Ladd’s, Presence of the Future: The Eschatology of Biblical Realism (if you haven’t already). He was a proponent of historic premillennialism and his development of the “already/not yet” concept of the kingdom forced both dispensationalism and covenant theology to rethink their systems.

And, FYI, as a pastor, I have always felt compelled to teach and equip the church to endure the tribulation. That way, if Christ comes early we haven’t lost anything. Whereas if we teach that Christ will return before the tribulation and it doesn’t happen, there will be trouble.

Stephen said...

Hi Gregg,

Ladd seems to be highly regarded. I appreciate the recommend. Grudem, whose Systematic Theology I like very much, is also a historic premil.

And on your 2nd paragraph, it seems wise to pastor the church for tribulation since even if there is a pre-trib rapture, it's obvious that Christians have to endure tribulation at different times and places (e.g. WWI, WWII, China today, etc).

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I so love Dispensationalism.

Eschatology does seem a rather odd and questionable place to start in the study of theology. I would have thought it would be better to begin with the doctrine of God or the nature of revelation.

God Bless


Stephen said...

Matthew, that also would have been my choice. However, if you think about it, starting the study of God's Plan for the Ages is definitely starting at 40,000 feet before you soar down into the details.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I am Post-Tribulation, though I follow Classic Dispensational theology. I find the pre-trib rapture hard to support in the word.

Personally, I think Wayne Grudem's critique of the Dispenstional view of the church is a bit simplistic.

I remember reading Grudem at the age of 18 and wondering how anyone could possibly be Dispensational. I changed my mind years later on further study.

God Bless


Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Good point.

Joshua Berlow said...

I'm doing a blog on Cynicism, the Greek philosophical school. Some modern scholars believe that this philosophy was widespread in the ancient world around the time of Jesus, and helped pave the way for the acceptance of early Christianity. What would the Cynics have thought of all this involved eschatology? Not much. Also, as an ethnic Jew, what little I've read about Dispensationalism sounds weird. Finally, you don't think The Rapture is really gonna happen, do you?

Stephen said...


Joshua, the more I learn about the eschaton, the more I realize I don't know! At this point, I find a dash of skepticism to be a healthy part of the investigatory process!

Virgil said...

Steve, your friend is right on. He apparently understands that eschatology is the keystone to understanding God's plan for humanity. Andrew Perriman wrote an excellent book on Fulfilled Eschatology titled The Coming of the Son of Man. There is also another view called Preterism which also has a lot to offer in terms of Covenantal Eschatology, and as far as Dispensationalism goes, I know that's not an "emergent" thing of me to say, but it's a bankrupt and failed system that has hurt many people all over the world for the past 200 years and it continues to promote discord in the Middle East.

I am dealing a bit with eschatology in my interview with Brian McLaren; you may find it useful in your travels.

Anonymous said...

A couple hot articles for your consumption: (1) Google "Powered by Christ Ministries" and type in "Roots of Warlike Christian Zionism." Also (2) Google "Pretrib Rapture Diehards." M. F.