Israelology and Theology of the Old Testament, Part Two

Israelology and Theology of the Old Testament, Part Two

by Dr. Daniel E. Woodhead

Deposition by Peter Paul Rubens 1612-14

Deposition by Peter Paul Rubens 1612-14

Dispensationalism:

In order to understand Dispensationalism one must have a working definition to begin a competent defense.

The term Dispensationalism is a system of theology, which seeks to unfold the absolute truth of Scripture. Several prominent theologians have provided us with concise definitions that can help us in reaching our definition. Theologians such as Arnold Fruchtenbaum, C.I. Scofield, Lewis Sperry Chafer and Charles Ryrie will be quoted. Fruchtenbaum provides us with a definition that closely parallels the Ryrie definition. Therefore one definition will suffice for both men. He says, “Dispensationalism is a system of theology which views the world as a household run by God. In this household-world God is dispensing or administering its affairs according to His own will and in various stage of revelation in the process of time. These various stages mark off the distinguishably different economies in the outworking of His total purpose, and these economies are the dispensations. In this system there are usually, but not always, seven such dispensations.”

Scofield simply defined a dispensation as a period of time during which man is tested in respect to his obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God.

Chafer speaks of a dispensation “as a specific divine economy, a commitment from God to man of a responsibility to discharge that which God has appointed him.” Therefore, we can conclude with another classic definition from Clarence Mason a former dean of the Philadelphia College of the Bible. He states: “A dispensation is God’s distinctive method of governing mankind or a group of men during a period of human history, marked by a crucial event, test, failure and judgment. From the divine standpoint, it is a stewardship, a rule of life, or a responsibility for managing God’s affairs in His house. From the historical standpoint it is a stage in the progress of revelation.”

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