Is Calvinism and Dispensationalism Incompatible?

FSSL

Unconditionally Called to Glory
Staff member
Administrator
Doctor
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
6,721
Reaction score
14
Points
38
I have yet to see a theological argument prove the incompatibility of Dispensationalism and Calvinism.

One COULD argue that historically, Dispensationalists (some of the more well-known ones) were certainly not Calvinists, but that is just a segment, mainly of Dallas Theological persuasion.

Your turn!
 

brianb

Active member
Registered
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
1,001
Reaction score
11
Points
38
Maybe with classic Calvinism which can include early Calvinist Baptists (covenantalism in a modifed form) such as John Gill. They didn't say much about the timing of the rapture or the second coming in those days.
 

Tarheel Baptist

Well-known member
Doctor
Registered
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
7,720
Reaction score
30
Points
48
Historically, Dispensationalism and Calvinism were compatible in the lives and teachings of early leaders of Bible fundamentalism in America.
Samuel H. Kellogg, Nathaniel West, James H. Brookes, William J. Eerdman, and Henry M. Parsons, were Presbyterian (Calvinists) and taught futurist premillennialism.
They, along with A. J. Gordon (Baptist) helped spread Dispensationalism mainly through the very popular summer conferences like Winona Lake.
 
Last edited:

Ransom

Calvinist Mole
Staff member
Administrator
Doctor
Registered
Joined
Jan 25, 2012
Messages
7,476
Reaction score
75
Points
48
If by "Calvinism" you mean the doctrines of predestination and grace, then no, there's no fundamental contradiction, by virtue of there being no overlap. (Does laissez-faire capitalism conflict with the rules of basketball?)

On the other hand, a more comprehensive Calvinism as expressed by the WCF or LBCF would be at odds with Dispensationalism, because those confessions espouse covenant theology.

So the question really depends on how reductionistic your Calvinism is. John MacArthur is the former, and has preached on why every Calvinist ought to be a Dispensationalist. Charles Spurgeon was the latter, and had little good to say of the "Darbyites" of his time.
 

UGC

Active member
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
356
Reaction score
22
Points
28
I have yet to see a theological argument prove the incompatibility of Dispensationalism and Calvinism.
Not trying to convince anyone to go "dispy" here,
but I do think it's good to share knowledge so people can say "Oh, I know what those guys believe" without misrepresenting the other side.

As I typically say: I'd rather be disliked for who I am than for something I'm not.


Whether coincidence or what have you, we did just address the primary differences, here's the FFF thread:
https://www.fundamentalforums.org/t...ete-dispensationalism-refining-it-down.10705/

If video is too long:
The main difference is in how they interpret Matt. 24 and Hebrews (and sometimes James).
These are the 2-3 places Calvinists (and Catholics before them) get their doctrine of "Perseverance of the Saints".

Essentially, Dispensationalists see God doling out instructions to 1 of 3 people groups in the Bible: Jew, Gentile, or Church (Jew + Gentile).
They interpret Matt. 24 and Hebrews with more of a literal application to the Jews, and less so to the Church.

By contrast, Calvinists get their "Perseverance" doctrine from these books because they apply everything in the NT to the Church.
We have to remember that John Calvin was Amillennial/Post-millennial in much of his teachings, which is wildly different from Premillennialism, and actually similar to Catholicism.
By the way, Catholics are essentially Covenant Theologians, and most Calvinists will agree that Calvinism is far more compatible with Covenant Theology than Dispen.

MacArthur has a very unorthodox view, I've read he once referred to himself as something like a "Quasi-Dispensationalist" or something of that nature (though I haven't spent time looking into it personally).
I have a friend who attended a high-tech, upper-class IFB church in Newport Beach (not every IFB is the same) who said many of the older members there have a very negative view of MacArthur for trying to go off and do his own thing. Probably the reason why Dr. Ryrie (a Non-KJV "dispy") of the Classical Dispens, stood against MacArthur's doctrines.

MacArthur got famous by making friends with the New Reformers who all hold Calvin and Spurgeon in high regard (who taught things like regeneration prior to faith), while at the same time copping a few Dispensational doctrines and subtly tossing all the old school Dispens under the bus by referring to their position as "whacky, teaching from charts using a stick" (to paraphrase).

If you know the scriptures, you know you can't interpret them from both a Calvinist and a Dispensational point of view.
There are way too many contradictions, another primary one being the Dispen interpretation that the New Covenant will be fully instituted in the Millennial Kingdom, not now.
 
Last edited:
Top