What makes a Dispensation a Dispensation?

FSSL

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Dispensationalists are not the same. Some have the church starting in different places and even the terminology is different among dispensationalists.
So... what indicates a dispensational marker in the Bible?
 

Twisted

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A fair question.

Some teach it based on covenants.

Looking forward to more answers.
 

FSSL

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It’s the starting place.
 

tmjbog

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Dispensationalists are not the same. Some have the church starting in different places and even the terminology is different among dispensationalists.
So... what indicates a dispensational marker in the Bible?
I certainly would not consider myself one but it seems like there are two different camps that both call themselves dispensationalists. One camp sees the dispensations sort of like man made chapters in the books of the Bible. They are man made divisions perhaps recognizing differing levels of knowledge and differing ways of worshiping in different periods. The other camp sees parts of the Bible as irrelevant to Christians of another dispensation and you have to sort through and find what pertains to you and want pertains to the future Christian. I wonder if this more extreme version of dispensationalism is a way of explaining away the parts of the Bible they do not like. Often in liberal denoms you will here how the Bible was written a long time ago for a very different culture. In a way without knowing it they are claiming to be of another dispensation based on liberal theology rather than the Bible. This would explain in the case of Ruckman why he found no conflict in living a life contrary to Biblical Christianity while claiming Christ.
 

treasure_unseen

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There are no such things as dispensations. The very word comes from a poor translation in early English Bibles. Someone decided to take that word and turn it into a systematic theology.

The very idea behind dispensations is a farce.
 
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treasure_unseen

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A fair question.

Some teach it based on covenants.

Looking forward to more answers.
What about God's "covenant" with Himself?

Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:

Everything revolves around God's intent in humanity. An intent unique from any other creature.
 

illinoisguy

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Vine's Expository Dictionary equates "dispensation" to "stewardship." Vine's says, "Oikonomia . . . 'the management of a household or of household affairs' . . . 'a stewardship," Luke 16:2-4; elsewhere only in the epistles of Paul, who applies it (a) to the responsibility entrusted to him of preaching the gospel, 1 Cor 9:17; (b) to the stewardship committed to him 'to fulfill the Word of God,' . . . A 'dispensation' is not a period or epoch (a common, but erroneous, use of the word), but a mode of dealing, an arrangement, or administration of affairs. Cf., oikonomia, 'a steward,' and oikonomeo, 'to be a steward.'"

This entire mania and obsession about chopping up the Bible into whole sections that are "not for today," as well as the proliferation of multiple contradictory "gospels," is based on a misunderstanding of the Greek word for stewardship which is sometimes translated "dispensation." The dispensationalist chopping crew cannot even agree among themselves as to whether the latest dispensation started in Acts 2, Acts 9, Acts 13, Acts 28 or someplace else. It's a shame that some people have nothing better to do than to condemn the brethren over their esoteric dispensationalist hypotheses that have no scriptural basis.
 

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This entire mania and obsession about chopping up the Bible into whole sections that are "not for today," as well as the proliferation of multiple contradictory "gospels," is based on a misunderstanding of the Greek word for stewardship which is sometimes translated "dispensation."
To be fair, some Dispensationalists such as Ryrie note the definition of oikonomia and recognize that a "dispensation" is more than merely a slice of time. From chapter 2 of Dispensationalism, Ryrie writes this summary definition:

Dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God. In His household-world God is dispensing or administering its affairs according to His own will and in various stages of revelation in the passage of time. These various stages mark off the distinguishably different economies in the outworking of His total purpose, and these different economies constitute the dispensations.​

I wonder how much responsibility Scofield has for the "chopping up" tendency of Dispensationalists. His definition of a dispensation in the Scofield Reference Bible note on Gen. 1:28 is rather simplistic, taken on its own.
 

FSSL

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I'm wondering what a Complete Dispensationalist has to offer.
 

treasure_unseen

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To be fair, some Dispensationalists such as Ryrie note the definition of oikonomia and recognize that a "dispensation" is more than merely a slice of time. From chapter 2 of Dispensationalism, Ryrie writes this summary definition:

Dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God. In His household-world God is dispensing or administering its affairs according to His own will and in various stages of revelation in the passage of time. These various stages mark off the distinguishably different economies in the outworking of His total purpose, and these different economies constitute the dispensations.​

I wonder how much responsibility Scofield has for the "chopping up" tendency of Dispensationalists. His definition of a dispensation in the Scofield Reference Bible note on Gen. 1:28 is rather simplistic, taken on its own.
Even Ryrie has taken a very simple word and elevated it to be more than it is. All dispensational teaching begins with Ephesians 1:10 not Genesis 1:28. Scolfield didn't begin his theology with Genesis 1:28. He started in Ephesians 1:10 and worked backwards. Contrast what early English Bible's read with the proper translation made in the ESV

Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: KJV 1769

Eph 1:10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. ESV

God's plan is clear and has nothing to do with slicing and dicing various historical references so as to CONTRAST them against each other. That is exactly what Dispensationalism does. They THUS refuse to rightfully preach how God's actions in humanity compliment one another and contain important intrinsic value that show forth God's own Divine Character.

Add this with the fact of man made distinctions such as Old and New testament, and you have nothing more than endless man made traditions.
 

FSSL

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I agree with alot of the above and sentiment regarding the exaggerated divisions of the Bible. So, here is how I understand Dispensationalism... and I am in no ways the one who came up with this.

Dispensationalism is a hermeneutic. You will not find a chapter and verse which says that one must interpret Scripture with Dispensationalism. So, if you interpret the Bible as a Dispensationalist, you just view yourself as applying normal techniques for understanding literature in its historical context. It doesn't mean other people are not believers.

A Dispensation is best illustrated as an administration. We talk about the US as having the Bush administration, Obama administration and Trump administration. In Scripture, we have many administrations... Ryrie calls it an "economy," but I find that word confusing. What a Dispensationalist does (or should be doing), is understanding the administration at work at any given part of Scripture.

For example, a Dispensationalist asks (or should ask),
"What information did God give Adam?"
"What did God expect from Adam with that information?"
"When Moses was given the Law, what changed? Was new information given to Moses that Adam didn't have? Were there new expectations?"
"What responsibilities did Moses have in relation to before the Law was given and after the Law was given?"

... and here is where Dispensationalists tend to "choke" and why you have one Dispensationalist differing with another...
"What about that information relates to us as 2020 believers?"
"What does God expect from us in relationship to that information?"
 

treasure_unseen

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I agree with alot of the above and sentiment regarding the exaggerated divisions of the Bible. So, here is how I understand Dispensationalism... and I am in no ways the one who came up with this.

Dispensationalism is a hermeneutic. You will not find a chapter and verse which says that one must interpret Scripture with Dispensationalism. So, if you interpret the Bible as a Dispensationalist, you just view yourself as applying normal techniques for understanding literature in its historical context. It doesn't mean other people are not believers.

A Dispensation is best illustrated as an administration. We talk about the US as having the Bush administration, Obama administration and Trump administration. In Scripture, we have many administrations... Ryrie calls it an "economy," but I find that word confusing. What a Dispensationalist does (or should be doing), is understanding the administration at work at any given part of Scripture.

For example, a Dispensationalist asks (or should ask),
"What information did God give Adam?"
"What did God expect from Adam with that information?"
"When Moses was given the Law, what changed? Was new information given to Moses that Adam didn't have? Were there new expectations?"
"What responsibilities did Moses have in relation to before the Law was given and after the Law was given?"

... and here is where Dispensationalists tend to "choke" and why you have one Dispensationalist differing with another...
"What about that information relates to us as 2020 believers?"
"What does God expect from us in relationship to that information?"
There isn't an early historical inclination toward a Dispensation hermeneutic..... BEFORE the introduction of English translations of the canon. I understand the hermeneutic view but this view is still based upon the poor translation of Ephesians 1:10. When you read Ephesians 1:10 in early English Bibles, you get the sense that there are "times" wherein God "dispensed" information differently in humanity.

At a fundamental level, this is not an accurate view. God's purpose and plan is documented thousands of years after the events take place in Genesis on a mount wherein Abraham's descendants pulled away from a call to intimacy from God. Rejecting a direct relationship with God and demanding a arbitrator/advocate in Moses. Fast forward to the time of Kings..... you have the same situation compounded further when the descendants of Abraham demanded their own "King" to rule over them.

Over and over again, man has lost knowledge of God that was given to those before them. Again and again.

I mentioned the preaching of Enoch. The seventh from Adam. We know what he preached and Dispensationalist can't stand it when someone brings him up.

Its not that God has purposed unbelief and lack of knowledge in humanity. God's revelation has been rejected over and over again. Dispensationalism turns man's sin into God's purpose.
 

FSSL

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There really wasn't a systematized approach to the interpretation of Scripture throughout the centuries. Even a covenant approach has no early historical support. Throughout the centuries, mysticism usually won the interpretive approach.

The art and science of interpretation has developed throughout the centuries. Biblical interpretation took shape in the Reformation. Martin Luther started to preach verse by verse. Today, we have a far better understanding of the Greek and Hebrew than those in 500BC. Archaeology has uncovered relics/places/literature that helps our understanding of Scripture.

So, what does this say of Dispensationalists? Here is what a non-Dispensationalist said:

"What has dispensationalism produced? Good things like the Bible conference movement and many books refining prophetic studies. Dispensationalism offers a straightforward hermeneutic, a system of interpretation that fascinates laypeople and attracts large crowds to Christ and to Bible-believing churches. The concept and widespread use of study Bibles come from this tradition, and such Bibles are used by many Christians of various theological persuasions. Believers are thrilled by the design of history and clear sense of providence set forth by dispensationalist theology." L. Russ Bush, “The History of the Future – or What Should We Do Now?,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 38:1 (March 1995): 6.​
 

Twisted

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So, what does this say of Dispensationalists? Here is what a non-Dispensationalist said:

"What has dispensationalism produced?"​
Dispy or not.​
Calvy or not.​
KJVO or not.​
None of those things have anything to do with your personal relationship with Christ. I know there are NIV users who are better Christians than some KJVO users, etc.​
That does not negate the fact that scripture tells us to "study and rightly divide". There must be a reason.​
In many ways, it would be nice to just say "It's all the same", or "there is no difference", but even the disciples had a conflict on what they believed.​
 

treasure_unseen

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There really wasn't a systematized approach to the interpretation of Scripture throughout the centuries.
Which should tell you to stay away from them. Why would you desire to embrace something you admit the apostles never employed? Do you really believe such has increased knowledge today?

Even a covenant approach has no early historical support. Throughout the centuries, mysticism usually won the interpretive approach.
Even more reason to ignore systematic theologies all together. There isn't a system that is 100 percent correct. Just believe what God said. That will get you there 100 percent of the time.

The art and science of interpretation has developed throughout the centuries. Biblical interpretation took shape in the Reformation. Martin Luther started to preach verse by verse. Today, we have a far better understanding of the Greek and Hebrew than those in 500BC.
Better than the one's who wrote the Scriptures? There is no reason to believe such at all. There are competing texts from all streams. Ben Asher, Ben Naptali, Essenes and etc.

Archaeology has uncovered relics/places/literature that helps our understanding of Scripture.
The apostles and prophets did need archaeology. They lived it and you somehow believe you need a man made systematic theology to understand God's words?

So, what does this say of Dispensationalists? Here is what a non-Dispensationalist said:

"What has dispensationalism produced? Good things like the Bible conference movement and many books refining prophetic studies. Dispensationalism offers a straightforward hermeneutic, a system of interpretation that fascinates laypeople and attracts large crowds to Christ and to Bible-believing churches. The concept and widespread use of study Bibles come from this tradition, and such Bibles are used by many Christians of various theological persuasions. Believers are thrilled by the design of history and clear sense of providence set forth by dispensationalist theology." L. Russ Bush, “The History of the Future – or What Should We Do Now?,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 38:1 (March 1995): 6.​

I don't seek the praise of men nor accept their lofty attempts to impress their fellow man. Your quote above reminds me of the KJVOist claiming that the success of the KJV proves it was God's book of choice. Just don't pay attention to the fact the monarchy banned the printing of the Geneva Bible.

By the way, What did Enoch preach? I can't get dispensationalist anywhere to deal with the issue. Never heard a single sermon on the subject in my entire life. I know why. It doesn't fit your narrative.
 

FSSL

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How did the apostles and prophets interpret?
I’m not sure why Enoch is an issue. I have Dispensational commentaries on the book; John MacArthur, D Edmon Hiebert
 

treasure_unseen

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How did the apostles and prophets interpret?
I’m not sure why Enoch is an issue. I have Dispensational commentaries on the book; John MacArthur, D Edmon Hiebert
Are you seriously asking me if the apostles and prophets interpreted? What kind of question is this?

These are the kind of nonsense questions you get from a dispensationalist that refuses to acknowledge the truth.

How about these words.....

Act 26:22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
Act 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
Act 26:24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
Act 26:25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
Act 26:26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
Act 26:27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
Act 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

Do you see any "interpretation" there?

So you don't see any issue with Enoch and what dispensationalism teaches? What did Jude preach?
 

Ransom

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Which should tell you to stay away from them. Why would you desire to embrace something you admit the apostles never employed? Do you really believe such has increased knowledge today?
Why couldn't it? You've made a fairly big deal out of the book of Enoch. It was lost, and only rediscovered in the seventeenth century.

Thanks to sciences such as archaeology and paleography, we have knowledge of Enoch, and hence the Bible, that would otherwise no longer exist--we would have an awareness that Jude quoted "Enoch, the seventh from Adam," but no idea where he got that information.

It was believed until the 19th century that the New Testament was written in a Greek dialect dissimilar from any other. It was because of the discovery of Egyptian papyri containing everyday documents (letters, lists, receipts, etc.), that today we know koine Greek was the vernacular of the first century.

1 Samuel 13:21 in the KJV reads, "they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads." The word translated file is "pim" in Hebrew. The translators had no clue what a pim was, so they took an educated guess that it was the implement used to sharpen the farm tools. It wasn't until the 20th century that archaeologists uncovered some polished pebbles with the word "pim" engraved on them, and realized it was a weight equal to 2/3 of a shekel. The verse doesn't describe how the Philistines sharpened tools; it describes what they charged the Israelites to do it: as the NKJV renders the same verse, "the charge for a sharpening was a pim for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to set the points of the goads."

Certainly sounds to me like modern methodology has "increased knowledge today." Not necessarily in the sense that it's produced new knowledge that never existed, but in recovering lost knowledge that has increased our present understanding of the Scriptures.

Even more reason to ignore systematic theologies all together. There isn't a system that is 100 percent correct.
*shrug* If knowledge can be had, it can be written; if written, it can be organized; if organized, it can be systematized. What's the matter with that? If we can't do so with 100 percent accuracy, but we can attain, say, 95 percent accuracy, what's the matter with that? Half a loaf is better than none.

Just believe what God said.
And what is that, and what does it mean? As soon as you start trying to understand the meaning yourself, let alone teaching and explaining to others, you're doing theology. When you tell them, "We need to understand this as meaning such-and-such, because of what the Bible also says over here," then you're doing systematic theology. It's inescapable.

"The apostles didn't do it" isn't a particularly good rule to guide whether we should do it, anyway.

By the way, What did Enoch preach?
No way of knowing, since the book of Enoch wasn't actually written by the biblical Enoch, anyway.
 

FSSL

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Are you seriously asking me if the apostles and prophets interpreted? What kind of question is this?
I am asking you HOW. What principles of interpretation are you following from them?
 

treasure_unseen

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Why couldn't it? You've made a fairly big deal out of the book of Enoch. It was lost, and only rediscovered in the seventeenth century.
I never said one thing about the Book of Enoch. I mentioned the book of Jude.

Thanks to sciences such as archaeology and paleography, we have knowledge of Enoch, and hence the Bible, that would otherwise no longer exist--we would have an awareness that Jude quoted "Enoch, the seventh from Adam," but no idea where he got that information.
So you don't believe Jude's words are Divinely Inspired?

It was believed until the 19th century that the New Testament was written in a Greek dialect dissimilar from any other. It was because of the discovery of Egyptian papyri containing everyday documents (letters, lists, receipts, etc.), that today we know koine Greek was the vernacular of the first century.
You're basing this statement on Western Church nonsense. The Eastern Church has always dealt properly with Koine.

1 Samuel 13:21 in the KJV reads, "they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads." The word translated file is "pim" in Hebrew. The translators had no clue what a pim was, so they took an educated guess that it was the implement used to sharpen the farm tools. It wasn't until the 20th century that archaeologists uncovered some polished pebbles with the word "pim" engraved on them, and realized it was a weight equal to 2/3 of a shekel. The verse doesn't describe how the Philistines sharpened tools; it describes what they charged the Israelites to do it: as the NKJV renders the same verse, "the charge for a sharpening was a pim for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to set the points of the goads."
Provide the pedigree of the source text.

Certainly sounds to me like modern methodology has "increased knowledge today." Not necessarily in the sense that it's produced new knowledge that never existed, but in recovering lost knowledge that has increased our present understanding of the Scriptures.
Are you telling me that the apostles didn't have this knowledge? At best, the knowledge was lost till recently. That doesn't reflect well upon modern sensibilities. You're claiming an increase of knowledge based upon lost information that ancients never LOST. Poor methods to say the least.

*shrug* If knowledge can be had, it can be written; if written, it can be organized; if organized, it can be systematized. What's the matter with that? If we can't do so with 100 percent accuracy, but we can attain, say, 95 percent accuracy, what's the matter with that? Half a loaf is better than none.
If your choice in system causes you not believe what God says, then your choice is a bad choice. Yes, 95 percent is better than 10 percent. However, God never settles with 95 percent.

And what is that, and what does it mean? As soon as you start trying to understand the meaning yourself, let alone teaching and explaining to others, you're doing theology. When you tell them, "We need to understand this as meaning such-and-such, because of what the Bible also says over here," then you're doing systematic theology. It's inescapable.
So you're taking a different approach. Contrary to FSSL you must believe the apostles employed "systematic theology"? What system might that be?

"The apostles didn't do it" isn't a particularly good rule to guide whether we should do it, anyway.
You're contradicting yourself. If systematic theology is inescapable then the apostles used it. Which is it? Can you make a choice and stick with it?

No way of knowing, since the book of Enoch wasn't actually written by the biblical Enoch, anyway.
We don't have to accept the corrupted narrative in any of the 2 or 3 books named "Enoch". What we can accept is what Jude said about it. Which isn't corrupt.

The Lord comes with ten thousands of His Saints......

What does that say to you?
 
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