What's Wrong with this Picture?
Ever seen a Picasso? Ever tried to understand a "cubist" painting? It’s a lot like trying to understand Dispensational thinking. Here's a gem for you, in response to a Reformed critique of Dispensationalism. This is the defense that was given:
”The dispensationalist’s answer to the problem is this: The BASIS of salvation in every age is the death of Christ; the REQUIREMENT for salvation in every age is faith; the OBJECT of faith in every age is God; the CONTENT of faith changes in the various dispensations.”Now, folks, what is the sound of one hand clapping? Does a tree make a sound if it falls in the forest and there is no one to hear it? Can God make a rock he cant move? And for more such silly sayings consult your local irrationalist bookstore---the one on every street corner.
"Dispensationalism Today” Charles Ryrie pg 123.
This is the age of pure nonsense. How any individual who takes language seriously can make such a statement is incredible. I don't know what Ryrie was like as a theologian, but I do know he did not know the Queen's english--or any facsimile thereof.
Let us analyze this silly prose and see what it means. The word BASIS in English means base, reason or essence. So far we can agree with Dr. Ryrie. The essence of salvation is the work of Christ. Salvation is Christocentric. Then he goes on to say, the REQUIREMENT for salvation in every age is faith. Yup, excellent. We, NEED to have faith in the Christ of Scripture. Now, note, this is in EVERY age according to Ryrie. Then he says the OBJECT of faith in every age is God. Ummm, ok, if by that he means "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself." Strictly speaking the object of faith is the God-man Christ Jesus. But, we can live with that.
Here it comes, are you ready? The CONTENT of faith changes in the various dispensations. HUH!? The word "content" means significance. So in each dispensation the significance of faith is different. In every dispensation we believe in God, the essence of our faith is Christ, and faith is essential, BUT in every dispensation the CONTENT changes. Have you ever heard such torturous nonsense.
Lets put this in perspective and talk about something as mundane as apple pie. The BASIS of apple pie is apples. The REQUIREMENT for apple pie are apples. The OBJECT of apple pie is to be eaten. BUT the CONTENT of apple pie changes from dispensation to dispensation. Now, do you see what I mean by trying to understand Picasso?
You, see the point of Dispensationalism, is that it is not meant to be understood--only believed. No matter how silly or irrational. Jesus is to be felt, and entered into a relationship with, not known and believed. Besides belief comes from the heart not the head, and anyway don't you see all the signs. These must be the "last days" cause of all the earthquakes and stuff. Can millions of dispensationalists be wrong?
I don't know--ask the Mormons. So some poor Reformed guy, who sincerely but foolishly believes he can reason with dispensationalists comes back and says,
Personally, I am leaning further and further away from this idea and more and more to the idea that the content was always the same “Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death”
What an incredibly rational thing to say. As though somehow the ESSENCE and OBJECT of our faith can be different from the CONTENT of our faith. (You see our dear Reformed budding-buddy, is beginning to realize that these words are just synonynms for each other--the same thing stated in a slightly different way, each time, to emphasise a different point.) So, he says what any good fledgling Reformed Christian says--Jesus is the answer. But he misses the point. He's trying to REASON with dispensationalists. Remember, these are the same people who have believed every false prophet who has come down the pike when dates were set for the 2nd coming. Let's see, first it was 1988, then 1994, then 1998. And besides Hal Lindsay says "one generation" from the birth of Israel as a nation. Oops, that's only 40 years, and that would mean 1988. Oh, well, Hal just mispoke himself, he MEANT to say "from the retaking of Jerusalem by the Jews in 1967". Wow, that was a close one---at least now, Hal has got until 2007 to sell his books--or get married AGAIN.
You see, good Christian friend, you cannot REASON with a dispensationalist, anymore than you can reason with a Mormon, Seventh Day Adventist, or JW. You must proclaim the gospel to them. Am I saying dispensationalists are not saved? God forbid! There are many wonderful Christian people who are dispensationalists--but they are Christians in spite of themselves. Blessed inconsistency! They, if truly logical, (like Spock logical) SHOULD NOT be Christians. Why? Because, Jesus WAS trying to subvert the state and establish an earthly kingdom. He DID break the Law of God. Therefore, his death did not atone. The jews were justified in crucifying him.
Now, in finality, notice the dispensational retort,
What did Abraham understand about “Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death”? How could it have been the content of faith for him? I don’t understand your statement at all.And, sadly that is the whole point. Because they deny the unity of Scripture but instead chop it up into 7, no 9,--or is it 3? Dispensations, they just cannot see how any Old Testament saint like Abraham could have known Jesus Christ. And this saddest of all is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Scripture. Pray for dispensationalists.
John 8:54-59Dispensationalists ask of Abraham the same question today. "How could you have known Christ". They will get the same answer, by FAITH. One God, one covenant, one faith, one saviour.
Jesus replied, "If I honor myself, it would mean nothing. My Father is the one who honors me. You claim that he is your God, even though you don't really know him. If I said I didn't know him, I would be a liar, just like all of you. But I know him, and I do what he says. Your father Abraham was really glad to see me." You are not yet fifty years old?", they said. "How could you have seen Abraham?" (CEV)