Editorials -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 100:399 (Jul 1943)
Article: Editorials
Author: Anonymous


Dispensational Distinctions Challenged

Of more moment than its own import would indicate is the action of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. at its recent General Assembly, by which action an investigation of so-called Dispensationalism is being conducted. The inquiry, according to the wording of the overture which promoted the investigation, is “as to whether the type of Bible interpretation known as ‘Dispensationalism’ is in harmony with the Confession of Faith” (Minutes, 1941, p. 60). This move on the part of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. will doubtless be observed by other denominations. Since dispensational distinctions form an integral feature of the premillennial interpretation of the Scriptures, all premillennialists are challenged by this investigation. Up to the present time, premillennialists have been content to go on in fellowship with sound men who may have disagreed with them as to interpretation. They have not desired to separate or to inaugurate any divisive movements. They are loyal to the denominational organizations as are their brethren. What the premillennialist teaches does, unavoidably, appeal to those who hear his message and many of those who hear claim that the Bible has become a new book to them; but this is the natural fruit of an active ministry and is not a studied attempt to “undermine” the “agencies and institutions” of the Church. This investigation with all its implications was begun and is being promoted by those in the Church who are opposed to dispensational teachings. The issues are well defined and the results may easily become a new and far-reaching chapter in ecclesiastical history.

However, the issue is not well stated. As set before the Assembly, it questions the harmony between dispensational teaching and the Confession of Faith, and by so much reflects the restricted views of those who have drawn up the

declaration; whereas, the issue should be whether there is harmony between dispensational teaching and the Sacred Text itself. Only on that ground can any God-honoring discussion be promoted. While the premillennialist within the Church will doubtless respect the standards for what they really are, he will as certainly demand that the argument be centered only in the inspired Word of God. Those promoting this controversy should be prepared for this approach to the solution of the problem.

Since there is so much in the Confession of Faith which is in no way related to this discussion and which is the common belief of all, the issue should yet be narrowed to the difference which obtains between Dispensationalism and Covenantism. The latter is that form of theological speculation which attempts to unify God’s entire program...

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