Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 152:608 (Oct 1995)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Dispensationalism. By Charles C. Ryrie. Chicago: Moody Press, 1995. 224 pp. $9.99.

One of the most significant books on dispensationalism is Charles Ryrie’s Dispensationalism Today, published in 1965 (Chicago: Moody Press). This present volume, published 30 years later, is an expanded edition of that earlier work in light of recent writings on dispensationalism by theonomists (e.g., David Chilton and Rousas Rushdoony), and amillennialists (e.g., John H. Gerstner, Vern S. Poythress, and Bruce K. Waltke) and in light of recent changes proposed by progressive dispensationalists (e.g., Craig A. Blaising, Darrell L. Bock, and Robert L. Saucy). However, as Ryrie states, “the positive presentation of normative dispensationalism remains a primary feature of this revision” (p. 12). The strengths of the former work continue in this revision, including chapters on the definition of a dispensation, the origins of dispensationalism, salvation and the church in dispensationalism, dispensational eschatology, and evaluations of covenant theology and ultradispensationalism.

New features include a chapter on progressive dispensationalism (chap. 9) and paragraphs added throughout the work in response to various arguments by amillennialists. New items of particular note include a chart of the dispensations (p. 54), five points on when a dispensation ends and a new one begins (pp. 57-58), discussion on the hermeneutics of covenant theology (p. 88), an excellent discussion on the various interpretive views of the Sermon on the Mount (pp. 96-101), and a discussion of various views on the Davidic/messianic kingdom (pp. 155-56).

Regarding covenant theology’s covenant of grace, Ryrie asks, “(1) Is the covenant of grace stated in Scripture? (2) Even if it is, should it be the controlling presupposition of hermeneutics and theology? (3) Even if there is a unity of redeemed peoples, does that remove disunities in God’s program for His creations?” (p. 88).

Regarding progressive dispensationalism, Ryrie notes that while this system presents itself as a legitimate development within the dispensational tradition, it seems to propose distinct changes. He quotes Blaising, who says that progressive dispensationalism seeks to discover “dispensational structures that are more accurate biblically” (Craig A. Blaising, “Dispensationalism: The Search for Definition,” in Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church, ed. Craig A. Blaising and

Darrell L. Bock [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992], 15). The tenets of neodispensationalism, as Ryrie calls it (p. 69), include the following: Christ has already inaugurated the Davidic Covenant and is now reigning in ...

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