Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 159:635 (July 02) p. 363
by the Faculty and Library Staff of
Dallas Theological Seminary
Robert D. Ibach, Editor
“Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth: The Uncertain Soteriology of the Scofield Reference Bible,” Crawford Gribben, Evangelical Quarterly 74 (2002): 3-25.
Gribben’s thesis is summarized in these words: “Dispensationalism proceeds from and assumes as its necessary foundation a faulty view of salvation—that salvation promised to God’s people [is] in ‘the covenants of promise.’ … Dispensationalism—in its classic form at least—is based on a faulty view of the covenants, and until that root problem is tackled its flagrantly aberrant symptoms will remain” (p. 9). What is this root problem? Gribben’s complaint appears to be that C. I. Scofield did not view the biblical covenants in the same way he does. “It is therefore clear that a redemptive-historical chasm separates covenant theology from the dispensationalism of the SRB [Scofield Reference Bible]. Covenant theology locates a single historical disjunction at man’s testing, failing, and fall, and traces the development of a single promise of redemption from the ‘mother promise’ given to Eve to the fulfillment of the promises in the new covenant during the gospel age and the vast renovation of the heavens and earth at the latter day…. Dispensationalism, on the other hand, posits a series of disjunctions caused by a series of failed tests and a series of judgements” (p. 23).
Gribben also claims that dispensationalism is an imposition on the biblical text, without exegetical basis. It consists of “a series of ‘dispensations’ abstractly designed and imposed upon the Biblical text” (p. 9). Later he insists that Scofield “introduces an alternative model of redemption history which has nothing of the covenants’ exegetical basis. Scofield creates a series of ‘dispensations’ without any overt Scriptural justification” (p. 10). The claim that Scofield and other dispensationalists have no “overt” exegetical support is easily refuted. See, for example, the Scofield Reference Bible note on Ephesians 1:10, which summarizes Paul’s use of οἰκονομία (“dispensation”). Charles Ryrie’s summary of the biblical evidence seems accurate: “There can be no question that the Bible uses the word dispensation in exactly the same way the dispensationalist does” (Dispensationalism Today [Chicago: Moody, 1965], 27, italics his).
Gribben admits that “Scofield helpfully charts the relation of Christ to the covenants…. Reformed theologians would find little diffi...
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