A Biblical Critique of the Two-fold Theory of Dispensationalism: The Distinction between Israel and the Church -- By: Noel B. Woodbridge

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 02:1 (Sep 2006)
Article: A Biblical Critique of the Two-fold Theory of Dispensationalism: The Distinction between Israel and the Church
Author: Noel B. Woodbridge


A Biblical Critique of the Two-fold Theory of Dispensationalism:
The Distinction between Israel and the Church1

Noel B. Woodbridge2

Abstract

After a brief review of the historical development and essential characteristics of Dispensationalism, this article argues Dispensationalism’s sharp distinction between Israel and the church represents a serious departure from sound exegetical theology resulting in a distortion of key Biblical doctrines.

1. The Need for a Critique of Dispensationalism

Some might question the necessity for a Biblical evaluation of Dispensationalism, because a vast amount has already been written about this subject, or because of the seeming futility of continuing to challenge a system that is so widely accepted by believers today. However, I feel this critique is fully justified in the light of so much evidence that demonstrates that Dispensationalism rests on a questionable use of Scripture. In his book entitled, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth: A Critique of Dispensationalism, Gerstner (1991:150) emphasizes the seriousness of the theological error of Dispensationalism:

What is indisputably, absolutely, and uncompromisingly essential to the Christian religion is its doctrine of salvation.... If Dispensationalism has actually departed from the only way of salvation which the Christian religion teaches, then we must say it has departed from Christianity. No matter how many other important truths it proclaims, it cannot be called Christian if it empties Christianity of its essential message.

Another factor, which has given urgency to a biblical evaluation of Dispensationalism, is the fact that during the course of the last four decades, many denominations and ecumenical groups have taken a position against Jewish evangelism as a result of the prevalent confusion amongst church leaders and Bible scholars regarding the Biblical relationship between Israel and the Church. This is evident from the following news items:

In September 2002, the ecumenical Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations issued a statement condemning “missionary efforts at converting Jews.” Joseph Tyson, chairman of the group, said that attempts to convert Jews to Christianity are “theologically invalid” (Jews no longer objects of evangelism 2001).

In April 1998, representatives of 50 churches and Christian organizations in Israel said they would refrain from conducting missionary campaigns aimed at Jews. The statement was

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