Dispensational Implications For Universal Historiography And Apologetics Part 2 of 3 -- By: Charles A. Clough
CTSJ 7:3 (July 2001) p. 34
Dispensational Implications For Universal Historiography And Apologetics
Part 2 of 3
[*Editor's note: Charles Clough earned a B.S. degree in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Th.M. in Old Testament from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a M.S. in Atmospheric Science from Texas Tech University. He pastored for eleven years and has spoken at conferences and creation-evolution debates. He has served in the United States Air Force as a Weather Officer and in the Army as a supervisory meteorologist. His email address is [email protected]]
An earlier article presented the difference in the logical organization of covenant and dispensational theology.1 As Dispensationalism developed in the nineteenth century, it had two focii: ecclesiological clarification and what can be referred to as a “half-conscious apologetic” of the structure of history. Both focii caused Dispensational Theology to differ significantly from Covenant Theology and become a major advance in biblical understanding. Sadly, many professed adherents of Dispensationalism seem to expend more effort at “rethinking” its content than at following out its broad implications for other areas of Christian thought.
With respect to ecclesiology it clarified the place of the Church in God’s plan for history. The Church should no longer be seen as a sort of replacement for Israel or spiritual version of that elect nation. The Church is not a political entity and cannot be identified with a given political community as early Protestants tried to do in Germany, Switzerland, and England (following the custom of Roman Catholicism). Old Testament stipulations cannot be hastily brought over to Church practices. Rather than inaugurating a Kingdom of God that only quantitatively improves social righteousness, the Church prepares the world by evangelism and biblical living for a coming Kingdom that will radically alter both human society and its geophysical environment.2
CTSJ 7:3 (July 2001) p. 35
Radical alteration of our geophysical environment is part of Dispensationalism’s other prominent focus, viz, God’s plan for all history—both human and natural. By the nineteenth century a revived pagan program of suppressing the impact of general and special revelation on human consciousness was well underway. Falsely labeled at its origin centuries before as an “enlightenment” and a “renaissance” of learning, it had already, in the minds of many, successfully dissected the Bible into disjointed pieces of mere human religious opinions. Its core strategy depended upo...
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