Dispensational Thought: A Review Article -- By: Jerry Hullinger
JODT 22:64 (Spring 2018) p. 75
Dispensational Thought: A Review Article
Forged from Reformation: How Dispensational Thought Advances the Reformed Legacy by eds. Christopher Cone and James I. Fazio. El Cajon, CA: Southern California Seminary Press, 2017. 582 pp., paper, $39.95.
To adapt the words of Tertullian, “what indeed has the Reformation to do with dispensationalism?” While most covenant theologians would answer “very little,” it is the contention of Forged from Reformation that it is actually dispensationalism that most consistently advances reformed thought. The claim of this volume is that dispensationalists not only promote the five solas, but are the ones who apply reformational hermeneutics to all Scripture.
Forged from Reformation contains eighteen chapters written by fifteen dispensational scholars. Following an introduction by the editors, the book is divided into two major sections. Part 1 deals with historical development. The intent of this section is to look at the historical context of the Reformation with an emphasis upon key issues and those who continued Reformation ideals (p. 8). Part 2 is structured around the five solas of the Reformation: sola Scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, and soli Deo gloria. The aim of this section, however, is not merely to define these slogans but to attempt to show that it is dispensationalism that has advanced this legacy; and, in some cases, more so than current reformed thought. The irony, if true, is that dispensationalism is more consistently the heir of the Reformers than is the system of theology that bears the Reformers’ names.
Chapter 2 is appropriately placed at the beginning of the book as it explains what dispensationalism is. Importantly, it is indicated that dispensationalism is a system of theology and not a hermeneutic. The reason it is not a hermeneutic is because dispensationalism follows a grammatical-historical hermeneutic (i.e. the protestant hermeneutic) which is applied to all Scripture. As Thomas Ice stated, “simply put, dispensationalism is a theology derived from the consistent literal interpretation of the entire Bible. There is no special hermeneutic, only the consistent application of the Protestant hermeneutic known as the grammatical-historical interpretive approach” (p. 24).
JODT 22:64 (Spring 2018) p. 76
When this hermeneutic is consistently followed, it yields a series of ten items which the writer referenced as “the theology of dispensationalism” (p. 21). While reformed theologians affirm some of the items in the list (such as the nature of Scripture and the way of salvation), several of them are not. They include: a grammatical-hi...
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