Second-Blessing Models of Sanctification and Early Dallas Dispensationalism -- By: Mark A. Snoeberger

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 15:1 (Spring 2004)
Article: Second-Blessing Models of Sanctification and Early Dallas Dispensationalism
Author: Mark A. Snoeberger


Second-Blessing Models of Sanctification
and Early Dallas Dispensationalism

Mark A. Snoeberger

Mark A. Snoeberger is the director of library services and part-time instructor at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary in Allen Park, Michigan. He is currently pursuing Ph.D. studies at Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.

An assumption that dispensationalists are anti-Reformed in their soteriology may stem from an honest misunderstanding of publications of the early dispensationalists who separated the indwelling of the Spirit from sanctification. A historical survey of four early dispensationalists--J. N. Darby, James Hall Brookes, C. I. Scofield, and Lewis Sperry Chafter--reveals whether this model of sanctification is essential to dispensationalism. Darby rejected a second work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life and was critical of D. L. Moody’s Keswick beliefs. Brookes, after years of denying a second work of the Spirit, began affirming that doctrine in 1880. Beginning in 1893, Scofield apparently supported Keswick teaching of a second work of the Spirit in a believer’s life, though the teaching was strongly opposed by other dispensationalists. Neither he nor Brookes associated it with the dispensational system. Chafer, founder and longtime president of Dallas Seminary and systematizer of dispensationalism, embraced the second work of the Holy Spirit from the beginning, but not as a part of his dispensational system. His “second work” view arose from his Oberlin training, his itinerant evangelism, and the influence of Moody and Scofield on him, not from his dispensational theology. From a study of these dispensationalists, it is clear that dispensationalism is not necessarily anti-Reformed in its soteriology.

Introduction

Of all the charges leveled against dispensationalism, few are as unsettling as the classification of dispensationalists as anti-Reformed in their soteriology.

Sometimes this charge stems from mere ignorance--a misplaced assumption that a denial of Reformed eschatology must include with it the denial of Reformed soteriology. Often, however, the charge derives from an honest misunderstanding of publications by the early faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary, a significant fountainhead of dispensational thought and literature in the last century.

Central to the charge is a disjunction of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit from regeneration and sanctification that was common among early Dallas dispensationalists such as Lewis Sperry Chafer, John F. Walvoord, and Charles C. Ryrie. For these, indwelling was a new ministry of the Holy Spirit in the dispensation of grace (cf.

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