Posts Tagged Scofield Memorial Church

Mayor Rawlings Addresses Dallas Faith Community in Conference Call

I received an email this morning from Ms. Amanda Sanchez, who works in the Office of the Mayor of the City of Dallas, Mayor Mike Rawlings. The message was sent to numerous faith community leaders in North Texas, inviting them to participate in a conference call with the Mayor that took place today at 2:00pm CDT. I took notes, and I am publishing a summary of the briefing here for your information and convenience.

The Mayor opened the call expressing his gratitude for our time, and he acknowledged that the City’s experience with Ebola in recent days has felt like a “roller coaster” — things get worse, things get better, things get worse, things get better. He believes that things will end well, and he exhorted us to “be honest with each other,” which became a consistent theme in the conference call. The Mayor felt that this conference call was necessary because there is a felt shift in the psyche of our city from last week to this week regarding its fear associated with Ebola. Last week, our community was cautious; this week, the Mayor feels our community is afraid.

He asked us to recall West Nile Virus scare that happened upon North Texas not long ago. He reminded us about the West Nile outbreak that swept through Dallas County in 2012. According to D Magazine,

In total, there were 397 reported cases in Dallas County, and 20 people died.

My words, not the Mayor’s — I had forgotten about West Nile already, and if you think about it, mosquitos are way more sneaky than vomiting, bleeding, diarrhea-ing, even sneezing humans. Just a thought.

Only two — 2 — people have been infected with Ebola, since Mr. Duncan’s diagnosis and care here in Dallas.

The Mayor commented on the “community contacts” and “health care contacts.” Regarding the former, 48 people have been self-isolated. One family remains in controlled isolation. An additional individual who had been in controlled isolation recently finished the 21-day “incubation period,” and this person is healthy. On Monday, October 20th, the family in controlled in isolation and those who have been self-isolated will also finish the 21-day “incubation period.” None have shown any symptoms associated with Ebola.

Regarding the “health care contacts,” the Mayor acknowledged that we were naive to think that the hospital was the “safer place.” My commentary here—it seems that the focus had to be heavily placed on the “community contacts” at first, and initially, some assumptions were made about the safety of the hospital; however, the insufficiencies that did exist have been remedied. The Mayor complimented the health care workers who served Mr Duncan, calling them brave, courageous, of whom we are proud, and for whom we are thankful. 75 total health care workers were in some way involved in Mr. Duncan’s care — some in the lab work, some in the room wherein Mr. Duncan was treated. All of these people have been in communication with the proper authorities. They have been assigned a document asking them to avoid travel on all means of public transportation as well as to avoid public places, such as grocery stores, places of worship, etc. All of them are visited twice daily, so that there body temperature can be examined. They have all been invited to come to Presbyterian Hospital should they desire assistance in their self isolation. I can’t remember if the Mayor said one dozen or two dozen have taken advantage of this offer. Further, the Mayor added that violation of compliance with the travel and public restrictions would lead to a more controlled environment for their isolation.

Mayor Rawlings reviewed that the two health care workers who became infected with Ebola — Ms. Pham and Ms. Vinson — have been moved to biomedical facilities in Maryland and Georgia, so that Texas Presbyterian could both better manage those in continued and various degrees of isolation and be ready to receive any new case that may arise. He assured us that there is cooperation at the City, County, State, CDC, and Federal level, commentating that he had spoken with the White House earlier today. The President gave his support for Federal Aid as needed. In his assurance, he was not trying to say that we are “out of the woods” yet. This next week is critical, and honestly, we should expect to see another case or two; however, he and those working with him do not envision a widespread epidemic due to the precautions that have been taken.

After briefing us on the state of the situation, Mayor Rawlings then appealed to us as faith leaders in the City of Dallas. He made four salient points. First, he exhorted us to “confront fear with the facts.” This has been the constant message from all of those dealing with the media and public. No one is keeping anything from anyone, and he commented that the coming weeks will reveal this to be true. He asked us to encourage our congregations to depend on the facts, evidence, and reason, not on our emotions. Second, he challenged faith leaders and our communities regarding ostracizing those who may have had contact with Mr. Duncan and ostracizing those communities in which these folks have their residence. Judge Jenkins has received numerous reports about ostracism. He advised that we can support these individuals, families AND practice good, public safety. It isn’t an either/or. He asked us to consider some of the realities, for example, the Duncan family is facing: Where will they live? Many apartments are saying, “We do not want the ‘Ebola people’ here.” Mayor Rawlings said, “Our city is better than that.” We must practice compassion as well as intelligence.

He closed with a challenge and commendation to faith leaders, saying that we “know the words that uplift and heal.” He asked us to share these things with our congregants and to direct them to the City’s website for further information.

Following Mayor Rawlings’ address, Dr. John T. Carlo addressed us on the conference call. He reminded us of the facts about Ebola’s spread. It is not contagious in someone not showing symptoms. It is not airborne. In order to infect, a bodily fluid has to travel from a symptomatic person to an “opening” on another person. Research has been gathered by professionals who have treated Ebola both here and in West Africa. Dr. Carlo dismissed the need to “shut down” schools and/or decontaminate based upon the available research and evidence.

A brief Q & A time proceeded. Question #1: How do we support city officials and health care workers? Mayor Rawlings suggested that we raise up these individuals, especially the health care workers, as heroines and heroes. They are brave. Question #2: What is the one message we should deliver from “the pulpit” this weekend? God willing, we will come through this, and we will have gained much wisdom that we will be able to use and share with others both here and around the world. The Mayor then shared that the President of Liberia called him and personally apologized and shared feelings of personal responsibility. The Mayor expressed again his concern about ostracism toward “community contacts,” “health care contacts,” and even those in our City who are of West African descent.

In conclusion, I think we have to heed the Mayor’s call not to ostracize, nor should we avoid exercising care and wisdom. I think the gospel calls us to this. Remember, it’s sin, not Ebola, that is our BIGGEST problem. My thanks to the Mayor and city officials who took the time to address these things with us.

 

 

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Response to Marc5Solas on Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church—5. Community

5. Community

This may be perhaps THE reason that Marc brings up that gives me the most pause. I think he is right to warn about the false security that community can bring. It is very easy to feel a part of anything when you are a part of the crowd. It feels good to be a part of something – this is especially so among young people, but also true among the other generations too. Sometimes it feels good to be a part of a small community, and sometimes it feels good to be a part of a larger community.

However, I do push back a little bit on Marc’s criticism of community, because community is obviously something that is going to happen in a local church context. Is he suggesting that we avoid community altogether? If not, what limits should we put on community so that people do not mistake the good feeling that accompanies community with sincere faith and discipleship in the gospel of Jesus Christ? He doesn’t say enough here. Community is GOING to happen.

We are relational beings – all of us – to some degree or another. In fact, I would argue biblically that we are hard-wired by God to worship him in community. How much time does the Scripture labor over the establishment, life, theology, and future of the BODY of Christ? Or even the NATION of Israel? There are endless places in Scripture to which I could turn to make my point. I’ll choose three.

  1. The Ten Commandments (Ex. 20; Deut. 5) were given to Moses by God to teach the PEOPLE of Israel how to be a community of individuals who worship YHWH in purity and holiness as well as how to live with one another in purity and holiness.
  2. Ephesians 2:11-22 is one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture (btw, who was this letter written to . . . oh yeah, a COMMUNITY of Christians). The whole context of the passage is community focused, particularly how Jesus Christ through his death has become the peace between diverse – and sometimes even hostile – members of a single community. The passage even goes on to say that the apostles, prophets, the Lord Jesus as the Cornerstone, and the rest of the Body of Christ is being built up into one temple in which the Lord makes his dwelling.
  3. Lastly, turn to end of the Story to Revelation 5:9-10, where a community is singing about the community that the Lamb has ransomed for God “from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a KINGDOM and PRIESTS to our God and THEY shall reign on the earth.” Again, I could share more, but I think that it is clear that throughout the biblical narrative, God has engaged himself in a great deal to make a PEOPLE for himself.

I have not yet even mentioned the notion of community that flows from the Godhead itself as the Father, Son, and Spirit enjoy perfect communion with one another as the one God.

Now that I have thrown Marc under the bus a bit, I’ll stop and embrace his warning because his warning – though not well-rounded per se – is still legitimate. I often wonder, “How many of our students come to weekly meetings because their friends are there?” “If so and so stopped coming or left the faith, would he or she leave too?” “Are they here because they know that the Lord Jesus has called them into the Body of Christ, to a commitment to this local church, and because the Holy Spirit is yearning in them to serve, work, and worship with the community of saints at Scofield?” These are fair questions, because a person can find a “feeling” of community anywhere – in your college dorm, as you sharpen your focus and truly become part of a degree program with other students, in a frat or sorority, on a sports team, through fitness, at a bar or restaurant, at a workplace, or through any number of common interests that you may end up sharing with others as you leave the student ministry of Scofield. Students – don’t mistake the common, human need for community with other humans for the unique, sanctified, reborn community in the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m not saying that the former is evil; I’m just saying that it is NOT the latter. Word.

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Response to Marc5Solas on Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church—5. Community

5. Community

This may be perhaps THE reason that Marc brings up that gives me the most pause. I think he is right to warn about the false security that community can bring. It is very easy to feel a part of anything when you are a part of the crowd. It feels good to be a part of something – this is especially so among young people, but also true among the other generations too. Sometimes it feels good to be a part of a small community, and sometimes it feels good to be a part of a larger community.

However, I do push back a little bit on Marc’s criticism of community, because community is obviously something that is going to happen in a local church context. Is he suggesting that we avoid community altogether? If not, what limits should we put on community so that people do not mistake the good feeling that accompanies community with sincere faith and discipleship in the gospel of Jesus Christ? He doesn’t say enough here. Community is GOING to happen.

We are relational beings – all of us – to some degree or another. In fact, I would argue biblically that we are hard-wired by God to worship him in community. How much time does the Scripture labor over the establishment, life, theology, and future of the BODY of Christ? Or even the NATION of Israel? There are endless places in Scripture to which I could turn to make my point. I’ll choose three.

  1. The Ten Commandments (Ex. 20; Deut. 5) were given to Moses by God to teach the PEOPLE of Israel how to be a community of individuals who worship YHWH in purity and holiness as well as how to live with one another in purity and holiness.
  2. Ephesians 2:11-22 is one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture (btw, who was this letter written to . . . oh yeah, a COMMUNITY of Christians). The whole context of the passage is community focused, particularly how Jesus Christ through his death has become the peace between diverse – and sometimes even hostile – members of a single community. The passage even goes on to say that the apostles, prophets, the Lord Jesus as the Cornerstone, and the rest of the Body of Christ is being built up into one temple in which the Lord makes his dwelling.
  3. Lastly, turn to end of the Story to Revelation 5:9-10, where a community is singing about the community that the Lamb has ransomed for God “from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a KINGDOM and PRIESTS to our God and THEY shall reign on the earth.” Again, I could share more, but I think that it is clear that throughout the biblical narrative, God has engaged himself in a great deal to make a PEOPLE for himself.

I have not yet even mentioned the notion of community that flows from the Godhead itself as the Father, Son, and Spirit enjoy perfect communion with one another as the one God.

Now that I have thrown Marc under the bus a bit, I’ll stop and embrace his warning because his warning – though not well-rounded per se – is still legitimate. I often wonder, “How many of our students come to weekly meetings because their friends are there?” “If so and so stopped coming or left the faith, would he or she leave too?” “Are they here because they know that the Lord Jesus has called them into the Body of Christ, to a commitment to this local church, and because the Holy Spirit is yearning in them to serve, work, and worship with the community of saints at Scofield?” These are fair questions, because a person can find a “feeling” of community anywhere – in your college dorm, as you sharpen your focus and truly become part of a degree program with other students, in a frat or sorority, on a sports team, through fitness, at a bar or restaurant, at a workplace, or through any number of common interests that you may end up sharing with others as you leave the student ministry of Scofield. Students – don’t mistake the common, human need for community with other humans for the unique, sanctified, reborn community in the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m not saying that the former is evil; I’m just saying that it is NOT the latter. Word.

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Response to Marc5Solas on Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church—6. You Gave Them Hand-Me Downs

6. You Gave Them Hand-Me Downs

Today’s response to Marc5Solas on the “Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave the Church” allows me to – once again and more fully – use one of my favorite last names belonging to a past theologian . . . Schleiermacher. SCCCHHHHLLLEEEIIEEERRRRRMMMAAAACCCCHHHHHEEEERRRR! If you’ve been in the SSM for any amount of time, then you know how much I like to say Schleiermacher. Unfortunately, I loathe Schleiermacher’s theology. In Church History as the Enlightenment and Reason began to take the lead in people’s thinking and as the Church suffered from the mortar blasts of Modernism, Friedrich Schleiermacher stepped up in attempt to rescue the Church and Christianity. As Michael Patton and Tim Kimberly of The Credo House have said, when anyone claims to “save the Church” or “rescue Christianity,” turn and run the other way. Jesus is just fine as the Head of the Church, thank you very much. In his response to Modernism, Schleiermacher single-handedly moved the Church away from its historic, corporate creeds and doctrines of the apostles on to an embrace of an immeasurable, personal and internal feeling of dependence upon God. The Credo House gentlemen in their Church History Boot Camp DVD Series suggests an illustrative comparison between Schleiermacher’s claim that we need not get rid of Christianity to the same reason we need not get rid of Christmas Celebrations – don’t you like all of the festivities around Christmas? All the family? All the meals? All the presents? All the decorating? All of the get-togethers? All the children’s choirs? We can’t get rid of Christmas! Christmas makes us feel good. We need Christmas. We need the stories about Jesus; they make Christmas special. You need not believe those doctrines about the virgin birth, God becoming a man, etc. Those are just fables designed to create in us a feeling of dependence upon God. They are not real; they are not historical.

As the Church embraced Schleiermachian theology (and it largely does still today), it headed down the slippery slope of making the feelings within the self the final authority concerning truth. Marc5Solas claims that we have given our kids “hand-me downs” of a particular kind. Namely, we – the adults and the teachers – have followed Schleiermacher’s liberal theology of turning the Christian faith into a purely subjective, independently personal, self-fulfilling, good-feeling seeking religion. Some other comments by The Credo House fellows are helpful here:

You must know Schleiermacher in order to get your neighbors.

With one swift move . . . he disconnected the head from the heart.

Schleiermacher himself said,

You reject the dogmas and propositions of religion. . . . Religion does not need them; it is only human reflection on the content of our religious feelings or affections. . . . Do you say that you cannot accept miracles, revelation, inspiration? You are right; we are children no longer; the time for fairy-tales is past.

Thus, Marc is right when he claims that the Church at large has been attempting to pass on a “feeling” about God to the next generation, hoping that they will “feel” it too. But we are asking ourselves, to what extent have we at Scofield in the Student Ministry (even in the Children’s Ministry) passed on hand-me downs to our kids? Parents? I’m not sure about you. How are you discipling your kids to experience (i.e., to know, to feel, and to submit to) God? Do you immediately jump into a description that is primarily “feeling” oriented? Then, you are a child of Schleiermacher trying to create another child of Schleiermacher :-). Stop it. Feelings are fine in our faith, but only so long as they flow and trickle down from biblical truth. When our children want to know God, we must point them to four sources and trust that their feelings will be shaped appropriately as the Holy Spirit works. I’m not saying ignore or neglect emotions – we are human beings – but emotions must be controlled, just as the thinking and the will must be controlled by the Holy Spirit. So, here are four sources for helping a kid to believe and experience God rightly:

  1. The Holy Scriptures – help them to learn the Scriptures. Help them to discover God in his word. Look to the God-breathed writings of the apostles and the prophets. “Sanctify them in truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
  2. The gospel of Jesus Christ – of course the gospel is in the Scriptures, but what I mean specifically here is that you can help your kid grow by teaching them the good news about Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, ascension, his current ministry as our high priest, and his second coming. Is your kid suffering through something, show them what the apostles taught/wrote about the Lord Jesus’ suffering and how God brought good and later highly exulted Jesus.
  3. The Holy Spirit – now by turning your kid to the Holy Spirit, I am not suggesting the warm fuzzies that you sometimes feel on the inside. Don’t reduce the Holy Spirit to the warm fuzzies. He’s a bit more . . . like He is God for heaven’s sake. As I mentioned before, we must practice belief in the ministry of the Holy Spirit as we are told by the apostles in the Holy Scriptures. What does the New Testament teach us about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Church and its members? A lot is the answer. Mainly, the Holy Spirit takes what belongs to Jesus and glorifies him to us and teaches us about him and about life in him. The Holy Spirit has an aim to make you into the image of Christ (Romans 8:26-29). He seeks to gift you for service and God’s glory. He seeks to produce certain fruit in the Christian. There is no such thing as a Holy Spirit-less Christian.
  4. The leadership of your local church (a.k.a. Elders/Pastors) – don’t forget that the Lord Jesus blesses the local church with pastors and teachers and more. Need help discipling your kid in the real Christian faith? Get them to church. Encourage your student’s participation in as many discipleship activities as possible in the local church.

Which brings me to my last question, how is our teaching at Scofield with regard to passing on a substantial, biblical, historical Christian faith to our kids? Well, I may need you to tell me :-). My comments here would be much like my assessment in the previous response. Our content is solid, biblical, in continuity with the orthodox Christian faith of all times. Yet, I think we need to be less aimless in our plan. A little more focused on the beginning point, the finish line, and everything in between necessary to do our best in disciple making.

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Response to Marc5Solas on Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church—8. They Get Smart

8. They Get Smart

I don’t agree with Marc here. Our youth group doesn’t dance around difficult questions. We embrace them, discuss them, argue from historic, orthodox Christian teaching, and attempt to humbly admit it when we must embrace mystery and trust God with things. We’ve talked, not directly, but about the ideas in the Epicurus quote. God is both willing and able to prevent evil. Has he not sent his Son to experience the full blow of evil? Does he not seek to unite believers with his Son by the Spirit in the fellowship of suffering? Is he not patiently waiting for all evil persons to repent and turn to him, before he finally and fully judges evil when the cup of his righteous wrath spills over and pours out every last drop? From where did evil come? From pride and disloyalty from within humans? How was it found in humans whom God created? It was enticed by the evil one, the Deceiver and Adversary of God. How was evil found in Satan? From pride and disloyalty from within the angel whom God made? Did God then make Satan evil? No, God tempts no one, for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one (James 1:13). What then? God created angels and human as good, and he alone is righteous to determine what is good. In this mystery, it seems that what was good to him was to create beings with a will initially free to be loyal or disloyal, prideful or humble, worshipers or idolaters. However, when the angels and the humans were enticed by their own wills to turn from God; they irrevocably found themselves bound in slavery to evil that leads to death apart from God. Therefore, God must have in eternity past desired for us to know him as the one who is both merciful and judge. For because of evil’s presence, he redeems and judges. The Trinity must have desired to be known through the story of redemption. We talk about such things in our youth group.

However, my concern about our students going forward is not that some professor will make them feel intelligent because we have failed to do so. We give our students a lot to chew on, sometimes purposefully too much for sake of awareness. My concern is that many of our students have not either experienced evil in a life altering way, nor have they yet embraced the gospel to the extent that they will be able to interpret evil and fellowship with Christ in the midst of evil, nor have they yet developed the insight or possibly have not taken their fellowship with the saints deep enough in the local church so as to come to realize that the body of believers with whom they meet every week knows the grief of evil well, many of whom continue to rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, and persist in prayer. Despite our best efforts, some teens continue to perceive the local church as some kind of social club, which it is not, rather than a corporate fellowship with Christ and with one another as worshipers through both days of trouble and days of celebration. You can know about evil and all the philosophical debates, and yada, yada, but your real theology shows up when you experience evil.

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Response to Marc5Solas on Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church—10. The Church Is Relevant

10. The Church Is Relevant

I do like this statement by the author,

You didn’t misread that, I didn’t say irrelevant, I said RELEVANT. We’ve taken a historic, 2,000 year old faith, dressed it in plaid and skinny jeans and tried to sell it as “cool” to our kids. It’s not cool. It’s not modern. What we’re packaging is a cheap knockoff of the world we’re called to evangelize.

Maybe I am a little blinded because I am an insider at Scofield, but I don’t think we struggle much with being Relevant; that is, we don’t try very hard to be Relevant. I have heard out of the mouth of our Worship Pastor, Daniel Jordan, that the goal of our worship ministry at Scofield is not to become slaves to one particular generation’s preference or experience of worshiping God. Instead, we are part of a global, ancient, culturally diverse movement of worshipers, who have always worshiped the one, true God. Our worship should reflect our connection to the past, our experience of God in the present, and our hope for the future.

If our youth ministry was too worried about Relevance with regard to our meeting areas, the Garage would have been remodeled into a hipster coffee bar, with X Games activities throughout instead of foosball tables, air hockey, and a chalkboard. Now don’t get me wrong, the Garage (i.e., one of our meeting rooms at Scofield) is cool, but it’s like late 90’s early 2000’s cool if we are dating it on the “Trendy Calendar.” Now, there is nothing wrong with remodeling rooms or buildings for better aesthetics and accessibility, but there is something wrong if we obsess over such things. Our weekly meetings have historically and will continue to be (if I have anything to do with it) primarily focused on biblical teaching. Sometimes, we spend up to an hour teaching the Bible on Sunday evenings. The time spent in the Scriptures is one of the author’s criticisms about most youth ministries. One student, who moved away sometime ago, has struggled in his new youth ministry because of the minimal focused on in-depth biblical instruction.

I could also go into our events and other activities, but I won’t. Let me just say that I feel like even our larger events flow more out of “the family” and “the tradition” that we have here at Scofield more than out of some attempt to be Relevant to every young person. Now, let me say this. Just because the things that I mentioned above don’t necessarily reflect a “Quest for Relevance” does NOT mean that deep, deep down in our hearts as a community there isn’t a desire to be more Relevant, and perhaps even sometimes a jealousy of others who may have the finances or resources to give the appearance of heightened Relevance. Lord, test our hearts; keep us from the sins of jealousy and envy. Lastly, let’s be careful about ALWAYS throwing Relevancy under the bus. Everyone at some level seeks to be Relevant. Shoot, in our day, to say something like, “I’m fleeing Relevance!” automatically makes you Relevant! However, thankfully, there is a biblical model and approach to Relevance. Consider the sermons of the book of Acts. They are always contextualized for preaching the gospel to particular audiences. Just think of Paul in Athens in Acts 17. Consider when the Apostle Paul says, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). So, may God help our ministry to seek the Holy Spirit and how he might have us proclaim the truth about Jesus to all people everywhere without forsaking who we are.

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Response to Marc5Solas on Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church—My Intro

The next series of posts here at LevelPaths will consist of responses to Marc5Solas recent blog post entitled “Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church, which you can read here: http://marc5solas.com/2013/02/08/top-10-reasons-our-kids-leave-church/. A fellow youth worker directed me to Marc’s blog in March. I sat on it for a little while before I began responding to its introduction and its 10 points in our Scofield Student Ministry Facebook group page. I thought it would be helpful to myself, and potentially to other youth leaders and parents, if I responded on my blog too. Let me offer a few qualifications. I have not read all of the nearly 1,000 comments in response to Marc’s blog post, but kudos to him for getting us talking. Secondly, I am speaking largely out of my personal experience as a pastor engaged in youth ministry at Scofield Memorial Church. At times, I’ll speak outside of my context, but I am largely speaking out of my own context and then making applications on a broader scale to youth ministries in conservative, evangelical local churches.

With that said, here is my introduction to the topic. The next post will examine Marc’s intro to his article.

Part 1

I would say that these 10 things have definitely been weaknesses in the evangelical church’s ministry to young people. The other accompanying (and perhaps more severe) problem is the appetite of young people (and old people) themselves. There is very little hunger for God within. TBH, and this will be painful, if you were to ask me how many of our youth group members hunger for God, the list would be fearfully short. Now, there are many coming to our youth group meetings regularly and many coming on trips or to events, but how many hunger for God?

So what do we do? Well, our job as church leaders has to be to pray and to do the things that create a hunger for God—no matter the ministry changes required. This is painful in the group because it effects the appetites that our students have been used to satisfying. In other words, we have to change the menu of their consumption in the student ministry. It must seek to nurture hunger for God.

Students need to fast and pray. They need to occasionally give up the things that typically satisfy their appetites (food, socializing, media, phones, video games, etc.) and pray for their slavery to these things to be broken and replaced by a hunger for God.

These are my initial thoughts. I write this with a heavy heart as I think of some of my own students, some of them “stars of the youth group,” who are no longer walking with God. I could provide you with a list, a list that makes me weep. Young person, is your hunger for God going to carry you into faithfulness and endurance after high school? Maybe you need to test yourself by such passages as 2 Corinthians 13:5; Hebrews 12:15-17; Deuteronomy 29:18-19. At Scofield, the whole church is being called to a commitment to fasting with the hope of a hunger for God to be ignited. O how we need to hunger for God.

Part 2

I reflected a lot on this last night and this morning. As I look at our last four senior classes, most of them are still walking with God. If I go back five years, that class is struggling. While many of these former students and many of our current students are “striving” to walk with God, my question in the previous post is who among you has a hunger for God? This is a different question. Obviously this is true for a non-Christian, but even the Christian can find himself or herself in a period of dryness in which his/her inner appetites are being satisfied by things – and very good things mind you – other than God. I’ll post more in this later.

Part 3

I am using strong language to you students because this article and my comments are mostly of the nature of a warning. A warning comes from an observation of things that could be symptomatic of a deep pattern that could eventually lead to devastating spiritual consequences. The book of Hebrews is filled with warnings to Christians. It is the job of a pastor to warn the sheep of the dangers ahead. This is what I am doing. I hope you catch the spirit of my warnings.

So with that said, how may one assess whether or not he or she has a hunger for God? Let me back up even further, from where does a hunger for God come? This hunger is not something humanly manufactured, but rather it is divinely imparted. The Spirit of God in us creates a hunger for God. Now, there are many things that may nurture a hunger for God – local church life, fellowship with Christians, Bible reading, prayer, etc. However, those things that may nurture a hunger for God are NOT the things that CREATE a hunger for God. The Spirit of God alone is able to CREATE a hunger for God. For example, yesterday, I got in my car, put on my sunglasses, put in a Lecrae CD, and drove to my youth ministry office at Scofield. Not too far along my way, the Spirit of God said to me, “Rex you are not a Christian because you listen to Lecrae.” Then, he said, “Rex you are not a Christian because you are a youth pastor at Scofield, or because you have a degree from DTS.” Finally, he said, “Rex you are a Christian because I have set apart Christ in your heart as your Lord and Savior. Rex, you are a Christian because I made you one in Christ.” I promptly turned my music off, and turned my heart to the Lord Jesus and worshiped for awhile.

It is the Spirit of God who regenerates us and awakens us to eternal life in Jesus Christ. Further, we may assess our hunger for God by testing our alignment with the aims of the Spirit of God. If he is the source of a hunger for God – and I believe the Bible points us to him – then we may compare his hungers/aims/appetites with our own hungers/aims/appetites, and at least gain some idea of the work of the Spirit in our lives, which is the mark of a true Christian. There is much that could be said here about the aims of the Spirit, but I’ll limit it to three under which I think we may fit everything else we might say. Here they are: (1) The Spirit aims to teach the Christian the truth about Jesus Christ, his faithful life, his death that brings pardon and liberty, and the power of his resurrection (John 16:12-15; 1 Cor. 12:3). (2) The Spirit of God aims to conform the Christian to the image of the Son of God (Romans 8:9-11, 26-29). (3) The Spirit aims to build the Body of Christ into a holy place where God dwells and where God is present and where God is worshiped (Eph. 2:11-22; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4:11-16).

So, how do we know if we are hungry for God? One way to test our hunger may be to test our alignment with the hungers/aims of the Spirit of God. Because if he is indeed in us, then we should expect to find his hungers in us. What if we don’t have an appetite for the aims of the Spirit? Well then, it would seem that one of two things are true: (1) Maybe you never had the Spirit of God, which means that you are not a Christian. There is no such thing as a Spirit-less Christian. It is the Spirit that awakens you to Christ. So maybe you have been a part of the life of the church for years, but you never received the Holy Spirit who truly leads us to Christ. What do you do? Seek God for the Spirit of God and for the Spirit to reveal Christ to you and to create the above hungers in you. Just ask. God is good. He isn’t stingy. He’s not somehow dangling a bait our in front of you that you cannot reach. Listen to the word of God here: “The Lord is not slow concerning his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). Ask God for the Spirit and receive Jesus. (2) Maybe you have the Spirit of God, but at some point you turned away from the Lord, and you have replaced the Spirit’s aims with aims/hungers of your own. This is called grieving the Spirit (Eph. 4:30) or quenching the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19). The danger of this is what we read about in Deuteronomy 29:18-19. One who was once a worshiper with a hunger for God, turns from God, and becomes an idolater. When we go down this road, we grieve the Spirit who’s aims are so very different for us. We put out the fire for Jesus that he is seeking to ignite in us. You are numbered among the people of God; you are a Christian, but you have subjected the Spirit of God to your flesh instead of subjecting your flesh to the Spirit of God. This ends my warning to students. Next post will critically examine our student ministry in light of Marc5Solas’ article. Feel free to comment, converse, question, etc. Love you all dearly.

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What Is Dispensationalism? Part 6

The Progressive Dispensationalism of Robert L. Saucy, Darrell L. Bock, and Craig A. Blaising

Progressive Dispensationalists agree that the overarching theme of biblical history is God’s glory, that Israel and the Church remain distinct yet sharing in the outworking of God’s program,[1] and that the Scriptures should be interpreted literally[2]; however, how might the earthly, heavenly, national, political, social, and spiritual purposes of God revealed throughout the dispensations be redeemed and reconciled so as to produce a more uniform hermeneutic for interpreting biblical history? This is the goal of Progressive Dispensationalism; therefore, the movement both shares the heritage of Classical and Revised Dispensationalism and sets forth its own distinctions as it seeks to continue to develop the continuity between the purposes of the dispensations.

Consider the Progressive description of a dispensation, “the Bible presents a way of understanding God’s relationship with human beings in terms of arrangements (dispensations) which He has instituted in the course of history. He manages the way in which human beings are to relate to Him and to one another through these arrangements which He has set up.”[3] Progressive Dispensationalism proposes “holistic redemption in progressive revelation,”[4] which means that all the purposes of God and all the administrations given to humanity by God throughout the dispensations will find ultimate redemption and culmination in the final future dispensation.[5] Thus, “the dispensations progress by revealing different aspects of the final unified redemption.”[6]

There are four areas that specifically distinguish Progressive Dispensationalists from Revised or Traditional Dispensationalists: (1) the kingdom, (2) the Davidic reign of Christ, (3) the New Covenant, and (4) the articulation of the distinction between Israel and the Church.[7] Regarding the first three, Progressives instruct that these things have been inaugurated but will not be fully realized until the final dispensation; whereas, Revised Dispensationalists would place things solely in the final dispensation. Regarding the fourth, Blaising writes,

The church then had its own future separate from the redemption promised to Jews and Gentiles in the past and future dispensations. Progressive dispensationalists, however, while seeing the church as a new manifestation of grace, believe that this grace is precisely in keeping with the promises of the Old Testament . . . One of the striking differences between progressive and earlier dispensationalists, is that progressives do not view the church as an anthropological category in the same class as terms like Israel, Gentile Nations, and Gentile people. The church is neither a separate race of humanity (in contrast to Jews and Gentiles) nor a competing nation (alongside Israel and Gentile nations), nor is it a group of angelic-like humans destined for the heavens in contrast to the rest of redeemed humanity on the earth. The church is precisely redeemed humanity itself (both Jews and Gentiles) as it exists in this dispensation prior to the coming of Christ. When Paul speaks of the church as “one new man” in Christ (Eph. 2:15), he means precisely redeemed humanity as opposed to the unsaved. Jews and Gentiles outside of Christ are “the world,” the “old man” . . . But Paul’s point is that the blessings of the Spirit which constititute the church as the new dispensation are given equally without ethnic, gender, or class distinction.[8]

Considering these four peculiarities of Progressive Dispensationalists, it is clear that they remain in the dispensational camp. As their title suggests (and as the Revised Dispensationalists before them), they have served dispensational thinkers by providing theological movement within the system’s primary tenets, especially by suggesting an already/not yet eschatology and by suggesting we consider how the unique details revealed in previous dispensations may be viewed from the perspective of the final future dispensation.

Final Thoughts and Considerations

As you can see, the answer to the question, “What Is Dispensationalism?” is a complex and deep dialogue. It depends who you ask! This isn’t totally true. Like any system of theology, the broad details are agreed upon by those who hold the position; however, it is when we dive deeper into the details of a position, when nuances and peculiarities begin to take shape, that dispensationalists begin to disagree among themselves.

The dispensational hermeneutic has roots that stretch deep into the reflections and theological development of Church history, but only within the last two centuries has it broken through the ground with a visible and formal presence. Certainly, there is more room for it to grow. At Scofield Memorial Church, we are thankful to share in the heritage of dispensational theology. May we continue to be faithful as a local church who is a steward of the dispensation of God’s grace given to us in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in doing so, may the glory of God shine forth from this place.

 

 

Bibliography

Arndt, W.F., Walter Bauer, F.W. Danker, and F.W. Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature. Edited by Kurt Aland, Barbara Aland, and Viktor Reichmann. 3rd ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Blaising, Craig A., and Darrell L. Bock. Progressive Dispensationalism. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993.

Blaising, Craig A. “Dispensation, Dispensationalism.” Edited by Walter A. Elwell. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001.

Chafer, Lewis S. Systematic Theology. Vol. 1 & 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1976.

Lewis, G. R. “Ultradispensationalism.” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001.

McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: An Introduction. 5th ed. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.

Rosenlund, Peggy. “An Overview of Dispensationalism”, May 16, 2012. (accessed May 22, 2012).

Ryrie, Charles C. Dispensationalism. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1995.

Saucy, Robert L. The Church in God’s Program. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1972.

Scofield, C. I., and E. Schuyler English, eds. Scofield Reference Bible. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Scofield, C. I., ed. Scofield Reference Bible. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1917.

Scofield Memorial Church. “Scofield Church Doctrinal Statement”. Scofield Memorial Church, 2006. http://www.scofield.org/publications.

Thompson, Lolana, ed. “Guide to Scofield Memorial Church Selected Records”, October 2005. (accessed May 19, 2012).

Wilkinson, Paul R. “John Nelson Darby and His Views on Israel.” Bibliotheca Sacra 166, no. 661 (March 2009): 84–99.


[1] Robert L. Saucy, The Church in God’s Program (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1972), 81–2.

[2] Blaising and Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism, 57–105. Progressive Dispensationalists offer us an enhanced literal interpretation of the Scripture by developing what is meant by “literal.” Of particular help, they develop how we read texts and how the text speaks. For example, they promote genre awareness as well as three levels of reading the Scriptures: (1) historical-exegetical, (2) biblical-theological, and (3) canonical-systematic.

[3] Ibid., 111.

[4] Ibid., 46.

[5] Ibid., 48–9.

[6] Ibid., 48.

[7] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 165–174.

[8] Blaising and Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism, 49–50.

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What Is Dispensationalism? Part 5

The Revised Dispensationalism of Charles C. Ryrie

The writings of John F. Walvoord, Alva J. McClain, E. Schuyler English, J. Dwight Pentecost, and Charles C. Ryrie contributed to the modifications found in Revised or Traditional Dispensationalism. Ryrie continues the shift away from defining a dispensation as a period of time (contra Scofield) but rather toward defining a dispensation as a stewardship, “A dispensation is a distinguishable economy in the outworking of God’s purpose.”[1] Blaising mentions other peculiar features of Traditional Dispensationalism as compared to Classical Dispensationalism:

Revised dispensationalists proposed different views on the kingdom of God (no longer distinguished from the kingdom of heaven), emphasized to different degrees the applicability of Christ’s teachings to the church [e.g., the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer], and rejected the idea of dual spheres of eternal salvation [i.e., earthly and heavenly]. They saw the two purposes as anthropological (simply a difference between Israel and the church as such) rather than cosmological (heavenly versus earthly programs)[2] [brackets mine].

Ryrie is very helpful in demonstrating the essence of dispensationalism, “The essence of dispensationalism is (1) the recognition of a consistent distinction between Israel and the church, (2) a consistent and regular use of a literal principle of interpretation, and (3) a basic and primary conception of the purpose of God as his own glory rather than the salvation of mankind.”[3] These three points are foundational to Traditional Dispensationalism, and so long as they are maintained, one can identify as a traditional dispensationalist regardless of whether one holds to four, five, six, seven, or eight historical dispensations. Traditional dispensationalists understand these three key components to distinguish them from hermeneutical paradigm of Covenant Theology.

Up to this point, dispensationalism has communicated a hermeneutic that understands biblical history as made up of a string of successive administrations. During each administration, there is revelation from God concerning his will, the responsibility of humanity to respond appropriately to the divine will, the failure of humanity to fulfill its responsibility, the judgment of God ends the administration, and a new administration follows. God’s glory is the purpose and theme that harmonizes the administrations. However, Ryrie speaks of “carryovers” between dispensations that also contributed to a more harmonious relationship between the dispensations. For example, promises and some institutions continue from one dispensation to the next (covenants, the image of God in humanity, depravity of humanity, etc.), and some institutions are not only carried over but also developed in a following dispensation (sacrificial system, capital punishment, the Ten Commandments, etc.).[4]This nuance of “carryover,” continuity, and harmony between the dispensations eventually gave way to the final development of dispensationalism in our day—Progressive Dispensationalism.


[1] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 28.

[2] Blaising, “Dispensation, Dispensationalism,” 345.

[3] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 45.

[4] Ibid., 57–8.

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What Is Dispensationalism? Part 3

The Classic Dispensationalism of Cyrus Ingerson Scofield and Lewis Sperry Chafer

Out of the Bible Conference Movement came the man to whom Church history can attribute the first thorough analysis and expression of classic dispensationalism as an interpretive paradigm for the biblical story—Cyrus Ingerson Scofield.

After Scofield’s conversion, he realized that he knew very little about the Bible. With his analytical mind-set, Scofield set out to read and study the Scriptures. After all, it was not nearly as long as many other books he had studied before. Cyrus decided to start with the Book of Matthew in the New Testament. The first verse of the first chapter of Matthew starts with  “the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham . . . “Scofield had heard a little about David, but who was Abraham?  So he was forced to go back to Genesis and start at the beginning. Scofield was fortunate to have had James Brookes as a pastor and teacher in his early days as a believer, but Scofield was a man who had to study the Bible for himself in a way that made sense to him. Brookes had respected the teachings of James Darby, and Scofield found Darby’s age approach to dispensationalism helpful. Both Jonathan Edwards and Isaac Watts preached a prelude to dispensationalism. It is true that Scofield Memorial Church began as a Congregational Church with theology was  similar to that of the Presbyterian Church and John Calvin, but as Scofield grew in his knowledge of the Scriptures, he became convinced that a dispensational approach was the best way to teach the Scriptures and to help anyone understand the Bible.[1]

Scofield’s dispensational influence spread through two primary avenues. First, “[He] formed a board of Bible conference teachers and in 1909 produced through Oxford Press a reference Bible (second edition in 1917) which became famous throughout the United States and around the world. The Scofield Reference Bible was filled with expositional and theological annotations which put a ‘Bible Conference’ into the hands of thousands of evangelical Christians” [brackets mine].”[2] Here is a chart[3] that defines and describes Scofield’s classical dispensationalism according to his 1917 edition of the Scofield Reference Bible:

Dispensation Defined by Scofield: “The Dispensations are distinguished, exhibiting the majestic, progressive order of the divine dealings of God with humanity, ‘the increasing purpose’ which runs through and links together the ages, from the beginning of the life of man to the end in eternity. Augustine said: ‘Distinguish the ages, and the Scriptures harmonize’ . . . A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. Seven such dispensations are distinguished in Scripture.”[4]

Title of Each Dispensation

Description of Each Dispensation

Scripture Section of Scofield Reference Bible

Innocency “Man was created in innocency, placed in a perfect environment, subjected to an absolutely simple test, and warned of the consequence of disobedience. The woman fell through pride; the man, deliberately (1 Tim. 2:14). God restored His sinning creatures, but the dispensation of innocency ended in the judgment of the Expulsion (Gen. 3:24).”[5] Genesis 1:28–3:13
Conscience “By disobedience man came to a personal and experimental knowledge of good and evil—of good as obedience, of evil as disobedience to the known will of God. Through that knowledge conscience awoke. Expelled from Eden and placed under the second, or Adamic Covenant, man was responsible to do all known good, to abstain from all known evil, and to approach God through sacrifice. The result of this second testing of man is stated in Gen. 6:5, and the dispensation ended in the judgment of the Flood. Apparently ‘east of the garden’ (v. 24), where were the cherubims and the flame, remained the place of worship through this second dispensation.”[6] Genesis 3:22–7:23
Human Government “Under Conscience, as in Innocency, man utterly failed, and the judgment of the Flood marks the end of the second dispensation and the beginning of the third. The declaration of the Noahic Covenant subjects humanity to a new test. Its distinctive feature is the institution, for the first time, of human government—the government of man by man. The highest function of government is the judicial taking of life. All other governmental powers are implied in that. It follows that the third dispensation is distinctively that of human government. Man is responsible to govern the world for God. That responsibility rested upon the whole race, Jew and Gentile, until the failure of Israel under the Palestinian Covenant (Deut. 28:1–30:10) brought the judgment of the Captivities, when ‘the times of the Gentiles’ (see Lk. 21:24; Rev. 16:14) began, and the government of the world passed exclusively into Gentile hands (Dan. 2:36–45; Lk. 21:24; Acts 15:14–17). That both Israel and the Gentiles have governed for self, not God, is sadly apparent. The judgment of the confusion of tongues ended the racial testing; that of the captivities the Jewish; while the Gentile testing will end in the smiting of the Image (Dan. 2) and the judgment of the nations (Mat. 25:31–46).”[7] Genesis 8:20–11:9
Promise “For Abraham and his descendents it is evident that the Abraham Covenant (Gen. 15:18, note) made a great change. They became distinctively the heirs of promise. That covenant is wholly gracious and unconditional. The descendants of Abraham had but to abide in their own land to inherit every blessing. In Egypt they lost their blessings, but not their covenant. The Dispensation of Promise ended when Israel rashly accepted the law (Ex. 19:8). Grace had prepared  a deliverer (Moses), provided a sacrifice for the guilty, and by divine power brought them out of bondage (Ex. 19:4).; but at Sinai they exchanged grace for law. The Dispensation of Promise extends from Gen. 12:1 to Ex. 19:8, and was exclusively Israelitish. The dispensation must be distinguished from the covenant. The former is a mode of testing; the latter is everlasting because unconditional. The law did not abrogate the Abrahamic Covenant (Gal. 3:15-18), but was an intermediate disciplinary dealing ‘till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made’ (Gal. 3:19–29; 4:1–7). Only the dispensation, as a testing of Israel, ended at the giving of the law.”[8] Genesis 12:1–Exodus 19:8
Law “This dispensation extends from Sinai to Calvary—from the Exodus to the Cross. The history of Israel in the wilderness and in the land is one long record of the violation of the law. The testing of the nation by law ended in the judgment of the Captivities; but the dispensation itself ended at the Cross. (1) Man’s state at the beginning (Ex. 19:1–4). (2) His responsibility (Ex. 19:5, 6; Rom. 10:5). (3) His failure (2 Ki. 17:7–17, 19; Acts 2:22, 23). (4) The judgment (2 Ki. 17:1–6, 20; 25:1–11; Lk. 21:20–24).”[9] Exodus 19:8–Matthew 27:35
Grace “As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 3:24–26; 4:24, 25). The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as a fruit of salvation (John 1:12, 13; 3:36; Mt. 21:37; 22:42; John 15:22, 25; Heb. 1:2; 1 John 5:10–12). The immediate result of this testing was the rejection of Christ by the Jews, and His crucifixion by Jew and Gentile (Acts 4:27). The predicted end of the testing of man under grace is the apostasy of the professing church (see ‘Apostasy,’ 2 Tim. 3:1–8, note), and the resultant apocalyptic judgments. Grace has a twofold manifestation: in salvation (Rom. 3:24 refs.), and in the walk and service of the saved (Rom. 6:15, refs.).”[10] John 1:17[–Revelation 20:3][11]
The Fulness of Times or The Kingdom “This, the seventh and last of the ordered ages which condition human life on the earth, is identical with the kingdom covenanted to David (2 Sam. 7:8–17; Zech. 12:8; Summary; Lk. 1:31–33; 1 Cor. 15:24;, Summary), and gathers into itself under Christ all past ‘times’: (1) The time of oppression and misrule ends by Christ taking His kingdom (Isa. 11:3, 4). (2) The time of testimony and divine forbearance ends in judgment (Mt. 25:31–46; Acts 17:30, 31; Rev. 20:7–15). (3) The time of toil ends in rest and reward (2 Thess. 1:6, 7). (4) The time of suffering ends in glory (Rom. 8:17, 18). (5) The time of Israel’s blindness and chastisement ends in restoration and conversion (Rom. 11:25–27). (6) The times of the Gentiles end in the smiting of the image and the setting up of the kingdom of the heavens (Dan. 2:34, 35; Rev. 19:15–21). (7) The time of creation’s thraldom ends in deliverance at the manifestation of the sons of God (Gen. 3:17; Isa. 11:6–8; Rom. 8:19-21).”[12] Revelation 20:4–22:21

Second, the First Congregational Church of Dallas was founded in 1877 by the American Home Missionary Society. Scofield became the pastor of the First Congregational Church of Dallas in 1883 and served in this capacity until 1895. After seven years, Scofield again returned to the pastorate of the church in 1903 and served until 1910. During this time, the work for the first edition of the Scofield Reference Bible was completed (1909). The First Congregational Church of Dallas was later renamed Scofield Memorial Church in 1923. Scofield Memorial Church served as an avenue through which C. I. Scofield was able to develop his dispensational system in written form as well as a central location for dispensational teaching.[13]

Lewis S. Chafer was also a former pastor of Scofield Memorial Church (1923–1926) and a classical dispensationalist. In 1924, the boards of Scofield Memorial Church and First Presbyterian Church joined Chafer in organizing the Evangelical Theological College, which later became Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).[14] The importance of dispensationalism to Chafer as a hermeneutical blueprint is set forth in the preface of his Systematic Theology, “God’s program is as important to the theologian as the blueprint to the builder or the chart to the mariner. Without the knowledge of it, the preacher must drift aimlessly in doctrine and fail to a large degree in his attempts to harmonize and utilize the Scriptures.”[15]

“L. S. Chafer did not emphasize the time aspect of a dispensation,”[16] rather he understood a dispensation to primarily be a stewardship. Today, Dallas Theological Seminary continues to be engaged in the articulation and development of dispensationalism. Article V of The Doctrinal Statement of DTS clearly communicates the school’s position on The Dispensations[17]:

We believe that the dispensations are stewardships by which God administers His purpose on the earth through man under varying responsibilities. We believe that the changes in the dispensational dealings of God with man depend on changed conditions or situations in which man is successively found with relation to God, and that these changes are the result of the failures of man and the judgments of God. We believe that different administrative responsibilities of this character are manifest in the biblical record, that they span the entire history of mankind, and that each ends in the failure of man under the respective test and in an ensuing judgment from God. We believe that three of these dispensations or rules of life are the subject of extended revelation in the Scriptures, viz., the dispensation of the Mosaic Law, the present dispensation of grace, and the future dispensation of the millennial kingdom. We believe that these are distinct and are not to be intermingled or confused, as they are chronologically successive . . .[18]

 


[1] Peggy Rosenlund, “An Overview of Dispensationalism”, May 16, 2012, (accessed May 22, 2012).

[2] Blaising and Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism, 10–11.

[3] For several helpful charts and descriptions of a variety of dispensational viewpoints, see Ibid., 31–56.

[4] C. I. Scofield, ed., Scofield Reference Bible, 2nd ed. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1917), iii, 5.

[5] Ibid., 5.

[6] Ibid., 10.

[7] Ibid., 16.

[8] Ibid., 20.

[9] Ibid., 94.

[10] Ibid., 1115.

[11] Ibid., 1250, 1349; C. I. Scofield and E. Schuyler English, eds., Scofield Reference Bible, 3rd ed. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1967), 1273, 1373. The 1967 revision had to be consulted here because of a lack of clarity in the 1917 edition.

[12] Scofield, Scofield Reference Bible, 1250; Scofield and English, Scofield Reference Bible, 1373–74.

[13] The information in this paragraph was provided by Lolana Thompson, ed., “Guide to Scofield Memorial Church Selected Records”, October 2005, (accessed May 19, 2012).

[14] Ibid.

[15] Lewis S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 1 & 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1976), xiii.

[16] Rosenlund, “An Overview of Dispensationalism.”

[17] It should be noted that this article on The Dispensations is identical to the doctrinal statement of Scofield Memorial Church.

[18] See the Scofield Memorial Church or Dallas Theological Seminary Doctrinal Statement for the full articulation of the doctrine of The Dispensations.

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