Berean Dispensational Site



UPDATED October 7, 2009


I recently participated in a book project that focuses on the unity of the Body of Christ. The title of the book is Preserving Evangelical Unity. My friend Michael Meiring, editor of the book, informs me that it was published on the 1st of October. Please see
HERE for the book description and reviews. This book includes a collection of essays, response papers, and counter-rebuttals by various Protestant and Evangelical theologians, dealing with issues that have previously led to divisions within the Body of Christ (e.g. Calvinism vs. Arminianism, Dispensationalism vs. the Continuity View; Cessationism vs. Continuationism; etc.) My essay and response paper represent the Dispensational view.

Announcement: For the benefit of all those who continue to watch this ministry closely, Yahoo recently announced that it will soon close all geocities sites. Please see http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/geocities/geocities-05.html for details. However, the Dispensational Berean Site will continue to be in operation. Until then, those who prefer to use this original site are welcome to do so. Those who find the new site more preferable are welcome to go there as well. While both sites have very different designs, they currently both have the same material and content. It's your preference to use the one that is more comfortable. We continue to be encouraged by the number of people who come in from day to day in the hopes of understanding God's Word more clearly.

Thanks again to Jeremy Lucas, from http://www.advancementofgrace.com, for all of the hard work he has done in transferring all of the material, and giving Dispensational Berean Site a truly professional look.

Here's a really strange coincidence. Back in 1999, I first placed my study entitled The Basics of Mid-Acts Dispensationalism on the Internet. I first put this study together in 1992. Recently, portions of this study have shown up almost verbatim in Terry McLean's booklet by the title "Basics of Mid-Acts Dispensationalism", as advertised at http://www.discerningthetimespublishing.com/B-MAD.htm . I have found over seven pages in Brother McLean's booklet that read practically the same as my study, almost word-for-word. I’m certain that my study was not based on any of Brother McLean's material, because when I first wrote it in 1992-1993, I had never heard him teach on dispensationalism. In response to recent e-mail correspondence as to which portions are similar, I am posting the main ones I have found at http://www.geocities.com/benwebb.geo/Similarities.html. (All I can say is that great minds think alike!)



Steve Holder recently invited me to join the Society of Dispensational Webmasters; he is Founder and Administrator of this Society. Please click the following link for details:




The purpose of this web site is to set forth the basic concept of Dispensationalism, and visitors are encouraged to make up their own minds concerning the various views on this topic. Even though the editor of this site will set forth his own view from time to time, the intent is not to promote one Dispensational view to the exclusion of another. Rather, in order for the reader to better understand why each Dispensational "camp" holds to a particular belief, all valid views on Dispensationalism are represented at this site.

But as the editor of this site, I do want to acknowledge that I am a HYPER-Dispensationalist of the mid-Acts persuasion, simply because the church is no longer operating as it did in Acts chapter 2. Even Traditional (Acts 2) Dispensationalists agree that things have changed since then; and we no longer have "all things common", nor do we sell our possessions and goods, and distribute them to all men, as every man has need (Acts 2:44-45; compare Luke 12:32-33 and 14:33).

I make the admission that I am a Hyper-Dispensationalist because one of the criticisms leveled at us by our Acts 2 brethren is that none of us are willing to admit that we are "hypers". Maybe this claim is true; I have no way to verify such an allegation. But if I am not the first to do so, I want to be among the first to acknowledge my Hyper-Dispensational beliefs.

So I find no fault with the beliefs held by our Acts 2 brethren. Since I cannot disprove it, I must admit the possibility that the 12 apostles might have been members of the body of Christ. But even though I admit the possibility, I still wouldn't consider myself to be a dogmatic memer of the "12-In" crowd, because the scriptures are really silent on this matter. And as a wise man once said, we are left to draw our own conclusions based upon the evidence, but it would behoove us to be silent where the scriptures are silent. And they are definitely silent on this matter.


WHAT IS A BEREAN?

In Acts chapter 17, the apostle Paul escapes from the unbelieving Jews in Thessalonica, and is taken by night into Berea. Afterwards, he enters a synagogue of the Jews in Berea. The Bible states that these Bereans were "more noble" than the Jews of Thessalonica, since they "searched the scriptures daily", in Acts17:11 -

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

A Berean, then, is simply a Christian who searches the scriptures to verify whether the things he has been taught are scriptural. Sad to say, though, many Christians are not Bereans, since many of them will swallow any doctrine that is taught by their Church - even if there is no scriptural support for that particular doctrine. Certain "Covenant Theologians", for example, have claimed that water baptism has replaced circumcision as the "seal" of the New Covenant. A Berean, though, will soon discover (from searching the scriptures) that such a teaching has absolutely no scriptural foundation whatsoever. So a Berean, in view of Acts17:11, is simply a Christian who allows the scriptures alone to be the final authority. A true Berean will not accept any teaching that has no scriptural foundation.

And just what is Dispensationalism?

In a nutshell, Dispensationalism is based upon a separation between Israel and the church - scriptures which were written exclusively to Israel do not apply to the church today, and scriptures written to the church do not apply to Israel. The church today is not "spiritual Israel", and cannot claim promises which the Lord made to Israel alone (such as His promise to give Israel an earthly kingdom; see Mt. 5:5, in which the Lord quoted from Psalms 37:11; see also Deut. 28:1 and Zech. 14:17). Even though non-Dispensationalists also admit that certain Old Testament commandments no longer apply to believers today (such as the Old Testament sacrifices and dietary laws), these non-Dispensationalists do not go so far as to separate the church today from Israel.

Take, for example, the belief in a pre-trib "rapture". This is a Dispensational concept, because it is based upon a distinction between Israel and the church. This teaching, based on 1 Thessalonians 4:13 through 5:10, states that there will come a time when believers who are alive will be "caught up together" with "the dead in Christ" to meet the Lord in the air, prior to the "day of the Lord". That future day of the Lord is the same "day" that was prophesied to be a day of "destruction from the Almighty" in the Old Testament scriptures, as in Joel 1:15 -

Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

According to 1 Thess. 4:15 through 5:3, it is only after we are all "caught up together...in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" that "they" (i.e., anyone who is left, including those of Israel referred to in Joel 1:15) shall say, "Peace and safety", and the "destruction" of Joel 1:15 shall suddenly come upon "them", "as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonials 5:3). Here is the entire passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:13 through 5:10 -

13: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14: For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15: For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18: Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Chapter 5

1: But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2: For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3: For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4: But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5: Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6: Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7: For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8: But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9: For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10: Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.


Dispensationalists believe the above events are in chronological order: after "we which are alive and remain" are caught up ("raptured") with the dead in Christ to meet the Lord in the air, the "day of the Lord" of 1 Thess. 5:2 will occur, along with the sudden destruction" of verse 3, which matches the "destruction from the Almighty" that occurs during the "day of the LORD" in Joel 1:15.

And yet, even though a belief in a pre-trib "rapture" is a Dispensational concept, this belief is also shared by some who would otherwise ascribe to "Covenant Theology". Indeed, there are many individuals who actually mix Dispensational Theology with Covenant Theology. For example, the Lutheran Church and the Presbyterian Church both ascribe to Covenant Theology (they believe the church in the New Testament can claim the promises made to Israel in the Old Testament), and neither Church officially endorses a pre-trib "rapture". Yet many members of those Churches still believe in the Dispensational concept of a pre-trib "rapture", regardless of what their Churches "officially" teach. And most of these members probably don't even realize this is a Dispensational concept!

So there is more to Dispensationalism than just recognizing the distinction between Israel and the church, as illustrated by the fact that many non-Dispensationalists also believe in a pre-trib "rapture". A direct consequence of recognizing this distinction is the Dispensational practice of dividing the scriptures into different periods of time, or dispensations. Earlier scriptures that were written to Israel (such as our Old Testament) are viewed as "Jewish" scriptures, and certain Greek (New Testament) scriptures that were written later are viewed as "Church" scriptures.

Plus, since many Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel have not yet been fulfilled, a further division is made in these "Jewish" scriptures between fulfilled scripture and unfulfilled prophecy, with scriptures concerning the present-day church being placed between the two. The point in the book of Acts when the present church began will correspond with the same point in time when scriptures concerning Israel temporarily ceased to be fulfilled. For example, those who believe the church began in Acts chapter 2 would be considered "Acts 2 Dispensationalists", because they believe those scriptures concerning Israel temporarily ceased to be fulfilled in Acts chapter 2, when the Lord began the present church. Likewise, "mid-Acts Dispensationalists" believe those scriptures which applied to Israel continued to be fulfilled up until some point in the mid-Acts period, at which point they ceased and the present church began. And "Acts 28 Dispensationalists" believe those scriptures which applied to Israel continued to be fulfilled all the way up until Acts 28 (or shortly thereafter), when the present church began.

Yet all of the above-mentioned Dispensationalists generally agree that once the church is "raptured", prophecy concerning Israel will again begin to be fulfilled.

Recognizing a distinction between Israel and the church also results in a tendency for many Dispensationalists (and even non-Dispensationalists) to view a dispensation as a specific period of time; although that is more of a "broad" definition. But all Dispensationalists do tend to take a more literal view of the scriptures (especially concerning prophecies which pertain to Israel), while Covenant Theologians tend to spiritualize these Old Testament promises (one direct result of Covenant Theology is the denial that the Kingdom will be established at the second coming of Christ).

Although the most accurate definition of a Dispensationalist is a Christian who makes a distinction between Israel and the present-day church, the term "Dispensationalist" has taken on a negative connotation in some Christian circles, due to various misrepresentations of what it is that we actually believe. As a result, even some Dispensationalists do not apply the term to themselves, either out of ignorance over what constitutes a "true" Dispensationalist, or out of embarrassment from the negative connotations associated with the word (or out of both ignorance and embarrassment).

So, even though there are varying degrees of dispensationalism, and numerous opinions as to what constitutes a "true" dispensationalist, our common doctrine centers around the belief that the church is not "Spiritual Israel". Therefore, even many diverse groups such as Methodists and Baptists contain Dispensationalists, since neither denomination requires its member churches to teach that the church is "Spiritual Israel". Likewise, there are numerous Pentecostal churches that are dispensational, as well.

And Dispensationalism is indeed a scriptural concept - the apostle Paul stated that a dispensation of the gospel was committed unto him in 1 Cor. 9:17; he stated that the dispensation of the grace of God was given to him in Eph. 3:2, and he stated that the dispensation of God was given to him in Col. 1:25. And because Paul makes a distinction between Israel and the church in numerous passages, Dispensationalists realize Israel and the church are two separate entities.

To summarize, opinions differ widely among Dispensationalists as to when the church actually began, so we often distinguish ourselves from other dispensationalists, who hold to a different starting point for the church. The most common method for doing so is to label ourselves according to the chapter of the book of Acts in which we believe the modern church (the body of Christ) began:

1. "Traditional" Dispensationalists: Christians who believe the body of Christ began some time between the birth of Christ and Acts chapter 2 (on the day of Pentecost) are generally referred to as Traditional Dispensationalists, among whom there are also several subcategories. Acts 2 Dispensationalists, for example, believe the church started in Acts chapter 2, on the Day of Pentecost. The Baptist, Methodist, and Pentecostal organizations all contain Traditional Dispensational churches.

2. Mid Acts Dispensationalists: Christians who believe the body of Christ did not begin until Paul was saved are referred to as Mid Acts Dispensationalists. Since Paul was saved in Acts chapter 9 (considered to be the Mid Acts Period), and his first recorded sermon is in Acts chapter 13 (which is still in the Mid Acts period), these brethren may differ among themselves as to exactly when the body of Christ began (some believe it began in Acts chapter 9; some believe it began in Acts chapter 11; some believe it began in Acts chapter 13). However, Mid Acts Dispensationalists generally believe that Paul was the first member of the body of Christ. As a result, they associate the present body of Christ with the dispensation of grace which was given to the apostle Paul (Eph.3:2; Col.1:25).

So Mid Acts Dispensationalists, in general, also teach that the body of Christ could not have been in existence before this dispensation of grace began (although this is not a required belief). Men such Charles F. Baker and C. R. Stam are examples of Mid Acts Dispensationalists.

3. Acts 28 Dispensationalists: Christians who believe the present church did not begin until after Paul wrote his Acts epistles (Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, and 1&2 Thessalonians) are referred to as Acts 28 Dispensationalists. Like most Mid Acts Dispensationalists, the Acts 28 Dispensationalists also believe that Paul was the first member of the body of Christ. Consequently, Acts 28 Dispensationalists will also associate the present body of Christ with the dispensation of grace, which was given to the apostle Paul (Eph.3:2; Col.1:25).

However, not only do the Acts 28 Dispensationalists teach that the body of Christ could not have existed before Paul was saved; they also believe that much of Paul's early doctrine (which is found in his Acts epistles) is different from the later doctrine found in his Prison epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians). Consequently, these brethren also believe that Paul's early doctrine was different from the doctrine contained in his Pastoral epistles (1&2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon).

Like the Mid Acts Dispensationalists, then, the Acts 28 Dispensationalists also believe the body of Christ could not have begun before the present dispensation of grace. The Acts 28 dispensationalists, though, believe Paul was a minister of the New Covenant during the Acts period, when he wrote his epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, and Thessalonians. Based upon this belief, they teach that those Gentiles who believed during the Acts period stand to receive the New Covenant promises of Israel, when she comes into her own inheritance.

Plus, Acts 28 Dispensationalists also teach that the heavenly inheritance of the present church was not revealed until after Paul wrote his Acts epistles. Based upon this teaching, they believe that once the Acts period ended, anyone who believed Paul's revelation stood to receive a heavenly inheritance, even if they were saved during the Acts dispensation. They base this teaching upon their belief that one's calling dictates one's inheritance. Men such as E. W. Bullinger (famous for his Companion Bible) and Charles H. Welch are examples of Acts 28 Dispensationalists.

Although many dispensationalists are stereotyped by our rejection of such practices as water baptism and speaking in tongues, this stereotype is not true of every dispensationalist. Baptists and Methodists, for example, still practice water baptism, and numerous Pentecostals practice both speaking in tongues and water baptism. But within this wide range of believers, those who are dispensational do not believe the church is "Spiritual Israel". However, most Christians who belong to one of these groups (or denominations) would not consider themselves to be dispensationalists. Instead, they would consider themselves to be Baptists, Methodists, etc.

Why, then, are most dispensationalists stereotyped by our rejection of water baptism and speaking in tongues? Usually, this is a distinction that we ascribe to ourselves, since the term "dispensational" most accurately describes our own theological approach to the scriptures. Therefore, not every dispensationalist is going to agree with every statement on this Web Site. However, those who recognize Paul's distinct apostleship to the Gentiles will agree with most of the points we do set forth here.

In addition, there are other distinctions that dispensationalists make among themselves, as well:

4. Pauline Dispensationalists focus upon the heavenly inheritance of the church.
9/27/09 Update: It has been pointed out to me that a previous statement I had made here was incorrect, and I would like to correct it: I had stated that Pauline Dispensationalists "all" agree the body of Christ began with the apostle Paul. That statement was incorrect. Miles Stanford has a page on Pauline Dispensationalism, at http://withchrist.org/MJS/pauline.htm , where he states that "...the Church that Paul presents is heavenly—her Source is in heaven, although her birth took place on earth on the Day of Pentecost." Nevertheless, Christians who are Pauline Dispensationalists still comprise both the Acts 28 position and the Mid Acts position, since both focus upon the heavenly inheritance of the believer. These two groups simply disagree among themselves as to exactly when the church began. (Please Note: This does not mean that the Lord Jesus could not be a member of His Own body, as certain opponents have wrongly concluded. Such an allegation is nothing more than a misrepresentation of Pauline beliefs. Paul himself states that he "laid the foundation", Which is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ [1 Cor. 3:10-11]; and others built upon that foundation. Likewise, he states that the Lord Himself is the chief corner stone, being "the foundation of the apostles and prophets" [Eph. 2:20]. This does not mean that Christ was not a member of His Own body; rather, it simply means that the body of Christ - which is a spiritual body [1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:4) - could not have existed before Paul laid the foundation.) In any case, Pauline Dispensationalists also associate the present body of Christ with the dispensation of grace which was given to the apostle Paul (Eph.3:2; Col.1:25).

5. Berean Dispensationalists, including the originator of this Web Site, endorse certain aspects contained in all of the above positions. My theology would be considered Mid Acts dispensational in nature, since I still believe that Paul alone is the apostle of the Gentiles, and I also believe that Paul was the first earthly member of the body of Christ.

Yet the Bible never actually states that Paul was the first member of the body of Christ, which is one doctrine that is firmly professed by those who ascribe to the Pauline, Mid Acts, and Acts 28 positions. As a result, while I still ascribe to the Mid-Acts position, I must also allow for the possibility that Peter, James, and John could have also become members of the body of Christ (this is known as the "12 in/out debate"). Indeed, since the scriptures themselves never specifically exclude these believers from the body of Christ, then neither should I.

Now, there has been some confusion as to exactly what I believe; so for the record, I would like to clarify my position:

It is my own personal opinion that the body of Christ actually began with Paul. After all, the Bible clearly states that the dispensation of grace was given to Paul (Eph.3:2, compare 1Cor.9:17; Col.1:25); and he was the only apostle who was ever referred to as "THE" apostle of the Gentiles (Ro.11:11-13; Ro.15:16; Eph.3:1-2; etc., compare Gal.2:7-9). However, none of this actually proves that Paul was the first member of the body of Christ. Rather, this is simply my opinion, based upon my own understanding of the scriptures.

Therefore, even though I realize the dispensation of the grace of God was given to Paul alone, and he was the one in whom Christ first shewed forth "all longsuffering" (1Tim.1:16), I also allow for the possibility that the body of Christ could have existed before this dispensation of grace began. Again, the scriptures never actually exclude such a possibility. And if the scriptures never specifically associate the body of Christ with the dispensation of grace, then I see no need to do so, either (especially since my position does not exclude any other Mid Acts Dispensational beliefs). After all, even though Christ first shewed forth all longsuffering in Paul, that does not automatically make him the first member of the body of Christ.

Some of the earlier members of the body of Christ, then, might have an earthly inheritance (such as Peter, James, and John), while other members (beginning with the apostle Paul, and including all believers today) would have a heavenly inheritance. This difference of opinion, although minor from my viewpoint, is still necessary, since the scriptures never specify exactly when the church (the body of Christ) began.

As a result, even though I allow for the possibility that the body of Christ may have begun before Paul was saved, that does not mean I believe that it did.

I do, however, wholeheartedly agree with the following quotation, which is taken from Mr. C. R. Stam's Commentary on Galatians, Copyright 1998, by BEREAN BIBLE SOCIETY, Pages 301-302 -

WHAT WE BELIEVE


"We believe that when God ushered in the dispensation of grace and began to form the Body of Christ all believers were included in it, just as all the children of Israel came under the dispensation of law when the law was given at Sinai, even though they had previously lived under another dispensation. God's dispensations are not dependent upon degrees of human understanding, but upon His own sovereign will.

Nevertheless, the truth of 'the mystery' was gradually revealed to and through the Apostle Paul (Acts 26:16; IICor.12:1) so that there was a gradual transition from the old program to the new. The old program did not immediately disappear, to be replaced by the new..."


Thus, I am a Berean Dispensationalist. As a Berean, I have "searched the scriptures" (Acts17:11) from a dispensational standpoint, in order to ascertain whether or not they state that Paul was the first member of the body of Christ. Having done so, I have found that the scriptures never exclude Peter, James, John, or Jude from the body of Christ. And because the scriptures never exclude them, then I have no reason to exclude them, either.

So with the exception of the Traditional Dispensational category, all of the above dispensationalists believe that the Four Gospels, as well as the epistles written by James, Peter, Jude, and John (some also include the epistle to the Hebrews), all contain certain doctrines that were intended for the nation of Israel alone. Since Paul alone proclaimed himself to be "the apostle of the Gentiles" (Ro.11:13), as well as "the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles" (Ro.15:16), we all believe that only Paul's epistles are written to the church today. Although we firmly believe that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2Tim.3:16), we cannot claim doctrines that were not written to us today.

Yet some people will still misunderstand our definition of a dispensation, since their church used to grant its members a "dispensation" (special permission) to disobey some of its rules. Such a definition, though, is not a scriptural definition; nor is it based upon the scriptural use of the term. From our viewpoint, a dispensation is characterized by the manner in which the Lord looks upon those whom He has chosen. For example, this dispensation of grace is characterized by "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts20:24).


The Open Directory Project


In a continuing effort to promote the understanding of Dispensationalism, and to refute the mis-information surrounding Dispensational Theology, your Berean Dispensational host is also the editor for the Dispensationalism category for the Open Directory Project, which is a human-driven directory that feeds search engines such as Google, AltaVista, HotBot, Yahoo, Lycos, etc. Since this Directory depends upon human input, the sites that are listed in ODP stand a much better chance of obtaining higher ratings in the search engines.

And for those who may be interested in learning more about the pre-tribulation "rapture", your Berean Dispensational host is now the editor for two different Pre-Trib sections of the ODP:

The Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/Christianity/Perspectives/Prophecy/Prophecies/End_Times/Millennial_Views/Premillennialism/Pre-Tribulation_Rapture/ section is for sites that address whether or not the Pre-Trib Rapture was prophesied, or whether or not it was symbolized by certain Jewish feasts.

The newest addition, the Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/Christianity/Bible/Bible_Study/By_Topic/Rapture_of_the_Church/Pre-Tribulation_Rapture/ section, is for Bible Study pages concerning the Pre-Trib Rapture, that don't necessarily address the question as to whether or not it was the subject of Old Testament prophecy.

So far, in the Dispensational section of the ODP, this editor has added well over 200 sites and articles to the various Dispensational categories, including sites under the sub-categories of :

General Dispensationalism (Contains sites that simply describe Dispensationalism in general, along with sites that chronicle the history of Dispensationalism);

Hyper-Dispensationalism (Contains Dispensational sites and discussion forums which debate the merits of Hyper-Dispensationalism, the reasons for beginning the church after Acts chapter 2, and the theological results of doing so);

Traditional, or Acts 2 Dispensationalism (consists of Dispensational sites that critique other Theological viewpoints from the Traditional [Acts 2] viewpoint; sites that defend the Traditional viewpoint from Covenant Theology, Reformed Theology, and Preterism; and sites that point out the various misconceptions concerning Dispensationalism that are being propagated by misinformed Covnenant and Reformed Theologians);

Classic Pauline, which is also listed as "Hyper-Dispensationalism", and contains the sub-cats of Mid-Acts and Acts 28;

Opposing Views (for sites that focus upon the debate among dispensationalists from the various "camps");

and even a sub-category for Progressive Dispensationalism (which most Dispensationalists do not consider to be Dispensational at all, but is still listed in an attempt to present the full spectrum of sites pertaining to all Dispensational categories).

Please be aware that your computer may not display the latest updates, unless you press "Refresh" or "Shift-Refresh" on your keyboard. And the above links are indeed great places to perform an in-depth study of the various viewpoints concerning Dispensationalism, as well as the Pre-Trib Rapture, because many of the sites listed there do not yet appear in our Berean Dispensational links.

If you are submitting a site through the above links, you should first click on "add URL" in the top right-hand corner of the screen. If the site you are submitting to Dispensationalism would fit better in one of the sub-categories (Traditional, Pauline@ Mid-Acts, Opposing Views, etc.), you should first go to that sub-category and click on "add URL". But please be patient; the ODP is sometimes rather slow. If it doesn't respond in a timely manner, just check back at a later time.

Additional Studies:

Romans 2:28-29: This study explains why believers are not "Spiritual Jews" today. In Ro. 2:28-29, Paul must literally be referring to physical Jews who had never heard the gospel, when he states that "...he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly...But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly...". Paul is not referring here to believers in the church, because of his previous statement in verse 25 that circumcision profits "thou" who "keep the law" (compare Gal. 5:2, where Paul tells believers that if they are circumcised, Christ shall profit them nothing). So Paul cannot be referring to believers as being "Spiritual Jews", as some of my Covenant Theological friends have claimed. Indeed, the context of this passage goes all the way back to chapter 1, where Paul refers to those whom God gave up (1:24-28). So, because God gave them up and gave them over, there were some at that time (both Jew and Gentile) who had never even heard of Christ, who were to actually obtain eternal life through well doing (Ro. 2:6-11 says so), since they never had the opportunity to believe on Christ. (Today, this might still be true of only the most remote peoples in the world; but the vast majority of people in the world today have had a chance to hear the gospel).

The idea that Romans 2:28-29 refers to believers today as "spiritual Jews" has come up several times in conversations I have had lately, as well as in a Bible study I attend at work, which is why I put together this little study. I also received an e-mail recently from an amiable Covenant Theologian, who was willing to discuss this issue in a friendly manner, instead of arguing over it. This study is taken from my reply to his e-mail, which has been slightly edited, strictly for the purpose of clarification (his comments have not been edited at all). It is my hope and prayer that this will shed light on why I do not believe Ro. 2:28-29 refers to believers in the church.

In addition, you can also check our updated studies on:

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

The Basics of Mid-Acts Dispensationalism (compare Terry McLean's booklet by the title "Basics of Mid-Acts Dispensationalism", as advertised at http://www.discerningthetimespublishing.com/B-MAD.htm, seven pages of which are practically word-for-word identical to my own study. See http://www.geocities.com/benwebb.geo/Similarities.html).

The Deity of Christ;

Proving the Deity of Christ to Jehovah's Witnesses;

Water Baptism - a Mid-Acts Dispensational Viewpoint;

Why Speaking in Tongues is not for Today;

Romans 2:28-29 and the erroneous concept of "Spiritual Israel";

The Faith OF Christ: Why I reject the New King James Bible;

Mid-Acts Dispensationalism and the Dispensation of the Grace of God (Eph. 3:2);

And the study on Manuscript Evidence Supporting the King James Bible. Please Note: Even though I believe the King James Bible is the inerrant word of God for English-speaking people today, I do not agree with the teaching that the translators themselves were inspired. Rather, just as the Lord directs our own way (1 Thess.3:10-11); and we are led by the Spirit of God (Ro. 8:14); I also believe the Lord led the translators of the King James Bible to choose the correct family of manuscripts (the Byzantine Text).

Plus, I also believe the Lord led the King James translators to apply the proper method of translation, which was the "formal equivalence", or word-for-word method. This method of translation is far different from the "dynamic equivalence", or thought-for-thought method used by the N.I.V. translators, who translated passages based upon what they thought the passage "meant". The problem with this "dynamic equivalence" method is obvious. If the translators have an incorrect understanding of the passage, it will not be translated correctly.

For example, from my own mid-Acts Dispensational viewpoint, one of the most glaring errors in the N.I.V. is found in Ephesians 3:6, which states that the Gentiles are heirs "together with Israel", when the words "with Israel" are not found in any Greek manuscript. These words were added by the N.I.V. translators, based upon their own understanding of what the passage meant. However, from a mid-Acts Dispensational viewpoint, the Gentiles are NOT heirs "together with Israel", because the very foundation of Dispensationalism is based upon a separation between Israel and the church. Because scriptures which apply to Israel cannot be applied to the church today, Gentiles are not heirs "together with Israel", no matter what the N.I.V. states.

So, from my own mid-Acts viewpoint, the N.I.V. contains a serious error in Ephesians 3:6. And if it contains even one error, it cannot be the word of God.

It is therefore my belief that because the King James translators were LED by the Spirit of God, I believe He naturally guided them to inerrantly translate His word. This is why I make a distinction between Paul being inspired to write down the Lord's words, and the King James translators being led (not inspired) to properly translate them (I am also amazed at the number of Christians who believe the Lord led some modern writer to write a particular book, while denying the possibility that He could have also led the King James translators).

I was also asked to write a review of an article entitled "Deceiving and Being Deceived", in which Dave MacPherson not only gives erroneous information concerning the beliefs of Dispensationalists, but also makes some very serious accusations concerning the integrity and honesty of those who have chronicled the history of the pre-trib rapture doctrine. Mr. MacPherson is among certain opponents of Dispensationalism who claim that the pre-trib rapture doctrine was simply "dreamed up" by John Darby and the Plymouth Brethren in the 1830s. These opponents of Dispensationalism claim that John Darby "borrowed" this doctrine from a "prophecy" given by a young charismatic lady named Margaret MacDonald. These opponents also claim that nobody had ever even heard of the pre-trib gathering of the saints, prior to Darby and MacDonald. Meanwhile, Dispensational advocates of the pre-trib rapture believe that there is indeed evidence that pre-trib doctrine was taught long before either MacDonald or Darby mentioned it. At the web site Morgan Edwards: A Pre-Darby Rapturist, these supporters of the pre-trib rapture have documented the fact that the Rev. Morgan Edwards published his pre-trib beliefs roughly 40 years prior to either John Darby or Margaret MacDonald; and that well over a thousand years earlier, a man who is called Pseudo-Ephraem also wrote that God would gather His elect prior to the tribulation. These facts prove that the pre-trib gathering of the saints was indeed a doctrine that was being taught prior to Darby and the Plymouth Brethren. But in an attempt to deny these facts, Dave MacPherson claims that the writings of Morgan Edwards and Pseudo-Ephraim have been misquoted and taken out of context.

While I cannot attest to the accuracy of these charges from the historical aspect, Frank Marotta does a fine job of proving that Mr. Macpherson's work is lacking in historical method, in an article entitled "Dave MacPherson's the Rapture plot: weighed and found wanting" . But as far as the Dispensational aspect is concerned, I can definitely prove that Dave MacPherson is providing erroneous information concerning what most (but certainly not all) Dispensationalists actually believe. And since I can prove that these charges concerning our beliefs are incorrect, I strongly suspect that Dave MacPherson's charges concerning the history of the pre-trib rapture are also incorrect, as Frank Marotta shows. From what I have read, Morgan Edwards and Pseudo-Ephraem could still have believed in the pre-trib rapture, even if they held other beliefs that are not normally endorsed by most Dispensationalists. The only thing Mr. MacPherson proves is that neither Morgan Edwards nor Pseudo-Ephraem belonged to the "Darby camp" or the "Scofield camp" of Dispensationalism. Click Here to read my review.

Those interested in more information on this subject may also click here to read "A Review and Defense of the Pre-Tribulation Resurrection of the Church", by Jan Moser, who exposes the misrepresentations contained in Mr. MacPherson's book entitled "The Rapture Plot".

Plus, this brief article from biblefacts.org shows that pre-Tribulation Rapture views were also held by Victorinus (240AD), Cyprian (250 AD), and Ephraim the Syrian (373 AD).

Note: For a while, I continued to receive numerous e-mails from some people who apparently just wished to argue over tongues and healings. In the beginning, after one guy "spammed" me with a dozen e-mail messages in three days, he began contacting numerous other Dispensationalists on my Links page, and began calling me a "liar". In turn, many of the Dispensationalists he contacted began asking me why he had sent them copies of our correspondence; and others began to wonder how he got their e-mail addresses in the first place. I'm not sure, but maybe he saw some truth, and became upset because he cannot deny it. So, in case this guy begins contacting people on my Links page again, I am giving everyone the opportunity to decide for themselves who the real liar is, by posting copies of our correspondence on my site. I will not give out his e-mail address, because I harbor no ill feelings towards him. But if he has already contacted you, he might appreciate your thoughts, as well. You may read the entire chain at:

http://www.geocities.com/hyperdispensationalism/JD.html

Click here to read the replies of others to whom John sent copies of our correspondence.

For those wishing to better understand the various views among dispensationalists, the Berean Dispensational Links Page still has well over 200 links to other Dispensational sites and articles (I've lost count of the exact number; many of the links are broken, and I just haven't had time to fix them).

Further information, from a Traditional (Acts 2) viewpoint, concerning the debate between Covenant Theology and Dispensational Theology, can be found in an article entitled "A Comparison of Classic Dispensationalism, Covenant Theology, and Progressive Dispensationalism". In this article, Jeremy Thomas evaluates the fundamental presuppositions of Classic Dispensationalism, Covenant Theology, and Progressive Dispensationalism, in order show the foundations, the development, and the conclusions of each system.

Further information from an Acts 2 viewpoint concerning this debate between Covenant Theology and Dispensational Theology can also be found in an article entitled "The Relationship of the Church to Israel", by Hampton Keathley IV, Th.M.

Further information, from an Acts 2 viewpoint, can also be found at
DISPENSATIONALISM'S MISSING LINK, by Miles Stanford. "The primary purpose of this Paper is to consider three types of Dispensationalism, and the relationship of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America to them. These several Dispensationalisms to be addressed are Classic Pauline (vertical), Traditional (horizontal), and Progressive (inclined)."

In addition, there are also a few Dispensationalists which endorse the damnable doctrine of "Unitarian Universalism", which teaches that ALL men will eventually be reconciled to God. The following articles go a long way towards refuting the "Universalist" aspect of this unscriptural teaching:

Is it God's will that all people be saved?, by Bill Petri.

Universalism Disavowed, by Otis Q. Sellers.


Additional information on Dispensationalism may also be found at the following links:

Dispensationalism's Development, by James R. Mook, Th.D.

Dispensationalism, Date-Setting, and Distortion , by Dr. Thomas Ice

Dispensationalism Misunderstood, by Dr. Ken Blue

Essentials of Dispensationalism, by Robert Dean, Jr.

Dispensationalism, from Endtimes.org

The Subtle Errors of Covenant/Calvinist Theology

And

Comparison Chart of Dispensationalism vs. Covenant Theology
(Even though this chart comes from a Reformed site, the information is still mostly accurate; and the few inaccuracies are still topics of debate among the various Dispensational "camps".)

Information concerning the distinction we make between Israel and the church can be found at:

Israel and the Church: the Differences
, by Dr. Tom McCall


Also, online versions of the 1917 edition of the SCOFIELD REFERENCE BIBLE can be found at the following links:

http://beta.studylight.org/com/srn/
and
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/ScofieldReferenceNotes/


FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE FAITH

Important note, for those who may disagree with Dispensational Theology:

Please realize that we do not believe Covenant Theologians are "heretics"; nor is it proper for them to refer to us as such. There are five fundamentals of the faith which are essential for Christianity, and upon which we both agree:

1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Heb. 1:8-9), Who is the Creator God Himself (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16; compare Gen. 1:1); Who "laid the foundation of the earth" (Heb. 1:10-12; compare Psalms 102:24-27).

2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Mt. 1:23; Luke 1:27).

3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Ro. 3:25; Ro. 5:9; Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:12-14).
(Please note: this refers to a belief in salvation by grace alone [Sola Gratia], through faith in the Blood of Christ alone [Sola Fide] - Ro. 3:25 states that God has set forth Jesus to be a propitiation through faith in His Blood; Ro. 5:9 states that we are justified by Christ's Blood; and Eph. 1:7 states that we have redemption through His blood - see also Acts 20:28; Heb. 9:12-14).

4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; 1 Cor. 15:14-15).

5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Ro. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20), and the fact that we should rely upon scripture alone (Sola Scriptura).
Please note: this is NOT a reference to the "King James Only" debate; rather, this is a reference to people who claim to have revelations apart from the scriptures.

And those who disagree with any of the above doctrines are not Christians at all. Rather, they are the true heretics. And that is why I do not consider so-called "dispensationalists" who are Unitarian Universalists to be "True" Christians at all, because they deny the Deity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Please Note: I need to explain myself here, because I was recently contacted by a unitarian who was puzzled over this statement. He claimed that because unitarians do confess that Jesus is Lord, and that God raised Him from the dead, then according to Romans 10:9-10, they are saved, which makes them Christians. So, here is the reason I make the statement that unitarians are not Christians at all - from my perspective, because unitarians do not believe in the Deity of my Lord Jesus Christ, they are believing in "another Jesus" (2 Cor. 11:4). Unitarians deny, among other things, the fact that the author of the book of Hebrews addresses the Lord Jesus Christ as "God" (Heb.1:8, compare Psalms 45:6); they deny Peter's referral to "God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:1); they will deny that the Word was God (John 1:1); they will deny that the Father, the Word (Who is Jesus, according to John 1:1), and the Holy Ghost "bear record in heaven" (1 John 5:7); they will deny that the Jesus Who created "all things" (Col.1:16 and Eph.3:9) is the same GOD Who created "all things" (Rev.4:11); they will deny Paul's reference to the Lord Jesus Christ as "the great God and our Saviour" (Titus 2:13); they will deny that God was manifest in the flesh (1Tim.3:16); they will deny that God purchased the church with HIS Own blood (Acts 20:28); they will deny that Christ is "God blessed forever" (Ro.9:5); etc. And that is why I made the statement that unitarians are not Christians.

So among ourselves, we may vigorously debate other items, such as the merit of baptism; the consequences of Dispensationalism vs. Covenant Theology; the validity of various Bible translations; the authority of the Presbytery; etc. Such disagreements are perfectly acceptable within the confines of Christianity, because our salvation does not hinge upon those doctrines.

But if our critics deny even one of the five fundamentals mentioned above, they have departed from the faith, "giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1). By denying the above scriptural doctrines, they have heaped to themselves "teachers, having itching ears" (2 Tim. 4:3); thereby even "denying the Lord that bought them" (2 Pet. 2:1). These are the true heretics, who are preaching "another Jesus", according to 2 Cor. 11:4 -

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

And later in this same chapter, Paul refers to these people as the ministers of Satan, in 2 Cor. 11:13-15 -

13: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14: And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15: Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

So, please - if you take offense to our Dispensational Theology, don't think that we are condemning you as unbelievers or heretics. Nothing could be further from the truth. As long as you hold to the five fundamentals of the faith, you may join the debate. And together, we shall reprove the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11).

Click Here to visit the Berean Dispensational Links Page.

Additional King James Links, along with other links that are not necessarily Dispensational


Dispensational Message Boards and mailing lists:


Amazing Grace Bible Studies
Bibleunderstanding.com Message Board
Bible Forums on mid-Acts dispensationalism, moderated by Bob Hill, Obadiah, and doogieduff
"Grace Christian Ladies" Posting Board, hosted by Cecil and Connie Spivey
G.R.A.C.E. (Grace Rightly Applied Changes Everything) Discussion Board Added Jan. 9, 2005): Designed for candid, yet productive discussion on God's matchless grace through the revealed mystery presented by the Apostle Paul.
Heavenly Calling, a Q&A Comment board for all dispensational thinking, and a place to share, talk, teach, and listen.
Mid-Acts Dispensational KJO Bible Studies, Hosted by Ed Yarber. If possible, please try to attend the Northeast Ohio Grace Conference, May 26-27, 2007. Click Here for details!
Mid-Acts Dispensational Resource Center: This site contains a semi-private message board intended for use solely by Christians who are genuinely interested in mid-Acts Dispensationalism, or who are interested in learning more. Because participants must register in order to post on the message board, this should help to discourage those who wish only to "stir up" trouble, as happens on some fully public message boards.
Live Online Bible Studies From Berean Bible Church of Edgewater, Florida
Nightly Bible Studies, from Berean Bible Church of Edgewater, Florida
"Paul's Grace Message" Posting Board, Hosted by Cecil and Connie Spivey
Right Division egroup, hosted by sussoma

Member of the Mid-Acts Dispensational Webring.
For more info, click here; or contact us by e-mail.
[Previous Site] [Next Site] [Random] [List Sites]



Please note: If any mid-Acts dispensationalist is interested, the above WebRing may soon be available for new management. Currently, I am trying to find out how to hand off the ring to someone else without deleting all the sites. I used to edit this ring until about half a year ago, when the new owners of WebRing locked me out due to my "inactivity" as a ring manager. And yet, they themselves are even more negligent, to the point of being hypocrites.

For starters, the new owners of WebRing have failed to remove a site that I repeatedly asked them to remove since May! At that time, I informed them that they would need to update the ring themselves, since they had revoked my managing privileges. But it's been well over five months now, and they still haven't removed the page from the ring - even after repeated requests.

In fact, the page that explains their lockout policy actually states, "Passive management is history." What hypocrisy! They're even more "passive" than I was! Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to hand the ring to someone without deleting all the sites from the ring.


Additional Studies from Berean Dispensational
:

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

The Basics of Mid-Acts Dispensationalism (compare Terry McLean's booklet by the title "Basics of Mid-Acts Dispensationalism", as advertised at http://www.discerningthetimespublishing.com/B-MAD.htm, seven pages of which are practically word-for-word identical to my own study. See http://www.geocities.com/benwebb.geo/Similarities.html).

The Deity of Christ

Proving the Deity of Christ to Jehovah's Witnesses

Water Baptism - a Mid-Acts Dispensational Viewpoint

Why Speaking in Tongues is not for Today

Romans 2:28-29 and the erroneous concept of "Spiritual Israel"

My response to JD, who apparently just wished to argue with Dispensationalists

Review of Dave MacPherson's article that questions the integrity of pre-trib defenders

The Faith OF Christ: Why I reject the New King James Bible;

Mid-Acts Dispensationalism and the Dispensation of the Grace of God (Eph. 3:2)

Manuscript Evidence Supporting the King James Bible

Return to top of page


Other Christian Sites (not necessarily Dispensational)

Vote for this site "Top of the 'Net"


Theology Online: Dispensational Theology Debate Site and Chat Room

Download Free Bible Software from Theology Online


tbcl Find Safe Sites on the Internet!

Search Help

The Best Christian Links



Christian Top Sites
Christian Top Sites



Christian Site Search!



CrossDaily.com

CrossDaily.com
Awesome
Christian
Sites
Click Here
Vote For
This Site

CrossDaily.com -has Awesome Christian Sites where you can vote for this site & other great ones. Christian search engine, directory & voting index. You'll find Bible, chat, churches, jobs, music, reviews, software, theology, & more. See the best sites!





Send us your e-mail!



You are Guest Number Counter to Visit this Site since Jan. 01, 2000.









Hosting by WebRing.