Answering Bob DeWaay
DeWaay, an “antihyperdispensationalist”, and it seems a disciple of John MacArthur, wrote an appallingly unscriptural and misrepresentative attack against people he determined to be “Hyperdispensationalists”. In it, he claims that we who correctly see the distinctiveness of the revelation that the Lord Jesus gave to Paul are guilty of denying the authority of Christ. But is it we who do this, or is it what they in fact do? How many have changed the very words spoken by our Lord Jesus to say something that is different from what He actually said to make it say something more consistent with His later revelation to Paul. I have his entire article here with my comments indented and in a different color. This piece was used as a stick against me, so I thought it needed a response.
Hyperdispensationalism and the Authority of Christ
by Bob DeWaay
Recently I spoke with a friend from another state who recounted to me how he had lost fellowship with a long-time Christian friend because of an eccentric doctrine the friend had gotten caught up in. The particular doctrine claims Jesus’ teachings are not “for” the church, that the Great Commission is not binding on the church, that there are at least two different gospels, and that the gospel of grace was totally unknown until Paul received it. When my friend tried to correct his friend, he refused to listen and now only fellowships with others who believe these strange teachings. This is what Paul described as “factious” (Titus 3:10). A faction develops when doctrines derived from unbiblical sources become the condition for fellowship.
Is it necessary to begin with the lost friendship as an introduction? This is a great way to lead the audience to believe that the reason for the lost friendship is the so-called “eccentric doctrine”. Beginning by calling the doctrine eccentric is also leading by making a judgment before the doctrine is defined. Is this not the very definition of prejudice?
The doctrine does not claim that the Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching while on earth is not “for” the “church”. We do claim that what He taught has a particular relevance to the nation of Israel in anticipation of the prophesied and promised kingdom that was at hand. As such, it is important to understand exactly what the Lord was talking about, otherwise His words are twisted to mean something other than what they say.
The “Great Commission” (which commission is Mr. DeWaay referring to?) has been addressed in several articles on this site. The “Great Commission” was never given to “the church” (which church? There are so many denominations which one is the one with the authority?), it was given to the eleven—soon to be twelve—Apostles as official representatives of the King.
The word “gospel” is the translation of a word meaning glad message, good news, or something similar. As far as framing it as “2 gospels”, that is a sneaky way of saying that we are teaching “another gospel”. When the word “gospel” is used in the Scriptures, it is defined by its context. We do not teach “another gospel”. We do, in fact, teach the very gospel that Paul defined as the gospel that exclusively is to be preached (Galatians 1:6-9).
The dispensation of the grace of God was given to Paul. This is absolutely a scriptural statement. It is found in Ephesians 3:2.
I have since heard from several others who have had friends or family get caught up in this same teaching. For many, the current source of this doctrine is radio teacher Les Feldick. Critics of this system (myself included) call the doctrine hyperdispensationalism. It is distinct from dispensationalism, which teaches that the church age began at Pentecost.1 In this article I will describe the source of hyperdispensationalism, some of its current proponents, and examine its claims by comparing them with Scripture. I will conclude that its claims are false and constitute a diminishing of Christ’s authority over His own church.
It is always good to have a conclusion before the study is complete. “Church age” is not a Biblical phrase. It is not used once in the Scriptures. The scriptures call this the “present evil age” and call the devil the “god of this age”. Peter, the preacher at the Pentecost that Mr. DeWaay is referring to, proclaimed by the Holy Spirit that the hearers were seeing the signs of the last days as referred to by the prophet Joel. It was never called the beginning of something new, or the “Church age”. That seems to be a term invented by a church that is full of itself.
It is good to have a disparaging pet-name for something that you do not like, therefore you can treat it with disdain and encourage your readers that way every time you bring it up. What our friend would do well to learn is that “hyperdispensationalism” has a scriptural answer for many errors that are rampant among the Christian public that are mostly unanswered.
In the 19th century, Anglican clergyman E. W. Bullinger was the father of a system of theology that claimed that the gospel of grace was unknown until it was revealed to Paul. He claimed that the church age as we know it did not begin until Acts 28, when an offer to immediately institute the kingdom of God on earth was withdrawn from Israel. Bullinger claimed that only the prison epistles were binding on the church. Thus Bullinger relegated most of Scripture to a category similar to the book of Leviticus: inspired, but not directly binding on Christians in all of its details. One implication of this teaching is that Jesus’ own teachings, including the Great Commission, are not binding or applicable to the church. I label as hyperdispensational this and any other doctrine that claims that the gospel as we know it was first given to Paul sometime toward the middle or the end of Acts.
I would have to ask, has Mr. DeWaay ever actually explored what led Bullinger to make the conclusions that he did? Or read anything that Bullinger wrote without the only purpose to be to criticize him? “Binding” is a term used by Mr. DeWaay and not by E.W. Bullinger. Mr. Bullinger may not have got everything right, but he brought a lot of things to light. Warren Weirsbe did not shy away from writing the forward in a book written by Mr. Bullinger, The Great Cloud of Witnesses. Again, I would have to ask regarding the Great Commission: Does DeWaay bind all of it on himself? Does he baptize nations (Matthew 28:19), or remit sins (John 20:23)? What about signs that are to follow those that believe (Mark 16:17-18)? It is good to know Mr. DeWaay has his labels. I would have to ask, where does he find the gospel as we know it?
In 1938 H. A. Ironside wrote a rebuttal to what was then known as Bullingerism entitled Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth.2 This book is still a valuable resource for those who have been confused by the false teachings of hyperdispensationalists. Current hyperdispensationalists distance themselves from Bullinger and resent being linked to him.3
For a rebuttal to the book by Ironside, see this from J. C. O’Hair, aptly titled Wrongly Deriding Christian Brethren.
The most popular versions of this doctrine today would prefer simply to be called “dispensationalist” but will tolerate being called “mid-Acts” dispensationalists because, unlike Bullinger, they believe that the gospel of grace that they deem distinctive to Paul was revealed to him somewhere between Acts 9 and Acts 13.4 Les Feldick says this about the point at which Paul was given a never-before known message about the gospel of grace:
Now if you’re a Bible student you will catch on real quick that Paul is always referring to the mysteries that were revealed to him. And what are mysteries? Secrets. And Who kept them secret until revealed to this man? God did. And when God called Paul out of the religion of Judaism, and saved him on the road to Damascus, He sent him down to Mt. Sinai and poured out on him for 3 years all the revelations of the mysteries. There are all kinds of mysteries that Paul speaks of in his writings, and since they were revealed to him he then became the steward of those mysteries. And if he was the steward of them then he was the administrator of them. When we understand that, then this Book becomes as plain as a 300 watt light bulb. It just lays right out in front of you. Of course this is a whole new administration or dispensation. 5
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. (1 Corinthians 4:1)
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord… (Ephesians 3:1-11)
For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. (1 Corinthians 9:17)
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints… (Colossians 1:23-26)
Feldick believes that Paul’s time gaining this new mystery, that supposedly had not been told to any the other apostles, ended in about 40 A.D. By putting the change of dispensation in the middle of Acts instead of at the end of it as Bullinger does, mid-Acts dispensationalists may avoid a few of Bullinger’s extremes but they create a serious exegetical problem for themselves: they ignore the narrative unity of Luke/Acts and make it rather easy to rebut their doctrines based on their use of Acts alone and by itself. I shall demonstrate that shortly.
Would Mr. DeWaay imply here that things at the end of Acts were exactly the same as they were in the beginning? The entire book is a transition. Take the two following verses as “bookends”:
When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6)
Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. (Acts 28:28)
Between those bookends, compare Acts 5:19, Acts 12:5-12, and Acts 16:23-31 with Acts 28:16-23. The prisons in Jerusalem and Philippi could not hold the servants of the Lord, yet in Ephesians, Paul is an ambassador in bonds (Ephesians 6:20).
Are the Teachings of Jesus Binding on the Church?
Hyperdispensationalists claim that Jesus presented to the Jews an offer of a kingdom that He would have instituted during the first advent—had they accepted. They further teach that the twelve apostles continued this offer after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. It was eventually withdrawn, they say, after it was clear that the Jews were not going to accept the offer. Hyperdispensationalist C. R. Stam claims the offer was withdrawn at the end of Acts: “The offer of the kingdom, made at Pentecost, was not officially withdrawn until Acts 28:28.”6 After that time, Jews and Gentiles alike are offered salvation by grace.
The Lord offered the long promised kingdom as “at hand”. The kingdom was offered by Peter in Acts 3:19-26.
Hyperdispenstionalists claim that Jesus’ teachings were the terms that would have been in effect had the Jews accepted the offer of the kingdom. Those terms were still valid as long as the offer was valid. After that they have no importance to the church and are not binding.7 They do not claim the gospels are not canonical, but that the teachings therein are not authoritative for the church unless they contain some principles that would transcend any given dispensation, much like we would use Leviticus. Hyperdispensationalists believe that the only revelation binding on the church is that which was given to Paul.
Mr. DeWaay keeps bringing up Leviticus. Why is that not “binding”? Does Mr. DeWaay actually obey all that is written in the sermon on the mount? All of it? How about Matthew 6:34? What about the Lord’s teaching in Luke 12:33?
They also have a very different idea about the church itself. For example, when Jesus said, “On this rock I will build My church,” he supposedly was not speaking of the church (i.e., the body of Christ) but a Jewish “church” that only existed for a while until the middle of Acts. This means that the church we are in is not what Jesus called “My church.”
For example, Stam claims that we could easily solve the problem of Rome claiming Peter as the first pope if we were to realize that the church Jesus referred to as “My church” in Matthew 16:18 does not now exist on earth:
The solution to this problem [Stam’s claim that Protestants have no good answer to Rome’s claims of Papal authority based on Matthew 16 and 18] and the answer to Rome’s pretentions is again a dispensational one. It lies in the fact that from the time God changes His dealings with men—a premise which must be granted by Romanists if indeed our Lord did confer such powers upon His disciples after several thousand years of human history had elapsed—and that the church of today is not a perpetuation of the organization which Christ founded while on earth.8
This means that the church Paul speaks of in his epistles was not the church that Jesus founded or that Peter and the others belonged to. Stam claims, “The building of this house, the church of this age, was a secret which Peter and the eleven knew nothing about when they followed Christ as king and offered His kingdom to Israel at Pentecost.”9
What scripture could he point to to say that they did?
Let us examine the book of Acts to see if this claim makes sense. Hyperdispensationalists are quick to warn that simply because we see the term “church” (from the Greek word “eccle_sia” in the New Testament) it does not necessarily mean the church that exists under the gospel of grace. It is true that eccle_sia is occasionally used in a non-technical way where it simply means assembly (as it is in Acts 7:38; Acts 19:32, 39, 41). However, there are 23 other uses of eccle_sia in Acts where it means “church.”10 What is obvious is that the meaning of the term did not change in the middle of Acts. Luke applies the term to gatherings of believers throughout Acts, and this is true whether the gatherings are of Jewish or Gentile believers. Luke knew nothing of two different “churches.” To believe the hyperdispensationalist reading of Acts, we must consider the “church” that Paul persecuted according to Acts 8:1 to be unrelated to the church whose elders he admonished in Acts 20:28 (to whom Paul had preached the gospel of grace – Acts 20:24). In this thought the Acts 8 “church” was the Jewish church that Jesus called “My church” and the Acts 20 “church” was supposedly something entirely different.
A “church” in Acts is best understood as an assembly of any kind. And what exactly does “non-technical” mean? The church which is His Body is not mentioned outside of Paul’s epistles, and to find truths concerning it, that is where we look. Just about everywhere in Acts, “church” used as a term for local believers in a local assembly. Search for yourself.
Here is the problem: the change of meaning is not signaled by anything Luke wrote. In fact it never happened. The church to which God added Jews in Acts 2, Samaritans in Acts 8, God-fearing Gentiles in Acts 10, and Gentiles from Asia minor in Acts 20 is the same “church.” The hyperdispensational claim that the church under Paul is some different entity is false and constitutes a very poor reading of Acts. Such a revolutionary change would have been explained in the text had Spirit-inspired Luke knew it happened. Les Feldick says, “So when you see the word Church, this is why Paul almost always identifies it as ‘The Church which is His Body,’ which makes a big difference from the word Church that’s maybe used elsewhere in Scripture.”11 This is false: the church to which God added members early in Acts is the same church that Paul calls “the body of Christ.”
Who has the authority to say “this is false”? The term “ekklesia” is found throughout the Greek translation of the Old Testament (LXX).
But, in the hyperdispensational reading of the gospels and Acts, Jesus’ mention of “My church” is not the “church” now, and His teachings applied only to it and not directly to churches founded under Paul’s new gospel. This would mean that Paul did not believe that what Jesus taught to the 12 disciples was binding on the churches that He founded. But in Acts 20:35 Paul quoted words that Jesus taught and applied them to the church: “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Acts 20:35). These words are not found in any of the gospels, but Paul knew them to have been spoken by Jesus and applied them authoritatively to the Gentile church in Ephesus.
Paul received everything that he wrote from the Lord. We receive this message of the Lord from Paul. We speak what the Lord revealed from heaven, to and through Paul.
H. A. Ironside, in refuting the teachings of Bullinger, cited this passage:
If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. (1Timothy 6:3-5)
Here is Ironside’s application of the passage to hyperdispensationalism:
One would almost think that this was a direct command to Timothy to beware of Bullingerism! Notice, Timothy is to withdraw himself from, that is, to have no fellowship with, those who refuse the present authority of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. Where do you get those actual words? Certainly in the four Gospels. There are very few actual words of the Lord Jesus Christ scattered throughout the rest of the New Testament. Of course there is a sense in which all the New Testament is from Him, but the apostle is clearly referring here to the actual spoken words of our Saviour, which have been recorded for the benefit of the saints, and which set forth the teaching that is in accordance with godliness or practical piety. If a man refuses these words, whether on the plea that they do not apply to our dispensation, or for any other reason, the Spirit of God declares it is an evidence of intellectual or spiritual pride.12
Ironside is saying that when Paul warned Timothy against those who do not teach doctrine in agreement with “the words of the Lord Jesus,” since those words are found in the gospels, Paul is warning against teachers like Bullinger and his hyperdispensational descendants.
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 14:37)
Furthermore, the book of Hebrews claims that God has spoken “to us in His Son” (1:2) and claims Jesus’ words were confirmed to us by the apostles: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will” (Hebrews 2:3, 4). That should settle the matter—Jesus’ words and the words of His apostles are both considered from Jesus and binding on the church. But this does not work with hyperdispensationalists because to them the book of Hebrews is not for the church either. For example, Les Feldick will only apply Hebrews to those Jews under a different gospel than Paul preached:
All dispensationalists who recognize the distinctiveness of Paul’s epistles are not in agreement on the dispensational place of the Epistle to the Hebrews. My own view is that Paul wrote it from prison in Rome to the saints in Jerusalem who were saved as Jews and did not “convert to Christianity”, but were Jews every whit—”the remnant according to the election of grace”. They were Jews through and through, and were those who actually were circumcised in heart and ears, who saw and believed the realization of the promises and types and shadows contained in their divinely given religion. The promise of the Kingdom was not yet to be realized because of the unbelief of the Nation as a whole, but they were to go forth unto Christ, without the camp, bearing His reproach. It is here, in Hebrews, where Jewish believers in God’s Messiah, Who was promised to them, are commanded to leave “the Jews’ religion”.
Paul’s writings to the Gentiles (the Church) are the thirteen books of Romans through Philemon. Although Paul also wrote the book of Hebrews, he wrote it to the Jewish believers who had been saved under the gospel of the kingdom, the teaching of the twelve apostles of the circumcision (Jews). Hebrews was not written to the Gentiles.13
So, according to that thinking, what Hebrews says about the matter can be ignored safely because it was for a different “church,” and today we can safely neglect “so great a salvation” because it is no longer being offered.
What???? I would say this, that it sure helps to understand Hebrews to recognize that it was written to the Hebrews.
To Whom Were the Gospels Written?
Another huge problem for the teaching that Jesus’ words and the gospels are not for the church is that of the intended audience of the gospel writers. Take Luke for example:
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; (Luke 1:1-3)
Theophilus is a Greek name, not a Jewish name. If the gospels were only for the Jews, as the hyperdispensationalists claim, why was Luke writing to a Gentile? Furthermore, when was Luke written? It was written after the end of Acts, probably between 60 and 62 A.D. In his commentary on Luke, Robert Stein writes, “The earliest and latest possible dates for the writing of the Third Gospel are quite clear. The earliest would be immediately after the events of Acts 28 (i.e., after Paul’s arrest and two-year stay in Rome.)”14 This means that Luke wrote to a Gentile after Paul was imprisoned as recorded in Acts 28 (if not later). So Luke was written not to the supposed “Jewish Church” that supposedly existed under a gospel different from Paul’s, but to the church as it was after the supposed withdrawal of the offer of the kingdom and change of dispensations.
If we examine Luke for content, from start to finish, it is every whit Jewish. This is not to discard the contents, but to state a fact. Read chapters 1&2, then read chapter 24. It is on Jewish ground throughout. Luke wrote it out in consecutive order so that Theophilus would have an accurate account. It is irrelevant as to whether Luke or Theophilus or both were Jews or Gentiles.
But why would Luke write a gospel to the church as it was after the end of Acts and apply Jesus’ teachings to that church? Jesus’ teachings supposedly were no longer authoritative by the time Luke wrote his gospel. Why did Luke write to Theophilus? He says this: “So that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4). The gospels were given and applied to the church. The gospel writers assumed that the teachings of the head of the church, Jesus Christ, are for the church. They are not merely an historical curiosity for those who want to know what the kingdom “church” would have been like had the Jews not rejected it.
The words that the Lord spoke have never ceased to be authoritative. No Pauline dispensationalist has said that they are no longer authoritative. We just prefer not to change His words to make them fit where they do not. I wonder if Mr. DeWaay considers himself meek, and if he does, what part of the earth does he think he will inherit.
“Christianity is not based upon the teaching of Christ while on earth; we have heard Him who speaks from Heaven, and this is the special revelation of Christianity. Do not mistake me; it is not that any portion of this book is to be disregarded, for everything that belongs to Him belongs to us and what is there that does not belong to Him? What is there that does not concern His glory? But when I speak of the special revelation of Christianity, I mean the revelation that dates, not from the cross, much less from His life on earth before the cross, not even from His resurrection as He talked and walked with His disciples in His body of glory, but from His place in Ascension at the right hand of God. The voice that speaks to us speaks from heaven. And if we are Christians, we are looking for the Lord from heaven.”—Sir Robert Anderson, early “hyperdispensationalist” in “Election and Lordship”(click here for the entire article)
This is seen by this passage in Matthew: “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19). Hyperdispensationalists annul Jesus’ teaching for the church and think they are thereby “rightly dividing” the Bible.
Did Mr. DeWaay obtain mercy because he was merciful? Compare this with Titus 3:
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7)
Consider this passage in Mark: “And He said to them, ‘Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him; because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?’ (Thus He declared all foods clean.)” (Mark 7:18, 19). Hyperdispensationalists claim that the “Jewish church” until the kingdom offer was withdrawn, was still under the law. But Mark’s parenthetical clarification tells us that Jesus declared, to Jews, that all foods are clean. Despite this, hyperdispensationalist Stam says, “There is no indication of any revelation to them that the death of Christ had freed them from observance of the Mosaic law.”15 So, for whom exactly was Jesus’ teaching as recorded in Mark? If Jesus indeed declared all foods clean, He could not have done so for the Jews whom Stam says were still under the law even after the cross, and if He had not given this teaching through Paul, it was not binding on the church either (according to their scheme of things). So Jesus declared foods clean to no one at all. He was wasting His words.
As late as Acts chapter 21, Jewish believers were zealous for the Law. Peter certainly did not understand all foods to be clean in Acts 10. Here are the verses in Mark from the King James version:
And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? (Mark 7:18-19 KJV)
This is in the ESV:
And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) (Mark 7:18-19 ESV)
This is the NASB:
And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) (Mark 7:18-19 NASB)
Notice that “Thus He” in the NASB is in italics, meaning it was added by the translators. The ESV does not italicize added words, which I think to be dishonest. In any case, the sense from the King James version is that the food going out into the draught, or into the latrine, is purging it from your body, so that it does not remain in the body. In Matthew 15:16-20 no declaring of all foods clean is mentioned, because this is not what He did.
Hyperdispensationalists tell us that until mid-Acts (or in Acts 28 depending on which one you listen to), the 12 disciples intended to set up the kingdom because they still hoped that Israel as a whole would accept the kingdom offer. They consider the law to still be in affect: “This is why [because Jesus asked the Father to forgive them] as the book of Acts opens we are still in a period of time when the dispensation of Law is in effect and God’s people, Party #2, is still Israel.”16 But consider what Peter said to those who were saved from their sin on the Day of Pentecost: “And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation!'” (Acts 2:40). Why would Peter tell these believing Jews to be saved from that perverse generation (Israel that had rejected Messiah) if Peter believed that Israel might soon accept the offer and the kingdom would be established just then? The reason believers needed to be “saved from them” was that the “perverse generation” already rejected the Messiah and His kingdom. Peter saw them as the enemies of Messiah, whom they had rejected and crucified. Luke/Acts leaves open the saving of Israel as a nation (see Acts 3:19-21). But it is clear that this will not happen until after the times of the Gentiles: “and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).
If they would have repented, the times of the Gentiles would have been fulfilled. The times of the Gentiles began with the captivity to Babylon. They will end with the return of Christ to rule and reign on the earth.
The Great Commission is Rejected
Hyperdispensationalists treat the Great Commission with disdain and claim that any Christians who believe that they should seek to fulfill it are fools. Stam has an entire chapter entitled, “The So-called Great Commission.” He writes, “What a mistake to call this “the great commission” and “our marching orders”! How pathetic to see sincere believers vainly trying to carry out this commission and these orders!”17 According to this thinking, taking the Great Commission in Matthew as authoritative would create “legalism.”18 In this system, one error leads to another. Since Jesus’ teachings are not binding on the church, then this: “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20) would be legalistic. It would be a legalistic sin on par with the Galatian heresy to teach the church to obey the head of the church, Jesus Christ! But the Great Commission specifically says that it is the “nations” (ethnos) to which the disciples were sent to disciple, baptize and teach. Stam claims that this commission was only to be applied by the disciples in Israel at Jerusalem and included the idea of “baptismal salvation.”19 Since they do not believe that water baptism is for Christians, they detach the Great Commission from the church, claim that Peter preached baptismal salvation because of Acts 2:38, and thus create two different gospels, the one Peter was commissioned to preach and a different one that no one knew about until Paul.
What does Mr. DeWaay do with Acts 2:38? or Mark 16:16? One might ask this: Why did the 12 apostles free themselves from baptizing all nations and hand over the entire gentile ministry to Paul. See Galatians 2:1-9. Also think about this: at the Acts 15 council, the commission in Matthew was never referred to.
But doesn’t Jesus promise “I am with you even unto the end of the age”? No problem for hyperdispensationalists: “Neither does the promise ‘Lo, I am with you even unto the end of the age,’ present any difficulty for, remember, this present dispensation is a parenthetical period of grace with was then still a secret ‘hid in God’ (Eph. 3:9).” So we are safely rid of Jesus’ teachings, baptism, the need to go to the nations, and for good measure we are rid of “repentance for forgiveness of sins” (Luke 24:47) because, wouldn’t you know it, that is “only for the Jews.” Feldick says: “And yet for most people who are putting out the plan of salvation they say, ‘You have to ask God to forgive you of your sins, you have to repent.’ Well I can’t find any of this in Paul’s letter [sic] to the Church Age believers. It’s not in here.”20 For Feldick, if Paul did not teach it somewhere between Romans and Philemon, it is not for us and not part of the gospel. Never mind that Paul commended the Thessalonians for turning from idols to serve the living God (1Thessalonians 1:9), which surely sounds like repentance. Shortly I will show from Acts that Paul taught repentance—including changing one’s behavior—and taught it to Gentiles.
To be saved one must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died for our sins, according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. The “Lordship salvation” folk make salvation such a hard thing that I have to wonder if they know whether or not they are saved. We are forgiven through the riches of God’s grace. We often repent of many things, but it is for naught if we are unsaved. We can repent 1000 times and it will do nothing while we are dead in our trespasses and sins. We need life.
Feldick and other hyperdispensationalists claim that are at least two different gospels. I state “at least” because Stam identifies four.21 The favorite hyperdispensationalist proof text for the idea of two gospels is this passage: “But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised” (Galatians 2:7). Says Feldick: “Paul tells us in Galatians 2:7-9 that there were two Gospels, one that he (Paul) preached to the Gentiles (uncircumcision) by revelation from Jesus Christ. And the other that John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and the 12 preached to the Jews or Nation of Israel (circumcision).”22 Stam, Feldick and other hyperdispensationalists claim that the point is not just to whom Peter and Paul generally preached, but what they preached. They use the King James Version of Galatians 2:7 that says “of the circumcision” and assume that it has a different content than the gospel Paul preached. Stam claims that the gospel of the circumcision is a reference to Abraham and the gospel of the kingdom is a reference to David which is part of how he finds four gospels.23 Feldick’s two gospels are the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of grace.
See what Lewis Sperry Chafer says regarding the meaning of “gospel”.
Hyperdispensationalists are not the first to misuse Galatians 2:7. The Gnostics used the passage to claim that Paul had a different gospel than Peter. The New American Commentary on the passage says, “Many of the early Gnostic teachers latched on to Paul as their favorite apostle. In their view he had been entrusted with the “pneumatic” gospel of uncircumcision, while Peter was laden with the “psychic” gospel of the Jews.”24 According to this commentary there was later a Hegelian interpretation like this:
In the nineteenth century F. C. Baur and his disciples interpreted the history of the early church in terms of the Hegelian dialectic. According to this view, Peter and the church at Jerusalem represented the traditionalist pole in early Christianity (thesis), while Paul and his circle stood at the opposite progressivist pole (antithesis), with the emergence of an orthodox Christian consensus in the second century seen as a kind of convergence between the two (synthesis). Galatians 2:7 is a key text for imposing this kind of bifurcated grid onto New Testament history.25
The commentary also covers what it calls the “ultradispensationalist” view, the one that I am addressing in this article:
According to one dispensationalist line of argument, the gospel of circumcision that Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost was in fact a message of grace plus works (e.g., “Repent and be baptized … for the forgiveness of your sins,” Acts 2:38). However, with the calling of Paul, this message was superseded by the gospel of sola gratia. On this reading, Gal 2:7 reflects a transitional period between the dispensation of law under the old covenant and the new dispensation of sheer grace that was inaugurated primarily through the preaching of Paul.26
The commentary correctly calls all of these interpretations “erroneous.” It contains this correct assessment:
The gospel Paul preached was identical with that proclaimed by the primitive church at Jerusalem. Just as the leaders of that community recognized him and his unique role in the spread of the gospel, so too he elsewhere associated himself with them as a witness to the resurrection and gave thanks to God for how he had worked mightily through all of his apostolic colleagues: “Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preached, and this is what you believed” (1 Cor. 15:11).27
Paul said “this is what we preached”—and Paul had mentioned Peter, the 12 disciples, and other witnesses. What was it that “we” preached? That “Christ died for our sins” and the resurrection (1Corinthians 15:3, 4). Feldick says that [the gospel of grace] Paul’s gospel was not that of the others: “Jesus Himself revealed that to the Apostle Paul, and Paul alone, in I Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:9-10 and many other places in Paul’s writing. But Jesus and the 12 preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, which, for salvation, is believing that Jesus was the Messiah, repentance, and baptism.”28 But in 1Corinthians 15, Paul was obviously unaware that his gospel was different than Peter’s!
Read the entirety of Galatians 2, and answer this: Who taught who something? The Gospel of the Kingdom must be distinguished from the gospel of grace. Is it that odd to think that the promised King would come proclaiming His Kingdom at hand, and that it would be called the good news of the Kingdom?
We can prove from the book of Acts that Feldick’s claims are false. Let us begin in Acts 20 where Paul recounted his ministry there to the Ephesian elders. He begins by saying this: “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:20, 21). Contrary to Feldick’s claim, Paul preached repentance to both Jews and Greeks. Feldick claims that, based on Acts 2:38 that Peter taught that repentance and baptism were necessary for salvation; but that Paul taught neither based on the fact that in Acts 16:31 Paul only mentions “believe.”29 It is false that Acts 2:38 proves that Peter considered baptism a prior condition for salvation. Throughout Acts various things associated with salvation happen in different sequences. For example, in Acts 10 Peter preached this to the God-fearers among the Gentiles: “‘Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.’ While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message” (Acts 10:43, 44). If we were to use Feldick’s selective technique to determine ordo salutis and the terms of the universal call of the gospel from one passage, we could claim from Acts 10:43 that Peter’s message was only “believe” for forgiveness of sins and was identical to Paul’s in Acts 16:31. We would also claim from Acts 10 that baptism in water happens after conversion (which is indeed the Biblical pattern).30
But why, Mr. DeWaay, is the call different in Acts 2:38 from Acts 10, and why was Peter astonished?
Feldick’s interpretive process is fatally flawed. Concerning Acts 16:31 where Paul and Silas said, “Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ,” Feldick writes, “Does it say repent and be baptized? No.”31 Using his truncated version of what is authoritative in the New Testament he reasons, “We have to believe the Gospel and nothing else. You search Paul’s letters from Romans through Hebrews (and Hebrews is more Jewish than the rest and there is a reason for that), and show me one place where Paul teaches repentance and baptism for salvation. You won’t find it. Paul doesn’t teach it.”32 Feldick uses Acts to make the claim that Paul did not preach anything but “believe” only to turn and state that we cannot say Paul preached repentance unless we find it in his own epistles.
Repentance comes after salvation, many, many times, but we are saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not a question of repentance. The “Lordship salvationists” add a degree and definition of repentance that is foreign to all of scripture.
Let us continue our look at Acts 20. As we saw, Paul himself said that he, as was his habit for the whole time he was in Ephesus, preached repentance. If Acts tells us that Paul preached repentance, then Paul preached repentance. Feldick has no authority to deny it and claim that Paul did not preach repentance. Paul made it clear that repentance was part of the universal call of the gospel here as well: “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30, 31). How clear does the Bible have to be about this? Paul preached repentance to lost, Greek philosophers and claimed that God is commanding everyone to repent!
What about the claim that the gospel of the kingdom was different than anything Paul preached. Again, let Paul tell us what he preached: “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more” (Acts 20:24, 25). The “gospel of the grace of God” is mentioned in a synonymously parallel way with “preaching the kingdom.” These are not two different messages, one for the Gentiles and the other for the Jews. Paul preached grace and the kingdom in Ephesus to both Jews and Gentiles, by his own testimony. This is not hard to see.
The gospel of the Kingdom is about the King and His Kingdom ruling and reigning on the earth. The gospel of the grace of God is about God not judging the world for the present (make no mistake, He will) and reconciling the world to Himself by the death of Christ. See “gospel of the Kingdom” in Matthew 24.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, E. W. Bullinger, the founder of hyperdispensationalism put the beginning of the supposed new dispensation at the very end of Acts. Current hyperdispensationalists try to soften Bullinger’s claims by putting the dispensation change in the middle of Acts. But in so doing they make themselves inconsistent and easy to refute. For Bullinger only the prison epistles are authoritative for the church. Then we cannot use material in Acts or 1Corinthians to refute his claims because none of it would apply to Paul’s final version of the gospel. But Stam and Feldick can be refuted from Acts and 1Corinthians.
Consider the narrative unity of Luke/Acts and think about the claim that repentance has no place in Paul’s gospel. Early in Luke, John the Baptist told his Jewish audience to bring forth fruits that demonstrated repentance (Luke 3:8). Repentance is thematic throughout Luke/Acts, being taught by John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, and then Paul. At the end of Acts Paul said this about his message: “Consequently, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance” (Acts 26:20). By mentioning “the heavenly vision,” Paul claimed that preaching repentance to Jews and Gentiles is what Jesus called him to do.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus claimed to have all authority in heaven and on earth and thereby authorized His disciples to make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to observe everything Jesus commanded them. To say that we need do none of this because it does not apply to the church, but to a now non-existent Jewish “church” is nothing less than an attack on the authority of Jesus Christ. Such a diminishing of Jesus’ authority over His own church is a serious error, no matter how folksy the purveyors of this error may be.
We do not diminish the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. We just don’t change His words.
To truncate that which is binding on the church in the New Testament as hyperdispensationalists do has serious consequences. Not only does it lead to the claims we have examined here, but many other false teachings as well. For example, Feldick claims that the church is not part of any covenant with God. In answer to the question of whether or not we are a covenant people, he says “no.” He says, “But, the flip-side, now in Christ Jesus we are made nigh, not by covenants, but by the Blood of Christ.”33What? Paul in 2Corinthians claimed to be a minister of the new covenant (2Corinthians 3:6) and cited Jesus’ words about “the new covenant in My blood” to the Corinthians to help them understand the Lord’s Supper. Jesus links His blood to the covenant and so did Paul. Hebrews is all about the new covenant, but Feldick would not want us applying Hebrews to the church.
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:11-13)
Frankly, this exegesis of Scripture is appalling. It is convoluted and confused. Christians who listen to this sort of teaching will surely be led astray and will end up for all practical purposes with a truncated Bible. Documents written by authoritative apostles for the church, such as the epistles of John, are silenced on the grounds that they were written for some Jewish “church” that does not now exist. Jesus’ teachings are only for a non-instituted kingdom, so they bind to obedience no one who is alive today. Astonishingly, the teachings of the head of the church, Jesus Christ, are not binding on the church.
The teachers of hyperdispensationalism pick and choose as they jump around the Bible, making it nearly impossible to follow them. I know this because in preparation for this article I discovered how hard it was to read their material. The context of a passage under consideration means little to these writers. Instead they want to know which of the supposed two or more gospels the passage applies to. In their system, authorial intent as a principle of hermeneutics is dead and buried. Did Luke want us to believe that the gospel itself suddenly changed in the middle of Acts? Obviously not. But these teachers show no concern about Luke’s meaning. They import their own.
You should have read more. It looks to me like you skimmed to find what you wanted it to say.
The whole of the New Testament is for the entire church and is binding today. There is only one gospel. Water baptism is a valid practice, ordained by Jesus Christ, and practiced by His apostles—including Paul. The church is part of the new covenant. Repentance is part of the universal call of the gospel. The gospel is not limited only to what Paul stated in 1Corinthians 15:1-4. Hyperdispensationalism is false, and it should be avoided and discarded. I do not know how to state it any more clearly.
Several other important issues arise in the discussion of hyperdispensationalism’s unique theology. I will deal with two of them here. The first is whether or not the kingdom of God is different from the kingdom of heaven. The second is the misuse of 2Timothy 2:15 to teach that Paul intended that we “divide” the Bible.
The Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven
Hyperdispensationalists and even some dispensationalists teach that the kingdom of God is different from the kingdom of heaven. For example, Les Feldick teaches that the kingdom of God is “the universal and eternal rule of God. The Kingdom of Heaven is the earthly sphere of the Kingdom of God, the coming Messianic reign of Jesus Christ, the Son of David.”34 This idea is refuted very easily. Matthew used the two phrases interchangeably: And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23, 24). There also are many synoptic parallels where the terms are clearly synonymous. For example: “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11) and “And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God“ (Luke 13:29). Parallels like these exist where the synoptic gospels of Mark and Luke use the phrase “kingdom of God” in the same saying of Jesus where Matthew uses “kingdom of heaven.” That they are synonymous is obvious to any reader, or at least should be.35
Despite the clear evidence that Matthew used the terms synonymously and that they are synonymous in the synoptics, Feldick charges such teachers as Dwight Pentecost and John MacArthur with “error” for applying the Sermon on the Mount to Christians. Feldick sees the root problem as the failure to make a distinction between the kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God.36 On the contrary, it is Feldick who is teaching error, not MacArthur. Here is Feldick’s assessment of MacArthur and many other dispensationalists:
Over the past half century hypo dispensational leaders have turned their minds from the distinctions of the Kingdom of Heaven, and have embraced the error of making it synonymous with the Kingdom of God, ignoring the biblical division between earthly Israel and the heavenly Body of Christ, the Church of this age. Forgetting the message of Galatians, they attempt to make grace subject to the Mosaic Law, heresy of heresies!37
The Sermon on the Mount is not Mosaic Law! Teaching people to love their enemies and turn the other cheek is not the Galatian heresy!
Mr. DeWaay does not follow the sermon on the mount either, he just pretends to.
Sadly, even among traditional dispensationalists, 2Timothy 2:15 in the King James Version has been misused as an excuse to “divide” the Bible as much as possible. For example, C. I. Scofield wrote,
In 2 Timothy 15 he is told what is required of him as a workman: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The Word of truth, then, has right divisions, and it must be evident that, as one cannot be “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed” without observing them, so any study of that Word which ignores those divisions must be in large measure profitless and confusing.
Sadly, Mr. DeWaay refuses to rightly divide and writes articles like this.
The Greek word translated “rightly dividing” in the King James is orthotomeo_ —it literally means “cut straight.” When used as Paul does in 2Timothy it means “to teach correctly.” Louw and Nida’s lexicon says this about the word: “to give accurate instruction—‘to teach correctly, to expound rightly.'”38 Paul did not teach Timothy to “divide” the Bible, but to make correct use of it. What divisions exist or do not exist must be determined by authorial intent as shown by usage and context. In the case of kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God as we just saw, authorial intent and context show that they are synonymous. It makes no sense to claim they are different and thereby make more “divisions” (as if that was what Paul meant).
“What divisions exist or do not exist must be determined by authorial intent as shown by usage and context.” Sounds like rightly dividing to me, just like the “hyperdispensationalist” say.
Hyperdispensationalist C. T. [sic] Stam uses the introduction to his book to promote “dividing” the Bible based on the King James of 2Timothy 2:15:
II Tim. 2:15 explains how God’s workman may get the most out of the Bible, while II Tim. 3:16 declares that all of it was given for his profit. All Scripture is indeed profitable when “rightly divided,” but when wrongly divided or not divided at all, the truth is change into a lie and becomes most unprofitable.39
Taking his marching orders from a passage that he misinterprets completely, Stam sets off to divide the Bible—and the more the better (at least in his mind).
John MacArthur rightly warns against going beyond the truth that the church has not replaced Israel and “. . . there is still a future and a kingdom involving the salvation and the restoration and the reign of the nation Israel (historical Jews).”40 He then describes how many have gone beyond this to create too many categories:
Dispensationalism at that level [that God will save and restore national Israel], (if we just take that much of it, and that’s all I want to take of it, that’s where I am on that), dispensationalism became the term for something that grew out of that and got carried away because it got more, and more, and more compounded. Not only was there a distinction between the Church and Israel, but there was a distinction between the new covenant for the Church, and the new covenant for Israel. And then there could become a distinction between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven; and there could become a distinction in the teaching of Jesus, between what He said for this age and what He said for the Millennial Age; and they started to even go beyond that; and then there were some books in the New Testament for the Church and some books in the New Testament for the Jews, and it just kept going and going and going until it became this very confounded kind of system. . . . I don’t believe there are two different kinds of salvation. I don’t believe there are two different [new] covenants. I don’t believe there is a difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. I don’t believe the Sermon of the Mount is for some future age. I don’t believe that you can hack up New Testament books–some for the Jews and some for the Church.41
I love this quote by MacArthur, refusing to make distinctions about things that are distinct. Here is some more about this MacArthur quote:
John MacArthur and Dispensationalism
MacArthur is not the end of all truth. I used to hear of him as one of the most fundamentally sound teachers. I listened to his radio show for a while, and when I heard him, I kept thinking to myself, “it sounds like he is teaching works salvation”. I kept thinking to myself that it could not be, given the respect as a Bible teacher that is given him. I continued longer and came to the conclusion “he is teaching works salvation.” I don’t know of any other way to describe his extreme brand of “Lordship salvation”.
Regarding his “dispensationalism” which is in “eschatology only”, it is sad to see so many that have truly gone this way who refuse to see or even respect that this eschatology is not even possible if the distinctiveness of Paul’s epistles is rejected.
To that, I say amen. We are to interpret the Bible correctly, not “divide it up” as much as possible. – Bob DeWaay
You do need to interpret the Bible correctly, and to distinguish what is actually being said, and about what, to whom, and why.
Issue 108 – September / October 2008
End Notes to Main Article
- Hyperdispensationalists and dispensationalists agree that future, Bible prophecy is to be taken literally. They agree that there will be a literal great tribulation and a pre-millennial return of Christ. The disagreements are about when the present dispensation began and what teachings are binding on the church.
- Ironside’s entire book is published online here: http://www.biblelineministries.org/onlinebooks/wrongly-dividing-the-word-of-truth/index.html
- See http://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/articles/1011392439.html where current followers of similar theology distance themselves from Bullinger. They have at least two reasons for doing so: 1) Most of them teach that the church as the body of Christ began somewhere between Acts 9 and 13, not 28. 2) Bullinger taught annihilationism and they do not.
- S. Craig MacDonald, Understanding Your Bible, (Grand Rapids: Grace Gospel Fellowship, 1995) 52, 53.
- http://www.lesfeldick.org/lesqa-b.html from Book 37 Lesson 1 part 1.
- C. R. Stam, Things That Differ, (Milwaukee: Berean Bible Society, 1996 ed., first published in 1959) 223.
- All of this can be gleaned from C. R. Stam, Things That Differ. Les Feldick endorses Stam’s book but I notice that he differs on some points.
- Stam, 157./li>
- Ibid. 146.
- Acts 5:11; Acts 7:38; Acts 8:1; Acts 8:3; Acts 9:31; Acts 11:22; Acts 11:26; Acts 12:1; Acts 12:5; Acts 13:1; Acts 14:23; Acts 14:27; Acts 15:3; Acts 15:4; Acts 15:22; Acts 15:41; Acts 16:5; Acts 18:22; Acts 19:32; Acts 19:39; Acts 19:41; Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28;
- Feldick: http://www.lesfeldick.org/lesqa-b.html
- Ironside, Wrongly Dividing.
- Feldick: http://www.lesfeldick.org/lesqa-b.html Editors note book 29, lesson two part II. Please note that Feldick’s theory that Paul wrote Hebrews has little evidence to back it up.
- Stein, R. H. (2001, c1992). Vol. 24: Luke (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (24). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
- Stam, 176.
- MacDonald, 87.
- Stam, 182.
- Ibid. 170.
- Ibid. 177..
- Feldick: http://www.lesfeldick.org/lesqa-a.html#18a
- Stam, 191
- Feldick http://www.lesfeldick.org/lesqa-c.html#15c
- Stam, 201, 202.
- George, T. (2001, c1994). Vol. 30: Galatians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (161). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
- Ibid. Paul does teach repentance in 2Timothy 2:25.
- Feldick http://www.lesfeldick.org/lesqa-c.html#15c
- Feldick http://www.lesfeldick.org/lesqa-b.html#2b
- Feldick does cite the passage in Acts 10; but claims that God was trying to prove to Peter that Gentiles were saved in a different way than Jews. http://www.lesfeldick.org/lesqa-b.html#2b
End Notes Addendum
- Compare the following pairs of passages: Matt. 4:12 – Mark 1:15; Matt. 5:3 – Luke 6:20; Matt. 11:11 – Luke 7:28; Matt. 13:11 – Luke 8:10; Matt. 13:31 – Luke 13:18, 19; Matt. 13:33 – Luke 13:20, 21; Matt. 19:14 – Mark 10:14. In each case Matthew uses “kingdom of heaven” in the same saying of Jesus where Luke or Mark use “kingdom of God.”
- Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:414). New York: United Bible societies
- C. R. Stam, Things That Differ, (Milwaukee: Berean Bible Society, 1996 ed., first published in 1959) 15.
- Ibid. John MacArthur
The only thing I can say about Bob DeWaay is that folks who want to know may look into Mr. Stam, Mr. Feldick, and Mr. Bullinger just because he (Mr. DeWaay) scorns these Bible Teachers. And, if we are honest, we must admit that God dealt differently with mankind in each of the dispensations. The problem is that folks hang on to tradition and don’t read the Word of God.
“Recently I spoke with a friend from another state who recounted to me how he had lost fellowship with a long-time Christian friend because of an eccentric doctrine the friend had gotten caught up in”…..
These opening words from the article made we wonder if he was referring to a certain self-proclaimed theologian from Iowa whom we are aqauinted with named Wayne H?
I had never heard of Bob Dewaay before reading this. I had to look him up because I thought it was a pen name…like Chicago sports fans refer to “DaBulls” and “DaBears”. But DAwaay is a real guy.
To me, he comes off as a Hank Hannegraaf “wannabe”. Your responses, Chuck, were spot on and elegantly pointed out this mans predjudice, narrow mindedness, and chuckle
Quite a good read. I believe this should be reprinted (in a couple of installments) in the Berean Searchlight magazine. Their readeship would love to read this.
(Sorry for the typos…I wrote without my glasses on)
Publish this in a pamphlet. I would love to read it that way. For some reason I don’t care for reading long articles on the computer. I think I’m used to reading snippets of things.
Thanks for coming to the site and commenting, I appreciate it. I may do that soon, or at least make this a downloadable pdf for printing.
I was a Pretrib Rapture Dispensational believer for 40 years, due to massive brainwashing by Dispensational preachers and teachers. They are damnable heresies. It sickens me to realize I believed the Sermon on the Mount and other commandments of Christ were meant for someone other than Christians. I was taught that there were few passages in the New Testament meant for Christians, but rather they were meant for the Millennium. I am not going to take the time to show you the many scriptures you deny by ckinging to the errors of Dispensationalism. I am angry at myself for believing the lies for so long. They were introduced to my consciousness in a Presbyterian church, of all things.
You are repeating the lies and reinforcing them.
Matthew 5:3 – 12 —
 “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
 “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
 “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
 “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
 “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
 “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”
 “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
I would like to call your attention to verse 5. The Lord is very clear on this: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth”. I don’t know how that can be reinterpreted to the meek inheriting heaven, unless earth really means heaven. It seems to me from your arguments that you do not believe that there will even be a rule of Christ on the earth, in spite of many Scriptures in both the “Old Testament” and the “New Testament” to the contrary. If I am wrong on this, please let me know clearly your position.
The apostle Paul however, does not speak of an inheritance on the earth, but rather this:
Ephesians 1:3 — “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…”
Ephesians 2:4 – 6 — “But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”
Philippians 3:20 – 21 — “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.”
I would also like for you to look at verse 7, where the Lord says that the merciful will obtain mercy … and they will, just as He said. I would like to ask you, however, how it was that you obtained mercy. Did you obtain mercy because of your mercifulness? My Bible states this about how I obtained mercy:
Ephesians 2:4 – 5 — “But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved…)”
Titus 3:4 – 7 — “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Notice that in the above Paul says “after that”. After what? Well, verse 3:
Titus 3:3 — “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.”
Not exactly obtaining mercy on account of our being merciful, now is it?
Also, in our Lord’s “sermon on the mount”, He spoke about how to pray, and in so doing, He said something very critical about conditions required for forgiveness:
Matthew 6:14 – 15 — “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
How does that line up with this:
Ephesians 4:32 — “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Colossians 2:13 — “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses…”
And, just one more thing, for you to think about, if you wish: Do you follow all of Christ’s commands, like this one:
Luke 12:32-34 KJV – “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
The believers after Pentecost did:
Acts 4:32 – 35 — “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”
I indeed wish that you would take the time to show me all of the Scriptures that I deny.
Much of what Dewaay wrote is in agreement with the New Testament scriptures. However if he, in any way, teaches Dispensationalism, he is more dangerous and subtle a teacher than the “Hyper” Dispensationalists whose works he cited.
Christ never once offered an earthly kingdom to the Old Testament nation. Every time the crowds tried to seize him and make Him king, He managed to elude them.
Dispensationalists claim He needs to sit on a throne in earthly Jerusalem. They deny He has been seated on a Heavenly throne the last 2,000 years. If they don’t overtly deny the latter, they do brush it aside as not being as glorious as Christ sitting on a throne in earthly Jerusalem. Read Galatians 3 and 4 in the kjv.
The only way for Dispensationalists to continue in their error is by continuing to place more faith in the words of pulpit pimps and by avoiding reading the New Testament on their own without the filter of lies already implanted in their brains by false teachers.
Two years after abandoning the hundreds of lies I was taught, I am still deprogramming from them. It has been a shock to learn what the Bible really says—especially the New Testament.
A couple of things —
Christ preached that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. Peter, however, did offer the kingdom:
Acts 3:19-21, 25 — “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. … Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.”
The angel Gabriel, when speaking to Mary, said this:
Luke 1:31 – 33 — “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
Isaiah said this many years earlier:
Isaiah 9:6 – 7 — “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
Are you seeing the government upon His shoulder now? I know, I know, He is not ever going to rule on earth, only in heaven, “over His Church”, which as the institution on earth, the so-called Christian church is quite corrupt. It is certainly not His Kingdom.
Generally, all of the denominations, are on a spectrum of legalism or liberalism, no big difference between them, the only difference being the code of law that they uphold. The liberals are just as legalistic with their own code, and the legalists are just as liberal in the way that they apply or don’t apply and misinterpret some laws. The only answer is acknowledgement of the mystery as revealed by the Apostle Paul, whom Jesus Christ Himself sent to us with the gospel of the grace of God. That is also the only answer to the Calvinist/Arminian flap that has plagued Protestantism for centuries.
I really don’t expect that I will persuade you, but there are many other denominational teachings that can be easily answered with the acknowledgement of the mystery, if you will hear.
The most important, is by what gospel are you saved? I am saved by the gospel that Paul preached, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again according to the Scriptures. I am also grateful that instead of bringing in the baptism with fire that was the subject of prophecy, He saved His enemy Saul and sent him to us Gentiles apart from His apostate nation to preach the gospel of His grace.
Mr. De Waay has a problem he’ll never be able to overcome , John MacArthur’s teaching which is anything but scriptural. To explain the bible to him as given to us by our Holy Spirit is an act in futility so just don’t bother.
MacArthur refuses to rightly divide the Word of Truth and maligns those that do. It is not so much that he is unscriptural, but that he seeks to bring what the Lord taught to the covenant people under law (don’t ever forget that He taught as under law) into the current dispensation and uses it to modify what the Lord gave to Paul to teach us.
Others that refuse to rightly divide the scriptures if they are honest will end up teaching so-called lordship so-called salvation, and if they are honest, will end up in one way or other taking sides with Calvinism. If they are dishonest, they will ignore all that the Lord taught and make it mean something other than what He said.
MacArthur’s other problem is that he wants to walk the line between a form of dispensational doctrine, and reformed covenant theology, teaching dispensational “eschatology” and reformed everything else. But dispensational eschatology did not come from nowhere, it came as men, like the much maligned JN Darby recognized the church as already with Christ in position and separate from Israel (the nation as a whole), who are those that must go through the tribulation to be purified.
I have considered John MacArthur a “false teacher” because of his incorrect Bible Chronology. He believes Xerxes was husband of Esther. That was about 75+ years too late. First Purim was 563/2.BCE. Jehoiachin released from prison after 37 years 2 weeks later.
I have been influenced by Chronology of late Eugene Faulstich of Ruthven/Rossie, Iowa.
You didn’t answer Bob Dewaay. All you did was regurgitate your theological Bullinger-ism. Can’t imagine anyone saying they’re followers of Christ and yet contending as you hyperdispensationalists do that his teachings aren’t for His church today. To be consistent (which you are not) you need to say that you are in reality followers of Paul and the “church” he started and not claim any allegiance to our Savior. Yours is a theological ship wreck and false teaching. Period.
Thank you Mortimer for coming to this site and for taking the time to comment.
A few things for you to consider:
Invoking “Bullingerism” doesn’t mean much, nor does saying “hyperdispensationalist”.
You should consider that the Lord Jesus Christ sent Paul as His chosen vessel to bear His Name and if you are not following Paul, then you are not following Christ.
If you are not rightly dividing the Word of Truth you indeed are making a theological shipwreck and not building on the foundation laid for you.
However, we should be consistent, I should give you the benefit of the doubt that you are indeed consistent. In Matthew 10:8, the Lord told the disciples that called as His apostles, which, I suppose, by extension also applies to us, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils…”. To be consistent, I assume that you are doing this, and since something as marvelous as raising the dead would not stay under wraps for long, I expect that you would have the headline news story available that you have gone out in ministry and raised the dead.
There is much more to say and I would love to talk with you sometime, you can contact me through the contact page on this site. Maybe we could do some fishing together and perhaps learn something from one another.
Charles, this is an extremely long post to read online. When converted to 10 point it is 15 printed pages.
That being said, as always, Good Job.
I attend an evangelical church as there are no Pauline dispensational churches in the area. My pastor accuses me (and I take it as a compliment) of being hyper-dispensational and warned me against reading Bullinger. In our conversations it turns out that he believes in peer review and consensus (poisoned by his seminary training).
How can you learn if you are afraid to read outside of your comfort zone? I read Ironside along with Bullinger but always use the Scriptures as the filter — That isn’t what conventional Christianity does. In general, they don’t realize how influenced their views are by the church of Constentine and its offspring.
Thanks for the great work you do. You are appreciated.
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Thanks John, I have been enjoying your writing as well.
Have a Merry Christmas celebrating the Word made Flesh!
Hello Chuck from Dave Ferrie (I’m living in TN now, by the way). I still enjoy reading your stuff and always find it so amusing how some people, CHRISTIAN people, find it so necessary to use words and phrases like “pulpit pimp” and “regurgitated Bullingerism” for things they obviously don’t understand. It’s like this causes their brains to explode when it should bring rejoicing! Take care and Happy Christmas and all that!
Hi Dave, great to hear from you. I can’t say I blame you for leaving IL to a place where it seems at least from an outside perspective that sane(r) people are running.
Thanks for stopping by and saying hi and you have a merry Christmas too, say hello and the same to Sharon as well.
Whenever there is a discussion that engages a subject from opposing convictions, what I notice first is the ability or inability to present one’s perspective without diminishing the dignity of the other person’s right to have an opinion. I have observed that in issues involving such contemporary issues such as the “pandemic” or the conventional vs alternative methods of addressing the disease or a host of other current societal issues, that the group who identifies as educated and professional , are the most venemous toward their opponents. Not that that my observance is the plumb line for judging all things debated, but it is interesting that people who are looking to find a utopia on earth and haven’t, tend to congregate as the angriest side… and I wonder if they actually research the views they are siding with. I also wonder if the ones who come across with the lion’s share of anger are in the greater error doctrinally. I remember reading somewhere important that “to the pure, all things are pure.” But this too must be debatable as to if I’m rightly “dividing” that statement.