by Paul Benson
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8
Centuries ago a man named John Calvin presented his theories on what he considered proper Christian theology to the world; and today we have a religious landscape littered with the fruit of his efforts. Those who espouse his questionable theories call themselves after his name. They refer to themselves as Calvinists.
Years later Charles T. Russell developed his own particular hypothesis about who God is, and about the method by which he calls and redeems his chosen ones. Today his brand of theology (Jehovah Witness) has encompassed the globe, and you can find churches that proclaim his teachings (in an up-graded fashion) in nearly any major city.
The same can be said of Joseph Smith (the Father of Mormonism), L. Ron Hubbard (Church of Scientology), Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science), and an ever-increasing number of others who have thrust their bogus philosophies and theologies of man upon the Christian Church, and have had enormous detrimental influence upon the beliefs of countless millions.
We live in a day where what is called Dispensational Theology has risen to great popularity within the Christian Church. And millions of those who have been taught this ‘theory’ fully believe that the concepts they have been taught, and wholeheartedly believe, are presented in the Bible, and are what the Bible truly teaches about end-time things. BUT….
One More Doctrine of Man!
What many who sit under ‘Dispensational’ (AKA Separation Theology) teaching don’t realize is that they likewise are being indoctrinated in a theology that was fabricated (in modern times) in the mind of a man! It is NOT organic to the Scriptures; nor does it hold to the teachings of Christ and his Apostles!
And it is NOT the historic Christian theology received from the Word of God by the Fathers of our faith down through the centuries and preached to the Church. Nor is it an accurate representation of the doctrines we are to follow as the Body of Christ!
Just as the erroneous theologies of Jehovah Witness, Mormonism, Scientology, or most other cults can be traced back to their origin in the teachings of a certain man, in a similar manner ‘Dispensational’ or ‘Separation’ Theology can be traced back to its *root in the notions of a man named John Nelson Darby.
*[ Although Darby was certainly influenced by various unbiblical concepts presented in the writings (and visions) of others he, as a respected theologian and preacher, collated those notions into a framework of theology; and he traveled the globe promoting those wayward theories. J.N. Darby is called the Father of Dispensational Theory for good reason. He birthed that theology; and spent the remaining years of his own life nurturing it!]
And, just as those who hold to the teachings of Calvin are referred to as Calvinists, those who hold to Dispensational theory could rightly be call ‘Darbyists’! I see this distinction as a very important one in that it exposes Dispensationalism for what it truly is – a doctrine of man.
What Came First?
We are all familiar with the old adage: Which came first: the chicken or the egg? For a Christian that question can be answered by a proper understanding that all creatures were made by God. The chicken came first! But how many that believe in a ‘pre-tribulation’ rapture could properly answer the question: Which came first: The Pre-trib Rapture doctrine or Darby’s Dispensational (or Separation) Theology?
Most people who have been part of the Christian community for any length of time realize that Dispensational Theology is closely tied to the teaching of a pre-trib rapture of the Church. And many seem to have the idea that particular theology (in that it is supposedly a proper rendering of Bible teaching) brought forth to us the concept of a pre-trib catching away of the Church (who would thereby escape the coming time of tribulation and Antichrist’s war on the Saints).
But NOT SO!
The (at that time) newly-hatched pre-trib rapture concept had been presented to J. N. Darby through his association with the Plymouth Brethren and a man named Edward Irving. And Darby then built his ‘Dispensational’ or ‘Separation’ theology around, in support of, and in defense of, his newly embraced belief of a pre-trib rapture of the Church! Do you get that? Dispensational Theology did NOT bring forth the concept of a pre-trib rapture!
It was the other way around! Let’s get that right!
Starting with a preconceived notion (of a catching away of the Church before the time of great tribulation) Darby, over the course of time, fabricated his theology in a piecemeal fashion in support of that unbiblical pre-trib theory; and then embarked on a life-long campaign to convince the rest of the Body of Christ of his new doctrine!
Through his great oratory skills this ear-tickling fable gained remarkable popularity over the next several decades; and with Darby’s ‘Dispensational Theology’ firmly entrenched in the Scofield Reference Bible (which also attained remarkable popularity), his mistaken teachings were destined to overwhelm the Western Church with false ideas about election and end-time events.
And now in this day we have millions led astray by just one more false theology that can be traced right back to the false teacher who dreamed it up. Yes, John Nelson Darby was a false teacher! And he brought forth an unbiblical and damaging theology!
And, yes, I can prove that to you if you have a heart to accept the clearly stated truths of the Scriptures! (I will show that evidence in my next article.)
But it is absolutely amazing to me the way so many people will hold on to a system of theology that can so easily be proven to be contrary to clearly stated Bible truth! And also amazing is the way so many will IGNORE that proof when confronted with it, and exalt those false teachings above the very Word of God!
Sorting It Out!
Since giving ‘Dispensational’ or ‘Separation’ Theology, and the perversion of truth it forces upon the Church, the sound rebuke it truly deserves is a multi-faceted task I will not attempt to do so in just one article. For now I would like to ask my readers to take this issue to task on a personal level.
Deception is not a benign evil. It is a Satanic cancerous assault upon you, your loved ones, and your brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. It is a major part of Satan’s attempts to destroy the people of God!
We are ALL being adversely effected by the perversion of the Gospel in this generation!
And Dispensational preaching has either furthered, or in many cases actually birthed, the perverse concepts being preached on grace, election, salvation, and eschatology that are corrupting the belief system of millions of believers today.
To begin with it is important to understand just what Dispensational theology entails; and how to recognize it when you hear it. You will not rise up and resist evil if you do not recognize it as evil.
Below are links to a couple of sources that give what I believe is an accurate description of the main tenants of Dispensational theory. Though Dispensationalism is somewhat confusing (a favorite tactic of Satan), in that it presents so many inconsistencies and anti-biblical claims, it is not rocket science. And the basic framework of those teachings can be easily grasped by anyone who will take a little time to investigate the matter.
A word of warning here! Please keep in mind when researching the errors of Dispensational preaching that many of those who are correctly pointing out those problems are themselves embracing another form of deception – Replacement Theology. And those Dispensationalists pointing out the errors of Replacement Theology are also correct in many of their objections! Basically two erroneous theologies of man rebuking one another’s faults!
In a nutshell you can sum up the difference between Dispensational (Separation) Theory and Covenant (Replacement) Theory as such:
Separation theology erroneously says God has a separate plan, separate destiny, and separate method of salvation for both the Church and believing Israel. He deals with them as separate entities (each supposedly receiving separate gospels) in this world; and separate destinies in his eternal Kingdom (actually Kingdoms (plural) according to them).
Replacement Theology erroneously states that the Body of Christ has replaced Israel in God’s eternal plan and promise. It will also cause serious problems with your comprehension of God’s dealings with his chosen ones!
Both have many elements of truth in them, but neither of these ‘doctrines of man’ present an accurate description of biblical ‘election’. Here is an article where I explain the difference between the two (and compare both to what the Bible truly teaches on election) in a simple and easy to understand manner using the illustration of the Olive Tree Paul gave in Romans 11. Again, the biblical concept of ‘election’ (who are God’s chosen?) is not a complicated matter; it is simple to grasp!
The first video link below is actually from a Dispensationalist preacher who gives a very objective presentation on that theory. If you don’t have a grasp on that theology this video will help you greatly.
The next is from a preacher who gives a very good run down on some of the errors presented by Dispensational teachings and the way they pervert a person’s beliefs.
In my next article I plan to show examples of:
- The blatant way Dispensational preaching contradicts the Word of God.
- The way embracing that theology actually steals the promises of the Word of God away from you.
- The way that theology turns people away from following the teachings of Christ.
- And how that theology has helped corrupt the true Gospel message into the repentance-less ‘anything goes’ gospel we hear being preached today.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6
I know that teaching on these issues is not very entertaining; and has very little of the WOW factor modern Christianity has become so addicted to. But I assure you that reaching out and hungering for the truth, and making the effort to sort out the truths of God from among all the deceptions of this day, is very edifying to your inner man.
It will feed you in ways you might not comprehend!
And I honestly believe that a hunger for the truth, and a willingness to submit to that truth, is what separates the true followers of Christ from the impostors who are Christian in name only. Let’s study to show ourselves approved unto God (2Tim. 2:15); and follow Paul’s wise admonition to:
Prove all things; and hold fast that which is good. 1Thessalonians 5:21
Blessings upon all who have a love for the truth and a hunger for righteousness;
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: If you would like a deeper look at the way Dispensational Theology corrupts a person’s understanding of both the Scriptures as well as the Gospel of Christ please consider the series:
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