by Paul Benson
(This is Part II of a message on the widespread falsehood of Separation Theology. You can find Part I HERE.)
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 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. 2Corinthians 11:3-4
As believers with a love for the truth we need to exercise great care we never lose sight of the following fact: The truths that bring to us saving faith and the grace of God are simple truths. Those simple truths center around Christ’s propitiatory death on the Cross and the glory of his Resurrection, and also our personal association with that death and resurrection.
He paid a debt he didn’t owe; and we owed a debt we could not pay.
We are redeemed by the price he paid. We are washed and sanctified by the Blood he shed; and thus the door is opened unto us that we might enter into God’s presence as sons and daughters and inherit his eternal Kingdom.
Though there are certainly some truths of the Kingdom of God that are hard to understand (2Peter 3:16), the true Gospel that brings us to salvation is not complicated; nor is it contradictory. And (despite the claims of Dispensational theology) that simple message of salvation by grace through faith is not different gospels preached to different peoples in different dispensations. One Gospel to all people. Period!
The Apostle Paul had great concern that someone would come along with a corrupted message that would, with satanic subtlety, steer people away from the simplicity that is in Christ. And his concerns were not unfounded!
Let me start off by saying that I believe many who consider themselves Dispensationalists are not truly so. A lot of people claim to be Dispensationalists, but really do not understand just what all that theology actually teaches. They are just so familiar with the catch phrases and such of that type of ‘rapture-ready’ preaching, having listened to it so repeatedly, that they are merely parroting what they have heard. Most folks who call themselves Dispensationalists could not present a clear picture of Separation theology if their life depended upon it!
I fear many who have set under the teaching or preaching of a Dispensationalist, and do not comprehend the gross error of that theology, may take offense at this article. Please! Don’t be offended; but please do be challenged to examine your beliefs.
And let me also say I am not really all that bothered by the concept of dispensations (or divisions) when it comes to the history of the Bible. I do see divisions, but what I see is not seven but only two (Old Covenant versus New). The problem is not so much with the seven supposed divisions, but with the distinctions given to each; and also with the idea of there being a separation in God’s plan for believing Israel and the believing Gentile. It is the ‘Separation theology’ of Dispensationalism that fosters the majority of the errors of that doctrine; and most do not realize the serious nature of those errors. So please bear with me as I expose that danger.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Satan is a thief! He is out to steal the promises of God away from God’s people. And he often uses man’s twisted theologies to obfuscate those precious promises, or to steer people away from them.
Don’t let the wayward theologies of man steal the Word of God away from you!
In the four points I spoke of previously that I wanted to make about the error of Dispensational Theology I promised to show you: (2.) The way embracing that theology actually steals the promises of the Word of God away from you, and (3.) The way that theology turns people away from following the teachings of Christ. Since these two points are so closely related we will address them together.
Let me illustrate this robbery and misdirection with a short exhortation on the promise of the Holy Spirit and the way Dispensational theory treats that precious promise.
One of Satan’s favorite tactics is to introduce complication and confusion into the message. We see this plainly expressed in all the convoluted theologies of man. The pride of man would have you think we need the wisdom of the Learned Ones, and all their complicated theories, to properly grasp the Gospel message, but John said:
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1John 2:27
It is not by the wisdom of man, nor his complicated theologies, that we receive the truths of the Kingdom! We receive that truth by the Holy Spirit opening our understanding of the words of our God. Teachers do play an important role in the Body of Christ; but they are NOT the only avenue through which the Lord teaches his people.
Though we often benefit greatly from a short message that it may have taken a teacher such as myself many hours (or even days) to study out, that very same truth is available to you through the Holy Spirit revealing it to you personally. And John also said (v. 27 above) that it is by this ‘revealed truth’ that we abide in Christ! This divine method of indoctrination was what Jesus was referring to when he gave the promise of the Holy Spirit to his followers.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13
The promise of the Holy Spirit given by Jesus, as well as the fulfillment of that promise when He was poured out upon the disciples in the Upper Room (Acts 2:1-4), and the gifts and edification we receive from receiving that promised ‘infilling’ of the Holy Spirit, are some of the most remarkable aspects of the Christian faith.
And I, as an un-churched heathen totally ignorant of God’s Word and his ways, received that promised ‘infilling’ of the Holy Spirit (and certain gifts associated) when I was born-again after hearing an anointed sermon on the Cross of Christ! I did not ask for, nor had I any knowledge of any such promise; God just filled my hungry heart with his Spirit when I cried out for salvation! And what a wonderful teacher, guide, and comforter the Holy Spirit has been to me.
BUT… According to the hyper-Dispensationalists, that certain promise of Christ (as well as ALL his other teachings found in the Gospels!) was only to the Jews; and that out-pouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was upon a different ‘flock’ than the Body of Christ. And furthermore they teach the writings of John (as well as Mathew, Mark, Luke, Peter, James, Jude etc.) were NOT to the Body of Christ, but only to Israel!
According to the hyper-D’s, since neither the teachings of Christ nor the writings of the original Apostles were for the Gentile believers, my exhortation on the promise of the Spirit (as well as my own personal experience!) is totally out to lunch! The promise of the Spirit that Jesus gave, as well as the insight John gave on this indwelling anointing, are both stolen away from the Christian Church by the doctrine of Dispensational (*Separation) Theology!
*Dispensationalism is just another name for Separation Theology. As I stated in my last article, hyper-dispensational teachings are merely the result of honestly working ahead the logical conclusions of Separation Theology. And those Dispensationalists who deny the ‘deeper conclusions’ of the hyper-D’s, and try to distance themselves from the obvious errors those conclusions expose, are being absolutely disingenuous to their theology! It’s an ‘either or’ matter. Either there IS the ‘separation’ they claim between believing Israel and the Body of Christ or there is NOT! Which is it? And if there IS that separation, then those conclusions of the Hyper-D’s (that Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels as well as the writings of his original Apostles were not intended for the Gentile Church) are completely correct. And therefor ALL aspects of that separation must be applied to Dispensational doctrine. The pick and choose approach (I like this part of ‘separation theology’ so I’ll preach it; but I don’t like that part so I’ll ignore it) of moderate-Dispensationalists is not an honest expression of their doctrinal theory; and is actually an admission of the errors of Separation Theology!
If we, as true dispensationalist doctrine claims, are NOT to get Christian doctrine from the teachings of Christ in the Gospels, nor from the writings of his original Apostles, then we must view ALL those writings as being promise and instruction applying ONLY to the believing segment of Israel; and not to us! This presents a tremendous loss to those seduced by that bogus claim.
What is their reasoning behind these wild notions that are robbing so many believers of the Words of Christ and his Apostles? It goes back to their wacky notion of chopping up biblical history, and God’s dealings with mankind, into finite segments of time called ‘dispensations’.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: Here is an easy-listen talk by David Pawson on the history and wonky notions of Dispensationalism. If you have not yet developed an understanding of that theology I would recommend you give it a listen. (It’s part 3 of an excellent series on election.)
Biblical Christian Zionism -Part 3 by David Pawson
In a nutshell Dispensationalists teach we are not to receive doctrine from the teachings of Christ as found in the Gospels (*Matthew 24 for example) because Jesus purportedly taught in a former dispensation. They say we are supposedly now in the ‘dispensation of grace’; but that Christ taught the Law of Moses as an O.T. prophet to those who were under the Law in that former dispensation. And therefor following his teachings would place the Christian Church under the Law and condemn us. But that is a totally twisted view of the ministry of Christ forced by that errant theology!
*SIDENOTE: As J. N. Darby first believed the pre-trib rapture fable, and then fabricated his Dispensational theology around that mistaken belief, we should understand that many of the various aspects of his theology were concocted as a defense to nullify the many places the Word of God refutes that pre-trib teaching. For example, the notion that Christ’s words in Matthew 24 are only to the Jews (whom their doctrine demands are the ‘elect’ caught up to Christ in this passage) is necessary in order to explain away this clear and concise description of the catching away of the Church at the Second Coming described in verses 29-31 of that chapter. To the Dispensationalist this cannot be a description of the Church meeting our Savior. The truth that the Body of Christ is the elect of God has been stolen away from them by the false concepts forced upon them by Darby’s ‘separation theology’! Multiply that theft of understanding by many hundreds of similar incidences and you will begin to see the HUGE way Dispensational theory corrupts the belief system of those who are seduced by it.
It is true that the Jews our Lord came to minister to were under the Law; and he (rightfully so) encouraged them to adhere to the requirements of that Law they were under. And we must interpret and apply his teachings to us through the filter that we ourselves were freed from those requirements by the Cross. Jesus did NOT come to tell people to follow the Law of Moses; he preached the way into the Kingdom of God!
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. Luke 16:16
Though the line of demarcation between the Old Covenant and the New is assuredly the Cross and the shedding of the Blood of Christ, the preaching of the New Covenant began when the Ministry of Jesus began. Again, Jesus did not come to preach the Law of Moses! In fact, in many ways he either nullified, upgraded, or superseded various aspects of the Law with his teachings. Many would hotly contest that statement, but it is absolutely provable just by examining what he taught in comparison to what Moses taught.
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. John 1:17
Paul taught the purpose of the Law was to show us our need for the grace and truth brought us by our Savior. Contrary to Dispensational theory the Gospel of Grace did NOT begin with the Apostle Paul turning to the Gentiles. It was the very message of our Lord as he walked this Earth. (In fact we can see that Gospel of Grace preached throughout the Old Testament! It is the ONLY plan of salvation God has ever had!)
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 2Corinthians 3:6
The Scriptures refer to the preaching of the Law as both the ‘ministration of death’ as well as the ‘ministration of condemnation’ (2Cor. 3:7+9). What Dispensationalists are saying is that Jesus preached that administration of death; and following his teachings will condemn you under the Law!
Talk about BOGUS theology!
How in the world could Dispensationalists get so far off course that they would say we are not to follow Jesus’ teachings because he ministered as an Old Testament prophet that preached the Law; and following his words will condemn you under the Law and send you to Hell? Those who teach and believe such a thing are speaking forth the lies of the Devil!
But that is Dispensational theory 101!
Was Jesus being deceptive when he said: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10)? No! He did not come to preach the letter of the Law that kills! John 3:17 plainly says Jesus did not come to condemn us. The teachings of Christ do not speak forth death; he spoke forth words of life!
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2
Jesus came to replace that old Law that ministered death with a New Law that brings life and sets us free from that old Law!
We as New Testament believers are to follow the teachings of Christ and pattern our lives after his example. Those who insist the writings of the Apostle Paul are the only source of doctrine for the Body of Christ are not only deluded, but robbing folks on an unbelievable scale!
Just think of the enormous amount of promise and instruction in Christian living we miss out on by discounting Christ’s words in the Gospels and also the teachings of the Apostles other than Paul. The doctrines we are to follow as Christians are entwined in not only the words of the entire New Testament, but also in the Old! I am not talking about the letter of the Law. I am talking about God’s plan to save humanity by his mercy and grace. We see it throughout the Bible!
And not only that, you can find every single aspect of Christian doctrine plainly pictured in the types and shadows (word pictures) interspersed throughout the pages of the Old Testament! If you don’t realize this, and cannot see them, you are really missing out on a source of great edification!
Those types and shadows were divinely constructed as a part of the Bible to give additional witness to the doctrines of our faith; and they are also a safeguard in that they provide a framework or pattern our beliefs must fit or conform to. Any Bible scholar who does not understand this, and thinks there is no doctrine in the O.T. for the Body of Christ, is not much of a scholar!
PLEASE GET THIS: Getting folks to set aside the Gospels and the non-Pauline writings removes MUCH rebuke and correction to Dispensational ideas (like the pre-trib rapture fable), and makes it much easier to get people to swallow that pack of lies. This is a satanic strategy that we can trace clear back to the Garden (Yea, hath God said?). And something else quite evident about the ‘doctrine from Paul only’ crowd is that they don’t even strictly follow his teachings either! There is MUCH in the writings of Paul that is in direct contradiction to Dispensational theology! (Romans 11, Galatians 3, and Ephesians 2 for example.)
Paul himself had a very strong rebuke for those who would disregard the words of our Christ:
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 1Timothy 6:3
Paul taught his followers to consent to (obey) the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; NOT to set them aside and follow only his own teachings. I see great wisdom in following his advice here on how to treat those whom he labeled as ‘destitute of the truth’. He said: ‘from such withdraw thyself’! I long ago made the decision to reject the notions of Dispensationalism, and have long had a practice of withdrawing myself from the company of those who preach that damaging theology. WHY?
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 1Corinthians 15:33
But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker… 2Timothy 2:16-17
The teachings derived by the Dispensational approach to the Scriptures are not just a little bit off base; they are so far from the truth they will lead you unto another Gospel! They are so anti-biblical, misleading, and damaging to the Gospel, they can only be rightly labeled as Antichrist! That may sound a bit extremist, but I encourage you to seek the heart of God on the matter. I assure you that I have done so.
Any bat-scat theory which would steer you away from following the teachings our Lord Jesus Christ, and tell you not to derive any doctrine from the red-letter words of the Bible, is absolutely Anti-Christ! You can disagree if you want – you do have a right to be wrong! (sarc)
God would no more have us fellow-shipping with the *modern error of Separation theology that he would have us intermingling with the false teachings of the Watchtower or Mormon cults. Falsehood is falsehood; and Separation theology is a gross expression of falsehood that is literally heretical in certain aspects! It is a cult of false theology that is polluting the Body of Christ.
*Dispensationalism truly is a very modern invention! If Separation Theology is correct Bible theology then why did it take over 1800 years for the Spirit- filled Body of Christ to derive that doctrinal theory from the Scriptures? Should we think Christ let his entire Bride wallow in a false understanding of Christian doctrine, and incorrect teachings about eschatology all those centuries; but then after nearly two thousand years said, ‘Oh hey, by the way guys… All that teaching about facing Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast you have been sternly warning about all these years was a big nothing-burger! You will never face that prophesied War on the Saints!’? Give me a break!
Anyone who tries to tell you we are to only derive our Christian doctrine from the words of the Apostle Paul is severely stunted in their understanding of the Scriptures; and they ought not to be trusted to teach you God’s ways! They are deceived themselves; and the fact they are pushing that crap on others puts them among the ranks of the deceivers!
If you hear folks making ridiculous statements like: ‘The books of James, John, Jude, and Peter were not written to you!’ Or ‘We are not to follow the red letter words of Christ, nor derive doctrine from them because Jesus was an O.T. prophet teaching the Law’ OR ‘Now, we know and understand God deals separately with Israel and the Church in his plan of redemption…’ etc. etc. etc., then get away from that nonsense!
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!
If you have embraced that Word stealing theology, or are sitting under the preaching of someone who promotes that Dispensational garbage, I suggest you follow Paul’s advice, and also ‘withdraw thyself’. That theology is corrupt, and if you let it weasel its way into your belief system it will subtly and surely corrupt your understanding of God’s ways.
Paul’s rebuke in the verses above also included those who would not consent to the ‘doctrine which is according to godliness’. In my next article I will show how the incorrect notions of Dispensational Theology have greatly contributed to the lack of repentance preaching, and the ‘anything goes’ gospel, that is so evident in the Western Church today.
What is being labeled as ‘the Gospel of Grace’, and preached by so very many today, is NOT the Gospel of Grace presented in the Scriptures; nor the one the Apostle Paul taught to his disciples!
Please pray for me as I attempt to sort these things out, and present the true Gospel in a manner that glorifies our Lord and benefits his holy Flock. I do covet your prayers!
THIS IS PART II OF A SERIES OF ARTICLES. YOU CAN FIND PART III HERE.
I welcome your input!
If you have comment or criticism please use the section below. Overly long comments may be edited for length.
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