August 21, 2013

Dispensationalism and OT preaching

by Jesse Johnson

dispensationaismDavid Murray is a prof at Puritan Reformed Seminary who normally blogs at Head, Heart, Hands–a blog I often read and frequently recommend. Yesterday though he posted at Ligonier’s blog, and he gave seven reasons why preachers neglect the OT. Number four on his list was

…cue ominous music…

“dispensationalism.”

Now I don’t want to be a knee-jerk dispensationalist-blogger and over-react to a passing comment with undue defense or anything, but I couldn’t help but notice that dispensationalism appeared on his list with some uncouth company. In the case of the missing OT, here are Murray’s suspects, and you should read this list while humming the Sesame Street song, One of these things is not Like the Other:

  1. Liberalism
  2. Ignorance
  3. Irrelevance
  4. Dispensationalism
  5. Bad Examples
  6. Laziness
  7. Christ-less preaching

First, let me say that I love Ligonier’s blog, even though it totally cheats by not having comments. But blogging etiquette aside, that list requires some closer examination. Let’s see…liberalism, ignorance, irrelevance, laziness, Christ-lessness…oh, and dispensationalism.

Wright ignoring the OT because he is a dispensationalist.

That’s not a very dispensationalist title. Yikes.

I’m sure Murray didn’t mean any harm by that. I’m sure he didn’t mean that dispensationalism is at all like liberalism, ignorance, or irrelevance. But putting it in a line-up fitting the usual suspects is not really helpful—and this list does read like its from The Usual Suspects: after all, (minus one, of course) this could pretty much be the same round-up for any of the church’s failings. Liberal denominations? Check (and they weren’t even dispensational, but that’s for another time). The emergent church? Check. How about the missional madness wave sweeping over millennial’s Christianity? Also check. Charismatic chaos? Well, yeah.

But my big beef with the post was that it flies in the face of my own experience (which I’m allowed to use—it may be lazy but if Murray can use anecdotal evidence for the demise of OT preaching, then certainly mine is also admissible).

I got saved in a church pastored by a Dallas Seminary grad. He was preaching from 1 Samuel at the time. I then went to a Calvary Chapel where, as part of their philosophy of ministry, half of the preaching was from the OT. Granted the pastor preached about 4-5 chapters per sermon, but half of his sermons were from the OT. Say what you will about the Calvary Chapel movement, at least they preach the OT.

Then I went to seminary, where I fell in love with the OT. In my first semester I took OT survey and learned what the OT was all about. I learned that Israel is not equal and congruent to the church, and that there were people in the OT who were God’s people, and they had law that was God’s law, and they had kings who were God’s kings. They had prophets sent by God to give them messages about how the kings were messing up God’s law and ruining God’s people, but that he was going to use that to lead the world to the Messiah.

I started preaching Jeremiah at any opportunity. I came home for Christmas, and preached Christmas messages from Jeremiah. I taught one Bible study where the pastor asked me a question that has always stuck with me: “Why is it that first semester students from The Master’s Seminary always want to preach the OT?” My answer: BECAUSE WE FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHY ITS THERE!

More evidence for how dispensationalism neglects the OT

More evidence for OT neglect.

You see, dispensationalism turned on the lights. Even though I didn’t even know the word dispensationalism at the time, I learned that the people in the OT were real. Goliath was real, and he was not a metaphor for sin. Israel was real, and they were not a metaphor for the church. In fact, dispensationalism is what made me love the OT, and I carry it to this day. This is why at the church I pastor, I preach from the New Testament for 2 months, then I preach from the OT for a month. Wash, rinse, repeat.

So back to Murray’s point. Is there a dearth of OT preaching? Is it possible that this is true not of dispensational churches, but of the more covenantal ones? It makes just as much sense to blame Driscoll’s series through The Song of Solomon for the death of any semblance of OT preaching as it does to blame dispensationalism.

Regardless, Murray explained that dispensationalism is to blame because: “Although unintended, the dispensational division of Scripture into different eras tends to relegate the Old Testament to a minor role in the life of the Church, and of the individual Christian.”

Which raises this question: Does Murray not see Scripture broken up into different eras? To use the topic at hand, does he see a difference between the OT and the NT? Would he call those different eras? Are Levites still priests, or has something changed? Its kind of funny to me that he thinks dipspensationalists are responsible for seeing a difference between the OT and the NT. Maybe it has more to do with the advent of Christ? Maybe its just because Hebrew is harder to learn than Greek?

I’ll have to take Murray’s word that the waning of OT preaching is real, but it has not been my experience. Even having spent twelve years at John MacArthur’s church, I often heard sermons from the OT. MacArthur frequently says he preaches primarily from the NT because he is a New Covenant minister, yet he has preached through Daniel, Zechariah, Genesis 1-11, much of Psalms, most of Isaiah, and so on. I don’t want to mess up anyone’s narrative, but it seems like dispensational preachers can almost put too much of a focus on the OT.

Now that is a charge that is worth exploring.

OT chart

“When I was a kid, dispensationalists paid TOO much attention to the OT.”

________________________________________________________________

I want to reiterate that while I don’t know Professor Murray personally, I have only heard good things about him. It would be a shame if anyone read this as an attack on him. Hardly! I respect him, and am especially thankful for his blog, even when we disagree.

Jesse Johnson

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Jesse is the Teaching Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA.
  • Randy

    Great post. I am an Associate Pastor in a church near Kansas City. We’re dispensational in our teaching. We don’t quantify our time in the OT but we spend a lot of time there. I am currently teaching I Samuel but I have also taught a series on the Levitical feasts and the sacrifices. I’ve taught through the Psalms as well. Our senior pastor has preached through Judges and Joshua recently. Without the teaching of dispensational theology the bible is disconnected and confusing. With more than half of God’s word in the OT to neglect it is to neglect much of the character and teaching of God. Jesus Christ even said in Luke 24 that the OT spoke of him. Wow, even he knew to look to the OT to discover more about the Son of God.

  • ryangeer

    I wonder if it would be fair to make a list of why preachers distort/twist/allegorize and otherwise press the OT in their preaching—with one of the list being “4. Covenantalism”?

  • Frank

    Years ago I critiqued Oswald Allis’ book on dispensationalism (“Prophecy and the Church”). It is the book referenced at that time by covenant theologians who wrote against dispensationalism. The book reviewed the classical dispensationalism of Scofield. The interesting thing was that Allis readily admits belief in biblical dispensations. I wrote this in my critique (pages numbers given).

    In spite of his amillennial system of interpretation, Allis concedes that the Scripture teaches dispensations. “This, as we have seen, is a distinguishing feature of Dispensationalism; not that there are dispensations in Biblical history – no one denies that – but that the Church is a parenthetical dispensation which delays or interrupts the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel (p. 54).” Allis also concedes that the church really is distinctive from the Old Testament economy. “But it is also distinct from the Old Testament Church; Christ calls it “my church”; and it belongs to the future, “I will build.” This implies that it will come into being after the redemptive work of Christ on which it rests has been accomplished (p. 81).” He also believes that this distinctive church had its beginnings on the day of Pentecost. “This Church, the Christian Church, was founded at Pentecost only a few weeks after the crucifixion (p. 93).” Allis may have been shocked to know how close he was to a dispensational viewpoint of the Scripture.

    My point is not to say that Allis was dispensational but that whatever may be said it would seem that Allis would disagree that dispensationalism is the reason why the OT is not more frequently preached.

  • http://michaelcoughlin.net/ Michael Coughlin

    Look, I’m sure David is a great guy and a good Christian man, so I’m not trying to throw him under a bus here. But when I challenged him on twitter he responded with a link to JMac explaining why JMac doesn’t go verse by verse in his Sunday sermons through the OT:

    https://twitter.com/davidpmurray/status/369833395569696769

    Sadly for David’s case – I doubt he could find a covenant-al preacher who has taught more of the OT than MacArthur in the past 40 years. So his first defense likely defeats his own position.

    And, as you’ve pointed out in the post above – EVERYONE’S a dispensationalist. It is just a matter of how many they define. NO rational Christian thinks everything is the same for believers AFTER the cross as the statutes which were written for believers BEFORE the cross.

    I’ve never met a covenantal who SERIOUSLY believed that NOTHING CHANGED from BEFORE Adam sinned to AFTER Adam sinned.

    I go to a “dispensational” church and my pastor has preached verse by verse through 1 Kings, is in 2 Kings now and regularly exposes OT scriptures as well as NT.

    If there’s a problem, maybe it is the covenantal preacher’s lack of emphasis on the NT writings and the proper interpretation of the OT as exhibited in the NT.

    My $.02

    • elainebitt

      As Dr. Richard Mayhue has said, “every dispensationalist believes in covenants, and every covenantalist believes in dispensations.”

      And he preached quite a bit through the OT as well, imagine that.

      • http://michaelcoughlin.net/ Michael Coughlin

        I ALWAYS appreciate your comments, Elaine. God bless you.

      • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

        That’s a great way of putting it Elaine. Obviously Murray didn’t elaborate on what he meant by dispensationalists dividing scripture into eras, but in the context of his post it certainly seems like he meant putting the OT and the NT into different “eras” was a dispensational hindrance to preaching. I doubt he seriously meant that, but that’s what it reads like.

        I assume that he probably meant that by stressing that the church begins at Pentecost, that dispis hesitate to connect principles from Israel to the life of believer’s today. There probably is some valid concern there–but I dont’ think that keeps people from preaching the OT. Maybe it keeps them from preaching it well though :)

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      And so we are clear: MacArthur has often said that kind of thing. I’ve heard people ask him why he “only preaches from the NT” and he doesn’t correct them by pointing out all that he has preached from the OT. Rather he simply tells them that he purposed to spend a lifetime preaching through the NT because he is a New Covenant minister. And he does have a point–he wanted to spend a life time preaching about Jesus, and he’s done that by finishing the NT.So it is entirely understandable why someone would take that to mean that he doesn’t preach the OT. But anyone who has been around his ministry for a while knows that his practice is to preach from the OT often. Some of his most well known messages are Isaiah 5-6, Psalm 19, 1 Sam 15, Gen 1-11, and so on. One of my personal favorites of his is his preaching through the 10 plagues which he sometimes does a communion message.

      • elainebitt

        The problem that I saw with taking JM’s example as a standard for the entire dispensational theology teachers-preachers (besides the obvious that JM did – and does – preach on the OT, maybe not as much as people would like him to though), is that when I listen to that interview I don’t see him refer to the model he adopted as the model of the dispensational theology. It was his personal choice as a minister.

        His preaching of Isaiah 53 was excellent, imho.

      • Doug

        What a great response. His answers always seem so balanced.

        I think I’ll slip Daniel in here as well. His meticulous dissection and exposition of Daniel floored me. I grew exponentially after going through that sermon series as all the dots became connected.

        Agree with elainebitt below that JM’s preaching of Isaiah 53 — the first gospel — was excellent. All I can say is what “synoptic problem?”

  • elainebitt

    How about S. L. Johnson? He preached through the OT a lot:
    http://www.sljinstitute.net/

    It’s clear to me the association Murray wants to make with dispensationalism and the others on that list. And I agree with you Jesse, that “blog” format at Ligonier is like cheating.

    I think his article has to do, mostly, with his new book “Jesus On Every Page” [of the Old Testament].

    I love (NOT!) statements like this: “We must avoid the weaknesses of dispensationalism.” That is the solution for the dispensationalism problem, according to Murray. Somehow that short statement reminded of another one, again another great mind, who said “dispensationalism is goofy”. =)

    Thank you for writing Jesse!

    E.

    • joeycochran

      Great reference to the beloved S L Johnson. However, ultimately he stepped down from Dallas b/c he became Amillennial and went on to finish his teaching career at SBTS.

      • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

        Is that right? I’ve never heard that before. The way the story has been told to me is that S. Lewis Johnson stepped down from Dallas because he embraced the reformed doctrine of limited atonement, which DTS couldn’t abide. Do you have any way to document that SLJ became Amil, Joey?

        • http://scripturethoughts.wordpress.com/ Lynda O

          Agree, Mike. SLJ left Dallas Seminary over the issue of Limited Atonement, which they did not accept. SLJ NEVER became amillennial, then or later in life, but continued as futurist premillennial / Calvinist Dispensationalist. Joey must be confusing stories and thinking about A.W. Pink (who switched from classic disp to amillennial).

          • joeycochran

            If I’m mistaken I apologize. That’s what I thought Dr. Allman shared with our class about SLJ. Of course I’m going on a story told to me about half a decade ago, so I might have the details wrong…O the dangers of oral tradition. I am a major SLJ fan and would not want to tarnish his doctrinal views. I went out of the way to find his only published volume The Old Testament in the New a few years back.

          • http://scripturethoughts.wordpress.com/ Lynda O

            Understand — yes indeed the dangers of oral tradition. In the ’70s SLJ came to hold limited atonement. Then sometime in the mid to late 1980s he moved away from the pre-trib rapture idea to hold post-trib (though he never said so publicly, just presented both views and held it as a secondary matter of lesser importance). Since SLJ’s definition of dispensationalism, the common definition at least then, included the pre-trib rapture, many non-disps were apparently confused and thought that SLJ had departed from the whole premillennial / dispensational system and moved to their way of thinking (amill / CT etc.). But even in his last messages at the Bunyan Conferences (when he was in his 80s) he still affirmed futurist premillennialism with restoration of Israel to their land and future, etc. and the biblical covenants of scripture rather than the CT covenant of grace: among the main points of modern-day Calvinist Dispensationalism aka futurist premillennialism.

        • joeycochran

          That’s odd. I don’t recall anything in DTS doctrinal statement that forces LA. I know it was not popular to hold LA when Ryrie and Geisler were around. But since I imagine there are a number of 5-pointers teaching at DTS.

          • http://scripturethoughts.wordpress.com/ Lynda O

            DTS rejects limited atonement, holds to unlimited atonement (4 point Calvinism). SLJ left there because the doctrinal statement, which the profs had to sign each year, affirmed unlimited atonement — and by that point SLJ believed otherwise, had come to understand and affirm Limited Atonement / Particular Redemption.

  • Johnny

    Good to see some love for the dispensations here, as sadly, I find that a lot of my theological super-heroes lean more towards the covenental camp, so it’s good to hear the other side of things. As something of a lay novice, who are some of the big voices of dispensationalism today (from a Biblically-oriented reformed perspective)?

    • joeycochran

      The entire theological studies department at Dallas are solidly reformed soteriologically. Dr. Michael Svigel, Dr Glenn Kreider and Dr. Bingham who now chairs as Academic Dean at Wheaton. Dr. John Hannah might still be considered quasai Dispensational. I scratch my head over how he can sign off on both Dallas and Westminsters doctrinal statement and sit in the faculty at both. Quite honestly most of the major Dallas scholars hold to reformed soteriology. Dr. Bock, Dan Wallace, and Gordon Johnston are among them.

      • Johnny

        Thanks friend

        • joeycochran

          Check out Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King to get a current dispensational perspective on the value of the OT. This book was published this year by Darrell Bock, Herbert Bateman, and Gordon Johnston – a collection of solid dispy scholars. This is the most current on what is trending in the dispy spectrum and hegemony.

          I wrote a brief review of the book here: http://www.jtcochran.com/2013/04/23/jesus-the-messiah-by-bateman-bock-and-johnston/

  • kevin2184

    Thanks Jesse for posting this. Where can I download/buy “The Covenants” chart? It’s very helpful. Thanks again.

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  • Andy Smith

    An interesting take on the discussion, but to me it sounds mostly like a reverse ad hominem argument (pro hominem?). “I’m a dispensationalist and I love the OT” type of argument. By the way, I’m not questioning your love for the OT at all, and I’m not even convinced of Murray’s point, but I would like you to expand (maybe in a another post) on why such stark divisions in Scripture don’t make preaching from the OT harder.

    As a post script and as a Covenant Theologian, let me also say that, of course, while CT affirms different dispensations in Scripture, there is harsh difference between the way we use the term and you as dispensationals do. To use a Vos term, we see the dispensations as the “organic growth” of God’s one plan of salvation. I think a dispensationalist would use these dispensations as distinct shifts and in some places drastic changes in the plan of salvation. (i.e. while in Samson or David’s story we have the meat and bones of our salvation in CT, I think Disp. wouldn’t make that case).

    • http://scripturethoughts.wordpress.com/ Lynda O

      Maybe you have a different “definition” of dispensationalism than what it is — dispensationalists have always held to one way, one plan of salvation. Disps do not believe that the way of salvation has changed, as that is part of soteriology — and dispensationalism deals instead with the doctrines of eschatology and ecclesiology but not soteriology. We see progressive revelation throughout the OT and then into the NT, but God’s people, both Jews and Gentiles, have always been saved in the same way, through faith in God and what He has revealed, the atonement provided by the Lord God and the work that the Messiah would do when He came in His First Coming.

      • Andy Smith

        Thank Guys. Just for the record, I graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago (a dispensational school), not to mention growing up in a dis. church, so I know the system quite well. I’m not trying to be that guy on the comment stream who angrily hates dispensationalism.

        The question of preaching the OT, however, I think is a tricky question for y’all. Is the OT about Christ and his salvation, although before he had come? Or is it simply about things the Father did and so reveals God’s character? How do we learn from the Law? How can the Church learn from an entity that dispensationalism holds as completely separate? What’s the relationship between the Mosaic and Abrahamic Covenants? Ect.

        • http://scripturethoughts.wordpress.com/ Lynda O

          The OT encompasses all of God’s unfolding plan, His Divine Purpose. As for the covenants of scripture — the Abrahamic Covenant (also the Davidic covenant) is unconditional and unilateral. The Mosaic covenant was conditional, bilateral (both parties agreed to it), and thus temporary, since the Israelites broke it and that covenant ended. The Mosaic covenant was the parenthesis, but the terms of the Abrahamic Covenant — plus the expansion of the Davidic and New Covenants — remain in effect for now as well as the future.

        • http://michaelcoughlin.net/ Michael Coughlin

          I don’t understand this statement as it doesn’t comport with your assertion that you understand dispensationalism:

          “How can the Church learn from an entity that dispensationalism holds as completely separate?”

          I would venture to say the same way Paul said we ought. These things were written for your learning.

          The entire Bible is the revelation of God. We can learn about God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit throughout. Your assertion that with a dispensational model is unsupported and constantly contradicted in practice.

          I appreciate the discussion.

    • elainebitt

      Always timeless and handy article by Dan Phillips, note point 5:

      http://bibchr.blogspot.ca/2006/02/what-dispensationalism-isnt.html

    • http://michaelcoughlin.net/ Michael Coughlin

      Just for example Andy – would you say that Joseph and Abraham and the OT saints believed that Jesus Christ was crucified, buried for 3 days and then rose again?

      Hmmm. If you do, I’d like to see some explanation.

      If you do not, then is that two ways of salvation? Because I know of no other way a person can be saved today. Of course it isn’t.

      Maybe its because part of exercising faith is that we do need to understand that there is a certain level of God’s revelation in which saints are expected to believe.

      And as far as the pro-hominem works – that was the point of the post. Jesse was showing that he could use the same poor argumentation that Murray seemed to use in his article to prove the opposite point. It is called answering a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      I do think you make a good point Andy. Preaching the OT (as Lyndon said on this thread after you posted) is hard. THere are passages that are difficult, and they are difficult if you are hold CT or DT. And I grant that in some places they are HARDER for dispensationalists. That is totally true. In some places, we even make it harder on our selves than necessary–like Deut 32, w the Word of God being near us. For the CT, you can preach the lights out on a passage like that, where as too often Dispis can get hung up on connecting all the dots, walking you through the history of redemption all the way to Romans, and the end result makes it a longer walk than is probably necessary. So in that sense, I get your point. But I think we can all be honest and say that there are hard passages for both sides to preach well.

      • Andy Smith

        Absolutely. And just because it may be more difficult for dispensationalists at times, this by itself does not make it wrong. To boil it down, I think DT has a tendency to over-emphasize NT preaching because the OT story is not “our” story. The OT is disconnected from us today. It is not our story, but the story of those who preceded us. At least, that would be my hypothesis. And this isn’t an across-the-board verdict, because of course there are plenty of DT churches that preach the OT consistently (your church is a prime example).

        ps. Thanks you (and all the writers) for the Cripplegate. I definitely don’t read this just to “keep up with the dispensationalists,” but to learn: and I do that quite a lot.

    • Michael

      Andy, you said ” I would like you to expand (maybe in another post) on why such stark
      divisions in Scripture don’t make preaching from the OT harder.”

      Doesn’t someone first need to make the case that biblical dispensationalism does make preaching from the OT harder? Isn’t the burden of proof on the accuser?

      Regarding the plan of salvation, it is an often used straw man argument (unfortunately still used by Sproul, Ferguson, et al) that dispensationalists posit two ways of salvation: by Jesus or by Jewishness!

      • Andy Smith

        Well, as to straw arguments, I’m not sure you can accuse me (or Sproul, Ferguson, ect.) of that when someone else on this very comment stream has affirmed two ways of salvation (see Michael Coughlin above). I understand that their are many different streams of dispensationalism, but there *are* streams that hold to a form of the “two views of salvation” model.

        As to burden of proof, I think it’s logically consistent to say that, if you posit a hard line between Biblical eras, then it seems it would be harder for people from one era to associate and learn from those in another. This would be exactly what New Covenant preaching on OT texts would be (in dispensational schemes). I think breaking down this syllogism would be very helpful in a separate post. I’d certainly read it.

        • http://michaelcoughlin.net/ Michael Coughlin

          Would you care to explain where I affirm two ways of salvation and where you do not by interracting with the question posed in my comment below?

          • elainebitt

            I read and re-read your comment Michael and I don’t see it. I think Andy misunderstood you, that’s all.

          • Andy Smith

            “Just for example Andy – would you say that Joseph and Abraham and the OT saints believed that Jesus Christ was crucified, buried for 3 days and then rose again?

            Hmmm. If you do, I’d like to see some explanation.

            If you do not, then is that two ways of salvation? Because I know of no other way a person can be saved today. Of course it isn’t.”

            At the very least, you must admit this is somewhat confusing. Perhaps I misrepresented, and I apologize. I’m not trying to get into DT/CT debate.

          • http://michaelcoughlin.net/ Michael Coughlin

            Try this:

            Do you believe that Abraham confessed with his mouth Christ as Lord and believed that God had raised Him from the dead?

            Do you believe that anyone today is saved any other way than that.

  • Lyndon Unger

    This is funny stuff, but I have an idea.

    As for the list, I’d replace #4 with “Difficult”.

    I mean, translating, pulling out the exegetical point, putting it into a homiletical outline and relating the application to the gospel is FAR harder with an OT narrative than a Pauline epistle. With OT, you often have to lay out WAY more foundational information as well. Try jumping into an exposition of Zechariah 1:1-6 without spending 7-10 minutes adequately setting up the book/passage!

    Also, how many MDiv bearing pastors keep their Hebrew vocab memorization up or would translate/pound through a 50+ verse narrative every week when they could work through 7-10 verses of an epistle or gospel? (or 1 verse, depending on who you are!) I recently preached the story of David and Goliath and my translation time was around 5x what it would be in an NT passage (due to the sheer length of the passage, the gigantic unforeseen textual critical issues and something that would make Drs. Grisanti and Barrick cry…but I won’t say what…).

    Just my thoughts.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      That’s a great point Lyndon. It is harder. There are some passages where you just scratch your head and think, “What in the world am I supposed to do with this?”

      • Lyndon Unger

        Jesse, I’ve NEVER experienced that (*cough Ezekiel 23*)…

        • Greg Pickle

          Sometimes it’s harder also because of its glorious repetitiveness. How many different ways can you preach, “Yahweh is going to regenerate Israel, bring them back to the land as he promised to Abraham, and rule over them by a Davidic king as he blesses them (and the nations through them) despite their wickedness”? Because sometimes that seems like half of the OT or more.

          The whole point of it is not to be “fresh”, but to reiterate the same message, which makes it difficult when we want to avoid sounding like a broken record. But it seems like that broken record is exactly what God wants to be heard.

  • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

    David Murray, always gracious, has allowed Dan Phillips to respond to the article on David’s personal blog, Head, Heart, Hands. You can read that here.

    And also, it wasn’t too long ago on the Cripplegate that a dispensationalist outlined the storyline of the entire Old Testament, relating how it reaches its climax and fulfillment in the person of Christ. You can find that here.

    • brad

      Do you really want Dan Phillips to be the spokesperson for dispensationalism?

      • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

        Because you ask, I think Dan has a fine grasp on the issues related to the subject, and is more than capable of representing the camp well.

        But all my comment seeks to do is to hold up the interaction between David Murray and Dan Phillips as a good example of brotherly discussion on this issue, even though these brothers come to different conclusions.

  • brad

    First of all, I think we are making an idol of JMAC, Master’s Seminary etc.

    Secondly, I think we need to make a distinction between the academics/pastors and the regular Christian or non-believer.

    Finally, who really cares about this whole discussion? This probably only matters to bloggers, Christians who are overly intellectual, academics and pastors who aren’t in touch with reality/Jesus and their neighbors. If you are loving your neighbors, loving God, and on mission, this whole discussion isn’t helpful.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Well, if it only matters to bloggers, then this is exactly the right place for it.

      Honestly, there has to be room for theological debate, and at the center of this issue is how the OT law applies to believers, and how the church relates to Israel. I think those are pretty important issues, and help draw us more “in touch” with Jesus. Part of loving God is wrestling through difficult passages of Scripture, and loving the Bible enough to think seriously about its content does not make one “overly intellectual.” Imagine a pastor who said, “Theology? I don’t want to talk about that. Blah.” Yea Gads.

  • Craig P. Hurst

    Jesse, I grew up Dispensational and attend a seminary that is Dispensational. Two things, first, I would not say they neglected the OT. However, I would say that Dispensationalism puts undue priority of the dispensations over the covenants. Whether right or wrong, this is my assessment. While in seminary I began to read some covenant guys and personally, that’s when the light turned on for me. It helped me make so much more sense of Scripture and began to answer some problems I felt Dispensationalism had (not saying there are no unresolved issues in CT). I consider myself Reformed Baptist so I am a credo-baptist/communion. I realize both sides say it, but I feel that if we let the covenants drive Scripture and listen to how the NT writers understood the OT and the covenants then I feel CT has it more right.

    That’s my 2 cents!

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Thanks for your comment Craig.

  • joeycochran

    After noting the numbered list again I couldn’t help but wonder if this was a cleverly written chiastic structure employed by Murray. I see clear connections between points 1 & 7, 2 & 6, 3 & 5. Could the heart of the issue really be dispy? That made me chuckle as a bridger b/t DT and CT.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      Thats hilarious. Thanks Joey.

  • Jonathan Moorhead

    I wonder if Murray realizes that one of the Ligonier Board of Directors is a dispensationalist (Steve Lawson)? Awkward.

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  • MarkO

    Interesting chart.
    However, I’ve never found the “Palestinian Covenant” in the Bible.

    btw – the word palestinian comes from the word for Philistine.
    Neither the NT nor the OT equate the New Covenant with an agreement Yahweh made with the Philistines.

    I’m basing these conclusions on a literal hermeneutic of Scripture.

    iow – there is no literal mention of a “Palestinian Covenant” in Scripture.