This World Is Not My Home (the Origins and Development of Dispensationalism)

by Glen H. Jones

According to Michael Williams, the teaching known as premillennialism was unknown by the early church fathers and is a creation of the last 200 years. The early leader in this movement was John Nelson Darby of England. It gained popularity with the publication of the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. C. I. Scofield and Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, popularized the premillennial and dispensational doctrines. Briefly outlined, these two doctrines teach that spiritual history can be divided into dispensations, periods of history in which God deals with humanity on a somewhat different basis. The current dispensation is that of the church; only the Kingdom dispensation remains after that.

Scofield and Chafer both taught that the Old Testament contained "types" that were later more fully explained by the "antitypes," usually in the New Testament. Williams does not reject the notion of types, but he believes that dispensationalists overuse them.

The salient feature of premillennialism is that the church and Israel are two distinct entities and should not be confused. Israel was granted the irrevocable title deed to the Promised Land; however, Israel is not in blind unbelief during this Church Age. When Christ returns to rapture His church, God's time clock will once again starting running with Israel.

According to dispensational theology, the original creation was invaded by Satan who planned to destroy God's blueprint for humanity. Scofield and Chafer both taught that God had no plans to save all of humanity, but He was to call out a people for His name. Evil will become worse despite our best efforts. Ultimately all evil persons will be destroyed, Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years, and the earth will enjoy a millennium of peace and prosperity.

The author disputes this approach to biblical history. He believes that the church is a successor to Israel. The purpose of the church is to minister to the needs of humanity. The world is not a lost cause; we are in the world to live the life of Christ in love and compassion.

For the most part the author faithfully represents the classical dispensational teachings of Scofield and Chafer. Dispensationalists and premillennialists, however, will definitely not agree with Williams that Scofield and Chafer misunderstood their premillennial position.

Target: All

Type: Dispensational theology

Take: Highly recommended

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