#10 Covenant Theology’s Alternative View

The Dispensations
The Dispensations
#10 Covenant Theology’s Alternative View
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I want you to get your bulletin out and look on the backside of it for the seven point outline that I have. And then I want you to turn to Hebrews chapter 13 to a verse there that we’ll look at. This will be an unusual message.
As a matter of fact, I hesitate to call it a message. I’m going to talk to you tonight. And I’m doing this because this is kind of our last thought in our study on dispensations, which took us through the seven dispensations. We did one each night. And then I talked last week about biblical covenants that we have in the Bible.
There are minor covenants, three minor covenants, but five major covenants that God made with Israel that we often talk about, Abrahamic, the Palestinian covenant, the Davidic covenant, the New Covenant, the Mosaic covenant with Moses and so forth. But we have disagreements among us as believers, and there are a lot of good men, believing men that do not hold to a dispensational point of view. And that has been true as long as dispensationalism has been around.
So we’ve had a view opposite that. It’s called covenant theology. You see in the title of this, sometimes it’s called reformed. As a matter of fact, reformed theology is the older view, and then there is covenant theology. Now basically, I’m giving an explanation about this because I think it’s important that we as a church or we as people understand where they’re coming from, understand our differences.
But I also want to say or emphasize these are kind of in-house differences. I made a little short list of men that I have read that are covenant theologians, and I’ve got maybe eight or 10, 12 here, and I’ve read from almost all of them. I learned from them. I quote from them. I’ve met some of them even.
So they’re good men, and I understand that. But I have grown up being born in 1950 and has seen kind of the last half of the 20th century with really the fruit of a dispensational emphasis in our country and around the world. I think I ask in our study at one point, how many of you have grown up with a Schofield Reference Bible?
As a matter of fact, you may be holding one in your hands right now. But understanding these dispensations and how the Bible is put together, I don’t know about you, but it just opened the Bible up for me. I just saw how it all went together.
I could handle the biblical references to not only covenants but dispensations, to the prophetic things, to all of that. It’s kind of like I’ve used an illustration before when we lived in Colorado. If you live right up against the mountains, you enjoy it. You can walk up to the mountains and take a little pick and pick off rocks out of the mountains, but you don’t get much of a panoramic view that way. If you go back about 10 miles, maybe 50 miles back east and turn around and look back at the mountains, then you get a panoramic view. On a clear day, you can see Pike’s Peak 50 miles south of Denver all the way up to the Wyoming line, 100 miles north of Denver.
There are all those peaks and mountains, and it’s a beautiful way to look at it. Sometimes we have to look at the Bible that way. To me, that’s what dispensationalism has always helped me do, is stand back and see the whole panoramic view of it and how God has been dealing with it. Also dispensationalism made me appreciate prophecy, look forward to the rapture, look forward to the kingdom of God, and those kinds of things. It also made me evangelistic. I hope that it made you that way too, as we preached the soon coming of Christ. We preached the rapture that is imminent, could happen at any time.
We understood that we live in this age of grace, which is unique and unique for the Church of Jesus Christ. It just did a lot for us, and probably the evangelism, the Bible colleges, the prophetic conferences, the churches that were planted throughout the 20th century, I think largely have been because of a dispensational point of view. But we have those who have not been dispensational, and the fact is that as we get now to the year 2017, dispensationalism is not nearly as popular as it used to be. I’m even aware that as I’m using the term that there could be someone who happens onto our website and listens to me preach one of these messages and says, oh well they’re dispensationalists, I wouldn’t go there.
because there’s a lot of attitude like that. And really what they’ve been affected by is Reformed theology, which we’ll come back to in a minute, but that Reformed theology is where a lot of our young people are today. A lot of the schools that are popular today are Reformed rather than dispensational. A lot of the large churches are Reformed rather than dispensational. And the writers that people read from John MacArthur, who I heard him describe himself as a leaking dispensationalist, he went to a dispensational seminary and was always, and he still believes in a pre-tribute rapture and so forth, and had been a dispensationalist, and kind of found his way away from it.
R.C. Sproul, John Piper that people read today, Michael Horton, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Seminary and so forth. So the men that people are reading and the young people are reading today, it also brings a lot of other things to view that we’ll see. The basic differences, I’ve got to, I just made a simple seven thoughts here that I want to talk to you about and explain this to you. And again, let me say my purpose for doing this is to just inform you because you need to be informed as a church and I have no other way or no other place to do it. Let me also say about Reformed versus dispensational theology. Reformed is less separatistic than dispensationalism and that’s why a lot of, it’s more popular today.
Dispensationalism is where you learned your separation from the world. And in Reformed circles, you don’t nearly have that emphasis on separation. Reformed circles like to emphasize their scholarly notes and they like to kind of look down their noses sometimes at dispensationalism.
Probably because mostly that’s where hyper-Calvinism comes from and hyper-Calvinism is always seen itself as scholarly, quote unquote. So also they can be more high church, more liturgical, things like that. And less emphasis on the local church, more emphasis on para-church organizations.
Have you noticed that that has happened? Rather than the emphasis on local churches that exist and your involvement in local churches, you can now get involved with any group that’s out there through the internet or whatever ways. And there are all kinds of organizations, Christian organizations out there to help you, out there to let you minister with them and gladly take your money too and whatever.
There are all kinds of para-church organizations, so less emphasis on local church and more emphasis on the para-church organizations. The basic differences, well dispensationalism as we have seen over the last few weeks as we’ve studied this, says, and I think this is true, that they emphasize a literal interpretation of scripture. That is, we take, especially the prophets literally, and we also take things like Genesis 1 literally, we believe God created the world in seven days. Well a lot of covenant men do too, but we take the prophecies literally, we take those kind of explanations. We believe in biblical covenants, as we studied last week, the biblical covenants Abrahamic, Davidic and so forth, but we also believe in dispensations, and we believe there was a dispensation of law, a dispensation of grace.
There’s a dispensation of the kingdom of God that is coming. Whereas, in covenant theology, it gets its name, as you will see in a minute, from their view of other covenants. As a matter of fact, they believe in either two or three covenants, none of those are the ones named in the Bible, and that’s where they get their name covenant theology.
We believe that the biblical covenants were made with Israel, but they believe the biblical covenants at Israel is no longer significant in God’s prophetic picture, and all of those things belong to the church today. Whereas, dispensationists would be more premillennial, waiting for the coming of Christ, believing that he will reign on the earth for a thousand years. Most reformed and covenant theologians are amillennial, and they believe we’re in the kingdom of God now.
This is the kingdom of God, and this is where we live. Again, they’re very Calvinistic, and their interpretation becomes more allegorical at points rather than literal. I’m trying not to overstate the case, because in dispensationalism, as well as in covenant theology, you can find various degrees of things. People can differ among themselves, so I realize that in fine points there can be disagreements with these things. There are basic differences between what has been a dispensational approach to scripture, and what has been a covenant theology or reformed theology approach to scripture.
Let me, well, I think I’ll get to it here. So the recent number two, it’s recent history. And I point this out because if you talk about dispensationalism to somebody who’s a covenant reformed person, they will tell you, well, dispensationalism has come along late. In other words, they’ll want to say it started with John Nelson Darby, who was born in 1800, lived during the 1800s, and dispensationalism is no older than Darby in the 1800s and then Schofield at 1900. But the thing is that covenant theology is at best maybe 100 years older than that. And so it still boils down to what is biblical, right? Not what has been systematized recently.
So it’s not so old either. Now reformers are called reformers because they were part of the reformation, you understand. So from Martin Luther’s day, these would be in the 1500s, John Calvin in his lifetime, but a little after that and so forth. The reformers developed a theology that we now call reformed theology. So when you hear of reformed theology, it comes basically from the reformers. But in those days in the 1500s, even into the 1600s, there wasn’t anything called covenant theology until the late in the 1600s. So even covenant theology doesn’t go back as far as the reformers. The reformers were not necessarily covenant theologians. It was in 1647 that the reformer, the reformed people, wrote the Westminster Confession. And in that Westminster Confession, this would be, of course, in England, in 1647, they enumerated two covenants, a covenant of works and a covenant of grace.
You see on your list, we’re going to come back to those in a minute. Lewis Birkhoff, a hyper-Calvinistic theologian that I’ve read his theology and so forth, believes that covenant theology goes back to the 1500s. There was a man named Johannes Koscius who lived in the 1600s who came up with the idea of two covenants, a covenant of works, covenant of grace.
Does that sound odd to you to say there’s a covenant of works and a covenant of grace? I mean, you don’t talk about that. You know why? Because you don’t find such terms in the Bible. But that’s the basis of covenant theology, to have two or perhaps three, as we’ll see in a minute. Herman Whitsias in the 1600s into the 1700s developed a systematized way of calling all of this covenant theology. Now, we should realize too that much of the America’s founding was founded by reformed people, not dispensational people. And so the Puritans who came here and had great influence on the early 13 colonies were not dispensationalists. They were covenant in theology. And so you had men like John Cotton, Cotton Mather, John Winthrop, Increase Mather.
How’d you like to have a first name called Increase William? And when they established, like Boston and places, and by the way, many of the pilgrims as they landed and made their colonies, these were covenant theologians, not dispensational, like you and I might be. So they believed in a union of church and state. And had they had it their way, there would have been a union of church and state in America, not a separation of church and state. And it was thankful to a Baptist named John Williams, who established an independent colony called Rhode Island, where he named the capital Providence, and believed in a separation of church and state that had great influence on the writers of our Constitution. And thank God, it was a Baptist who influenced the writers, rather than the Puritans or the pilgrims even.
So I don’t know if you know that, but that’s true. And so in the denominational sense, Presbyterians have always been reformed and covenant in theology, because the Puritans find their history back to the Presbyterians who find their history back to John Calvin. Calvin, of course, a Calvinist, much a Calvinist, and he developed this idea, and then the Presbyterian church has always been that way.
And so now you have Presbyterians, you have reformed, they call themselves a lot of reformed writers today. So the point of number two is that if there’s an accusation about dispensationalism being recent, so is covenant theology. As a matter of fact, there are some very good books I’ve been reading recently that show that dispensationalism goes that far back and perhaps farther. Our favorite songwriter, Isaac Watts, born in the 1600s, was definitely a dispensationalist, one of the reasons I like him so much, and lived into the 1700s. So really, they’re about as old as far as, that doesn’t mean that no one before that believed these concepts, it means that they were not systematized into an organized way of thinking and writing.
So one is about as old as the other. All right. Now, to talk about what covenant theology is, you have three things. One is the covenant of work, secondly, the covenant of grace, thirdly, the covenant of redemption. These three, and some people only hold to the two, covenant of works and covenant of grace, and others hold to all three of those, that’s what comprises what we call covenant theology. One of the interesting things about looking at that there is, if you take your Bible right now and begin thumbing through it or take your concordance and begin looking these things up, you will never find the term covenant of works, you’ll never find covenant of grace, you’ll never find covenant of redemption.
But if you want to talk about biblical covenants like the Abrahamic covenant, you’ll find it, the Davidic covenant, you’ll find it, and so forth. So that’s kind of an interesting thing. Well, so let me explain what they mean by these, and again, let me emphasize, I stop and say because I’m looking at good people who might be scratching their head saying, why are we talking about this tonight?
And again, this is a conclusion to what we’ve been studying over the last couple months. But this is where church life today is going, and a lot of our young people, kids and grandkids will be into this in their churches where they go, especially if they’re the traditional reformed denominations. Well, they believe that there was a covenant of works made in the Garden of Eden between God and Adam. Now you and I talked about an Adamic covenant and an Edenic covenant, remember? And I called them minor covenants, and that is, well, God did speak to Adam and Eve and tell them, here’s what you’re supposed to do and not do. But that’s not the same thing that they’re talking about here.
Well, it’s close, but not the same thing. They believe that God made a covenant with Adam, and some go so far as to say in those days, salvation would have been by works. Adam’s salvation was whether he could do the right thing or not do the right thing. And he failed in his obedience, and therefore he lost eternal life. That covenant of works was made between God and his creation, man and the woman, and they were supposed to obey and they didn’t obey. Now, just an incidental detail, they believe then Adam became the representative head for all the rest of the race. There’s a theological position called federal headship, where basically you’re either elect or you’re non-elect, and one of the reasons is that you’re either electing Adam or not, he’s the representative head for everyone else.
Incidental. But they believe that God made a covenant of works with Adam in the garden. Adam failed and lost. And so once the covenant of works was broken and failed, now what is God going to do? Well, at that point, they believe that God made a second covenant with all of human beings called the covenant of grace. Now, so they believe grace began at the fall, all the way back to Adam and Eve, not at Pentecost or not with the Gospels, but all the way back to Adam and Eve, we’ve been under grace, under the covenant of grace. They don’t call it a dispensation necessarily, they call it a covenant.
And since Adam failed, God made a covenant. Now, this is where their hyper-Calvinism comes in. They believe that God made a covenant with the elect to save them all by grace. He did not make this covenant with the non-elect. Now, they’ll have some difference among themselves over that fine point, but basically as God makes a covenant of grace, he’s deciding to save those he’s already determined to save and not save the rest. Okay, so this covenant of grace began there. Now, some that only hold the two covenants, not three, because there’s a third one here called the covenant of redemption. If you only hold to the first two, then the covenant of grace, they pushed back into eternity past and say, God really had it in his mind.
He knew Adam would fail and he’d already determined who he would save afterwards and who he would not. And he made this covenant with the elect before the foundation of the world, but that’s usually called the covenant of redemption. An interesting little thing is that the reason why the Reformers continued infant baptism, whereas our forefathers, our Baptist forefathers, never practiced infant baptism and left that immediately, but the Reformed people did is because that was their way of designating that your children are also children of the elect. And so in America, that was called the halfway covenant. A halfway covenant was that in hyper-Calvinistic churches and in reformed churches, these denominations baptized babies. Now, they didn’t believe that, like the Catholics do, that infant baptism was saving them, but they believed that that infant baptism was marking them as elect because they were being baptized by elect parents.
So if you bring your children up in church and you offer them for baptism as an infant, then they will no doubt be elect also. And so there was this halfway covenant, and they’ve argued even among themselves over the validity to that. And there are some reformed writers today leaving that idea of infant baptism because they just can’t defend infant baptism in the Scripture. Now, some people go a third step and say that there was a covenant of redemption, and that is that before the covenant of grace was established at the fall of Adam and Eve, go way back into eternity past, go way back before God created anything, and way back in eternity past, a covenant was made between the Father and the Son, God the Father and God the Son. And the covenant was that since he would create the world and the world would fall into sin, God made a covenant that the Son would be willing to die for the sins of human beings, and in response to that, God would give the Son all of the elect who he would save because of the death of the Son. And so there was a covenant of redemption made between the Father and the Son in eternity past. Now, I had you turn to Hebrews 13 because you have a statement in verse 20 called the everlasting covenant.
And many times they use this designation as their source for the covenant of redemption. Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect under every good work to do as will, working in you that which is well pleasing in the sight. Well, what is the everlasting covenant? And covenant theologians like to say that’s the covenant of redemption, but notice it doesn’t say that, does it? As a matter of fact, if you have a reference Bible, probably it goes back to somewhere in Jeremiah, maybe Jeremiah 3240, where the new covenant is called an everlasting covenant. And I think that’s exactly what it does refer to, that everlasting covenant as Jeremiah designated the new covenant. But they take it to be the covenant of redemption between the Father and the Son. So what you have as the basis for what’s called covenant theology is a two or three covenant system. And they would say that all of biblical history from Adam and Eve all the way through to the very end when there’s a new heaven and a new earth, everyone lives under the covenant of grace. Now what do they do with the biblical covenants? Well, the biblical covenants then, they say, well, let me get to that in just a minute. Let me take your thoughts into my next point there, which is called unique characteristics. So about this study then of covenant theology, we understand, number one, there are no such covenants named in the Bible.
I think that’s a valid criticism of that system, and it ought to strike you as valid. That if there’s a covenant of works, a covenant of grace, and if there is a covenant of redemption, where are they in the Bible? Give me some designation for them, and you don’t find them.
What they say is there has to be such a thing, or we couldn’t have an earth like we have it. There has to be these covenants, or we wouldn’t see God doing what he’s doing. Secondly, they are built on eternal decrees. As I said, this is usually very hyper-Calvinism, and you may not be into this, I understand, but hyper-Calvinism, there are a lot of badness and dispensations who are Calvinists.
So don’t just make all black and white here. But hyper-Calvinism, very few people are. But they would believe that everything was determined by God’s eternal decree, not only who would be saved, but everything you would ever do in your life, and really there is no such thing as free will.
You don’t have the freedom to do things like this. And so it’s built on eternal decrees. By the way, it’s called in theology, if you pick up a book that’s called Dogmatic Theology, the word dogma is the word decree, and they get the idea of dogmatic. We think of it as, that must be very harsh to be dogmatic.
No, it just means built on the decrees of God, a dogmatic theology. Also then, what do they do with the biblical covenants? They believe that the biblical covenants are phases of the covenant of grace. So since we’ve had one covenant of grace since Adam and Eve and willed to the end of time, what about the Abrahamic covenant? What about the Davidic covenant and the New covenant and things like this?
These are simply phases or some call them applications of the covenant of grace. You see how they’re placing a scenario on top of the Bible and then letting the biblical language sift up through their blanket of understanding. They might believe that there are two dispensations and the two dispensations basically are the Old Testament and the New Testament. And you understand that we use the word Testament, but you find in your translation especially like in the book of Hebrews 89 and 10 that the word covenant is the word Testament.
You understand that, right? You’ve seen that in your Bible in the notes and so forth. When you see the word covenant or you see the word Testament in the Bible in your English, it comes from the same Greek word. So where do we get the idea of New and Old Testament? Well, we use it and it’s fine with us to understand kind of the difference between law and grace. You and I as dispensations would talk about Old Testament and New Testament in the sense of the Old Testament was what was under Mosaic law, goes all the way back to the first chapters of Exodus and everything after the death and resurrection of Christ is New Testament. But what they mean by that is that there are just two dispensations, one the Old and now the New and so the covenant of grace can be broken up into two dispensations and maybe the Old dispensation can be divided a few more times than that.
That’s kind of how they look at dispensations. It’s still to them one covenant of grace. Almost always covenant theologians are a millennial, not always but almost always.
So one of the things when you’re reading these guys and writing and seems odd to you is that they’re not going to talk about the coming of Jesus Christ, they’re not going to talk about the rapture, they’re not even going to talk about the tribulation period, not in the sense that we understand seven years of tribulation coming and they’re not going to talk about Jesus Christ reigning on the earth. Jesus Christ reigns right now. You are in the kingdom of God according to them. And so that is Amillennialism. I would say that a lot of our songbook is written by Amillennial covenant theologians and we talk about being in the kingdom of God now and bringing people into the kingdom. We get that terminology from covenant theology.
So they are almost always Amillennial. Many times they combined church and state and the reason they have the government of a country is supposed to enforce the religious laws. Or if we went back to the Puritans in New England, think of the Ten Commandments. You have two halves of the Ten Commandments. And the first half of the Ten Commandments is your relationship with God.
You’ll have no other gods before me and you will worship him alone and no idolatry and so forth. The second half of the Ten Commandments is your relationship to human beings and how you act among other human beings. So they simply believe that both of these have to be enforced today. The church teaches the second half, or one half of your relationship, the first half your relationship with God and the state enforces the second half your relationship with human beings. And so even in those days Sabbath keeping, which by the way most covenant theologians called Sunday, not Saturday, they had a Sunday Sabbath in the New Testament and it was enforced by the government. So even in Puritan New England, you had no choice about going to church. You went and if you didn’t go to church, the government stepped in and enforced that to you.
Roger Williams as a Baptist came along and said, no, you, government should enforce the second half of the Ten Commandments. That is stealing and murdering and things like that. But no one can enforce to you the first half of the Ten Commandments and that is your relationship to God.
That has to be between you and God. And it’s because of that baptistic way of thinking that Rhode Island was founded and therefore a separation of church and state and people flocked to that colony because of this so that they could worship according to their own conscience and not have the government telling you you must worship this way. And had the Puritans and the Pilgrims had their way, that’s the way it would have been in the United States.
United States. So there often was a union of church and state. Often they are more social in their gospel, that is changing the world through housing and feeding and clothing and changing countries and doing things like that.
And as I said, they’re usually more Calvinistic. So these are unique characteristics about it. Now it’s contrast to dispensationalism is simply this. Number one is literal interpretation versus more allegorical or typological.
You can just think of this simply this way. The reason you believe, if you believe that Jesus Christ will return to the earth, there’s going to be a second coming. Whether you believe in the rapture or not, but you believe that he’ll come and reign on the earth for a thousand years, the reason you hold to that is you go back and read the promises of the Old Testament and they say that and you have to decide whether you take that literally or not. The lion will lie down with the lamb. Is that going to happen or is it not going to happen?
The desert will blossom as a rose. Is it going to happen or not going to happen? And you come to the conclusion of that and hundreds more promises like it. Those things, the Bible says it’s going to happen.
So you take the first because you take them literally. But if you go back to those promises and say, well, I don’t believe there’s ever going to be a day when a lion and a lamb, the child will play with a poisonous snake and all of those kinds of things, that’ll really happen. That’s just kind of a picture that believers today ought to get along.
And we ought to get along in God’s church. Then you have more of an allegorical interpretation of the prophecy and therefore you don’t believe Jesus is going to come back and actually do that. So you have a real basic difference between a millennial and pre millennial with literal interpretation, allegorical dispensationalists came along and said, look, we’ve got to believe that these things are going to happen. And even the tribulation period of seven years and then of the rapture of the church, these things are going to happen. And so back 100 years ago, there were great prophetic conferences going on, schools being started that were based on pre millennial dispensationalism, a Bible being published, Schofield’s reference Bible that would show people these things.
And it caused great revival in America and church planning throughout. They also believe there’s a difference in our belief between Israel and the church. You and I believe that Israel is God’s people. And that God made these promises to Israel and that promises haven’t been fulfilled yet. So someday God is going to take his people Israel, plant them in their land, be there with them, and give them everything he ever promised them. And one of the reasons why you and I might believe that we need to stand by the nation of Israel, even though they’re in unbelief right now, is that God has a future for Israel. But if you’re a covenant in your theology or reformed, you don’t believe Israel has any more place in history.
That when they crucified their Messiah, God was actually done with them. And all the promises that did belong to Israel now belong to the church. Sometimes this is called replacement theology today. And that is the church replaces all of the things that Israel was promised. And Israel has no more future in God’s plan today. That’s a big difference in these two points of view.
Also one that I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about. But reformed theology does something sounds real good when you think about it. They read the Old Testament into the New Testament into the Old Testament.
Does that sound good? Because you have a fulfillment of things in the New Testament and you read that back into the Old Testament. But dispensationalists generally believe that you have to read the Old Testament into the New Testament. Now that may sound odd, but what I’ve just explained to you about prophecy is the result of that. In other words, did God make a promise to David about David’s throne in Jerusalem? If we think he really did, and that has to happen, you’re taking that Old Testament promise bringing it over into the New Testament saying this is still good today, even in the New Testament. But if you say, well now, Jesus is reigning in heaven, not reigning on David’s throne. David died and he’s in heaven and so he’s got what he promised. And now that’s what you think the New Testament teaches. You read that back into the Old Testament, Davidic covenant, and that’s covenant theology. So one big difference is not reading the New Testament into the Old, but letting the Old come into the New Testament fulfilled and complete.
All right? Then also, as I’ve said, covenant theologians are mostly amillennial. Dispensation is mostly premillennial. These things are represented by major denominations, by the way. Like I said, Presbyterians have always been more a millennial, more covenant in their theology. Baptist have been a little of both, but Baptist, especially since the organization of dispensationalism, have been more dispensational, pre-millennial, and so forth. Especially schools where you choose to send your kids, may or may not be dispensational, may or may not be reformed or covenant.
That’s going to make a big difference in their future. And one thing that is happening today in the dropping of denominational titles, which you know I have been against from the beginning, is that denominational titles, among other things that are good about them, one of the things that happens when you drop those titles is, now you don’t know what that church believes. And so now they may be dispensational, they may be covenant.
They may be charismatic, they may be non-charismatic. You don’t know, whereas denominational names used to tell you those things if you had any knowledge of things at all before you ever walked through the door. So now we have our young people being lured to these churches, not because of doctrine, not because of what the church believes, but whether they’re entertaining or not. Whether the church satisfies them or not. Whether it’s a comfortable place for them to be. Whether they’re allowed to do the things they want to do. That’s why they choose a church.
Well, what about the doctrine? What does that matter? It is what it is. So it’s a danger today that the titles, both in schools and in churches, in groups, in paratroops organizations, in online organizations and all this, they’re all generic, so you can’t tell what they are until you find out somehow. To me, that’s always been kind of a cultic thing, isn’t it? The cults come to your door, they knock on your door, and they don’t want to tell you where they’re from, and they want to lure you into their Bible study and get you grounded, and then they will tell you they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, then they’ll tell you they’re Mormons or something, but they don’t want to tell you that up front, because they want to pull you in.
And they know you wouldn’t go if you knew that up front. Now, one last thing. There are some new compromises going on among it. If you put dispensationalism on one side and covenant theology on the other side, now in a newer generation, for the last 20 to 25 years, there have been some who said, well, let’s break down our differences a little bit, and so we have what’s called progressive dispensationalism, where a lot of the guys who were over here wanted to be a little bit more like the covenant theologians, and they pushed more toward the center, so there’s kind of a middle compromising, if you allow me to use that word, group called progressive dispensationalism. Don’t you love that word progressive in our day and age? Everything from politics on is progressive, but churches are that way, there’s theology that way. Now, I’m reading a book right now, it’s a brand new book called Progressive Covenentalism, where now the covenant theologians want to be more progressive and break out of some of their old mold and move toward the center. And so there’s always been that kind of move toward let’s blend it all together and lose our differences and so forth. Well, one thing to be said there is, we’re all brothering. You know, covenant theologians, there have been some great theologians, great speakers, great pastors and so forth, and I’ve read a lot of them and love them, but there’s a place where you just have to say, but that’s not what I believe, and not what I want my church to believe if I’m part of that church, I want it taught a different way.
And so that’s kind of where we are. I am what you’d call a traditional, dispensational, simply meaning I’m not a progressive dispensatious, I’m what dispensationalism has been in its history. I think dispensationalism is honoring to the scripture, it’s honoring to Israel and the church, it’s honoring to prophetic truth, and it is honoring to Christian history about what Christians really have believed. And I hope that you are too. So I know this has not been a typical Sunday night sermon, but I think it was necessary to do this little history lesson at the close of our study on dispensationalism and covenants. Alright, stand with me if you will.
And I know that you took good notes and have all that written down. And if not, go online and listen again. Let’s pray.
Father, thank you as we remind ourselves of these things and as we as a local church try to reinforce and understand what we believe. I thank you, Father, that we can try to do this. And throughout our couple months of study on these things, I pray that you would clear our minds and bring us to that understanding of the truth. Help us to be gracious always as brothers and sisters in Christ to brothers and sisters. Whether we agree or disagree, but help us, Father, to be strong in what we believe and know what we believe and be able to give an answer of the hope that lies within us. So Father, bless now as we sing a song and as we think about these things, may you be honored and glorified by it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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