No system of thought remains simply thought, for a person's ideas about God his faith will control his actions. Moreover, most people tend to embrace doctrines they are taught with little or no thought of their origins, implications, conclusions, or even of their contextual Scriptural soundness. More than a few good men have embraced doctrines because of the personalities of their teachers, because of peer pressure, or simply because the doctrines were appealing. William Law [1686-1761] spoke of those who defend opinions based on things other than Scripture:
...[H]ow many have studied the words of Scripture for a lifetime, without receiving that humility of Christ which produces the very mind of Christ and turns fallen man into a son of God! Academic degrees they hold in plenty from the best centers of religious learningbut know so little of Spirit of Christ! What a paradox to see the professed Church of the Lamb filled with great numbers of champion disputants, who from age to age have been up in arms to support and defend a set of opinions, doctrines, and practices, all of which may be most cordially embraced without demanding the least degree of self-denial, and most firmly held fast without bestowing the least degree of humility!
Why is it that we see Bible scholars equally pleased with and contending for the errors and absurdities of every system of theology under which they happen to have taken their education? Because natural genius and human wisdom can feed on no other food than the deceptive fruit of that ancient tree of knowledge. What a gross ignorance, both of man's need and Christ's salvation, to run to Greek and Hebrew schools to learn how to put off Adam and to put on Christ! How absurd to seek to be wise in scholarship concerning the letter of Scripture in order to obey Christ's command that we must become like a little child to enter into His kingdom! How came the learned Greeks by their pride and vanity, and inability to come under the humility of the cross? It was because the false glory of their own cultivated abilities blinded them in the same way that a letter-learned knowledge blinded Jewish scribes and Pharisees. And so it often is in the Church today. (Power, 50, 51, 52.)
Many Christians profess to be followers of the humble Lamb of God, yet refuse to give up a system of theology because they happened to have taken their education under that system. Though exalting the word of God with their mouths, they exalt friendships and traditions with their actions. They are, accordingly, identified with the "letter-learned knowledge blinded Jewish scribes and Pharisees," for whom Christ had no good words.
Many of the modern teachings we will discuss are considered basis for fellowship by some who hold them vehemently, when the basis of fellowship should instead be converting faith in Christ, the necessity of the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and the application of God's total Law-Word and grace into all society through the word of God. The soundness of the doctrine of redemption the most important of all doctrines is many times overlooked as long as there is a common teaching in other areas, like Eschatology. (Dispensational millennialism/"Pre-trib" rapture became the "shibboleth" for fellowship at the start of the twentieth century "because of its tremendous fund- raising potential." Biola College was among the first to discover its potential, Plot, 222, 223. The Believer must hold to some basic points to be considered a Bible Believing Christian: the inspiration of Scripture, the virgin birth of Christ, Christ's substitutionary death (vicarious atonement), his literal resurrection. Obviously, "Liberty of Conscience" must operate within sound Biblical parameters. See Systematic Theology, 899. See also The 1689 London Baptist Confession, chap. 21.)
This present study was initially motivated by this pastor's contact with a book by Dave MacPherson. Questioning MacPherson's conclusions because they were so contrary to what this pastor had been taught, his reference materials were obtained and checked where possible. As MacPherson's documentations were examined, this pastor was saddened and surprised to find that a very large portion of current "Christian" doctrine, over which many modern Christians will part company, was less than theologically sound.
There were so many new and unique theological opinions developed by talented and powerful men in the early 1800s, which now control modern Christian thought, that we cannot deal with them all. Consequently, the inclined reader is strongly urged to examine for himself the points brought up, yet overlooked. In fact, I suggest readers do as this pastor did research material unobtainable through used book stores was obtained through libraries and inner-library loans. Thus what started as an effort to dismiss some facts, to which this author did not want to admit, developed into an examination of the origin and spread of a modern theology that encourages the Christian to withdraw from society to become more "spiritual," i.e., "Heavenly-minded." (Origins, 301.)
We urge those desiring to take an honest look at the modern dispensational system to check E.R. Sandeen and G.E. Ladd. (In his 1901 History, Neatby attributes the name "Evangelical" to the early Brethren dissidents against the Church of England, 34. Thus both Fundamental and Evangelical are names that originated to describe the followers of the unique doctrines developed in the Irvingite/Brethren movement.)
Our objective is to establish the source of many modern, well-known doctrines that have led to the hopeless, helpless attitudes of Christians in general. We will attempt to restrict our study to just enough information to reveal the roots and fruits of the modern dispensational millennial faith.
Furthermore, one should be cautious about identifying size and physical growth with the movement of God's Spirit, or he will find himself defending many pagan systems of belief, e.g., Muslims. (1 Tim. 6:1-7.) In other words, the zeal and explosive growth characterizing a system of belief are not necessarily the Spirit's stamp of approval. Only the totality of God's word and its overall effect upon the world for Christ and his kingdom can approve or disapprove any system of Christian life and thought.
Please examine the following with Scripture in hand and the attitude of and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you (Phil. 3:15) that is, with the desire that if any area of doctrine believed is contrary to God's written revelation, he will reveal even this unto you. Then the revealed truth according to God's word must be acted upon, or there will be even more deception. (Jas. 1:22, Mat.12:45.)
This pastor is convinced that if the church at large does not abandon its saltless, lightless and lifeless "Heavenly-mindedness" and "Other- worldliness" to again make Christianity relevant in society, God himself will remove the "Other-worldliness" thinking through some not so pleasant means.
This pastor desires to see the return of relevant, Biblical Christianity to the church and to society. New Testament Christianity that causes individuals to use their God-given talents for the cause of Christ in every area of their lives and thoughts can again "turn the world upside down."
[Death of the Church Victorious][Index] [Home] [Update]