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DISPENSATIONALISM AND COVENANT THEOLOGY
The following are the major differences between these two systems of theology. They represent the mainstreams of both systems, though there are variations in each. Representative systematic theologies are those of L.S. Chafer and Charles Hodge.
- 1. May be Arminian or modified Calvinist. Almost never 5-point Calvinist.
2. Stresses 'literal' interpretation of the Bible.
3. Usually does not accept the idea of the 'Analogy of Faith.'
4. 'Israel' always means only the literal, physical descendants of Jacob.
5. 'Israel of God' in Gal. 6:16 means physical Israel alone.
6. God has 2 peoples with 2 separate destinies: Israel (earthly) and the Church (heavenly).
7. The Church was born at Pentecost.
8. The Church was not prophesied as such in the O.T. but was a hidden mystery until the N.T.
9. All O.T. prophecies for 'Israel' are for literal Israel, not the Church.'
10. God's main purpose in history is literal Israel.
11. The Church is a parenthesis in God's program for the ages.
12. The main heir to Abraham's covenant was Isaac and literal Israel.
13. There was no eternal Covenant of Redemption within the Trinity.
14. There was no Covenant of Works with Adam in the Garden of Eden.
15. There was no Covenant of Grace concerning Adam.
16. Israel was rash to accept the Covenant at Mt. Sinai.
17. The 'New Covenant' of Jer. 31:31- 34 is only for literal Israel and is not the New Covenant of Lk.22:20.
18. God's program in history is mainly through separate dispensations.
19. Some Dispensationalists have said that O. T. sinners were saved by works.
20. Most Dispensationalists teach that men in the O.T. were saved by faith in a revelation peculiar to their dispensation, but this did not include faith in the Messiah as their sin-bearer.
21. The O.T. sacrifices were not recognized as the Gospel or types of the Messiah as sin-bearer, but only seen as such in retrospect.
22. The Holy Spirit indwells only believers in the dispensation of Grace, not O.T. and not after the Rapture.
23. Jesus.made an offer of the literal Kingdom to Israel; since Israel rejected it, it is postponed.
24. O.T. believers were not in Christ, not part of the Body or Bride of Christ.
25. The Law has been abolished.
26. O. T. laws are no longer in effect unless repeated in the N.T.
27. The Millenium is the Kingdom of God. Dispensationalists are always Pre-Millenial and usually Pre-Tribulational.
28. The O.T. animal sacrifices will be restored in the Millenium.
29. The Millenium will fulfill the Covenant to Abraham. Israel has a future.
30. David will sit on the Millenial throne in Jerusalem.
- 1.Always Calvinist. Usually 5-point.
2.Accepts both literal and figurative interpretation of the Bible.
3. Almost always accepts the idea of The ‘Analogy of Faith.’
4. ‘Israel’ may mean either literal, physicaldescendants of Jacob or the figurative, spiritual Israel, depending on context.
5. ‘Israel of God’ in Gal. 6:16 means spiritual Israel, parallel to Gal. 3:29; Rom. 2:28029, 9:6; Phil. 3:3.
6. God has always had only 1 people, the Church gradually developed.
7. The Church began in O. T. (Acts 7:38) and reached fulfillment in the N. T.
8. There are many O. T. prophecies of the N. T. Church.
9. Some O. T. prophecies are for literal Israel, others are for spiritual Israel.
10. God’s main purpose in history is Christand secondarily the Church.
11. The Church is the culmination of God’s saving purpose for the ages.
12. The main heir to Abraham’s covenantand was Christ and spiritual Israel.
13. The eternal Covenant of Redemption was within the Trinity to effect election.
14. God made a conditional Covenant of Works with Adam as representative forall his posterity.
15. God made a Covenant of Grace with Christ and His people, including Adam.
16. Israel was right to accept the Covenant Mt. Sinai.
17. The ‘New Covenant’ of Jer. 31 is the same as in Lk. 22; both are for spiritual Israel according to Heb. 8.
18. God’s program in history is mainly through related covenants.
19. No man has ever been saved by works, but only by grace.
20. All men who have ever been saved have been saved by faith in Christ as their sin-bearer, which has been progressively revealed in every age.
21. O. T. believers believed in the Gospel of Messiah as sin-bearer mainly by the sacrifices as types and prophecies.
22. The Holy Spirit has indwelt believers in all ages, especially in the present N. T. era, and will not be withdrawn.
23. Jesus made only an offer of the spiritual Kingdom, which was rejected by literal Israel but has gradually been accepted by spiritual Israel.
24. Believers in all ages are all ‘in Christ’ and part of the Body and Bride of Christ.
25. The Law has 3 uses: to restrain sin in society, to lead to Christ, and to instruct Christians in godliness. The ceremonial Laws have been abolished; the civil laws have been abolished except for their general equity; the moral laws continue.
26. O. T. laws are still in effect unless abrogated in the N.T.
27. The Church is the Kingdom of God. Covenanters are usually Amillenial, sometimes Pre-Millenial or Post-Millenial, rarely Pre-Tribulational.
28. The O. T. sacrifices were fulfilled and forever abolished in Christ.
29. Christ fulfilled the Covenant to Abraham. Some Covenanters believe in a future forliteral Israel, most don’t.
30. Christ alone sits on the throne. Saints rule under Him.