Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Seminary word of the week #1

[dis-puhn-sey-shuh-nl-iz-uhm, -pen-]
(pronounciation from

a) A slang expression, meaning the pen you are holding is pretty sensational.

b) A theological tent for Christians who often like "really specific prophecy."

c) A theological system that began in the nineteenth century with the writings of J. N. Darby. Among the general doctrines of this system are the distinction between Israel and the church as two groups in God's overall plan, the pretribulational rapture of the church, a future literal fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel, and the dividing of biblical history into seven periods, or "dispensations," of God's ways of relating to people. (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology)

Note: if this were a quiz and you didn't guess "c," you would be hopelessly wrong.

So what do you think about dispensationalism? Do tell . . .


  1. I grew up with it, and later walked away from it.
    Now I find myself attempting to find ways of utilizing the DT language and leveraging the good that can be found (the thing behind the thing as it were) so I can earn a hearing and dialogue with people in that tradition while still providing a critique.

  2. Thoughtfully said. I grew up with it as well (most in "fundamental" churches probably did). Didn't give it much thought, though, until seminary. No conclusions yet on this end, but I'm beginning to see your point about "leveraging the good that can be found." God is, I'm convinced, less concerned with labels and created systems that try to quantify Him, and more concerned that we're loving each other well and focusing on the essentials. This, in my book, is a non-essential. Any other thoughts?