Dispensationalism Tomorrow and Beyond

Finished working through this set of essays(Dispensationalism Tomorrow & Beyond: A Theological Collection in Honor of Charles C. Ryrie) today. There were a few that were helpful:

“Content, Object & Message of Saving Faith by S. Jeff Heslop brought in some nice distinctions.

“Metaphor & The Rapture” by Kevin Zuber seemed to pretty successfully debunk the argument for a technical meaning of apantesis in 1 Thess 4:17

Cone’s  “Dispensational Definition & Division” revisited offers another dispensational framework (12 of them) that is at least interesting

And obviously there were points in others that were worth considering or which worked through issues helpfully.

Nevertheless, like most such collections, there was a lot of unevenness. Several essays didn’t really touch on dispensationalism or only in a limited extent. For example, Cone’s “Four Pillars of Dispensationalism” is mostly a defense of Van Til style apologetics and to me is mostly (except for his fourth pillar) not integral to dispensationalism structurally or historically. Of course, such an essay may still have value in other ways, but anyway.

Overall, I was somewhat disappointed with level of argument. There’s lots of assertion (as one example, we are told that the New Testament “clearly teaches” pretribulational premillennialism; 269) and a number of hermeneutical presuppositions (which are not universal, nor have they historically been universal, even within the dispensational tradition) were asserted as near orthodoxy. I’d also like more scholarship and less populism in something that is supposed to be a serious academic defense of traditional dispensationalism. Several of the essays seemed to fail to really deal with intra-mural debates with Progressive Dispensationalism (those debates are a lot of the future of the movement, it would seem to me). I don’t really have space to interact with everything here, but perhaps I’ll be able to do more in the future.

Worth reading for me and those interested in traditional dispensational arguments, but it may not work for everyone.




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