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Author Topic: Dispensationalism: Heresy or Harmless Theory?  (Read 13463 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2010, 11:54:39 PM »

Quote
Mat. 5:17 "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Without a proper explanation of what this means and how this applies to the discussion, your lazy habit of just throwing up a random passage from the Scriptures isn't going to answer my question.  So I ask again.  How is Dispensationalism a heresy?
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« Reply #46 on: July 16, 2010, 01:30:30 AM »

Peter,

As a sidenote, I might have been asking more broadly about "Restorationism."

But I am not sure.

One of the first thread posts says: "Dispensationalism is a form of premillennialism originating among the Plymouth Brethren in the early 1830's," and deals with "dispensations", usually 7. Dispensationalism plays a big role in the millenialist and End Times ideas of some Calvinist groups. I think they distinguish themselves from the Orthodox attitude that the end times are like the thief in the night and we don't know the day or hour. I don't know whether millenialism or end times ideas were a big part of the church's mindset in the past though.

Regards.
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« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2010, 08:18:42 AM »

I have a nephew who is heavily into an extreme dispensationalist group. As I've read through some of their materials to try to understand their (and his) position a bit, I noticed that they place a very strong emphasis on the writings of the Apostle Paul, almost to the exclusion of any other Scripture, including the Gospels. Every word, every letter, every instance of word order is all part of what needs to be thoroughly dissected in order to understand the message correctly, according to them. It leads to rigidity in practice and then division - their forum often has people saying something like, "If that's the way you believe, then I'm out of here." I don't participate in the discussions and have never registered - just read, and that not very often; I find it cold and depressing. I fail to see how anyone can be drawn to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and to theosis in their scheme of things.

On that basis, it is not a "harmless theory", though labelling it "heresy" is not a responsibility of my pay grade.
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« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2010, 01:42:46 PM »

Heresy has been defined (by Fr. Stanley Harakas) as "the absolutization of a partial truth."  By that definitation, the dispensationalism described above certainly counts as heresy.
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« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2011, 12:03:17 AM »

The Alleged "Bible Code"

sinjinsmythe,

Thanks for posting the article about the Bible Code.

It's a weird topic. On one hand, the Bible is a holy book, but on the other hand, the Bible Code sounds like it could be something of a ouji board approach to it, so to speak. The criticisms were really good I thought, first that the Bible itself speaks against such methodology, and second that the Bible wasn't written exactly word for word in its current form originally.

It sounds silly too that the leaders would take this so seriously that they would call a big meeting about it. They should just have some people look into it and act on it if helpful. It doesn't seem like something extremely insightful and certain and all-encompassing that it would require their attention, unless the experts gained some specific information that qualified.

For example, ok let's say they know where a bad guy is from it, they can just send some guys to catch him.

Anyway, I got a sense from the critical voices cited in the article that they felt it was like an arbitrary crossword puzzle. This word X matches what I know about word Y, so it goes together. Word L is in the cluster, but I don't see a connection, so I won't pay much attention to it.

Another problem is that the Bible is supposed to be read with love and faith, but instead the interpretation in the article just seems to be a nonreligious researcher's ideas about militaristic events.

The article says:
Quote
Drosnin discounts the religious angle. "This is not based on faith. This is based on experience. The code keeps coming true."

Well, that sounds persuasive. Except I have a sense that most of the stuff he finds is white noise, so to speak, that he discards. I mean, the Bible can be stretched into one very long line, which is what he says he does.

I could create a system that really isn't some "matrix," except where I arbitrarily chooses to break a line into two lines.

Like the sentence:
Quote
This is a short sentence.
can be broken into
Quote
This is
a short sentence
Someone can perceive that "is" lines up in the matrix with "short". But I assure you that when I wrote it I intended no such combination.

Or how about:
Quote
But
I assure you that
when I wrote it
I intended
no
such combination.
So there's a matrix that says I did.

Such a method feels like an arbitrary, unreliable way to read something. But I am just making this up to show that a matrix doesn't necessarily give the right message.

OK, here's how they say they work in the article:
Quote
Suppose we start with the sentence, "All of our avenues are wide." To locate an ELS, we eliminate the spaces and look for words that could be formed from letters that are equally spaced within the string of letters that form the sentence.

So, if we start with the second letter (L) and then skip three letters to pick up the next letter of the code (O), and so forth, we find the word LOVE within the string: a L l o f O u r a V e n u E s a r e w i d e.
Maybe that doesn't show anything, because we don't know whether the article author intended to include such a word. However, it's worth pointing out that if you follow the "code" all the way in the example, you actually get "LOVEEE."

OK, how about Ilikethisglass. Want to find hidden codes? LOL I am teasing rhetorically, because I didn't intend to put any in. So it's silliness.


Let's look again at his words:
Quote
"This is not based on faith. This is based on experience. The code keeps coming true."
OK, let's check:
Quote
apparently, the Big One is coming. Drosnin's most dire warning yet contains the words "world war," "atomic holocaust" and "end of days" all in the close vicinity of "2006." (Note the similarity to Newton's year of doom).
2006 has gone with no such happening. Drosnin could reply that the topics were in the news and make a rebuttal, it just seems somewhat arbitrary and subjective.

The thing about Iraq sounds persuasive, except that Sadam wasn't actually destroyed in 2003, but later, although his army was officially destroyed then, except for insurgent groups.

The alleged "codes" about Rabin, the wtc, and the sages sounds persuasive, on the other hand. Plus, the mathematicians' support for the idea sounds persuasive, especially when the US researcher, Gans, corroborated it.

On the other hand, it sounds stupid when the article claims that Gans corroborated it, but then says that:
Quote
both Rips and Gans have distanced themselves from Drosnin's conclusions, saying using the Torah codes to predict the future is unfounded, futile and of no value.

Plus, I agree with Levy's remark "You could probably do this with a newspaper." In fact, there are somewhat crazy people who read newspapers in ways they think are prophetic codes. It's weird, I know.

I just think that whether you believe that the newspaper or Bible is saying what you view its code to mean actually is a matter of faith. I mean, ok, you can get an entertaining idea from the Bible Code, and that idea can line up with a real future occurrence, but that doesn't mean that the scriptures are actually "saying" that idea, in the everyday way of understanding something.

For one to accept that the Bible actually says the "Bible Codes," one has to accept that the Bible-Code-method is a valid way to read the Bible. And for me, it seems to have the same kind of validity as the Greek oracles, or Chinese tea leaves or turtle shells. It's validity in my mind is only greater inasmuch as I value the Bible as having inherently more mystical power than a turtle shell. But even then, one could rationally take the view that if such an interpretation of the Bible sometimes gives wrong results, then putting faith- which is what it would really be, however well supported- in such a method goes against the Bible's sense.

The absence of discussion in pre-Christian Judaism and in Christianity, at least the absence of a record of such discussion, goes against such a matrix of interpretation being valid.

Anyway, just writing about it critically feels like ranting, which feels like a reflection of its frustrating arbitrariness and unreliability.


I expected that some people would find references to Jesus in the Bible Codes. Some Bible Code researchers found 20 references to Jesus in Isaiah 53, and another 20 in Psalm 22:
http://www.biblecodedigest.com/page.php/755

Here's another strong, persuasive-sounding claim:
"More than 2,750 ELSs concerning Jesus Christ have been discovered in the Genesis-Exodus cluster. To date, the Isaiah 53 cluster, within a passage many scholars acknowledge to be prophetic of the Messiah, has yielded approximately 1,500 codes concerning the last days of Christ." (http://www.biblecodedigest.com/page.php/78)

One doubt I have is that the Bible Code researchers often find supposed "codes" that they disagree with in content, so they reject them and don't mention to their readers about them. For a humorous example, maybe there is a supposed Bible Code that says "Hey people, you shouldn't listen to that Moses guy."

In fact, I believe there are many webpages that connect the supposed Bible Codes with Jesus, following the method. But if the Bible Code method was so convincing, then Drosnin wouldn't be a secular Jew, but rather a Christian, because the Christian results I see are persuasive in their presentation.

So it seems like maybe Drosnin believes in it enough to warn people based on, but not enough to actually become religious.

One criticism that sounds likely real is that
Quote
the ELS Hebrew 'Bible Code' of Michael Drosnin and Eli Rips, which is not a bible code at all but rather a statistical trick which works on any long book given a free choice of vowels, (see http://cs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/moby.html and http://www.math.caltech.edu/code/petition.html)
http://www.truebiblecode.com/understanding159.html

This site has a somewhat humorous, irreverant-to-religion debunk of the Bible Code idea:
http://www.nmsr.org/biblecod.htm
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« Reply #50 on: March 19, 2011, 12:07:46 AM »

Brigid,

You commented:
Dispensationalists see God as pursuing two distinct purposes throughout history, one related to an earthly goal and an earthly people (the Jews), the other to heavenly goals and a heavenly people (the church).1
At first glance, it seems OK regarding Christianity, although perhaps an over-simplification. One problem is that it is dividing things into earthly and heavenly, but such a division might not be absolute. After all, we can talk about earthly pains versus spiritual ones, but Christ healed people of both.

It's true that God had an earthly goal for example to create a certain society in the Old Testament related to Jews, but it wasn't his only goal. After all, there were other empires and peoples who had ideas about God. There were also other monotheist peoples like Zoroastrians. So it's an over-simplification to make an absolutist idea that God had just one big earthly idea. But on the other hand, it isn't wrong either absolutely, because God does apparently have some earthly goals related to an earthly people. Of course, he had goals related to other earthly people too. Plus, yes, OK, he had heavenly goals related to the Church, but here, the Church isn't necessarily separate from Jews, because Jewish people sometimes join the church.


You continued:
Quote
Dispensationalists believe that in the Old Testament God promised the Jewish people an earthly kingdom ruled by Messiah ben David, and that when Christ came He offered this prophesied kingdom to the Jews. When the Jews of the time rejected Christ and the earthly kingdom, the promise was postponed, and the "mystery form" of the kingdom - the church - was established.

Likewise, here it makes sense at first glance. When certain Jews rejected Christ, OK, it was postponed for them. But for others it wasn't, as Jesus said to the thief for example that this day he would be in paradise, which is immediate-sounding. Likewise, St Paul talked about someone who he knew who was caught up to the Third heaven.

Plus, there seems to be a big misunderstanding here: "when Christ came He offered this prophesied kingdom to the Jews. When the Jews of the time rejected Christ and the earthly kingdom"

The problem is that Christ himself said his kingdom wasn't of this world. One alleged problem with their rejection was that they were expecting an earthly kingdom, and didn't recognize that Christ was saying his kingdom wasn't of this world. The dispensationalists it would seem were making a similar mistake in their expectation.

Also, regarding the statement "the "mystery form" of the kingdom - the church - was established": it doesn't appear that the church, especially the early Church, was God's people in more of a "mystery form" than the ancient Jews themselves were in some pre-Christian times: they both believed and tried to follow God, kept the scriptures, etc. They are people who really identify themselves as Christians and with the religion that worships God.


You wrote:
Quote
The church, according to dispensational doctrine, was unforeseen in the Old Testament and constitutes a "parenthesis" in God's plan for Israel. In the future, the distinction between Jew and Gentile will be reestablished and will continue throughout all eternity.

The first sentence is weird and sounds incorrect, because in Christianity, Isaiah 53 and Zechariah specifically talk about the Messiah's rejection. Isaiah 53-54 talks about the Messiah's spiritual seed, and Zechariah 11,13 together talks about God's people being tested after the Good Shepherd's smiting. So such an idea as God's people after the rejection, and those loyal to the Messiah does appear to exist in the Old Testament.

The second sentence is weird and sounds incorrect too, because St Paul writes how about in Christ there is no Greek or Jew. So it isn't clear to me what is the importance of the difference they are talking about, since both will be saved. Plus, it goes against St Paul's reasoning that gentile Christians have been adopted and that adoption is as good as biological descent. Since all are one in Jesus, according to Paul, the dispensationalist idea would require some kind of spiritual separation from Jesus.

After all, if the dispensationalism is only talking about a difference between Jews and gentiles in an earthly sense, then it should be obvious to dispensationalists that such an earthly distinction already exists, with distinct ethnic, cultural, and ritualistic differences, including apparently the Jewish "Messianic" sects within Christian.

This sounds somewhat doubtful:
Quote
The "parenthesis", or church age, will end at the rapture when Christ comes invisibly to take all believers (excepting OT saints) to heaven to celebrate the "marriage feast of the Lamb" with Christ for a period of seven years.2
because they are measuring a heavenly feast in seven earthly years, plus they are excluding OT saints from a celebration with Christ, which sounds like a loss for the saints who are in heaven.

OK, well the following sounds possible
Quote
God's program for the Jews then resumes with the tribulation, Antichrist, bowls of wrath, 144,000 Jews preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and Armageddon. Then, the Second (third, if you count the preTrib rapture) Coming, the instantaneous conversion of the entire nation of Israel, the resurrection of the Tribulation and Old Testament saints, and the "sheep and goats" judgment. The "goats" will be cast into hell, the "sheep" and the believing Jews will enter the millennium in natural human bodies, marrying, reproducing, and dying. The "mystery church" and the resurrected Tribulation and Old Testament saints will live in the heavenly Jerusalem suspended above the earthly city. This millennium will be a time of great peace and prosperity, with Christ ruling on David's throne. After 1,000 yrs. Satan will be released from the chain with which he had been bound at the beginning of the millennium and many of the children born to the "sheep" and the Israelites will follow him in revolt against Christ. The King will again destroy His enemies, followed by another resurrection of the righteous, another resurrection of the unrighteous, a final judgment, and at last the New Heavens and the New Earth.

Except that it sounds like fantasy, plus it has very unsual-sounding ideas like several resurrections and judgments. It seems to me that it could just be taking literally some poetic images that weren't meant to be taken literally, since the images here sound like fantasy, which is poetic with figures and images. For example, the "New Earth" could mean that the earth was destroyed completely and then a new one made, or that the earth was transformed into something new, which sounds nice. Another problem is that because the images sound extreme and fantastic, I feel that they should have consulted Church tradition to form their view, but I assume they didn't rely on it much because revivalist protestants seem to avoid such serious reliance.

Like you wrote here:
 
Quote
Although premillennial thought has been recorded in the early church, dispensational theology and its pursuant eschatology are new, as even the father of the system admitted -


You commented:
Quote
Sounds like there is plenty in this dispensationalist novelty to challenge Orthodox thinking.
Brigid
I think that's true if Orthodox take it serious: there are alot of challenges to comparing and contrasting Orthodox views with it. But especially with their apocalyptic futurist ideas, one of the big problems is their failure to consider church authority in interpreting the scriptural sources of the ideas, since I assume they get their ideas from scripture, and in particular prophetic parts of scripture. Prophetic places like Revelations are better interpreted with the church authority of traditions, because it would show the traditional view handed down by the Christian community about the passages, more likely adding accuracy to an interpetation.

Peace



Linus7,

You made a great and incisive rebuttal to dispensationalist ideas in your post:

Quote
Brigid -

Great post.

Oh, there's plenty wrong with Dispensationalism, all right.

Take for example the crzay spin it puts on the "Sheep and Goats" judgment of Matthew 25:31-46.

All Christians before Darby read that passage as referring to the Last Judgment at the end of time, as we Orthodox still do.

Dispensationalists say, "not so," however. They teach that Matthew 25:31-46 refers to a judgment of "nations" that occurs when Jesus returns, at the end of the so-called "Great Tribulation."

Whole nations will be judged based upon their treatment of the 144,000 Jews of the Tribulation.

Those who gave aid to the 144K will be saved. Those who failed to aid them or actively mistreated them will be damned.

Huh?

Since when has God judged entire nations rather than individuals?

Do Dispensationalists really believe that if the UK sends foreign aid to the "remnant of Israel" all the inhabitants of Great Britain will be saved, regardless of their faith or lack thereof?

What if the government of Bulgaria neglects this "remnant" of 144K? Will every last Bulgarian man, woman, and child be eternally damned, regardless of his or her faith?

How else can God judge nations as nations?

This is utter tripe!

The Dispensationalists had to come up with this contrived interpretation because otherwise Matthew 25:31-46 shatters their whole system (which it in fact does).

If Jesus resurrects and judges everyone on the LAST DAY, then there is no room for all the different resurrections and judgments that must take place for the millenial schemes of the Dispensationalists to work.

But Jesus said he will raise up ALL those who believe in Him on the LAST DAY (John 6:39-40,44,54), and that He will judge everyone on that same Day (John 12:48).

He did not say he would raise some of them up at a secret "Rapture" 1,007 years (the 7-year Tribulation + the millenium) before the Last Day.

What is really especially heretical about Dispensationalism is that each of its 7 Dispensations has a different plan of salvation!

It is amazing how this whole whacky scheme has wormed its way into Evangelical Protestantism.
Perhaps a counter-rebuttal could be made, but I think that you have shown that their view goes against the sense of the scriptures, by judging individuals based on their nation in the final judgment.


You wrote:
Quote
Dispensationalists see literal, fleshly Israel as the main actor in God's program, with the Church as a mere "parenthesis."
That's too bad they see the Church as less than the main actor, because the Church is the Body of Christ in Christianity, that is, a primary actor.

Also, it's weird and sounds wrong that
Quote
They have literal Jews reinstituting temple sacrifices in the literal millenium following the second Second Coming of Christ (the first Second Coming having occurred at the Rapture).
, because Christ was supposed to be the sacrifice, so it doesn't make sense that there would be other sacrifices after he conquered in the Second Coming.

On the other hand, it makes sense when they reason:
Quote
They also see the cross as something that "became necessary" only because the Jews rejected the kingdom offered them by Jesus. Had the Jews "accepted Jesus" at His first coming, say the Dispies, the cross would not have been needed!
If they had always repented and accepted the Messiah, he could have found another way to redeem them, I believe.

I also disagree with their idea as you described:
Quote
For example, according to Dispenstionalists, the Sermon on the Mount does not apply to Christians during the Church Age or even to the people to whom Jesus was speaking, but only to the Jews of the Great Tribulation.
, because Christ presented it as if it's a new commandment for everyone, and he spoke in all-encompassing terms like "Blessed are the Poor". He didn't just say "Blessed are the Poor who are Jews of the Tribulation." Rather he set such things forth as a principle.

Kind Regards



Asteriktos:

Regarding dispensationalism, it could be a heresy, in that it appears to conflict with correct Christian teachings, as Linus7 showed. But on the other hand, it may not be so extreme that someone couldn't be properly called a Christian, or that a regular Orthodox who took some of the ideas would have to be expelled.

it sounds weird here:
Quote
Mid-Acts Dispensationalism, on the other hand,  come very close to heresy. (one form of this dispensationalism, for example, says that a new dispensation began with the Apostle Paul in Acts 9--the dispensation of Grace--and that Paul's teaching was different than the teachings of Jesus and the 12 Apostles, who had taught salvation by works. Supposedly, when Israel didn't repent, God decided to go with grace instead, and therefore the teachings of the 12 and our Lord himself were valid only in the previous dispensation).
This sounds like they are going alot further with sola fide then necessary. In my opinion the differences in emphasis that I know of are reconcilable between St Paul and the Apostles on the question.

Take Care



Seraphim Reeves:

The dispensationalist ideas are often cited by evangelicals when explaining their support, so I agree with you when you write:

Quote
c) It should be quite obvious how this system of thought has influenced evangelical protestantism in it's support of Zionism and an at least latent support of Talmudism (without even wanting to consider how anti-Christian either of these things in fact is.)

Except that Zionism, depending on its definition, isn't necessarily anti-Christian. It could simply mean a movement of a return of Jewish people to Zion, the Holy Land, without necessarily involving the creation of a political state with certain qualities, and without necessarily involving religious aspects that oppose Christianity, I believe.

Peace
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« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2011, 08:53:59 AM »

Rakovsky, take a look at the dates on some of these posts and consider that some of the people to whom you have addressed your responses haven't logged in in years.
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« Reply #52 on: March 19, 2011, 09:00:17 AM »

One problem with Dispensationalism is that salvation is virtually reduced to mental assent to a proposition -simply affirming "Christ died for my sins"- according to many Dispensational writers.

Charles Caldwell Ryrie, for example, lists in his Ryrie Study Bible as “False Theories Added to the Doctrine of Salvation: repentance, confession and the Lordship of Christ.” According to Ryrie these things are adding works to grace, by which alone one is saved in their "church age."

"Lordship salvation is a seemingly pious but subtle error that in addition to believing in Christ the unsaved must dedicate themselves to the will of God” -Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, III, 384.

"To teach that Christ must be Lord of life in order to be Savior is to confuse certain aspects of discipleship and confuses the gospel of the Grace of God with the works of men.” -Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Balancing the Christian Life, p. 178.

Dispensational literature is rife with the distinction between Christians and disciples; the latter is strictly optional for them, the former is someone who believes in Christ in the sense of mental assent to the proposition that he died on the cross for you. It is also common to read in dispensational literature that repentance is just a change of mind about who Jesus is, not a radical reorientation of one's life.

According to the Dispensationalist Mystery Parenthesis idea, the commands of Jesus were for the Jews -not the church. After the Jews rejected Christ, and a new dispensation, the church age, came into being where one is saved by grace alone, but without the need of repentance or following Christ as Lord (as was required of the Jews in the Gospels before the Gentile "church age"). This despite the Great Commission having Christ teach his disciples to take the Gospel to all nations teaching them to obey all the things that He had commanded THEM! (sharply dichotomizing -i.e. "dispensationalizing"-the teachings of the earthly Jesus as something held apart from the writings of the "parenthetical" church age to the Gentile church age is therefore quite illegitimate)  ;-)
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« Reply #53 on: April 04, 2011, 01:23:49 AM »

Heresy.
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« Reply #54 on: April 04, 2011, 01:35:43 AM »

Asteriktos:

Regarding dispensationalism, it could be a heresy, in that it appears to conflict with correct Christian teachings, as Linus7 showed. But on the other hand, it may not be so extreme that someone couldn't be properly called a Christian, or that a regular Orthodox who took some of the ideas would have to be expelled.

it sounds weird here:
Quote
Mid-Acts Dispensationalism, on the other hand,  come very close to heresy. (one form of this dispensationalism, for example, says that a new dispensation began with the Apostle Paul in Acts 9--the dispensation of Grace--and that Paul's teaching was different than the teachings of Jesus and the 12 Apostles, who had taught salvation by works. Supposedly, when Israel didn't repent, God decided to go with grace instead, and therefore the teachings of the 12 and our Lord himself were valid only in the previous dispensation).
This sounds like they are going alot further with sola fide then necessary. In my opinion the differences in emphasis that I know of are reconcilable between St Paul and the Apostles on the question.

Take Care

I think I'm a good bit more wary of dispensationalism now than I was when this thread was started... I do agree that they went well beyond sola fide, and well beyond sola scriptura for that matter. It is even common in this movement to pick and choose which New Testament books were "meant for Christians" and which weren't. So, for example, St. Paul might have written books X, Y, and Z, but that didn't mean that X, Y, and Z were all meant for the Christians living in this dispensation.
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« Reply #55 on: April 04, 2011, 02:46:28 PM »

You come in here and tell us how we should run things. You don't think I wouldn't get a little ticked off, would you? But basically, the spirit of your remark is how we're wrong and you're right because you follow "scripture" or you're not "authoritarian," which the Anglican Church clearly was. It's getting to be a tired act, Keble. You may enjoy your Anglican faith all you want, and I respect your right to do that. But don't use it to put down the Orthodox and Catholics. We had a guy (yes, that guy!) a half a year ago tell us all about how great Catholicism was, but in reality he was using that as a dagger to put down the "divided" and "not with it" Orthodox. It was  divisive and un-Christian. I hope you will not do the same.

Matthew

May I remind you that this section is not restricted to views that promote Orthodoxy? This is the Religious Topics section of Free-For-All Forum. The main thing that we ask is for posters to be respectful of each other and each other's views. It is one thing to disagree, it is yet another to tell somebody how and what to post. Thanks, Second Chance, Section Moderator
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« Reply #56 on: April 04, 2011, 02:49:38 PM »

Here is an interesting story that talks about the Bible codes, not exactly on subject here I know.

Decoding Bible's 'cryptogram'
Will Saddam Hussein be overthrown? Where is Osama bin Laden hiding? For answers, see the Good Book
  
Ron Csillag  
National Post


Monday, March 31, 2003
 
CREDIT: The Associated Press
  
Author Michael Drosnin believes the Bible, which includes the story of Moses, holds prophetic codes.
 
  
Among the hundreds of meetings and briefings that took place in the Pentagons bowels in the months leading up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, one earned the fleeting disdain of The New York Times, whose columnist, Bill Keller, sniffed that "several man-hours of valuable intelligence-crunching time" had been "consumed [by a writer] who claims -- I am not making this up -- that messages encoded in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament provide clues to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

"Maybe were all a little too desperate these days for a simple formula to explain how our safe world came unhinged," Keller said.

The gathering, which reportedly took place Feb. 21, was said to have been convened by Paul Wolfowitz, the hawkish U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defence, and attended by 10 top military intelligence officials, including Vice Admiral Lowell "Jake" Jacoby, director of the massive Defense Intelligence Agency, and Wolfowitz's deputy, Linton Wells, who is in charge of the Pentagon's nerve centre, known as 3CI (Command, Control, Communications).

On the eve of war, the military brass listened intently for a full hour as Michael Drosnin expounded on his two brisk-selling volumes on the Bible code.

Drosnin argues the Hebrew Torah -- the first five books of the Old Testament -- were intentionally encrypted, by a higher power, with prophetic warnings that have accurately predicted the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Kennedy assassinations, the moon landing, Watergate, and 9/11 -- and foretell the fall of Saddam Hussein and the precise location of bin Laden.

The Americans "took it very seriously," Drosnin says. "They're practical people and I wanted to give them something of practical use."

As a result of the meeting, Drosnin says U.S. and Israeli intelligence forces are hot on bin Laden's trail in that very place the Bible mentions, "right as we speak." Of course, he would not divulge where that place is.

As for Saddam Hussein, the Bible's embedded code ponders, "Who is destroyed?" and then, in the same matrix, answers, "Hussein," with the following number crossing his name: 5763, the Jewish year that corresponds to 2003. "That foretells the outcome of this conflict," Drosnin says confidently. "It might be obvious now, but it wasn't when I told them."

It could be that the U.S. defence establishment is grasping at straws, or that more and more people in Washington are motivated by a White House that frequently invokes God and religious imagery. Drosnin discounts the religious angle.

"This is not based on faith. This is based on experience. The code keeps coming true."

Drosnin is a secular Jew, a former police reporter for the Washington Post and former writer for The Wall Street Journal. To be sure, his books, The Bible Code (1997) and last year's sequel, Bible Code II: The Countdown have been used by various fundamentalists, prophets of doom and supermarket tabloids as sure signs the Good Book knows all and that the end is nigh. Detractors point out the code violates the Bible's own ban on soothsaying.

Drosnin himself says he did not fully believe the code's power until Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered in November, 1995. Having learned Hebrew and the computer program that searches for hidden words, he found "Yitzhak Rabin" intersected with the letters that formed "assassin that will assassinate." Drosnin says he warned the doomed leader in a letter in September, 1994, that the Bible predicted he would be assassinated during that Jewish calendar year.

After the killing, the word "Amir" was found as part of the same grid (Rabin's killer was Yigal Amir.) Drosnin remembers his reaction: "Oh my God. It's real."

The idea of a secret text embedded in the Bible is hardly new. In the 12th century, European rabbis wrote about discovering meaningful words hidden in the Hebrew text of the Torah. Isaac Newton, the scientist who discovered gravity, obsessively searched the Bible for the "cryptogram set by the Almighty," in the words of John Maynard Keynes in a biographical sketch of Newton. But lacking a computer, Newton could only speculate. He did, however, set a date for Armageddon, based on his research: 2060.

Sixty years ago in Prague, Rabbi Michael Ber Weissmandl expanded the search. But the true breakthrough came in the early 1990s by a team of Israeli mathematicians led by Eliyahu Rips, an expert in group theory, a field that underlies quantum physics.

Using a computer, Rips converted the Bible into a string of 304,805 Hebrew letters, minus spaces, and looked for names of great Jewish sages in close proximity to their birth and death dates. He was astonished to find many matches, and calculated the probability of finding his results by random at one in 10 million. His paper, entitled Equidistant Letter Sequencing in the Book of Genesis, was published in the journal Statistical Science in 1994. The math in the thrice-refereed work was pronounced ironclad. The coup-de-grace, as it were, came when Harold Gans the United States top cryptologist at the U.S. Defence Department set out to disprove Rips work and ended up corroborating it

Thus was born the primary tool of code research -- ELS, or equidistant letter sequencing.

What does a typical ELS look like?

The folks at biblecodedigest.com helpfully offer the following:

Suppose we start with the sentence, "All of our avenues are wide." To locate an ELS, we eliminate the spaces and look for words that could be formed from letters that are equally spaced within the string of letters that form the sentence.

So, if we start with the second letter (L) and then skip three letters to pick up the next letter of the code (O), and so forth, we find the word LOVE within the string: a L l o f O u r a V e n u E s a r e w i d e.

To Drosnin and the like-minded, the Hebrew Bible is a giant crossword puzzle that criss-crosses the entire text with a complex network of hidden phrases and words -- a computer program that could not have been written by humans.

He took the ELS concept a step further, using it to claim the Bible leads to secular prophecies. On Sept. 11, 2001, for example, his computer allegedly found "twin," "towers," "airplane" and "it knocked down" hidden in the Bible, and "sin, crime of bin Laden" intersected with "city and tower."

And apparently, the Big One is coming. Drosnin's most dire warning yet contains the words "world war," "atomic holocaust" and "end of days" all in the close vicinity of "2006." (Note the similarity to Newton's year of doom).

While Drosnin apparently has his fans in U.S. military circles, both Rips and Gans have distanced themselves from Drosnin's conclusions, saying using the Torah codes to predict the future is unfounded, futile and of no value.

Barry Levy, dean of McGill University's religious studies department and a Torah scholar, says, "I'm surprised to learn that the Pentagon is engaging in sorcery as part of its military strategy. There is nothing particularly spiritual or convincing or valid about this. It's entertainment,"

The major problem with the codes, as Levy sees it, is that the original Hebrew text of the Torah is long gone, and that results can vary wildly depending which of many versions of the Bible one uses -- and whether one believes the Bible is inerrant in the first place.

"The codes just confirm ideas people already have. To imagine this does anything other than provide spectacular entertainment is just silly," Levy says. "You could probably do this with a newspaper."

www.biblecodedigest.com/ page.php/74


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« Reply #57 on: April 04, 2011, 05:03:32 PM »

Asteriktos:

Regarding dispensationalism, it could be a heresy, in that it appears to conflict with correct Christian teachings, as Linus7 showed. But on the other hand, it may not be so extreme that someone couldn't be properly called a Christian, or that a regular Orthodox who took some of the ideas would have to be expelled.

it sounds weird here:
Quote
Mid-Acts Dispensationalism, on the other hand,  come very close to heresy. (one form of this dispensationalism, for example, says that a new dispensation began with the Apostle Paul in Acts 9--the dispensation of Grace--and that Paul's teaching was different than the teachings of Jesus and the 12 Apostles, who had taught salvation by works. Supposedly, when Israel didn't repent, God decided to go with grace instead, and therefore the teachings of the 12 and our Lord himself were valid only in the previous dispensation).
This sounds like they are going alot further with sola fide then necessary. In my opinion the differences in emphasis that I know of are reconcilable between St Paul and the Apostles on the question.

Take Care

I think I'm a good bit more wary of dispensationalism now than I was when this thread was started... I do agree that they went well beyond sola fide, and well beyond sola scriptura for that matter. It is even common in this movement to pick and choose which New Testament books were "meant for Christians" and which weren't. So, for example, St. Paul might have written books X, Y, and Z, but that didn't mean that X, Y, and Z were all meant for the Christians living in this dispensation.

Yes, and because it is we who are in error reading those books of the New Testament and believing that they are addressed to us... they won't even listen to us!

They're too busy trying to help us out of our delusion.

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« Reply #58 on: April 04, 2011, 05:31:31 PM »

The Alleged "Bible Code"

sinjinsmythe,

Thanks for posting the article about the Bible Code.

It's a weird topic. On one hand, the Bible is a holy book, but on the other hand, the Bible Code sounds like it could be something of a ouji board approach to it, so to speak. The criticisms were really good I thought, first that the Bible itself speaks against such methodology, and second that the Bible wasn't written exactly word for word in its current form originally.

It sounds silly too that the leaders would take this so seriously that they would call a big meeting about it. They should just have some people look into it and act on it if helpful. It doesn't seem like something extremely insightful and certain and all-encompassing that it would require their attention, unless the experts gained some specific information that qualified.

For example, ok let's say they know where a bad guy is from it, they can just send some guys to catch him.

Anyway, I got a sense from the critical voices cited in the article that they felt it was like an arbitrary crossword puzzle. This word X matches what I know about word Y, so it goes together. Word L is in the cluster, but I don't see a connection, so I won't pay much attention to it.

Another problem is that the Bible is supposed to be read with love and faith, but instead the interpretation in the article just seems to be a nonreligious researcher's ideas about militaristic events.

The article says:
Quote
Drosnin discounts the religious angle. "This is not based on faith. This is based on experience. The code keeps coming true."

Well, that sounds persuasive. Except I have a sense that most of the stuff he finds is white noise, so to speak, that he discards. I mean, the Bible can be stretched into one very long line, which is what he says he does.

I could create a system that really isn't some "matrix," except where I arbitrarily chooses to break a line into two lines.

Like the sentence:
Quote
This is a short sentence.
can be broken into
Quote
This is
a short sentence
Someone can perceive that "is" lines up in the matrix with "short". But I assure you that when I wrote it I intended no such combination.

Or how about:
Quote
But
I assure you that
when I wrote it
I intended
no
such combination.
So there's a matrix that says I did.

Such a method feels like an arbitrary, unreliable way to read something. But I am just making this up to show that a matrix doesn't necessarily give the right message.

OK, here's how they say they work in the article:
Quote
Suppose we start with the sentence, "All of our avenues are wide." To locate an ELS, we eliminate the spaces and look for words that could be formed from letters that are equally spaced within the string of letters that form the sentence.

So, if we start with the second letter (L) and then skip three letters to pick up the next letter of the code (O), and so forth, we find the word LOVE within the string: a L l o f O u r a V e n u E s a r e w i d e.
Maybe that doesn't show anything, because we don't know whether the article author intended to include such a word. However, it's worth pointing out that if you follow the "code" all the way in the example, you actually get "LOVEEE."

OK, how about Ilikethisglass. Want to find hidden codes? LOL I am teasing rhetorically, because I didn't intend to put any in. So it's silliness.


Let's look again at his words:
Quote
"This is not based on faith. This is based on experience. The code keeps coming true."
OK, let's check:
Quote
apparently, the Big One is coming. Drosnin's most dire warning yet contains the words "world war," "atomic holocaust" and "end of days" all in the close vicinity of "2006." (Note the similarity to Newton's year of doom).
2006 has gone with no such happening. Drosnin could reply that the topics were in the news and make a rebuttal, it just seems somewhat arbitrary and subjective.

The thing about Iraq sounds persuasive, except that Sadam wasn't actually destroyed in 2003, but later, although his army was officially destroyed then, except for insurgent groups.

The alleged "codes" about Rabin, the wtc, and the sages sounds persuasive, on the other hand. Plus, the mathematicians' support for the idea sounds persuasive, especially when the US researcher, Gans, corroborated it.

On the other hand, it sounds stupid when the article claims that Gans corroborated it, but then says that:
Quote
both Rips and Gans have distanced themselves from Drosnin's conclusions, saying using the Torah codes to predict the future is unfounded, futile and of no value.

Plus, I agree with Levy's remark "You could probably do this with a newspaper." In fact, there are somewhat crazy people who read newspapers in ways they think are prophetic codes. It's weird, I know.

I just think that whether you believe that the newspaper or Bible is saying what you view its code to mean actually is a matter of faith. I mean, ok, you can get an entertaining idea from the Bible Code, and that idea can line up with a real future occurrence, but that doesn't mean that the scriptures are actually "saying" that idea, in the everyday way of understanding something.

For one to accept that the Bible actually says the "Bible Codes," one has to accept that the Bible-Code-method is a valid way to read the Bible. And for me, it seems to have the same kind of validity as the Greek oracles, or Chinese tea leaves or turtle shells. It's validity in my mind is only greater inasmuch as I value the Bible as having inherently more mystical power than a turtle shell. But even then, one could rationally take the view that if such an interpretation of the Bible sometimes gives wrong results, then putting faith- which is what it would really be, however well supported- in such a method goes against the Bible's sense.

The absence of discussion in pre-Christian Judaism and in Christianity, at least the absence of a record of such discussion, goes against such a matrix of interpretation being valid.

Anyway, just writing about it critically feels like ranting, which feels like a reflection of its frustrating arbitrariness and unreliability.


I expected that some people would find references to Jesus in the Bible Codes. Some Bible Code researchers found 20 references to Jesus in Isaiah 53, and another 20 in Psalm 22:
http://www.biblecodedigest.com/page.php/755

Here's another strong, persuasive-sounding claim:
"More than 2,750 ELSs concerning Jesus Christ have been discovered in the Genesis-Exodus cluster. To date, the Isaiah 53 cluster, within a passage many scholars acknowledge to be prophetic of the Messiah, has yielded approximately 1,500 codes concerning the last days of Christ." (http://www.biblecodedigest.com/page.php/78)

One doubt I have is that the Bible Code researchers often find supposed "codes" that they disagree with in content, so they reject them and don't mention to their readers about them. For a humorous example, maybe there is a supposed Bible Code that says "Hey people, you shouldn't listen to that Moses guy."

In fact, I believe there are many webpages that connect the supposed Bible Codes with Jesus, following the method. But if the Bible Code method was so convincing, then Drosnin wouldn't be a secular Jew, but rather a Christian, because the Christian results I see are persuasive in their presentation.

So it seems like maybe Drosnin believes in it enough to warn people based on, but not enough to actually become religious.

One criticism that sounds likely real is that
Quote
the ELS Hebrew 'Bible Code' of Michael Drosnin and Eli Rips, which is not a bible code at all but rather a statistical trick which works on any long book given a free choice of vowels, (see http://cs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/moby.html and http://www.math.caltech.edu/code/petition.html)
http://www.truebiblecode.com/understanding159.html

This site has a somewhat humorous, irreverant-to-religion debunk of the Bible Code idea:
http://www.nmsr.org/biblecod.htm

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« Reply #59 on: July 02, 2011, 03:22:55 AM »

I am talking classical, scoffield reference, dispensational theology. I am inclined to label it as heretical because it lays out two separate paths of salvation - the traditional Protestant one, and a separate way for ethnic Jews, because the covenant with Israel did not end either with the incarnation or with the destruction of the temple in ad 70.

Jesus said, I am the way, but the way dispensationalism would have it, Jesus should have said, I am one of the ways, but there is another way if you're a Jew: the law.

I apologize if my tongue in cheekiness translates into being offensive, i am just wondering what anyone else thinks about this?
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« Reply #60 on: July 02, 2011, 03:37:10 AM »

I am talking classical, scoffield reference . . .

if my tongue in cheekiness translates into being offensive . . .

You had me at Scofield . . .  //:=P
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« Reply #61 on: July 02, 2011, 04:13:53 AM »

Lol, I recently found one of those in my mom's bathroom. It's funny, because I remember seeing it all throughout my childhood, but I never knew what it was. It always was one of my least favorite bibles in the house  Wink Tongue Wink
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« Reply #62 on: July 02, 2011, 04:30:54 AM »


The Holy Fathers of the Church hew to "replacement theology"  although they don't use that term.  The term is, I would think, a Protestant invention.

Forgive me, brothers and sisters, I am young in the faith, easily confused and poorly instructed.

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« Reply #63 on: July 02, 2011, 08:58:23 AM »

because the covenant with Israel did not end either with the incarnation or with the destruction of the temple in ad 70.

Technically, the Church is the continuation of Israel as God's people.
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« Reply #64 on: July 02, 2011, 09:52:43 AM »

I thought replacement theology denies that the Jews are God's Chosen people, in which case, that can't have been the teaching of the Church Fathers--if I understand correctly. And maybe I don't.

Bueller?

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« Reply #65 on: July 02, 2011, 01:43:02 PM »

I am talking classical, scoffield reference, dispensational theology. I am inclined to label it as heretical because it lays out two separate paths of salvation - the traditional Protestant one, and a separate way for ethnic Jews, because the covenant with Israel did not end either with the incarnation or with the destruction of the temple in ad 70.

Jesus said, I am the way, but the way dispensationalism would have it, Jesus should have said, I am one of the ways, but there is another way if you're a Jew: the law.

I apologize if my tongue in cheekiness translates into being offensive, i am just wondering what anyone else thinks about this?

It most certainly is heretical. I have studied this issue to a great degree, largely due to my Jewish background and then becoming a (traditional, "replacement theology") Christian...hoping soon, by the mercy of God to become Orthodox.

Replacement theology stems from the Darbyism of the 1800s. The "Christian" zionists are dispensationalists, and they hold to the Two Covenant theory, originated by an unconverted Jew. It holds that Jews do not need to accept Christ because they are saved by virtue of being circumcised (Jews). Even a cursory reading of the New Testament shows how heretical that belief is. Certain leading dispensationalists, such as Rev John Hagee, hold to this view. It is a leading heresy amongst protestants, and is a cause of the grief which comes to Palestinian Christians in the Middle East (the oldest indigenous Christian community known), due to the extreme militaristic form of zionism advocated and practiced by these people.

 Check out "A Second Look at the Second Coming" (Conciliar Press), c 1999 which will give you the complete Orthodox viewpoint. I have never read a better book from the standpoint of Orthodox Christianity.
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« Reply #66 on: July 02, 2011, 03:30:32 PM »

It is a baldfaced heresy, promoted by the Jews for obvious reasons.

'But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.

Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.

(...) In that He says, "A new covenant,"
He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.'
(Hebrews 8)

' "Men of Israel, hear these words:

Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

For David says concerning Him: 'I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.'

"Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.

Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.  For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." '

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
(Acts 2)
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« Reply #67 on: July 02, 2011, 05:06:23 PM »

I am talking classical, scoffield reference, dispensational theology. I am inclined to label it as heretical because it lays out two separate paths of salvation - the traditional Protestant one, and a separate way for ethnic Jews, because the covenant with Israel did not end either with the incarnation or with the destruction of the temple in ad 70.

Jesus said, I am the way, but the way dispensationalism would have it, Jesus should have said, I am one of the ways, but there is another way if you're a Jew: the law.

I apologize if my tongue in cheekiness translates into being offensive, i am just wondering what anyone else thinks about this?

It most certainly is heretical. I have studied this issue to a great degree, largely due to my Jewish background and then becoming a (traditional, "replacement theology") Christian...hoping soon, by the mercy of God to become Orthodox.

Replacement theology stems from the Darbyism of the 1800s. The "Christian" zionists are dispensationalists, and they hold to the Two Covenant theory, originated by an unconverted Jew. It holds that Jews do not need to accept Christ because they are saved by virtue of being circumcised (Jews). Even a cursory reading of the New Testament shows how heretical that belief is. Certain leading dispensationalists, such as Rev John Hagee, hold to this view. It is a leading heresy amongst protestants, and is a cause of the grief which comes to Palestinian Christians in the Middle East (the oldest indigenous Christian community known), due to the extreme militaristic form of zionism advocated and practiced by these people.

 Check out "A Second Look at the Second Coming" (Conciliar Press), c 1999 which will give you the complete Orthodox viewpoint. I have never read a better book from the standpoint of Orthodox Christianity.

This is quite a nice and concise answer!
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« Reply #68 on: July 02, 2011, 07:19:08 PM »

I thought replacement theology denies that the Jews are God's Chosen people, in which case, that can't have been the teaching of the Church Fathers--if I understand correctly. And maybe I don't.

Bueller?



"Replacement theology" as it would be understood by the Fathers is that the Church replaces the Jewish nation and the Church is the new Israel.
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« Reply #69 on: July 02, 2011, 07:41:30 PM »

Incidentally, one heresy usually leads to another, if not outright apostasy. I recently saw a video on YouTube of the Rev John Hagee (Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX) saying that Jesus did not come to die for our sins (God forbid). You see, it was only one step away from apostasy for him to begin believing that Jews do not need to be saved through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, to believing that NO ONE needs to accept Christ, or even that Christ did not die for anyones' sins (God forbid.)
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« Reply #70 on: July 02, 2011, 07:44:40 PM »

I apologize if anyone already mentioned this book.

If you are an Orthodox Christian (or even if you're not), and you are concerned/interested in/worried about the subject of dispensationalism, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK:

"A Second Look at the Second Coming", published by Conciliar Press, c 1999. It is the best explanation of the Orthodox position on this subject, with a very good introduction by Fr James Bernstein. I have recommended this book to so many people, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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« Reply #71 on: July 02, 2011, 07:59:14 PM »

The term is, I would think, a Protestant invention.
A pejorative invented by dispensationalists, specifically.
It most certainly is heretical. I have studied this issue to a great degree, largely due to my Jewish background and then becoming a (traditional, "replacement theology") Christian...hoping soon, by the mercy of God to become Orthodox.

Replacement theology stems from the Darbyism of the 1800s. The "Christian" zionists are dispensationalists, and they hold to the Two Covenant theory, originated by an unconverted Jew. It holds that Jews do not need to accept Christ because they are saved by virtue of being circumcised (Jews). Even a cursory reading of the New Testament shows how heretical that belief is. Certain leading dispensationalists, such as Rev John Hagee, hold to this view. It is a leading heresy amongst protestants, and is a cause of the grief which comes to Palestinian Christians in the Middle East (the oldest indigenous Christian community known), due to the extreme militaristic form of zionism advocated and practiced by these people.

 Check out "A Second Look at the Second Coming" (Conciliar Press), c 1999 which will give you the complete Orthodox viewpoint. I have never read a better book from the standpoint of Orthodox Christianity.
You probably know more about this then I do, but I'm pretty sure not all Dispensationalists hold the "dual covenant" view. Those who believe there was once salvation by the Law, a la Darby, hold that this ended with the New Covenant. But not all even believe there was ever a modes of salvation outside God's grace. Again, I could be misinformed.
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« Reply #72 on: July 02, 2011, 08:03:44 PM »

The term is, I would think, a Protestant invention.
A pejorative invented by dispensationalists, specifically.
It most certainly is heretical. I have studied this issue to a great degree, largely due to my Jewish background and then becoming a (traditional, "replacement theology") Christian...hoping soon, by the mercy of God to become Orthodox.

Replacement theology stems from the Darbyism of the 1800s. The "Christian" zionists are dispensationalists, and they hold to the Two Covenant theory, originated by an unconverted Jew. It holds that Jews do not need to accept Christ because they are saved by virtue of being circumcised (Jews). Even a cursory reading of the New Testament shows how heretical that belief is. Certain leading dispensationalists, such as Rev John Hagee, hold to this view. It is a leading heresy amongst protestants, and is a cause of the grief which comes to Palestinian Christians in the Middle East (the oldest indigenous Christian community known), due to the extreme militaristic form of zionism advocated and practiced by these people.

 Check out "A Second Look at the Second Coming" (Conciliar Press), c 1999 which will give you the complete Orthodox viewpoint. I have never read a better book from the standpoint of Orthodox Christianity.
You probably know more about this then I do, but I'm pretty sure not all Dispensationalists hold the "dual covenant" view. Those who believe there was once salvation by the Law, a la Darby, hold that this ended with the New Covenant. But not all even believe there was ever a modes of salvation outside God's grace. Again, I could be misinformed.

I don't know if they all believe the same on that or not, it seems that with dispensationalists, as with Protestants in general, there is a dizzying array of conflicting beliefs and sects. Which is what happens when people decide to rebel against the Church. Sad
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« Reply #73 on: July 02, 2011, 09:02:04 PM »

The term is, I would think, a Protestant invention.
A pejorative invented by dispensationalists, specifically.
It most certainly is heretical. I have studied this issue to a great degree, largely due to my Jewish background and then becoming a (traditional, "replacement theology") Christian...hoping soon, by the mercy of God to become Orthodox.

Replacement theology stems from the Darbyism of the 1800s. The "Christian" zionists are dispensationalists, and they hold to the Two Covenant theory, originated by an unconverted Jew. It holds that Jews do not need to accept Christ because they are saved by virtue of being circumcised (Jews). Even a cursory reading of the New Testament shows how heretical that belief is. Certain leading dispensationalists, such as Rev John Hagee, hold to this view. It is a leading heresy amongst protestants, and is a cause of the grief which comes to Palestinian Christians in the Middle East (the oldest indigenous Christian community known), due to the extreme militaristic form of zionism advocated and practiced by these people.

 Check out "A Second Look at the Second Coming" (Conciliar Press), c 1999 which will give you the complete Orthodox viewpoint. I have never read a better book from the standpoint of Orthodox Christianity.
You probably know more about this then I do, but I'm pretty sure not all Dispensationalists hold the "dual covenant" view. Those who believe there was once salvation by the Law, a la Darby, hold that this ended with the New Covenant. But not all even believe there was ever a modes of salvation outside God's grace. Again, I could be misinformed.

I don't know if they all believe the same on that or not, it seems that with dispensationalists, as with Protestants in general, there is a dizzying array of conflicting beliefs and sects. Which is what happens when people decide to rebel against the Church. Sad
Indeed.
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« Reply #74 on: July 02, 2011, 09:26:52 PM »

I have also read the book, and second your recommendation.
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« Reply #75 on: July 03, 2011, 01:19:02 AM »

I think the two main heresies of Dispensationalism are chiliasm and the false doctrine that the Church is merely a "parenthesis" in the economy of salvation.

I don't think its accurate to say that dispensationalists teach varying means of salvation. I attended a dispensationalist Bible College, and I never heard the idea that Jews could be saved by the Law. Dispensationalists believe that God's promises to Israel will be ultimately fulfilled to literal Israel. After the Rapture, the Jews will come to accept the Gospel during the period of Great Tribulation, thereby receiving the OT promises of God. 

But the Dispensationalist doctrine is a Protestant innovation that is hardly 100 years old. It flies in the face of what Orthodoxy has always taught regarding the relationship between Israel and the Church, and its chiliasm violates the Nicene Creed, which clealry states that the His Kingdom shall have no end.


Selam
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« Reply #76 on: July 03, 2011, 06:13:14 AM »

I apologize if anyone already mentioned this book.

If you are an Orthodox Christian (or even if you're not), and you are concerned/interested in/worried about the subject of dispensationalism, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK:

"A Second Look at the Second Coming", published by Conciliar Press, c 1999. It is the best explanation of the Orthodox position on this subject, with a very good introduction by Fr James Bernstein. I have recommended this book to so many people, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Cool, thanks.
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« Reply #77 on: July 03, 2011, 02:10:47 PM »

One problem with Dispensationalism is that salvation is virtually reduced to mental assent to a proposition -simply affirming "Christ died for my sins"- according to many Dispensational writers.

Charles Caldwell Ryrie, for example, lists in his Ryrie Study Bible as “False Theories Added to the Doctrine of Salvation: repentance, confession and the Lordship of Christ.” According to Ryrie these things are adding works to grace, by which alone one is saved in their "church age."

"Lordship salvation is a seemingly pious but subtle error that in addition to believing in Christ the unsaved must dedicate themselves to the will of God” -Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, III, 384.

"To teach that Christ must be Lord of life in order to be Savior is to confuse certain aspects of discipleship and confuses the gospel of the Grace of God with the works of men.” -Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Balancing the Christian Life, p. 178.

Dispensational literature is rife with the distinction between Christians and disciples; the latter is strictly optional for them, the former is someone who believes in Christ in the sense of mental assent to the proposition that he died on the cross for you. It is also common to read in dispensational literature that repentance is just a change of mind about who Jesus is, not a radical reorientation of one's life.

According to the Dispensationalist Mystery Parenthesis idea, the commands of Jesus were for the Jews -not the church. After the Jews rejected Christ, and a new dispensation, the church age, came into being where one is saved by grace alone, but without the need of repentance or following Christ as Lord (as was required of the Jews in the Gospels before the Gentile "church age"). This despite the Great Commission having Christ teach his disciples to take the Gospel to all nations teaching them to obey all the things that He had commanded THEM! (sharply dichotomizing -i.e. "dispensationalizing"-the teachings of the earthly Jesus as something held apart from the writings of the "parenthetical" church age to the Gentile church age is therefore quite illegitimate)  ;-)


Always appreciated when you weigh in. Great post.
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« Reply #78 on: October 29, 2011, 03:21:33 PM »

ARE WE HYPER-DISPENSATIONAILSTS:
By David M. Havard

Keywords: hyperdispensationalism, ultradispensationalism, dispensationalism, H. A. Ironside, Charles Baker, Pastor C. R. Stam, E. W. Bullinger, J. C. O'Hair, revelation of the mystery, body of Christ, Paul's gospel, gospel of the grace of God, Apostle Paul, rightly dividing the word of truth

Many years ago, H. A. Ironside (1) published a booklet entitled Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth in which he threw Charles Baker and C. R. Stam into the same bucket as E. W. Bullinger. Ever since then, we have been labeled as having the same extreme views as Bullinger. Men who have never looked into what we really teach continue to spread the slander started by Ironside back in the 1930's. Besides, it's much easier to label us as "hyper" and dismiss us than it is to address us based on the Scriptures.

The rest of this essay can be read here: http://forums.christiansunite.com/index.php?topic=4999.30



Copy of essay truncated to first two paragraphs to enforce compliance with this rule regarding the posting of full-length articles:
Quote
Quoting Other Articles, Websites, etc. --  When linking articles, news stories, etc., please only copy the first paragraph or at most two as an intro text, with a link to the original, so we can obviate any accusations of exceeding "fair use" allowances in terms of copyright.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=rules

-PtA
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 04:47:34 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #79 on: October 29, 2011, 04:50:54 PM »

ARE WE HYPER-DISPENSATIONAILSTS:
By David M. Havard

Keywords: hyperdispensationalism, ultradispensationalism, dispensationalism, H. A. Ironside, Charles Baker, Pastor C. R. Stam, E. W. Bullinger, J. C. O'Hair, revelation of the mystery, body of Christ, Paul's gospel, gospel of the grace of God, Apostle Paul, rightly dividing the word of truth

Many years ago, H. A. Ironside (1) published a booklet entitled Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth in which he threw Charles Baker and C. R. Stam into the same bucket as E. W. Bullinger. Ever since then, we have been labeled as having the same extreme views as Bullinger. Men who have never looked into what we really teach continue to spread the slander started by Ironside back in the 1930's. Besides, it's much easier to label us as "hyper" and dismiss us than it is to address us based on the Scriptures.

The rest of this essay can be read here: http://forums.christiansunite.com/index.php?topic=4999.30



Copy of essay truncated to first two paragraphs to enforce compliance with this rule regarding the posting of full-length articles:
Quote
Quoting Other Articles, Websites, etc. --  When linking articles, news stories, etc., please only copy the first paragraph or at most two as an intro text, with a link to the original, so we can obviate any accusations of exceeding "fair use" allowances in terms of copyright.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=rules

-PtA

1. What do you hope to communicate by posting this long essay without any additional commentary of your own?
2. When quoting a post from another forum, it's usually a good idea to seek the poster's permission before copying and pasting his post to another forum. Do you have this permission?
3. The link you posted really leads us to a secondary source for this essay--IOW, you copied and pasted someone else's copy-and-paste job. Can you give us a link to the primary source, the Web page where this essay was originally published?
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 04:57:57 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #80 on: October 30, 2011, 10:48:27 AM »

I do believe Dispensationalism is heresy, and at least its chiliastic aspect has been dealt with explicitly by the Church. It was the Second Council, at Constantinople in 381, that rejected Chiliasm, which is of course the very heart of Dispensationalist eschatology.

Of course, I think Dispensationalism is the result of having a wrong-headed view of Christianity as a whole. It is merely one symptom of a much larger malady.

Dispensationalists see literal, fleshly Israel as the main actor in God's program, with the Church as a mere "parenthesis."

They also see the cross as something that "became necessary" only because the Jews rejected the kingdom offered them by Jesus. Had the Jews "accepted Jesus" at His first coming, say the Dispies, the cross would not have been needed!

They have literal Jews reinstituting temple sacrifices in the literal millenium following the second Second Coming of Christ (the first Second Coming having occurred at the Rapture).

Dispensationalists must posit several such "Second Comings," several bodily resurrections, and several "last" judgments.

Their system divides God's people into two distinct "kingdoms" and likewise arbitrarily carves up Scripture. Some parts of the Bible, we are told, apply to the Church. Other parts apply only to the 144,000 literal Jews of the "Great Tribulation."

For example, according to Dispenstionalists, the Sermon on the Mount does not apply to Christians during the Church Age or even to the people to whom Jesus was speaking, but only to the Jews of the Great Tribulation.

Huh?  Huh

Apparently the only ones who can tell which verses of Scripture apply to which groups are the Dispensationalists themselves.

If all this is not heresy, then what is?

I started out my "Journey" in a church that held to dispensationalism, and Linus' post covers a lot of the problems I had with it. In addition, I was taught some very peculiar ideas about church history (gist of one example: the period of the Apostles was primarily to write the New Testament) that, after praying and studying, I just couldn't accept. I came to view Dispensationalism as an apologetic for Protestantism's late entry into Christian history.


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« Reply #81 on: October 30, 2011, 02:37:28 PM »

I think the two main heresies of Dispensationalism are chiliasm and the false doctrine that the Church is merely a "parenthesis" in the economy of salvation.

I don't think its accurate to say that dispensationalists teach varying means of salvation. I attended a dispensationalist Bible College, and I never heard the idea that Jews could be saved by the Law. Dispensationalists believe that God's promises to Israel will be ultimately fulfilled to literal Israel. After the Rapture, the Jews will come to accept the Gospel during the period of Great Tribulation, thereby receiving the OT promises of God. 

But the Dispensationalist doctrine is a Protestant innovation that is hardly 100 years old. It flies in the face of what Orthodoxy has always taught regarding the relationship between Israel and the Church, and its chiliasm violates the Nicene Creed, which clealry states that the His Kingdom shall have no end.


Selam

The Bible seems to be more preocupied of Israel than the Church.
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