The Plague of the Modern Church (IV)

The Consequences of Premillennial Dispensationalism

One of the first consequences of the church accepting premillennial dispensationalism, was that the church became hostile to God’s law. That meant that the church now had no option: it implicitly accepted godless, humanistic law for society, because if you don’t want God’s law for society, what else is there?

Gary North comments:

It is my contention that Christians today are in the same spiritual condition as the readers of the Epistle to the Hebrews in the author’s day. They have become theological milk-drinkers who are content with the ABC’s of faith. They are unskilled in the word of righteousness. They are out of shape judicially.

There is a reason for this. They hate three-quarters of the Bible: the law and the prophets. Hating God’s law with all their heart, they also hate the thought of victory, which has been promised by God to those cultures that obey God’s revealed law (Deut. 28:1-14). Hating victory in history, they necessarily have come to regard themselves as principled losers in history.[1]

There were more. Since 1830, the church has neglected the whole notion of social theory, implicit in God’s law. What does this mean? We have no social teaching derived from God’s Word of any relevance to the facts of daily life, along with the current problems of society. What about justice? Doesn’t the Bible speak about this vital subject? What about economics? What about tax rates? What about any other issue of importance? The church was saying … nothing.

Where were the men of God? Where were the prophets, like Moses and Elijah? North adds,

Institutionally, dispensationalism is committing suicide in broad daylight…by failing to provide alternatives to humanism, even in the field of education; and above all, by its seminaries’ terrified silence on the controversial issue of abortion. Roe v. Wade was a case that began in the city of Dallas, but Dallas Theological Seminary has adopted the three-monkey approach: hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no prophetic word of warning.

In 1973, Dallas Theological Seminary committed moral suicide by its silence. So did every other seminary that remained silent. This means most of them. Evangelicalism cannot identify mass murder when it sees it. Evangelicalism is therefore morally bankrupt. Evangelicalism has become the silent partner of humanism.[2]

This is a serious charge to lay at anybody’s feet, but laid it must be. The church has been systematically failing to represent God to our society, and God will hold us accountable for our sloth and our disobedience.

The fact is, because they self-consciously reject the idea that Old Testament laws are in any way morally or legally binding on Christians and non-Christians alike, dispensationalists have no place to go in order to discover Bible-mandated social policies.[3]

But there’s more. The premillennial position is one of pessimism about the Christian, the church and the future. It doesn’t leave the believer with a confidence about what can be accomplished. Oh sure, some people may be converted, according to the premillennial position. But the future is to be a grim one, devoid of victory for the church, in time and in history. We have to be raptured so we aren’t destroyed by the Anti-Christ.

There is a tremendous irony in this. Pessimism about their future, and their ability to defeat the inhabitants of the land, was why God excluded the first generation of the children of Israel from the promised land.

But Joshua and Caleb were optimists. They declared “if the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us-a land which flows with milk and honey” (Num.14:8). The rest of Israel viewed things differently, and God called their attitude disobedience and “unbelief.”

And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief (Heb.3:16-19).

I don’t accept chronic pessimism about our future, because I can’t see it in the Bible. Chronic pessimism on the part of Christians is a form of unbelief. Yes, God always permits His people to undergo trials and difficulties in life; it’s been that way since Adam, as the scripture clearly attests.

One premillennial preacher acknowledged this pessimism:

North and other postmillennial Christian Reconstructionists label those who hold the pretribulational rapture position pietists and cultural retreatists. One reason these criticisms are so painful is because I find them to be substantially true. Many in our camp have an all-pervasive negativism regarding the course of society and the impotence of God’s people to do anything about it. They will heartily affirm that Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth,

and that this must indeed be The Terminal Generation; therefore, any attempt to influence society is ultimately hopeless. They adopt the pietistic platitude: “You don’t polish brass on a sinking ship.” Many pessimistic pre-tribbers cling to the humanists’ version of religious freedom; namely Christian social and political impotence, self-imposed, as drowning men cling to a life preserver.[4]

Conclusion:

When Adam and Eve believed and acted on ideas that were not true, it got them and us into a whole lot of trouble. We are not out of the woods yet, and neither are we out of the woods when it comes to the consequences of believing wrong things in relation to eschatology. Now, much needs to be changed in terms of what the church believes, as quickly as possible.

The paralysis of dispensationalism has not yet been relieved, even by the most courageous of its academic representatives. Ideas have consequences. The idea of the imminent Rapture, the idea of the inevitable cultural defeat of the Church, and the idea that God’s revealed law is annulled in this dispensation are bad ideas, and they have produced bad results.[5]

 


[1] Gary North, “Rapture Fever,” 1993, p.202.

[2] North, p.xxxii.

[3] North, p.82-83.

[4] David Schnittger, in 1986, quoted in North, p.7.

[5] North, p.171.

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