Thursday, August 25, 2005

"You Won't Meet a Liberal Dispensationalist"

So said Al Mohler on yesterday's "Ask Anything Wednesday" radio program. He was responding to a question about the difference between Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism. (I really am loving this podcasting thing, by the way. Perhaps I should post links for my daily routine sometime soon.)

Mohler considers himself a Covenant Theologian, but he admits that he doesn't fit well into either box. My analysis is that he likes the CT forest but many of the Dispy trees. He specifically noted some OT prophecies related to the land and Israel and, of course, baptism.

For those of you who have been taught to think of Dispensationalism as a pejorative term for backwoods, anti-intellectual, Scofield Bible-thumpers, this is a gross misconception.

Many Dispys do live in or near large cities.

In all seriousness, broad-brushing Dispensationalists with anti-intellectualism is about as fair as a stereotypical college mascot like the Fightin' Irish, but that's another post. Check out Alva McClain's Greatness of the Kingdom for a good example of Dispensational scholarship. It does not satisfy all my questions related to hermeneutics and biblical theology, but it offers a more consistent hermeneutic than the arbitrary spiritualization of texts that seems so common to CT.

Here's a related question that I ponder from time to time as I read. Is it possible to be a Traditional Dispensationalist, a Progressive Dispensationalist, and a New Covenant Theologian simultaneously (without the presence of internal inconsistency or substantial irrationality)? I may well be missing something, but as yet I have not found them to be mutually exclusive.

8 comments:

Irenaeus II said...

Paleo, Mohler remains a premillenialist, inspite of his CT, which is good.

New Covenant theology all the way!

Ben said...

I wondered if that's what his caveats on Israel and land promises pointed toward. Have you heard him specifically affirm his premillennialism? Does it seem from your reading that NCT tends to be substantially more premil than traditional CT?

Irenaeus II said...

My understanding of his premill position was from speaking with a chap who worked in the SBTS Journal dept. I was actually asking about a different prof, but pursued the positions of others as well.

One thing he said was (not a quote) that most of the profs were premill, some were unsure. When I probed a bit more, he indicated that the amill was looked down upon.

As for NCT, well, it really doesn't have that much to do with eschatology in the sense of Christ's return and kingdom.

You could be any of the major 'mill positions and be a solid NCT guy.

Piper and Johnnie Mac are very close to NCT in many ways, and they are both premill.

P J said...

If you were all three at the same time, just think of how many people would "be required" to seperate from you.

FIDE-O said...

Interesting thoughts.

Will said...

Douglas Wilson wrote a recent article in Credenda Agenda that dealt with Fundies and Liberalism.
Its pretty good. http://credenda.org/issues/17-1thema.php

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Paleo and others: do you think Mohler would fall under the category of historic premill?

Irenaeus II said...

Jonathan, that is what Mohler is, historic premill.