God Failed

Dispensationalism: The God that Failed!

Dispensationalism, in some form or another, is one of the most popular "Christian" teachings today. This is evident from the popularity of books such as 'Left Behind" and "The Late Great Planet Earth." Yet, for all of its popularity, dispensational theology robs us Christians of much of our Gospel comforts. In this post I am not so much looking at why dispensationalism is wrong, but why it matters that it is wrong.

In the first place, Dispensationalism presents a God that failed. According to their theology, Jesus first plan was to come to Earth and establish the “millennial kingdom.” Obviously, Jesus did not establish this earthly kingdom. Since Jesus FAILED to establish this Kingdom, God has gone into Plan B as it were, the church age. (Dispensationalists of course do not call this plan B, they call it the “parenthesis in God's plan” or something similar. But it amounts to God changing his plan at the last minute because Jesus FAILED to establish the kingdom) I have put the word 'failed' in caps and Red, because this word after the word 'Jesus' should literally stick out like a sore thumb. Could God have failed? There is no place in the Bible that even hints at this possibility. Yes, God's creation can fail, and we have many times, but God Himself is Perfect, Holy, and Faithful. God is infallible! If God cannot fail, then Jesus could not have failed. If Jesus indeed did not fail then his purpose on Earth was not to Establish an Earthly kingdom..

If Jesus failed, it would mean that he was most certainly not God. If he was not God, then he had no authority or power to forgive sins, to forgive MY sins. Dispensationalism leads me to question my very Salvation! I have no choice but to question God himself and the Bible, for he says that in Jesus lived the fullness of the Godhead (Col 2:9). If this is untrue, is anything else in the Bible untrue? If Jesus failed to set up the "millennial kingdom" the first time, what confidence can be had in his second attempt?

Of course, Jesus did not come to Earth to set up an Earthly kingdom, millennial or otherwise. If Jesus really wanted to establish an Earthly kingdom he could have. The people he fed in John 6 would have been all too happy to make Jesus their king. If he simply would have continued to provide people with Earthly blessings, he could have been made king of the world. Did he do so? No, he fled from these people. When Jesus was before Pilate and was asked if he was a king, how did he respond? “Well, there's been a bit of a cock-up, so I'm going to let you kill me, rise from the grave, ascend to heaven and then take a couple thousand years off. After that I'm going to come back and give it another go.” Or did he say “I know things don't look good now, but I've still got time to convince the Jews to accept me.” Of course not, he simply said “My Kingdom Is Not Of This World.” That is simply all there is to it, Jesus is not, and he never will be, and Earthly king. He is not of this world, nor is his kingdom, and neither are his subjects (Col 2:20)

If we indeed are to think of the church age as a Parenthesis, or plan B, what Scriptures can still apply to us in the Church age? Does the sermon on the mount apply to us in the Church age, or only those in the millennial kingdom. I would assume that Jesus was preaching this sermon to prepare those listening for the kingdom, after all, if he was planning on establishing it right away, he would be trying to prepare people for it. So, does the phrase “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” apply to us in the church, and our prayer life? Or does it apply only those in the millennial kingdom? Was Jesus warning those in the millennial kingdom to beware of false prophets, or was he warning those of us in the church? Does every parable that begins with “The Kingdom of God is like....” refer only to this millennial kingdom?

Of course, to this too we must say that anything discussing the Kingdom of God pertains to us. The Kingdom of God is not an earthly kingdom, people will not say “Here it is” or “there it is” (Luk 17:21). In fact, it is not even coming with signs we can observe, such as the restoration of a nation called Israel (Luk 17:20). But even in Jesus time, it was in the very midst of the pharisees. Jesus tells us in Matt 28:18 that He holds all authority in both Heaven and Earth. He already has this authority, yet he wants to return to earth and start an Earthly kingdom. Jesus is our King now, sitting at the Right Hand of God. As our King he is already providing for us and protecting us. We do not have to wait for a millennial kingdom to experience this, we have it all now. Dispensational theology in effect robs us of the comfort of knowing that Jesus really is our king.

Ezekiel 43 speaks of the return of Old Testament sacrifices. Dispensational theology of course looks for these sacrifices to literally be performed again in the new temple. These sacrifices are very clearly described as sin offerings. Yet, in the letter to the Hebrews, we are very clearly told that Christ was our ultimate sacrifice, once and for all. He forgave all sins, and only because of this forgiveness, the sin offerings of the Old Testament are no longer required (Heb 10). Then why is sin offering required again? Isn't Jesus sacrifice good once and for all? The only reason for God to re-establish the sin offerings would be if Jesus FAILED to forgive all sins. Of course, it has already been established that dispensational theology allows for the failure of Jesus in one respect, it is no surprise that his failure in another respect could be implied. Of course, that again leads me to the question: “How do I know my sins were forgiven?”

Of course, the Bible tells us that Jesus did not fail, but he died for the sins of the entire World. He did not fail, but his sacrifice was accepted by God as complete, it was confirmed as such on Easter. This is the message of the entire Bible, and yet misinterpreting one part of a chapter in Ezekiel casts doubt on it.

Is national Israel "God's Chosen People?" In the Old Testament, the relationship between God and Israel was frequently compared to that between a husband and wife. The Israelites worshiping other gods was frequently referred to as adultery. Yet in the New Testament, the church is referred to as the "Bride of Christ". Is God polygamous? Does he have two brides? If so, wouldn't God be guilty of adultery himself? Yet, even in the Old testament, non-Jews could be saved. The only way to rectify the situation is to realize that God's chosen people always has been the church. Whether it was all believers before Christ, or all believers after Christ, these are God's chosen people. To make only national Israel God's chosen people, God's true bride makes the church something of a mistress, an adulteress. The church, under grace, becomes Hagar and the Jews, under the law, become Sarah. Yet, Hagar was cast out, are we, as Plan B, to suffer the same fate? Once the Jews, God's true chosen people, are restored, what interest will God have in the “parenthesis”?

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul makes it clear that Hagar was the one under the law, and was thus cast out. It is those of us under grace that are truly the Chose People of God, regardless of whether or not we are Jew or Gentile. Paul constantly comforts New Testament Christians, telling them that God chose them before the foundation of the World. Does this sound like Plan B to you? Yet, dispensational theology robs us of the comfort we have in our election. It says that we cannot have been chosen by God before the foundation of the world. It again casts doubt on scripture, the very word of God.

When the ideas of dispensationalism are taken to their logical conclusions, what are we left with? A God that failed, an uncertain forgiveness of sins, A God that doesn't even keep his own rules, and a mock election. We are left with nothing but doubt. Doubt in our God and his Word. This is not the God I believe in. The God I believe in is all powerful and has never failed. I know my sins are forgiven because all the worlds sins were forgiven. I know that I have the benefit of this forgiveness, I received in my Baptism. I know I will be taken to Heaven by a Faithful God who has never failed me, and never will.

Posted by Ryan at 12:14 PM