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I was never a dispensationalist in the EW Bullinger tradition, but it was the only way I could live with the OT and with the gospels. Then I found out that the gospels were actually written after the epistles, which tends to take things out of the realm of "for your learning". That brought me out of dispensation-land, which led me to a comparative study of Jesus from the viewpoint of the gospels and Paul's take on Jesus. I came to the conclusion that Paul taught "another Jesus". Why not? It's not like he had the gospels to learn from. It's not like he had a personal relationship with Jesus. All he had was his own incredible (in order to be credible) experience.

Then it occurred to me that the gospels were nothing more than a created back story.

Joseph and Mary know from the time of conception that this baby was special. Yet NOTHING is written about him from their perspective. Ok, maybe the gospel of Thomas. Maybe. But nothing that made it into the big book. He's virtually absent from 12 to 30.

He comes on the scene and he's doing all these remarkable things, yet NO ONE thinks they need to record any of it. People of the book don't see that they are witnessing first hand the Messiah.

Surely even back then people got when history was being made.

I get that recording was more complicated back then, but there wasn't even much of an oral back story.

Why, why why.

Maybe because what was happening at the time wasn't anything like what was "recorded" after the fact.

I don't know, but given the number of messiah look-alikes...

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Acceptance of Dispensationalism is crucial to understanding Way Theology. That's why it's hammered into place in PLAF (The Wonder Class), session#5. Wierwille, of course, renamed it and called it Administrations. John Darby created the concept in an effort to rationalize the incongruency of the Bible.

Edited by waysider

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But anyway back to the dispensational thing...

One knows that the writers of Acts through the epistles didn't have the benefit of the gospels. The gospels didn't take into account anything written in the epistles. It appears that no one - including god - figured that anyone would put together all the writings, so the whole disjointed thing was cobbled together and it left a lot of people scratching their heads on how to deal with the disjointed thing.

Dispensations don't smooth over the rough spots.Not really.

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For Wierwille, it wasn't about trying to understand difficult scripture. It was about finding loopholes that would allow him to live the life he chose. He was fond of saying, "Do what you like as long as you like what you do." Having an Age of Grace to defer to made that possible. Without Dispensationalism, The Age of Grace does not exist.

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Yes he was the ultimate Calvinist when it came to grace. He was all about license in the age of grace.

But Calvin was not a dispensationalist as that hadn't made it into the thought processes yet.

I have heard of Calvinist dispensationalists.

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Gents, Let's not let chronology get in the way of understanding history, you have all thought outside linear time. I find it fantastic that John could impose non linear thought, even within his own gospel - take for instance the alabaster box.

Tzaia: With all due respect, how can you mention Dispensatialism and Calvinism in the same breath; if a Calvinist, why do anything, it's all set in life.

waysider: I don't try to reference TWI anymore in my search for Biblical understanding, TWI gave me a starting point but I left (to their loss - my money is gone and I got no sexy daughters for them) but they did give me the door that I have opened. The dispensation/administration/oikianomia (yeh, my Greek sucks but I keep trying), whatever you want to call it, I still see their are administrations, it looks even more evident since the gospels were written after the epistles. If it were the other way around (chronologically - boy, that's hard to type) then, in my understanding, it would not fit as well. Like the epistles told the revealed truth and the gospels did the same without knowing what was in the epistles. Now, I know that is not totally correct but I said it in order to get my facts strait (knowledgable folks will respond) to state it more correctly at a future date. Yes, I am just a parasite.

Also waysider: I have seen what twisting scripture does - I want to be honest and true like the boy scout I am, I know that I get to walk in front of the bema some day and I already got lotsa crap to account for - don't need anymore.

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I remember the fun we used to have talking about things, Tzaia, back in the mid-'90s! You bring up some very interesting considerations in your initial post on this thread. I've been thinking about some of these things, not just during the time I was coming out from under the dispensationalism of TWI and its off-shoots, but also while studying the history of Christianity working on my master's. ALL this stuff is meshed together big time, and it all started when Napoleon beat the Prussians at Battle of Jena in 1806.

Since the late-1700s the Prussians had a small, elite professional army that was deemed to be the best in Europe. Frederick the Great had been the military genius of his age, and the Prussian army still basked in the afterglow of his glory. What could the French republicans do against Prussians? French soldiers were a bunch of riff-raff draftees fresh off the farms of France. The Prussians thought the French were less than worthless. It's hard for us to imagine today the shock and humiliation suffered by the Prussians as a result of their defeat at Jena. But that shock and humiliation threw Prussia into a frenzy of societal and military re-organization, imitating the French in everything except their form of government. That re-organization resulted in the German ability to take on nearly the whole world twice within the next 150 years.

As a part of that re-organization, the Prussian government set about to establish the University of Berlin in 1810. Friedrich Schleiermacher wanted for the university to have a school of theology, but the government didn't. The French had thrown theology out of their universities. The Prussians saw no reason to include theology in their own curricula. The only way Schleiermacher could get a school of theology was by promising that it would be "scientific" theology. There was one problem... according to the "science" of the early-1800s, Newtonian mechanics, it is absolutely impossible for miracles to happen. All of the liberal Protestant theology that came out of the 1800s and exists today in such forms as the Jesus Seminar's quest for the "Historical" Jesus, is based on the fundamental assumption that everything "miraculous" in the Bible, including the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is a phony explanation for something that never happened.

By the late-1800s many Christians knew that something was radically wrong with liberal Protestant theology, but they couldn't put their fingers on exactly what was wrong. They could not yet object to the "science" because Neils Bohr didn't come up with quantum mechanics until 1925 (at the University of Berlin, no less). Concerned churches got together and formed the fundamentalist movement in response to liberal Protestant theology. Instead of sorting out what was scientifically possible and probable, the fundamentalist movement took poetic expressions from the Bible and treated them as if they were propositional statements of ontological certainty. Tsk, tsk, tsk...

all for now... more later...

Love,

Steve

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Steve's back!

It's good to be back, Raf! I spent the first week of April in the hospital recovering from pneumonia, but while I was there, they discovered that I had a heart attack at some point, my kidneys had received additional damage, I had developed asthma (at first they thought it was COPD) and my red and white blood cell counts were dangerously low. I think it is all a progressive result of the potassium overdose I received two years ago. I should have died at that time, but I didn't.

I am really thankful for each and every one of my friends here at GreaseSpot Cafe, whether we agree about things or not. I have become a part of another faith community that is also unconventional in some ways, and I have not been shy about telling people some of my experiences while in TWI, but those guys can never share the comradery of those of us "who were there."

I haven't had the pleasure of discussing theology over a beer with you, Raf, but I had some good fellowships in Tzaia's kitchen back in the mid-90s when we began to realize ALL the TWI offshoots were just as bad if not worse than the original organization.

I don't have the stamina that I used to have... but I will get back from time to time!

Love,

Steve

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Steve - the reality is that you HAVE to put certain premises in place for any of it to make sense, or appear to be true.

Just because the idea that there could be an elaborate conspiracy theory is acknowledged (and refuted), does not mean none took place.

Jesus appearing to his persecutors and executors in his new body would have completely eliminated the notion of a conspiracy. Yet, that did not happen.

His ascension into heaven could have been a very public thing. Yet it was not.

In our removal from these events along with the only recording of these events happening nearly 2 generations later, notwithstanding the fact that there is no outside verification of anything other than he existed (in one generally believed authentic sentence by a Jewish historian who lived after Jesus died - when the life of Jesus would presumably be reasonably fresh), one has to question the veracity of the claims. Strictly from an investigative point of view.

Paul's claim - his "come to Jesus moment" - is it any different than ours - besides the being struck blind thing? (the apparently necessary incredible circumstance that supposedly makes his conversion credible)

I don't know.

What I do know is that the Jesus of the gospels and the Jesus that Paul knows are 2 different guys who preached 2 different things.

I would say that Paul's Jesus was a bit more practical. He moved away from the law in a way that Jesus never did in practice. Although his critics believe Jesus moved far away from the law in his interpretation and practice. I would have to agree.

In order to fit those divergent pieces together, one has to claim a new covenant, or a new age. Otherwise you have a hot mess if the word of god is inerrant.

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Great thread folks. Thanks for directing me here Raf.

IMO, the entire theology of twit was blown in session one of piffle. "The Word of God is the will of God". That's true if you are referring to Jesus Christ as "the Word made flesh", but not true of the Bible as a whole in any of its forms, MSS, critical texts, canonized or not, or commentaries.

I told jalvis I do not believe that the Bible he worships, studies to death, believes to the point of self-delusion, and teaches so wrongly is not THE WORD or will of God! It was on my back deck of my house in Franklin in 1991. Even though his entire original BOD had resigned and abandoned him by then, he still felt entitled to spend one night during any of his "itineraries" through MA. His presence for even that length of time was so annoying and disconcerting to my wife and children that they danded I tell him he was no longer welcome at our house and to please make different arrangements from then on. That was the opening of that conversation in my back deck. JAL was in total shock that those words even came out of my mouth, let alone that I really believe them. He was literally stunned. I told him that I do not believe that everything from Genesis to Revelation is "Godbreathed". In fact I told him that, I actually think most of it is not gidbreathed at all, and that includes Paul and Moses especially. Well as far as jal was concerned I was now doomed to hell and "deceived by spirits of whoredoms and slumber". Ppffffftttt.

Once we bought that subtle switch of "Words", vic had us all in his perverted P.I. ballpark throwing one curveball after another with bad calls to boot!

The Bible is NOT the Word and will of God. Parts of it might be, and some of it I consider to be worthy of belief in the spiritual part of my life. But, that choice to believe is based upon my own study and interpretation of the Bible, and I do not feel called nor disposed to preach anything to anyone with any presupposed authority from God or Jesus or Mother Earth. My beliefs are based on my choices which are based on my own personal value system and understanding of "things spiritual" in that spiritual part of my life. I remain open to dialogue and learning from any other human being.....some positive, some negative, some tremendously moving, others cold as ice. But, no matter what, learning is always available from every interaction with any other creature with soul.

Once one grows completely comfortable that the entire Bible is absolutely not Godbreathed and that the idea of "no private interpretation" is completely contrary to the purpose of writing and communication of any kind between humans, then the boundaries of illogic necessary in order to make the Bible "fit like a hand in a glove" are no longer necessary. We are free to believe whatever the hell we want to about the Bibke and any other topic or thing in the universe. I do not believe Jesus is the ONLY way, truth, or life. I do believe that the fruit of the spirit is present wherever the Spirit of God is at work. Makes it easy to accept the authentic "bigness of God".

Why people choose to remain comfortable in the tiny perverted lockbox of vic's gawd, I do not know. Ignorance thrives in misery and misery loves company, I guess. Either way, I refuse to limit God and Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit to B.G.'s definitions, Bullinger's incisive logic and linguistic prowess, Stiles' method for "leading people into tongues", and for wierwille's perverted drunken Nazi opinion on anything any of those guys said or wrote. I refuse to limit God period. And, my beliefs are exactly that, MINE. Not better or worse than anyone else's.......just different.

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"Why people choose to remain comfortable in the tiny perverted lockbox of vic's gawd, I do not know."

Here's an article that might shed some light on the matter. The research is not very large in scope but it certainly gives pause for thought.

"Feeling like you're an expert can make you closed-minded."

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The TWIt people were good at telling us peons that if they ever discovered their research was in error they would adjust. There were several times I had questions and was immediately shut down with the admonition to take "the class" again.

I thought that CES was going to be different. When JAL told me he thought that 70% of the TWI doctrine was correct, I countered with 30%. Now I think it's around 5%.

Anyway, I started having long conversations with a former pastor who actually has a PhD from THE Princeton Theological Seminary, and we talked through the whole dispensation theology. I STILL wasn't convinced until I started the whole historical-critical method, which has ultimately steered me away from the Bible being "god breathed" at all.

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The whole idea of being biblically "correct" on an issue assumes the writers of the Bible were in complete agreement with each other, and that any apparent disagreements are in our understanding. When you realize the opposite is the case, it all makes a whole lot more sense. Paul and James were not writing from two sides of the same coin. They were writing from different currencies altogether. They were using the same words, but not meaning the same things when they used them. Naturally, they were coming to opposite conclusions. Why wouldn't they?

How about Paul and Luke, who disagreed about who Paul met with following his conversion on the road to Damascus? This isn't an apparent contradiction. This is one writer calling the account put forth by another writer a lie. Oops!

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But But But...It HAS to fit because it's all God Breathed. I know because it says so in the Bible and the Bible is God Breathed.

chasing-my-tail1.gif

Edited by waysider

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Just for the sake of clarity, Wierwille didn't teach dispensationalism in the tradition of E.W. Bullinger. Bullinger was the father of ultra-dispensationalism, which goes something like this: A dispensation is a period of time when God deals with man in a certain way. When God changes his mind about how to deal with man, the new dispensation is in and the old dispensation is out (I feel like Heidi Klum on Project Runway!). But the change in "administrations" cannot come before the revelation of the change. The administration of the mystery could not begin until the "revelation of the mystery" to Paul... Therefore, the present administration did NOT begin on the day of Pentecost described in Acts chapter 2, but at some later date (exactly when is a point of contention).

The dispensdationalism taught by Wierwille probably came from whatever source B.G. Leonard was using in his class.

Lynn and Schoenheit are functional ultra-dispensationalists, even though they hold that the church administration began on the day of Pentecost, because they teach that God could not reveal the SACRED SECRETTM before Paul was "broken of his Jewish mindset" (Momentus terminology) after he was captured in Jerusalem (Acts 21). Therefore, we are free to ignore whatever we want to suppress that Paul wrote to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians and Thessalonians!

If you find all this confusing, though, don't worry, GET A CHART AND GET A LIFE!TM

Love,

Steve

Edited by Steve Lortz

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Hello everybody! Been a few years since posting but found this thread to be an interesting one. I do believe there are various "dispensations" or periods of time that God deals with mankind in certain ways. It's obvious we are no longer commanded to sacrifice lambs on an altar like ancient Israel was. So that is one example of how God dealt with mankind differently many years ago than He does now. However, VPW and others took the phrase "dispensation of grace" and seemed to add to it...basically teaching that since we are in the dispensation of grace we can do anything we desire no matter how sinful and still make it through the pearly gates...and even escape judgement here on earth. They taught/teach that since Christ's resurrection God is no longer in judgement mode.In other words, we are in the "Age Of Grace". I'm not going to say someone is going to hell for believing these things and it may be possible that Christians who knowingly and willingly commit sinful acts could still receive eternal life...I'm just not sure at this point. I do think it is a dangerous thing to teach others and part of the problem with Christianity these days.

Looking at the context of Ephesians 3 it seems to be explaining(the Mystery)which is certain spiritual knowledge made known to everyone who was/is willing to listen even the gentiles that was not known prior. So in that context...yes God is dealing differently with mankind at the time that Paul was teaching in Ephesus and even today than He was prior.

These days the whole concept of the dispensations has become distorted no doubt. I do think that periodically God does go into judgement mode even post Resurrection. In my opinion WW2 was judgement on Nazi Germany for it's atrocities.. Another example is The American Civil War which was judgement on the USA for the evil of slavery. There are many other examples. As a preterist, I believe that God even judges individuals in the here and now.

Now getting to these periods of time and the timing of certain events such as the coming of anti-Christ etc...dispensationalists have read a lot into the texts of the Epistles and the book of Revelation and OT texts... erroneously placing certain events mentioned in these texts in our future when most of them occurred in the 63-70 AD time frame. But that is another post altogether.

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...snip...

It's obvious we are no longer commanded to sacrifice lambs on an altar like ancient Israel was. So that is one example of how God dealt with mankind differently many years ago than He does now.

...snip...

Securing atonement through the sacrifice of a lamb was a ritual action that pointed forward to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. God never "changed his mind" about how to deal with "mankind". Stop and think about it. If the church is completely separate and discontinuous from Israel, if none of the promises to Israel can be applied to the Church, then Jesus' death on the cross has nothing to do with the Church. Indeed, if Wierwille was correct about Romans 9-11 being addressed to Israel and to Gentiles, then Romans 10:9&10 is addressed to Jews ONLY!

Dispensationalists are enemies of the cross of Christ, just like it says in Philippians 3:18.

Love,

Steve

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Hi Steve and thanks for the reply. I never thought about dispensationalism from that point of view. So it may be accurate to say that the current dispensation started at the fall of Adam?

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On a more simplistic level, there are scriptures that say God never changes. He's the same today as he was yesterday and will be the same tomorrow, as well. This seems to defy the concept of administrations and chronological segregations of mankind.

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Hi Waysider,

I agree and it seems TWI under VPW took it a little bit further. Like someone mentioned in a previous post, being in the "dispensation of grace" was license to do some really bad things without repercussions.

On a more simplistic level, there are scriptures that say God never changes. He's the same today as he was yesterday and will be the same tomorrow, as well. This seems to defy the concept of administrations and chronological segregations of mankind.

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Just for the sake of clarity, Wierwille didn't teach dispensationalism in the tradition of E.W. Bullinger.

The dispensdationalism taught by Wierwille probably came from whatever source B.G. Leonard was using in his class.

Much to interesting a topic not to comment on. After reading DWBH’s drab take on it, Steve’s was somewhat refreshing. It’s true, VPW disagreed with Bullinger on when the church started. Bullinger reasoned it to have begun after Acts 28, essentially submarining SIT and the manifestations of holy spirit. VPW (and others, such as Scofield) taught that in began on the day of Pentecost in Act 2. Personally, I’m persuaded that the failure to “rightly divide” these things has resulted (and continues to result) in errors, the magnitude of which is stunning. Speaking of rightly dividing, I’m also of the opinion that this matter fits directly in the crosshairs of 2Tim.2:15. Furthermore, I’ve come to the realization that some number of the practices of TWI were incorrectly based on the things in Acts 2, many years prior to the start of the age of grace, which (as alluded to in here in Steve’s post) was ushered in by Paul.

Les Feldick does a fine job on the different administrations of time (as well as quite a fair number of other things.) Saul (Paul) was so tightly wound, evidently it took some isolation time in Arabia (mount Sinai?) to set him straight, and there was a lot to learned from the ascended Christ.

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