Sunday, December 16, 2007

Name that theological position

NOTE: this is only open to those who do not know the answer. If you do, please refrain from comment until the answer is released.

What is the theological position of the man (or woman) who wrote this? Dispensational, covenantal, what?
The cry of the Christian religion is the gentle word, “Come.” The Jewish law harshly said, “Go, take heed unto thy steps as to the path in which thou shalt walk. Break the commandments, and thou shalt perish; keep them, and thou shalt live.” The law was a dispensation of terror, which drove men before it as with a scourge; the gospel draws with bands of love. Jesus is the good Shepherd going before his sheep, bidding them follow him, and ever leading them onwards with the sweet word, “Come.” The law repels, the gospel attracts. The law shows the distance which there is between God and man; the gospel bridges that awful chasm, and brings the sinner across it.
UPDATE: the source is Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening : Daily Readings, Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006), December 16 AM. You can read the whole here.

My point in citing it is that one of the stupid reasons for dissing dispensationalism is that it is supposedly inherently antinomian, or makes an overly sharp distinction between law and grace. It's an objection that should not be made by a fair and better-read person. Here's Charles Spurgeon, no dispensationalist, making that cut pretty sharply, as have Luther and others.

And here I am, unapologetically dispensational, and I wouldn't put it quite as sharply Spurgeon did. Not with Psalms 1 and 119 in my mind.

18 comments:

philness said...

Would it be universalism?

The Doulos said...

Captain, there is insufficient data to form a logical conclusion. The use of the word "dispensation" is an obvious ploy to throw one off the correct track. I cannot come to a proper conclusion however. It would be, illogical.

philness said...

Now I'm thinking whatever the term is for easy believism. The phrase "the law repels, the gospel attracts" is somewhat off I'm thinking. The more correct phrase would be the law attracts those to the gospel. Another thought is that the gospel does some repelling in its own right in the since that it separates the sheep from goats, wheat and tare sort of thing. Am I on the right track?

BugBlaster said...

What the law really said was "break the commandments, and thou shalt need to have atonement made for thee" and the prophet under the law said "God will not despise a broken and contrite heart"

The latter half of the except sounds like right doctrine, but the middle part selects its emphases erroroneously perhaps.

Doesn't sound like someone with a usual view of dispensationalism. And doesn't sound covenantalist either...?

BugBlaster said...

Well now I googled it.

You trickster.

Puritan Man said...

In betweenish. I'm thinking it's a toss up between Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Would it be Martin Luther? I think it fits his theology.

DJP said...

Bugblaster: hee-hee.

DyspFund: intelligent guess. (So are the others.)

DJP said...

I plan to Reveal And Discuss the Answer this evening, DV.

I'm surprised no one's made the obvious guess yet. Couldn't be that you're... CHICKEN, are ye?

The Doulos said...

I couldn't resist the temptation - I admit it - I have Googled...

So I thought it might be him, but it just seemed to obvious. And DJP, you can never be accused of playing Dr. Obvious. And I was chicken...

Phil Walker said...

philness: I think the author meant that the Law drives us to the Gospel. The author is playing the old Law/Gospel distinction as hard as he can.

It's a distinction which is used by all sorts of theologian. DysFund is correct that Lutheran theology makes heavy use of the distinction (indeed, they carry it so far as to be a hermeneutic); as Dan suggests, dispensationalism does too; but it's present elsewhere: you can find it in Calvin and other Reformed divines, yea even unto the Canons of Dordt, all of whom were arch-covenantalists.

(I happen to have read that passage recently, so I can't play the full game.)

Trinian said...

I wish I could interact more with the theological terminology. To me, this is the theological position of being "right on the money"-al.
The law shows the distance which there is between God and man; [Christ] bridges that awful chasm, and brings the sinner across it. What great news! I broke the law, I am terrified of the law and it's right, just punishment. But then, mercy and love comes of its own accord to bring me out. Fear not! Good news of great joy!

Stefan said...

I know I've read this recently, but I can't for the life of me recall where. It's really bugging me now. Despite its possibly being interpreted in an orthodox manner, I recall it was a sound author who wrote it. Pink? McIntosh? Spurgeon???

Stefan said...

I mean, "Despite its possibly being interpreted in an unorthodox manner."

And by "orthodox"/"unorthodox," I'm not referring to eschatology, but to allusions in comments above about sound vs. unsound soteriology.

Connie said...

Okay, I've been thinking on this since I read it last night and I'm just going to go ahead and step out on a limb--of which there are very few in light of the recent ice storm/disaster here in Oklahoma!

Anyway, I say it is 'classic' dispensationalism.

DJP said...

I've updated the post with the source. Thanks for playing!

Stay warm, Connie!

Connie said...

Okay, see if this makes any sense to you. I was initially uncomfortable with saying the quote was disp., BECAUSE it seemed to fit all the 'accusations' I've heard (many of which you listed)!!!!

I consider myself to be disp., but I must humbly admit that I don't know my own dispensationalism as well as I ought--but I have been enjoying working through it more carefully lately. I'm definitely more comfortable with (and confident of) what has been called 'progressive' disp. Know much about it? Any thoughts?

As I've mentioned here before, our church is eschatologically mixed. We've spent the last 6 + months discussing the various views--presented by various men and leaders in our church. My husband is currently wrapping up his presentation of the 'futurist' disp. view. It has been a very helpful and healthy study for our fellowship!

***Thanks, we're now safe and warm in our own home***

Stefan said...

Whoo-hoo! I got it! (On the third try, at least.) What's weird is I can't recall for the life of me where I read it, apart from via a Scripture reference with a link to his devotion...it's not even quoted on TP anywhere. Perhaps a book I've read recently quotes it...