Thursday, June 02, 2011

Dispensationalism: A Critical Look At The New Covenant part 2: Hermeneutics


It is important to understand that both Covenant Theology and Dispensational Theology attempt to take the bible seriously. Both groups believe in the full inspiration and use the historical grammatical approach. The difference lies in the presuppositional approach to the Bible itself. As Michael Vlach states citing Feinberg
“Nondispensationalists begin with NT teaching as having priority and then go back to the OT. Dispensationalists often begin with the OT, but wherever they begin they demand that the OT be taken on its own terms rather than reinterpreted in the light of the NT.”[1]
These methodologies or approaches to the Bible are the fundamental causes as to why men differ in their understanding of Israel and affect our understanding of the nature of the New Covenant.

[1] Feinberg as cited by Michael Vlach, “Core Characteristics of Dispensationalism”


Paul said...

I've been running into the "Hebrew Roots" thing a lot lately. People saying, we have to say the "real" names of God, and that the Body, is Israel, not the Church, therefore, we (all believers) are Israel etc. seems to be the main website with this teaching, for the people I am dealing with. I am convinced that the whole eschatology thing comes down to hermeneutics. One simply can not understand the promises of the OT apart from the NT. And, by no means at all, do we (covenant guys) diminish the OT, rather we rejoice and love the OT. We simply understand the OT through the lenses of the NT. For me, it all comes down to how we understand Israel. Eschatology in Evangelicalism hangs on Israel. I’d be interested how you understand Romans 11:25-26, maybe you write about it later in your paper, I’ll wait and see.

Howard Fisher said...

Yea, I came across a blog that argues for three views, Dispy, Covenant theology, and "Christocentric theology". As if Covenant Theology is not Christocentric in its approach to the Old Testament and as if we really think there are no other theological systems.

Obviously the theology that is "Christocentric" assumes a hermeneutic as is written about here.

Notice the first paragraph.

"Christocentric theology is not a well-defined system of theological thought as are Covenant theology and Dispensational theology. It is the label being recommended in this study for a theological understanding that differs from the two previously mentioned."

Isn't that convenient. It's not really defined. But the very next paragraph says more about their understanding of what others think.

"Covenant Theology and Dispensational theology are often viewed as the only two valid theological alternatives. If one does not agree with the premises of Covenant theology he is often accused of being a "Dispensationalist." And vice versa, if one does not agree with the premises of Dispensational theology, he is often accused of being an adherent of Covenant theology. I have been accused of both at one time or another."

This is absurd in itself. There are lots of theological viewpoints. New Covenant Theology for instance, admits in trying to bring the best of Dispyism and CT together. And to even begin to compare Arminianism with anything that these two systems hold to is beyond me.

Perhaps the reason that people accuse this guy of holding a particular position is the language barrier they bring on themselves by trying to have everything their way. For instance the author states,

"Important features of Christocentric theology will include the premises that (1) Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of Messianic promises in the Old Testament, (2) All of God's redemptive and salvific actions are centered in and expressive of the Person and work of Jesus Christ, and (3) God continues to act in grace as the dynamic life of the risen Lord Jesus is lived out in Christians."

Well, duhhhh. Isn't this what Covenant Theology says? Of course CT says more than that, but that is the beauty about holding a mushy system. You get to define it as you go. Consistency? We try to worry about that after you catch a problem.