The Ancient Paths is the television ministry of Christ Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City, Utah (a congregation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.) The program airs every Wednesday night at 8:00pm MST on KTMW-TV20 (a channel that covers all of Utah and parts of the surrounding states).

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Ancient Paths - Episode 46: Dispensationalism

This is the forty-sixth episode of the Ancient Paths television program, hosted by Pastor Jason Wallace. In this episode Pastor Wallace interviews Sam Emadi, a seminarian of the Midwest Center for Theological Studies and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The discussion revolves around the topic of dispensationalism and covers some basic definitions, the history of the movement, the historical impetus for its rapid growth, and the theological problems inherent in this system. The program airs on Wednesday nights at 8:00pm on KTMW-TV20, a station that is available in Utah and parts of surrounding states. The program is hosted by Christ Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City. This episode aired on 12/31/08.


Unknown said...

Hi Pastor Wallace,

Having called you on this show, I find the discussion most interesting. I made the point that, in the LDS view, the Lord promised Enoch that he would preserve a remnant of the children of Noah, so that at the return of the Savior, to reign upon the earth, there would be a remnant left that would make it through the great tribulation and on to the end of the earth.

The great gathering to Zion, to the Holy City, is still anticipated. It just didn't happen as quickly as the early breathern expected it to. Pretty typical for all of us, who tend to over estimate the speed of things. Here is the quote that says it all for the LDS:

"And the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve;
And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem."

The tribulation is just starting. People are worried as 2012 approaches, because many ancients predicted great tibulation around this date, but, of course, the world attributes the cause of it to natural developments, not divine purposes. But the LDS view is that Church of the redeemed will be preserved, and that it consists of both Jew and Gentile.

All those who repent, who hear the voice of the Lord, are his elect and he is gathering them and will bring them to Zion, a Holy City which he will yet prepare, that his people may gird up their loins and be looking forth for his coming in glory.


Unknown said...

I don't know if you are reading these comments Pastor Wallace, but I want to add a little more to my previous comment on this subject.

In discussing dispensationalism, you, following Scofield, distinguish between the message of the Old Testament, characterized as a kingdom-oriented theology, based on the law of God, and the message of the New Testament, characterized as a heaven-oriented theology, based on the grace of God, separating the justice from the mercy of God and forming “two gospels.”

This view separates the Church from the Kingdom, and the Church supposedly goes through the various ages characterized by the letters to the seven churches, as recorded in the book of Revelation in the New Testament.

It is this doctrine that prompts the question of the show, “Do you believe the Church has an optimistic or pessimistic future?” from the fact that dispensationalism takes a very negative view of the Church's future, where it is raptured away at its darkest point of failure, and the millennial reign of Christ is ushered in for the Jews.

Incredibly, Joseph Smith's ideas are compared to Darby's, the founder of dispensationalism, in the course of the discussion here. However, they could not be further apart. Joseph's view of the Church's future was anything but pessimistic. What today the LDS call the restoration of the Church should not be viewed as a renewal, or revival, of the Christian church, separated from the kingdom of God that was rejected by the Jews, in the sense of a correction of deviant Christianity, so-to-speak, which then continues on to its destiny, separated from the earthly kingdom of God ruled by Christ.

Instead of this pessimistic view, the message of the restoration is much broader and answers directly to the question being addressed, concerning the future of the Church, which is identified as the Kingdom of God; That is to say, the future of the Christian church is the future of the Jewish kingdom and vice – versa. The Christian church, in all its confusion with the doctrines of men, is the result of God's grafting the Gentiles into the mother tree spoken of by Paul in Chapter 11 of his letter to the Romans, but, as Paul makes clear there, the Lord of the vineyard has not finished his work. There's more grafting to take place, more pruning, more nourishing, more intervention by the hand of the Lord, before the end comes and the vineyard is burned with fire.

The future of the Church of Christ, the Church of the Firstborn, the General Assembly of just men made perfect, is bright indeed, but it includes both the nations of the Jews and the nations of the Gentiles, even though the nations of the Jews rejected the chief corner stone, which is Jesus Christ. This prompted Joseph Smith, translating the writings of Jacob, the son of Lehi, to write:

“15 And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation.
  16 But behold, according to the scriptures, this stone shall become the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Jews can build.
  17 And now, my beloved, how is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can aever build upon it, that it may become the head of their corner?
  18 Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you; if I do not, by any means, get shaken from my firmness in the Spirit, and stumble because of my over anxiety for you.”

Jacob does indeed unfold “this mystery” to his brethren, by referring to the allegory of the tame and wild olive trees, hinted at by Paul, in Romans Chapter 11. I believe that it behooves us to understand the meaning of it.

(to be continued)