Against Dispensationalism

Contra Johnny Mac: Against Dispensationalism | For the Love of His Truth


Prominent teacher John F. MacArthur, Jr., president of The Master’s Seminary, is quoted “That the Bible taught a unique place for Israel and that the Church could not fulfill God’s promises to Israel, therefore, there is a still a future and a kingdom involving the salvation and the restoration and the reign of the nation Israel (historical Jews)”.

MacArthur further states that this literal system got more and more compounded in time as distinctions arose between:

a) Israel and the church,

b) the new covenant for the Church and the new covenant for Israel,

c) the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven,

d) the teaching of Jesus between what he said for the church and the millennial age,

e) some books in the New Testament are for Jews and some for the church, etc. MacArthur doesn’t believe in distinctions c) – e). He asks for Biblical proof that the Israel is the church. (Source: Grace Church 70-16 tape, reported by Middletown Bible

Several assumptions of the different system are presented and discussed. These assumptions come about from a literalistic interpretation of the scriptures and not from an a-priori theological overview. These assumptions are:

  • Assumption 1. There is a strong dichotomy between spiritual Israel and the church.
  • Assumption 2. The church age was an absolute mystery in the Old Testament.
  • Assumption 3. Because physical Israel, physical gentiles, and the church are kept separate in scripture they cannot be the same.
  • Assumption 4. The new covenant of Je 31 is for Israel in a Jewish millennium, not for the New Testament church in the church age.
  • Assumption 5. None of Gods people who died before Pentecost can be in the church universal.
  • Assumption 6. There is a ”parenthesis” or significant time gap in the Jewish kingdom program prophesied in the Old Testament.{end quote}


  1. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · August 14, 2013

    Surely the newer PD position, “Progressive Dispensationalism” is an advance here! All biblical theology must be moving along with and in the Salvation History and Covenant/covenants of God, which are really always first from the Jews and Israel! (John 4: 22) Note we Gentiles receive our blessings from “the circumcision for the truth of God.” (Rom. 15: 8-9)

    • jm · August 14, 2013

      Brother Robert, would you say John MacArthur is somewhere between traditional Dispensationalism and Progressive Dispensationalism?

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · August 14, 2013

        I am not sure myself? I did get to meet him once, he is a very able Man of God, but a bit too narrow and fundamentalist like for me however. And I don’t say this in any great negative!

        Note, I would myself admit that the PD still does have a moderate Dispensational centre, which I too would follow, i.e. the difference between National Israel, and the Gentiles, and the Church of God. (1 Cor. 10: 32)

      • Elmarie · August 14, 2013

        John MacArthur is called a Leaky Dispensational , “MacArthur calls himself a “leaky dispensationalist”–meaning he rejects any and all “dispensational” soteriological innovations, holding to classic Reformed (i.e., Protestant, not “covenantal”) soteriology. MacArthur’s “dispensationalism” is eschatological and ecclesiological only. And given the fact that soteriology is central to our whole understanding of Christianity, whereas eschatology and ecclesiology deal primarily with secondary doctrines, it would be my assessment that MacArthur has far less in common with Ryrie than he would have with anyone who believes 1) that God’s grace is efficacious for regeneration and sanctification as well as for justification, and 2) that God graciously guarantees the perseverance of all true believers.” – Phil Johnson

        No what ?

      • jm · August 14, 2013

        What are you asking Elmarie? I didn’t see how you responded to the quote posted or the pamphlet referred to.

        Thank you.


  2. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · August 14, 2013

    I would only somewhat agree with Johnson’s quote, myself. I would connect the eschatological and ecclesiology closer historically. Btw, we can surely note the great loss here, in the eschatological with the early Reformational and Reformed. Which in reality still followed Augustine and the Catholicism of the day, hermeneutically.

  3. Elmarie · August 14, 2013

    Hi Jason, first thanks for sharing my post 🙂

    I have never heard the term Leaky Dispensational and thought you can shed some light on it. My last sentence did not come out as iintended 🙂

    • jm · August 14, 2013

      I believe ‘leaky’ is in reference to MacArthur’s willingness to give up old classical Dispensational strongholds like (theological) antinomianism and the literalistic idea of ‘heavenly’ and ‘earthly’ programs for the people of God. Personally, I think it’s more of a slight of hand as the other JM, John MacArthur, attempts to interpret the text. It seems he causes a stir with both Dispensationalists and Covenantists.

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · August 14, 2013

        Indeed MAC loves to be “independent” from the rest of the Church! I remember when he was against the Eternal Sonship of Christ (Albert Barnes perhaps produced this error in MAC?), but finally I guess it was a young Mike Horton who set him straight. Who knows?

      • Elmarie · August 14, 2013

        Thanks Jason , I will follow the links.

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