• Hermeneutics,  Review,  Theology

    Dispensational Hermeneutics by Mike Vlach

    Note: Information on entering the book giveaway is at the bottom of this post. It is a sad reality that whenever someone searches for dispensationalism, the first results they find are often strawman critiques of the system. Dispensationalists are often misrepresented in their beliefs. For example, dispensationalists are said to teach multiple ways of salvation, or embrace antinomianism, etc. Although there are certainly non-negotiable beliefs that are a part of dispensationalism, the real issue has always been how dispensationalists arrive at their beliefs. Dispensational Hermeneutics Enter Mike Vlach’s new book, Dispensational Hermeneutics: Interpretation Principles that Guide Dispensationalism’s Understanding of the Bible’s Storyline (available for purchase here). In this book, Vlach provides a go-to resource for those trying to understand why dispensationalists believe what they believe. The purpose of the book is best defined in Vlach’s own words: “Our goal is to present the key hermeneutical principles that influence Dispensationalism’s view…

  • Apologetics,  Culture

    Christians and the Abolition of Roe v. Wade

    June 24, 2022, will go down in history as a great day! On this memorable day, the Supreme Court of the Government of the United States of America ruled that the court precedent of Roe v. Wade was illegitimately established and was overturned. Moments like this are rare in America’s history but are deeply cherished. In this article, I want to briefly assess some of the implications of this court decision and then provide some Christian reflections. What Does the Abolition of Roe v. Wade Mean? Samuel Alito, writing the majority opinion for the ruling, notes the following on page 6 (of 213): It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives. “The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations, upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then…

  • Old Testament,  Theology

    When did Israel Stop Being God’s People?

    No one can deny that Israel had a unique role as God’s chosen people in the past. They received a privilege no other nation had ever experienced! They were his firstborn son (Exod 4:22) and his treasured possession (Exod 19:5; Deut 7:6). When Moses was reminding the people of their special role as God’s people, he noted the uniqueness of God speaking to them “out of the midst of the fire” and taking “a nation for himself from the midst of another nation by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war…” (Deut 4:33–34). We read one of the most descriptive statements about Israel’s unique status as God’s people in Deuteronomy 7:6. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the…

  • Culture,  Theology

    Do Dispensationalists Cause Cultural Decay?

    Postmillenialists will often claim that dispensationalists do not engage the culture and have no interest in seeing the culture flourish. Furthermore, it is often stated that wherever dispensationalism flourishes, the culture decays. Thus, it is dispensationalism which is dangerous and causes cultural decay. Although I have written before that many incorrectly argue that dispensationalism hurts the church, today I want address the subject again, focusing on whether dispensationalists promote an escapist worldview which causes cultural decay. It is my goal that the argument that dispensationalists don’t care about culture should be be retired from use, since it is neither true nor the real issue. An Eschatology of Escapism for Dispensationalists? It is quite popular in some Christian circles (postmillenialists usually) to accuse dispensationalists as being escapists, unconcerned by what happens in the culture. Gary DeMar describes this alleged inaction and laziness as the “Fatal Flaw in the Culture War.” He…

  • New Testament,  Old Testament

    The Feast of Booths and the Kingdom of God

    The Feast of Booths is not something we often take the time to study because it involves a lot of time in the Old Testament. However, the New Testament assumes you know about it! In fact, knowing about the Feast of Booths helps us understand the Transfiguration in Matthew 17. What is the Feast of Booths? The Feast of Booths (Sukkot in Hebrew) was important for those in the OT and the NT. It was one of three times a year when all of the males in Israel were mandated to come to Jerusalem before God (Deut 16:16). The Feast of Booths was an 8-day celebration (beginning Tishri 15 on the Jewish Calendar), which happens to be in September/October in our calendar. During this feast, the people would live in temporary shelters (booths) and give offerings to the Lord (Lev 23:36). According to Lev 23:42, this was for native Jews only. The…

  • Church,  Culture,  Theology

    Does Dispensationalism Hurt the Church?

    Not too long ago while I was on social media I stumbled across a quote by a Christian cultural apologist who said, “Wherever dispensationalism has gained ground, Christian culture has lost ground.” Although the claim that dispensationalism has hurt the church is not new, it was interesting to see how much agreement the post garnered in the comments. Some commenters labeled dispensationalism as the worst heresy the church has seen. Others said dispensationalism is a damnable heresy which has single-handedly lost the American culture war. In this post I would like to analyze the argument that dispensationalism itself is dangerous and responsible for the cultural loss we see in Western culture today. What is Dispensationalism? As I have written elsewhere, it is unfortunately common for people to wrongly attribute heretical beliefs to dispensationalism which are not inherently a part of the system. Dispensationalism should simply be viewed as a set…

  • Review,  Theology

    Book Review: Discontinuity to Continuity: A Survey of Dispensational & Covenantal Theologies

    Typically, when there is a multiple-views book, it is a multiple-author attempt to persuade the reader to a certain theological position. These books have a needed place in the church, but it is certainly not the only way to compare different theological viewpoints. Most recently, I read a refreshing book on the multiple-views theme by a single author, Ben Merkle. I want to highlight this book as a valuable resource in the field of understanding eschatological systems because of its unique approach. Merkle’s book, Discontinuity to Continuity: A Survey of Dispensational & Covenantal Theologies (Lexham Press, 2020), is a multiple-views book by a single author (Merkle). However, rather than attempting to persuade the reader to any particular theological system, Merkle takes great pains to remain purely descriptive of the theological systems. I think he does a remarkable job in doing this, and to Merkle’s credit, he is able to describe…

  • Theology

    Is there a Difference between Soul and Spirit?

    Human beings are made in the image of God and are often referred to in terms of the physical (body) and the spiritual (soul and/or spirit). With regard the spiritual realm, a pertinent question is whether soul and spirit refer to the same thing. Are humans made up of three parts: body, soul, and spirit? Or are human beings made up of two parts: body and soul and/or spirit? This is a difficult question, and I know people who hold different views. To discuss this issue we must begin with surveying the biblical usage of these terms. In the OT, the word for spirit (רוּחַ) can mean the following: Wind or breeze (e.g., Eccl 1:17; 4:15, etc.). Breath which gives life (e.g., Jer 10:14; Ps 135:17, Gen 6:17; 7:15, etc.). Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit (Gen 1:2; Exod 31:3; 35:31; Num 11:29; Isa 30:28; 34:16, etc.) Not as…

  • Biblical Languages,  Old Testament

    A Proposal for a New Translation of Deuteronomy 4:29

    This month an article that I have been working on for awhile was finally published in the journal The Bible Translator. The article is entitled, “Towards a New Proposal for Translating the Conjunction כי in Deuteronomy 4.29.” Although I am not allowed to post the published PDF, I have uploaded the prepublication version of the paper here. It is a fairly technical paper, discussing some of the intricacies of Hebrew grammar. The paper will likely not be very enjoyable for those who do not know Hebrew. However, in addition to drawing attention to it, I wanted to summarize the argument in layman’s terms. The Typical Translations of Deuteronomy 4:29 Deuteronomy 4:29 does not typically have much variation in translation. The only outlier is the CSB. Observe the following translations. But from there, you will search for the Lord your God, and you will find Him when you seek Him with…

  • New Testament,  Theology

    The Link between Eschatology and Spiritual Gifts

    Although not often thought about, there is a link between eschatology and the spiritual gifts. There are many ways to argue for the cessation of spiritual gifts (for example, the cascade argument). But in this article I simply want to look at the correlation between one’s eschatology and the belief about miraculous gifts. Simply put, what what believes about eschatology, specifically the kingdom of God, has a logical impact on their understanding of the spiritual gifts. Before talking about eschatology, we can overview the Bible and see that there are specific times in history when there are major displays of miracles. Further reflection shows that these miraculous exhibitions are linked with time periods that are related to the Kingdom of God. To show this in summary form, I have adapted a chart from Mike Vlach: Kingdom Situation Time Period Kingdom Mediator(s) Result Signs and wonders to deliver Hebrews from Egypt…