Dispensationalism is not biblical.

What Does 'Biblical' Mean?

Word Definitions

Christian Thought define Biblical

The Bible is biblical. We are not.

What is meant by 'Biblical'?

biblical (also 'Bible-based', 'scriptural') : 'according to the Scriptures'. "Biblical" is an adjective, that is, a term that describes something, instead of defining it. The main meaning, and the strictest sense, is simply that something is actually found in the Bible. As to the usual intended use by today's Christians, to be 'biblical' means that the substance and the shape of Christian faith and life is drawn from the main course of what is taught in the Bible. This gives each person, each teacher, each Bible study, and each congregation a great responsibility. A biblical faith is a commitment. It can't be had without learning the main thrust of Scripture thoroughly, and keeping everything in the Bible in the context of everything else in the Bible. It also means not taking a principle from outside of Scripture and superimposing it onto Scriptural study or what comes from it. Being biblical means asking questions of the Bible and not taking it to be something it's not. It means understanding that there are many angles to what it says.

The Discipline of Bible Reading

Having a biblical faith also means that when other sources, or your own personal tastes, give something a different style, form, or substance than that found in the Bible, you look at the scriptures more closely. Even if you decide that it's outdated or unjust, take a closer look again. See what it's really driving at, what core things about it come into play, and place those within the context of the Gospel of Christ. Having a biblical faith means to trust that the Bible has something to tell you. Find the underlying purposes behind it. Then, bring that to bear on the way you deal with the subject matter. Theology, when done right, leads us back to the Bible, so that we can be further lit up by the Spirit. If you're Christian, you should always be taking on the discipline of the Spirit who speaks through the Bible. It plays out differently in each Christian, and differently within each Christian over time. Remember that you are making decisions about how you live and how you think -- others are responsible for their own minds. You are free to advocate, debate, teach, affirm, re-shape, reject, or organize, but if you act to silence others or to be hateful toward them, you are acting against Jesus and His gospel, and are thus being anti-biblical.

Keep in mind the discipline I just described. Because when Christians speak of a "biblical" faith, it does not mean that every word or phrase or biblical book is equally important. It means that we commit ourselves to wrestle, and keep wrestling with, everything in it, as long as we live. All readers of the Bible have a pecking order for what they read in the Bible. All Bible readers - even those who don't hold the Christian faith - pick and choose their key Bible passages, no matter how much we may deny it. All Bible readers sometimes forget that it was not written to us, but to a people of a different place and time, and that its meaning back then is a key to what it means for us today. All Bible readers sometimes rely on what others have said about the subject at hand, either because of their wisdom, or as a quickie shortcut. These facts are not really a problem, if you acknowledge them and make sure you continue in the discipline of reading the whole thing as it was written.

The so-called "biblical"

Often, what the Bible teaches is very different than what's usually called 'biblical'. The word's meaning has been so watered down or septically-laden that it is used to describe anything from snake-handlers to end-time cultists and dominionists to the seminary teachers that boost the 'new morality' or modern pantheisms and neo-gnosticisms. So what do you do when a "biblical" teaching is cited, especially on political matters? See if it's really there (hint: it rarely is), and, if it is, what would be the most loving yet effective way to hold to that truth. Talk to others about it. Especially, talk to your pastor about it, if that's who's pushing non-biblical political ideas as 'biblical'. They may get angry and vindictive, and tell you to leave; there are other congregations, many of which will welcome you.

You can also check for 'biblical' in the .

What does 'Confessional' Mean?


What Is Dispensationalism?

dispensationalism : a way of viewing the history of divine action and interaction with humans recorded in the Bible. The best-known version of dispensationalism is that which was made popular by the Scofield Reference Bible (orig. 1909) and developed by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882). It divides history into eras or 'dispensations': the eras of innocence, conscience, civil government, promise, law, grace, and the Kingdom. In each dispensation, God puts human obedience to the test in a different way, revealed by God. In each, of course, we fail the test. Eventually, the last 'dispensation' will end, and the Lord will dispense judgement in His thousand-year earthly reign.

There are many problems with dispensationalism. It creates 'eras' out of nowhere, then overplays the importance of each era and exaggerates main 'themes' for each era. It only faintly touches on how much alike each 'era' really is. Dispensationalism has all the difficulties of other millenialist/chiliastic teachings (based on thousand-year time frames), plus those of having a rigid and fixed view of history. Among most dispensationalists, it leads to an abandonment of the concerns of this life, including a willingness to dispense with the other people who live in it. Thus, when it comes to war, poverty, and pollution, dispensationalists are often found cheering such calamities on, as signs that the end times are at hand. That's not the kind of love in action that Christ called on us to do, as His followers. It's not Christ's way to celebrate other people's misery. Dispensationalism is also used by some to support dominionism, which is one of those supposedly 'biblical' political ideas which leads people to do un-biblical things and to thirst for anti-Christian extremes of power. Dispensationalism is found almost entirely among US-based fundamentalist churches and their offshoots worldwide.