Are Biblical Hermeneutics at Odds With Dispensational Theology?
Hi Dr. E, you recently described reformed theology and I found that incredibly helpful! Can you talk about a biblical hermeneutic and some ways it might be at odds with dispensational theology?
Excerpt From The Answer
I love this opening statement we’ve used over the years:
The teaching and foundation of [ name of the church] is based on the Scriptures. This “Statement of Faith” reflects doctrines that are essential to understand, teach, and practice God’s Word. We approach the interpretation of Bible (hermeneutics) through a normal, grammatical, literal, historic, and theological lens.
- Normal – understanding the words of Bible in their common usage unless otherwise indicated by the context.
- Grammatical – using the recognized rules of grammar in interpretation.
- Literal – understanding the meaning of Bible in its ordinary sense unless the context requires a figurative interpretation.
- Historical – understanding the words of Bible in the context in which they were written.
- Theological – a consistent consideration of the whole of Bible when drawing theological positions.
To me, these form an excellent way of the attempt to have a biblical hermeneutic. Obviously, I’ve talked at length over the years about why this matters and my go-to illustration has been the Abrahamic Covenant. From God’s unilateral promise to Abraham, Gen. 12, 15, 17, 19 and onward, we have God’s clear promises made and explained and expanded in understanding. So this, for e.g., is why I maintain Israel and the Land are still part of God’s promises. He has not changed or rescinded His covenant.
Dispensationalism, just like covenant or reformed theology, has many adherents and nuances that even those within these camps disagree. Eschatology is perhaps an area that finds most disagreement and even within dispensational v. covenant, you do not find uniform agreement. So this caution is pressing how we do theology too far unless we have a consistent view of the Scripture.
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