To use the following chart, compare corresponding paragraph numbers for both sides, e.g., compare both #1’s, then both #2’s, #3’s, etc.
1. The Covenant Approach to Scripture is a model for interpreting the Bible as a whole unit and as having a singular objective. This model emphasizes the unity of the Scriptures.
2. The Covenant Model does recognize different eras or periods of time in which God has chosen to work with men in different ways. Yet, this is not what is meant by “Dispensationalism”.
3. Under the Covenant Model, one may see God’s overall purpose as outlined in the Bible – the establishment of His everlasting Kingdom.
4. In the Covenant Model, God’s kingdom purpose finds its roots in the call of Abraham, and in the promises God made to him and to his Seed.
5. The Covenant Model recognizes that the Abrahamic Covenant and its enjoining promises assured Abraham of a kingly line, which includes the kings that will reign with Christ in His coming kingdom.
“I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.” (Gen 17:6)
“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father.” (Rev 1:6)
6. The Covenant Model recognizes that the Abrahamic Covenant and its promises were renewed in Isaac and Jacob (Israel). This covenant was to be “an everlasting covenant.”
“I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant.” [Gen 17:7; Gal 3:26-29)
7. The Covenant Model teaches that various other covenants were included within the framework of the Abrahamic Covenant, such as the Davidic Covenant which paved the way for a kingly line and the Levitical Covenant which provided for a priestly order.
8. The Covenant Model comprehends the New Covenant as also within the framework of the Abrahamic Covenant. Therefore, the writer to the Hebrews spoke of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8) as being made with the “House of Israel and with the House of Judah.” (compare with Romans 9:3,4)
9. The New Covenant that was made with the “House of Israel (Heb 8:10),” was made with a remnant of faithful Jews who were disciples of the first church of Jesus Christ at Jerusalem. These were the elect remnant of Israel; the rest of the nation having been cut off due to their unbelief and rejection of Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
“Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant shall be saved [preserved]” (Romans 9:27)
10. In Romans chapter 11, the covenant is set forth under the figure of an olive tree. The root of this natural olive tree represents the Abrahamic Covenant; the fatness (riches) symbolizes the blessings; the branches represent individuals who are connected to the covenant.
11. Some of the branches (the unbelieving Jews) of the natural olive tree were broken off (from the covenant relationship), while the remnant of the Jews who continued believing (remained in covenant relationship with God) were spared. These Jews who were spared, along with the root and tree, became the ekklesia. Wild olive branches (the believing Gentiles) are being grafted into this same olive tree which assures the inclusion of a New Covenant people [specifically members of the Lord’s church] in the promises and blessings of Abraham (Romans 11:17). It is through a functioning identification with a Scripturally organized New Testament church that Gentiles may…
a. …become “children [‘uioi] of Abraham” (his spiritual seed)…
b. …be “blessed with faithful Abraham” (Galatians 3:9)…
c. …and become “heirs with him” according to the promise (Gal 3:29)
12. The Abrahamic Covenant was not disannuled by the institution of the Mosaic (Law) Covenant (Gal 3:16-19). Thus, when the Mosaic Covenant was eventually made obsolete, the Abrahamic Covenant was still in force with all of the other covenants clearly associated with it. When Jesus Himself said that many would come from the East, West, North, and South and shall “sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom,” He was speaking of Gentiles in covenant. This is why Gentiles in the New Testament churches are regarded as “children” and “heirs” of Abraham (Gal 3:26-29).
13. The New Covenant is the Abrahamic Covenant renewed and confirmed in Christ (Gal 4:17; Romans 15:8-11). The New Covenant people are made of faithful disciples (those who represented the remnant of Israel and nucleus of the New Testament ekklesia).
14. Now, under the renewed Abrahamic Covenant, the New Covenant saints in the Lord’s churches have better promises than Israel had while yet under the Mosaic Covenant. These better promises include:
a. A better sacrifice (Hebrews 9:14)
b. A better mediator [High Priest] (Hebrews 9:15)
c. A better approach to God (Hebrews 4:14-16)
d. A better administration of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:7, 8)
15. Thus, the Covenant Model sets forth the position that the faithful covenant saints of the Old Testament era, will be joined by the engrafted “ekklesia” [spiritual seed of Abraham] into “the everlasting covenant” made with the “Father of the faithful” (Rom 4:16).
Together, they will be granted an abundant [bridal] entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord (2 Peter 1:11).
The saved, but unfaithful (those outside the covenant relationship), will dwell as “subjects” outside the City in the future kingdom ages (Revelation 21:24).
1. Dispensationalism fails to recognize that God has maintained a singular, unchanging purpose throughout the Scriptures. Thus the Dispensational model cannot be trusted to set forth a united and consistent interpretation.
2. Dispensationalism views God as having a totally different purpose, different promises, and a different destiny for faithful New Testament saints than He does for faithful Old Testament saints.
3. Under the Dispensational Model, one is required to posture a fragmented purpose. Under such a model, Old Testament saints, however faithful, cannot qualify for the concept of “bridal relationship” as set forth in the New Testament.
4. The Dispensationalist Model finds its roots in the teachings of J.N. Darby of the Plymouth Brethren in the 1830’s. Others who followed Darby’s doctrine, and developed it even further were C.I. Scofield, Lewis Sperry Chafer, and Charles Ryrie. Clarence Larkin, in the very early 1900’s, helped spread dispensational teachings through his book, Dispensational Truth, in which he had drawn several charts depicting his dispensational approach to biblical interpretation.
Today, almost everything that is written on ecclesiology and eschatology is written from the viewpoint of Darby’s Dispensational interpretation. These “Protestant” views have even found their way into many Baptist churches. Today, most Baptist writings are rooted in the Protestant-based teachings of Dispensational of Darby, Scofield, Chafer, Ryrie, and Larkin; the only major difference is that some Baptists have re-packaged their Darby-Dispensationalism around the “local church” concept instead of the universal church.
5. The Dispensational Model has no provision for the extension of a kingly line, through the Abrahamic Covenant, right down to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.
6. Dispensationalists deny that the Abrahamic Covenant was to be an everlasting covenant in that they do not recognize its scope as extending even to the faithful saints in the New Covenant era.
7. Under the Dispensational Model no continuity is recognized between the (everlasting) Abrahamic Covenant and the Davidic, Levitical, and New Covenants.
8. Dispensationalism sees, in the New Testament, no connection between any pre-existing Old Testament purpose, people, or destiny; rather, they view it as being totally divorced from God’s eternal purpose as set forth in the Abrahamic Covenant.
9. Contrary to God’s promise found in Jeremiah 31:31-34, Dispensationalism holds that the New Covenant was not in any sense, made with the house of Israel – believing that there is no remnant of the nation left with which to continue God’s Covenant purpose as established with Abraham.
10. Dispensationalists have problems with Romans 11. They are not willing to accept the “olive tree” analogy as representing Gentiles being grafted into an already existing covenant made with Israel. Yet, they are content in remaining confused and unable to interpret Romans 11 soundly and cogently.
11. Dispensationalists fail to see how Gentiles are “grafted in among them,” and “partake with them” of the root and fatness of the olive tree. Nor do they appear to understand how these are “supported by the root” (Romans 11:18-22). Failing to recognize, or denying this, they are greatly confused by Paul’s teaching [Ephesians 2 and 3] that Gentiles coming into the New Testament “ekklesia” originally established with a faithful remnant of Israel are made “fellow citizens with the [Jewish] saints and of the household of God,” and made “fellow heirs…of the same body” (Ephesians 3:6).
12. Under the Dispensational Model, there is no continuity from the Abrahamic Covenant to the New Testament “ekklesia” established by Jesus. Those adopting the Dispensational model for Biblical interpretation, view the whole Old Testament (including the Davidic, Levitical, and Abrahamic Covenants) as being done away rather than seeing that only the Mosaic [Old] Covenant was of such a temporary nature.
13. Dispensationalism rejects any definite continuity between the Old Testament and the [Jewish] disciples, who formed both the nucleus and foundation of the New Testament church.
14. Dispensationalism denies that the “better promises,” given to the Lord’s churches for this age, have any connection with the everlasting covenant that God made with Abraham in Genesis 17:6,7.
15. Mainline Dispensationalists envision a universal church and bride living in heaven for all eternity, while the saved of the Old Testament era will dwell on the earth. They have accepted a “lordship salvation” approach believing that one is “saved by grace,” but “kept by works”.
Modified Dispensationalists correctly deny the universal church theory, believing the nature of Christ’s church to be only local and visible. They also for the most part do not hold to “lordship salvation,” but correctly believe in a loss of reward rather than a loss of personal salvation. However, like their “mainline cousins,” they have embraced the basic tenets of Darby’s dispensational approach by agreeing with Darby that the Old Testament saints will not be in the Bride.