Why I am not a dispensationalist.
As a friend has said, for some reason people assume that pre-millenialists are dispensationalists.
It does not make sense to me how someone could (or would want to) focus on OT studies and be a dispensationalist. Check out this song of mine about the issue. I like to think of it as Marcion's Song:
God is not a mean old ogre who got saved 2000 years ago and had a massive character change! Rather, it only makes sense to me that the God who has strict standards and yet went out of His way to bring rebellious people back into relationship with Himself would become a human, teach us His ways more clearly, die for us to bring forgiveness, and rise from to dead to bring eternal life to us.
Hebrews 1:1-4 (and many other aspects of the book) does a good job of describing the relationship between the Testaments, and it falls into the realm of progressive revelation. I would NOT argue that we have a better relationship with God than Abraham did. I would argue that we have more information about God and His expectations than Abraham did.
As I see it, there have been some minor adjustments in rules over time, but the NT strongly affirms the authority and validity of the OT (cf. Matt 5:17-20). The Apostle Paul overtly reiterates at least 8 of the 10 Commandments, and the NT overtly reiterates at least 9. As for those who think that the OT is law (=rules) and the NT is grace (=no/fewer rules?), that does not fit the facts. The NT has hundreds of instructions for God's people, and the OT often shows God's forgiveness--even for actions for which the OT calls for the death penalty! Further, what seems easier? The 10 Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount? The NT, then, augments the OT, rather than replacing it.
A major problem with dispensationalism is that it does not really see progressive revelation, but instead a God who massively changes the ways He operates during different time periods. The essence of Pentecostalism is/should be based on the belief that God is consistent. That is what opens us up to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in ways which are similar to that of prophets in OT times and the believers as presented in the book of Acts. While it opens us up to the miraculous, there is also the flip side of the coin: God did not always operate in miraculous ways back then, and if He is consistent then He will not always do so today. But that does not mean that we should not ask!
Back to dispensationalism: dispensationalism does not treat God as consistent, which is why many dispensationalists hold that (many of) the spiritual gifts which are seen in the NT are not valid today. I cannot buy into that.
But I am not an a-millenialist.
William P. Griffin, Ph.D.