(1) Any person is a dispensationalist who trusts the blood of Christ rather than bringing an animal sacrifice.
(2) Any person is a dispensationalist who disclaims any right or title to the land which God covenanted to Israel for an everlasting inheritance.
(3) any person is a dispensationalist who observes the first day of the week rather than the seventh.
(Dispensationalism. Dr.Lewis Sperry Chafer. Highlight Loc. 37-40)
We do not believe Dr. Chafer is the final authority on dispensationalism. But his remark above is correct. In addition to the above we might add a practical note that every person who has a Bible with an “Old Testament” and “New Testament” division in it, is a dispensationalist. But when dispensationalism becomes an obsession that ignores “All scripture is given (not WAS) by inspiration of God, and is (not WAS) profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness” that is wrong division of the word of truth. That scripture comes from Paul’s prison ministry so lauded but misapplied by Hyper-Dispensationalists. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJB).
When I began to see the real Bible differences between Israel and the church which is the body of Christ, the difference between the first coming of Christ and His second coming, and the preaching of the coming Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth as different from the preaching of the cross and the period known as the “church age”, I became the object of “Neo-Berean” (Hyper-Dispensationalism) recruitment.
These proselyters, at the very beginning, were adamant in showing me that “water baptism is a Jewish tradition” and that I should immediately drop the name of Baptist, and stop baptizing converts. Without question, the issue of water baptism (in my case) was the first item; other issues came later, but the anti-water doctrine was the focal point of all I was supposedly doing wrong. I am persuaded this anti-water emphasis is the same as most of those courted by the rabid Hyper-dispensationalists.
Although they claimed the name, “Bereans”, these men did not resemble the Bereans of Acts 17 in any sense. Later, I discovered that more important doctrine was never mentioned compared to the incessant denial of water baptism . I baptize converts as an illustration of the believer’s faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ–not as a means of salvation or Christian service. Baptism is not a sacrament, but it is a figure of the gospel as described by inspiration in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. My conviction of that has not wavered since then to this day.
Later, I learned why and how this particular tactic was used. It is of utmost importance to realize how Hyper-Dispensationalism (hereafter designated by a shorter form “Hyper-Disp”) gets a foothold on unsuspecting pastors and Bible students. It is also important to see that Hyper-Disp is a heresy, and that its adherents are professing Christians who sincerely believe some correct Bible doctrines. We do not question their salvation, but we do oppose their teaching methodology and the resultant errors.
In a nutshell, here is the type approach the Hyper-Disp uses on a Baptist:
Compare Peter’s statement in Acts 2:37-38 with Paul’s in Acts 16:30-31:
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38 KJB).
Compare this with Paul:
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:30, 31 KJB).
It will be pointed out that Peter was preaching to the “men of Israel” in Acts 2 and that when they asked, “what shall we do?” he required that these be baptized with water “for the remission of sins” as well as “to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” just like John the Baptist in Mark 1. Then it will be compared to Paul, who preached (not to Israel in Acts 16, but to Gentiles. What they don’t mention is that Paul never connected remission of sins or receiving the Holy Ghost with water baptism to any Jews either!) in Acts 16:31. The Hyper-Disp will ignore or attempt to show how that Paul was baptizing just like Peter and continuing Peter’s ministry to Israel. Acts 16:31 has no mention of “for the remission of sins” or “ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” but the Hyper-Disp presumes it does. The Hyper-Disp will show how Paul went to the Jew first in every area
during Acts. (None of them understand why Paul went to the Jew first in Acts, although it is clear in Romans 9-11).
I hasten to say that Mark 1:4 and Acts 2:38 and Acts 16:31 are absolutely correct in the KJB! The subject of understanding them and the reason for thedifferences is indeed one of “right division”. But we are not to correct them to make all of them say the same thing to fit our little theological box or amalgamate them by diminishing the words, changing the words, adding words, and subtracting words.
The end result of all of this is the mass confusion among the Hyper-Disp among even themselves, brought about by the guesswork that starts the body of Christ in Acts 9, 22, 28 or wherever they pick, and the gross assumption that Paul was ignorant of what he was doing in the book of Acts. Some Hyper-Disps call themselves “Mid-Acts” which simply means “We don’t know where the body of Christ started, but it must be somewhere in the middle of the Book of Acts.” These have the carnal impudence to refuse Christian fellowship with any Christian who disagrees with their ‘unknown’ body start! (God never states WHEN the Church age began or WHERE the body of Christ began). Some go so far as to make “two bodies of Christ”: one in Acts and a different one in the Prison ministry of Paul (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians). Others have ‘found’ removal of world evangelism, practice of polygamy, homosexualism, and salvation of the devil and his angels, etc., in the Prison epistles. There is no end to their theological cancer. Just as Paul warned, “their word will eat as doth a canker.”
I was a third year student in graduate school when they first crossed my path. Upon graduation in 1970, I took a church of about 15 people in Alabama (Bible Baptist Church). Unbeknownst to me, a couple of these Hyper men had been teaching their doctrine to the pastor and people before me. The former pastor had resigned the church and went to another city to pastor a Baptist church, which within a short period, dropped “Baptist” and changed its name to a “Bible Church”. When I took the pastorate at Bible Baptist Church, the church barely paid the rent on the old building and had absolutely no funds for the pastor’s salary. My family of 7 lived on outdated meat from Zeigler packing company and the grace of God for the first 6 months. Evidently, the Hyper-Disp theology had managed to keep the church “high and dry” from growth and new converts. Although the “Bereans” contacted me once or twice, we were not too much of a prize with our small number and almost no finances at the beginning.
God blessed our “Baptist” ministry there and the church increased dramatically in both number and finances from 15 to about 120. We saw new converts come into the church and started a Christian school . When I resigned that church, we had bought a piece of property and were building a new building. My Assistant Pastor took the church and I accepted the call to pastor another rural church in Alabama where I had helped start a Christian school. (During my ministry in Alabama, I actually helped three other churches start a Christian school.) After starting the school in Millbrook, within a couple months, the pastor resigned and went into foreign mission work. (He was a good man and has continued for all these years). The church contacted and called me as pastor. I accepted, believing it was God’s will. This seemed to be so, and I do not doubt it, for souls were saved and I baptized converts every week for the first six months. Our high attendance there was over 350 on a special Sunday.
Without going into all details, the ministry at Victory Baptist Church was, and still is, a testimony of God’s grace. I pastored that church for a total of almost twenty years. I worked myself out of a job, resigned the church in 1993 to start Ends of the Earth Mission, which is now going into its twenty-first year. My Assistant Pastor at Victory took the leadership of that church when I left and has had a tremendous ministry there since I left. That church has faithfully preached the gospel and supported mission work all these years in many countries around the world.
I mention these things because I am firmly convinced that had I fallen for any of the deceptive tactics of Neo-Berean, Hyper-Dispensationalism, Hyper-Calvinism, fanatical Charismatic errors, these ministries would never have happened. I do not presume to know all the reasons why some ministries grow and souls are saved, but after over 50 years in the ministry, my experience has been that if a man allows any restricted, narrow view of the Bible such as Hyper-Dispensationalism, Hyper-Calvinism, or any other ‘Hyper’ become the focus–God cannot bless it. The blessings came because of God’s grace and mercy, I take no credit! Every pastor knows that without godly men to help and under God’s mercy, he makes enough mistakes in the ministry to never do anything. But God uses men, and God’s preachers must work hard, believe God, and avoid a thousand pitfalls that come their way. Gimmicks like social programs, providing a “one stop” plethora to meet every community whim may attract numbers, but none of those convert souls and build solid church membership. Preaching the whole counsel of God with balance and without fear or favor does the job.
After over twenty years in foreign missions we have been able to help scores of folk get into “closed countries”, start two resident Bible schools and several extension schools in the Philippines, started and built over one hundred independent Baptist, King James Bible churches in remote areas. (I believe every word in the King James Bible but I don’t harp on it in every message or claim those who have some other’ Bible’ are lost. When some half-baked nut claims it has errors, we correct him in the proper setting. Preach the Book; It will take care of Itself!) Again, apart from the mercy and grace of God–how well we know this–none would have been possible. But I mention these experiences because I know that had I allowed any of the Hypers to creep into my ministry–none of this would have happened.
I have discussed with the Hypers all these errors of which I write. My information is not second-hand. I know their tactics and the deception because I was a target. I seriously considered and studied their claims face-to-face and in written, as well as recorded material from their taped lessons and books. Names could be given but no benefit will come from that. Some of these men have gone on to meet the Lord, but many of their parrots remain. Some of the doctrine they believe is sound but too much is speculation. I do not doubt their salvation, but even a saved man can be snared by the devil and wreck havoc.
More important to all the building, and sending, training, and–yes–‘right division’ is that quite literally, thousands of souls have come to know the Lord from simply believing what the Book says. Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” and that fact can never be divisively manipulated away. With all of my being, I am firmly convinced from experience and the Bible that Hyper-Dispensationalism is one of the most deadening heresies to evangelism and Christian growth. All the ‘Hypers’ during this age before the Rapture have done irreparable harm to the cause of Christ. Hyper-Dispensationalism is more dangerous than any cult because it is a heresy that has enough truth in it so as to make it appear doctrinally sound.
The very “table” of Israel became a snare to them (Romans 11:7-10) and the grace of God, if misused can be a snare in this age. Method of teaching is just as important as the message. Using a doctrine with a skewed dispensational method can overthrow the faith of others.
“15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Timothy 2:15-18, 24-26 KJB)
–Dave Reese January 2015
(Dr. Reese’s book Deception of Hyper-Dispensationalism may now be purchased here.