Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Making a Case for an Essential Dependence Model in the Doctrine of the Eternal Generation of the Son

Making a Case for an Essential Dependence Model in the Doctrine of the Eternal Generation of the Son.

Contra Causal dependence, Counterfactual dependence, and Modal dependence models.

Why Eternal Generation Matters:

1. Ensures equality, unity and distinctness.
  • Equality: Like Father, like Son.
  • Unity: Bound together by eternal relations of origin.
  • Distinctness: Unbegotten Father, begotten Son.

2. Affirmed by the Church for 1700 years e.g. Justin Martyr, Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, John Owen etc.

3. Underlies the Gospel.

“Behind the missions of the Son and the Spirit stand their eternal processions, and when they enter the history of salvation, they are here as the ones who, by virtue of who they eternally are, have these specific relations to the Father. For this reason, the Trinity is not just what God is at home in himself, but the same Trinity is also what God is among us for our salvation.” Fred Sanders.

Poor models of Eternal Generation

Philosophically, how should we understand the doctrine of eternal generation? In what sense does the Son depend on the Father for his existence?

Causal Dependence Model

The Son causally depends on the Father.

X causally depends on Y Y causes X

Necessarily, the Father causes the Son to exist.


Causation is diachronic. The cause always precedes the effect in time. This implies Arianism – there was a time when the Son was not.

Causation relates events (including events involving persons), but not persons.

Modal Dependence Modal

The Son modally depends on the Father.

X modally depends on Y Necessarily, X exists only if Y exists

Not asymmetric: The Father also modally depends on the Son. We do not want this as the Father is unbegotten, and only the Son is begotten. If modal dependence is true, we will have eternal generation going both ways, that is, the Father eternally begets the Son, and vice versa.

Unwanted dependence occurs: For example, if modal dependence is true, the Son modally depends on Universals like the Number 2 as Universals exist eternally.

The Trinity has 3 persons. Hence, the modal dependence model would require modal dependence upon the numbers 1, 2 and 3, with the Son being the second person of the Trinity. This would also imply that the Son is eternally begotten from the Number 2.

Counterfactual Dependence Model

Not applicable in our discussion since God is a necessary being existing in every possible world. Both the Father and the Son necessarily exist in every possible world, and counterfactuals of non-existence of a necessary being do not exist.

We need a model of Eternal Generation with the following features:

  1. ·       Not diachronic
  2. ·       Can relate persons
  3. ·       Asymmetric
  4. ·       Precludes unwanted dependence

Essential Dependence Model


1) The Essence of something, X, is what X is, or what it is to be X.

2) Essential Definition: An essential definition specifies the essence of a thing, what it is to be that very thing.

Example of an essential definition:

To be a human being is to be a rational (differentia) animal (genus).

3) Essential Dependence

X essentially depends on Y Y is part of the essential definition of X

Example: The singleton set {Socrates} essentially depends on Socrates. To be {Socrates} is to be the set that contains only Socrates as a member.

Essential Dependence Model of Eternal Generation: Eternal generation is a form of essential dependence.

To say that the Son is eternally begotten of the Father is to say that the Son essentially depends on the Father. The Father is part of the essential definition of the Son, but not vice versa. Or more formally:

Essential Dependence Model:

The Son is eternally begotten of the Father The Father is a constituent of a real definition of the Son, and the Son exists eternally.

According to the essential dependence model, the essence of the Son involves the Father. The Father is part of what the Son is, or what it is to be the Son.

Essential definition of the Son

To be the Son is to be the divine person who is the image of the Father. (Heb 1:3, 2 Cor 4:4, Col 1:15, Phil 2:6).

Essential definition of the Father

To be the Father is to be the divine person who is the ultimate source of all things (or, on whom all things ultimately depend). (Heb 2:10, Ro 11:36, 1 Cor 8:6).

Benefits of Essential Dependence.

Not diachronic: The Son and the Father exist simultaneously.

Can relate persons: Essential dependence can relate anything (not just events like Causal dependence).

Asymmetric: The Son essentially depends upon the Father, but not vice versa.

Precludes unwanted dependence: The Son does not essentially depend on abstract universals like the Number 2, for instance (as in Modal dependence).

Avoids Subordinationism within the Godhead:

1) Necessary existence: Essential dependence is compatible with necessary existence. There never was a time when the Son was not (contra Arius). The Son exists necessarily, and yet is essentially dependent upon the Father.

2) Self-Existence (Aseity): Essential dependence is not a form of causation. In no way does it imply that the Father causes the Son’s existence. Thus, the Son possesses aseity.

Causation also implies succession in time; if the Father causes the Son’s existence, then the Father is chronologically prior to the Son (Arianism).

Possible objections:

Aseity = existing without being caused by anything else; Or
Aseity = existing without depending on anything else.

Reply: The Son is self-existing with respect to the divine essence, but not with respect to his person. Hence, we make a distinction between ousia and hupostasis (Calvin).

“Therefore we say that deity in an absolute sense exists of itself; whence likewise we confess that the Son since he is God, exists of himself, but not in respect of his Person; indeed, since he is the Son, we say that he exists from the Father. Thus his essence is without beginning; while the beginning of his person is God himself.” (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, vol. 1, The Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), 154.)


Makin, Mark. "God from God: the Essential Dependence Model of Eternal Generation." Metaphysics of the Trinity: New Direction 54, no. 3 (2019). 377-394.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Burning Fertility Clinic: An Argument for Abortion? (A Note)

The Independent posted a news article some 2 years ago. It reads, “A Twitter thread that undermines the core argument against abortion has gone viral causing a stir from those on both sides of the debate.

Science fiction author and journalist Patrick S. Tomlinson challenged one of the central notions used by ‘pro-lifers’ that life begins at conception, and that therefore, a human embryo holds the same value as a human child.
Speaking to his 25,000 followers, Tomlinson says that a decade ago he came up with a scenario which shuts down the idea, and that in all that time he’s never had an honest answer.” (Taken from the Independent).

Tomlinson boasted on his Twitter account, “Whenever abortion comes up, I have a question I've been asking for ten years now of the 'Life begins at Conception' crowd. In ten years, no one has EVER answered it honestly.”

Here is his alleged ethical dilemma for the Pro-lifers:

"You’re in a fertility clinic. The fire alarm goes off. You run for the exit. As you run down this hallway, you hear a child screaming from behind a door. You throw open the door and find a five-year-old child crying for help. He is in one corner of the room. In the other corner, you spot a frozen container labeled ‘1000 Viable Human Embryos.’

The smoke is rising. You start to choke. You know you can grab one or the other, but not both before you succumb to smoke inhalation and die, saving no one. Do you A) save the child, or B) save the thousand embryos? There is no ‘C.’ ‘C means you all die." …

No one believes life begins at conception. No one believes embryos are babies, or children. Those who claim to are trying to manipulate you so they can control women.” - Patrick Tomlinson (original quotation with spelling errors corrected).

The following are the primary fallacies of his analogy:

1) Failure to make the In se (“in itself”) /In re (“in the thing”/In the matter of/with regard to) distinction.

Tomlinson fails to account for the moral value of the embryo in itself, and the value of the embryo (compared to the child) from the perspective of the rescuer. Remember, this is a triage situation. It concerns who to save, not who to kill.

From the rescuer's perspective, relational and/or family ties, the viability and life prospects of potential rescuees, the excruciating suffering the rescuees would undergo if not rescued etc are considered in the decision as to who to save.

Succinctly put, in comparison to the child, the embryos are less likely to survive as viability chances are low in IVF. The child could have formed relational ties with many other human beings and relatives, and this might affect the triage decision. The child would suffer great physical and mental agony, while embryos do not experience pain at this level of development.

2) This is a triage situation; doctors have to make similar ethical decisions all the time. It doesn't mean the other patients do not have moral value!

Medical officers during wartime also make such decisions with mass casualities. It doesn't mean the other soldiers aren't worth saving. It just means that resources are limited, and complex ethical decisions have to be made based upon several factors other than the moral value of the rescuee.

Personally, if I can only save one person from a burning kindergarten, I will save my own daughter. It doesn't mean all the other kids are not worth more than a dime. It's just that in such situations where only a limited number of lives could be saved, we have to make choices (and quickly!) based upon numerous other factors.

It does not contradict the conviction that each embryo is a living, distinct and whole human being.

3) Weak and irrelevant analogy (Fallacy of Weak Analogy)

This analogy by Tomlinson discusses WHO TO SAVE, NOT WHO TO KILL. This is an essential distinction.

If I save my daughter from a burning kindergarten, it doesn't mean I will slit the throats of all the other kids on my way out! I am choosing who to save in that nick of time. I am not deciding upon which child I should kill.

Abortion concerns who the mother and the abortionist want to kill. This argument posed by Tomlinson is ultimately an ignoratio elenchi, an irrelevant conclusion from an irrelevant analogy.

4) The analogy actually argues against the Pro-choice position.

If the embryos were actually potted plants or Pokemon figurines, there wouldn't be any dilemma at all. It goes to show that the embryos have moral value, and that's why Tomlinson intuitively felt that Pro-lifers would have an ethical dilemma in such a scenario.

5) Furthermore, in this analogy, the Pro-choice mother and the Abortionist can be likened to the arsonists who started the fire in the lab. In a pregnancy, no one has to die! Why start a fire at all?

So, here is a lesson for Tomlinson: Committing arson is malicious, destructive and wasteful, irrespective of whether the embryos have any intrinsic value or whether the Pokemon figurines are collector’s items for that matter. Likewise, irrespective of your perspective concerning the moral value of an embryo or the pre-born baby, abortion is malicious, destructive and wasteful because it kills life.

The consensus amongst embryologists is that the zygote is life. This analogy does not present an argument for abortion, but against it.

Tomlinson has shot himself in the foot, and is hoisted by his own petard.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Christology: The Central Dogma of Reformed Orthodoxy?

Dr Richard Barcellos writes in his Lecture Notes on Biblical Hermeneutics, “Here we must be careful not to infuse later, neo-orthodox concepts of Christocentricity into the historical data. The Christocentricity of the Reformed and Reformed orthodox was redemptive-historical and not principial … But we must still be careful with the term Christocentricity. Christology must not be viewed as the central dogma of the Reformed orthodox.”[1]

What did he mean by this statement?

I would like to present the following article as an elucidation of what Dr Barcellos meant.[2]

Barcellos asks, “Terms such as Christ-centered and Christocentric are used often in our day. But what do they mean? The older way of describing the concept these terms point to, the target or end to which all of the Bible tends, is encapsulated by the Latin phrase scopus Scripturae (i.e., the scope of the Scriptures). This concept gained confessional status in the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Savoy Declaration, and the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith in 1.5, which, speaking of Holy Scripture, says, “. . . the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God)…’”[3]

He continues, “The post-Reformation Reformed orthodox theologians embraced a whole-Bible hermeneutic. This manifested itself in their understanding of the scope of Scripture. Though scopus could refer to the immediate pericope, it also had a wider, redemptive-historical focus. Scopus, in this latter sense, referred to the center or target of the entirety of canonical revelation or that to which the entire Bible points. For the seventeenth-century Reformed orthodox and their Reformed predecessors, Christ was the scope of Scripture, being the primary means through which God gets glory for himself.”[4]

Thus, within the context of the “Scopus Scripturae,”[5] where the entirety of Scripture points toward Christ as the “target” in a redemptive-historical sense, this scopus of Scripture was understood as the “Christocentricity” of the Reformed orthodox. According to Dr Barcellos, “the relationship between the testaments was seen in terms of a promise/fulfillment, figure/reality, type/anti-type motif,” and all of revelation consummates in the coming of Christ.[6]

However, Neo-orthodox Christocentricity stands in stark contrast to the loci method of the Reformed orthodox.

What is the loci method of the Reformed orthodox?

Rehnman explains, “The loci method … resulted in works with a sixfold pattern of topics, organised after the biblical and historical order (an inheritance from Lombard’s Sententiae), where each locus was examined in the light of redemptive history.”[7]

In this method, “Scripture, and not Christ the Mediator, is a fundamental principle or foundation of theology in Reformed orthodoxy,” writes Barcellos. In such a methodology, which uses Scripture as the principium cognoscendi (principle of knowing), basic theological topics or categories discovered within Scripture is organized according to loci theologici. These loci were “clusters of organizing principles that help determine the focus of theology. Thus various biblical themes such as sin, redemption, justification, grace, etc. furnish some of the loci theologici for systematic theology.”[8] In other words, these loci theologici were “major heads of systematic theology.”[9]

Now, having discovered the basic topics of Scripture using these loci, the Reformed orthodox “reverses the process and organize Scripture passages into their overarching categories, thereby disintegrating their original contexts.”[10] Therefore, Scripture is thereafter organized and understood according to the theological topics (loci theologici) initially derived from it.

The Reformed orthodox started with Scripture, and concluded Christocentricity in terms of the historia salutis or redemptive history. Considering the fact that Christ is the scopus (target) of Scripture, and He is at the “soteriological center of the work of redemption” (pace Muller), the Reformed orthodox do not view Christology as the central dogma of Reformed theology. As mentioned earlier, the loci method distinguishes several loci theologici (or theological categories/topics) derived from Scripture, and Christology is only one of them.

Contrast this with the Christocentricity of Neo-orthodoxy.[11]

Rousas Rushdoony worded the crux of the problem very well, and I shall quote him extensively here. He writes,

“Another tendency which plagues current Christology is the neo-orthodox thinking which ostensibly is Christocentric because it considers the Christ of Scripture a higher universal than the Father. Being indifferent to God-in-Himself and concerned with God-in-relationship, and finding the deity exhaustively revealed in relation, neo-orthodoxy centers its focus on Christ because it has no other focus. But the Christ it centers its attention upon is hardly recognizable. The results of critical biblical scholarships are fully accepted. The historical Jesus is separated from the Christ, and the Christ becomes the universal, participation in whom constitutes the essence of being a person and being saved. All men are lost and saved, reprobate and elect, in terms of this correspondence. The essence of God is revelational activity, and the essence of man is faith. Hence, God must reveal Himself and is known in the Christ, in activity, while man must inherently believe, since such is his nature. Neo-orthodoxy thus tends toward universalism; all men must eventually be saved because all men are men only as they believe. Similarly, God is God only as He reveals Himself in revelational activity, supremely in the idea of the Christ. Thus God to be God must be fully involved in history, become fully involved in contingency, lay aside all his incommunicable attributes, if He has any, and become the opposite of Himself. From liberal sources, neo-orthodoxy has been criticized as a St. Vitus dance in no-man’s-land. Its Christology can be further described as a ladder in empty space, reaching from nowhere to nowhere. Neo-orthodoxy can say God was in Christ because there was then no God apart from Christ; in that revelational activity, God was exhaustively present. The incarnation for Barth, for example, was God’s complete humiliation and self-sacrifice, and he can even speak of God suffering “death and perdition.’”[12]

What Dr Barcellos considers as excesses of the so-called “Christocentricity” of Neo-orthodoxy is also founded upon the Neo-orthodox erroneous view of Scripture.

Neo-orthodoxy teaches that the Bible is merely a medium of revelation (contra the Reformed orthodox view that Scripture is the infallible, inerrant, final authority of the Christian faith).[13] For neo-orthodox theologians such as Karl Barth, revelation depends on the subjective, experiential, interpretative encounter of each individual with Scripture (that is, the Bible).

The Bible “becomes” the Word of God when the Spirit uses Scripture to direct a person to Christ. The truth value of propositions found within the Bible is subordinate to, and inconsequential with regard to, the personal subjective encounter one has with Christ through it. Hence, for the Neo-orthodox, there is no objective truth.

Rudolf Bultmann even goes so far as to “demythologize” the historical Jesus of the Bible. He writes, “The Christ who is proclaimed is not the historical Jesus, but rather the Christ of faith and of the cult.”[14] Here, Bultmann means that the Christ revealed to the reader when the Bible becomes the Word of God through one’s mystical experience is not the historical Jesus documented in the Gospel narratives. “For Bultmann there is “no question that the New Testament conceives of the Christ event as a mythological occurrence,” even though Jesus Christ is a historical figure. Thus “historical and mythic are here peculiarly interlaced.” Next to the historical event of the cross, “stands the resurrection, which is in and of itself no historical event.’”[15]

In neo-orthodoxy, Truth is thus not founded upon a correct hermeneutical process using Scripture as the inerrant, authoritative, propositional foundation, but via a mystical experience which is subjectively varied and variedly subjective. The student reads the Bible’s printed pages (regarded as a mere medium of divine revelation), which then becomes the actual Word of God to him in his mystical experience. As such, “Truth” is no longer objective, but paradoxical and even apparently contradictory.

Christocentricity, then, becomes a hermeneutical and theological necessity because such a low view of Scripture lends itself to no other focus or dogma in theology other than Christ. And this Christ is part of a Christology not founded upon objective propositional truths exegeted from Scripture. As noted above, Rushdoony has aptly likened Neo-orthodoxy’s Christology “as a ladder in empty space, reaching from nowhere to nowhere.” This proverbial ladder is founded upon an erroneous view of Scripture that denies objective, propositional revelation and truth. The ladder then reaches out into the numinous heavens to an ultra-transcendent, unknowable God – a deity that can never be known by mere human minds. To Barthians, God is ontologically unknown and unknowable even in his revelation of Himself. Neo-orthodox Christology is thus based upon a mystical understanding of the Bible via subjective spiritual experiences, and not upon objective biblical exegesis of revealed truths.

Barcellos concludes, “The method of Reformed orthodoxy, then, started with the text of Scripture and its exegesis, went to the synthesizing of Scripture in terms of interpreting difficult passages in light of clearer ones and identifying its (i.e., Scripture’s) unifying theme or themes based on its various levels of meaning, and then (and only then) categorizing the exegetical and canonical-theological findings in the long-practiced loci method of dogmatics.”[16]

Using Scripture as the cognitive foundation of our knowledge of theology, the loci method finds several foundational, theological categories within Scripture, unlike Neo-orthodoxy which centers her focus upon Christ because it has no other focus.


[1] Richard Barcellos, Lecture Notes on Biblical Hermeneutics (Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies), 92.
[2] Forgive me if I am mistaken!
[3] Richard C. Barcellos, “Scopus Scripturae:John Owen, Nehemiah Coxe, Our Lord Jesus Christ, And A Few Early Disciples On Christ As The Scope Of Scripture,” Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies Volume 2 (2015): 5.
[4] Ibid., 6.
[5] See Barcellos, Biblical Hermeneutics, under heading (number) 4, 89. Barcellos writes, “According to Reformed orthodoxy, then, Christ is the scopus (target) toward which the whole of Scripture tends. This view of the scopus of Scripture was closely related to their view of the relation between the testaments.” Ibid., 91.
[6] Please read Barcellos, Biblical Hermeneutics for more details of the Scopus Scripturae of the Post-Reformation Reformed Orthodoxy.
[7] Sebastian Rehnman, Divine Discourse: The Theological Methodology of John Owen, ed. Richard A. Muller, Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 156.
[8] James T. Bretzke, Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary: Latin Expressions Commonly Found in Theological Writings (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998).
[9] George Thomas Kurian, Nelson’s New Christian Dictionary: The Authoritative Resource on the Christian World (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001).
[10] Timothy Wengert, “Biblical Interpretation in the Works of Philip Melanchthon,” in A History of Biblical Interpretation: The Medieval through the Reformation Periods, ed. Alan J. Hauser, Duane F. Watson, and Schuyler Kaufman, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009), 326.
[11] “Between the two world wars, the work of Barth and Bultmann spawned a new theological movement called neo-orthodoxy (or dialectical theology). Dominated by Barth and another Swiss theologian, Emil Brunner, three basic assumptions guided the approach of neo-orthodox theologians to biblical interpretation. First, God is regarded as a subject not an object (i.e., a “Thou” not an “It”). Thus, the Bible’s words cannot convey knowledge of God as abstract propositions; one can only know him in a personal encounter. Such encounters are so subjective, mysterious, and miraculous that they elude the objective measurements of science. Second, a great gulf separates the Bible’s transcendent God from fallen humanity. Indeed, he is so transcendent that only myths can bridge this gulf and reveal him to people. Thus, rather than read biblical reports of events as in some way historical, neo-orthodoxy interpreted them as myths meant to convey theological truth in historical dress. Critics, of course, pointed out that the effect of this approach was to downplay the historicity of biblical events. Third, neo-orthodox theologians believed that truth was ultimately paradoxical in nature, so they accepted apparently conflicting statements in the Bible as paradoxes for which a rational explanation would be both inappropriate and unnecessary. By accepting apparently opposite biblical ideas as paradoxes, critics noted, neo-orthodoxy in effect seemed to cast doubt on the assumption that rational coherence underlies and binds together the diverse ideas of Scripture.” William W. Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004), 58.
[12] Rousas John Rushdoony, By What Standard? An Analysis of the Philosophy of Cornelius Van Til (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1995), 165–166, emphasis mine.
[13] For Barth, “Certainly, the Bible is “not itself or by itself God’s occurring revelation,” but rather it testifies to the occurring revelation, as the proclamation promises the future revelation. “This promise … rests, however, on its manifestation in the Bible” (Karl Barth, Die kirchliche Dogmatik, 1.1:114). For itself, the Bible does not claim any authority.” Barth continues, “One therefore pays the Bible a pernicious and even unwelcome honor, when one identifies it directly … with revelation.” Henning Graf Reventlow, History of Biblical Interpretation: From the Enlightenment to the Twentieth Century, ed. Susan Ackerman and Tom Thatcher, trans. Leo G. Perdue, vol. 4, Society of Biblical Literature Resources for Biblical Study (Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010), 391.
[14] Ibid., 396.
[15] Ibid., 403.
[16] Barcellos, Biblical Hermeneutics, 92.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Elder's Children - Should They Be Believers or Merely Faithful?

For the benefit of a beloved brother-in-Christ, I would like to make available the following discussion into the area of an elder’s qualification concerning his children.

Should the elder’s children be professing believers of the Christian faith? This is the million-dollar question that has to be answered exegetically. Let me begin by putting the two parallel passages concerning this matter from the two pastoral epistles (PE) together in an accessible manner.

1 Timothy 3:4-5
Titus 1:6
He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? (ESV)
if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. (ESV)
τέκνα ἔχοντα ἐν ὑποταγῇ, μετὰ πάσης σεμνότητος – “keeping his children under control, with all dignity”

τέκνα ἔχων πιστά – “having faithful/believing children”

George Knight writes in his NIGNT commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, “Should πιστά in this clause be understood as “faithful” or as “believing”? The range of usage shows that either meaning is a possibility: The word can clearly mean “faithful,” as it does several times in the PE, including once with a noun, as here (2 Tim. 2:2: πιστοὶ ἀνθρώποι). It can also mean “believing” and does on several occasions in the PE, again including once with a noun (1 Tim. 6:2: πιστοὶ … δεσπόται). The context here and the parallel in 1 Tim. 3:4–5, however, provide some important indicators: The qualifying statement here, “not accused of dissipation or rebellion,” emphasizes behavior and seems to explain what it means for τέκνα to be πιστά. Likewise 1 Tim. 3:4 speaks of the overseer “keeping his children under control with all dignity.” In both cases the overseer is evaluated on the basis of his control of his children and their conduct. It is likely, therefore, that τέκνα ἔχων πιστά here is virtually equivalent to τέκνα ἔχοντα ἐν ὑποταγῇ in 1 Tim. 3:4. If that is so, then πιστά here means “faithful” in the sense of “submissive” or “obedient,” as a servant or steward is regarded as πιστός when he carries out the requests of his master.” (George W. Knight, The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1992), 289–290.)

Let us think about this a little further. If we admit that Paul requires the same standards for elders in Ephesus and Crete, then we ought to regard the relevant passages within 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1 as referring to the same stringent requirements of all elders. It does not make sense for Paul to have one set of qualifications for the elders in the church of Ephesus, while giving another standard for elders (or more specifically, the children of elders) in the church of Crete.

That is why, where Paul does not mention "believing (pistos)" children in 1 Tim 3:4-5, we must also suspect that “believing children” might not be the actual rendering of τέκνα ἔχων πιστά (tekna echon pista) in Titus 1:6. Paul required elders in Ephesus to keep “his children under control, with all dignity,” which also means that these children ought to be obedient, not unruly, and submissive to the father's authority, which are behavioural requirements. Paul makes no explicit mention of this positive demand in his letter to Titus.

Paul’s letter to Titus implicitly contains similar standards for the elder’s children, albeit in the negative, “not accused of debauchery or rebellion.” Since Paul demands the same standard for elders from both churches, it must mean that, when pushed for a more precise meaning of pistos in Titus 1:6, we should choose the meaning which is consistent with the explicit meaning and description in 1 Tim 3:4-5. This is the analogy of Scripture in practice. Furthermore, the clearer passages (1 Tim 3:4-5) must always interpret the more obscure ones (where pistos in Titus 1:6 can have more than one meaning), and not vice versa. For these reasons, the phrase in Titus 1:6 “his children are believers” is better to be translated as “his children are faithful.”

Alexander Strauch writes, “The Greek word for “believe” is pistos, which can be translated either actively as “believing” (1 Tim. 6:2) or passively as “faithful,” “trustworthy,” or “dutiful” (2 Tim. 2:2).
The contrast made is not between believing and unbelieving children, but between obedient, respectful children and lawless, uncontrolled children. The strong terms “dissipation or rebellion” stress the children’s behavior, not their eternal state. A faithful child is obedient and submissive to the father. The concept is similar to that of the “faithful servant” who is considered to be faithful because he or she obeys the Master and does what the Master says (Matt. 24:45–51).

The parallel passage in 1 Timothy 3:4 states that the prospective elder must keep “his children under control with all dignity.” Since 1 Timothy 3:4 is the clearer passage, it should be allowed to help interpret the ambiguity of Titus 1:6. “Under control with all dignity” is closely parallel with “having trustworthy children.” In the Titus passage, however, the qualification is stated in a positive form—the elder must have children who are trustworthy and dutiful.

Those who interpret this qualification to mean that an elder must have believing, Christian children place an impossible burden upon a father. Even the best Christian fathers cannot guarantee that their children will believe. Salvation is a supernatural act of God. God, not good parents (although they are certainly used of God), ultimately brings salvation (John 1:12, 13).

 In striking contrast to faithful children are those who are wild or insubordinate: “not accused of dissipation or rebellion.” These are very strong words. “Dissipation” means “debauchery,” “profligacy,” or “wild, disorderly living” (cf. 1 Peter 4:3, 4; Luke 15:13). “Rebellion” means to be “disobedient,” “unruly,” or “insubordinate.” Wild, insubordinate children are a terrible reflection on the home, particularly on the father’s ability to guide and care for others. A man who aspires to eldership but has profligate children is not a viable candidate for church leadership.” (Alexander Strauch, Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Eldership (Littleton, CO: Lewis and Roth Publishers, 1995), 229–230.)

A simple lemma search would also reveal that the word pistos is often translated as “faithful.” The following is a sample from the ESV translators.

Though an analogy can be drawn between the father at home and the pastor in the church, the home is NOT the church, and the father's role is only analogous to the elder's responsibilities in terms of headship and leadership. The father's role is a divine appointment as part of the Creation Ordinance in the garden of Eden. There is more to a father's role than merely spiritual headship. 1 Cor 11:3 is clear that the husband is the head of the wife, while Christ is his head. This means that, while the child is submissive to the father, the child is implicitly submitting himself under the father’s headship as appointed by Christ – and hence, submission to Christ Himself – via the Creation Ordinance. While the father as provider provides materially to the members of his household, the elder feeds the sheep with the Word. While the father is the protector of his wife and children from physical threats (and also from negative spiritual influences), the elder protects the sheep from wolves, false prophets and false teachings. The analogy stops here.

The local church as an expression of the visible, universal church under the New Covenant demands that her members ought to be spiritually alive. This is also one of the reasons why the local church examines the profession of every potential member of the church. Members of the home under the Creation Ordinance cannot be given the same demands of spiritual life in Christ. The home is primarily God's appointed model for human proliferation, not the manner by which the New Covenant members congregate and worship. That belongs to the local church.

Therefore, though analogous, the father's role is distinct from the elder’s, and the ability to rule is shown thus as a faithful dispensation of his role (as spiritual leader, provider, protector) in nurturing and educating the child in His Word, while his child submits to his leadership and shows a willingness to obey the father in his religion. I would clearly stop short of demanding baptism and church membership of a candidate’s children as a requirement for eldership.

The phrase “keeping his children submissive” (tekna echonta en hypotagē) refers to “a man who is able to keep his children under control with all dignity—to cause children to obey in a graceful manner because of loving, pastoral parenting. Too many pastors’ kids behave like rebellious little demons. It is not their fault. Many pastors discipline their children’s rear ends but fail to discipline their kids’ attitudes, the real catalyst of misbehavior. This doesn’t mean that the kids of a pastor should always be perfect, sweet little angels, but rather that they should be under the loving control of parents whose discipline nurtures within them a healthy fear of God.” (Patrick, Darrin. Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission (p. 54). Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010.)

Perusal of the following commentaries by a church father St. John Chrysostom, Matthew Henry, and the great Reformed Baptist theologian John Gill, will also demonstrate that Titus 1:6 refers to behavioural qualifications of an elder’s child, rather than salvific, spiritual requirements.

Commenting on the clause, “Having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly,” Chrysostom writes, “We should observe what care he bestows upon children. For he who cannot be the instructor of his own children, how should he be the Teacher of others? If he cannot keep in order those whom he has had with him from the beginning, whom he has brought up, and without? For if the incompetency of the father had not been great, he would not have allowed those to become bad whom from the first he had under his power. For it is not possible, indeed it is not, that one should turn out ill who is brought up with much care, and has received great attention. Sins are not so prevalent by nature, as to overcome so much previous care. But if, occupied in the pursuit of wealth, he has made his children a secondary concern, and not bestowed much care upon them, even so he is unworthy. For if when nature prompted, he was so void of affection or so senseless, that he thought more of his wealth than of his children, how should he be raised to the Episcopal throne, and so great rule? For if he was unable to restrain them it is a great proof of his weakness; and if he was unconcerned, his want of affection is much to be blamed. He then that neglects his own children, how shall he take care of other men’s? And he has not only said, “not riotous,” but not even “accused of riot.” There must not be an ill report, or such an opinion of them.” (John Chrysostom, “Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to Titus,” in Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. James Tweed and Philip Schaff, vol. 13, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1889), 524–525.)

Matthew Henry comments, “And, as to his children, having faithful children, obedient and good, brought up in the true Christian faith, and living according to it, at least as far as the endeavours of the parents can avail. It is for the honour of ministers that their children be faithful and pious, and such as become their religion. Not accused of riot, nor unruly, not justly so accused, as having given ground and occasion for it, for otherwise the most innocent may be falsely so charged; they must look to it therefore that there be no colour for such censure. Children so faithful, and obedient, and temperate, will be a good sign of faithfulness and diligence in the parent who has so educated and instructed them; and, from his faithfulness in the less, there may be encouragement to commit to him the greater, the rule and government of the church of God.” (Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 2368.)

John Gill overtly exclaims that the elder’s child cannot be expected to be an elect. He says, “having faithful children; legitimate ones, born in lawful wedlock, in the same sense as such are called godly and holy, in Mal. 2:15; 1 Cor. 7:14 for by faithful children cannot be meant converted ones, or true believers in Christ; for it is not in the power of men to make their children such; and their not being so can never be an objection to their being elders, if otherwise qualified; at most the phrase can only intend, that they should be brought up in the faith, in the principles, doctrines, and ways of Christianity, or in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (John Gill, An Exposition of the New Testament, vol. 3, The Baptist Commentary Series (London: Mathews and Leigh, 1809), 349.)

In conclusion, the analogy of faith also demands that we recognise God's sovereignty in appointing whomever He wills to eternal life, and while godly men may show fruits of his godly leadership by having his children in subjection, we cannot make explicit what the Bible does not say - that is, that his children be elect!


Reformed hermeneutics distinguishes herself from the Dispensationalist's wooden literalism, the Charismatic's intentional anachronism, and the Modernist's naturalism via the usage of Analogia Scripturae and Analogia Fidei. For the benefit of those who are confused with these terminologies, the following prose might elucidate upon these terms further.

Analogy of Scripture (Analogia Scripturae)

The Bible was written over a period of approximately 2,000 years by 40 different human authors from three continents. But as Christians, we understand that the Bible ultimately has only one Divine Author – God Himself. Since God is the originator of His written Word, it is to be acknowledged that He would convey a coherent, unified message in the 66 books of both the Old and New Testaments. What He has revealed in one portion of His Word would agree with other portions of Holy Writ. This is because God is not a confused, irrational God.

The “Analogy of Scripture” presumes Divine authorship. It basically says that the portions of Scripture which appear difficult or unclear should be understood in accord with other clearer biblical texts which deal with the same issue or theme. This is expressed in the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 1, Paragraph 9 which states that:

“The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.”

Therefore, the “Analogy of Scripture” guards against the isolation of one text of Scripture from the context of the entire Bible. It also prevents the simplistic, irresponsible use of “proof-texts” in the derivation of doctrines. In other words, the Bible must interpret itself, and in the event of any difficulty in understanding a particular text of Scripture, the reader should use portions of clearer Scripture to understand the difficult, unclear passages.

Analogy of Faith (Analogia Fidei)

The “Analogy of Faith” is quite similar in meaning to the “Analogy of Scripture,” but it goes a step further.

Basically, it means that a particular biblical passage which deals with a Christian teaching must be interpreted and understood within the larger context of the Christian faith derived from the Bible as a whole. The “Analogy of Faith” takes for granted that there is an integrated, consistent theological meaning within Holy Writ.

In practice, the interpreter who utilizes the “Analogy of Faith” would first construct his understanding of a particular doctrine from the clear and unambiguous passages of Scripture. He then uses this understanding which he had derived from the clear portions of Scripture as a basis for the interpretation of the unclear portions. This manner of understanding the Bible likewise assumes a unified, coherent theme throughout Scripture. This is because the God of Truth, the God whom we worship and adore, is ultimately the author of His Word.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Sine Qua Non of Dispensationalism

The Israel/Church Distinction is the Sine Qua Non of Dispensationalism

As Dispensationalists cannot agree upon a unified agreement as to what “literal interpretation” is, Progressive Dispensationalists have proposed a returned to the first sine qua non (i.e. the distinction between Israel and the church) as its “distinguishing factor.”

Blaising, a progressive dispensationalist, observes that “among contemporary dispensationalists a general consensus exists that a distinction between Israel and the church is the essential distinguishing factor of dispensationalism.”[1] Saucy concurs, saying that “the key distinctive of dispensational theology . . . is the recognition of Israel as a nation set apart from other nations by God for the service of universal salvation for all peoples.”[2]

The recognition of the Israel/Church distinction as the sine qua non of Dispensational theology is consistent with the observations of Non-dispensationalists. For example, Poythress perceives that this distinction is more fundamental than a literal hermeneutics. He writes, “Their [the Dispensationalists’] approaches toward strict literalness seem to be subordinated to the more fundamental principle of dual destinations for Israel and the church.”[3]

Mathison, a Non-dispensationalist, likewise reaches the following conclusion:

“The only one of Ryrie’s three distinctives of dispensationalism that has always been acknowledged as true is the distinction between Israel and the church. The particular dispensationalist understanding of this distinction is the heart of that system of theology. Dispensationalism may, therefore, be defined as that system of theology which sees a fundamental distinction between Israel and the church. This distinction is the cornerstone of dispensational theology.[4]

Coming from a historical-theological approach, it is notable that Clarence Bass identifies the Israel/Church distinction as a novel theological innovation within Christendom:

“It is not that exegetes prior to his [John N. Darby’s] time did not see a covenant between God and Israel, or a future relation of Israel to the millennial reign, but they always viewed the church as a continuation of God’s single program of redemption begun in Israel. It is dispensationalism’s rigid insistence on a distinct cleavage between Israel and the church, and its belief in a later unconditional fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant, that sets it off from the historic faith of the church.”[5]

As a previous Dispensationalist himself, Bass agrees that the distinctive of Dispensationalism is, indeed, the dichotomy between Israel and the Church.

Likewise, Charles Ryrie makes the following observations:

The essence of dispensationalism, then, is the distinction between Israel and the Church. This grows out of the dispensationalist’s consistent employment of normal or plain or historical-grammatical interpretation, and it reflects an understanding of the basic purpose of God in all His dealings with mankind as that of glorifying Himself through salvation and other purposes as well.”[6]

In this definition of Dispensationalism, Ryrie is making three assertions. First and foremost, the essence of Dispensationalism is the distinction between Israel and the church. This distinction is the result of an alleged, consistently literal hermeneutics. Furthermore, this distinction reflects the understanding that God’s fundamental purpose is to glorify Himself.[7]

Robert Lightner, a Professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, reinforces the fact that a Dispensationalist is not merely one who adheres to a certain number of “distinguishable economies.” He further reaffirms that premillennialism cannot be equated with dispensationalism. Lightner writes:

“Granted, there are differences among dispensationalists over the number of dispensations and, as already stated, over the time when the church began. The question then becomes, What is the least common denominator? What must one believe to be classified legitimately as a dispensationalist? It certainly is not the number of distinguishable economies one holds to. “It is not the fact that Scofield taught seven dispensations and Hodge only four that makes the former a dispensationalist and the latter not.” Since some committed premillennialists reject dispensationalism, premillennialism is not determinative either. One must look elsewhere for the sine qua non of dispensationalism.”[8]

Lightner subsequently concludes that the “all-determinative” sine qua non of Dispensationalism is the distinction between Israel and the Church:

“Friends and foes of dispensationalism must agree that the all-determinative conviction without which one cannot be a dispensationalist is the distinction between God’s program for Israel and His program for the church. This distinction is based solidly on the literal (or as many dispensationalists prefer to call it, the normal) interpretation of Scripture. A consistently literal or normal hermeneutic brings one to see distinctions in God’s program with Israel and His program with the church, and that underscores the theological rather than the soteriological nature of God’s primary purpose in the world.”[9]

Bateman, in his concluding essay in Three Central Issues in Contemporary Dispensationalism: A Comparison of Traditional and Progressive Views, documents the general consensus amongst Dispensationalists. This consensus, that “Israel is not the church,” is what distinguishes a Dispensationalist from a Non-dispensationalist. Bateman writes:

“What, then, unites one dispensationalist to another? Simply put, the basic unifying issue for all dispensationalists is that Israel is not the church. In fact, [Charles] Ryrie maintains that such a distinction is “the most basic theological test of whether or not a person is a dispensationalist.” What is contended among dispensationalists, as we have seen in these essays, is how to define the nature of the Israel/church distinction. . . . Dispensationalists are, however, agreed and like-minded in their stress on the uniqueness of the church and their confidence that a future exists for national Israel.”[10]

In this section, we have seen that it has been unanimously agreed upon that the sine qua non of Dispensationalism is, indeed, the Israel/Church distinction. We can logically deduce that a Dispensationalist is inevitably one who embraces the sine qua non of Dispensationalism, i.e. the distinction between Israel and the Church.

We saw in earlier blog posts that Khoo, the Academic Dean of Far Eastern Bible College, agrees that “God has two programmes in His salvation plan: one for Israel, and another for the Church.”[11] He also admits that Far Eastern Bible College embraces the sine qua non of Dispensationalism.[12]

Despite his adherence to a Reformed soteriology i.e. the five points of Calvinism, famous pastor-teacher - John F. MacArthur Jr. - rightly describes himself as a Dispensationalist. In the following transcript from Bible Questions and Answers, MacArthur says:

Here’s my dispensationalism - I’ll give it to you in one sentence: there’s a difference between the church and Israel - period! If you understand that, you understand the essence of what I believe is a legitimate, biblical dispensationalism. That permits a kingdom, that demands a kingdom, and that makes you premillennial.”[13]

Although MacArthur rejects antinomianism and accepts Reformed soteriology, he does not call himself a Reformed theologian. He perceives that he is a Dispensationalist simply because he adopts the sine qua non of Dispensationalism.

Blaising, a Progressive Dispensationalist, similarly emphasizes that progressive dispensationalists are dispensational because they “clearly articulate (1) a future for ethnic Israel and (2) distinguish between the Church and Israel as functioning institutions throughout the plan of God.”[14]

It becomes apparent that Bible Presbyterians may need to redefine their theological-hermeneutical grid, or perhaps even simpler, to rename their theological appellation. Since they embrace the sine qua non of Dispensationalism, is there, therefore, a need to drop the label “Reformed?” Otherwise, one would have to redefine the sine qua non of Dispensationalism, so as to preserve the “Reformed” designation.

Various Degrees of Distinction between Israel and the Church

It is generally agreed that Dispensationalists of different varieties hold to various degrees of distinction or dichotomy between Israel and the Church. These range from a radical dichotomy adhered to by Classical Dispensationalists, to a more moderate Israel/Church distinction held by Progressive Dispensationalists.

Classical Dispensationalism

By the term “Classical Dispensationalist,” I refer to theologians like Cyrus I. Scofield, Lewis Sperry Chafer, A. C. Gaebelein, and Clarence Larkin. Classic Dispensationalists maintain a metaphysical distinction between Israel and the Church. They believe that Israel and the Church will be forever distinguished even unto eternity. Israel will inhabit the New Earth, and the Church heaven. Thus, there seems to be an eternal separation between Israel and the Church in this variety of Dispensationalism.

Toussaint explains:

“In the original form of Darby’s dispensationalism, the line drawn between Israel and the church was heavy, dark, and broad. According to Darby, the promises to the church are spiritual and heavenly whereas those to Israel and the nations are earthly. The Tribulation and the Millennium do not concern the church for those prophecies are earthly.”[15]

Burns elucidates that according to Classical Dispensationalism, “the underlying premise was that national Israel, as the physical seed of Abraham, was to be eternally bifurcated from the church, a heavenly mystery that could not have been known in a dispensation of earthly issues.”[16]

Hence, in the classical form of Dispensationalism, we see a radical dichotomy between Israel and the Church.

Revised/Normative Dispensationalism

As Dispensationalism developed, “the New Scofield Reference Bible, Ryrie’s Dispensationalism Today, and other dispensationalists in the mid-twentieth century modified the heavenly/earthly dualistic language, diminished future distinctions between the peoples of God, and debated about how the new covenant should be applied in the present age.”[17]

Revised Dispensationalists include John F. Walvoord, Charles C. Ryrie, J. Dwight Pentecost and Alva J. McClain. These Dispensationalists jettisoned the eternal metaphysical distinction between Israel and the Church. They allowed a temporal, earthly distinction rooted in a difference between two redemptive-historical purposes, rather than in two different programs extending towards eternity.

Campbell, a Dispensationalist and Professor of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, elaborates:

“The distinction between Israel and the church extends beyond the present age into the future. Some dispensationalists [i.e. Classical Dispensationalists] make a sharp distinction between Israel as God’s earthly people and the church as God’s heavenly people, both continuing as such throughout eternity. Others [i.e. Normative Dispensationalists] favor a blurring of such distinctions in eternity. Charles C. Ryrie states, “The redeemed in the Body of Christ, the Church of this dispensation, are the continuation of the line of redeemed from other ages, but they form a distinct group in the heavenly Zion (Heb. 12:22–24).’”[18]

Revised Dispensationalists perceive two groups of God’s redeemed humanity existing in and confined to redemptive history. The Church exists with its own principles and purposes differing from those of national Israel. According to Campbell,

“The church of Jesus Christ has a glorious future. Her destiny includes being taken out of this world before the Tribulation woes to be with Christ (John 14:1-3), being a part of the “ruling aristocracy” on earth during Christ’s millennial reign, and serving God along with other members of His family in the New Jerusalem for all eternity.”[19]

Israel’s ultimate historical purpose will be realized in the future, literal, earthly millennium. This is understood as the fulfillment of the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants with national Israel. Following the millennium, there will be a union of the two people in one redeemed mass forever.

Blaising summarizes the differences between the Classical and Revised/Normative varieties of Dispensationalism:

“It is amazing that in the writings of Walvoord, Pentecost, Ryrie, and McClain published in the 1950s and 1960s, the heavenly/earthly dualistic language is gone. A distinction between Israel and the church is vigorously asserted and all the theological structures of distinction are present except that the eternal destinies of the two peoples now share the same sphere. Consequently the heavenly/ earthly descriptions are dropped. Thus is begun a slow movement away from the scholastic, classic, absolute distinction [between Israel and the Church] found from Darby to Chafer . . . .”[20]

Progressive Dispensationalism

Recent decades saw the rise of a new variety of Dispensationalism which has moved in a more covenantal direction, while maintaining the Israel/Church distinction, premillennialism, and emended dispensational distinctives. As will be discussed later, Progressive Dispensationalists allow an inaugurated phase of the Kingdom, while maintaining that the ultimate fulfillment of the Davidic covenant lies in the earthly millennium. Revised Dispensationalists, on the other hand, insist that the Kingdom is still in the future.

Progressives also see Christ as sitting on the throne of David at this present age, albeit in a spiritual sense. Revised Dispensationalists dispute this view, saying that Jesus is currently exalted at the right hand of the Father, but not sitting on David’s throne in any sense. Unlike Progressives, Revised Dispensationalists do not accept the proposition that Christ’s messianic kingdom reign has begun.

Burns writes:

“A more moderate dispensational position has arisen in recent years. On the basis of the New Testament’s use of crucial Old Testament texts, progressive dispensationalists acknowledge degrees of Old Testament content in the church, though complete fulfillment of Israel’s promises awaits the Millennium as an intermediate kingdom that exists with Israel’s Messiah ruling in the midst of the nations. The progressives insist on distinguishing Israel and the church, but they see both continuity and discontinuity in Israel/church and Old/New testamental relationships. Thus, the fulfillments of messianic promises relate to both present and future ages and both advents of Messiah, an “already-not yet” mediating position.”[21] 

Progressive dispensationalists are “progressive” in the sense that they view each successive dispensation as building upon and developing the principles of the preceding economy. This allows the progression of the one plan of God for His one redeemed people, rather than distinguishing two separate plans and peoples. However, Progressives maintain that the one divine purpose for redeemed humanity will only be ultimately realized in the earthly, Davidic Kingdom. The millennial phase of God’s redemptive-historical plan is necessary so as to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies for national Israel.

Progressive Dispensationalists, of all varieties of Dispensationalism, see the least radical dichotomy or distinction between Israel and the Church.[22] But as Blaising has asserted, Progressives are bona fide Dispensationalists because they see a future for ethnic Israel, while distinguishing between the Church and Israel as functioning institutions throughout God’s redemptive-historical plan.[23]

Craig A. Blaising, Darrell L. Bock, and Robert L. Saucy are all considered to be Progressive Dispensationalists.


[1] Blaising, “Development of Dispensationalism by Contemporary Dispensationalists,” 273.
[2] Robert L. Saucy, The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993), 221. Saucy is also a Progressive Dispensationalist.
[3] Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists, 78.
[4] Mathison, Dispensationalism, 8, emphasis mine.
[5] Clarence Bass, Backgrounds to Dispensationalism: Its Historical Genesis and Ecclesiastical Implications (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1960; reprint, Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2005), 27.
[6] Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 41, emphasis mine.
[7] This is what Mathison observes. See Mathison, Dispensationalism, 5.
[8] Robert P. Lightner, “Theological Perspectives on Theonomy,” Bibliotheca Sacra 143 (1986): 34, quoting Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, 44.
[9] Ibid., emphasis mine.
[10] Herbert W. Bateman IV, “Dispensationalism Tomorrow,” in Three Central Issues in Contemporary Dispensationalism: A Comparison of Traditional and Progressive Views, ed. Herbert W. Bateman IV (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1999), 308-309, quoting Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 39.
[11] Khoo, Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology, 32.
[12] See Khoo, Dispensationalism Examined, 11; idem, Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology, 46.
[13] John MacArthur, Jr., Bible Questions and Answers (Panorama City, CA: Word of Grace, 1994), sound cassette GC 70-15. Transcribed by Tony Capoccia, Bible Bulletin Board [article on-line]; available from; Internet; accessed 14 October 2005, emphasis mine.
[14] Blaising, “Why I Am a Dispensationalist with a Small ‘d,’” 390.
[15] Toussaint, “Israel and the Church of a Traditional Dispensationalist,” 228.
[16] J. Lanier Burns, “Israel and the Church of a Progressive Dispensationalist,” in Three Central Issues in Contemporary Dispensationalism: A Comparison of Traditional and Progressive Views, ed. Herbert W. Bateman IV (Grand Rapids, MI, MI: Kregel, 1999), 272.
[17] Ibid., 273.
[18] Campbell, “The Church in God’s Prophetic Program,” 149-150, quoting Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, 154, emphasis mine.
[19] Ibid., 161.
[20] Blaising, “Development of Dispensationalism by Contemporary Dispensationalists,” 276.
[21] Burns, “Israel and the Church of a Progressive Dispensationalist,” 273.
[22] Also see Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 131-135 for a succinct discussion of the Israel/Church distinction of Progressive Dispensationalists.
[23] See Blaising, “Why I Am a Dispensationalist with a Small ‘d,’” 390.