Hilarious Write Up by Gotquestions on Covenant Theology

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    Hilarious Write Up by Gotquestions on Covenant Theology

    This struck my funny bone. Question, how many of you Covenant Theologians see Arminianism (less than five point Calvinism) leading to Dispensationalism? Do you see any relationship at all?

    Here's the actual write up from Gotquestions on Covenant Theology:

    Please note, as a ministry, GotQuestions.org is not in agreement with all aspects of Covenant Theology. While we are for the most part in agreement with covenant theology in regards to the doctrines of grace (Calvinism), we do not agree with Covenant Theology in regards to the relationship between Israel and the Church, and in regards to the end times. The below article is written by someone who holds to all aspects of Covenant Theology. We thought it would be worthwhile to have an article that positively presents Covenant Theology, as it is always good for our viewpoints to be challenged, motivating us to further search the Scriptures to make sure our beliefs are biblically sound.

    Question: "What is Covenant Theology?"

    Answer: Covenant Theology isn’t so much a “theology” in the sense of a systematic set of doctrine as it is a framework for interpreting Scripture. It is usually contrasted with another interpretative framework for Scripture called “Dispensational Theology” or “Dispensationalism.” Dispensationalism is currently the most popular scriptural interpretative method in American evangelicalism, and has been so from the latter half of the 19th century. Covenant Theology, however, remains the majority report for Protestantism since the time of the Reformation, and it is the system favored by those of a more Reformed or Calvinistic persuasion.

    Where Dispensationalism sees the Scriptures unfolding in a series of (typically) seven “dispensations” (a dispensation can be defined as the particular means God uses to deal with man and creation during a given period in redemptive history), Covenant Theology looks at the Scriptures through the grid of the covenant. Covenant Theology defines two overriding covenants: the covenant of works (CW) and the covenant of grace (CG). A third covenant is sometimes mentioned; namely, the covenant of redemption (CR). We will discuss these covenants in turn. The important thing to keep in mind is that all of the various covenants described in Scripture (e.g., the covenants made with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the New Covenant) are outworkings of either the covenant of works or the covenant of grace.
    Read More: What is Covenant Theology?

    Let's begin with Romans 9-11. If you think God chose Jacob on the basis of something other than "human will or exertion" Romans 9:16, but you think that God chooses believers today based on some prior knowledge of how they would respond to his universal call, then you simply have to be a Dispensationalist. You have to argue that Romans 9-11 is merely about ethnic Israelites. You have to argue that God doesn't choose people for Himself today in the same way he chose them before Christ. You have to be able to unplug the Church from the deep river of OT narratives that clearly and consistently emphasize God's sovereign, unconditional election.

    Most Covenant Theologians will contend that the twisted theological system of Dispensationalism is the result of faulty philosophical, and literal hermeneutics (there is a true, literal hermeneutic quite different from the dispensational hermeneutic). There is a small child of non-Lordship theology that has a father–his name is Arminianism; a mother her name is Dispensationalism; an aunt–her name is Antinomianism (she, like Dispensationalism, does not like the word “law”). There are also many cousins, some of whom will be addressed in subsequent studies. At the outset this dispensational system of theology is diametrically opposed to covenant theology. It opposes all historic Reformed Theology, such as that which is taught in the Westminster Confession, the Old Baptist Confession of 1689, and the Heidelberg Catechism. Dispensationalism would have been declared heresy by the Synod of Dort as was her husband, Arminianism. Arminianism, Dispensationalism and Antinomianism all live in the same theological house (and it is not a Reformed house!). I say, without fear of contradiction, Dispensationalism is nothing less than a frontal attack on Covenant and Reformed Theology.

    Dispensationalism and covenant theology have differences on many biblical doctrines, such as: Grace of God, Law of God, Church of God, Word of God, Christian life, World and life view, Sanctification, and Eschatology. Although there are many important differences between the two schools of thought, there are four differences that go to the heart of Dispensationalism. The truth or error of Dispensationalism stands or falls on four main pillars. These could be called the four main roots of the system:

    1) Their literalism and Jewish understanding of Old Testament prophecy and the Messianic Kingdom.

    2) The parenthesis theory of the Kingdom and the Church. According to this theory, (and it is only a theory) the Church Age is an unforeseen parenthesis in the Jewish program prophesied by Old Testament prophets. If the Jews had not rejected Jesus, the Jewish Kingdom would have begun at our Lord’s first coming. But, God’s “Plan A” was thwarted, or interrupted, or failed, and the Church age totally unforeseen by the Old Testament prophets was interjected, or, “Plan B” substituted for “Plan A.” The dispensationalists call this the parenthetical Church age. My Bible knows nothing about a God who does not have power to perform His plan. The God of the Bible is sovereign in creation, sovereign in redemption and sovereign in providence. He is all-wise in planning and all-powerful in performing.

    We must ask the dispensational teachers the following questions about their parenthesis theory. If the Church is a parenthesis, when did it begin, and how do you know? When will it end, and how do you know?

    3) The third pillar or root of the dispensational system that most dispensationalists apparently have not seriously examined is the dichotomy between Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Church. Dispensationalism teaches that the Old Testament saints are not now in the Church universal, which is the body of Christ.

    4) The fourth pillar or root of this erroneous teaching is on the biblical relationship between the law and the gospel. The Moral Law (the Ten Commandments) to dispensational teaching today is nothing but the cold ashes and the dying fire of the religion of another day. However, the Moral Law carries permanent validity and goes straight to the root of our modern problems. It lays its finger on churches’ deepest needs in evangelism and in the Christian life, namely, sanctification. We live in a lawless age. Lawlessness in the home, school, land and in the church. We must find the same rules for our actions, the same duties required, the same sins forbidden in the gospel as in the law. The law by which God rules us is as dear to Him as the gospel by which he saves us.

    Charles Haddon Spurgeon, that great preacher and soul winner, in a sermon called “The Perpetuity of The Law of God,” said: “Very great mistakes have been made about the law. Not long ago there were those about us who affirmed that the law is utterly abrogated and abolished, and they openly taught that believers were not bound to make the moral law a rule for their lives. What would have been sin in other men, they counted as no sin in themselves. From such Antinomianism as that, may God deliver us. We are not under the law as the method of salvation, but we delight to see the law in the hand of Christ, and desire to obey the Lord in all things.”

    The dispensationalists would not agree with Charles Bridges on the law and the gospel. Bridges wrote the classic book on The Christian Ministry. He said, “The mark of a minister ‘approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,’ is, that he, ‘rightly divides the word of truth.’ This implies a full and direct application of the gospel to the mass of his unconverted hearers, combined with a body of spiritual instruction to the several classes of Christians. His system will be marked by scriptural symmetry and comprehensiveness. It will embrace the whole revelation of God, in its doctrinal instruction, experimental privileges, and practical results. This revelation is divided into two parts–the law and the gospel–essentially distinct from each other, though so intimately connected, that an accurate knowledge of neither can be obtained without the other.”

    The dispensationalists set up a false antithesis between law and grace. Of course when we are talking about how a person is justified there is real antithesis, and every Christian should recognize this. The error of Dispensationalism in this connection is two-fold. First of all, it applies this sharp antithesis to the successive dispensations and interprets the Mosaic Law as exemplifying law in contrast with grace, and the gospel dispensation as exemplifying grace in contrast with law. Secondly, this antithesis becomes a governing principle which leads Dispensationalism into a false view of the law within the sphere of grace. This erroneous view appears very clearly in the Scofield Reference Bible (pp. 999f, 1002) and also in Chafer’s Systematic Theology, (vol. 4, pp. 180-251).

    Before we go, lets first make sure we understand the Five Points of Arminianism:

    Free Will or Human Ability
    Although human nature was seriously affected by the fall, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but He does not interfere with man’s freedom. Each sinner possesses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it. Man’s freedom consists of his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with God’s Spirit and be regenerated or resist God’s grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit’s assistance, but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man’s act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner’s gift to God; it is man’s contribution to salvation.

    Conditional Election
    God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world was based upon His foreseeing that they would respond to His call. He selected only those whom He knew would of themselves freely believe the gospel. Election therefore was determined by or conditioned upon what man would do. The faith which God foresaw and upon which He based His choice was not given to the sinner by God (it was not created by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit) but resulted solely from man’s will. It was left entirely up to man as to who would believe and therefore as to who would be elected unto salvation. God chose those whom He knew would, of their own free will, choose Christ. Thus the sinner’s choice of Christ, not God’s choice of the sinner, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

    Universal Redemption or General Atonement
    Christ’s redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone. Although Christ died for all men and for every man, only those who believe on Him are saved. His death enabled God to pardon sinners on the condition that they believe, but it did not actually put away anyone’s sins. Christ’s redemption becomes effective only if man chooses to accept it.

    The Holy Spirit Can Be Effectually Resisted
    The Spirit calls inwardly all those who are called outwardly by the gospel invitation; He does all that He can to bring every sinner to salvation. But inasmuch as man is free, he can successfully resist the Spirit’s call. The Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until he believes; faith (which is man’s contribution) precedes and makes possible the new birth. Thus, man’s free will limits the Spirit in the application of Christ’s saving work. The Holy Spirit can only draw to Christ those who allow Him to have His way with them. Until the sinner responds, the Spirit cannot give life. God’s grace, therefore, is not invincible; it can be, and often is, resisted and thwarted by man.

    Falling From Grace
    Those who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith. etc. All Arminian, have not been agreed on this point; some have held that believers are eternally secure in Christ — that once a sinner is regenerated. he can never be lost.

    According to Arminianism: Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man(who must respond)—man’s response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, “choose” to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man’s will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.

    REJECTED by the Synod of Dort. This was the system of thought contained in the “Remonstrance” (though the “five points” were not originally arranged in this order). It was submitted by the Arminians to the Church of Holland in 1610 for adoption but was rejected by the Synod of Dort in 1619 on the ground that it was unscriptural.
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