OT: Looking for a good resource dealing with the history of Dispensational theology down to today ... suggestions?

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JRS | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Dec 3 2009 9:02 AM

Is there a solid resource dealing with the theological history and changes of Dispensationalism down to the present?  Book, article, dissertation?  In particular, I am curious about the current strands of Disp thought.  I would prefer a dispassionate but descriptive history, although a pro or con bias might also be useful.

Thank you.

How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee(Psa 65:4a)

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spitzerpl | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 9:41 AM

JRS:

Is there a solid resource dealing with the theological history and changes of Dispensationalism down to the present?  Book, article, dissertation?  In particular, I am curious about the current strands of Disp thought.  I would prefer a dispassionate but descriptive history, although a pro or con bias might also be useful.

Thank you.

Just out of curiosity, have you tried to do a search along these lines

history WITHIN 10 words dispensationalism

 

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JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 10:06 AM

Philip Spitzer:

Just out of curiosity, have you tried to do a search along these lines

history WITHIN 10 words dispensationalism

Thanks. Hadn't tried that particular search but it still doesn't return what I am looking for.  Dispensationalism has morphed over the years - sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.  I believe there have been a lot of changes in the past few years (but I am not sure what or how or to what extent) - and it is this recent period that I am curious about.  In particular, is Ryrie's dictum in Disp Today about there being two peoples of God (earthly, heavenly) still considered to be the sine qua non for Dispensationalism by all who consider themselves dispensational?

Not looking for a discussion of this - I just thought that maybe someone who keeps up with it all could give me a quick lead to a full but fair overview of the past 20 or 30 years.

 

How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee(Psa 65:4a)

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 10:34 AM

JRS:
Not looking for a discussion of this - I just thought that maybe someone who keeps up with it all could give me a quick lead to a full but fair overview of the past 20 or 30 years.

Not sure about Logos resources as I have not researched this topic, but I did a search for "dispensationalism history" at Bible.org and found a list with some articles that might interest you.

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Scott S | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 2:04 PM

JRS:
Is there a solid resource dealing with the theological history and changes of Dispensationalism down to the present?

Progressive Dispensationalism looks like a solid resource.  I haven't read it yet, but judging from the table of contents it has about 50 pages on history, then makes the case for the current DTS view.

http://www.logos.com/ebooks/details/PROGDISPNM

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 2:56 PM

There are articles in the Encyclopedia of Christianity, Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, New Dictionary of Theology, New Ungers Dictionary.. you may also want to search on  J N Darby, one of the earlier proponents. All of these are available in Logos. Here is the article from the Encyclopedia of Christianity:

Dispensationalism
1. J. N. Darby
2. American Dispensationalism
3. Revised Dispensationalism
4. Progressive Dispensationalism
Dispensationalism is a → tradition in evangelical orthodoxy that interprets the Bible—and indeed all history—in terms of a series of God’s dispensations. Originating in Britain in the 1830s, this approach, while showing variations over time, has consistently emphasized the → authority of Scripture, discontinuities in the divine administration of history, the uniqueness of the → church and of certain features of → grace for the dispensation of the church (which began at pentecost), the practical significance of the universal church, the theological relevance of biblical → apocalyptic and → prophecy, a futurist premillennialism, the imminent return of Christ, and a national future for → Israel (see C. Blaising and D. Bock 1993, 13–21; → Millenarianism; Parousia).
 
1. J. N. Darby
The originator of this tradition of biblical interpretation is John Nelson Darby (1800–1882), who was the leader of a group of → separatist believers who later became known as the Plymouth Brethren. Darby, a former → Anglican priest, was a “futurist” in his → eschatology (i.e., the biblical prophecies of the last days were yet to be fulfilled), rejecting the “historicist” viewpoint then popular in British millennialism, which saw present fulfillment of those prophecies.
In the 1830s and 1840s Darby developed two distinctive additions to futurist thinking (Sandeen, 38): (1) the church age was a “parenthesis” between the 69th and 70th “weeks” of years in Dan. 9:25–27, and (2) there would be a rapture (so-called from the Vg term for “caught up” in 1 Thess. 4:17) of believers from the earth to heaven by Christ before the 70th week of Daniel 9, the “great tribulation” of divine → wrath poured out on human wickedness and unbelief. These two affirmations seem to be genuine novelties in the history of theology, though some have claimed to find seminal elements of them in earlier thinkers.
Darby developed these ideas from his concept of the apostate organized church. This notion derived from an anthropological dualism; namely, the true church is heavenly and invisible (and thus separate from “Christendom”), in contrast to God’s earthly, visible people—Israel. Promises and prophecies for Israel will be fulfilled on earth during the Millennium and the eternal state, but the church will not participate in their fulfillment, nor will Israel share the church’s future blessings in heaven.
 
2. American Dispensationalism
In the second half of the 19th century, premillennial ideas, including the dispensational form, became widespread in America. Darby himself made seven trips to America, where he was well received, particularly for his prophetic teaching. To his chagrin, Americans discarded his fundamental doctrine, the apostasy of the organized church. Most American → fundamentalists were committed, rather, to purifying or restoring an organized Christianity, whether denominational or not. Thus dispensationalism in America was and is an eschatological perspective built upon an ecclesiology quite different from the earlier British Brethren version.
The growth of dispensationalism in North America was fostered by a series of Bible and prophecy conferences, the most famous of which was held at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario (1883–97). This stage and its legacy in the participants’ later work (e.g., of J. H. Brookes, A. J. Gordon, and C. I. Scofield) and in later men (e.g., A. C. Gaebelein, J. M. Gray, and L. S. Chafer) can be called the classic stage of American dispensationalism. These Americans, with the debacle of W. Miller’s failed predictions for Christ’s return in 1844 still fresh in their memories (→ Adventists), were as adamantly futurist and antihistoricist as their British counterparts. They maintained the anthropological dualism, contrasting a heavenly people with an earthly people. They emphasized biblical authority, the “Spirit-filled” life of holiness and → obedience, and world → evangelization. Though a spectrum of denominations was represented, → Presbyterians, → Episcopalians, and → Congregationalists were prominent among the conference speakers. By the second half of the 20th century, → Baptists and nondenominational churches (esp. “Bible” churches) had become the most common ecclesiastical affiliations for dispensationalists.
The most important publication of this classic form of dispensationalism was the Scofield Reference Bible, an edition of the King James Bible published in successive editions by C. I. Scofield in 1909 and 1917. Already a prominent teacher in the movement for years, as well as a longtime Congregational pastor in Dallas, Texas, Scofield gained his reputation primarily as the result of the success of this study Bible. The technical quality of the publication, the venerable reputation of its publisher (Oxford University Press), and the general usefulness of many of the notes and cross-references combined to promote an enormous readership, many of whom may not have been previously committed to Scofield’s distinctive views. Under the influence of this study Bible, “Scofieldism” came to denote this form of premillennialism, a term replaced in the 1940s by “dispensationalism.”
Dispensational teaching dominated the emerging Bible school movement. Dallas Theological Seminary, founded by Scofield’s disciple L. S. Chafer, has been the leading dispensational seminary. Chafer’s eight-volume Systematic Theology (1948) was the most developed form of classic dispensationalism.
 
3. Revised Dispensationalism
The next generation, including Chafer’s students J. F. Walvoord, J. D. Pentecost, and C. C. Ryrie, all made significant modifications in classic dispensational thought. The most visible indication of the changes was the 1967 publication of the Revised Scofield Bible. Some of the most controversial notes were changed, many others were modified, and many new notes added. This edition continues to sell well, thus carrying the revision to more readers each year.
Though the revised stage continues to be futurist, among some there has been increasing inclination to suggest possible alignments of contemporary world events with biblical prophecy (the most extreme example is H. Lindsey, author of the best-selling The Late Great Planet Earth). Always insistently stopping short of “date-setting,” this practice is nonetheless inconsistent with the futurist view.
 
4. Progressive Dispensationalism
Within a decade of these revisions, additional changes were proposed. In articles and books from the mid-1970s through the 1980s, suggestions came for further developments. The most significant characteristics of this stage of American dispensationalism are the greater emphasis upon the continuity or progression between the dispensations and a greater emphasis upon the present inauguration of the eschatological blessings of the messianic era, which will culminate in the Millennium and the eternal state. R. L. Saucy, C. A. Blaising, and D. L. Bock are the most prominent representatives of the “progressive” stage.
Bibliography: C. BASS,  Backgrounds to Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids, 1960; repr., 1977) ∙ C. A. BLAISING and D. BOCK,  Progressive Dispensationalism (Wheaton, Ill., 1993); idem, eds., Dispensationalism, Israel, and the Church (Grand Rapids, 1992) ∙ L. V. CRUTCHFIELD,  The Origins of Dispensationalism: The Darby Factor (Lanham, Md., 1992) ∙ C. N. KRAUS,  Dispensationalism in America (Richmond, Va., 1958) ∙ G. MARSDEN,  Fundamentalism and American Culture (New York, 1980) ∙ V. S. POYTHRESS,  Understanding Dispensationalism (2d ed.; Phillipsburg, N.J., 1994) ∙ C. C. RYRIE,  Dispensationalism (rev. ed.; Chicago, 1995); idem, Dispensationalism Today (Chicago, 1965) ∙ E. R. SANDEEN,  The Roots of Fundamentalism: British and American Millenarianism, 1800–1930 (Chicago, 1970; repr., Grand Rapids, 1978) ∙ R. SAUCY,  The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism (Grand Rapids, 1994) ∙ S. R. SPENCER, “Reformed Theology, Covenant Theology, and Dispensationalism,” Integrity of Heart, Skillfulness of Hands (ed. C. Dyer and R. B. Zuck; Grand Rapids, 1994) 238–54 ∙ T. P. WEBER,  Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming: American Premillennialism, 1875–1982 (Grand Rapids, 1983) ∙ W. R. WILLIS, J. R. MASTER, and C. C. RYRIE, eds., Issues in Dispensationalism (Chicago, 1994).
STEPHEN R. SPENCER
Erwin Fahlbusch and Geoffrey William Bromiley, vol. 1, The Encyclopedia of Christianity (Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill, 1999-2003), 854–855.

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spitzerpl | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 3 2009 4:37 PM

You may be looking for the following if you have the theological journals (Conservative theological journal)

libronixdls:jump|pos=LLS-AOL%3A523%3CDIV56%3E.0.0|ref=vp.6.90|res=LLS%3Ags_ctj_06

 

Here is the table of contents...

• History of the War Over Dispensationalism: Where We Stand Today, Part I — Mal Couch
      °Introduction
      °How Did We Get Here?
            °The Early Nineteenth Century
            °The Beginning of the Aliyah (The Return)
            °The Last Half Of The Nineteenth Century
      °The Twentieth Century: The Defining Years For Dispensationalism
            °1909: The Scofield Bible
            °The 1920s–1940s

• History of the War Over Dispensationalism: Where We Stand Today, Part II — Mal Couch
      °The Twentieth Century: The Defining Years For Dispensationalism (cont.)
            °The 1950s–1960s
            °The 1970s–1980s
      °The Influence of Theological Existentialism
      °Some Issues to Consider
      °A Final Sobering Reminder …

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