Dispensationalism by Charles C Ryrie, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. The Necessity of Dispensationalism. —. Charles C. Ryrie. One of the evident features of the history of Christian doctrine is the fact that the church generally. DISPENSATIONALISM. CHARLES . THE SINE QUA NON OF DISPENSATIONALISM. . Developing Dispensationalism, or the Period Before Darby.

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In it Ryrie attempted to provide both a defense and positive presentation of the main tenets of Dispensational theology, as well as a clear-cut definition of why those tenets are so. The book under review is a revision of the earlier work.

In a remarkable way Ryrie has succeeded in his task. This is due in part to his ability to put difficult themes in clear and succinct sentences. In reviewing this work we intend to first provide an overview of the basic plan and contents.

From there we shall focus attention upon the major thematic issues covered in the book. The book opens up with an introductory chapter which sets the stage for the ensuing discussion. Ryrie starts out by saying that Dispensationalism as a system has often been misunderstood and misrepresented by its foes p.

He notes that not a few covenant theologians have reserved some of their most intemperate language when criticizing the system pp.

What do dispensationalists say for themselves that could make their teaching worth investigating? Could there be any help in that which is a heresy in the minds of some? Ryrie then spends a few pages briefly delineating some of the advantages to holding a dispensational view of the Bible.

In the next chapter Ryrie provides real help in defining exactly what a dispensation is, and defending the usage of the term by his school of thought. Strangely though, he neglects to offer a definition of dispensationalism itself. The most important of the three defining attributes he speaks to is the distinction between Israel and the Church p.

Then, in the fourth chapter, Ryrie addresses the origins of the theology, noting that its basic outlines predate John Nelson Darby in the work of Pierre Poiretand the famous Isaac Watts One of the chief characteristics of the system is its stress on plain or literal interpretation. The author explains that this does not imply literalistic interpretations of obvious symbols and figures of speech p.

It is sometimes called the principle of grammatical-historical interpretation since the meaning of each word is determined by grammatical and historical considerations. It is a strange feature of many criticisms of a literal hermeneutic that the term literal appears to be universally understood unless one is dealing with the hermeneutics of dispensationalism. Whatever may be added in that particular, it is a fact that any non-dispensational interpretations must employ at least two kinds of Bible interpretation; the one a literal, and the other a spiritual or even allegorical.

After this chapter is a very helpful addendum on the Sermon on the Mount. The author says that the major cause of the accusations are due to misconceptions on behalf of anti-dispensationalists. What is more, they themselves have sometimes given the impression that there have been more than one way of salvation pp.

The next two chapters deal with ecclesiology and eschatology respectively. These are the traditional strong areas for dispensational theology, and the discussion here shows why the dispensational scheme is justified in its distinction of Israel from the Church, and the two programs of God within His grand purposes. The material on the so-called Progressive Dispensationalism which composes chapter 9 is one of the most comprehensive rebuttals of that position to have come from the pen of a normative dispensationalist.

Ryrie implies correctly in our viewthat this new school of thought is inherently unstable and that it will inevitably merge into covenant premillennialism. At any rate, it makes enough changes of substance to be discounted as a dispensational system. Chapter 10 is an overview of covenant theology, while chapter 11 focuses upon ultra-dispensationalism. The final chapter is a plea for integrity of scholarship and for fair representation of opposing views.


Review of “Dispensationalism” by Charles Ryrie | Anthony DeRosse –

The book is completed by a brief annotated bibliography and indexes. We are now ready to examine the main thematic contents within the book. We shall discuss these under the following headings: If a theological system is to have any validity it must have certain marks which distinguish it as a rryie school of thought. These features become the rallying points for its friends, and, not unusually, the points of contention with those who oppose it. Ryrie did dispensationalist theology a big service when he detailed these distinctive ideas as they pertain to this system of theology.

As he lists them they are, i. A distinction between Israel and the Church; ii. The glory of God being the underlying purpose of God in the world.

The one who fails to distinguish Israel and the church will inevitably not hold to dispensational distinctions; and the one who does will. The main reasons for drawing a distinction between Israel and the Church are: This is plain enough when one considers the nature and constitution of the New Testament Church pp.

Everywhere those terms are used they apply to the Jews. Indeed, it could not cf. They are not the same. These include the irrevocable covenant made with Abraham in Genesis We know from Acts He also uses the synonyms normal, plain, and, most important in the technical sense, grammatical-historical p.

He also quotes some significant statements by covenant theologians to the effect that if a literal hermeneutic is used consistently across the breadth of Scripture, it would result in premillennialism pp.

It is the consistency with which the grammatical-historical interpretation is employed that makes one a dispensationalist pp. But he makes a good case for the fact that most of the dispensations are easily identifiable p.

He cites Ephesians 1: Notice that a period of time is not included in this description; this despite the frequent misrepresentations by covenant theologians.

When identifying a new dispensation one is to look for a change in the way God is governing the world, and, a change in what God requires of men under that government.

A new dispensation can be easily recognized p. The chart on page 71 is very helpful in this regard. All too commonly dispensationalists are charged with teaching two or more ways of salvation see pp.

In times past this charge was perhaps understandable cf. Besides, nondispensationalists have made unguarded statements regarding the Law, which if taken in isolation would teach two ways of salvation p.

Part of the reason for this continued charge by non-dispensationalists is they cannot fathom how the dispensationalist can speak of a clear distinction between Law and Grace, especially when these words are used to designate major features of a particular administration p.

He then shows how any system of theology must come to terms with the problem of how salvation was by grace under the Mosaic dispensation — including the purposes for the sacrificial system pp. He further elucidates his meaning by asking how a person under the Law of Moses who was required to offer sacrifices and invest them with personal faith, could possibly be in any position to trust Jesus Christ.

Thus, dispensationalism says that all people in all ages are saved by grace through faith by virtue of the crosswork of Jesus Christ.

But the content of that faith does change depending on the progress of revelation. On this subject note the comment by Bernard Ramm recorded on pages There is a great deal of space in dispsnsationalism book given to competing non-dispensational systems; particularly covenant theology and progressive better revisionist dispensationalism. Included is also a brief refutation of ultradispensationalism.



Throughout the book Ryrie interacts with covenant theology. Sometimes the interaction is negative due to the necessity of having to highlight certain caricatures e. Leaving aside the caricatures, covenant theologians charge dispensationalists with teaching two or ryire ways of salvation pp This has been addressed above, but suffice it to say here that the problem is in the minds of these men rather than an inherent quirk in dispensational theology.

They further cite divisiveness as an unfortunate by-product pp. In reply Ryrie points out that many leading covenant theologians have had to leave organizations which became corrupted by liberal ideas p. Ryrie frankly refutes this tag in the pages following.

It might not be completely out of place though to say that, in general, many dispensationalist works do not show as much familiarity with the broad spectrum of theological opinion including non-conservativeas those of Reformed theology.

But even charpes, though it could be viewed as regrettable in charlex, cannot be made into an identification of divisive tendencies. Another criticism is that dispensationalism minimizes the cross, especially with its concept of the Church-age being an intercalation or parenthesis pp. But Ryrie shows dispensatioanlism this charge is baseless. A forceful quotation from Chafer puts the false charge rryrie flight p.

The burden of what Chafer says is that God has ordained many things based on what He knew a person or group would or would not do.

More false charges are recorded on page 35 the compartmentalization of history ; page 62 novelty ; page 91 Bible disunity ; and, pages despiritualizing the Kingdom.

All of these charges are deftly met and debunked in the book. He shows that the great unifying principle must perforce be soteriological p. This slavish adherence to the covenant of grace means that covenant theologians must employ two kinds of hermeneutic; the one literal and the other spiritual or allegorical p.

Covenant theology comes to the Old Testament prophets with a determination to alter any prophetic statement, however plainly it is written, that threatens to conflict with their Covenant of grace; a covenant, moreover, that is not to be found on any page of the Bible. Ryrie devotes a separate chapter to covenant theology which charoes up these and other matters. Progressive Dispensationalism PD is the hybrid of concepts borrowed from both dispensation and non-dispensational schemes.

The book refers to it in a number of places.


For example, on page 18 it is noticed that PD includes the eternal realm in its concept of history. This means that they can no longer subscribe to the sine qua non of dispensationalism p. The Church is dispensaionalism a parenthesis, so its distinction from Old Testament Israel becomes unclear to say the least pp. In a chapter devoted to PD the author demonstrates the knock-on effects of the beliefs of this new movement.

Finally, progressives think that Christ is now seated upon the throne of David pp. In other words, the promised Davidic reign has already been inaugurated! These things considered, it is hard to see progressive dispensationalism as anything else but a more literal form of covenant premillennialism, and not a relative of dispensationalism at all.

The book, Dispensationalism by Charles Ryrie continues to serve a vital purpose in our day. It presents an effective apology for and clarification of, the dispensational system of theology. It shows how the alternatives have major problems which dispenstaionalism many times papered over with rhetoric.