It’s the damnedest thing: Dispensationalism is easily one of the biggest dividers of American Christianity. Those who believe that heresy are easily the most pestiferous element in religion. It comes with a vast pile of nonsense, and the bigger the pile, the more obnoxious the advocacy.
It comes from the flesh; you can’t even claim it’s bad scholarship. You and I could pile up all the evidence necessary to win a debate on intellectual grounds, but that accomplishes nothing with Dispensationalists. Rather, it’s a prime example of rationalizing — using reason to justify one or more from the trinity of fallen appetites [PDF].
These people are possessed of some fantasy about being born into a special status, of being specially chosen by God to experience great and miraculous upheavals on this earth. These wild predictions of apocalyptic events “in our generation” has been a problem with Western churches for a very long time. Humility gets tossed in the trash. It’s a lot easier to chase that dream than to invest yourself into learning actual holiness. This is part of what Paul meant by referring to busybodies who don’t do anything useful (2 Thessalonians 3:11). They are too wound up chasing one thrill after another trading with each other the latest wild nonsense from some ignoramus teacher trying to sell his book.
Most of the time I don’t even bother to comment when I hear that crap. When I fail to show sufficient enthusiasm, I typically weigh just how much I might say to get them off my back. I’ve been pretty harsh a few times because they just wouldn’t leave me alone.
I’m not selling anything, but I’ll give you my prophetic belief: Modern Israel is going to jump the shark, probably sometime in the next few years. Whatever it is will mean a painfully obvious denial of Dispensational eschatology. It may even mean the nation of Israel is destroyed. This will cause a major breakdown in the political structure of the American churches. I’m convinced the leadership of the biggest churches and organizations — the institutions with all the money, people and political influence — is being hijacked by a cadre of folks who don’t give a damn what’s true.
When this big mess hits, they will not be penitent, but will do everything they can to save that gravy train. So we can expect a certain level of exodus from these organizations. And I believe I’ll live to see this.
But rather than snickering about it, I’m deeply concerned that it will shatter the faith of millions. It’s bad enough that mainstream American Christianity lacks a clear vision for claiming the promises of God, in part because they simply can’t be bothered to understand the Bible from a Hebrew point of view. So a great many believers are held in some mental prison about how their organizational participation is required by God. Theirs is a vicarious faith, second-hand from people “really used by God.” They end up sensing somewhere below the conscious awareness that their sainthood is second-class.
We have a lot of work to do preparing to handle that exodus, lest some waste years or even the rest of their lives no longer able to believe and trust in God. We have to be patient with their folly until then.