Ultra-Dispensationalism: A Personal Testimony
I have never met a man who admitted that he was an ultra-dispensationalist. I have never heard nor read a satisfactory definition of one. I know that ultra-dispensationalism has a synonym, “hyper-dispensationalism.” Thus the propagandist who enjoys resorting to name calling may have his choice of the Greek prefix (hyper) or the Latin one (ultra) to hurl at this victim. I am aware that these terms are sometimes thrown about promiscuously by Bible teachers who have status in conservative circles. The terms are also repeated parrot-like by thousands who are simply seeking notoriety among fundamentalists. ultra manifestation
Usually someone is referred to as an ultra-dispensationalist if his system of dispensational interpretation of the Bible goes beyond one’s own. That, of course, is the meaning of the prefix “ultra”–over or beyond.
There is another, and perhaps even more deadly, ultra-dispensationalism, for which little rebuke seems to be forthcoming from any of the publications dedicated to the right dividing of the Scriptures. I consider this form of ultra-dispensationalism as practical ultra-dispensationalism, rather than doctrinal. I submit to you that when we become guilty of any of the following practices, we are “ultra” or “hyper” in our dispensationalism: that is, we go beyond the Scriptures and become practical ultra-dispensationalists.
Make a Sect of our Dispensationalism. We refuse fellowship with any who do not agree with us in every facet of our teaching on right division of the Word. By way of example: not long ago a woman called our home to inquire about our church services. She was fundamental in her beliefs and dispensational according to the Scofield-Darby system, but she belonged to an independent fellowship of fundamental churches. When she discovered that our church was not affiliated with her denomination with its system of dispensationalism, she became aloof and would not attend our meetings, even though we assured her of the soundness of our teaching and that she would be made welcome in our assembly. This woman was so ultra in regard to her denomination and its system, that she could not see the many, many things we had in common and missed the sweet fellowship we could have enjoyed together as fellow believers.
To be honest, we must admit that some of the most sectarian groups we have ever encountered were dispensationalists who took pride in the fact of their non-sectarianism. Many who boast in their being “non-sectarian Christians” are so hidebound in their dispensationalism that they refuse to admit to their fellowship any who vary even slightly from their particular “norms.”
Mutilate the Scriptures by our Dispensationalism. Foes of right division of the Scriptures have often accused us of taking only a portion of the Word of God and casting the remainder aside. A well-known fundamentalist, who has been loud in his condemnation of dispensational Bible study, used to say that we took a slice of bread of God’s Word, while he took the whole loaf. He was, of course, inconsistent. He claimed to preach the “Great Commission” of Mark 16, but at the same time attacked with all his might the “healing preachers” who were attempting to carry out the sign program of the same commission. But the other side of the picture is that we of the “Grace Movement” have often been guilty of preaching the Mystery and Pauline truths, while neglecting or ignoring the remainder of the Bible. The error is not in preaching the great truths of Paul’s Epistles; it is in failing to give a balanced message, and so appearing to disregard or cast aside the rest of the Book. The revelation of truth concerning the Body of Christ needs the background of the Gospels. The Gospels would not be understandable without the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets. Therefore, we need the whole Book. Let us not become so ultra in our emphasis on dispensationalism (wherever we find the boundaries) that we neglect parts of the Word.