We have come to the conclusion of our “How Did we Get Here” series. In this final brief article, we will list some of the important points we have highlighted about the history of Dispensationalism. One of the goals we had when we set out was to shed some light on recent Church history in order to understand how we could have gone from a widely postmillennial outlook handed down from our Puritan forbearers, to a pessimistic eschatology based on an any-moment rapture of the Church. We traced how in the early 19th century there was an explosion of pre-millennialism and then how John Nelson Darby grew out of this milieu. We saw how Darby began systematizing his system and passed it down to James Brooks in America who then mentored C.I. Scofield. These men were instrumental in popularizing Darby’s system through the various Bible conferences, Scofield’s Reference Bible, and popular Bible schools.
Here are some of the important takeaways to remember:
Dispensationalism has not always been the default position of the Church
In fact, Dispensationalism was largely invented by Darby in the 1830’s
The system grew out of a larger millenarian movement with eyes set on the end of the world
The doctrine of the secret rapture has extremely dubious origins
The Niagara Conferences created a cohesive community amongst Dispensationalist leaders under James Brooks especially after the post-tribulationalists split off from the movement around the turn of the century
The Scofield Bible became a best-seller and pushed Darby’s system into Churches around the world
Bible Schools, such as Moody Bible Institute, and seminaries, such as Dallas Theological Seminary, bred a whole generation of Dispensational pastors and leaders ready to “Rightly Divide the Word of Truth”
I hope some of my Dispensational friends will begin to examine their system both exegetically and historically. It is often frustrating talking to a Dispensationalist. This series has been an attempt at clearing up some of the false historical claims made by many Dispensationalists. We have not touched on many of the exegetical arguments against Dispensationalism. We are, however, well equipped at the Rebel Alliance for this task as well. Please check out Nate Wright’s eschatology series here and the Rebel Podcast episodes on eschatology like this one here.
Please give me some feedback on this series as well. If you have any questions or comments please comment in the Facebook posts or send me a message. If you would like some recommended reading check out the footnotes on the articles or send me a message. I hope you enjoyed the series!