We have had some words to say about Dispensationalists. But unlike Gary DeMar, who inconsistently works with heretical Hyper-preterists to attack Dispensationalism as a heresy, we think that most versions of it are within the pale of Christian orthodoxy (there is something called Hyper-dispensationalism that is not). Certainly Dr. John MacArthur and his variety of Dispensationalism, and the Progressive Dispensationalist school, are. So we present our ground-work for discussion between non-Dispensational Reformed Christians and Dispensationalist Reformed Christians.
I. Rules of discussion.
1. Arguments of guilt by association, such as 'Romanists are A-mil', and 'Futurism was invented by a Jesuit' are to be forbidden. Not only do they get us no-where, but they are unbecoming in a discussion between Christians. Not everything that the Roman Catholic Church believes is wrong. For one thing, they are Trinitarians, and despite attempts by anti-trinitarians to use the guilt by association argument against the doctrine of the Trinity, we are still Trinitarians.
2. Nor shall we use the argument of innocence by association, e.g. that because Augustine and Calvin taught a certain doctrine, it must be true. Good men see 'through a glass darkly', and can be wrong.
3. Nor shall we make use of doubtful arguments about the ruinous effect of the others' doctrine, so that we on the non-Dispensational side will not argue that it leands to Antinomianism, nor will the Dispensationalists argue that our doctrine leads to anti-semitism. This is really only name-calling, and has no place in a serious Christian discussion. Also non-Reformed folk like to say that Calvinism is antinomianism. John Wesley used the two terms as synonymous.
4. Both sides will seek to understand each other, not through books written by their own side. Definitions will be sought that actually define our position, and are not either so broad as to include practically everyone, or so narrow as to exclude many in the camp of the one defining. Lists of distinctives will actually be drawn up that include real distinctives, not things that the other camp actually holds.
5. Being mindful of the need for charity, we will accept one another's professions at face value, and not try to tell the other side what they believe.
Next time: Theses on agreements.