Facing Replacement Theology: Part 2 :: By Paul J. Scharf
What’s Going on Around the Globe?
Fazio sees a cyclical aspect to this type of philosophical swing and believes that a commitment to literal interpretation might also move to another point on the globe, such as African nations or other developing countries.
“Hopefully,” he said, “we can really invest in developing and training pastors in such areas and shaping the minds of the next generation. But I don’t think those minds are going to be coming from North America.”
Dr. Woodrow Kroll, who served for 23 years as the president and Bible teacher for the Back to the Bible radio ministry, has placed his biblical teaching into 14 languages for pastors in those places through the HELIOS Projects (an outreach of Woodrow Kroll Ministries); and he believes these men can become dispensational Bible teachers.
“They don’t have things to unlearn,” he said. “The best way is to get them into the Word. In the process, they’re going to learn that the church is different from Israel.”
“If we can get to the pastor, he can get to his people—and truth spreads through people,” he said. “If we can get to [pastors] and teach them dispensational truth, they’ll pass it on to their congregation and their family.”
Finding a Path Forward
Fazio sees Dispensationalism as resulting from “a hermeneutical method that leads to a literal understanding of past, present, and future.”
“I believe Dispensationalism has lost the majority, and it is not recovering it,” said Fazio. “That was a cultural phenomenon, and it was a fleeting phenomenon. To me, that is quite alright—seldom is the majority right. I don’t think we need to bemoan the fact that we’ve lost the popular consensus in the church.”
But what can we do if we notice these trends impacting our own local churches?
Rather than getting depressed about what’s happening, Dyer said believers need to “throw themselves into the Word of God to get to know it, and then communicate it and do so as effectively as they can.” He added, “That’s the only answer for the world right now. To the extent that [you] can have an impact—do what [you] can to try and encourage people to get into the Word of God.”
Fazio agreed. “It begins with biblical literacy—simply knowing the Bible.” He believes pastors need to evaluate whether they are “teaching the Scriptures or teaching your system” and said “expositional teaching” is absolutely the greatest means we have to turn this scenario around.
“‘The whole counsel of God’ [Acts 20:27] is given to us,” Fazio emphasized. “You have received it. It’s not your job to pick and choose what you think is relevant.”
Kroll concurred. “The more we are topical in our preaching, the less we are going to be preaching dispensational truth.”
“Frankly,” said Fazio, “I think Dispensationalism is the only really open-handed, clear way of dealing with all 66 books,” adding, “I believe if a pastor actually teaches from Genesis to Revelation, he is going to end up more dispensational than he started.”
Dyer stated likewise: “To the extent that we expound the Word of God—all the Word—the dispensational approach, understanding the future for Israel, is what helps the whole Bible make sense.”
“If we stick to Scripture, the argument is very strongly in our favor,” Fazio said. “It’s pretty clear—it’s very compelling.”
Dyer agreed: “If you take the Bible at face value, you end up with a future for Israel. That, to me, is the bottom line.”
DeYoung summed it all up: “Your eschatology determines your theology.”
“There is a future for Israel,” Dyer stated. “It’s grounded in the promises God made to the patriarchs. God doesn’t back out of the promises. He never replaces Israel with the church. There is still a future for Israel—connected with the Second Coming of Jesus.
“People want to know what the future holds,” he added. “We have the answer. People are interested. We don’t have to dumb down the message. We just need to make sure we’re clear in what we say.”
Reposted from the January/February 2023 issue of Israel My Glory.
Used by permission of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry.
Paul J. Scharf (M.A., M.Div., Faith Baptist Theological Seminary) is a church ministries representative for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, based in Columbus, WI, and serving in the Midwest. For more information on his ministry, visit sermonaudio.com/pscharf or foi.org/scharf, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
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