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The Five Points Of … Dispensationalism

September 1, 2011

A recent online conversation about a new group email address for “5ptdispy” led to discussion of what is a “five point dispy” and belief statement lists generally.  We’re all familiar with the five points of Calvinism, the TULIP.  As I recently learned from a church history series, that five point list came about in the 17th century, in response to the early Arminians’ five point list of their doctrinal beliefs.

Another well-known list of Fives:  the Five Solas

But since we were discussing “what is a 5 point dispy?” here is my suggested list of the Five Points of Dispensationalism:
1.  Distinction between Israel and the Church.  The church is not Israel, it is not the continuation of Israel, and it has not replaced Israel.
2.  Israel’s Future. Israel has a future as a nation in the plan of God in which the Lord will fulfill the covenant promises He made to her in the Old Testament.
3.  Emphasis on the Biblical covenants set forth in scripture, and especially on the unconditional, unilateral Abrahamic, Davidic and New Covenants.  These take precedence over the theological covenants of Covenant Theology.
4.  Literal future kingdom of God upon the earth, which will last for a literal 1000 years, in which Christ reigns from Jerusalem, and Israel has a place of prominence among the nations.
5.  Literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic.  The Old Testament stands on its own and is not “reinterpreted” to have additional meanings.  Bible texts can have multiple applications, but have (one) singular meaning.

This is of course a “rough draft” statement, a basic overview, but one that does address the main doctrinal points of what dispensationalism really is.

Matt Weymeyer’s “Am I A Dispensationalist?”  expands on the first two of my five points.  A brief excerpt concerning item 2, Israel’s future:

The Old Testament promises of Israel’s restoration have not already been fulfilled.  The New Testament also teaches an eschatological restoration and salvation of the nation of Israel in fulfillment of God’s covenant promises. … Having considered the promises of restoration in their original Old Testament contexts, I am convinced that there is no way that these promises have already been fulfilled.

They were not fulfilled in the returns to the land from exile under Zerubbabel (536 B.C.), Ezra (557 B.C.), or Nehemiah (445 B.C.), and they cannot be rightly understood as finding their fulfillment in the present salvation of the church and/or the eternal state.  To put it simply, the Lord simply has not yet done what He has promised to do in these Old Testament passages, and for this reason I await the day when He will.

Second, I believe that the New Testament also teaches an eschatological restoration and salvation of the nation of Israel in fulfillment of God’s covenant promises. At this point, I should note that I don’t believe it to be necessary that promises be repeated in the New Testament for them to remain valid—if the Lord has made a promise in the Old Testament, and He has yet to fulfill that promise, one can expect that He will still do so regardless of whether or not it is repeated in the New Testament. In my reading, however, I find that the New Testament picture to be consistent with how I have interpreted the Old Testament.

  1. September 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    My dear fellow “Premillennial Dispensational-Calvinist,” you must add something regarding the OT/NT hermeneutics in your five points.

    Technically, I suppose, that one need not be pre-trib (I am), as a midtrib or post-trib could be premill dispensationalist of sorts…

  2. September 2, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Yeah, I thought of that, wasn’t sure how to word it, and that would make it 6 points — unless of course remove the rapture point from the list, as you said. Something about how the Old Testament stands on its own, OT texts have a singular meaning and are not reinterpreted by the NT to have different meaning; and that the NT does not take priority over the Old…

  3. September 7, 2011 at 3:14 am

    If there’s a four point Calvinist…is there such a thing as a four point Dispensationalist? I have met people who struggle to give the timing of the rapture.

  4. September 7, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Okay, I’ve updated the points to include hermeneutics about the Old and New Testament. To keep it to “5 points” I removed the rapture reference. As I said, this is a list in “rough draft” stage.

    • September 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks for this post. I enjoyed it.

  5. Johnny
    June 3, 2017 at 8:08 am

    It’s got to be a five letter flower, Calvinism TULIP, Arminianism DAISY and Molinism ROSES. Here are some you can work with ASTER, BLOOM, BUGLE, ERICA, LILAC, LOTUS, LUPIN, ORPIN, OXEYE, OXLIP, PAGLE, PANSY, PEONY, PHLOX, POPPY, STOCK, TANSY, VINCA and VIOLA. What are their 5 points?

    • Johnny
      June 3, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      I forgot to mention it needs to be the five points of their Soteriology, what is their position on man’s sin, election, the Atonement, grace and how one is to maintain their salvation or work with God in it. Here’s what they have at this site. Calvinism TULIP, Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints.

      Arminianism DAISY, Diminished depravity, Abrogated election, Impersonal atonement, Sedentary grace, Yieldable justification

      Molinism ROSES, Radical depravity, Overcoming grace, Sovereign election, Eternal life, Singular redemption.

      Dispensationalism VIOLA, Violent depravity, Inclusive reconciliation, Omniscient election, Life everlasting, Alluring grace.

      That’s what I came up with.

      • Johnny
        June 3, 2017 at 9:19 pm

        I have two more for Dispensationalism
        LOTUS,
        Life everlasting — Believers are seal by the promised Holy Spirit, until they receive their inheritance.
        Omniscient election — God chooses whom He wills, for His purpose.
        Through depravity — Mankind is deprived, they can do good, but not in pleasing God.
        Unrestricted reconciliation — Christ died for all mankind, that they might be saved.
        Seductive grace — God’s grace moves in the believer to accept life, but it can be rejected.

        and

        LILAC,
        Loving election — God chooses whom He wills, for His purpose.
        Inclusive reconciliation — Christ died for all mankind, that they might be saved.
        Life everlasting — Believers are seal by the promised Holy Spirit, until they receive their inheritance.
        Alluring grace — God’s grace moves in the believer to accept life, but it can be rejected.
        Comprehensive depravity — Mankind is deprived, they can do good, but not in pleasing God.

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