Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Question for Dispensationalists

(Or anyone who can find an answer in dispensationalist literature... or.... why not? Covenentalists chime in too - but I don't want it to end up being a debate between CT and Disp) (wink)

How many times has the "content of saving faith" changed since the incarnation?
I have asked this question in various venues and have gotten the take from several people. I am not satisfied with the answers! Rachel says "once" and then says that there have been subpoints added over a period of time. Art (mid-acts dispensationalist) seems to indicate three times (that I surmise from his comments) but I am merely surmising, because I did not get a direct answer. I would love to have Charles Ryrie's answer, but haven't found it yet - perhaps I haven't looked hard enough, LOL. Matthew says it has never changed, not even from OT to NT (I think). I would like to know from him or anyone who shares that view, what dispensational theologians also share that view, just out of curiosity.

I am hoping to now possibly some scholarly input - quotes from renowned theologians. ;~) But of course, lowly bloggers opinions are welcome as always.

I don't have a firm answer on this myself and this is really on my mind these days.
I think it is a vital question is reference to the current controvery in this blog neighborhood.

Thanks for your input!

16 Comments:

  • Hi Rose,

    I just wanted to clarify my position, as it seems that you did not quite understand my position accurately. You said,

    "Rachel says 'once' and then says that there have been subpoints added over a period of time."

    The "subpoints" ARE the change. It's not like there was some initial change, then a subpoint was added here, and a few years later another subpoint, and so on.

    And "subpoints" is a bit misleading. 2 items (the death and resurrection) were added. Okay, maybe 3 if you include the name of Jesus.

    And again, it's not so much that these items were "added", in the sense that they are somehow separate from the previous content. OT saints believed that God would save them from their sin. Today we believe that God has saved us from our sins, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The main difference (maybe the only difference) is that the OT saints didn't know how God would save them from their sins, thus they weren't required to believe it. Today, we do know the "how" and are required to believe it. That's it. No other "subpoints" over the course of time.

    Hopefully that helps you understand my position better. I'm spread really thin right now so it's taking me some time to do the necessary study to answer this properly and thoroughly. I'll be back with more later, got lots going on today plus a sick kiddo.

    By Blogger Rachel, at 3/15/2008 12:26 PM  

  • Good question, Rose.

    Rachel, if OT saints could be saved through believing that God would save them from their sins without knowing how, why could somebody not believe today that God would save them without knowing how He does it?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/16/2008 5:44 PM  

  • Rose,

    I know this will not rise to the standard of what you are looking for in this post but, there is a lot of empty space here, left by the more scholarly, and I think this bears mentioning. As the question in this post works itself around in my mind, and it pains me that there is not an obvious pure answer (other than mine) I find myself not wanting to give up on the simple faith of Abraham as being the basic content of saving faith, that is, the faith in God through the Son.

    What is wrong with this suggestion that one can't be saved fully, if as yet they simply have the 'faith of Abraham' in God, through His revealed Son Jesus Christ - God on Earth for all to see and hear(or read the testimony thereof).

    Isn't this still a legitimate starting point of faith? Not ending point, but a concievable starting point for one to find himself saved? Well I realize that almost all out there would say no!

    But the simple faith in God through Christ the Son should suffice as a starting point, and as such, actually get someone saved, if need be, when as yet that is all the knowledge they possess of God's Son.

    Ac 13:26 "Brethren, sons of Abraham's family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent.

    Ga 3:7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.

    The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU."

    Ga 3:9 so then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

    He's our spiritual father and role model and we his like-minded descendants.

    That's all God ever wanted was for people like Abraham who believed.

    God wants faith in Him, and He wants it through His Son Whom He revealed to us; Jesus - alive - sent to us from Him, to alone behold and believe, and in a major sense, a sign unto belief as well, as in the following:

    and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

    One could know Jesus was the promise of Abraham for all who believe. One could have repented for forgiveness of his sins as first taught by John the Baptist, Peter, and so on. Jesus is the object of our faith. Surely that's not where His teaching ended, but it is assuredly, to my reading, where revealed saving faith begins. In the Son. And I give Matthew a lot of credit for seeing that.

    Saving faith plainly is the faith in God through His 'Son come to earth'; Christ who said, believe in Me and have everlasting life. And with His sacrifice on the cross, Who He is, continued to grow richer and even more glorious.

    But one who has come to a faith in God, through His Son, with a young faith that is even still as true as Abrahams's, fully penanced but not yet having knowledge of the "blood" payment, may well be saved if he were to find Himself at the judgement seat.

    Let's not give up on a beginning but still true faith even today.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 3/18/2008 11:55 PM  

  • In fact, isn't the saving "belief in God through Christ" that I mentioned above actually the same thing the author of Hebrews is referring to when he mentions, "the elementary principles of the oracles of God", and, "the elementary teaching about the Christ" of chapters 5-6? Does that not produce the same infants in Christ who were "enlightened", having been partakers in the heavenly gift and the Holy Spirit, "the good word of God and the powers of the age to come"?

    ???

    By Blogger Todd, at 3/19/2008 12:38 AM  

  • Rachel,
    So is it wrong to say that your posititon is that when Christ walked the earth, it was enough to believe in Him, no matter what misconceptions they had, but then, as things happened and were revealed, those "subpoints" (under the heading 'Jesus') were added to the content of "what must be believed by the lost". When I read this comment of yours, it sounds like you are saying that the OT saint has a good picture of what we must believe today, they just didn't have the name of Jesus or the way He would go about securing salvation.

    Actually, you don't sound all that different from Antonio on this.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/19/2008 11:03 AM  

  • Rachel,
    I think Matthew has a really good question and I hope you will answer him if you find time - I don't think we -he and I- have 'lost credibility' with you, have we?

    Todd,
    I think I see what you are saying... Thank you for your thoughts and feel free to add more if you want. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/19/2008 11:05 AM  

  • Does anyone care to quote a respected writer on this issue?

    Matthew, do you know of any dispensationalists who have addressed this specifically?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/19/2008 11:07 AM  

  • The article above written by Anthony C. Garland
    Th. D., Tyndale Theological Seminary (in my newer post) says this:

    Although discussions concerning what Old Testament saints did or did not understand concerning salvation are profitable, these differences in opinion do not constitute essential differences in the way of salvation (?) merely the details of the content of faith. And most parties would agree that even those who come to faith in the current age have widely different initial understanding of God’s provision and program for redemption.

    Would you, Matthew and Rachel agree with that?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/19/2008 11:22 AM  

  • It is interesting that he states that even those who come to faith in the current age have widely different initial understanding of God’s provision and program for redemption

    Yet goes on to say:

    ...some may quibble with dispensationalists over the content of saving faith, but from the above it should be clear that dispensationalism understands the essentials of salvation (faith in God on the basis of Christ’s shed blood) to have never changed.

    John Feinberg (quoted in the article) seems to share the view that Rachel has sometimes expressed, but which I am not sure I get from her first comment in this thread:

    ...only since the time of Jesus Christ has the revealed content to be believed coincided entirely with the basis, or ground, of faith. Before the age of grace, God had not revealed the fulness of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ (the basis of salvation in any age

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/19/2008 11:29 AM  

  • 'Matthew, do you know of any dispensationalists who have addressed this specifically?'

    Don't think so.

    "Although discussions concerning what Old Testament saints did or did not understand concerning salvation are profitable, these differences in opinion do not constitute essential differences in the way of salvation (?) merely the details of the content of faith. And most parties would agree that even those who come to faith in the current age have widely different initial understanding of God’s provision and program for redemption."

    Maybe.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/19/2008 1:47 PM  

  • Matthew,

    Rachel, if OT saints could be saved through believing that God would save them from their sins without knowing how, why could somebody not believe today that God would save them without knowing how He does it?

    Because the events of the "how" had not actually happened during that time. Scripture indicates that aspects of the gospel were hidden from OT saints, they were a "mystery" to them, yet now they have been revealed (see Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 6:19; Col. 2:2, Col. 4:3). OT saints needed to believe "the gospel" as it was in OT times. Today we need to believe "the gospel" as well, which has now been given fuller revelation and content.

    By Blogger Rachel, at 3/21/2008 10:54 PM  

  • Rose,

    ...it sounds like you are saying that the OT saint has a good picture of what we must believe today, they just didn't have the name of Jesus or the way He would go about securing salvation.

    Yes, I think I would agree with this.

    You said,

    Actually, you don't sound all that different from Antonio on this.

    Well, I think Antonio's a dispensationalist so we probably do agree about what OT saints were required to believe. But it is rather evident that we have significant differences about what NT saints must believe, considering that he does not think NT saints need to believe anything different than OT saints, and I do.

    By Blogger Rachel, at 3/21/2008 11:01 PM  

  • Although discussions concerning what Old Testament saints did or did not understand concerning salvation are profitable, these differences in opinion do not constitute essential differences in the way of salvation (?) merely the details of the content of faith. And most parties would agree that even those who come to faith in the current age have widely different initial understanding of God’s provision and program for redemption.

    I think I would agree with this as well. I don't know that I would say "widely different" initial understandings. But I would say that OT saints had less understanding than we do today. But I do heartily agree with the first part, that the differences don't constitute a different way of salvation, but merely differences in the details of the content of saving faith.

    The John Feinberg quote,

    "...only since the time of Jesus Christ has the revealed content to be believed coincided entirely with the basis, or ground, of faith. Before the age of grace, God had not revealed the fulness of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ (the basis of salvation in any age)"

    Yes, that is my view.

    By Blogger Rachel, at 3/21/2008 11:08 PM  

  • Rachel
    "Today we need to believe "the gospel" as well, which has now been given fuller revelation and content."

    Why do we have to believe this?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/22/2008 5:33 AM  

  • Are you recovering from the excesses of your Good Friday revelry, Rose?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 3/22/2008 5:34 AM  

  • No "Good Friday revelry" (what is that anyway?)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 3/31/2008 12:08 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

 

Who Links Here