Blessed: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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163 Responses

  1. Michael says:


  2. Michael says:

    I’m not sure, but we appear to be having some server side issues.

    This is unfortunate, as I believe Duane has hit the target dead on with this piece.

  3. Michael says:

    What would the response be if the article was “let’s go Brandon”?

  4. Xenia says:

    Who’s Brandon?

    Anyway, there’s Paul-oriented churches and there’s Jesus-oriented churches. I have found that the Jesus-oriented churches seem to be the most enthusiastic about the Beatitudes. The Paul-oriented churches seem to want to explain them away.

  5. Michael says:


    A football crowd was chanting “f Joe Biden” and the announcer said they were saying “let’s go Brandon”.
    Now that expression is all over social media…
    Good point about Paul vs. Jesus churches…

  6. Randy Davis says:

    How can anyone divide the church into Jesus Churches and Paul Churches? How does that fit with the authority of Scripture?

  7. Michael says:


    It’s a question of emphasis.
    When I was in with the Reformed it was a much more Pauline focus than Anglicanism…which is much more centered on the Incarnation.

  8. Jean says:

    There is a divide between churches which believe the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus preaching under the old dispensation, whereas Paul preaches grace under the new dispensation.

    Are Jesus and Paul preaching the same Gospel to the same audience? Are they both teaching to Christians and describing discipleship in the Church? Or do they have different audiences for different covenants?

    I obviously have my answer to those questions, but since the readership here is broad, there may be a variety of answers.

  9. Duane Arnold says:

    Sorry, late to the game. The server is not sending me notice of comments.

    It is interesting that it was not until the Reformation that the “issue” of the Beatitudes was raised by some. In the Fathers through to the High Middle Ages they were considered the core element of the Gospels in terms of Christian behavior and ethics.

    Today, the Beatitudes often simply die the death of a thousand qualifications…

  10. Jean says:

    Duane, thank you for this article. I love the Beatitudes and can’t hear and meditate on them enough. One thing I really like about the divine liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is that the Beatitudes are recited every Sunday. There is something good to be said of repetition on matters of the faith.

    I love the way blessedness (or happiness) is found in virtues, such as poverty of spirit, being merciful, peacemaking, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, etc. No one would ever think that true happiness could be found in such things (the world would more likely count them as curses rather than blessings), so to hear our Lord’s pronouncements of the Beatitudes is truly to renew the mind.

  11. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks…

  12. Xenia says:

    Paul-oriented churches talk a lot about “our position in Christ.” Jesus-oriented churches talk more about Jesus as a Person, what He was like and what He did and said while He was on earth, and what He expects of His followers. Both groups believe Jesus and Paul, but Protestant theology fits better with an emphasis on St. Paul, from what I’ve seen. One can interpret Jesus through the writings of Paul or interpret Paul through the sayings of Jesus.

  13. Jean says:

    “It is interesting that it was not until the Reformation that the “issue” of the Beatitudes was raised by some. In the Fathers through to the High Middle Ages they were considered the core element of the Gospels in terms of Christian behavior and ethics.”

    This isn’t quite correct. The Mediaeval Catholic Church (which in the West was pretty much the only church at the time) taught a two-tiered Christian spirituality: One for the ordinary Christian; the other for the “religious” (e.g., Monks) who wished to attain to higher level of Christian spirituality.

    Beginning with Luther, the Reformers rescued the Sermon on the Mount (including the Beatitudes) for the entire Western church and did away with the false teaching of the Papacy’s Councils of Perfection.

  14. Jean says:

    I have a comment in moderation. Probably because it contains two links.

  15. Randy Davis says:

    There are 4 Gospels and 13 Pauline books. Only two of the Gospels have the beatitudes. If you are a expository preacher like me and preach through books, it may appear that they are being neglected. And preaching through the Old Testament makes it appear even more so. But the thoughts and application of the Beatitudes are found everywhere, OT and NT. One cannot escape it unless one try’s to avoid it.

    The beatitudes do not live in isolation but are rooted in the OT as part of the practical application theology, especially the doctrine of God. And note that is the same way Paul writes, theological concerns and then practical and ethical application regarding the Christian life.

    I have never considered dispensationalism a legitimate form of biblical interpretation. It’s arbitrary in its divisions and it lacks understanding of the Bible as a whole. To divide the Gospels in the Jewish dispensation and Gentile dispensation seems very odd.

    I’ve only known one dispensationalist. He was a graduate of Dallas Seminary. He was in his 80s and I was in my 50s and he loved to argue and debate. We actually had a lot of fun.

  16. Duane Arnold says:


    I’m sure the Franciscans (both lay and religious) and the Dominicans (both lay and religious) would be interested to know that, as the Beatitudes lay at the heart of their movements…

  17. Duane Arnold says:


    “To divide the Gospels in the Jewish dispensation and Gentile dispensation seems very odd.”

    Very, very odd!😁

  18. Duane Arnold says:


    This article is helpful…”Preaching the Beatitudes in the Late Middle Ages: Some Mendicant Examples” by Carolyn Muessig. She covers Francis, Bonaventure, Aquinas, etc. and their preaching to the laity…

  19. CM says:


    I left dispensationalism behind (pun intended).

  20. josh hamrick says:

    Everyone is a dispensationalist to some degree or other.

  21. bob1 says:

    I think the distinction between Paul and Jesus oriented churches is quite interesting — and true.

    I’m currently reading Philip Yancey’s memoir, “Where the Light Came In.” He was raised in southern fundamentalism (Lester Maddox came to his church — and think Jack Hyles and Bob Jones). and sounds like he heard a great deal about Paul but very, very little about Jesus.

    Since then he’s studied Scripture on his own and is much, much more Jesus centered. In fact, one of his books, “The Jesus I Never Knew,” was cited by the late Lewis Smedes from Fuller as the best book about Our Lord written in the twentieth century.

  22. josh hamrick says:

    Southern fundamentalist churches, especially mid-century, did not suffer from an over emphasis on Paul, but a lack of understanding of dispensations. The oppressive law they preached was not from Paul, but from the Old Testament (and sometimes, just made up). Because they didn’t understand the dispensations, they read the 10 commandments exactly the same as the beatitudes.

  23. Randy Davis says:

    How is everyone a dispensationalist to some degree or another?

  24. Josh Hamrick says:

    Everyone recognizes that old and new testaments are very different.

  25. Steve says:

    Duane, this probably ranks as one of your best posts yet

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    Forty-first anniversary today, so signing off for now to take my wife to dinner!

  27. Jean says:

    I could take the baits and debate the validity of dispensationalism, on the one hand, or the Reformation’s impact on the Sermon on the Mount, on the other hand, but I would rather discuss Duane’s article and whether or not the Beatitudes are descriptive of a blessed Christian in the 21st century. If it is, are Christians rejecting God’s blessings?

  28. Randy Davis says:

    Josh, that’s not the same thing. Two covenants, which one is the extension or fulfillment of the other, is nothing like seven dispensations with two kinds of salvation. It’s a fallacy of equivocation

  29. Josh Hamrick says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated.

  30. Josh says:

    Dispensations don’t offer two kinds of salvation.

  31. Jean says:

    “The Israel-church distinction means that promises and covenants made with Israel cannot find a complete fulfillment with the church since the church is not Israel, and God must fulfill His promises with the group to whom the promises originally were made (i.e. ethnic/national Israel). Some dispensationalists believe no promises to Israel find fulfillment in the church today (Classical Dispensationalists), while others believe there is a partial fulfillment of some covenant promises with the church (Progressive Dispensationalists). But all dispensationalists believe the complete fulfillment of Old Testament promises will occur in the future when Israel is saved and restored.“

  32. Em says:

    Dispensations? Hmmm
    Historical divisions offering organization and clarity, that’s all they are… IMHO
    O.T. God deals with nations (and a few individuals)
    N.T. God deals with each individual’s volition AND includes a clarification of what places one in the Lamb’s Book of Life…
    An affirmation and confession of the Truth that God so loved the world that He gave (us) His only begotten Son – the One Who in obedience to God’s plan entered i n to the human race carrying God’s perfection, His integrity, to His death on a cross (a tree).
    Can a human being be good enough to enter heaven? NO! Not unless He was/is the God incarnate….
    Noe I’m done! 😇

  33. Josh Hamrick says:

    Vlach got several things wrong in that article.

  34. Randy Davis says:

    Duane, I hope y’all have a great celebration!

  35. Josh Hamrick says:

    Got it right.

  36. Josh Hamrick says:

    Em…em got it right.

  37. Steve says:

    The problem with dispensationalism is that modern day Israel has no resemblance to biblical Israel. Other that perhaps a few historical landmarks, why would one equate them as being the same?

  38. Em says:

    Modern Israel and biblical Israel? hmmm…..
    geographic location maybe, BUT…..
    As I read prophesy only a remnant of Jews will survive – why would one equate the two?

  39. Josh Hamrick says:

    Same as in, God’s covenant people? Absolutely not.
    Same location, name, ethnicity? Yes.

  40. Steve says:

    Em, Most dispensationalists make a big deal about 1948 when Israel became a nation. Why, if they not equating biblical Israel with modern day Israel. They see 1948 very prophetically.

  41. Josh Hamrick says:

    Most do not. Many do.

  42. Steve says:

    Josh, really? I’m showing my ignorance but I have never once met a dispensationalist that did not find biblical significance with 1948. I’m more accustomed to the Calvary Chapel variety though so I’m curious and open to other ideas.

  43. josh hamrick says:

    I don’t have much experience with Calvary Chapel, except through this site. As a movement, it was huge on formal education. (I know many CC pastors who have gone on to seminary…and beyond). So I think a lot of the teaching comes from some derivative of Chuck Smith. So if he held a bad form of dispensationalism, I can guess that a lot of them did.

    That being said, CC is a small movement in the grand scope of things. The leading minds of dispensationalism today would be Craig Blaising and Darrel Bock. If you really want to know what’s going on with that branch, they’d be the ones to read. Before them you had Walvoord and Ryrie, and before them Schaeffer. Each generation has refined the concept a bit, to the point that you don’t see many Schaeffer dispies anymore, at least not in the academic world.

    I have heard some pastors do the “1 generation from 1948” thing, so I guess that’s what you’re talking about. They would be more in the John Hagee line, rather than an accurate representation of dispensationalism.

  44. josh hamrick says:

    Should have said Calvary Chapel WAS NOT huge on formal education. Stupid typos.

  45. Steve says:

    Thanks Josh. I’ll check it out.

  46. josh hamrick says:

    Anyway, all of that was in response to misconceptions about dispensationalism, but the original comment before the pot-shots was:
    “There is a divide between churches which believe the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus preaching under the old dispensation, whereas Paul preaches grace under the new dispensation.”

    Generally, when I see talk of which dispensation Jesus was teaching under, it is in a hypothetical, questioning way. Which would it be? The time between the birth and resurrection of Christ is a very interesting time. Things did change drastically after the resurrection. This is usually the harmless type of curiosity I have seen.

    Extremely rarely, but I have seen it, I have seen the argument that Jesus’ words don’t apply to us because he was preaching under the dispensation of law. This is foolishness and should be called out wherever it is taught.

    Personally, I don’t see Jesus and Paul in Conflict at all. I would hope that all of our churches are striving to be Christ-centered churches, even if Paul wrote a good portion of our cannon.

  47. Randy Davis says:

    Just throwing this out there.

    Dispensationalism was invented in the the second half of the 1800s among the Plymouth Brethren in the UK. It’s primary developer was John Nelson Darby. Their ideas spread through the Schofield reference Bible in the UK and the US. It had supporters in the US that included D L Moody. I’m not sure but I think Billy Graham was one.

    Dispensationalism divides history into 7 dispensations. Israel is very important to them. God’s promises to Israel are eternal. The church is only temporary. There are two kinds of salvation, one for Israel and one for the gentile church. This is why you see so many fundamentalist churches celebrating the Jewish festivals, blowing the Shofar in worship, wearing prayer shawls, and calling Jesus Yeshua.

    It is still very popular among “evangelicals”. Examples, Mike Huckabee and many of his followers, John MacArthur is a Didpensationalist-Calvinist, John Hagee. Hagee use to have the Larken chart on his stage showing the seven dispensations. Dallas seminary is a dispensational school though they tolerate other views among their faculty. There are several dispensationalists on the faculties of SBC seminaries but none of the seminaries are dispensationalist

    Craig Blaising and Darrel Bock are what’s called progressive dispensationalist. In fact I think Blaising has a book by that title. They try to make dispensationalism more academically acceptable. I don’t know how successful they have been. They are both members of the Evangelical Theological Society as are other kinds of dispensationalists, along with Calvinists, Arminians, and others on the theological spectrum.

    I have to say that that I have to say it never dawns on me to ask if a writer or commentator is a dispensationalist until they write that Matthew is for Jewish readers and Luke is for gentile readers. At that point I usually stop reading them

    The reason the 1948 thing is not popular anymore is because they predicted that the return of Christ was to be in 1984 as per Hal Lindsey. So we are still here.

  48. Jean says:

    It wasn’t a potshot Josh. It is essential to any discussion of the Sermon on the Mount to determine who it applies to. It’s not a hypothetical question because I have read it here on this blog, not by Michael, but participants who have said Jesus was preaching to the Jews not the church.

    What they fail to understand is that the Gospels were written by Christians for Christians. Matthew didn’t pen his Gospel to leave us a history lesson but a Catechetical book for discipleship of Christians.

    I personally think there is zero room between Jesus and Paul; the same God inspired the entire canon.

    It is some churches that demote the Gospels in favor of other writings. Some churches are the ones that do not find Christ in the OT or acknowledge Him as fulfilling the OT.

    In my church the lectionary ensures that we hear Christ every Sunday and the sermons are from the Gospels 80% of the Sundays.

    I personally think that some churches do not like to preach from the Gospels because of what is in them. There are no heroic disciples; quite the opposite; there is no health, wealth or prosperity promised to disciples in this temporal life; there is no respect, fame or power given to disciples by the world; quite the opposite.

    Pauline theology is comparatively abstract; the theology of the Gospels is comparatively concrete. Abstractions can be kept at a safe distance in the world of ideas. The Gospels force the hearer to encounter the sinfulness of mankind in action and a God-man in action who walked among us, loved us to the end, and for it suffered death because of out sins.

    Easter is one thing, Good Friday is quite another. If you look at some church stages, and some of the Christian TV programs, you can’t find a cross anywhere on the stage. It’s as if some are ashamed of the cross.

  49. The New Victor says:

    I’m a dilettante, a nobody. But I’ve always thought that what Jesus says after the beatitudes very harsh, and what he said in the Gospels far harsher than Paul. Which is why I find Red Letter peaceful Jesus views odd.

  50. josh hamrick says:

    Randy, a lot of what you wrote is correct, at least in a “Wikipedia” kind of way. Some of it (two kinds of salvation) you’ve taken from the detractors and applied it to all of us, though I doubt you’ll find any living dispensationalist that would tell you that.

    You said yourself you have only known one. I have personally known thousands. Your idea of dispensationalism comes from the sensationalist wing of Hagee and Hal Lindsey. I’ve grown up in it, educated in it, and still live in it, to some degree. I can tell you that under the tent, there are complete nuts, brilliant minds, and then the vast majority of us, who have taken the good from what some of those guys have presented over the years and rejected the rest.

    The idea that Matthew is written more for a Jewish audience is not exclusive to Disp., and I’m not sure why that would bother you. A large part of our bibles definitely were written to a Jewish audience, in that the first hearers were Jews. That doesn’t mean its not applicable to the rest of us, but knowing the original audience can help us understand the text better. Maybe I’m not understanding you on that point.

  51. josh hamrick says:

    “It wasn’t a potshot Josh. It is essential to any discussion of the Sermon on the Mount to determine who it applies to. It’s not a hypothetical question because I have read it here on this blog, not by Michael, but participants who have said Jesus was preaching to the Jews not the church.

    What they fail to understand is that the Gospels were written by Christians for Christians. Matthew didn’t pen his Gospel to leave us a history lesson but a Catechetical book for discipleship of Christians.”

    Jean, your comment was not the potshot. Your’s was a legit question. I agreed that I have (rarely) seen that kind of foolishness, and that it is in error whenever proposed. I agree 100% with hat you said in this quote.

  52. Jean says:

    Thank you Josh.

  53. Steve says:

    Josh. It is very important to know the original audience as you say, but what I find so ironic is I’ve heard altar calls from hard core dispensationalists of the CC variety on the lament over jerusalem. It’s almost as if they are going out of their way to make these scripture passages directly applicable to the church today without doing the hard work in first putting the passages in their historical context. It’s sloppy at best in my estimation. Or are the woes of the pharisees and sadduces really addressed directly to the church?

  54. josh hamrick says:

    That sounds like a case of poor hermeneutics more than anything to do with dispensationalism.

    I didn’t see this article as a condemnation of dispensationalism, nor a defense. My aim in addressing the disp. misconceptions is because our tendency when seeing a hard biblical truth, is to say “Yeah! Take that you dirty…(evangelical, dispensational, whatever)” rather than seeing that the hard truth is for us.

    The beatitudes turn our idea of power, success, and blessing upside down. Total opposite of what our flesh desires, but Jesus says – No, these are my people, and this is what success / blessing looks like for them. You want to be first? Get in the back of the line. It is not written for whatever other group I’d like to point a finger at, it is written for me. It should shock and convict me in my comfort every time I read it.

  55. Duane Arnold says:


    “The beatitudes turn our idea of power, success, and blessing upside down.”

    Exactly. And that was the message to Augustine, Benedict, Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Brethren of the Common Life and so many more. An interesting study would be the influence of the Beatitudes on spiritual reawakenings. In the modern era there is material from John Wesley to Bonhoeffer to Ron Sider and Peterson.

    I do, however, think that there are some who go to extravagant lengths to explain away what is so clearly said…

  56. Xenia says:

    There’s a Dispensationalist spectrum, ranging from folks who believe in a Rapture to those who believe the NT is divided up into dispensations, and even find 2 dispensations in the book of Acts. If you try to have any kind of discussion with these people, they will only accept Scripture from a selection of NT books that they believe are in the current dispensation. I think these extreme Dispensationalists are pretty rare, I hope? They are very argumentative, too.

  57. josh hamrick says:

    Xenia, I would say yes, very rare. The common 7 dispensation structure has the Age of Grace stretching from the Cross to the Rapture.

  58. Em says:

    Age of Grace – agreeing with Josh @ q11:21 (if i may do so)
    Although one could make the case that from the expulsion from Eden God HAS been showing mankind His grace……

  59. Muff Potter says:

    Em wrote @ 4:10 pm:

    “Can a human being be good enough to enter heaven? NO! Not unless He was/is the God ”

    I must respectfully disagree, I no longer sign onto this dogma.
    As a father and a grandfather I DO NOT hold my progeny to an unreachable standard of perfection.
    So long as they do the best they can with what they’ve got, they have my endorsement.
    I can only hope that because the Almighty is far bigger than I, his inscribed circle is also much bigger than mine.

  60. Jean says:

    I don’t understand calling from the cross to the Rapture the age of grace.

    That would mean that the Sermon on the Mount is not part of the current dispensation. How, if at all, does it apply in the age of grace?

    When God called Abraham out of Haran and promised to make him a great nation, was that not all pure grace? Are dispensationalists saying that salvation for the Patriarchs was not by grace through faith? Is Jesus their atoning sacrifice, just as He is ours?

  61. josh hamrick says:

    Jean, yes Jesus is, and always was, and always will be the only way of Salvation. the Age of Grace is just what some people call that period. It doesn’t mean it was the only time of grace. Just a name given to it by some random guy. I’ve also heard it called the church age.

  62. Jean says:

    Thanks Josh.

  63. Nathan Priddis says:

    Steve said..
    “The problem with dispensationalism is that modern day Israel has no resemblance to biblical Israel. Other that perhaps a few historical landmarks, why would one equate them as being the same?”

    That is a problem that has gone unrecognized, and I’m not sure why. It should be obvious that Darby’s riding accident (1827) and the publishing of his notes (1866) predated the Zionist cononfernces. The future role of Israel could not envision a real Israel.

  64. CM says:

    Nathan and Steve,

    Ever think that the Zionist conferences and Balfour were in a sense a self-fulfilling prophesy of Darby’s thoughts? Especially by 1948 when Scofieldism had become quite popular in the US. IOW, the proponents of these policies were dispys and they worked to _make_ it happen.

  65. josh hamrick says:

    WHo were the powerful dispensationalists involved in the Zionist conferences?!?

  66. Steve says:

    CM, it is certainly possible what you have proposed. Christian zionism and dispensationalism have been conflated but to be honest, I’m not sure how to tease these ideas apart.

  67. Duane Arnold says:


    Balfour himself was a Scots Presbyterian and was advised by the Scottish theologian Sir George Adam Smith, author of ‘Historical Geography of the Holy Land’. Neither were dispensationalists, nor were they even Zionists, in the strict sense of the word… It was a political settlement, not theological…I have personal knowledge of this.

  68. josh hamrick says:

    Conspiracy theories abound.

  69. Steve says:

    I guess we could always check with the late Chuck Missler on the exact location of the temple mount using Israeli designed quantum super computers to find the hidden Bible messages in cryptic codes to know for sure. Only joking Josh. It’s all in fun.

  70. CM says:


    Balfour was not the only player in this. You are forgetting Lloyd George, William Hechler, Laurence Oliphant, and Chaim Weismann. And earlier was Lord Shaftsbury. Lloyd George once said, “Acetone converted me to Zionism” Weismann was a professor of chemistry and helped developed a process for using acetone for explosives for the British. The fact is that many of the politicians of that era were influenced by dispensationalism to some extent. Then they proceed to MAKE it happen.

    Hechler by the way attended the first International Zionist Congress in 1897 at the invitation of Herzl and was introduced as the first Christian Zionist.

    This is why I call all this a self-fulfilling prophecy. And other reason why I think dispensationalism as an eschatology is a crock of ____.

  71. josh hamrick says:

    You make Late 1800’s dispensationalists sound like the Illuminati.

  72. josh hamrick says:

    So you think Pre-Tribulation Eschatology is a crock. Which system do you follow?

  73. Duane Arnold says:


    I’m aware of all of this, but I disagree with “The fact is that many of the politicians of that era were influenced by dispensationalism to some extent. Then they proceed to MAKE it happen.” The extent of Zionism in the UK at this time was a romantic ideal of the Jews return (in very small numbers) to the Holy Land… this was not dispensationalism as we understand it.

  74. Jean says:

    “So you think Pre-Tribulation Eschatology is a crock. Which system do you follow?”


    I would like to answer your question. To do that could you answer the following question regarding pre-tribulation eschatology:

    How many resurrection events will there be?
    How many returns of Christ will there be?
    How many judgment events will there be?
    Will resurrected Christians cohabitate the earth with mortal human beings for any period of time?
    Will animal sacrifices in a physical Jewish Temple be reinstituted as part of God’s eschatological plan?

    If you can answer these questions, I can answer your questions. Thanks!

  75. josh hamrick says:

    The question was to CM. He had a strong opinion on Pre-Trib, so I was curious what he believed. I know that you are Amil.

    As far as your questions, are you wanting answers based on what Pre-Trib people believe? Personally, I don’t have all the answers about a speculative eschatological system.

  76. Michael says:

    I think the root cause of most of our issues in the church today are because it does not any longer reflect the teachings and practice of Jesus and instead is focused on temporal power.

    Yet…when written about…and written about well…the conversation turns to end times nonsense.

    My conclusion…which I reached before this…is that people are uninterested in Christ and actually find these teachings a obstacle to what they really want from a religious gathering.

  77. Jean says:

    I tried at 3:30 pm on 11/1:

    “I could take the baits and debate the validity of dispensationalism, on the one hand, or the Reformation’s impact on the Sermon on the Mount, on the other hand, but I would rather discuss Duane’s article and whether or not the Beatitudes are descriptive of a blessed Christian in the 21st century. If it is, are Christians rejecting God’s blessings?”

    It happens all the time on a number of threads. I agree it is frustrating.

  78. Duane Arnold says:

    “If anyone should meditate with devotion and perspicacity on the sermon our Lord gave on the mount, as we read in the Gospel of Saint Matthew, he will doubtless find there . . . the perfect way of the Christian life…. This sermon contains … all the precepts needed to shape one’s life.”


  79. Duane Arnold says:

    “Having reached the end of the beatitudes, we naturally ask if there is any place of this earth for the community which they describe. Clearly, there is one place, and only one, and that is where the poorest, meekest, and most sorely tried of all men is to be found – on the cross at Golgotha. The fellowship of the beatitudes is the fellowship of the Crucified. With him it has lost all, and with him it has found all. From the cross there comes the call ‘blessed, blessed.’”


  80. Nathan Priddis says:

    Yes and no. You have several subjects in your comment.
    Duane’s phrase ” romantic idealism” is a fantastic summary. Wish I thought of that.

    There apparently was some embryonic discussions of a futurist prophecy view, in the London area circa 1800. Darby later begins work on Disp. Various Brethren writers follow Darby and his foundation. But all of these pre-date preparations for an actual return.

    The actual return was incredibly violent, having a prerequisite destruction of the Ottoman Empire and massive losses by the British Empire. No thought appears to have been made in the 1800’s of how such a return would take place, or effect the Ottoman territory. It was all highly Victorian romanticism.

  81. Em says:

    Reading the book of Revelation, i sure hope that the Church is off the earth before our Lord comes back to clean things up
    Reading Revelation, I’m pretty sure we are, but i do subscribe to the theory that the Church is here for the first half of the Tribulation period – removed before the bowls of God’s wrath are poured out on this planet
    Butvhatdoiknow. 🙆

  82. Duane Arnold says:


    I would add that in the popular imagination, Allenby’s entry into Jerusalem was seen as the victory of a modern day crusader (it is why he chose to enter on foot). Zionist aspirations were barely considered…

  83. Nathan Priddis says:

    About Schofield and Darby..

    1. Darby ( a brilliant man) seems to correctly view America as the future and the Empire as the status quo.
    2. He makes several trips to North America and follows the then existing routes of transportation. He arrives in St.Louis and converts Brooks, a Princeton man, to Disp.

    Schofield was in St.Loius. He may have actuality met Darby.
    3. Schofield is mentored by Brooks. I consider him to be Darby’s spiritual grandson.

    Schofield ..WAS NOT..a theologian. He apparently was an compiler and editor. He compiled doctrines given to him, but did not appear to edit them in verbatim form.

    Brooks, as a Princeton man, would have been connected to the top of American society. I suspect this helped to propel Schofield’s position.

    Brooks was a key figure in the Niagra Conferences. If I recall, Schofield ended his days pastoring in TX. His church was instrumental in what later became DTS. I think the school was founded by Scholfieds successor, mentored by Schofield.

    By this point, Disp hasn’t really had a major impact on Zionism. Palestine was still a British Mandate, and no mass immigration had taken place.

  84. Jean says:

    Em at 2:21pm.

    What verse(s) in Revelation promise Christians they will be raptured off the Earth before Christ returns?

  85. Em says:

    Jean, “raptured” is a strange word… 🙆

  86. Em says:

    Try 1 Thes 4:17

  87. josh hamrick says:

    You know, there is actual history you can read. You don’t have to make inferences. You can actually read about what actually happened. Its not secret.

  88. Jean says:

    You said, “Reading the book of Revelation” and “Reading Revelation.” So are you now saying that Revelation says nothing about a pre-trib or mid-trib rapture? You said it does at 2:21pm: “Reading Revelation, I’m pretty sure we are”.

  89. josh hamrick says:

    Jean, a rapture is not mentioned in Revelation. The church is not mentioned in chapter 6-18, and taken with other Scripture, we infer that the Rapture must have occurred. We know amillenialists don’t believe that.

  90. Jean says:


    Who is the woman in Rev. 12:13?

  91. josh hamrick says:

    I don’t know. Who do you think?

  92. Jean says:

    You don’t know, but you know she’s not the church?

  93. Michael says:

    What is the point to this?

    You are never going to agree.

    I’m not going to agree with Josh about lots of things, but he’s a fine brother…so I don’t get into these things.

  94. Jean says:

    The point is to understand what the latest iteration of dispensationalist believes. I haven’t argued, debated or even disagreed.

  95. Michael says:

    I think there are two many flavors to pigeonhole.
    The CC dispys are all pretrib…some , maybe most…still hold to seven dispensations and other stuff.
    Others are all over the board other than the Rapture.
    Josh doesn’t seem to line up with them on a number of things.

  96. josh hamrick says:

    While I think dispensationalism invariably leads to pre-trib premillenialism, the variance is in degree of emphasis place upon eschatology. If we are honest, none of us knows exactly what is going to happen. We do our best to understand the scriptures, interpret the unrevealed symbols the best we can…and speculate. In other words, I put very little emphasis on eschatology. I know how I understand the scriptures, but I could be wrong. If it all goes down different than I think it will, that is ok. In fact, I’m sure at least some of it will go down differently than I think it will. How could I possibly know every detail about the end times?

    Jean – If SHE is the church, who is the child?

  97. josh hamrick says:

    But I don’t know what it has to do with the Beatitudes.

  98. Jean says:


    “She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,”
    Revelation 12:5 ESV

    This child is our Savior Jesus Christ. The scene is His ascension.

  99. josh hamrick says:

    The church gave birth to Jesus. Hmm. Well that’s a take.

  100. DH says:

    What did Peter mean by beginning in Acts 11:15?
    “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.”

  101. josh hamrick says:

    What in the world are we talking about? 🙂

  102. Jean says:

    The Spirit fell on Cornelius just as it had on the apostles at Pentecost. By “just as it had,” Peter probably is referring to the gift of tongues.

    By “beginning,” Peter was looking back to the day the apostles received power when the Holy Spirit came upon them so they could be Christ’s witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

    There has always been a church of God’s people since the Garden of Eden. The Greek word for church is ekklesia. This same Greek word is used in the OT to refer to the assembly of the Israelites.

  103. josh hamrick says:

    OT didn’t use Greek.

  104. DH says:

    The beginning of tounges?

  105. DH says:

    Maybe he meant by ‘beginning’ being Spirit baptized into the body of Christ.

  106. Jean says:

    Revelation Chapter Twelve was and is critical to the church’s understanding of her circumstances – as a people in exile – in these last days:

    “But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.”

    The church is in the wilderness, not in yet in the promised land. The serpent makes war on her offspring, on “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus,” but the church is nourished by the Word of God during her pilgrimage in the wilderness.

    In the immediate context of John’s letter to the 7 churches, John’s vision speaks words of comfort to the circumstances of the faithful churches. Jesus encourages the church in Smyrna undergoing tribulation and poverty caused by a synagogue of Satan. Similarly, at the church of Pergamum, where the throne of Satan is, Christ’s faithful witness, Antipas, was killed. At Thyatira, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, was infecting the people with false teaching. The church in Philadelphia also is also being persecuted by the synagogue of Satan.

    Within the context of the greater NT, we are taught that the Christian’s citizenship is in heaven, not on earth. Christians hold the same hope as the OT saints “who died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”

    Josh, are you familiar with the LLX? It is the Greek OT which is quoted and paraphrased extensively by the NT writers.

    DH, what you are proposing is that the body of Christ did not exist prior to Pentecost. That’s not what Scripture says at all. That is an artificial distinction that is contrary to the text. Before Pentecost, there already is a congregation meeting in Jerusalem of about 120 Christians, who are meeting and devoting themselves to prayer. Prior to Pentecost, Judas was replaced as an apostle by Matthias.

  107. josh hamrick says:

    Am I familiar with the LLX? I’m assuming you mean LXX, as in the Septuagint? Yes, quite familiar. My Mdiv was with a specialty in biblical languages. Reading the Church into the OT through the usage of ekklesia in LXX is a fallacy on many fronts. First of all, the word does not mean “people of God”. It is a word for a general gathering. Context determines whether that gathering is the people of God or not. That doesn’t mean that you are wrong about there always being a people of God, but your reasoning is faulty.

  108. josh hamrick says:

    As far as the woman of Rev 12 being the church, I can’t see it. The twelve crowns are an obvious reference to Israel, but there is a lot of symbolism in that chapter that isn’t so clear. I am not 100% sure on what that is or isn’t.

  109. Jean says:


    Given the geographic location of John’s 7 churches, the likely mixed ethnic makeup of those churches, and the description of the woman’s offspring, “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus,” wouldn’t the context suggest that the woman is not only the mother of Jesus but also of offspring made up of both Jews and Gentiles? To limit her offspring to Jews only seems very unnatural given the context.

    The woman wears “a crown of twelve stars” on her head. The crown or wreath was a reward in the historical context given because of victory in a contest or military battle of some kind. Her crown contains twelve stars.

    Prior to her Child’s birth, her twelve stars could signify the 12 tribes of Israel, who in turn represent the people of God in the OT. After her Child is born and is taken to heaven, the crown of twelve stars would then stand for the twelve apostles and the NT church. This would account for the vision in Chapter 4 of 24 elders around the throne who also wear crowns.

    So the woman represents the entire people of God, both of OT Israel and the NT church of Christ. Jesus said to the Samaritan woman that “salvation is from the Jews,” so Jesus is born of Mary a Jew, but at the same time He was born to be the Savior of all people, Jew and Gentile alike. The woman wears the victor’s wreath as an indication that the people of God are victorious because of her child, the Christ Child.

  110. josh hamrick says:

    Yeah, maybe.

  111. CM says:

    And now for this question, of the 12 Apostles, 1 betrayed them. So who would the 12th one in the various images in the book of Revelations? Matthias or Paul? I would argue that it is Matthias for the following reason:

    1. He was the last one picked by the choosing of lots (which was the OT method of selection).
    2. He was chosen before the Holy Spirit came down on all believers at Pentacost.
    3. Once #2 happened and the remaining part of the NT canon was written, the point of selection of one of the 12 became mute.

  112. CM says:

    Also Matthias was one who had been with them from the beginning (see Acts 1:12-26).

  113. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael @ 10:21 called it “frustrating”… I would add discouraging.

  114. josh hamrick says:

    Duane, I am sorry that it is discouraging. Honestly, though, we do pretty good here. Go look at the comments on any random youtube video. Always a bunch of foul, racist, crazy garbage. Comment threads on the internet are usually highly toxic. We get off topic and chase some weird rabbit trails, but it could be worse.

  115. Jean says:

    Hi CM,
    If I had to choose, I would go with your answer. In addition to your rationale, it appears from 1 Cor. 15:5 that Paul did not number himself among “the twelve.”

    I get the sense that in the book of Revelation, the symbolism of the number 12 as a number of completeness is in focus vs. individual identities.

  116. Jean says:

    What is discouraging you? Ask a question, make a comment, bring up something, anything; I’m not choosy. I just appreciate the opportunity to converse with other Christians while here in the house, half paying attention to some other boring meeting content.

    Josh has been a pleasure to speak with this morning.

  117. Nathan Priddis says:


    We know exactly who the Woman of Rev 12 is. She is a Sign. Rev 12 is compilation of Signs. She is not the Church, because there is no air in the Heavens. This does make aspiration a little tough.

    The Signs date from the creation of the Cosmos, as discribed in Romans 1.The stars where created for these reasons: ..”and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:..”. The primary reason is to appear as Signs.

    By the time of the Greek and Romans, they where organized into 48 total depictions. The Woman appears in more than one. This is how the shephards recognized the birth of the Christ in Bethlehem.

    The Magi saw a different image because the Child was older. The Child and the Woman would appear together, the Child upright and sitting on the lap of the Mother.

    The one we call The Satan appears in multiple Signs as well. In one, his tail rakes the far North, as he falls each night.

    The Adam does not appear in the Signs, but the Seed does. The Seed is depicted as in struggle or a war in Heaven.

    When on Mars Hill, Paul quoted from an official commissioned poem, regarding the Signs. When taken to Rome, he rode on The Castor and Pollux, The Twins, a part of the Signs. God questioned Job about the Signs.

    The description of Eve, was spoken by the Adam, calling her..the mother of all living. Her earliest mention is by God in Genisis 2:1. Along with the The Adam, she is discribed as one of the Host. The Host belonging to the Earth. This is not the only Host. The Adam and The Woman where apparently created when no Cosmos had yet appeared.

    The Woman is the counter part of the Adam. This is a difficult concept to grasp that with the creation of The Woman, all the coding to create the human race was now in existence. A self replicating army if you will.

  118. josh hamrick says:

    Well, that clears it up.

  119. Duane Arnold says:


    Ah, I forgot that this thread is for your entertainment and for us to bask in your instruction….

  120. Duane Arnold says:


    “We get off topic and chase some weird rabbit trails, but it could be worse.”

    I think it has gotten worse…😁

  121. Jean says:


    Which beatitude are you expressing at 9:39am? Why are you taking out whatever is bothering you on me? Did I do something to offend you?

  122. josh hamrick says:

    “I think it has gotten worse…😁”

    Definitely trending in that direction 🙂

  123. Xenia says:

    We believe the woman is the St. Mary, the Theotokos, who is the one who gave birth to Christ.

  124. Nathan Priddis says:

    Actuality Josh, it’s completely natural to create interpretations to things we don’t understand.

    Well, it must mean this. Or, what it means to me is.. The last one I can recall a lot from small groups.

    When dealing with Disp doctrines. I grew up hearing what was discribed as a literal interpretation of Scripture, as opposed to aligorical. But in the big picture, literalist are not really as literalist as claimed. Aligory becomes the default understanding when things such as Rev 12.

    Or another approach is ethereal. This would be Psalm 19.
    Wow! Isn’t God’s creation beautiful!
    When in fact, Psalm 19 uses words, and words mean things.

    Things like the Signs. A global story spanning all cultures in all centuries, whether a specific individual is aware or not.

  125. Nathan Priddis says:

    Xenia. That would be true as well. God made known the end from the beginning. Mary, would also take her place in the Signs as well, giving birth to the Christ.

    The Woman and Child, as seen by the Magi.
    And. The Virgin who comes holding The Branch.

    In Bethleham, it would be nessesary gor Mary to be seated and holding The Child. As it was foretold to Ahaz..”Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel..”..

    God became man and was seated on the lap of The Woman as the Magi arrived.

  126. josh hamrick says:

    Nathan, I haven’t the slightest clue what you are talking about. I’m fine with you believing whatever it is, but it is certainly not clear.

  127. Xenia says:

    Nathan, are you familiar with Jonathan Pageau? He is a Christian who is very interested in signs and symbolism. I think might enjoy him. He has a YouTube channel.

  128. Em says:

    When i think of my childhood and my grandpa’s prayers…..
    I pray all could find data points in their past that reveal the power, constancy and grace of God! ! !

  129. Jean says:

    I find John’s writings often multi-layered. Whether it is Jesus in the Bread of Life discourse, where I find it impossible not to hear a reference to the Eucharist, or Revelation 12 – the woman who gives birth to a male child who is caught up to God, I fine impossible not to think of Mary.

    Even at the cross, in John’s Gospel, Jesus says to John, “Behold your mother,” and to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Are we invited to view Mary as the mother of the church?

  130. Everstudy says:

    I’ve always struggled with “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.”

    Even with all of the grace and mercy shown to me by God, I find it rather easy to be the opposite. I’ve held grudges for too long and have been immerciful (if that’s a word) to too many.

    I believe; help my unbelief.

  131. Duane Arnold says:


    The Beatitudes show us what we lack, but also point to the solution… We’re all in the same boat.

  132. steve says:

    I’m curious what your background is or what denomination is, etc..? I saw Josh’s comment not understanding you and I had a similar feeling. It seems like you are a very independent thinker but was very curious where in the theological spectrum you fall or who you associate with or what your tradition is. I’m just curious because it does seem like you have some interesting takes on things that’s a bit different than the usual. Definitely not criticizing, so please don’t take it that way.

  133. Nathan Priddis says:

    Steve. I became a believer at a very young age. Perhaps four? Certainly by five. It was not a couched thing and I can not explain all of the thoughts and concepts I had. Nor where all if them thoughts normal associated with children. I would then be inundated with a tsunami of religious schooling.

    I guess I would name:
    Missionary Alliance
    What outsiders call Plymouth Brethren
    Influenced by CC
    Associated with Reconstructionist (embarrassing)
    Conservative Presbyterians who didn’t want to admit to Presbyterianism.

    I don’t actuality have a personal tribe.

  134. josh hamrick says:

    Meek. That’s the killer for me. I wouldn’t even know where to start.

  135. Steve says:

    Thanks Nathan. Interesting background

  136. Em says:

    Jean on 11/3 @6:37pm
    Revelation – the book of – takes some cross referencing and coordination….
    Too much to try to post here…..
    God keep

  137. Nathan Priddis says:

    No Xenia. I haven’t heard of Jonathan Pageau. I’ll look him up.

    There are a rare few individuals with an interest in the Mazzoroth. They don’t seem for the most part, to be serious stable minded people. Peophecy nuts, Black Hebrews, conspiracy theorist, ant-vaxxers, etc.

    Strangely, some of this type seem to have no actual interest in the Mazzoroth itself. Most seem to have utilized Starlerium.

  138. Duane Arnold says:


    μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς ὅτι αὐτοὶ… It is really a matter of restraint, this is having strength but making the choice not to exercise that strength. It doesn’t equate with weakness.

  139. josh hamrick says:

    Yeah, but my flesh is the opposite. I am weak, but want to display strength. Its been ingrained in me since birth. The more vulnerable I feel, the stronger I must appear.

  140. Duane Arnold says:


    The Beatitudes call for a reversal of both culture and psychology in terms of what we value…

  141. Jean says:

    In at least one divine liturgy, that of St. John Chrysostom, I understand the Beatitudes are chanted or sung as a Canticle every Sunday. I believe the early church read the Beatitudes as primarily Christological – that is as being primarily about Christ, and secondarily as about those attached to Christ through union with Christ.

    Two examples point to a Christological reading of the Beatitudes. In the final judgment scene of Matthew twenty-five, Jesus portrays Himself as poor in spirit: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

    In Matthew eleven, Jesus refers to Himself as the meek: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (KJV)

    At the point of Matthew five, given the Christological material preceding the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes appear to be introducing his disciples to who He is, and by extension who they are in Him.

  142. Duane Arnold says:

    “Christ fulfilled all of the beatitudes, because he taught nothing except what he had fulfilled himself beforehand. He was poor both in possessions and in spirit, saying, The Son of Man has nowhere to lay down his head (Matthew 8:20). He was meek, saying, Learn from me, for I am meek and humble in heart (Matthew 11:29). He grieved over others’ sins when he saw the city of Jerusalem and wept over it (Luke 19:41). He hungered and thirsted for righteousness, saying, My food is to do the will of my Father (John 4:34). He was merciful, saying, I desire mercy and not sacrifice (Matthew 9:13 and 12:7). He was pure in heart, saying, Be holy because I am holy (1 Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11:44). He was a peacemaker, saying, I grant my peace to you (John 14:27). He suffered persecution, saying, If they persecuted me, they also will persecute you (John 15:20).”

    Christian of Stavelot (9th Century)

  143. Xenia says:

    In at least one divine liturgy, that of St. John Chrysostom, I understand the Beatitudes are chanted or sung as a Canticle every Sunday. <<<

    This is true. We sing the Beatitudes when the Gospel Book is brought out, every Sunday.

  144. Duane Arnold says:

    Commentaries on the Beatitudes by Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa ensured that they became an intrinsic part of medieval spirituality in both the East and the West. In the West, the Beatitudes were often memorized as a part of medieval catechisms whereas in the East they became incorporated as a part of the Liturgy…

  145. josh hamrick says:

    “The Beatitudes call for a reversal of both culture and psychology in terms of what we value…”

    Absolutely! Complete upheaval. It does make me thankful for God’s grace. He is, where i am not, but it doesn’t excuse where I should be.

  146. josh hamrick says:

    As an aside, because of the earlier discussion I went back to some of my Ryrie books, curious as to what he would say. In his 1995 book, “Dispensationalism”, he does have an entire section dedicated to the Sermon on the Mount. As one might expect from the title of the book, this did discuss which dispensation the sermon belonged to, Law / Gospel discussion (His view is that the Sermon is all Law, no Gospel), and an answer to Dispensational critics who say Dipies don’t believe the sermon is for Christians today. He says that primarily it was not, but secondarily, there is application for today.

    Since mine is a print copy, I searched online to grab a couple of quotes, but found a different article by Ryrie on the Sermon:

    In summary, he says King Jesus had just chosen his cabinet, and the sermon was a debriefing. He clearly states that the sermon is marching orders for Disciples then, and today.

    I think that sometimes different traditions get confused by unfamiliar language, and jump to harsh conclusions about one another. To me, Ryrie presents the hypothetical argument in his book (Which Dispensation?), but the practical argument (Marching Orders), in the linked paper.

    I chose Ryrie because he was as Dispy as any Dispy ever. He did not consider Blaising and Bock, and certainly not someone like me as Dispensationalists at all. I would say that any view that goes further than Ryrie in disassociating from the Beatitudes is not at all an accurate representation of Dispensationalism.

  147. Duane Arnold says:


    Here’s the take from the Catholic Church Catechism, which uses the Beatitudes to open the section on Life in Christ:
    ” The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfill the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory, but to the Kingdom of heaven…”

  148. Michael says:


    When Steve Wright was here he was clear that the New Covenant was not yet in effect and the Beatitudes belonged to another dispensation.

    His college was David Jeremiahs…

  149. josh hamrick says:

    Right, and I think Ryrie would agree, but what does that actually mean? It does mean that the Beatitudes do not apply to Christians today.

  150. josh hamrick says:

    It does NOT mean. Geez.

  151. Duane Arnold says:


    Not to go down a rabbit hole, but I have a disconnect. The Beatitudes only appear in the Gospels in the second half (I’m being conservative) of the first century… and then we say they belong to a past dispensation?!? It turns them into an historical artifact, doesn’t it?

  152. josh hamrick says:

    Not to me or Ryrie. The question of Dispensation (Ryrie prefers economy) is just about distinct periods when God dealt with man if different manner. We don’t toss out the 10 Commandments because they belong to the older dispensation. It just helps us to understand what was going on then, and how it applies now.

    Personally, the time that Jesus was on earth is the toughest to categorize in such a way. Certainly, there was major change after the cross, but there was also major change at the Incarnation, which I don’t think the common dispensational grid accounts for.
    As I’ve said before, I have found the hermeneutic to be helpful in some places, and not as helpful in others.
    I am currently teaching a hermeneutics class at my church through the end of the year, and we aren’t mentioning dispensations once. I’m a really bad Dispensationalist 🙂

  153. Duane Arnold says:


    I’m not saying good or bad. I still hold to the Gospels being the testimony of the Church to the life and teaching of Jesus. It’s hard for me to lay the template of another dispensation over any part of the Gospels. Even when you say “after the cross” I immediately think “slain before the foundation of the world”. Of course, I may not be dealing with the nuance of the dispensationalist hermeneutic…

  154. josh hamrick says:

    Yeah, I get you. And I agree to some extent, and don’t use the grid for everything. Maybe if i explained it as distinct historical periods, rather than dispensations or ages, that would make more snes of what I’m trying to say.

  155. Jean says:

    When I read articles by dispensationalists, like the linked article by Ryie, they actually depress me emotionally. These statements by Ryie in particular depressed me:

    “No evangelistic sermon was this”

    At the beginning of the Sermon, Jesus proclaims amazing Gospel: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Here Christ, who John the Baptist has already prepared the people for the Lord’s arrival tells the people that He has come to fulfill the entire Law and all the prophesies the people were waiting for. How is that not evangelistic? What other way could He draw sinners to Himself?

    Towards the end of the Sermon, Jesus promises: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Is this not evangelistic? His words have power!

    More Gospel:

    “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” He speaks on behalf of God and promises that their prayers will be heard!

    Later Ryie says:

    “It is rather astounding to realize that the Sermon on the Mount contains no blueprint for winning Palestine to Christ. There are no orders to evangelize the world in it. There is very little in it about the disciples’ future activities.”

    I think the Sermon is an amazing blue print for both winning converts but also describing the disciples’ future activities. Here is a summary:

    “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Isn’t this kind of conduct what made Christianity attractive to unbelievers in the early years?

    In John’s Gospel, he records Jesus saying, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Is the Sermon not a blue print for what love looks like? Wouldn’t Christians conducting their lives according to the Sermon be a blueprint for activities and have evangelical benefits?

  156. Duane Arnold says:


    I think most “systems” have inherent weaknesses that are only seen upon application. Although I make use of historical/critical methodology, I’m always aware that, for instance, the variant text may be the correct reading. No hermeneutical system is inerrant. More and more these days I find myself applying the literary methods of Robert Alter. So, for the Beatitudes, I consider why they were included in two Gospels; who was the audience; what did the earliest readers make of them; do they belong in a certain literary tradition or genre; etc. All that is to say, it takes a number of tools in the toolbox!

  157. josh hamrick says:

    Jean – Sorry you found the link depressing. I think you read some biases into his words and see things that he isn’t really saying. That’s Ok, though. I don’t agree with Ryrie on everything.

    Duane – I’m sure you are correct about the different systems all having weaknesses. Yes, to more tools!

  158. Nathan Priddis says:

    Josh. I’m very partial to Disp. I would never make fun of it since its part of my upbringing. Clearly there are turning points in time. The giving of the Law, Christ’s straightening of the Covenant, as he said, this is my body broken for you. Its the details where the Dispensations get tough. Like, the Sermon on the Mount. Is it for Israel, or the Church?

    Here is a crack in the Dispensational foundation: Darby’s total separation of Israel and the Church. Israel an earthly calling. The Church a heavenly calling.

    There is a simple solution to this two entity problem: Darby understanding was backwards.

    The Kingdom of God is not two, but rather only one. Israel. The Gentiles would be grafted in. This solution would fulfill the promise to Abraham. His decendents would be as the sand…and the stars.

    An instant solution to the Beatitudes question. It’s yes.

  159. josh hamrick says:

    I don’t know anyone who follows Darby’s teachings. AS you’ll see in the article I linked from Ryrie, he says the Sermon is for Disciples, then and now.

  160. Nathan Priddis says:

    Josh. Reading your link now.

    Nobody reads Darby. He’s a worse communicator then me. He was wordy.

    As I said, Darby came to the US. He wanted people to abandon their congregations and adopt a more Brethren style Assembly. He couldn’t understand why Americans would listen to his doctrine, but remain in their denominations.

    Darby’s doctrine resulted in Dispensationism, and Fundamentalism. In the 1940’s, young Fundamentalist embarrassed by their tribe, created a movement called Evangelicalism. Fundamentalism repackaged in search of political power.

    As time passes Darby’s creation continues to cross pollinate. Less and less Darby DNA is visible as it is diluted. But Darby changed the Church forever.

  161. josh hamrick says:

    I know Darby and his significance to dispensationalism. Its just that nobody follows him anymore. You’ll rarely find any kind of defense of Darby even among the ardent dispensationalist.

    Schofield has mostly been disavowed, but with a wink…that’s our crazy uncle but we still love him. His bible was so popular that it may still be a while before his influence is gone.

    Schaeffer is really where you have to start if you are talking about modern dispensationalism.

  162. bob1 says:

    Josh, Francis Schaeffer?Wasn’t he a conservative Presbyterian?

  163. josh hamrick says:

    No, my bad on the spelling – It is Lewis Sperry Chafer.

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