The Church Neutralized–Part Four

by Al Benson Jr.

In the previous installment I noted that dispensationalism seemed to be the theological arm of “reconstruction” in the South after the War of Northern Aggression was over and the “reconstruction” of the South was supposedly ended. We know “reconstruction” didn’t really end because they told us it did. And as dispensationalism was the theology that neutralized the South so it was also the theology that sought to make national Israel equal to or superior to the Christian church. It’s adherents are still doing this today

Evangelist John L. Bray has conducted Bible conferences on prophecy in the United States over the years. Back in 1983 he authored a small book (80 pages) called Israel In Bible Prophecy which has gone through several printings. Pastor Bray observed, on page 30, that “A number of authors credit J. N. Darby of the beginning Plymouth Brethren movement with the origin of this ‘futurism’ which has gained such a foothold in conservative circles during these last 150 years or so. Hoeever, little notice has been paid to the Catholic Jesuit priest Emmanuel Lacunza and his book, The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty (published in English in 1827 in London) with its possible influence on Darby and the translator of the book from Spanish, Rev. Edward Irving…It had been written by Lacunza under the assumed name of Rabbi Juan Josaphat Ben Ezra as a supposedly converted Jew. The main emphasis of Lacunza in this book was the return of Christ to set up a millenial earthly kingdom…following the return of Christ to earth It was in the days following the publication of this book that the system of a futuristic restoration of the Jews to Palestine and their national conversion at the second coming of Christ to earth began to be emphasized and spread abroad everywhere. Rev. Bray told us on page 28 that: “(Lacunza was the one who influenced many toward a revived belief in an earthly Jewish future kingdom following the second coming of Christ;…).

In his Death of the Church Victorious Ovid E. Need Jr has told us a bit more about this Lacunza. On page 86 he said: “In Lacunza’s new dispensation to come, the Lord might still work among the Gentiles, but he will do that work through a renewed national Israel. The victory of Christ seems to have no part in Lacunza’s system of future events. The system, ‘both centering in and radiating out from the Jewish people,’ revolves everything around a renewed national Israel.”

On page 87 he continued: “Despite the Lord’s all Scripture (i.e., law, prophets and the psalms, Luke 24:44ff.) pointed to himself and his redemptive work, Irving, with Lacunza’s support, contended that a glorified national Israel was the theme of all prophecy, and not Christ. He maintained that a restored Jewish nation alone would satisfy the desires and needs of the world. In other words, the work of Christ was not finished at his first advent. Christ’s work must yet be completed;” And apparently, if we believe these people, (and I don’t) then Christ’s work simply cannot be completed without the help of national Israel!

Can you begin to see where the pioneers of dispensationalism are trying to take us? Away from Christ and to natiional Israel!

And this is where dispensationalism continues to try to take us. Years ago I picked up a used book at a book sale in Illinois. It was Jerry Falwell and The Jews and it is a perfect example of where dispensationalism has been taking us. The book was written by Merrill Simon, who is Jewish and in it he quotes Falwell in many places. Falwell is the ultimate dispensationalist. He is a orime example of where dispensationalism is headed. Falwell has said: “God chose the Jewish people to bear His name, to show forth His glory, and to be the channel through whom He would perform His will on this earth.” Falwell also stated that God has never abandoned His people…Neither Christianity nor Judaism is superior to the other. In my opinion, both are dependent on the other…Although I believe that at the present time God’s vehicle for world evangelism is the Church, Israel is yet to play a vital role among the nations. Israel is moving to the front and center of God’s prophetic stage. I believe the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24) either ended with the taking of old Jerusalem in 1967, or will end in the not too distant future.”

Do you get the feeling here that the Christian Church will at some point be replaced by natiional Israel? That’s where all this is going, whether Falwell even realizes it or not.

And while Falwell stated that God never abandoned His people, the question arises–at the time of Christ’s first coming, did Israel abandon Him?

As my family and I were moving through our devotions in the evenings and reading from the Gospels I began to notice that ust about all the opposition the Lord got to His message seemed to be coming from the Jewish religious establishment–the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. The common people heard Him gladly for the most part, but what I call the Zionists of His day, opposed His teaching early and often He had a vision for the Kingdom of God that in no way squared with what they believed. Their vision for the future included them as rulers of the world and they were not about to surrender that vision. Today the dispensationalists are trying to restore that vision for them, with the Christian Church being far back in the pack as “Plan B” if that.

And a final thought. With a critical national election coming up which may decide whether this country will go totally socialist or not, how many millions of Christians will not even bother to vote? How many have been neutralized to the point that they think any such activity is “of the world” and so they will not even go and cast a vote to try to preserve our history, heritage and our culture because they have been taught that none of this makes any difference. The sad legacy of dispensationalism and its effect on Christians today may enable the socialists and deep state operatives to take over the country because Christians just couldn’t be bothered to do anything to prevent it.

The Church Neutralized–Part Three

by Al Benson Jr.

One might almost say that the neutralization of the Christian Church went along with the “reconstruction” of the old Confederate States in the late 1800s after Mr. Lincoln’s War

At the conclusion of the shooting part of that war the Yankee school teachers descended upon the Southern states like a swarm of locusts. Thus was the public school system, as we know it, brought into a South which had little experienced anything quite like it. That’s not to sway that the South was an ignorant region by any means but simply to say that it had never experienced anything quite like Karl Marx’s vision of public education before the War. After the War it was all but taken captive by it

And along with the Yankee teachers came Yankee churchmen determined to force their view of religiosity upon what they considered an unregenerate South–unregenerate in that it had never widely accepted Unitarianism and/or socialism.

But not all Southern folk were fooled. Francis Butler Simkins in A History Of The South observed: “An Alabamian expressed the opinion of most white Southerners when he said: “Perhaps the greatest liars and most malignant slanderers that the North has spewed out upon the South since the close of the war, are the reverend blackguards that have been sent among us as ministers of religion.”

Joseph Canfield, in his authoritative book The Incredible Scofield and his Book has given us some insight on how new doctrines were introduced into our churches in the 1800s. Joe told us that “The Niagara Conference grew out of a major effort which originated with the Plymouth Brethren. In the period after the Civil War, they pushed very hard to get general acceptance for that interest in prophecy which had started in England following the French Revolution. While there had been millenial elements in the movement which forced the United States into the Civil War, the Plymouth Brethren position had not completely taken over. The church or at least a large part of it had to be directed to the view that its hope was its own failure.”

It goes without saying that such a doctrine is at complete odds with the traditional orthodox Christian view. Gary DeMar, in The Reduction of Christianity asked an interesting question regarding this situation. He said “If Christians retreat from the cultural issues of the day, who will, humanly speaking, visibly control the future course of history? If Christians won’t, humanists will…Christians retreat because there is no hope. As more Christians retreat there is less hope. Finally, the whole cultural field is left to humanists who insist on taking us down the road to an international statist utopia.” And you have to admit that with dispensationalism this is the reward we have reaped–a failing church doing nothing but trying to save souls in bunches to get them into heaven. To them nothing else matters. And while saving souls is important it is not the end all of everything.

Joe Canfield also noted the time John Nelson Darby spent in St. Louis with Rev. James Brookes, the pastor of a Presbyterian church there. And he noted: “Darby concentrated on an area in the United States which had strong connections with the Continent which had hatched ungodly ideas. It was in that city that he profusely scattered the seeds which flowered into Dispensationalism.” St. Louis in the mid-1800s was a hotbed of radicalism. Many of the socialists and Communists from the failed socialist revolts in Europe in 1848 ended up in the St. Louis area. Canfield also noted that”…the blossoming of Darby’s movement in its American form was entrusted to a man bases in St. Louis who had a ‘French Connection?’ That man was C. I. Scofield.” Beginning to get the picture yet?

You need to read Joe Canfield’s book about Scofield. It seems that Scofield was, to say the least, rather an “interesting” personality. Canfield told us that Scofield married his second wife before he bothered to divorce his first wife, and that Scofield, only three years after his “conversion” was called to preach at the First Congregational Church in Dallas, Texas. This was only five years after the “official” end of “reconstruction” in the South. And for those who understand “reconstruction” in the South, they realize it did not really end in 1877 when the Yankee troops pulled out. It has continued right on down to the present day here. The Yankee troops left but the Yankee school teachers and some of the Yankee churchmen stayed on because they understood what “reconstruction” was really all about.

The church Scofield pastored in Dallas grew. It had started out with seventeen charter members–eleven of them being from the North. Scofield went on to become acting missionary superintendent for the Congregationalists in the Southwest, which included churches in Texas and Louisiana. He went on to become president of the board of trustees of the Congregationalists Lake Charles College in Lake Charles, Louisiana. So he was able to spread the doctrines of J.N. Darby throughout the deep South within a decade after the supposed end of ‘reconstruction.’

Pastor Duane Garner, who I have mentioned previously, has noted that “Dispensationalists have no multi-generational focus. As they consistently apply their theology to their mission and lives, they find it foolish to take on any effort that may take several years, even several generations to finish…Instead of viewing their own homes and descendants as their greatest mission field and greatest opportunity to impact the world for the cause of Jesus Christ, they fear to bring children into the world…They see little need to facilitate the training of great musicians, skilled artists or gifted writers. There is no time for such efforts. The creation is dying and everything is going down the sewer. The results of this dogma manifest themselves in the Church’s steady retreat from society.”

Can you begin to envision the results of such a theology in a “reconstructed” South after the War of Northern Aggression had reduced that part of the country to almost a complete shambles?

I have long contended that Dispensationalism was the theological arm of Yankee “reconstruction” in the South.. The timing for its bursting full-blown on the South was propitious. It reduced churches in the South from bastions of their culture into virtual nonentities, content with only “getting people to heaven” and little else. What a come-down from the preaching of stalwarts like R. L. Dabney and Benjamin Morgan Palmer! And this is where we are in our day–God help us!!!

To be continued


The Church Neutralized–Part Two

by Al Benson Jr.

In the area of the neutralization of the Christian Church one of the greatest neutralizers has been the theology of what we call dispensationalism as promoted in the Scofield Reference Bible. This theology has reduced much of the church to doing little more than promoting an endless exposition of John 3:16, no matter what the sermon topic is listed as in your Sunday morning church bulletin.

I have been in churches like this. No matter what the church bulletin says it will be about the sermon almost always ends up as an exposition of John 3:16 with an alter call and twenty eight verses of “Just As I Am” to close out the service. After all, to preach on anything else might get us into dirty politics and we want to avoid that like the plague so we just stick to John 3:16 and you will never have to worry. This is the sad legacy that dispensationalism has left us–this and how everything centers around the promotion of national Israel to the exclusion of the Christian Church which is, in the final analysis, really only “Plan B” with national Israel being Plan A.

Many will be surprised to learn the dispensational theology is a fairly new occurrence in church history. You never saw it much before the 1820s. Biblical commentaries in the 1850s that I have seen never mentioned some of the material you see in the Scofield Reference Bible.

Rev. Duane Garner, a pastor in North Carolina, wrote about some of this several years ago now for a lecture. He wrote: “Some historians trace it (dispensationalism) to the visions of a young Scottish woman named Margaret McDonald, a member of the Plymouth Brethren Church whose trances revealed to her that the return of Christ would be in two distinct stages. She dreamed that the believer would be caught up with the Lord in the air preceding the days of the antichrist and before a final revelation of Christ at the end of the age. Others trace this view directly to Ms. McDonald’s pastor, J. N. Darby, who left the Church of England to join the Scottish Plymouth Brethren in 1827. Darby first made use of the two-stage return of Christ in his sermons in 1830 and continued to develop the idea throughout his ministry…Darby can rightly be considered to be the father of dispensationalism for he was the first in the history of Christianity to write and preach using the dispensational hermeneutic.”

Rev. Garner also informed us that, in 1956, a former president of the American Baptist Association, Albert Garner (no relation) admitted that the “then popular views concerning the rapture and the resurrection of the dead were not more than fifty years old.” So this was, indeed, a new doctrine, even though most of its adherents do not consider it so. Most people in this country got it from the Scofield Bible, first published in 1909

John Nelson Darby made several trips to this country and he made several trips across the Great Plains on the new Union Pacific Railway, something most Americans couldn’t afford. Robert L. Pierce, author of the book The Rapture Cult commented on this and noted: “Darby’s unusual mobility for his day and time, and his seeming lack of financial problems.” Most ministers in that day and time were just not all that wealthy, so if Darby had no apparent financial problems running all around this country, then who financed him?

There are a number of things that the dispensationalists claim are future events (which puts them in a context of being subjects for today’s “prophecy conferences”). Christians adhering to the dispensational viewpoint spend much time dealing with these “end times” subjects and thereby mostly ignoring what goes on in the world around them now. Actually most of those “end times” things they think are in the future have already happened.

In his book He Shall Have Dominion Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. has noted, on page 169 “Thar Matthew 24:4-33 en toto has been fulfilled seems quite obvious on the two following bases. First, its introductory context strongly suggests it. In Matthew 23, Jesus sorely rebukes the ‘scribes and Pharisees’ of his own day (Matt. 23:2ff), urging them finally to ‘fill up then the measure of your fathers’ who killed the prophets (23:31-32). Christ says that they are a ‘generation’ of vipers (23:33) that will persecute and slay His disciples (23:34). He notes that upon them will come all the righteous blood shed on the earth (23:35). He then dogmatically asserts: ‘Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation‘ (23:36).’…In 23:36, He dogmatically asserts all these things shall come upon this generation. He closes the relevant portion of the prophecy by repetition of the time frame: Matthew 24:34 says, ‘Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled.’ And just forty years later Jerusalem was destroyed! Contextually the ‘this generation’ of Matthew 24:34 must speak of the same idea as that of Matthew 23:36.”

So lots of the stuff we were taught about these events being in the future by dispensationalists selling books about the “end times” have already gone by. They are history, not present day prophecy about our future. The Christian Church has been sold a bill of goods designed to keep them concentrated on history that has been reinterpreted as future prophecy. All this keeps their minds off current events while they hope for a secret, imminent “rapture” to get them out of the current world mess so they won’t have to deal with any of it. The real truth may just be that the Lord wants them to deal with it not to try to run away from it.

To be continued.