I think I understand now what Dispensationalism is [see vol. 1, issue 51, dated 18 June 2000]. But I am still hazy as to how the knowledge of the errors of Dispensationalism would help a lay person like me?
First of all, it must be insisted that all errors are dishonouring to God because they make God say things which He did not. For example, I personally believe that it greatly dishonours God to speak about the godless people currently gathered in Palestine as the “Israel of God” or the “Holy Nation” or the “People of God.” These are terms applied to the covenant people of God, which today comprise believers and their children (Gal 6:16; 1 Pet 2:9, 10; cf. Eph 2:12). We must not despise these ethnic Jews and should pray for their salvation, but we must not contradict the pronouncements of Christ (cf. Jn 8:44; Rev 2:9; 3:9). Secondly, the dispensational errors of antinomianism and of the eternal security of carnal Christians can give the professing Christian a very wrong impression of the state of his soul. He may be assured of his salvation because he once prayed to receive Christ, but he has never been converted. Such a person may be so deluded that he shuts off hearing the preaching of the Gospel because he believes he is saved already. Such persons are likely to continue to lead lawless lives and are in danger of being called “workers of iniquity” (Lk 13:27; cf. Mt 7:23) at the last day. Thirdly, Dispensationalism often causes lay persons to have a skewed interest in the doctrine of the last things, to the exclusion of other equally or more important doctrines. And this interest is often unhealthy. Recently, a friend of mine, who was previously convinced of the pre-tribulation rapture theory of Dispensationalism, confided that he had postponed being committed in his Christian life, because he had the impression not only that he would be raptured before any difficult trial come upon him, but that by reading the newspapers about the developments in Palestine carefully, he could know roughly when the end would come. Fourthly, Dispensationalism undermines many important doctrines and practices of the Church. For example, churches which subscribe to the dispensational distinction between the Church and Israel really have no good grounds for baptising infants. Not only that, but Sabbath-keeping and Psalm-singing would generally be opposed.
I have no doubt that Dispensationalism has done great harm to the Church of Christ. But listen to what Arthur W. Pink,—who was once a Dispensationalist himself,—has to say as we conclude:
Knowing that he is unable to shake the faith of the regenerate in the Divine inspiration and veracity of the promises recorded in Holy Writ, Satan has employed the subtler attack (which is equally effective if yielded to) of seeking to persuade us that the great majority of God’s promises do not belong unto Christians at all, for, seeing they are recorded in the Old Testament, they are the property of the Jews only.
Cleverly indeed has the Devil pushed his campaign of enervating the importance and value of the larger half of God’s Word. The agents whom he has employed in this evil work have not been open atheists and avowed infidels, but instead, men who posed as the champion of the Scriptures. Thereby the confidence of the unwary was gained. Though at first the radical and revolutionary postulates of the teachers of ‘dispensational truth’ may have awakened a measure of uneasiness in simple-minded souls, only too often they quenched their fears by reassuring themselves that such teachers—so faithful to the ‘fundamentals,’ so loyal to Christ, so well-versed in the Scriptures—‘must be right.’ Moreover, the claims made by these men that God had given them much more ‘light on his Word than all who had preceded them,’ made an attractive appeal to the pride of their hearers—for who wants to be ‘behind the times’? … supposing that his teachers ‘stood for the whole Word of God,’ and impressed by their fervent denunciations of ‘modernism’ and ‘evolutionism,’ [the hearer] thinks that they are to be safely followed in all their assertions. How wily the Devil is! Nevertheless, the fact remains that in the effects produced the labours of the ‘dispensationalists’ have been as subversive of faith as those of the ‘higher critics’: the latter affirming much of the O.T. to be spurious, the former insisting that it belongs not unto us. In either case, the greater part of God’s Word is reduced to a dead letter, so far as faith’s receiving of its present validity and virtue is concerned (A.W. Pink, cited in Iain H. Murray, The Life of Arthur W. Pink [BOT, 1981], 108–9).