Do dispensationalists minimize the importance of the Old Testament and the Gospels?

It is often stated that Dispensationalism minimizes the importance of the Old Testament and the Gospels. This charge is quite invalid, in our opinion. We simply distinguish between what was significant to the history of the redemption of mankind and what is presently a commandment to the people of God. Without this distinction, the Bible becomes a muddle of contradictory expectations. We would like to point out that non-Dispensationalists do the same thing in practice. For example, we do not know of any non-Dispensationalists who are sacrificing animals or requiring circumcision for salvation. So non-Dispensationalists do realize that God can and does change the rules. However, trying to force the Bible into a “whole message,” rather than seeing the different administrations in which God works, produces confusion and muddies the water as to what should and should not be practiced. Thus, it is often the case that failing to recognize dispensational distinctions leads people to doggedly continue to practice aspects of the Law Administration that are no longer required. When it comes to animal sacrifices, everyone agrees, but when it comes to other laws in the Old Testament, there is great confusion. Examples include the necessity of water baptism for salvation, the necessity of good works, the necessity of the tithe, etc. Recognizing that the Church of the Body of Christ is a different entity from either Jews or Gentiles makes it easier to understand what the commandments of the Lord are for the Church.

As Dispensationalists, we honor the whole Bible as the Word of God, which cannot contradict itself. Nevertheless, we realize that the whole Bible cannot apply to us. We cannot be commanded to both sacrifice and not sacrifice, and to both circumcise and not circumcise. We cannot be allowed more than one wife (Exod. 21:10; Deut. 21:15) and only one wife (1 Cor. 7:2) at the same time. It cannot be a capital crime to break the Sabbath (Exod. 31:14 and 15; Num. 15:32-36) and at the same time not be a crime at all (Rom. 14:5 and 6; Col. 2:16). There is no question that God has changed the rules man is to live by, but which and when? The real value of Dispensationalism is that it helps to clarify and resolve what would otherwise be unresolvable contradictions—something that we would expect if it is true.

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