What is the scoop om Dispensationalism. And, does anyone know of any good articles or tracts online about Dispensationalism. Of all the archived articles on this website, I can’t find one that really tackles Dispensationalism head on.

You can start here:


and here:


for some general information (actually, quite a bit of general information).

Thanks for the links. But I am really looking for articles that refute Dispensationalism.


For much of the twentieth century American Protestants tended to be divided between amillennialism and pre-millennialism, with the latter gaining significant ground as the century progressed. By the 1970s, which saw the release of Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth, the pre-mil position became dominant in American Evangelicalism. But something was different about this kind of pre-millennialism. It wasn’t the same as the kind that had been known throughout history.

The new pre-millennialism has come to be called “Dispensational pre-millennialism,” in contrast to “historical pre-millennialism.” There a number of points of difference between the two views, but perhaps the most significant is the Rapture. Historically, pre-millennialists did not use the term rapture, and they viewed the gathering of believers to Christ as something that would happen at the Second Coming, just before the Millennium. In other words, they were “post-tribulational,” in contemporary jargon.

But in the 1830s, an Irish Protestant named John Nelson Darby began to preach the idea of a pre-tribulational Rapture. He spread this view in his own group, known as the Plymouth Brethren, and founded a new theological school in Protestantism. This school—Dispensationalism—holds that human history is divided into a number of distinct dispensations (ages) in which God deals with man in very different ways. Thus Dispensationalists frequently do not allow doctrinal appeals to be made to various parts of Scripture, arguing that they apply to a different dispensation than the one we live in (the “Church age”).

Some good books. I have read the first 2 (can get used copies cheap on amazon) and I am currently reading the 3rd




Thanks guys.

I wish Tim Staples would write an article on it. I like the way his articles read.

After reading a lot on John Nelson Darby, it would appear that, in forming his view, while an ordained minister in the Church of England one of the many factors involved was his opinion that the established Church or rather the Church’s of the establishment whether Catholic or Protestant were completely and irretrievably corrupt, and unlike many of the orthodox reformers who realised that even though they saw scripture as the final authority, scripture still had to be interpreted through the lens of Christian Tradition i.e. the church fathers. Darby felt that this approach had failed and led the established protestant church’s to the corrupt state that he perceived them to be in.
Once freed from the moors of orthodoxy Darby was able to mine the rich vein of all biblical interpretations of the last 1800 years and then weigh their legitimacy against his own private assumptions and predilections of how he perceived the early, pure Christian church believed, thought and behaved.
Darby came up with Dispensational pre-millennialism. His theory became wildly popular in the America of the pre and then post civil war, which is understandable because his theology stood on the foundation of restoring the early church and as a result was anti-establishment which would probably suite a lot of people living in a country on the brink of civil apocalypse. After the War it was taken up and popularised further by Cyrus Schofeild with his infamous reference bible which led the reader through scripture from the dispensational pre-millennial point of view, and is now the predominant theology of most independent evangelical and fundamentalist church’s.
In my view I think that this theology is riddled with problems and weakness’s and they are far to many to go into here however one of the glaring weakness’s is that once a person fully accepts this theology that person is then, like Darby was, cut free from any restrictive norms of orthodoxy and tradition the result being that they then are also free to attempt to restore the early church they way they perceive it was and should be, also they can receive new revelation from God themselves about the time of the dispensation to come, William Miller springs to mind here.
The result of Darby’s teachings are clear to see in the hundreds of the so called restoration sects and cults that sprung up in the America of the 19thCentury and who now plague the world with false teachings and distorted views of Christ and his church.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.