Q: #162. What is hyper-dispensationalism?
A: As we discussed in the previous question (Q: #161), dispensationalists (and most Christians) believe that the “church” began in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost (called by most the “Dispensation of Grace”). However, most hyper-dispensationalists (sometimes known as ultra-dispensationalists) believe that the “church” did not begin until Paul’s imprisonment in Rome when God revealed it as a “mystery.” This so-called “mystery” is said to be exclusively revealed in the “Prison Epistles” (Phil, Phile, Eph, Col) that Paul wrote while in prison.
*** Note: Acts 28 correlates with this time and some call themselves “Acts 28 dispensationalists.” Others believe that the church began in Acts 9-13 at Paul’s conversion.
Most credit a man named E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913) with first advocating this teaching. As a result, it is sometimes called “Bullingerism.” There are a number of heretical teachings associated with this belief system. Let me share some of these (not all hyper-dispensationalists hold ALL of these teachings).
#1. The 4 Gospels were written for the Jews and have no message for the “church.” In fact, all books of the New Testament (including Paul’s earlier Epistles) are rejected as being for the “church” except for the “Prison Epistles” (and a small part of Acts).
#2. As a result, they reject such things as baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and even church attendance in some cases.
#3. They believe that Paul preached a different Gospel than the other New Testament writers.
#4. Soul Sleep (when we die, our soul goes to sleep until Jesus returns and we are resurrected).
#5. Annihilationism (the wicked are not sentenced to Hell for eternity, but instead, annihilated). However, others hold to Universalism (ALL will be saved INCLUDING Satan and the fallen angels)!
#6. They believe that the “bride of the Lamb” is Jews and not the “church.”
Within varying sects of this belief are even more heretical teachings, but these alone should be enough to warn you to steer you clear of those who are hyper-dispensationalists. Let me close by quoting a paragraph from well known Christian scholar H.A. Ironside (1876-1951) who wrote an article refuting hyper-dispensationalism many years ago.
“Having had most intimate acquaintance with Bullingerism as taught by many for the last forty years, I have no hesitancy in saying that its fruits are evil. It has produced a tremendous crop of heresies throughout the length and breadth of this and other lands, it has divided Christians and wrecked churches and assemblies without number; it has lifted up its votaries in intellectual and spiritual pride to an appalling extent, so that they look with supreme contempt upon Christians who do not accept their peculiar views; and in most instances where it has been long tolerated, it has absolutely throttled Gospel effort at home and sown discord on missionary fields abroad. So true are these things of this system that I have no hesitancy in saying it is an absolutely Satanic perversion of the truth.”