For a while I've been reading Poythress' Understanding Dispensationalists, because I didn't understand how an evangelical could have a dispensationalist hermeneutic given the gospel insistance on the eternal unity of Jews and Gentiles achieved in Christ outlined in Paul's letters. So, I thought, if I don't understand how a Christian can be dispensational, I clearly don't understand dispensationalism well enough. And Poythress' book is marvellous.
Clear and gracious, Poythress helped me understand dispensationalists (does what it says on the tin and all that). He thinks dispies and covenant theologians aren't as far off now as we think, and picks out a few key issues which challenge dispensational theology or call for more study.
At the risk of giving the impression that Poythress' study is as narrow as the following, I was then interested to be reminded of Stephen Sizer's IVP book Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? by a friend who's going to be in the church Sizer pastors. I think I have it somewhere, but haven't read it yet. But I found he's got a few lectures of the same title summarising it here. Interesting stuff. I'm becoming increasingly convicted of the importance of historic theology, or studying theology in its chronological context, or knowing some of the history of the development of doctrine, hermeneutics, epistomology and so on. Sin so easily blinds us not only to certain areas in which we are currently wrong, or certain ways in which we each tend to sin according to a sinful personality, but also certain areas chronologically in which we are prone to error or sin different from those before and after us. We do well to read dead Christians and know the history of church & doctrine so to be corrected.
Which leads me nicely into what I'll study next, having dispensed with dispensationalism: Athanasius. I'm very excited.
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