Identifying the Seed

As most of our listeners are aware, Rob has been in the process of writing a book on dispensationalism. On today’s episode of Theology Simply Profound Bob talks to Rob about his book entitled, Identifying the Seed, which will be published in early September 2018. Check out the book’s Facebook page to find out more with updates about its publication.

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Theology Simply Profound considers how even the simple truths God has revealed to us in his Word are deeply profound. Reformed theology need not be for scholars alone, it is for every believer. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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William Duncan

9 months ago

I am so excited about your book. With friends and family members under the sway of Dispensationalism, I have been looking for something to offer them as a source to read. I have read Poythress and Robertson several times over the last ten years, which helps me, but they are each too academic to share with someone who has no grasp of Covenant Theology. Sounds like you have filled a void.

Robert McKenzie

9 months ago

Thank you for the encouragement and I hope my book meets your needs.

Kelle Craft

9 months ago

Rob, do you interact much at all with forms of progressive disepensationalism I find more and more in academic circles, especially those dispensationalists that are Calvinists to be of this type.

Robert McKenzie

9 months ago

Mostly in the second half of the book in the section on Dispensationalism I do interact with Progressive Dispensationalism. As I have studied Dispensationalism I have found that the Progressive form while better and distinct has the same fundamental claims that Dispensationalism has always had. Although they try and incorporate the presence of the New Covenant today they still hold to a two peoples of God structure with the Abrahamic, New and Davidic Covenant being finally fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom. They still hold to a rapture of the church and a seven year tribulation period etc. Because I am dealing with these issues throughout the book I focus more on Ryrie, Pentecost, Walvoord because they are the theological founders of the robust system that we understand Dispensationalism to be today. If Progressive Dispensationalism disagreed with them I tried to point this out. Thanks for the question.

Kelle Craft

9 months ago

Yes, thanks for the further clarification and insight! I look forward to reading it when it comes out!

Nancy Guthrie

9 months ago

Do you address the perspective of dispensationalists who would call covenant theology “replacement theology.” I’m sometimes accused of that and I’ve come up with a response, but I’m always trying to improve how I articulate why that characterization of covenant theology makes no sense.

Robert McKenzie

9 months ago

Thanks for the question Nancy and I feel your frustration. Yes this is something that I address in the section on the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. I also explain in the book why Dispensationalists come to that conclusion. I try and demonstrate how they impose their own theological system upon Covenant Theology so that if our conclusions were linked with Dispensationalism then our conclusions would produce what they understand as Replacement Theology. Hopefully my argument in the book will help them correct this conclusion.

Robert McKenzie

9 months ago

In case you are interested, we did a podcast on Replacement Theology a year or so ago that you might find interesting. https://reformedforum.org/tsp75/

Chris Bertram

9 months ago

Is the book available for pre-order on Amazon? Also, will the study guide you referenced in the program be available at the same time the book is released? Thanks!

Robert McKenzie

9 months ago

Thanks for the questions. I am going back and forth with Amazon trying to get all of the margins correct for the back cover. Lord willing that will be done this weekend. Once that is done it should be available for per-purchase. The study guide should be available a couple of weeks after the book is released.

Tammy Van Pelt

3 months ago

I was raised in a dispensationalist church. When I realized that covenant theology was more accurate, I started studying it and realized that both camps don’t understand everything about the other. I’m going to look up your book.

Luke

2 months ago

Thanks for all the research you’ve done on this topic.

I’m wondering if you could give some comment on a specific form of Dispensationalism I see on the rise today: the Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM).

There was a time I saw myself as very friendly to this movement because (at least in my locale), it largely looked like a movement for former non-Christian Jews who had recently come to faith in Jesus as the Messiah. They still worshipped in a manner that has a “Hebrew flavor,” but with a fuller realization that of how the Old Testament types and shadows were pointing to Christ. My earliest acquaintance with them also didn’t give me the impression they expected ME to change anything about my Reformed theology.

However, as I got to know more people in the movement in different locations, I started to notice an alternative theology, one that claimed that Christians are still bound to obey all of the Mosaic code (at least as far as one could without a temple). This means keeping all the feasts, eating kosher, and following a 7th-day Sabbath (among many other things).

When pressed about them being “legalists” or believing in works salvation, they deny it—and I understand why since the HRM folks I know aren’t saying one needs to obey Moses in order to be saved anymore than a Reformed person is saying one needs to obey the commands of the New Testament in order to be saved. They just believe in far less discontinuity between the old and the new as far as the content of the law we are to obey. They claim the church has largely misread the New Testament as far as the applicability of many of the Mosaic laws.

I’ve got real problems with this because the HRM seems to ignore (or reinterpret) a large body of New Testament teachings. They want to say what Jesus and the apostles were moving away from was merely legalism and works salvation: don’t obey the law in a legalistic way but instead trust in Christ’s finished work for your salvation. But it would seem to me the New Testament claims even more than this: that the Mosaic code itself was a works-based system designed to point us to our need for regeneration.

It’s a bit dizzying conversing with the HRM folks in my area because it feels like we’re just firing past each other. Any thoughts on the HRM would be helpful. Thank you!

Robert McKenzie

2 months ago

Hello Luke,
Sorry for the week in answering I just saw this today. I have done research into the HRM and your email was a perfect rendition of one of the major problems, there are so many different kinds of ‘sects’ in this movement they are hard to pin down. I have a friend who is a pastor to a church that is made up of incarcerated men. This movement is very popular in the jail and he has done a lot of research on this, we will try and have him on the podcast at some point because he knows a lot more about this group than I do. I have done my fair share of research and my conclusion is that at the worse end they are dangerous and cult like. At the other end they are misguided Dispensationalist like who have an almost obsession with Jewish practices as if the more Jewish they act the more Christ-like they are. The way many of them use the name Yeshua seems to be more of a magic incantation than just trying to pronounce the name with a Jewish pronunciation. I have heard them say that the name Jesus is not the name of Christ and to use it is wrong, again this seems to be missing the point of who Jesus is.
There have always been some in Dispensationalism that have been enamored with the Jewish feasts and dress etc but not usually to the point of this group. As I said they are hard to pin down because there are so many different types that I couldn’t say who started it or where they are going. Paul told the Corinthians that anyone that wanted to keep the feasts of Israel were fine to do so but they were wrong to tell others that they had too. This group seems to view the keeping of the Law of Moses as essential and mandatory for Christians. But you are correct the Law of Moses was there to drive us to Christ. It was a servant of the Gospel; it could never save and was there to define the Old Testament people of God as set apart for holiness. The food laws were specifically changed in Peter’s vision but it was more than that, the vision to Peter was telling him that all of the Mosaic Law has become non-binding when it comes to eating, dressing and other civil laws. Hebrews and other places tell us that the ceremonial laws of Temple, such as the sacrificial system had been fulfilled and set aside. In fact Hebrews tells us that the Old Covenant had become obsolete and was about to vanish away. This vanishing would happen in 70 ad with the destruction of the Temple. The moral law was always binding to humans and in fact all of the Ten Commandments are reiterated as being binding upon the people of God today. So to go back to living like the people of Israel before the New Covenant is not binding and I would have to be convinced of the benefit. I hope this helps. Feel free to follow up with other questions.
Thanks
Rob

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