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Darby, Dualism, and the Decline of Dispensationalism
Fenestra Books, July 15, 2003
Trim: 6 x 9
“Dispensationalism has significantly influenced the evangelicalism of today, but it is undergoing a profound change at the present moment. Where it goes largely depends on where it came from, and Henzel’s excellent, carefully researched book helps to clarify many obscure things. This is a must read for anyone interested in this topic.”
While books such as Left Behind and The Late Great Planet Earth have been best-selling successes, the theological foundation on which they’re built has been in trouble since the mid-1980s. Some of the very academic institutions founded to promote Dispensationalism have moved away from unqualified allegiance to that hermeneutical and eschatological system. Over the objections of traditional Dispensationalists, many scholars have embraced a new variety known as Progressive Dispensationalism, while others have defected to Covenant Theology. If this trend continues, we may witness a return to the situation that prevailed in the nineteenth century, when traditional Dispensationalism had only a meager presence and little or no voice among evangelical Christians.
In Darby, Dualism, and the Decline of Dispensationalism, Ron Henzel argues that traditional Dispensationalism’s current plight can be traced back to its founder, John Nelson Darby (1800–1882), although not for the reasons that non-Dispensationalists have generally assumed. Dispensationalism’s critics have tended to focus on Darby’s excessively literal approach to the interpretation of biblical prophecy, but Henzel offers a new paradigm for understanding Darby, one that has far-reaching consequences for those who would attempt to understand both Dispensationalism and its problems without first consulting the writings of its primary architect.
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