Covenantal Dispensationalism

Innocency. . .Neo-evangelicalism. . .Inextricably. . .Eschatologically. . .and more (so-called) words reverberated in our small group discussion tonight over the differentiation of definition and merit in Covenant and Dispensational theology.

A (brief) Summary:
The dispensations are delineated along the same time periods in both views (with the exception of the Davidic Covenant, for which Dispensationalism has no corresponding epoch), and the terms "dispensation" and "covenant" are used in discussions on both sides. (Thus, to be clear, I will capitalize the word when I am speaking of the movement; if the word is not capitalized, I am using it in its unbiased, generically defined form.)
According to OPR (What DOES that "O" stand for???), Dispensationalism has gone through myriad revisions since the first edition of Scofield's Bible popularized it in 1909. The most recent explications are quite similar to Covenant Theology (hereafter referred to as CT to avoid extra keystrokes and the temptation to coin "Covenantalism"), with a few key exceptions. The longstanding exception that carries through all dispensations of God's plan is Dispensationalism's failure to connect each epoch to a larger, encompassing perspective of God's Master Plan for redeeming Creation. Dispensationalists recognize successive covenants that replace each other rather than an ever-increasing revelation of God's single plan for redemption. This apparently leads to a very serious implication of separatism between ethnic Israel and spiritual Israel (the Church). The covenant made with Abraham, from a Dispensationalist view, is seen as primarily applying to physical Israel and being tied specifically to literal Palestine, rather than being a shadow and type of the spiritual Israel (all believers) and figurative Holy Land (New Heaven & Earth?) that was to come. There is an inconsistency in this view, in that the promises concerning Abraham blessing "all nations" are still considered to refer to Christ coming to save all people (thus, spiritual Israel) while the promises of His numerous seed are considered to refer only to his physical descendants (ethnic Israel), even though there is no such distinction made in the Scripture. This is the most serious point of divergence, as it posits God's purpose being dualistic--one plan for an earthly people and another for a heavenly people. That leads into a discrepancy with bodily resurrection, which CT people strongly believe in on the basis of God creating man as a uniquely spiritual and physical being, not as a 2-part being whose parts may be separated at will. That is, if you believe in a bodily resurrection, it is inconsistent to believe the Church is primarily a spiritual entity with little or no physical substance.
The other major point of disagreement concerns Mosaic law. Dispensationalists say that the Mosaic covenant continued the promise of the Abrahamic covenant only upon the condition of adherence to the law, which changes the criterion for salvation from grace to works. CT adherents would say that the law came to those already recipients of Abraham's promise through faith; the law is, in effect, what is required to continue in that grace.
There were also some interesting observations on the arbitrariness with which Dispensationalists stop and start the efficacy of covenants or sections of covenants, saying for example that Abraham's promise continues through the Mosaic covenant, but not the unconditional grounds upon which it was given. (Incidentally, CT people also say that Abraham's covenant was NOT unconditional, but required perfect obedience to God. Other Dispensationalists say that the Abrahamic covenant was conditional upon Israel's continued inhabitance of Palestine.)

There, I think that is something of a summary. . .there were so many other points and examples that I can't possible convey them all. Besides that, I'm barely lucid enough to get this much. . .and I'm only reasonably certain that I communicated it faithfully. Really, I recommend the book.

One more thing. . .OPR comments that government, science, and art were all granted to humanity through the Japhetic line--Japhetic being from Japheth, the youngest son of Noah. I am at a loss as to from whence this conclusion stems. We scoured Genesis 5 and 9, the only 2 chapters in the Bible with Japheth's name and postulated that perhaps his descendants are those who settled Europe and OPR's comment is based upon humanities history, but that leaves some explanation to be desired. Help, anyone?

Good Night.


If I blog. . .

I don't have to grade yet!

Last night we watched an old favorite movie of mine: Houseboat, with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren. The idea was for me to get lots of grading done while being distracted from the time-consuming monotony with a light-hearted movie. Upon reflection, I do not know that this is a movie I should like, given certain quotes and elements not previously considered in a mature light, and I only graded about 8 papers. Oops. So much for my grand scheme.

It is now Sunday afternoon, and I should, of course, be grading. Have I mentioned how much I hate grading? I hate it.

On the bright side, K made brownies last night, and we have ice cream. Maybe I should eat those. Maybe I should grade first. Maybe.

I read a funny news article here about people stealing a delivery truck filled with $26,000 of beer. They ditched the truck, but of course they took the beer. What does one do with that much beer???

I'll contemplate working now. So long.


Quieting the Crowd

Clamoring fans (fan?) demand more, and I oblige.

Our ski trip this weekend was great, as far as the skiing and relaxing goes. The airport fiasco was another story. Leaving Friday, we were delayed about 45 minutes by a late incoming plane. Major weather issues on the East Coast and minor ones in Denver slowed things down a bit. We arrived in Denver about an hour late and taxied up to the terminal, only to wait 90 minutes for an open gate to accomodate our plane. Apparently, a combination of broken-down fuel trucks, ice, and short-handed staff seriously compounded the weather-related delays. Oops.

We did, however, finally leave DIA, have a late (LATE) dinner, and complete the drive to Winter Park.

After the weekend, we arrived at the airport in a timely fashion Monday night only to discover that our reservations had indeed been made for MARCH 20 rather than FEBRUARY 20. Oops, again. Fortunately (or unfortunatley, take your pick), the mistake appears to have been the booking service's, indicated by similar mis-bookings for many other passengers. Needless to say, flights were booked solid and we stayed in Colorado an extra night. When our Tuesday morning flight also had time challenges (the cargo door was knocked off track and had to be repaired before the previous flight's passengers could retrieve their luggage), we were beginning to wonder if we'd better just settle in Colorado.

At any rate--skiing. Lovely. Cold, but lovely. Fortunately, WP was slightly warmer than the 13 degrees before windchill Denver boasted Friday evening. There was fresh snow every day, which made the slope surface perfect for easy skiing. I only went 2 half-days, partially to spare my as-yet-unchallenged ACL and partially to grade the ever-present stack of papers (which stack was greatly lessened thanks to the cheerful assistance of my gorgeous younger cousin--Many Thanks!). Sunday night we went to a German restaurant and enjoyed fondue. It was great fun. I was amazed at how tender and delicious the meat was--beef, venison, chicken, and shrimp. The five of us shared 2 types--a medley of Swiss cheeses and the broth for cooking the meats, then topped if off with the inevitable and essential chocolate. I confess that chocolate fondue is wonderful when eaten by the spoonful. . .but I only did it one time.

I believe that is all the news of note. School this week has been largely disheartening, if not maddening, and I don't wish to discuss it. We missed small group Tuesday, given our arrival Tuesday afternoon and immediate transport to our respective places of work. We needed the evening off. Tonight I am enjoying the women's long programs and shaking my head in dismay at the often rude comments of one of the commentators. Surely the athletes' mere presence at the Olympics deserves some level of respect! Perhaps I am only too kind. Thankfully, Scott Hamilton is rarely cruel and usually redeems the others' comments somewhat. It is good to be nice.

I am rapidly drifting into mindless babble, so I will cease this ramble. G'night, all.


A Sonnet

This is a sonnet I really like by Pablo Neruda.
Sonnet XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, or you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Here it is in the original Spanish.
No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.

Shades of Love

Today is Valentine's Day--my 2nd Valentine's Day as a wife and the 2nd anniversary of our engagement. We're not going out to an expensive restaurant tonight. I haven't bought chocolates or other red and pink paraphenalia, nor do I expect to receive any. I didn't even buy a card this year, since my husband isn't a big fan of greeting cards. (That's a first--I love them.)
However, I got up extra early this morning to put our Valentine's dinner in the crockpot. Our kitchen is. . .in a very relative state of cleanliness. The living room is somewhat cluttered. I stayed up an extra 10 minutes last night to put away all the clean laundry off the table, so that we could actually have dinner on it tonight. K stayed up to move the kitchen from its state of messiness past the messy-clean boundry. When I get home from my extra meeting after school today that will delay my homecoming an hour and a half, I'll bake dessert and finish dinner preparations. K will probably help. We'll sit down late to a candlelight dinner in our semi-cluttered living room that doubles as a dining room and have a perfectly delightful time.

By contrast, I am watching large numbers of students today strolling down the halls with huge (anywhere from 3 to 12) red mylar baloons, stuffed animals (including a 3 foot wide stuffed red heart), flowers (red roses galore), cards ("To My Wife???"), candy (chocolate, chocolate, chocolate), and more. I overheard a student complaining about the $200 he spent on his girlfriend. I overheard other students joking about someone who broke up with his girlfriend yesterday, planning to make up tomorrow. Tomorrow, things will be back to normal. Couples will be fighting, cussing each other out, making up (making out) in the hall, arguing with rivals, and generally being miserable.

I hope none of my girls get pregnant tonight. I hope all my students learn that money does not buy love or happiness, that poverty can house contentment as well as riches. I hope they live to learn about love that is more than a shower of gifts one day a year.


P, S, & K

It's Friday night, and I've been multi-tasking.
P: While cooking dinner, I composed a (somewhat) poetic tribute to my 2 days of reading student-written sonnets and ballads. Keep in mind that I composed this on the refrigerator with poetry magnets, which is as good an excuse as any for bad poetry and will perhaps save me from the onslaught of verbal irony.
crowds belch poetry
in a mortal manner
idle stock to forswear
some whisper vivid volumes
in the ancient language
of our moon

S: While watching our usual Friday night of new sci-fi shows, I completed several Sudoku puzzles.
K: Also while watching our usual Friday night of new sci-fi shows, I knit 2 more rows on The Never-Ending Afghan.
And that, folks, is P, S, & K


Out to Lunch

I've just finished lunch--2 sticks of string cheese, several slices of deli-style smoked turkey, an apple crisp granola bar, and chocolate fudge pudding (sugar-free)--and am enjoying my last few minutes of relative quiet. Eligibility grades are due today, and I must finish those while my classes write sonnets and ballads this afternoon. I'm afraid my criteria for their poems are lower than they whould be.

Aack. . .students come back early. They're not supposed to do that. I guess I should go. I don't really know what I was going to post anyway. . .it escapes me.


Home Sick

Well, with the warm weather we've been having, the mold in my classroom has had opportunity to multiply, and I am now home sick. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Ha.
Yesterday, I rediscovered how miserable it feels to cope with 20 loud, not-exactly-respectful teenagers while simultaneously coping with sinus pressue, a headache, achiness, and chills. It was decidedly unpleasant.
On the bright side, I woke up wet with sweat from head to toe enough times last night to effectively quelch my small fever, so I am feeling better this morning. I am continuing to take allergy meds and to drink lots of fluids, but I am hopeful I might be back to normal (whatever that is) tomorrow. In the meantime, perhaps I can get caught up on grading and laundry. I also need to go to the grocery store. . .if I survive the next hour without having to blow my nose more than 3 times, I might try it. That will also put my excursion after the lunch hour rush, which is preferable. Perhaps I'll even make it to the post office. Don't ask about rollerblading, though. . .that's probably pushing it a bit.
I've probably rambled long enough, so I'll stop now, wishing you all the health to avoid whatever is going around in Tulsa and the fortune to stay away from moldy places that encourage it.


God is Good

I learned again today that God is good. From shockingly generous offers of help to unexpected warming gifts, He never fails to care for us through the people in our lives. The Klingons (sorry, I'm still a nerd) always say "It is a good day to die." I say it is a good day to live, this day that God has made, and I am glad.