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Dispensationalism Paperback – February 1, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


For students and critics alike, take a careful read of this new work.  Ryrie’s Dispensationalism underscores the crucial issue of defense: a literal, plain, normal interpretation of the biblical text.  Set aside your presuppositions and give Dispensationalism a careful hearing.
-Michael J. Easley, President Emeritus, Moody Bible Institute

For all who seek to either understand the biblical basis for dispensationalism or who feel the urge to criticize or dismiss dispensational theology, this book should be read first and foremost. Dr. Ryrie’s contribution to theology and biblical interpretation is monumental. This is a must read!
-Mark L. Bailey, PhD, President, Dallas Theological Seminary

From the Back Cover

Dispensationalism continues to provoke heated debate within the Christian world. Highly acclaimed theologian Dr. Charles Ryrie addresses this crucial issue from the perspective of classic dispensationalism. He confronts the views of covenant theology, historical premillennialism, ultradispensationalism, and in this revised edition, the increasingly popular progressive dispensationalism.
In his bestselling book Dispensationalism, written more than thirty years ago, Dr. Ryrie made this complex subject more understandable for tens of thousands worldwide. This revised and expanded version of that book will prove to be an invaluable reference tool for your library. 

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers; Revised ed. edition (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080242189X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802421890
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Todd Hudnall on May 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
The book Dispensationalism by Charles R. Ryrie is essentially an apologetic for dispensationalism. It is both an exposition and a defense of the dispensational system of Biblical interpretation. The book was written to correct some misconceptions about dispensationalism and to give a positive presentation of normative dispensational teaching. Ryrie's arguments are cogent, consistent and pertinent. The book is very readable and does not require extensive theological training to understand. I especially appreciated the considerate and loving spirit Ryrie had throughout his work. He defended his case and exposed weaknesses he saw in other viewpoints without a spirit of arrogance or divisiveness. All of my questions about and struggles with dispensationalism were not answered, but the book gave me a clear understanding of the position. It would be an important read for anyone investigating this subject.
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I am a layperson who is very interested in theology, so that is the perspective from which I am writing this review.

I really have to recommend the book to everyone, dispensationalist or not, because it really is a very comprehensive look at the subject. Already being a dispensationalist, I have a much greater understanding of the belief, as well as an appreciation for the arguments for and against it. However, I felt that Ryrie left a few questions hanging and didn't really answer them well, for example, on page 85 he talks about how the dispensationalist believes that God has two distinct purposes, one for the Church, one for Israel. However, he never clearly said what those 2 purposes were.

As someone already stated, I, too, feel the book was quite defensive on the whole. It seems as though he was using some of the same fallacies towards the other beliefs (covenent theology, progressive disp.) as he was accusing their proponents of having towards dispensationalism. I realize this was one of the purposes of writing the book, but I just felt the tone didn't have to be quite SO defensive.

I think he did a wonderful job of dispelling some of the incorrect views antidispensationalists have on the belief.

My primary complaint, however, is the author seemed to be exceptionally negative towards progressive dispensationalism. Most of the accusations that he had toward that belief were on what the progressive COULD POTENTIALLY believe. His arguments against what they actually currently claim to be seemed to be quite weak considering even I could easily see the logical (and seemingly valid) response that the progressive would have.

It isn't an overly difficult read, but it's not your light reading, either.
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Format: Paperback
This is the revised and updated edition of Dr. Ryrie's influential "Dispensationalism Today" (1965). Ryrie's goal is to prove Dispensationalism is "the most helpful tool of consistent, noncontradictory interpretation of Scripture" (pp. 11-12). In Chapter 2, Ryrie gives us three distinctive characteristics he feels separate Dispensationalists from other Christians. They are: (1) a clear (or total) distinction between Israel and the Church, (2) a consistently literal interpretation of Scripture, and (3) the belief that the basic purpose of God's dealings with mankind is glorifying Himself. While Ryrie is correct in saying a total distinction between Israel and the Church is unique to Dispensationalism, the other alleged distinctives are illusory. After all, many Christians who reject Dispensationalism believe the basic purpose of God's dealing with mankind is glorifying Himself, while no one (Dispensationalists included) interprets the Bible with consistent literalism.
In Chapter 3, Ryrie outlines the various dispensations. While insisting they are not to be equated with a period of time, and admitting they may overlap and Ryrie argues for seven that basically correspond to different historical periods: Innoncency (Creation to the Fall), Conscience (the Fall to the Flood), Civil Government (Noah to Abraham), Patriarchal Rule (Abraham to Moses), Law (Moses to Christ), Grace (Pentecost to the Rapture) and the Millennium (the Second Coming to the Last Judgment). While dividing biblical history into periods is nothing new, many of the details in this chapter would be controversial, and it is useful for those wanting to understand modern Dispensationalism.
The same cannot be said about Chapter 4. Simply put, the book would be much better if this chapter was omitted.
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The purpose of this book is to clarify what `Classical' dispensationalism is. The topic is obviously a controversial one (look at the other reviews), and the author does a good job of explaining the dispensational position. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding and harsh feelings when it comes to dispensationalism. But the author appeals to the readers to put theological presuppositions aside and try and understand scripture. It is this part of the book that I appreciated. I also appreciate the dispensational system that Ryrie describes, I feel the system is the safest and truest way to understand scripture systematically (if Scripture can be understood that way).
I did not enjoy the parts of the book where Ryrie tries to explain other camps of theology. He has a chapter on progressive dispensationalism, covenant theology, and ultra dispensationalism. I didn't feel like I got a good representation of these theological positions. Ryrie exhorts critics of dispensationalism to not blow down theological straw men, but it seems as if he does exactly that to other theological systems.
At the end of the book, Ryrie makes a plea for unity despite theological differences. Earlier in the book he listed some of the many things dispensationalists hold in common with covenant theologians. There is much more common ground than areas of disagreement. I agree with Ryrie on this point, the differences between the two camps are clear, but they are not major enough to lose fellowship over.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in understanding this particular camp of dispensationalism. I enjoyed reading the book. The book is easy to read, and the thoughts and arguments are outlined well. A must read for any serious theological student (dispensational or not).
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