Dispensational Theology in America During the Twentieth Century: Theological Development and Cultural Context

 
9780912340111: Dispensational Theology in America During the Twentieth Century: Theological Development and Cultural Context
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This book is not a renewal program, although it may refer now and again to aspects of the desired renewal. It seeks rather, for the moment, the more modest and frankly ideological objective of defining the ground-ideas of this type of Protestant theology, including how these ideas are articulated in the American context, how they have developed or stagnated in the course of the twentieth century, what are their biblical foundations, and what are their bearings on the parent Calvinism.

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The author thinks that despite several recent assessments of dispensational theology, another is appropriate, since discussion in the last few decades has generated several new re-formulations and much detailed exploration.

In analyzing the type, he finds it composed of seven essential ideas. "Essentialism" as an analytical mentality has its limitations as often noted, since such analysis tends to reduce and thus distort. DeWitt believes rather that too much analytical reduction has already occurred. So, for better or worse, he sets about to find essentials as a complex set of interrelated concepts which make up its central ideas - articulated with detailed biblical, historical and theological materials for definition and fullness.

Definition of a concept requires critical sifting, give and take, and new tries at synthesis. The current study attempts a look at the whole and its conceptual substructure.

Review:

". . . it is clear [DeWitt] has done his homework . . . rarely resorts to oversimplification or caricature when describing those positions with which he disagrees ... keen understanding of both classical Dispensationalism and the various revisions presently underway ... encyclopedic knowleldge of dispensationalism ... fair in his critiques of those with whom he disagrees ...."

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DeWitt, Dale Sumner
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