I am of Paul – hyperdispensationalism

This is a longer article on the errors of mid-Acts or Hyperdispensationalism (Those who say they are of Paul, or Pauline). I didn’t find a way to shorten in, on the contrary, I felt as if I left so much out. But it’s a start, and I exhort you to treat it like a Bible study. Look up the Scriptures and see if they say the same things to you.

Some brief points or thoughts regarding hyperdispensationalism

Not all adhere to each point. There are so many hyper-distinctions that the Word of God is distorted. It’s hard to know where to begin or end. The points are explained more fully below. As always, I’ve linked most verses.

  • Called Mid-Acts or Pauline generally (Acts 9 or 13), however some hypers believe the body did not start as late as Acts 28.
  • They say only Paul taught being ‘in Christ’. Rom 16:7 shows these people were named as being ‘in Christ’ before Paul was in Christ.
  • Believe there are Two different gospels. They believe the Jew is saved by faith plus the law and Gentiles by Faith alone. Because Paul said ‘my gospel’ they think it was somehow different (Rom 2:18; 16:25; 2 Tim 2:8). There is one gospel not two, the just have always lived by faith. The righteous have always been declared so by belief in God and His promises. From the beginning.
  • Peter, Barnabas, James, John, were all operating under the Old Covenant.
  • The New Covenant is only for Israel and we are not partaking of it.
  • They teach being Born again is not for the Church, only for Israel.
  • Some believe repentance is not for the church because some think it means turn from sin.
  • They do not believer Water Baptism is for the Church.
  • Many do not believe the Lord’s Supper is for the Church (Ultra-dispies).
  • Many do not believe the Great Commission is for the Church.
  • Rightly Dividing, Paul is our Apostle, or Romans through Philemon are identifying statements. Typically they are KJVO, not just KJV preferred.
  • Romans through Philemon are the only epistles for the church.
  • Hebrews through Revelation are futuristic and only for Israel.
  • The church of God is the same church and is also identified as the body of Christ. Paul speaks of His persecution of the ‘church of God’ in Gal 1:13; 1 Cor 15:9. (Also see Acts 8:1-4). Hypers see the church and the body as different. And Mid-Acts see the Pauline church and the church of Acts 2 that the Lord added to differently.
  • Col 1:18 – Jesus is the Head of the body, the church, (same thing for those who differntiate), the beginning of the church, the firstborn of the dead. In all things Christ has the preeminence (not Paul).
  • There are three classifications of people, Jew, Gentiles, & the Church of God (made up of believing Jew and Gentile).
  • Gentiles & Jews hearts – Are both purified by faith in the same way (Acts 15:9)
  • Gentiles & Jews – Both given the gift of the Holy Spirit when they believe – Acts 10:44-45,47; 15:8 (not when they have kept the law)
  • They differentiate between Jewish believers and Gentile believers (Eph 2-3) going against God’s intent for one new man/body.
  • They state Jewish believers are the little flock and not the church.
  • That only Paul understood the mystery, again, dividing either in Acts 9 or 13 (Mid-Acts) or latter Acts (Chapter 28). Those hyper-divide the church and the body.
  • The Mystery was not foretold. Even though not understood when prophesied, 1 Corinthians 15 is clear and many OT Scriptures; ‘as the Scriptures said’…
  • That none of the others preached the cross, some even say the message of the cross is not seen in the book of Matthew – John. Some say only the Kingdom message is preached through Acts 28.

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What exactly is hyperdispensationalism?

Hyperdispensationalists also known as Ultradispensationalists frequently call themselves Mid-Acts or Pauline, believing the church didn’t begin until Acts 9 or 13. Possibly they’re attempting to avoid mixing grace with law. We firmly believe they over divide in not understanding certain Scriptures. Classic Dispensationalism sees the church age starting at Pentecost (upon the promise of the Spirit we are baptized into the body of Christ by belief in Him – 1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4-6) and seems to be the simplest and clearest approach.

I firmly believe Paul would be angry and distressed that people were identifying themselves after him, instead of after the one who suffered and died for them, purchasing them with His blood (1 Cor 1:11-13). I will point out there are some who identify as Mid-Acts who do not name themselves after Paul but after Christ. They are attempting to look at what is written to which group, but I still believe they get it wrong.

Hyperdispensationalists distinguish between Paul and Jesus, stating that Jesus came not except for the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Matt 15:21-28). Interestingly in that passage, Jesus dealt with a Gentile woman right after He said that, still showing her mercy by healing her daughter. Obviously, He also came to a Samaritan woman at the well in John 9 among other Gentiles. In Matthew 10, he also sent His disciples only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, preaching that the Kingdom of God was ‘at hand’.

He did say this, but they need to understand it is about order of preaching, as well as fulfilling of prophecy of coming to His people first. His own people would reject Him and in so doing, there would be a parenthesis of time called the church age. The Gentiles being included in the promises, were prophesied to be included from the beginning with Abraham, and even in the garden. When Jesus rose again from the dead, He sent His disciples to all people with the same message — first to the Jew (order of preaching), then the Gentile. And all who believed on Him would receive the same promised Spirit, the Comforter — hearts purified the same way, and all part of the same body (from the beginning when the Spirit first added them to the church in Acts 2).

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Those that call themselves after Paul use Romans 11:13 (and others) to say he is “their apostle” and “the only one they are to listen to.” This places a difference between Jew and Gentile, dividing the body/church (as they state the Jews had to believe the gospel and follow law to be justified). Paul said he only magnified his position so he might provoke some of them (the unbelieving Jews) to jealousy (vs. 14). The purpose was so that he might ‘save some’. Same thing he said in 1 Corinthians 9. He made himself a servant to all (yes all, not just the Gentiles). To the Jews he became as a Jew, those not under the law as not under the law, to the weak, weak, so that he might that he might ‘save some’. He did not tell the Jews to go talk to Peter, James or John to get their different gospel.

Peter did not live under the law, nor did he preach keeping the law. Paul said Peter lived ‘after the manner of the Gentiles’ (not keeping the law) except when certain Jews came into town (for that he was publicly chastened). God put Jew and Gentile together in the same body, purifying their hearts in the same manner. The worst thing this movement does is to put asunder what God joined together as one.

Rightly dividing? (or wrongly dividing?)

Years ago I read a book, Wrongly dividing the Word of Truth, by Harry Ironside (available in free pdf’s online). It was well before I had come across some who were teaching this, but obviously wrong dividing was an issue back even in the 50s and before (Bullinger was way overboard). Most Mid-Acts believe this dispensation of Grace (Eph 3:1-2), didn’t start the middle of Acts, until it was revealed to Paul alone (we know by special revelation). And worse, they believe it was not revealed to the disciples, who were the foundation of the church (along with Paul). They tie 1 Cor. 9:17 back to a mid-Acts starting point simply because Paul says this dispensation is committed to him. But is that what that verse is saying or are they proof-texting?

Examining context, (entire chapter 9) Paul had an issue that he addressed with the Church at Corinth (chapter 1 & 3). Interestingly, because they were calling themselves after Peter, Paul, or Apollos. Paul pointed them >back to Christ as the only one who died for them. THAT is the saving message.

In this chapter, Paul speaks to these carnal, bratty believers who are sitting in judgment of him, of his apostleship. But he is making his case for just that. They are the proof that he is one of the apostles (an apostle, not the apostle). He is defending their right (the apostles including Barnabas) to take support from them. But he hasn’t taken it, nor asked for it. And that is the point. He is compelled to preach the gospel whether voluntarily (reward) or against his will, it still has been entrusted to him. This is no way suggests it was only entrusted to Paul, again as he also mentioned Barnabas, Peter and the other apostles. And it in no way suggests he was to ONLY preach to Gentiles, as a couple of verses later he says in 19-23 that he is a servant to all and preaches to all, Jew and Gentile alike. (In addition, we know he was chosen as a vessel to Jews & Kings as well).

What was happening at the Church of Corinth, is a similar thing to those who now say Paul is their apostle. 

Popular Foundational Hyperdispensational Teachers

This is a brief list — these teachers below have all passed away. This movement started from out of the partial rapture theory.

  • E. W. Bullinger died in 1913 (super hyper)– only prison epistles (Eph-Phil-Col) were for the church.
  • J.C. O’Hair
  • Cornelius R. Stam
  • Charles Baker
  • Paul Sadler

Les Feldick is a popular living hyperdispensationalist, along with Grace Ambassadors. I don’t identify these people as saved or unsaved ever (as I see some do). Until we know each individual’s gospel they initially believed — we simply don’t know. Keep in mind there are varying degrees, factions, sects, within this group, so I am not broad-brushing everyone as believing all these points. Most have the correct gospel (for Gentiles at least). These are some of their errant beliefs that I have come across. Some may adhere to part or all.

Setting Paul Apart from the other apostles

They say Paul is the only apostle for the church, that when he said ‘my gospel’, (Rom 2:16) he was differentiating it from the other apostle’s message. According to them, the apostles did not teach grace through faith by Jesus Christ. They say their message was faith plus the law. 2 Peter 3:15-17 comes to mind.

They set Paul apart from the others by saying he was not one of the 12 disciples (1 Cor 15:5-8), (when those who witnessed these were mentioned separately). But others were mentioned separately, so that is simply ludicrous. This is another of their reasons they conclude he is not teaching the same gospel. But context of that same chapter shows they all believed, preached, witnessed and were saved by the same message.

We do not agree with hyperdispensationalism — it is not rightly dividing, but it is very divisive. In addition, we believe it to be in direct contradiction with God’s plan for the Jew and Gentile to be one new man.

Romans thru Philemon

That is one of their identifying monikers as well as “Paul is our apostle’ or ‘rightly dividing’. They are causing division alright, just not the way they believe they are. They state Romans through Philemon are the only books that carry instructions for the church. Many teach Hebrews through Revelation are for the Jews only, and all are futuristic. They also say Matthew through John do not include the gospel message (Christ’s Deity, His death on the cross, His resurrection from the dead, and forgiveness of sins). You can see from Luke 24 above (one example), the gospel is indeed preached. The book of John is stated to have been written for a purpose, and that is an evangelical one (John 20:31). All of them include the saving message although they may not have fully understood yet.

You might see Hyperdispensationalists Meme’s go by your page. One is, “We don’t get saved by believing John 3:16.”

But John 3:16 is a bigger picture of the gospel — if you understand why He gave His Son in great love, and what He sent Him to do. It may not elucidate the entire picture by itself, but the book of John itself does. It is basically a metonymy or a synecdoche (a part of which represents the whole).

Two Gospels

It is not Paul’s Gospel, it is not Two Gospels either. As Paul said, it is the ‘gospel of Christ’ (2 Cor 4:4; Rom 1:16, 15:19; 1 Cor 9:12; Gal 1:7)  and they are perverting it.

Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judæa which were in Christbut they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.  Gal 1:21-23

Paul called the Jewish church ‘in Christ‘. Paul said the faith he preached was the same one he tried to destroy in his persecution. Hypers errantly state the other apostles did not teach about the gospel of the cross, that this was only Paul’s revelation. That Jesus didn’t, that the four gospels didn’t. In Galatians 1 Paul said anyone who preached another gospel would be accursed. So, are Peter and the others accursed? No!

They make the case by misusing certain Scriptures as a juxtaposition. They say the other apostles presented the cross as a murder indictment, and His resurrection as a warning that He was coming back for vengeance/judgment. while Paul only presented it as Grace (or differently).

However, Paul did the very same to the Greek Philosophers in Acts 17:30-31:

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

And Peter in Acts 10:36-48 preaches the Gospel to Cornelius, saying it was the same one that were preached to the children of Israel. How Christ was the anointed one, His miracles, how they were witnesses, and then He speaks of His death and resurrection, and again their witness of it. And the command to go preach, and that ‘To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission (forgiveness) of sins…

Same preaching of Christ (who He is) and Him crucified (what He accomplished) !!!

One hyperdispensaitonalist website said:

According to Paul’s gospel Christ died willingly in the place of sinners. According to Peter he died because he was slain by certain Jews. Could it be that Peter does not yet understand the mystery of the cross?”

Could it be they do not understand both are true and not in contradiction to each other? Remember, they do not think John preaches the gospel, but Jesus said He laid down His life willingly in John 10:17-18. Peter and the other disciples were there for that.

Paul’s Gospel

Hyperdispensationals teach that only Paul preached the gospel to the church (the meaning of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ). That somehow 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 is just ‘Paul’s gospel’. But if we look at context, is that the case?

They all had believed this gospel. They all witnessed it (Peter, the 12, then five hundred brethren and he says, ALL the apostles). And they were all the foundation of the church, with Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone.

Paul said he was not worthy to be called an apostle because he persecuted the church of GodGal 1:13. The one seen in Acts 8:3. (Obviously, Paul saw this church the very same as the one he spoke of in Acts 20, although they will say it was a different church). See all the references here.

Did Paul Preach differently to the Jews than Gentiles?

In Acts 9:15, the Lord said Paul was chosen as a vessel, not only to bring the gospel to Gentiles, but also to Jews and Kings. And he preached the same gospel to all, but first the Jews as he said it was necessary to do (order of preaching). The gospel was the same to the Jew as it was to the Gentile, but still he preached (straightaway) Christ (as the Son of God, the very Christ) >>in the synagogues — to the Jews.

As the Scriptures say, Peter preached the gospel to the Gentiles at the first. And Paul first preached the gospel to the Jews before Gentiles, because as with Jesus, that was the necessary order.

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

Later, Paul went to the Gentiles and Peter to the uncircumcised. This is just like when a Missionary goes to Africa or Japan, or is given a different ministry in a certain place. These are not different gospels, (the gospel to the Africans and the gospel to the Japanese). It is not two gospels; one for the Jews (grace plus law) and one for the Gentile. (We don’t frustrate His grace, for if righteousness came by the law, then Christ died in vain – Gal 2:21). Some sadly will go as far to identify you as heretics or false teachers if you do not see it their way.

The Mystery

They teach that the mystery was only revealed to Paul. Is this so, and what is the mystery?

And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. Galatians 3:8

Does it seem that this was also foretold in Scripture? (see the prophecy section below). Even though it was not complete revelation, it was prophesied.

They miss what the mystery is.

They say; “So in this dispensation of Grace, Paul is our Apostle. None other. He was given the info that would be the starting point for the Body of Christ.”

People were ‘in Christ’ before Paul – Rom 16:7. The mystery is not Paul as an apostle to the Gentiles (Barnabas, Peter and others also went to the Gentiles). Nor is the mystery the gospel fully revealed. The Mystery is Gentile and Jew as one new man (one body), partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel – Eph 2:11-22; 3:6.

The Word says,

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles.”

When did the Mystery Begin?

…for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Eph 2:15c-18

Who were those that were afar off? Did the church/body somehow begin only once Gentiles were grafted in? Or was when the Lord added to the church? Or as they try to say that it was once Paul was saved.

The New Covenant

They say we are not in the New Covenant, since it was made with the House of Judah and the House of Israel. We may not be a party to the covenant, but we are a partaker of the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant (Rom 11:15-18; Eph 2:11-18; Eph 3:4-6). Our hearts are circumcised, we receive the Spirit as the earnest/guarantee, and Jesus is the Mediator of that New Covenant. There is still a future fulfillment for the remnant of Israel regarding the New Covenant. But we are grafted into the promise of blessing, dedicated with His blood at His cross.

When was the New Covenant dedicated?

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Heb 9:15 (see 9:15-28, for context)

We are seeing a partial fulfillment of the New Covenant in the Jews who have believed and the Gentiles grafted in to their spiritual promises. The final fulfillment will happen during the Millennium when Israel is restored to God. Hyperdispensationalists argue that the New Covenant was only made with Israel (Jer 31) so is only futuristic. That is partially true, in that there is a future fulfillment with the remnant of Israel. But it is not ‘only futuristic’ as we see Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant for the Church of the firstborn.

Just as in the Abrahamic Covenant, there are promises made specifically with Israel, such as them being preserved as a nation. But the promise of the spiritual blessings (forgiveness and the indwelling Holy Spirit) are now in effect with the church. The blood of the New Covenant is what Jesus symbolically drank with His disciples on Passover and His blood is what dedicated the New Covenant (as seen above in Hebrews 9, poured out for us – Matt 26:27-28; Mark 14:23-24; Luke 22:20).

Just as He was the Lamb that took away our sins, there is the same future promise which will be fulfilled on the Israel of God (the remnant) Rom 11:11-27; Zech 12:10-13:1.

All the Apostles preached the same gospel

I never saw it said or implied that; ‘the gospel was not preached until Paul received the truth of the Mystery’. Even in Eph 3:5-6 it says all of the disciples had the Mystery of Christ revealed to them.

Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

As stated before, in 1 Cor 15 it says all the apostles preached, believed and witnessed the same gospel. And as mentioned elsewhere, the church was already in existence before Paul as he persecuted the church of God.

Church or little flock?

 …to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Heb 11:26b-27

Mid-Acts Dispensationalists make distinctions between the church and the ‘flock’ or ‘little flock’ (they say are the Jewish believers). They say we (the church) are not sheep, only Israel are called sheep (according to them).

But what does His Word show us? Here Paul refers to believers as both the Church of God and the flock by Paul. This alone refutes what they try to force of their doctrine upon the Scripture.

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:28-31

By making this distinction, they are cutting believing Israel out of the church. They even state the ‘little flock’ are not raptured and they have to go through the Tribulation. Here is one comment from a hyperdispensationalist,

“Jewish believers in the church are the Little flock who won’t be resurrected till the second coming of Christ.”

This grievous hyper division of His church makes more sense as this teaching comes from partial rapture theory.

When did His Church start?

Most hyperdispensationalists do not see the same church (that Jesus said He would build His church on – in Matt 16:18). They say the church did not start until Paul got saved (hence why some identify as Acts 9 or 13). They say that the Church that was in existence (prior to Paul receiving the Mystery) was not the Body of Christ, but just the church or assembly formed by the Jews of that day. Is that what the Lord in His Word says?

…And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:47b

Paul said, “I persecuted the church of God.” (see 1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13)

And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem. Acts 8:1a

As for Saul, he made havock of the church. Acts 8:3a

But the Word of God does not differentiate it their way. The church was formed when the Spirit baptized us into the body. There is one body, only one made up of Jew and Gentile (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4-6). And that body was formed when the Spirit was first given in permanent indwelling in Acts 2. This is the promise of the Spirit that Jesus told all His disciples of in advance. This same thing happens to ALL who believe (Eph 1:13-14; Acts 2:38; 10:45).

The church was built on the foundation of the completely Jewish apostles, with Christ as the Cornerstone, (Eph 2:19-21) and grew over time and in order (again of the Jew first, then the Greek). And in Galatia Paul spoke of those believers (Jews) who were compelling others to be circumcised, not because they kept the law (no one does), but because they wanted to glory in the flesh, and they did not want to suffer persecution for the cross (Gal 6:11-14).

When Peter preached the gospel to the Gentiles, he explained the same thing happened to the Gentile as to them (the Jewish believers), ‘in the beginning’ (Acts 11:15-16). When was the beginning? Acts 2:1-4.

Some of these go so far to say that those who do not preach that Paul has the only true gospel for the church are teaching a false gospel. Others have said those who do not believe the way they do are not saved. Or yet others say we preach an accursed gospel. Biting and devouring others in the body.

Becoming Born Again

They say Christians do not need to be Born again and state only Israel needs to be. They argue instead we are only Christ’s body (true – except for the part where they leave Jews out). They also wrongly assert that Paul never spoke about being born again. Just because the exact phrase is not used, doesn’t mean Paul did not say it.

They also say we are a ‘new creature/creation’ (2 Cor 5:17), as if that contradicts being born again. Titus 3:5 speaks of the washing of regeneration. By their logic, we could say it doesn’t speak of ‘generation’ but ‘re-generation’. So we don’t need to be washed if we are a new Creation. But friends, we do need to be born again (second birth). We are given a new nature when we are born again of the incorruptible seed, the Word of God (1 Pet 1:23).

Stating Paul never used the language of John 3 is wrong…

Gal 4:27 and John 3:6 use the same language — we are born again, or born of the Spirit.

But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Gal 4:27

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6  

They may need to spend some time to understand the two new natures.

Repentance

They often say repentance is not for Gentiles, I think this is mainly because they do not understand the word metanoia in salvation. Some will teach the correct meaning of the word translated repent where eternal life is in view. They will teach it is simply a change of mind/thinking which I agree with.

Others are so flummoxed (Possibly by the way the word repent has been misrepresented), they outright claim repentance is never preached to Gentiles. (Is that what Jesus said below? Or how about Acts 17:30 where Paul said God commands all men everywhere to repent?).

Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:46-47

We understand the correct meaning of repentance in salvation, but they often understand it to mean ‘turning from sins’. In fact one said, “to think that we have to repent of our sins, brings a disgrace to the Cross.” That would be true if repentance meant turn from sins (which is most definitely a work).

Mid-Acts & Hypers teach that Paul alone understood the mystery, and also that he taught a different gospel/message than the rest. They make this distinction from the passage that speaks of the gospel of the circumcision and the gospel of the uncircumcision (Gal 2:7). However, again it is clear in 1 Cor 15 and Eph 2 & 3 among others that all the apostles understood and spoke the same thing.

The Lord’s Supper

Some (latter Acts or Ultradispensationalists) don’t believe we partake of the Lord’s supper, even though Paul in 1 Cor 11 definitely does. Some do still take communion, because Jesus said, ‘do this in remembrance of me until I come’.

Are Jews saved by the Law?

Wrongly (not rightly) dividers errantly believe Jews are saved by grace plus law, and state this is what Peter, James, John and even Barnabas taught, supposedly still operating under the Old Covenant.

But the Bible says, no one has ever been justified by the law (Acts 13:38-39; Gal 2:16; 3:8,11,24-25). The Word also says the Law is only until John (the time of John the Baptist). We know Jesus is the end of the Law for righteousness for those of us who believe – Rom 10:4 (there is no distinction).

Galatians 3:23-25 is clear that schoolmaster (the law) was no longer after they came to faith. Paul was clear that Christ was the end of the law for righteousness to those of us who believe. Jesus was clear the law was until John the Baptist (Matt 11:13; Luke 16:16). Peter, James and Barnabas were chastened for living like they were under the law when certain Jews came into town (Gal 2:11-21). Although they claim Hebrews is for the Jews, Hebrews calls it obsolete. A changed law and of necessity a changed Priesthood –Heb 7:12, (Christ as High Priest and mediator). A New Covenant was made, not according to the older one (Mosaic).

Water Baptism

Mid-Acts do not believe water baptism is for the church. They explain it by saying that we don’t need water to be saved. But no one was ever saved eternally by water (1 Pet 3:20-21). They say it is a Jewish ritual for the Jews. They recognize only one baptism, the baptism by the Spirit. We know if we do not have the Spirit, we are none of His, so the promise of the Spirit is what we receive when we believe (John 7:37-39; Rom 8:9). And that is how the first believing Jews were added to the church (Acts 2:47; 1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4-6). We can see clearly Jewish believers are in the body of Christ.’

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Cor 12:13

They misuse a couple statements of Paul’s; ‘I thank God that I baptized none of you’, and ‘for Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel’. This was not somehow a declaration of differing doctrine, but his focus was preaching the gospel, he let others baptize. Paul said he did baptize Crispus, Gaius, the household of Stephanas and couldn’t remember if there were others. So, if Christ didn’t want Paul (or his followers) baptizing, why did Paul disobey?

The Great Commission

Hyperdispensationalists say the Great Commission is not for the church. They cite 2 Cor 5:18-21, as the commission to the church as if they are contradictory. But if Christ gave that command to His disciples which are the foundation of the church, how is it somehow not for us? They also call themselves ‘ambassadors of Christ’, again as somehow this is a conflict. Jesus told His disciples what they should do and where they should go (I believe this is the order of preaching, to the Jew first, then the Gentile (Rom 1:16).

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8

Prophecy

Hyperdispies say what is foretold is secret (vs. being fully revealed or understood by that prophet who spoke it). They literally mean it was not spoken of previously. That means that prophecy (in their opinion) was not about the gospel of grace — (His Deity, His crucifixion, His resurrection, Him taking away our sins). They say it could not be a ‘mystery’ if it was revealed to the Prophets. However, these things were all indeed prophesied.

Taking a closer look at 1 Corinthians 15 (Paul’s gospel, or so they say):

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scripturesand that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scripturesand that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelveafter that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostlesAnd last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 

Look carefully here:

11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

I is Paul, they in context is the apostles, we is all the apostles. They all preached and believed the same gospel. If Paul made no distinction between gospels, why are they? And why are they saying that His death, burial and resurrection were not spoken of by the Prophets?

If prophets didn’t speak of the crucifixion, it seems that Peter would have also been wrong in 1 Peter 1, he spoke of the salvation of their souls — that the prophets enquired and searched diligently prophesying of that grace that would come unto them, including the sufferings of Christ and the glory that would follow, even though it wasn’t revealed to those prophets — they still prophesied of it.

Practical Sanctification

Lastly, some within this group of hyperdispensationalists (or Pauline doctrine) are those who may/may not adhere to a differing doctrine on sanctification. Some who are hyper grace argue against practical/progressive sanctification, figuring that the teaching is some sort of progression to salvation. Call it obedience, call it not sinning that grace might abound, call it discipleship. There is a difference between positional and practical/progressive or experiential sanctification. That’s for another time, because it would be length prohibitive.

4 Responses to “I am of Paul – hyperdispensationalism

  • Uh-oh! Holly, thanks for sounding the alarm on this. I have actually been following Grace Ambassadors for some time without realizing the danger. I can also think of a couple of Ruckmanite teachers who are very Pauline, close to being hyper if not all the way there. I do believe they’ve are all non-Lordship on the the gospel (in relation to Gentiles today) but I don’t want to be soaking in bad teaching along with it. Thanks for helping us all to be more discerning.

    • DJ, thanks for visiting and commenting. I’m happy to hear you are no longer following them. In an interesting way, they take the word Grace and create doctrinal divides. Ruckman is just a cult sadly. I think people can be more noticeable when they only seem to stick to one subject. And for them, it is being Paul followers, Not Christ followers. And that should really put up a red flag for people. I pray it does.

  • Thanks Holly for all of your effort on this. I know that we have seen many causing issues in churches and online over these things.

    Hyperdispensationalism if a tough think to come away from because it distorts much of the framework or lens through which scripture is read and compared. You get the same type of overall distortion going back the other way in progressive dispenationalism or a version of covenant theology.

    I personally think hyperdisp is a lazy way out of explaining tougher passages. It is as of you can make it not apply to the church then you don’t have to worry about it. But they create so many other problems with the hyper division and over slicing of the Word that it just leaves a sliced and diced mess.

    • Thanks Jim. It has caused issues in my own life, and I’m sure others have experienced it. The biggest snare is not knowing His whole Word. Not being in the strong meat of it (Heb 5:12-14). And like Calvinism, they proof-text their arguments and literally miss obvious context a couple verses away.

      It is a mess, and then you have those who hyper divide Paul’s words to further be confused and confuse others. Deceiving and being deceived.

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