McMurtry on Dispensations: Part 3

As Tommy McMurtry continues his attempts to “debunk” dispensationalism, we will continue to point out the errors in his videos.  We proceed to video #3.  As always we will find a provocative mix of misrepresentations, straw man arguments, and implying that verses don’t mean what they say.  Of course, McMurtry would never admit that he is going against the text, but we will point out when and where he does.

As always, our target audience is people who dabble in Andersonism.  We want to show that although Anderson, McMurtry, etc, like to sound like they believe the Bible, they will not let the text get in the way of their anti-dispensational theology.  A plain reading of the King James Bible forces a person to either be dispensational or believe that there are contradictions.  If there are contradictions in the text, then God is not the author of the text.  It would be confusion.  I Cor 14:33.  A perfect God could not make anything except a perfect text.

In the video, McMurtry wants to go over the word “dispensation” as it is used in the Bible.  He defines it as best as I could find as, “something given, dispensed to someone”.  He doesn’t give his own definition at the beginning of the video.  Also, he NEVER gives the dispensationalists definition either.  That is because, few define dispensation any differently.

You would assume from the format of the video, that somehow dispensationalists have a different definition. They do not.  This is a horrible template for putting forth truth.  I believe that it is deliberate.  Since, McMurtry cannot stand toe to toe and refute dispensationalism, he must resort to these underhanded tactics.

There is no reason to think that the Bible definition of “dispensation” is any different than the definition found in Webster’s 1812.

“1. Distribution; the act of dealing out to different persons or places; as the dispensation of water indifferently to all parts of the earth.

2. The dealing of God to his creatures; the distribution of good and evil, natural or moral, in the divine government.

3. The granting of a license, or the license itself, to do what is forbidden by laws or canons, or to omit something which is commanded; that is, the dispensing with a law or canon, or the exemption of a particular person from the obligation to comply with its injunctions.

4. That which is dispensed or bestowed; a system of principles and rites enjoined; as the Mosaic dispensation; the gospel dispensation; including, the former the Levitical law and rites; the latter the scheme of redemption by Christ.

If trying to be more succinct, we would just say that a dispensation is an act of dispensing something.  So there is no major disagreement.  Some would define the word as “a period of time”.  Although some would take issue with that definition, I see no reason to.  If I pour water out in my yard, the act of dispensing water has a definite start and a definite end.  So to say that “dispensation” means “the act of dispensing something” implies a period of time as well.

Now that I’ve taken the time to define our terms (which McMurtry did not), we will continue.

I Cor 9:17 – “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

McMurtry has supposedly run into people who will use this verse to teach that there are different Gospels in the Bible.  There most certainly are more than one in the Bible, but there is no reason to think that this verse is teaching so.

Clearly, the verse and the context speak about how preachers are supposed to make a living and provide for their necessities.  So how does “Dispensations” come into play?  Simply, the fact that since there was a change from the Old to the New Testament, there was a corresponding change in methods for providing for ministers.

In the Old Testament, the Levites and the prophets were responsible for ministering to the people.  There are no scriptural responsibilities given in the Bible to taking care of the prophets although the people most certainly did take care of them.  The Levites were to live off the tithes and offerings required in the Law.  Paul brings this up in vs 13.

The people of the church are to provide for the preachers’ well being.  The tithe is never given as a commandment in the Church Age, but we know how controversial that topic is so we will leave the discussion for another article…

But wait, Paul is not a Levite! He is of the tribe of Benjamin.  So something HAS changed.  New information has been dispensed to Paul.  The people of the church are to support the ministers.  The OT system of providing for Levites has been done away with and now the church (NOT Israel) is to provide for the men that God has called into the ministry.

The fact that something has changed is the basis for dispensations.  Why are we not sending out tithes of our fruits, vegetables, and flocks to the descendants of Levi in Jerusalem every 3 years?  Simple.  Something changed.  As we dispensationalists say, the whole Bible is FOR you, it’s just not all TO you.  I Cor 9 most certainly teaches dispensations.

He finishes his thoughts on this text by claiming that dispensationalists teach 2 raptures, 3 Gospels, 2 brides, etc “because of the word dispensation”.  McMurtry knows that this is not the reason for teaching these things.  He is purposely misrepresenting dispensationalism.

Eph 1:9-12 – “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

McMurtry makes no comment on the verses (he only reads 9 and 10 which aren’t a complete sentence…) except to say that dispensationalists misuse the word.  He forbears commentary because he has no idea what the verses are referring to.  This is common solution when an Andersonite gets in over his head.  Like the guilty felon says in the courtroom “I plead the Fifth.”  (That is a reference to the American right to not testify against himself.)

To be fair, I don’t think that anybody is 100% clear on what the “dispensation” is in the verse. We can say that it is a future thing and most likely a reference to something like, I Cor 15:25-28 where it looks like God is talking about something out in eternity.  We can admit that the Scriptures are deeper than our understanding.  But at least we can give out some information.  There is no reason to reject dispensationalism or claim that dispensationalists misuse the word based on this text.

Eph 3:2-7 – “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 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: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Here, McMurtry runs into a classic passage that teaches that the Church Age is a new thing.  As I have said before, Romans and Ephesians are the basis for the doctrine of Dispensationalism.  The passage says that the “dispensation of the grace of God” that is, God pouring out grace, was “not made known unto the sons of men“.  Specifically, this is not another Gospel, but it is the truth that, “the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

That is, God dispensed a revelation to Paul that there is a new body, made up of Jews and Gentiles.  If you think that is the same set up as in the Old Testament, then I can’t argue with you.  You are not dealing with facts.  Anyways, let’s see how McMurtry deals with the passage.

He begins by saying, “God used Paul to reveal something hidden in the past.” This agrees with the text and he should have stopped there.  But he didn’t.  He continues by saying, “it was there but hidden.”  Now this is true in a sense and false in a sense.  We have seen this common problem before from McMurtry and we will assume that it is deliberate.

This truth about Jews and Gentiles in the Body of Christ has been true since Calvary, Eph 2:16, “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross,”  According to the text, it did NOT exist before.  But notice how Peter and the other apostles did not know about it.  See Acts 10 where Peter is fighting God about preaching to Gentiles and then has to repeat the whole story in Acts 11 because it is so controversial.

But McMurtry clearly means more than that.  He means that it has been true since Eden, which it most certainly is not.  Again, if everyone in the Old Testament was put into the Body of Christ, show me it in the Old Testament.  McMurtry can’t and he knows it.

This mystery is something new because as it says, it 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 (this wording doesn’t work if you, like McMurtry, believe that everyone in the OT was in the Body of Christ.  There is nothing about the Body of Christ in the OT besides types.) be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:“.  Everything in the verse is talking about how this is new and never before revealed.  McMurtry just glosses over it, like it isn’t even there.

The only attempt at making an explanation for the text is when McMurtry says that, “Paul revealed more about the original Gospel.”  These words are designed to sound good but say nothing.  There is no attempt to explain what he just said.  He needs to answer the following questions: What is the “Original Gospel”?  If it is the Substitutionary Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ, then demonstrate where someone before Acts understood it all?  Finally, what did Paul add to it?

These are questions, that if left unanswered, it is fair to assume a few things.  We can assume that McMurtry and his ilk are willing to not only depart from the King James text to try and “debunk” dispensationalism, but they are willing to fudge the words of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ himself.  I hope you see the seriousness of the issue!

As I have said before (Anderson, Sluder, and a Third Way to Look at Gal 3:8), if you think that Abraham believed in the same Gospel as we do today and you use Gal 3:8 to prove it, then you are forced to believe that, “In thee (in Abraham) shall all nations be blessed.”  is the Gospel for today.  A person who believes that in Abraham shall all nations be blessed can still go to Hell.  What matters is this: did he believe the Gospel of 1 Cor 15:1-4?


I hope that none of my readers would actually admit that:”In thee shall all nations be blessed.“is the same as “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

The same goes for the “everlasting gospel” of Rev 14:7, “Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”  You can “fear God and give him glory” all you want, but you’re lost unless you believe I Cor 15:1-4.  


End Note:

I am not saying that people who preach like Anderson and McMurtry are lost or that their hearers are lost.  I am just saying that if they really believe what they say, then they will be open to preach a Gospel that is not for today and they would put themselves under the curse of Gal 1.  All this, after claiming that dispensationalists are lost based on Gal 1… How’s that for “turnabout”?

Col 1:21-28 – “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the DISPENSATION of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Here we see that the definition of “dispensation” as “a period of time” doesn’t always fit because who ever heard of a time period called “the time period of God”?   We see that God is the subject, that is, God is DOING the dispensing.

Here again, McMurtry ignores the clear teaching of the text, God dispensed information that no one knew before and that information was Jesus Christ was now living INSIDE of any Christians, including Gentiles.  McMurtry claims that “Paul was not revealing to them a new gospel!”  We would agree.  But no one would claim that this verse has anything to do with the Gospel.  It has to do with Christ living inside of believers.  Was THAT revealed in the Old Testament.  You can find places where the SPIRIT was inside of people in the OT (Ex 31:3, etc), but try and find Jesus Christ living inside of a person.  You cannot.

Some will claim that because the spirit was “coming upon” men in the OT and that it’s just a different way of saying the same thing because of the Trinity and such.  But you’ve still got a problem, because the spirit was leaving men in the OT (“But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.” I Sam 16:14).  How does that fit the NT (Eph 4:30)?  Answer: it doesn’t.

He finishes his thoughts on the text by saying that “there has only ever been one gospel.”  It’s like he thinks that if he says it enough, then it will be truth.  Vanity of Vanities…

McMurtry’s concludes his part of the video by talking about I Cor 13 and how we’ll know more about God in the Millennium and in heaven.  What this has to do with dispensations is anyone’s guess.  I know of no one who would think otherwise.

Finally, we see a clip of Hyles preaching.  As usual, his choice of words is very telling.  He says that to talk about a dispensation of the Law and a dispensation of Grace, “irks the fire out of my Baptist brains.”  I will never understand why a guy would talk like that.  Who cares about the Baptists?  WHAT SAITH THE SCRIPTURES?  What about your “Bible brains”?  Do you even have any?  Or do you only ask, “What saith the Baptists?”

His rebuttal is to say that the Dispensation of Grace started as soon as man fell and goes through to the last man saved in the Millennium.  But to make a statement like that, you are admitting that you lack understanding about the subject of dispensationalism and the Bible.

He has completely ignored the verse that says, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)  If you have a problem with talking about the “dispensation of grace”, then you have a problem with the wording of the Bible.  God was very gracious in the Old Testament.  But THE BIBLE talks about the time after the coming of Jesus Christ as a time marked by Grace and the time before that as marked by the Law.  Neither Scofield, Larkin, nor Doctor Ruckman said that.  The Bible did.

God had grace before Christ, that is why no one physically died the second they committed their first sin.  He gives rain, health, etc to lost and saved people and he has since Gen 3.  But if you think that grace is anything like the grace that showed up at Calvary, then you are not thinking straight or biblically.

So now that we have established that Hyles’ “baptist brain” is in conflict with the Bible, we will conclude by pointing out that salvation in the Millennium is different than now.  We will discard the Baptists where they cross the Holy Scriptures.  If Jesus Christ is seated on a throne in Jerusalem, then how can salvation be by “faith”?  Everyone can see him.  And if people get saved today by the preaching of Christians, then why is witnessing illegal in the Millennium?

Zech 13:2,3 – “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.

If you know of somewhere other than the Millennium to put this verse, please tell me.  But don’t pretend the verse isn’t there.  There is a period where preaching and witnessing is illegal.  It’s not talking about before Christ, or Zechariah should have been killed.  It’s not the church age (Rom 10, etc commands us to preach).  It’s not in the Tribulation, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matt 24:14.  It’s not heaven because there is no death in heaven.  Then where is it?  It’s clearly the Millennium and there is clearly a different set up.  Verses like this are the basis of dispensationalism.  Hyles never dealt with these verses.  Will you?


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