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From Dispensational Distinctives, Vol. II, No. 3; May-June 1992. This article can also be found at


One of the ongoing controversies between dispensationalists and nondispensationalists revolves around what the church has historically believed or not believed on issues relating to dispensationalism. One of the major lines of, attacks commonly employed by opponents of dispensationalism is to say that the system of theology is so new and unique that it cannot be Biblical or it would have developed earlier. Most dispensationalists have replied, like Martin Luther did to the Roman Church, that the issue should be settled on the basis of exegesis and what the Bible teaches, not what the church has historically believed. For example, dispensationalist Dr. Charles Ryrie has noted, "After all, the ultimate question is not, Is dispensationalism–or any other teaching–historic? but, Is it Scriptural? Most opponents of dispensationalism realize that this is the issue, but they still persist in using the historical argument with its fallacious implications." (Dispensationalism Today (Moody Press, 1965):67)