The Dispensational Errors of Charles Ryrie & Dallas Theological Seminary

by Jerry Shugart

IV. Errors Compounded

Are Dispensations Conditions for Salvation?

The Doctrinal Statement of Dallas Theological Seminary says: "We believe that the dispensations are not ways of salvation nor different methods of administering the so-called Covenant of Grace " (Dallas Theological Seminary; Full Doctrinal Statement, Article V).

Despite this Dr. Ryrie says that "under grace the responsibility on man is to accept the gift of righteousness that God freely offers to all (Rom. 5:15-18) " (Ryrie, Dispensationalism, p.56).

In his book Dr. Ryrie provides a chart labeled THE DISPENSATIONS . There he lists the responsibilities of men in each dispensation, and under "Grace" he lists "Believe on Christ" and "Walk with Christ" (Ibid.,p.54).

So Dr. Ryrie is teaching that the "dispensation of grace" is indeed a way of salvation despite the fact that the "Doctrinal Statement" of Dallas Theological Seminary rejects that idea.

Phillip Heideman of Chafer Theological Seminary writes: "Moreover, according to Ryrie’s chart on page 54 of 'Dispensationalism,' one of the tests in the Age of Grace is faith in Christ. That would lead one to think that each Dispensation has its own test for entrance into God’s eternal kingdom. Moreover, in most, if not all cases, the test includes some system of good works/obedience. Certainly, Dr. Ryrie along with others who agree with his position, if asked, would acknowledge that salvation always has been and always will be by faith in God/Christ and that Dispensationalism is not teaching different ways of salvation. Yet, sometimes the way scholars present Dispensationalism, at least in the traditional way, leads to confusion on this point. " (Heideman, Dispensational Theology).

The problem is not a result of the way that Ryie presents dispensationalism, but instead the problem is Dr. Ryie's misunderstanding of the basic Biblical dispensational arrangement. He fails to understand that the responsiblty given during the present dispensation is to preach the "gospel of grace." He seems to think that the present dispensation is called the "dispensation of grace" because the Lord's "coming displayed the grace of God in such brightness that all previous displays could be considered as nothing" (Ibid., p.56).