by Jerry Shugart
Earthly and Heavenly Realities
Dr. Ryrie correctly writes that the dispensations are in regard to running the affirs of the "world": "Obviously,whenever God gives revealation concerning His method of running the affairs of the world,there is also given a corresponding responsibility or test to people as to whether or not they will align themselves with God's economy and the revlation of it " (Dispensationalism, p.34).
"...it would seem from the concept of a dispensation as related to God running the affairs of His household (the world) that, when temporal history ends, the household arrangement, which is the basis for a dispensational stewardship, also ends " (Ibid., p.48-49).
However, Lewis Sperry Chafer understands that the Body of Christ is a heavenly entity, and not earthly at all: "The Church is composed of all nations, including Israelites, and sustains no citizenship here, but instead the believers are strangers and pilgrims...every covenant or promise for the Church is for a heavenly reality, and she continues in heavenly citizenship when the heavens are recreated" [emphasis added] (Chafer, Systematic Theology, IV:47-53).
Noted dispensational author Sir Robert Anderson says, "The only true Church is that which the Lord is building, and it has no corporate existence upon earth...The Body of Christ is not on earth, nor can it have a corporate existence until the Divine purpose respecting it has been fulfilled" [emphasis added] (Anderson, Forgotten Truths, pp.79,99).
Since the Biblical dispensational arrangement is in regard to running the affairs of the earth then it is certain that the formation of the Body of Christ is not the same thing as the "dispensation of grace". Dr. Ryrie's twisting of the Bibical dispensational arrangement is a result of his effort to attempt to defend the idea that the present dispensation began on the day of Pentecost.
Even if the Acts 2 dispensationalists could prove conclusively that the Body of Christ started on the day of Pentecost that still would not prove that the "dispensation of grace" began then. After all, the nation of Israel came into existence under the "dispensation of promise" but later that same nation was placed under the "dispensation of law".