Book Review: An Examination of Dispensationalism by William E. Cox

It’s obvious that William Cox loves the Lord and is personally committed to rightly divide the Word of Truth from his perspective.  He no doubt understands salvation, grace, the holiness of God and wants to do what is right.  According to Cox, he used to believe in Dispensationalism, but laid it aside for Reformed Theology. According to him, he says he saw too many inconsistencies in Dispensationalism.  His argument seems to be to expose the “bad” character of Darby as the “founder” of Dispensationalism and thus declare Dispensationalism as wrong.

Unfortunately he rails against Dispensationalism by arguing against Hyper-Dispensationalism views (which even I would agree with many of his arguments).  When he chides Dispensationalists about a literal hermeneutic, he says they don’t really adhere to that. In fact, he lists several passages that Dispensationalists interpret spiritually. But this is a foolish straw man argument.

Classical Dispensationalists do follow a Literal historico-grammatical hermeneutic and always according to the genre of literature in which it is found. That is not spiritualizing the text. It is interpreting based on the genre of the text. For example, when the psalmist describes the arm of God, he is not referring to a literal arm, because God is spirit (John 4:24), but rather the power of God. The psalms are in the genre of poetry and there are literal rules for accurate interpretation, just as there are rules of literal interpretation in narrative, wisdom, apocalyptic or epistolary literature of Scripture.

His contrast of what Dispensationalism says about the church and quotations of Scripture about the church, exposes his misunderstanding of hermeneutics and Dispensationalism.   It seems that He must have had some bad relationships with many Dispensationalists by his tone of ire.  It’s a good read, because it’s important for a Dispensationalist to read how not to pick apart someone else’s theology.  Expose the theology; don’t drag a person through the mud.  I can find problems in anyone’s life if I want, but that in itself does not normally equate with a wrong theology.

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