Backgrounds to Dispensationalism
Its Historical Genesis and Ecclesiastical Implications
Imprint: Wipf and Stock
184 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 x 0.37 in
- Published: February 2005
The purpose of this book is to describe the historical setting out of which dispensationalism has grown, to establish what dispensationalism is, and to point out its implications for contemporary church life. Beginning with a survey of the major features of dispensationalism in relation to the historic beliefs of the church, the book then examines the origins of dispensationalism in the thinking of John Nelson Darby. What kind of man was Darby? What were the circumstances in which his theology was fashioned? What were the practical consequences of his theology of the church for his own day? Dr. Bass offers well-founded answers to these questions, helping readers make their own evaluations about dispensationalism. Dr. Bass traces the development of Darby's thought and practice through the Plymouth Brethren movement. He clearly demonstrates how Darby not only introduced new theological concepts, but new principles of interpretation. This emerging system of interpretation, with its particular chronology of future events, has largely informed the popular Left Behind" eschatology. In this light, it is clear that Bass's discussion of Darbyite dispensationalism is just as relevant as when his book first came out in 1960. This study is the result of an intensive and exhaustive search for accuracy of detail with a fair, non-argumentative style. Those wishing to do further research will appreciate his classified bibliography regarding dispensational literature.
"Bass's extensive research in a daunting mass of primary materials and his careful analysis of the theological developments provide welcome insight into this prominent theological tradition.... He is a significant source for Darby's theology and its enduring force on later dispensationalism."
-- Stephen Spencer, from the book's new foreword