There is a theology that is worth taking some time to investigate. This theology is called Mid-Acts Dispensationalism. What is Mid-Acts Dispensationalism? Mid-Acts Dispensationalists follow doctrines solely upon the Apostle Paul. Some of the major beliefs of this movement are: The 4 Gospels, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1 & 2 & 3 John and the book of Revelation are considered to be only for the nation of Israel. The body of Christ began with the Apostle Paul, both Jews and Gentiles. The only true English Bible is the Authorized King James Bible, all others are corrupted. The spiritual gifts are not for today but ended with that which is perfect has come, that is the completion of the Bible. The area that will be discussed here will be “which books are for Christians, the body of Christ today?” Scripture references quoted are from the King James Version.
The Gospels, Hebrews, James, 1&2 Peter, 1&2&3 John, Revelation are for who?
The heart of the issue with Mid-Acts Dispensationalism theology is, “which books of the Bible are for the body of Christ and which are for Israel?” According to Mid-Acts Dispensationalists theology the Epistles of Paul the only ones for the body of Christ for doctrine and practice, and the other books are for the nation of Israel. Is this really what the Bible teaches us? Let’s make the obvious clear first, the Old Testament Law is no longer in effect for those who are in Christ with Christ being the Mediator of the New Covenant. So the issue is looking at Matthew through Revelation, which books are for who? The contention of Mid-Acts Dispensationalism theology is that the Gospels are for the nation of Israel since in a few places Jesus said He came for the lost sheep of Israel, therefore Jesus at first did not come for the Gentiles but only for the Jews. Did Jesus only come for the Jews? Did Jesus only teach truth for those of Israel?
“9 [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:9-13)
Jesus did come for the nation of Israel, that is true. However, Jesus did not come only for the Jews, but for the whole world, all nations, and His death and resurrection is available for any person to receive eternal life from.
“14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:14-18)
It is very clear here that Jesus is teaching that anyone can receive eternal life by believing in Him, and they will not be condemned but saved. This shows that Jesus was not sent for only the Jews, but for the whole world. Understanding that Jesus was first sent to the nation of Israel is very crucial. Salvation is of the Jews as Jesus said in John 4:22, and that means that it is through Israel that God has revealed Himself to mankind and all those who come to accept this can be saved and know the true God of all. In the Old Testament Gentiles were accepted if they turned from their ways and accepted the truth that has been revealed, and in the New Covenant God has established His love for mankind by sending a Savior to deliver them from their sins, and anyone who would trust in Jesus would receive eternal life.
What about the Epistles of Peter? It is true that Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, but Paul was not only for the Gentiles. Paul went to both Jews and Gentiles to share Jesus Christ with them. Paul focused more on sharing with the Gentiles than the other Apostles, but that does not mean that the other Apostles did not minister to the Gentiles. Peter preached to Cornelius in Acts 10:1-48 and they received the gospel message and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Peter in Acts 15:7-11 taught that the Gentiles were saved by faith without works just like they were, that is just like the Jews who trusted in Jesus. The writings of James, Peter, and John have application for the body of Christ, and those who teach they do not are twisting the Scriptures to fit their theology which in essence is to their own destruction.
Peter warned about those who were misusing Paul’s writings:
“15 And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:15-18)
A few things stick out from these verses. One is that Peter addresses that Paul had written to these same people in which Peter is writing to, which shows that Peter was not writing only to Jews, but to Gentiles as well. Secondly, Peter states there are those who read Paul’s writings and distort (wrest) them and this applies very much to those who are of the Mid-Acts Dispensationalism theology. Thirdly, Peter states a warning to be careful of following those who distort the writings of Paul. Fourthly, Peter states in closing to those whom he is writing to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”, which shows that Peter understood the grace of the Lord and was encouraging others to grow in it.
What about James? What about John? It is true that James in his Epistle was writing to Jewish Christians that are scattered abroad, but to say that it only applies to Jewish Christians is as true as saying what Paul wrote is only for Gentile Christians and not the Jewish Christians. Paul wrote to Christians in specific places such as Galatia, Colossae, Philippi, Corinth, Rome, Ephesus, and to say that what James wrote is only for those which he wrote to who were scattered would be the same as saying what Paul wrote was only for those in those cities and no one else. In other words Mid-Acts Dispensationalism theology is wrong because they are reading into Scriptures things that are not really being implied. John’s writings definitely have application to both Jewish and Gentile Christians.
In 1 John 5:10-13 makes that very clear:
“10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:10-13)
This is in general terms meaning this applies to anyone and it is clear that is the context of what John wrote. The Bible is clear that certain books are written to certain people, but the teachings and application can be for anyone who is truly of God. The Gospels have different things that are in them, but the same truth is there concerning the identity of Jesus, what He taught, and what He did for mankind. The book of Acts is a written account of various things that the early Church went through with persecutions, miracles, preaching Jesus, and people’s lives being touched. The Epistles of Paul are written to Christians in various places and Paul brings clarity on many doctrinal issues. The Epistles of James, Peter, and John are written to Christians, and in them they write things of encouragement, sound theology, and points them in the right spiritual direction. The New Testament is a unit of completion concerning the coming of the Messiah, that is Christ Jesus the Lord. Those who say certain books are not for us today are teaching things in error. We must read things in context and examine what was being said, when, why, where, for who, and how it applies to us. Mid-Acts Dispensationalists have a distorted view of reading the Scriptures, and in many places they read things into the text and in many places are taking things out of context.