What is dispensationalism? In a time where there is a great deal of confusion and misinformation clouding the answer to this relatively simple question, Charles Ryrie addresses the question directly in his seminal work Dispensationalism. In this work Ryrie seeks to correct the many misconceptions non-dispensationalists have concerning normative dispensationalism, and to give a positive presentation and defense of normative dispensationalism. In this paper a brief overview of the author’s purpose and perspective will be presented. Then it will identify the relevant questions the book answers and also presents concerning dispensationalism and the related debate between Christian scholars. There will then be some report on the four views presented in the book: dispensationalism, covenant theology, progressive dispensationalism, and ultra-dispensationalism. After that there will be an evaluation of the book’s content and arguments followed by a discussion of two applications one can apply after reading the book.
This paper will follow this basic structure. Taking the four apologetic systems: Fideistic Apologetics, Presupposition Apologetics, Evidential Apologetics, and Classical apologetics, the paper will identify and critique the foundational starting point upon which practitioners of these methods build their apologies. The systems will be dealt with in the aforementioned order. Each system’s apologetic method will be briefly described followed by an analysis of the starting point from which each system originates. After that, the starting point will be critiqued for its efficacy or legitimacy as a foundation for apologetics. Ultimately this paper will conclude that the foundations of Classical Apologetics are the strongest leading to the most effective and comprehensive apologetic method.