If you are like most people, when you heard “mid-Acts Pauline dispensational right division” for the first time you were overwhelmed. “What does it mean?!”, “That’s got to be a cult”, or “Why is it so long?”
Truthfully, I wish we could drop the whole thing. No where in the Bible are we told to name ourselves apart from the name of Christ. Yet, when we live in such a present evil world and a diverse marketplace of ideas we must carry some distinction to describe our doctrine as separate from the rest. If we must identify ourselves the obvious preference would be to identify ourselves with the Lord Jesus, but it seems people can easily confuse us with the Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, and Universalists who also name the name of Christ.
Though the mid-Acts description is tedious it does have its advantages: it communicates ‘we are different’, it is honest, it gets peoples’ attention, and it makes a nice satirical jab at denominational nomenclature (we are not trying to start a denomination).
This page seeks to explain exactly why we use each word in our verbose name.
For a better summary of the basics of mid-Acts teaching go here.
- ‘Mid-Acts’ refers to when in Scripture the current dispensation of Grace began (Ephesians 3:1-2).
- This present age began when the mystery information was revealed to the Apostle Paul in the middle of the book of Acts (1 Corinthians 9:17).
- Often referred to as the ‘church age’, many Bible students wrongly believe this present age began at Pentecost, when Christ died, or even Acts 28.
- Pauline refers to Paul being the Apostle of the Gentiles, and having the pattern of salvation that we are saved by today (Romans 11:13; 1 Timothy 1:16).
- Paul was given a revelation from Jesus Christ about information that had been ‘kept secret since the world began’ (Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:1-5).
- The information revealed to Paul contained an unprophesied ‘new creature’ called the Body of Christ that is saved by grace through faith and will reign with Christ in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:17, Eph 2:7).
- Paul was NOT one of the twelve apostles of the prophecy program (1 Cor 15:5-8).
- Though Paul was an evangelist, he was not ONLY an evangelist. A gospel dispensation was committed to him about about a secret part of God’s plan for salvation by grace through faith alone (1 Cor 9:16-17).
- Paul taught a message that was about Jesus but in a different perspective. It was Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25).
- A dispensation is when further information was given by God about how we are to relate to Him and the world around us.
- Though God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, His instructions for mankind’s operation by faith has been revealed progressively at sundry times and in divers manners (Hebrews 1:1).
- Dispensational Bible study recognizes the different messages and methods that God uses to deal with mankind throughout history according to His purpose (1 Corinthians 12:5).
- Right Division is a method of studying the Bible in the light of recognizing God’s distinct dispensations and programs (1 Corinthians 12:5).
- Understanding God’s distinct dispensations, we must divide or discern Scripture according to his separate purposes for the heaven and earth (2 Tim 2:15).
- All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, and yet we must discern our instructions from the instructions given by God to other groups at other times (2 Timothy 3:16).
- Today as members of the Body of Christ we must carefully apply those doctrines that are specifically for us in the dispensation of Grace.
We would much rather simply be called ‘Bible believers’, ‘those people who teach the gospel of Christ’, or ‘those grace ambassadors of the Lord’. Whatever you want to call us or the doctrine, we know it makes the Bible a whole lot easier to understand when you obey the Lord’s instructions to Paul.
A rose is a rose, and by any other name would still fade away, but the word of the Lord stands forever (Psalm 119:89).