As is evident from recent issues of Bible Student’s Notebook, the promotion of the “Acts 28:28” (or simply “Acts 28”) doctrinal position remains on the agenda of our brother in Christ, Clyde Pilkington (along with whoever else may be involved in the selection and editing of the content that is published in this newsletter). For those readers unfamiliar with this “dispensational” position, the Acts 28 theory affirms that Israel, as a nation, was “set aside” (or “placed in abeyance”) at the end of the “Acts era.” This event is believed to have resulted in (or made possible) a “dispensational” change involving the arrival of a new “hope” or expectation for believers in Paul’s evangel.
Some may wonder why I’m so critical of the Acts 28 theory, and why I’ve given (and continue to give) the position so much attention on my blog. Although I don’t see the Acts 28 theory as being in any way inconsistent with, or opposed to, the truth of the evangel, I do see it as detrimental to a right understanding and appreciation of what Paul wrote for the edification of those in the body of Christ. In my view, the Acts 28 theory wrongly divides Paul’s letters to those in the body of Christ and, in so doing, produces confusion and division among the saints. Rather than viewing Paul’s thirteen letters to the saints in the body of Christ as a single, harmonious unit, they are split into two separate categories of letters that the student of scripture must recognize and keep in mind if he or she is to have an accurate and “mature” understanding of what Paul wrote, and of the truth that is most applicable to the body of Christ today.
The Acts 28 theory serves to undermine the importance and relevance of those Pauline letters which are thought to have been written prior to Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, leading those who subscribe to it (and who are consistent in their understanding and application of it) to eventually deny that certain truths and promises found in Paul’s “early” letters are to and for the saints in the body of Christ today (these truths and promises are instead dismissed as pertaining only to Israel and her earthly expectation, and as being no more applicable to us than the content of James’ letter to the twelve tribes, or of Christ’s Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25). The Acts 28 theory, in other words, leads to a rejection of truths which God has graciously revealed for the edification of all who are members of Christ’s body. And insofar as I believe this to be the case, I feel compelled to write against it and (hopefully) provide some assistance to those who have been - or who may possibly be - negatively impacted by this erroneous, divisive and obfuscating teaching.
Part 2: http://thathappyexpectation.blogspot.com/2017/05/restoring-unity-to-pauls-epistles_26.html