An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 5 - Dispensational Truth - Page 231 of 328
Our brother's first statement is a very wide one; but we can only
assume that he means what he says.  Among the `Scriptural promises and
allusions', then, to which he refers we may include Ephesians 1:3,4.  We
challenge him to bring forward proofs from Scripture that the phrases, `all
spiritual blessings', `in heavenly places' and `before the foundation of the
world' apply equally to the church before and after Acts 28.  We could almost
venture the whole argument upon one unique fact, namely that this church and
no other throughout the whole range of Scripture is said to be `seated' in
the heavenly places, far above all where Christ sitteth.  Nowhere else is
there a `joint -body'; no other company is related to a position which is
`far above all principality'.  What, then, becomes of our brother's sweeping
statement?  It is incorrect, and as criticism, it is valueless.
We also repudiate the term `so -called dispensational church'; it is a
meaningless phrase.  Every church must be `dispensational'.  It may be the
church of the Acts period, or the Mystery, or the churches of the Revelation.
`So -called' suggests that this is our own term.  We hope no one will think
that we have been careless enough to use so meaningless an expression.
Our brother, moreover, speaks of the `Body' and the `Bride' as
synonymous titles of the one company.  But this is not the case.  The Bride
is clearly associated with the New Jerusalem, with its gates of pearl and the
names of the twelve tribes of Israel.  The church of the Mystery is far above
even this sphere of blessing.  We read that the standard of the church of the
Mystery is the `perfect man' (Eph. 4:13), and our brother will know that aner
(the word for `man' here) is never used except of a male.  It is translated
in Ephesians five times by the word `husband'.  And we suppose our brother
would not attempt to teach that the perfect `Husband' can be the `Bride'!
Ephesians 5 with its instructions to husbands and wives is not the place in
which to seek to establish a doctrine, for husbands and wives need
instruction whatever their calling.
We are also referred to Romans 12:5 and 1 Corinthians 10:17, but these
passages speak of a church where every `member' has a `spiritual gift' (1
Cor. 12:18,28), whereas spiritual gifts are absent from the dispensation of
the Mystery.
The reference to Stephen, the first martyr, is an appeal to our
sentiments.  Why not John the Baptist, or David or Moses?  For all were saved
by the same Christ.  What we teach, is that while salvation is common to all
the Lord's people, the spheres of blessing differ.  As the church of the One
Body was a secret, hid in God, when Stephen died, we cannot believe that he
was a member of that church.  We believe that it can be proved from Scripture
that Stephen will be amongst that company designated `the Bride', and as
these dispositions of grace are at the sovereign disposal of the Lord, we
cannot discuss them.  They make no difference to our teaching and are outside
our province:
`This word "dispensation" is one that Mr. Welch does not give in the
original.  And really, it is one that hardly bears the interpretation
he would put upon it.  For it means really "stewardship" and in three
places out of four (only four in the whole Bible) it is said to have
been given to Paul (see 1 Cor. 9:17; Col. 1:25; Eph. 3:2).  In the one
other place, viz. Ephesians 1:10, it is used of God's ordering of the
course of history'.