DONALD DAYTON relying on Sheppard

DONALD DAYTON relying on Sheppard

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DONALD W. DAYTON. Dayton, relying on Sheppard, 22 understands dispensationalism as one of various influences on Pentecostalism, whilst qualifying its importance. He states that

it is not clear that Pentecostal eschatology, with its emphasis on the inauguration of the ‘new order of the latter rain’ and the ‘restoration of spiritual gifts’ as a prelude to the return of Christ, fits as easily into dispensationalist categories as it is sometimes assumed.  It  was  generally  premillennial  in  expecting  a  millennial  kingdom  to  be inaugurated  by  an  imminent  return  of  Christ,  but  contradicted  dispensational distinctives  by  adopting  different  (generally  tripartite)  periodizations  of  human history, by applying many Old Testament promises to the church, by appropriating more directly texts (the Lord’s Prayer, the Sermon on the Mount, and so forth) that dispensationalists relegate to the millennial kingdom, and so on.23


Dayton follows Sheppard’s lead in equating dispensationalism with a certain scheme of (Scofieldian or Darbyite) dispensationalism. From his comments on ‘tripartite’ schemes of dispensations one may infer that for Dayton a given number of dispensations (presumably seven) forms part of the essence of dispensationalism. He also judges certain views non-dispensational based on their use of certain passages of Scripture, such as the Sermon on the Mount.

Dayton writes of evidence that indicates that Pentecostal groups with theological proclivities towards fundamentalism, such as the AOG, tended to favour dispensational eschatology, whereas Holiness groups from different ethnic backgrounds, such as black Americans, embraced dispensationalism to a lesser degree.24 In this judgement he offers no evidence of his own but cites Sheppard’s article.25 In summary, he understands




22 He mentions his reliance on the article and personal conversations with Sheppard in endnote 12. Donald W. Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1987), 168.

23 Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, 145. 24 Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, 146. 25 Dayton, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, 168.

Pentecostal eschatology as ‘a parallel development (or occasionally an antecedent) to the rise of dispensationalism’.26

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