If dispensational Bible study is true, how come so few believe it?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Fellow Pauline dispensationalist, if you are asked one question more than any other, it is the following: “If dispensational Bible study is true, why do not more people believe it? Why do so few people attend your church or Bible study group?” (The same dumb question is asked about the King James Bible—“If the KJV is the preserved Word of God, why do so few read it?”) Rather than an inquiry asked by a sincere seeker, this is really an objection meant to intimidate you into silence. The assumption is that since dispensational Bible study is so rare and embraced by so few, it must not be true. If we are not recruiting thousands upon thousands (as in the “mega-churches”), then there must be something wrong with what we are teaching. Are these safe suppositions?

Does the majority ever really determine what is true and what is not? Has truth ever had many adherents? We simply have to look in the Bible and conclude, “No, numbers do not matter when it comes to truth versus error. After all, millions upon millions of people have been wrong about spiritual matters before. Millions upon millions more will be wrong in the future.” But, friend, please do not take my word for it. If the words in the Holy Bible mean anything at all to you, you will see how the God of the Bible has never had the majority on His side. To the Scriptures!


Do you know that the whole human race was wrong in human history? Why, go read Genesis chapter 3. Adam and Eve both fell into sin in the Garden of Eden. This “majority” was in fact all of mankind! And, that majority was wrong! What if we stood in the Garden of Eden and said the following? “Why, God, there is nothing wrong with eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After all, Adam and Eve are doing it!” Of course, just because Adam and Eve were doing it did not make it right. God said not to eat that forbidden fruit; therefore, it was wrong, no matter who believed what or who did what, or how many said what or how many did what. Truth was independent of numbers!


We move on to Genesis chapter 6, the time of Noah, about 1,600 years after the Fall of mankind into sin. God told Noah to build an ark, a giant boat, because a global flood was coming. According to verse 6, God gave the world 120 years to prepare for the judgment to fall. During that time, Noah built the ark, and he preached to the world that God’s wrath was coming. Hence, the book of 2 Peter calls Noah “a preacher of righteousness” (2:5). After all that preaching, Noah was able to convert seven souls. Who entered the ark? Genesis 7:13 says Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their three wives came on the ark. Second Peter says eight people were saved from the Great Deluge (2:5). The millions upon millions—if not billions—who refused God’s message through Noah, they all drowned in the floodwaters. Now, if it is appropriate to ask, “How can dispensational Bible study be true if so few believe it?,” it would be just as suitable to ask, “How could a global flood be coming, since only eight believed it?” In all actuality, we would be no different from the scoffers who lived (and died) in Noah’s day.


During the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, wicked apostates that they were, Baal worship was declared the official state religion of Israel (the Northern Kingdom). In the midst of this national pagan idolatry, the Prophet Elijah had a powerful ministry for JEHOVAH God. The very well known account in 1 Kings chapter 18 involves Elijah conducting a test to prove the prophets of Baal as false. When they are demonstrated to be frauds, their lives are taken in an attempt to right wayward Israel (1 Kings 18:40; cf. Deuteronomy 13:1-11, especially verses 6-11). Jezebel is very upset, and she threatens to take Elijah’s life for disrupting and destroying her religious system. Elijah, scared (relying on the flesh instead of on God), flees and hides in 1 Kings chapter 19. Elijah tells God, “I, even I only, am left” (verse 10). He repeats it in verse 14, “I, even I only, am left.” God tells Elijah, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (verse 18). Paul quotes this in Romans 11:4 to defend the “Israel’s believing remnant” principle he first mentioned in chapter 9. In your own time, you can read the opening verses of chapter 11 to see Israel’s Little Flock. When you think about it, Israel having “7000” believers in Elijah’s day, that was just a remnant. Imagine a whole nation, and only 7,000 people who believed God’s Word!


Even in his day, 700 B.C., the Prophet Isaiah had a difficult time getting people to listen to and believe God’s Word through him. “Who hath believed our report?” (Isaiah 53:1). There was a very small remnant” of believers in Israel when Isaiah began his ministry (Isaiah 1:9). Centuries later, even after Christ performed many miracles before people, “they believed not on him” (John 12:37-38)—John the Apostle quoted Isaiah 53:1 as fulfilled there. Some years later, the Apostle Paul took the verse and applied it to Israel refusing to listen to God’s Word through him during the Acts period (Romans 10:16). We, like the skeptics, could ask, “If Isaiah and Paul were preaching the truth, why did not more people believe it?” (If we are foolish to ask this, we are equally foolish to ask about why so few believe in dispensational Bible study!)


The famous verses of Matthew 7:13-14: “[13] Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: [14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” This is just a common fact throughout the Scripture, just as true today as it was in Noah’s day, or Elijah’s day, or Isaiah’s day, or Jesus’ day, or Paul’s day. It needs no further comment.


Even if you thought the 4,000 and 5,000 miraculously fed were true believers in Jesus, what are these numbers compared to a nation of a few million people? Think about the “Little Flock” (Luke 12:32) of believers in Jesus Christ during the books of Matthew through John. Draw your attention to “little” in “Little Flock.” The Bible is not talking here about millions upon millions of Jewish followers of Christ during the Four Gospels. Paul called this group of believers, continuing in Acts, “a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5). “Remnant” is quite a limited amount.


Some of the most famous miracles of Jesus involved the feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14:15-21) and the feeding of the 4,000 (Matthew 15:32-38). Think of all these alleged thousands of “believers” in Jesus. However, by the time you reach Acts chapter 1, the Bible says approximately 120 believers are gathered in Jerusalem (verse 15). Where were all those thousands of so-called “disciples?” Why, there were no more free lunches being given out! Furthermore, leading up to Calvary and beyond, there was intense persecution, so they had no interest in following Jesus Christ anymore! Would it have been appropriate to stand in the midst of those 120 and say the following? “How can this message be true that Jesus is Messiah? You are just 120 people. How could the millions of people not here, be wrong?!”


Paul the Apostle had come out of the apostasy that had gripped the nation Israel. The Holy Spirit led him to conduct his ministry in a special way during the book of Acts. This unique ministry of Paul during Acts was meant to save “some” Jews from that intense spiritual blindness (Romans 11:14; 1 Corinthians 9:22). Paul knew he would not save many or most. It would be just “some.” If you read the book of Acts from chapter 9 to chapter 28, “some” it was!


Before God’s apostle of the Gentiles left this planet, he penned in his final epistle: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). These Christians did not leave the Lord. Rather, they left the ministry and message that the Lord had given to the Apostle Paul. Before “church history” as we know it began, the Body of Christ (in modern-day Turkey—once a major hotspot for grace doctrine) had already fallen away from God’s spokesman to them! Ephesus (Acts chapter 19), Antioch of Pisidia (Acts chapter 13), Colosse, Lystra and Derbe (Acts chapters 14 and 16), and Galatia (Acts chapters 14 and 18) had once been chief cities and regions in Paul’s ministry in Asia Minor. Now, at the writing of 2 Timothy, his ministry drawing to a close, Asia has fallen away. They have abandoned God’s grace, and returned to the Law, works-religion (1 Timothy 1:3-11). Years earlier, Galatia had had problems with legalism. Now, it has spread to all grace assemblies in Turkey. While there are a few faithful Christians still committed to the grace message in Asia Minor, most believers have fallen into the trap of which the Holy Spirit warned in Acts 20:28-35. The “grievous wolves” have entered in, and they have corrupted God’s people with “perverse things.” The saints had failed to stay true to the doctrine that the Lord Jesus Christ had spoken to them through the Apostle Paul!


There are approximately 7.4 billion people on Earth right now. Only two billion—about 27%—claim to be “Christians.” (If Christianity is true, how could 73% of the world be wrong?!) Of the two billion “Christians,” roughly half are Protestants and half are Roman Catholics. It can be easily proven that Roman Catholicism is a far, far cry from Biblical Christianity: it is so polluted with “human goodness” and “human good works” it has no time for Jesus Christ’s finished work on Calvary. Thus, we can eliminate one billion of those alleged “Christians.” Most of the billion Protestants in the world have no idea of a clear Gospel message, so this billion whittles down to a fraction. If I had to guess, I would say there are no more than about 10 million true members of the Body of Christ on Earth today. Think about it. Ten million out of seven billion. Does that sound like a majority to you? Well, if we want to say that the majority determines truth, according to the majority, Christianity is not true (otherwise, they would be following Christianity)! After all these foregoing comments, do you still want to hold to your “Majority determines truth” rule of thumb? Or, do you want to revise it and say, “When it comes to spiritual things, the majority is usually wrong?”


Dear friends, we must always remember that the God of the Bible has never had most of the world following Him. However, He has always had some of the world following Him. When it came to Noah’s preaching, I would have much rather been with the few than with the many! If you want to follow the majority when it comes to spiritual matters, please go right on ahead, but do not expect me to be in your crowd!

Also see:
» Can we witness too much to family members?
» If God knows who will serve Him and who won’t, why witness?
» Is John 20:29 applicable to us today?