This book starts off by considering the theology of four of the earliest church fathers:
- Justin Martyr (110-165)
- Irenaeus (130-200)
- Clement of Alexandria (150-220)
- Augustine (354-430)
He then contrasts their approach to the Bible (which could be termed embryonic dispensationalism) with that of such people as Tertullian (155-222) and Origen (185-254), whose approach was to spiritualize or allegorize.
The healthy debate between two such approaches was cut short by Constantine and the Catholic Church which favoured allegorizing. That was until the reformation when people turned back to the Bible and began to read it and understand it in a more literal way. As a result Christians, such as Miles Coverdale, began to realise that God had spoken …
- to different people,
- in different ways,
- at different times.
This is the basis of a dispensational approach and the author does an excellent job is showing how this approach has developed since the Reformation and into the 21st Century.