In Answer to “Hyperdispensationalism and the Authority of Christ”


This article is in answer to criticism of Bob DeWaay directed toward those who believe the Church, the Body of Christ was formed mid-Acts. His article can be found at:

Our Response to Criticism

I believe we first need to evaluate carefully what is being said. We need to prayerfully study the charges and determine if there is a problem with our theology. If there is something we believe that does not line up with Scripture, we must take corrective action. We can’t do this in our own power for the Holy Spirit indwells us giving us understanding of the words He wrote through those who wrote Scripture.

2 Peter 1:21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

We also need to approach those who criticize with gentleness. Those who are members of the Body of Christ need to respect each other and work at having peace between each other. Attacking another Christian in the name of doctrine is not a biblical mandate but peace is.

Ephesians 4:1—3 1Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

When we are attacked, we need to approach the attacker with love and gentleness and not lash out in like manner. It is up to God to change the heart through the Holy Spirit, not through slick words and skillful counter-attacking.

2 Timothy 2:24—25 24The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,

In all this we must realize that we may be in the wrong and must be ready to change if God lays it on our heart to do so. We must always be open to what God has to say to us whether from His word or from an external source, even from a harsh critic.


My goal is to counter criticism pertaining to the mid-Acts position. There are a number of areas that I believe DeWaay attacked unfairly and in a biased manner or in a way that misrepresents what I believe. Instead of studying the mid-Acts position to understand it, DeWaay seems to have studied it only to discredit this position by taking bits and pieces and not looking at the big picture. Hopefully I will be able to correct some of his false claims against the mid-Acts position.

The Big Picture

God has changed the way He deals with mankind a number of times. When man was created, there was perfect fellowship between God and man. This period is often called the age of Innocence. After man sinned, God changed His dealing with man, removed him from the garden and brought curses upon them. After the flood, God made another change in His dealings with man by delegating governmental controls. Instead of God meting out justice on man, mankind was to mete out justice all according to God’s rules (Genesis 9:5—6). The promise of a great nation was given to Abraham. God promised to greatly bless Israel and in turn bless the nations (Gentiles) through her. (Genesis 12:1—3) The nation of Israel was formed at their Exodus from Egypt and shortly after, God’s dealing with man changed again with the giving of the Law. This set of Laws formed the governing rules God expected Israel to live by. Any non-Israelite who wanted to approach God could do so by becoming a proselyte. Promises given specifically to Israel included land (Genesis 15:18—21; Ezekiel 36:24) , wealth (Joel 2:23—27; Amos 9:13), respect of the nations (Isaiah 60; Malachi 3:12), the Holy Spirit causing them to obey the Law (Ezekiel 36:25—27), an eternal King on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 1:30—33), and the role of priests through which the Gentiles would be able to approach God (Exodus 19:6; Zechariah 8:20—23). It was through Israel that Gentiles would be able to find salvation and reap God’s blessings. (Romans 11:1—12)

In order for Israel to see these promises come to fruition, they needed to nationally acknowledge and accept Jesus as their Messiah. However, Israel rejected their Messiah and instead of the Gentiles being blessed through Israel God now blesses them in spite of Israel by sending salvation directly to the Gentiles through the ministry of the apostle Paul. Acts is a transition book chronicling Israel’s failure to recognize her Messiah (Israel’s casting away or diminishing) and God’s plan to go directly to the Gentiles by forming the Body of Christ and revealing the Mystery. By the end of Acts we see Israel had been completely cut off with no chance to repent and go back to accept the offer of the Kingdom (Hebrews 6:4—6) and the newly formed Body of Christ reaching full maturity.

Are the Teachings of Jesus Binding on the Church?

DeWaay has mischaracterized the mid-Acts position a number of times in his article. For instance, he says we “claim that Jesus presented an offer of a kingdom that He would have instituted during the first advent—had they accepted.” This teaching is not scriptural. Luke 19:11—12 make this clear. The mid-Acts people I know believe Jesus announced the Millennial Kingdom was at hand. Luke 10:9 says “The kingdom of God has come near you.” In order to have a bona fide offer, Jesus Christ needed to be crucified, glorified and the Holy Spirit given. Look at John 7:37—39 where Jesus said these things on the last day of the Feast of Booths—a feast prophetically looking forward to the Millennial Kingdom. The Holy Spirit needed to be given to Israel in order to enable Israel to perform her ministry to the world. We even see this order in Peter’s sermons. Sermon one in Acts 2 promises the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who repented and were baptized. Peter’s second sermon in Acts 3 offers the Kingdom to anyone who repented and returned to God. This would happen if Israel’s leadership believed but she would still need to go through the Tribulation (the restoration of all things in Acts 3:21) (Ezekiel 20:33—38). Many mid-Acts dispensationalists believe the offer of the Kingdom was withdrawn with the stoning of Stephen while others believe it was withdrawn at the commissioning of Paul for his first missionary journey.

DeWaay is correct in his assessment when he says those who hold to a Mid-Acts position believe the teachings of earthly Jesus are to the Jewish church in operation at that time and are not written directly to those in the Church, the Body of Christ. We follow the teaching of the risen and glorified Jesus Christ as revealed through the apostle Paul.

After making a correct assessment of our beliefs, he shows his ignorance of what we believe about the church by stating:

“…when Jesus said, “On this rock I will build My church,” he supposedly was not speaking of the church (i.e., the body of Christ) but a Jewish “church” that only existed for a while until the middle of Acts.”

The church Jesus was talking about was a Millennial Kingdom church that will be in existence after the Second Coming. This is NOT the Church, the Body of Christ that many say was formed in Acts 2. The Jewish church that was in existence at that time is mentioned in passing in Matthew 18:17 and continued on into the early chapters of Acts. DeWaay does not mention this reference to the Jewish church.

DeWaay tries to make a problem out of the use of the word “church” (Greek: ecclesia). He says that since this word was used throughout Acts it is the same church and it is obvious that “the meaning of the term did not change in the middle of Acts. Luke applies the term to gatherings of believers throughout Acts, and this is true whether the gatherings are Jewish or Gentile believers.” Keep in mind that the word “church” in Acts usually refers to a group of believers in what we would call today a congregation. This is a physical church. Scripture make it clear that the Church, the Body of Christ is a spiritual organism, made up of believers who meet together in a physical congregation. Acts does not clarify the composition within the churches mentioned, only that there is a physical church. DeWaay says the Holy Spirit certainly would have revealed this to us in Acts if there were this change of churches in Acts. He amazingly ignores everything Paul wrote about the creation of this new church, the Body of Christ.

It’s interesting to note Paul’s use of the term “Body of Christ” to define a specific church. This would not be necessary if there was only one church. He also makes it clear that he is preaching “his gospel” and the “gospel of the grace of God”. This is in contrast to the Gospel of the Kingdom preached by earthly Jesus and His disciples throughout the Gospels and early Acts. If these churches in Acts could be composed of Jews and Gentiles as DeWaay says they were why, then, can they not be composed of members of the Jewish church of Matthew 18 and members of the Body of Christ? We know there was interaction between these two groups (Galatians 2; Acts 18:7), probably within the same ecclesia.

Even though DeWaay uses 1 Timothy 6:3—5 as proof that we need to follow the words of Jesus as spoken in the Gospels, this verse actually proves otherwise. A careful reading of this passage indicates that we need to follow the doctrine of the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ, the gospel with which Paul had been entrusted with by God (1 Timothy 1:11). It is the risen and glorified Jesus who had revealed the Mystery to Paul. (Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:3) This is why we follow the writings of Paul because everything he wrote concerns the Body of Christ. As Dr. Scofield wrote:

In [Paul’s] writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the church. (Scofield Reference Bible, p. 1252)

To Whom Were the Gospels Written?

DeWaay has two “proofs” that Luke was written to both Jews and Gentiles and therefore we need to see the teachings of earthly Jesus as authoritative. The first “proof” being the book of Luke was written to Theophilus, who had a Greek name and therefore must be a Gentile so Luke was writing to a Gentile. The second “proof” is that Luke was written after Acts was written therefore, Luke had to be written to Jews and Gentiles making the words of earthly Jesus binding on us in this age.

There were a great number of Grecian Jews (Hellenized Jews) (see Acts 6:1). There were enough Jews in Thessalonica and Berea that they built synagogues (Acts 17:1, 10). Jews would meet by the river in Philippi on the Sabbath (Acts 16:13). Many Jews wanted to be absorbed into the Greek lifestyle and become as Grecian as possible, even to the point of going through a painful operation to reverse their circumcision. Does it seem so odd that many Jews in that part of the world would have Greek names? It’s also interesting to note that all the men selected to serve the Hellenized and Hebraic Jews in Acts 6 had Greek names. According to DeWaay, these men must have been Gentiles. In actuality, they were all Israelites with the exception of Nicolas who was the only one identified specifically as a proselyte. A proselyte is a Gentile who, for all practical purposes, becomes a Jew.

Scholars date scripture as follows:

Matthew from the 50s to the 70s
Mark from 50 to 70s
Luke from 59 to the 70s
John from the 50s to 85
Acts from 63 to 70s.

About the only thing scholars know is when a book was not written but there is no consensus of when it was actually written. In other words, when the Holy Spirit moved these men to write Scripture, He didn’t think it was important to tell us when it was written because it didn’t matter. What matters is to whom a book is written and why. All of the Gospels were written 20—50 years after the last recorded event. According to Luke 1:1—4, Luke looks back into a certain period of time and writes the truth about the events that happened, from Jesus’ birth, His ministry to Israel, His message of the nearness of the Millennial Kingdom, His death, and His resurrection and ascension. Theophilus was taught about Jesus and His earthly ministry and Luke, through the Holy Spirit, produced an accurate account to quash the many false accounts that undoubtedly cropped up from oral accounts. DeWaay finds it odd that Luke could write about a series of events that happened 20—30 years earlier and not bring the current events into play. Authors do this all the time. If I were to write about the events surrounding the JFK assassination, it doesn’t matter when I write it but that the facts are correct.

The weakness of his two “proofs” seems to indicate that he is grasping at straws to discredit the mid-Acts position. Internal biblical evidence shows that the Gospels were written to Jews and excluded Gentiles. Luke begins with the promise of a Savior and Messiah (to fulfill the promise given to Abraham and David). We know from John 1:11 and Act 3:26 that He came to His own (the Jews) and they rejected Him. Jesus Himself said the Millennial Kingdom was near (Luke 10:9). He sent out the 12 Disciples with the good news of that coming Kingdom (Luke 9:2). It’s also clear that from Matthew 10:5—6 that Jesus told them to not go to the Gentiles but go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. When the lawyer asked Jesus how to have eternal life, Jesus answered that he needed to obey the Mosaic Law (in faith) (Luke 10:25—28). Jesus also tells the Jews about the coming Tribulation and the Second Coming, not the Rapture, and they were to watch for the signs (Luke 17:22—37). The whole book of Luke is written to Israel pertaining to their prophesied future. The Church, the Body of Christ, was still a Mystery at that time and is nowhere to be found.

DeWaay claims that Jesus declared all foods were to be considered clean in Mark 7:18—19. By doing this he can now claim that the church in early Acts was not under Law, as we would claim they were. Unfortunately, these words of Jesus were taken out of context and he confuses Lawfully acceptable foods with the process of purification. Lawfully acceptable foods could become inedible if they were defiled. By examining the context of these words and looking at other Scripture, it will be plain that Jesus did not change any part of the Law.

The context of Mark 7 concerns the Pharisitical tradition of hand washing. The Pharisees believed they needed to ceremonially wash their hands before touching food or that food would become unclean (Mark 7:2—5). Jesus declared all lawfully edible food as clean even if touched before the traditional cleansing of their hands. This cleansing was only a tradition of man and not part of the Mosaic Law. This interpretation is backed up in Acts 10 where Peter had the vision of unclean animals lowered down on a sheet from heaven. If Jesus declared all foods fit to eat in Mark 7 but Peter was still following the Mosaic Law 10 years later, how did Peter miss this important announcement? Is it possible for Peter to be under Jesus’ teaching and miss this particular change in Law?

DeWaay sets up another straw man and proceeds to knock it down when he says we believe that the Millennial Kingdom could be set up at any time if national Israel believed and accepted Jesus as Messiah. He points to the problem of the “perverse generation” mentioned in Acts 2:40 and identifies them accurately as unbelieving Israel. How can unbelievers go into the Millennial Kingdom? He also quotes Luke 21:24 showing that the time of the Gentiles needed to come to an end with Israel being trampled by the Gentiles. This has yet to happen.

Most mid-Acts people I know believe that even if national Israel were to believe early in Christ’s ministry, prophesy must be fulfilled before the Millennial Kingdom could be set up. Christ would still need to die and be resurrected and glorified (John 7:39), the Tribulation would need to take place and finally the Millennial Kingdom would be set up. The Tribulation will accomplish the purging of Israel of  all unbelievers (Zechariah 13:8—9) and much of this will be accomplished at the hands of the Gentiles who trample Jerusalem (Revelation 11:12).

The Great Commission

DeWaay says the mid-Acts Christians treat the “Great Commission” with disdain. In reality, the mid-Acts position does not recognize the authority of the “Great Commission” over the Church, the Body of Christ but places it in its proper place—with Israel. There are actually three main commissions that can be pointed to in the gospels and Paul’s writings; Matthew 10, Matthew 28, 2 Corinthians 5:18—20. The first two were for Israel and the last one for the Church, the Body of Christ. With the first two commissions went miracles, signs and wonders that were done for Israel’s benefit. These no longer exist because the Holy Spirit’s ministry started to change when the Body of Christ was formed. God is no longer giving Israel preference. Even though DeWaay believes the “Great Commission” is for the Church, the Body of Christ to fulfill, I would guess that He falls short in obeying many of Jesus’ direct commands concerning this commission.

• Does he teach others what Jesus taught the Disciples (Matthew 28:20)? This would include:

1. Showing ourselves to the priests for cleaning (Luke 5:14)

2. Keeping the Mosaic Law? (Jesus was a man born under the Law and thus kept the Law perfectly. If Jesus is our example, we should do as He did)

3. Praying for the Kingdom to come (Luke 11:2)
4. Selling all possessions (Luke 12:33; Matthew 19:21)
5. Looking forward to the Second Coming and not the Rapture (Luke 12:35—40)

• Does he teach others the Gospel of the Kingdom? This Gospel could not include Christ’s death, burial and resurrection because He had not yet died (Mark 16:15)?
• Does he preach baptismal regeneration where Israel needed to repent and be baptized for salvation (Mark 16:16)?
• Does he demonstrate the sign gifts of casting out demons, speaking in tongues, being unaffected by venom and poison, healing the sick (Mark 16:17—18)?

There are a number of times that DeWaay says we need to follow the teachings of (earthly) Jesus Christ and finds it incredulous that we mid-Acts people can ignore His clear teachings. Amazingly he lifts the “red letter” teachings above anything else in Scripture even though every word in Scripture is from God. By doing so he ignores the importance of what Jesus Christ revealed directly to us through Paul (Galatians 1:12). Everything Jesus said while on earth pertained to Israel under the prophetic program. Problems emerge when you try to fit the prophetic program for Israel into the Mystery program for the Church, the Body of Christ. The fact is, you absolutely cannot follow the instructions of earthly Jesus and the instructions of the risen and glorified Jesus as revealed through Paul! You cannot mix Law and Grace.

Two Gospels?

DeWaay claims there is one Gospel from Matthew through Paul’s writings. First, an examination of Paul’s clear description of the Gospel of the Grace of God will help us determine if there are one or more Gospels.

1 Corinthians 15:1—4 indicates Paul preached a Gospel that included belief in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection. Paul also made it very clear that any gospel contrary or different to what he preached was to be condemned (Galatians 1:6—9). He even repeated his condemnation of those who preached a different Gospel.

When Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom, did He preach His own death, burial and resurrection? Of course not! If the basis of salvation in the Gospels was dependant upon believing in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection then the Disciples were not saved for they did not understand that He had to die (Luke 9:45; 18:34). Since Jesus did not preach a Gospel including His death, burial and resurrection, according to Paul, He was to be condemned.

The answer to this problem is that there were two Gospels. Jesus announced the Good News of the coming Kingdom and Paul announced the Good News of our own salvation. One was for Israel, the other for the formation of the Church, the Body of Christ.

Some explain this away by saying there is only one Gospel but Paul revealed a progression in God’s plan. However, Paul makes it clear that any change from the Gospel he preached was to be condemned. That leaves no room to change anything about the Gospel. How could Paul change the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom by adding Christ’s death, burial and resurrection then proceed to condemn anyone else who changes his Gospel?

The messages preached by Peter in early Acts indicate a progression of the Kingdom program and not a creation of a new program. Peter calls for repentance and baptism for the remission of sin (Acts 2:38). This is the same message that John the Baptizer preached (Mark 1:4). This repentance and baptism was a call for God’s chosen people to come back to Him. The Baptism was for purification in preparation for Israel to become priests so the Gentiles would have access to God in the Millennial Kingdom (Exodus 19:6; Zechariah 8:22—23).

As far as Repentance is concerned, the act of putting your trust in Christ is an act of repentance. Repentance in merely turning from the direction you are going to go in the opposite direction. That’s what we do when we become saved.

Mystery Revealed Through Paul

DeWaay finds it preposterous that God revealed the Mystery concerning the Body of Christ first through Paul.

Just as the earthly Jesus revealed Kingdom truths to the 12 Disciples and these truths were made clear to them and others through the Holy Spirit, the risen and glorified Jesus Christ reveled Mystery truths to Paul and it was the Holy Spirit who gave Paul and others an understanding of that revelation.

If Paul’s gospel was the same as the Disciples’ gospel, why did Paul need to go to Jerusalem to explain it to them (Acts 15)? Why did Peter find Paul’s teachings so hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16)? Why did he need to add the description “the Body of Christ” when referring to the Church? Why was he careful to refer to the Gospel he preached as “my Gospel”? The answer is that there were two gospels. One revealed to the Disciples by Jesus and the other revealed to the Apostle Paul by Jesus Christ. Paul did not need to explain that salvation was going to go to the Gentiles since this was predicted (Psalms 67:2; Isaiah 49:6). He went to Jerusalem to explain the content of the Gospel of the Grace of God that he was preaching (Galatians 2:2).

This Gospel was revealed to Paul directly by the risen and glorified Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12). Paul taught these revealed truths to the apostles and prophets alive at that time (Ephesians 3:3—5), and the Holy Spirit revealed the truths of these teachings (1 Corinthians 2:10). When we read what Jesus Christ revealed to Paul today, it is the same Holy Spirit that reveals God’s truths to us as He did to the Apostles and prophets in Paul’s day.


Time has limited my discussion to the topics above. I have just scratched the surface in the apologetics of the mid-Acts position. Hopefully those reading this will see that there is a logical progression of God’s dealings with Israel in early Acts all in fulfillment of Prophesy. The Body of Christ was formed later in Acts after Israel’s rejection of the offer of a Kingdom. God will again resume his dealing of Israel and start the prophetic clock after the Church, the Body of Christ is Raptured. Right now Daniel’s prophetic clock has stopped at week 69. Week 70 will mark the beginning of the Tribulation and the fulfillment of God’s prophesies to Israel. My prayer is that these issues will cause you to delve further into the truths of God’s word.