WHY I REJECT "BULLINGERISM"
Maurice M Johnson
Many people are ignorantly called "Bullingerites." Doubtless there are some who have carnally accepted the teachings of the late E.W. Bullinger of England. Having possessed his Companion Bible for eight years and having read and studied his last writings, I believe I can humbly claim to know what are the distinctive doctrines of Bullinger. He ably contended for all of "the fundamentals" of Christianity but differed from most "fundamentalists" in his teaching that water baptism and the physical supper were Jewish, and therefore not for the spiritual people of God in this dispensation. But so do the Quakers and the "Salvation Army" reject the physical ordinances as being for Christians. And undoubtedly there were many "unknown" groups, such as the "Paulists," all through the years since Paul who believed that to worship the Risen Christ "in Spirit ... and have no confidence in the flesh" required nothing fleshy. In other words, Bullinger's teaching about the physical Ordinances does not distinguish him from thousands of Christians who lived and died before he was born. Bullinger observed that Paul's epistles to the Thessalonians, Corinthians, Galatians, Hebrews, and Romans were written while God was still dealing with the Jews as Jews, and he concluded that as long as God was continuing to recognize His earthly people, Israel, He couldn't begin anything new. But when Israel was "formerly" broken off (Acts 28:28), God was free to begin His "new man," "the church which is Christ's body." Thus, "Bullingerism" is the teaching that there are two separate and distinct churches since Pentecost; "the church of God" spoken of in Paul's earlier epistles and "the church which is His body" spoken of in the epistles Paul wrote after Acts 28:28.
According to Bullinger and Welch and Evans of England, Hadden of Los Angeles, Morgan of Buffalo Bible Institute (and apparently O'Hair of Chicago, Bultema and Bennett of Michigan, and others of "The Berean Bible Conference" group), the Gentiles who were saved during the period covered by the book of Acts "were saved on a Jewish basis" and were baptized into "a" church that is called "A" body of Christ in I Corinthians 12:27. These men inform us that there was nothing new about this church of the Acts period because Paul told Agrippa that he had taught "none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come." So Bullingerism tells us that Peter's vision about the Gentiles being no longer "unclean and far off" was simply God's way of telling Peter that the Gentiles were to be saved on a Jewish basis. But, according to the Word, Peter knew that all the time and readily preached to both Jews and. Gentile "proselytes" at Pentecost. Acts 2:10. In this connection, it is most interesting to note that Peter is the first one to ever use the phrase, "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," and he uses it in telling the Conference at Jerusalem that Cornelius was NOT "saved on a Jewish basis" but by "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 5:11.
According to this teaching, the "mystery" of 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 (which Paul spoke "to them that are perfect") was not a mystery at all but merely some of those "things which Moses and the prophets did say should come." Likewise the "mystery" of 1 Corinthians 15:51 was not a mystery. Neither was the "mystery" of Romans 11:25 new information about how long the blindness was going to last with Israel. I have searched their books in vain and personally questioned several of the above mentioned, all in vain, as I sought to get one text from the "prophets and Moses"telling about such a thing as is described in Galatians 3:27-28. Read carefully: "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus ... a new creation." Galatians 3:27-28; 6:15. The only possible difference between this "new creation in Christ" where nationality and all physical distinctions cease and "the new creation in Christ" that is described in Colossians 3:10-12; Ephesians 2:10-18, is the difference in the light that had been given concerning the "walk" of the "new creature in Christ." For those "carnal" new creatures at Corinth, only the "milk" of the Word could be given because they "walked as men." 1 Corinthians 3:1-3. The "Bullingerites" tell us that the reason Paul didn't reveal the "meat" to those Corinthians was that Paul had not yet reached Rome to "formally" set Israel aside. Personally, I prefer to allow Paul to inform us as to just why he did not fully explain the "mystery" to those Corinthians saints. And Paul does very clearly tell us. 1 Corinthians 2:1-8; 3:1-4.
The teaching about the Jews being "formally broken off at Acts 28:28" is purely fiction. It is the false assumption upon which the whole structure of "Bullingerism" has been erected. how can anyone carefully read the book of Acts along with such passages as 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 and Romans 11:17 and fail to see that the "natural olive branches," Israel, were broken off gradually? Paul would go into a town and preach to "Jew first" and would then pronounce the judgment of God upon the Christ-rejecting Jewish leaders in that town. After privately teaching the Jews and Gentiles who did believe his public message about the Christ spoken of by "the prophets and Moses," Paul would leave the Spirit-taught "members of the one body in Christ" (Galatians:3:27-28; Romans 12:4-5) and would go to another town to speak to "Jew first." Finally, Paul is ready to go to Rome and thus writes the Roman saints: "Now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you, whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you." Romans 15:23-24. But when he got to Rome he did as always, preached the gospel of Christ to "Jew first." His Roman pronouncement against the Jews, Acts 28:28, was no more a "formal" setting aside of the Jews as a nation than was his declaration in Acts 13:46.
Much of the confusion concerning when and how the Church (the body) began is caused by these ultra-dispensationalists' teaching that "the mystery" of Ephesians 3:4 and Romans 16:25 is "the church which is Christ's body" including the individual salvation of its members. Therefore, they insist that "the gospel of your salvation" (Ephesians 1:13) could not have been the gospel that saved the Galatians, since the gospel Paul preached to them was "preached before to Abraham." Galatians 3:8. But the mystery of Ephesians 3:4 has to do rather with what the "body of Christ" now is (Gentiles made fellow-heirs with Jews in this "new man") and where this body's citizenship and blessings are. The way the members of the Ephesian church were saved from sin and the way we are saved today is exactly the way Abraham was saved and Peter, James, John, Paul, Cornelius, and the Colossians. Too much emphasis can hardly be placed in this study upon Peter's statement at the conference at Jerusalem when he besought the "apostles and elders" not to consider the salvation of the Gentiles a Jewish or kingdom proposition but a case of salvation "by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 15:11.
Many have been bewildered by the teaching that "the gospel of the circumcision" which was committed unto Peter was a radically different gospel than Paul's gospel of the uncircumcision. Galatians 2:7-9. Nothing can be farther from the truth than to suppose there were two ways of saving souls, one for the Jew and one for the Gentiles. That the saved Jews continued to hope for the restoration of the "kingdom to Israel" ail through the Acts period, there seems to be no doubt, but we know from such statements as Galatians 3:27-28 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 that they were spiritually one with saved Gentiles in the "one body in Christ." Romans 12:4-5. While the full revelation concerning this "one body in Christ" was being withheld, the believing Jews continued not only to hope for the consolation of Israel, but they also continued to walk under the Old Testament ceremonialism. Acts 21:18-26. But the mere fact that they "walked" after Moses did not do away with the fact that they were already "justified from all things from which ye could not be by the law of Moses." Acts 13:38-39. In other words, God permitted those Jews who were "in Christ" to walk after Moses -until He saw fit to fully explain this "in Christ" position and purpose. Therefore, the apparent "two gospels" of Galatians 2:7 are identically alike as to personal salvation but different as to the peoples to whom Peter and Paul were sent, and different also as to the walk that was allowable for the saved--a Mosaic walk for the believing Jews and the "not under the law" walk for the believing Gentiles. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22; Acts 21:19-26; Galatians 2:12-14. (Note expression, "the gospel," in Galatians 2:14.) The gospel that Peter preached to the Jews for salvation was as pure grace as any message Paul ever preached. An honest examination of Acts 11:12-18 with 15:7-11 will convince any Christian that Peter had been led to clearly see and teach the distinction between "law and grace." Peter states that he now sees that the whole Mosaic system did not save nor could it be borne by the Jews to whom God had given it, and he exclaims: "We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we (Jews) shall be saved, even as they (Gentiles)." And that is exactly what Paul is saying in Romans 1:16.
The "Bullingerites" object strenuously to being called "the children of Abraham." Galatians 3:6-9; 26-29; Romans 4:16. But they gladly go to Galatians and Romans to get their "Pauline doctrine of justification by faith." Ephesians 2:8-10 and Titus 3:5 have to be explained by these two great pre -prison epistles. Those who are not "the children of Abraham" (Galatians 3:7) are proudly on their way to the "lake of fire" for the "my gospel" of Paul (2 Timothy 2:8) is exactly the same as the "my gospel" of Paul in Romans 2:16, and that is the same as "the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation unto everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." In other words, "salvation is of the Jews" -- the salvation "which Moses and the prophets did say should come." John 4:22; Acts 26:22-23. The "mysteries" for this dispensation, therefore, do not have to do with a special way of saving sinners but have to do with the special place and the special blessings God has purposed to give the saved sinners in this dispensation. The "children of Abraham" as to salvation, we are "neither Jew nor Gentile ... in Christ" (Galatians 3:27-28), but are seated in the glory with Christ as members of "Christ." 1 Corinthians 12:12 (last word); Ephesians 2:6; Philippians 3:3.
These extreme "dispensationalists" put all of the saved people
during the Acts period in "the church of God" and those saved after
the Acts period, in "the church which is Christ's body." Of course,
Paul and Timothy, Titus and Silas, and the other intelligent saints of the Acts
period somehow or other got out of "the church of God" and got into
the "church which is Christ's body." I have asked several of the
modern crowd of "intelligent" ones to please tell me how
Paul could break the Holy Spirit's "seal" that placed him
in the "one body in Christ" of the Acts period so that he could be
"sealed with the holy Spirit" in this "other" body in Christ
with the Ephesians. I presume Paul will tell us when he writes his second
postscript to the Roman epistle. But in the meantime, let us prayerfully compare
these "two bodies.
"THE CHURCH OF GOD" "The CHURCH, CHRIST'S BODY"
Saved by the "my gospel of Paul." Saved by the "my gospel of Paul."
Rom. 1:16; 2:16 2 Tim. 2:8
The Christ raised according to David. The Christ raised according to David.
Acts 2:34-36 2 Tim. 2:8
Holy Spirit baptism formed Jew and Holy Spirit baptism formed Jew and
Gentile into one body called "the Gentile into one body called "the
church of God." 1 Cor. 1:2; 12:13 church of God." Eph. 2:15; 4:5;
1 Tim. 3:5,15.
"In Christ" nationality lost. "In Christ" nationality lost.
Gal. 3:27-28; 1 Cor. 12:12-13 Col. 3:10-11
"Sealed" in one body in Christ. "Sealed" in one body in Christ.
2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5 (Paul was in "both" "one" bodies.) Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30
"Rightly dividing the word of truth" is a Divine Science. Bullingerism.
1 Tim 6:20
Return to Navigation