I believe and teach that this present dispensation began with the ministry of the apostle Paul (Eph. 3:1-13). The following are the most common misconceptions people have about those who hold to this view.
1) We make too much of Paul
We do not exalt Paul as a man or make more out of him than the scripture does (he rebuked the carnal Corinthians for that). We certainly don't put Christ and Paul on the same level. We know that Paul was the “chief of sinners” saved by grace, while Jesus Christ is the holy Son of God and the Savior of sinners. We know that Paul was nothing in himself while Christ is everything. But it was to Paul that the glorified Lord committed the revelation of His message and program for this present dispensation, not the twelve apostles (Matt. 19:28; Gal. 2:9). It is not the person (“less than the least of all saints”), but the position of Paul that we magnify (Rom. 11:15). We follow Christ in this age by following the pattern and spokesman that He sent to us (1 Cor. 4:16-17; 11:1). Paul wrote the words of Christ. By inspiration of God he told us to follow him and he emphasized the importance of his distinct message and ministry. Why doesn’t anyone have a problem with the fact that Israel was to follow Moses?
2) We only study Paul’s epistles and can’t get a blessing from the rest of the Bible
We certainly emphasize Paul’s epistles because we know that they were written directly to us in this present age of grace, but we believe, read, and study the whole Bible (2 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11). There are moral principles and spiritual applications for us throughout the scripture. I get more of a blessing from the OT than before I learned how to rightly divide because now I understand it better.
3) We believe that we have liberty to walk after the flesh
The apostle Paul taught that we are dead to the law, delivered from the law, and not under the law. But he also taught that we are to walk in the Spirit and live godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-15; Rom. 6:1-2, 14-15; Eph. 2:8-10). We have liberty FROM sin, not TO sin! There are commandments under grace (1 Thess. 4:1-2). Paul taught 9 of 10 commandments (Rom. 13:8-14, we are not under the sabbath).
4) We are not evangelistic or missions-minded
Paul was the greatest evangelist the world has ever known! People think this because of our teaching on the “Great Commission” (Matt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-18, etc...). But nobody really follows the kingdom commission today (begin in Jerusalem, work the signs of the kingdom, etc...). Paul talked about going to “all the world,” “all nations,” and “every creature.” We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:17-21).
5) We do not recognize the importance of the local church
We emphasize the importance of the one spiritual church which is the Body of Christ (salvation), but we certainly recognize the importance of the local church for the work of the ministry (service). Paul started local churches and wrote to churches. He gives us the proper order of the local church (1 Cor. 7:17, “And so ordain I in all churches”).
6) We don’t believe in baptism
Actually, we believe baptism is very important. Every believer in this present age is baptized by the Holy Spirit the moment of salvation (1 Cor. 12:13). There are many baptisms in the scripture, but only one that makes us members of the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:5). On the issue of water baptism, we follow Paul. He never required or commanded water baptism, so we don’t either.
7) We believe people are saved by works in other dispensations
Works, in and of themselves, cannot save a sinner in any dispensation! However, the Bible clearly teaches that in other dispensations salvation is by faith that works (Heb. 11; Jam 2): works being an an expression of faith (Acts 2:38). Faith is believing what God said, and in other dispensations God has told man to do certain works (Matt. 24:13). In this present age, we are saved by faith plus NOTHING. To try and do works for salvation today proves that you haven't truly believed the gospel of the grace of God!