I am going to try to pick up my blogging again and perhaps speed it up, Lord willing. I plan to do more personal things on Facebook (where my activity has picked up) but more academic/technical things on our-hope.org. I have been asked to speak at the Pre-Trib Study Group this coming December giving an analysis of Sam Storms’ book Kingdom Come which I blogged about a few times. I hope to finish my string of blogs in response to Sam’s points which I had started to do. My paper at the Pre-Trib Study Group will be an expansion of the paper I delivered at the Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics last year. I want to be constructive in my criticism and not bombastic in my disagreements. Please pray for me on this.
For this blog post, however, my main thought goes ahead to the upcoming Council meeting in September which I advertised in my last blog. My presentation is entitled “What Do Israel and the Church Share from a Traditional Dispensational Viewpoint?” I want to help traditional dispensationalists do a full-blown theology and not just hammer the distinction between Israel and the Church (which I firmly accept) as a matter of polemics in our debate with replacement theology. In doing this, one area that gives me pause is the constant use by dispensationalists of the distinction between Israel and the Church as a theological switch that provides proof for the pre-trib rapture. This argument would be more plausible if the distinction has been proven to be absolute on other grounds before we get to the rapture question. To be sure, some dispensationalists in the tradition have argued for a pretty absolute distinction by keeping the Church out of the future earthly kingdom. In addition, Lewis Sperry Chafer’s view of two distinct new covenants was at least partly caused by his desire to make the Israel-Church dichotomy more absolute. As to the idea that the Church as a heavenly elect will have no part in the future earthly kingdom, this seems to be countered by Luke 19:11-27 and like passages. As to the idea of two new covenants, very few dispensationalists today hold such a view. The book I edited entitled “Dispensational Understanding of the New Covenant” shows three views defended, none of which are the two new covenants view. No one showed up to defend this view at the Council when we discussed it.