PMW 2022-035 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Classic dispensationalism has virtually disappeared among academics. Replacing it today is “progressive dispensationalism.” But though the head has died, the body yet liveth. In the lives of untold millions of unthinking Christians. Therefore, it is important to rebut the system in order to make the case for postmillennialism. This is another installment in my critique of dispensational errors.
House and Ice (Dominion Theology, 29, cp. 166) are correct to point out that “Reconstructionists appropriate for the church (seen as the new Israel) the material blessings for obedience–and curses for disobedience–originally promised by God to defunct national Israel.” How they could possibly set this forth as a “Reconstructionist” distinctive is beyond us, however. The dispensational view is the one with the distinctive element!
Dispensationalist John Feinberg writes: “It is clear that holding a distinctive future for ethnic Israel is essential to Dispensationalism” (Feinberg, Continuity and Discontinuity, 81). Ryrie states that “this is probably the most basic theological test of whether or not a man is a dispensationalist, and it is undoubtedly the most practical and conclusive” (Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, 45). Indeed, this has been a dispensational distinctive since dispensationalism first arose 185 years ago!
I will quickly survey the Scripture evidence for the Church’s being the continuation — or better, the fruition — of Israel.
Christians individually considered and the Church as a collective body are called by distinctively Jewish names: “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom. 2:28-29). Hence, it may be dogmatically and, dare we say, eternally proclaimed: “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Gal. 2:6; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:11; 3:25; 1 Pet. 1:17).
Christians are called “the circumcision”: “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3).
We are called “the children” and “the seed of Abraham”: “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham…. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:7, 29).
We are of the “Jerusalem which is above” and are called the “children of the promise” (Gal. 4:24-29). In fact, Christians compose “the Israel of God” for we are a “new creature” regarding which “circumcision availeth nothing” (Gal. 6:16).
James designates Christians as “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (Jms. 1:1). Peter calls the Christians to whom he writes, the “diaspora” (Gk., 1 Pet. 1:1). Paul constantly calls the Church the “Temple of God” which is being built in history as men are converted (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21).
Olivet Discourse Made Easy (by Ken Gentry)
Verse-by-verse analysis of Christ’s teaching on Jerusalem’s destruction in Matt 24. Show the great tribulation is past, having occurred in AD 70.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Peter follows after Paul’s thinking, when he designates Christians as “stones” being built into a “spiritual house” (1 Pet. 2:5-9). But he does more; he draws upon several Old Testament designations of Israel and applies them to the Church: “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation.” (1 Pet. 2:9-10; Exo. 19:5-6; Deut. 7:6). He, with Paul, also calls Christians “a peculiar people” (1 Pet. 2:10; Tit. 2:14), which is a common Old Testament designation for Israel (Deut. 14:2; 26:18; Psa. 135:4).
Clearly, the biblical record presents Christianity as the fruition of Israel, never to be undone.