Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 151:603 (Jul 1994)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface Between Dispensational and Non-Dispensational Theology. By Robert L. Saucy. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993. 336 pp. $19.99.

This work by Saucy, distinguished professor of systematic theology at Talbot School of Theology, is one of several recent books dealing with new developments in dispensational theology. After briefly discussing some historical differences between “traditional dispensationalism” and “nondispensationalism,” Saucy describes his own form of dispensationalism as a mediating position between the two. Though the label “progressive dispensationalism” is not found in the book’s contents, Saucy’s approach is fairly similar to that of Darrell L. Bock, Craig A. Blaising, and others who have established the expression (Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church: The Search for Definition [Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992]).

As is the case with any mediating position, Saucy’s system must be defended on two fronts. He distinguishes it from earlier forms of dispensationalism by noting several differences, primarily “in the direction of a greater continuity within God’s program of historical salvation.” For example, “instead of a strict parenthesis that has no relation with the messianic kingdom prophecies of the Old Testament, many dispensationalists [Saucy included] now acknowledge the present age of the church as the first-stage partial fulfillment of these prophecies. Israel and the church are no longer viewed as representing two different purposes and plans of God, as some earlier dispensationalists taught; they are now seen as sharing in the same messianic kingdom of salvation history” (p. 9). While acknowledging that these developments move progressive dispensationalists closer to nondispensational systems, Saucy is particularly careful to affirm such traditional dispensational concepts as the coming kingdom of God and a promised future for ethnic, national Israel.

Since Saucy’s work consists primarily of positive assertions rather than criticisms, his chapters provide valuable summaries on such topics as the biblical covenants, the nature of the church, Spirit baptism, and the evidence for premillennialism. This gives the book considerable value beyond the current debate, but it also exposes more of Saucy’s system to the evaluation of others. Adversaries rarely honor

peacemakers, so some will criticize Saucy for going too far and others for not going far enough. This work must not be dismissed lightly, however. Saucy’s presentation is well documented, carefully considered, and sensitive to crucial issues. Readers who take the ti...

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