Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JOTGES 10:1 (Spring 97) p. 93
“The Dispensational View of the Davidic Kingdom: A Response to Progressive Dispensationalism,” Stephen J. Nichols, The Master’s Seminary Journal, Fall 1996, pp. 213–39.
As a graduate of Dallas Seminary before the birth of Progressive Dispensationalism (hereafter PD), I have followed with interest this new development. Frankly, however, I have found this movement to be difficult to understand.
Nichols has put forward a helpful review and critique of PD. He compares and contrasts the writings of Blaistng and Bock in their presentation of PD to the writings of old-line Dispensationalists such as Darby, Scofield, Feinberg, Chafer, McClain, Ryrie, and Walvoord.
Several major distinctives between PD and Dispensationalism are cited by Nichols:
- Dispensationalism teaches that the Davidic kingdom was offered to and rejected by Israel, and that as a result of this rejection the kingdom has been postponed until after the Church Age. These things (the offer, rejection, and postponement of the Davidic Kingdom) are absent from PD.
- Dispensationalism teaches that Jesus will be seated on David’s throne at the start of the Millennium. PD teaches that Jesus has been seated on David’s throne since His ascension.
- Dispensationalism teaches that Jesus will not begin His rule as the Davidic King until after the Tribulation. PD teaches that on the one hand Jesus already rules as the Davidic King, in a spiritual sense, today, but on another hand, He is not yet physically ruling over that Kingdom.
- As a consequence of the previous points, Nichols finds “-absent [from PD) is the view that the church is distinct from [the Davidic] kingdom” (p. 235). “The distinguishing feature of dispensationalism, i.e., the consistent distinction between Israel and the church, is all but absent” (p. 239).
The conclusion of Nichols is a bit startling: “A better view of PD takes it as a departure from normative dispensationalism rather than a future development or refinement” (p. 232). He writes further: “The legitimacy
JOTGES 10:1 (Spring 97) p. 94
of calling PD part of the dispensational tradition is questionable” (p. 239).
Nichols does not discuss one point that most JOTGES readers are most interested in: PD and the gospel. Does PD take any stand in the area of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation)? We would love to see an examination of that important question. Since The Master’s Seminary journal promotes Lordship Salvation Theology, that would certainly be a question in which it, too, would surely have great interest.
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