The Dispensational View of the Davidic Kingdom: A Response to Progressive Dispensationalism -- By: Stephen J. Nichols

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 07:2 (Fall 1996)
Article: The Dispensational View of the Davidic Kingdom: A Response to Progressive Dispensationalism
Author: Stephen J. Nichols


The Dispensational View of the Davidic Kingdom:
A Response to Progressive Dispensationalism

Stephen J. Nichols1

Progressive dispensationalism has departed from one of the historical distinctives of normative dispensationalism, that of the offer, rejection, postponement, and exclusively future fulfillment of the Davidic kingdom. It has also failed to include a related distinctive, the churchs separateness from the Davidic kingdom. Dispensationalists from the successive periods of history have repeatedly emphasized these distinctives, an emphasis that nondispensational critics have also noted. Progressive dispensationalism, on the other hand, has not advocated these distinctives, raising the question of whether that movement deserves the labeldispensational or whether it belongs more in the category of nondispensational historical premillennialism.

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“This book,” writes Craig Blaising, “explains a significant change presently taking place in dispensational interpretations of Scripture. This change affects the way dispensationalists understand key biblical themes such as the kingdom of God, the church in God’s redemptive program,

the interrelationship of the biblical covenants, the historical and prophetic fulfillment of those covenants, and the role of Christ in that fulfillment.”2 These key biblical themes encompass perhaps the whole of both biblical and systematic theology, implying the extent of proposed changes by Progressive Dispensationalism (hereafter PD) as represented by Craig Blaising and his colleague Darrell Bock. It would be a formidable task to undertake an examination of each of these themes, so this essay will compare the traditional dispensational understanding of the Davidic kingdom with how PD understands it.

According to Blaising, “…Dispensationalism has not been a static tradition,” but has undergone change and modification, especially its view of the kingdom.3 He uses this thesis of earlier change to legitimize current proposals of change by the progressives (i.e., progressive dispensationalists) within the dispensational tradition.4 This concept forms the substance of the first chapter, “The Extent and Varieties of

Dispensationalism,” which gives significant attention to kingdom views5 and to the difference between classic and revised dispensational...

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