alien righteousness

Kline on Classical and Progressive Dispensationalism

Here are a few points that Kline makes in his book Kingdom Prologue (340-50):

Classical Dispensationalism:

  1. The basic question between covenantal and dispensational hermeneutics is “how to construe the relation of the two levels of the promised kingdom of the Abrahamic Covenant to one another… the relationship of the old covenant with Israel to the new covenant with the church, particularly as that comes into focus in the typological connection which the Scripture posits between them.”
  2. Fundamental fallacy of Dispensationalism: “its failure to do justice to the Bible’s identification of the new covenant (or second level) realization of the kingdom promise as standing in continuity with the old covenant (or first level) realization as antitypical fulfillment to typal promise.”
  3. “…failing to see that the first level kingdom becomes obsolete and gets replaced by the antitype in the messianic age, continue the obsolete order indefinitely into the new age. They assign it a place parallel to the second level kingdom, perhaps even permanently so, while relegating the second level fulfillment to a parenthetical rather than perfective status. In so doing, Dispensationalism radically misconstrues the typological structure of old and new covenants, reducing typology to mere analogy and obscuring the historical promise-fulfillment relationship of these two covenants.”
  4. Difference between covenantal and dispensational hermeneutics are not really about literal vs. figurative interpretation but “contrary analyses of the relationship of two successive covenantal orders in redemptive history, one approach being nontypological and the other typological.”

Progressive Dispensationalism:

  1. “…the revisionists would now acknowledge that the eschatological blessings of the salvation-kingdom are secured not by works but by God’s grace in Christ.. in avoiding the error of propounding two ways of salvation they find themselves confronted with a dilemma. For while they want to affirm that it is only in Christ that the Jew can receive the kingdom blessings, they still cling to the notion that there is a separate millennial kingdom for Jewish believers. But the Scriptures disallow this by insisting that if a Jew is in Christ he is no more a Jew, just as a Gentile is no more a Gentile in Christ… In the only place where salvation’s blessings exist- in Christ, the distinction between Jew and Gentile does not exist.
  2. “To suggest that certain Jews who are in Christ will have their own peculiar Jewish experience of the kingdom assumes a continuance of the distinction that Christ abolished… Scripture simply will not tolerate this dispensationalist notion of a separate salvation-kingdom for Jewish Christians in a future millennium.”
  3. “…all who are in Christ receive all the fullness of the eternal inheritance… on the one hand the inheritance of the Jewish believers is the whole world, not just Palestine, and, on the other, that there is no special reserve, Palestinian or any other, set aside for Jewish believers in preference to Gentile believers since all the world belongs to the Gentile believer too.
  4. “…the revised Dispensationalism that purges itself of the teaching of two ways of salvation does so at the cost of abandoning the correct perception of earlier Dispensationalism that a works principle was operating in the Mosaic kingdom… they do not perceive the true solution of identifying the works principle with the former while maintaining the continuity of the one way of salvation at the other, foundational level. All they can do is join certain of their covenantal critics in denying that there was a works principle in the old covenant.”
  5. “They recognize in a general way that the typological, first level realization of the promises was provisional and has been replaced by the antitypical realities of the messianic order. Inconsistently, however, they adopt the dispensationalist hermeneutic in their interpretation of the land promise.”
  6. “Land and people promises must therefore be kept together within each level, whether in the typological embodiment of the cultural program in the old covenant kingdom or in its new covenant version. A hybrid combination of old covenant land and new covenant people violates the conceptual unity of these two cultural components of the kingdom, while at the same time ignoring the discreteness of the typical and antitypical kingdoms.”

J. Lim

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