A while ago I reviewed Continuity & Discontinuity, which had the unique feature of presenting varying positions on the relationship of the Old and New Testaments in key areas including hermeneutics, the Law, salvation, and the fulfillment of OT promises.
In my review of the two chapters dealing with the Israel and the church, I complained that there was no multi-view book devoted to the topic, as there are more than two options. Well, the theological landscape has shifted a little since the 1980s when the book was released, and in 2015, B&H released Perspectives on Israel and the Church: 4 Views. Rather than being a presentation of Covenantalism vs Dispensationalism, four views are represented: Covenantal, Progressive Covenantal, Dispensational and Progressive Dispensational. Each chapter ends with responses from the other three views. This is exactly what I was after!
I’m beginning a series summarizing these authors’ views. I am particularly excited about reading the two “progressive” views as they will be less familiar to myself and possibly my readers.
The posts will follow the chapter outline of Perspectives on Israel and the Church, which presents the views in order of historical development. Here are the viewpoints and their respective authors:
- Traditional Covenantal: Robert L. Reymond
- Traditional Dispensational: Robert L. Thomas
- Progressive Dispensational: Robert L. Saucy
- Progressive Covenantal: Chad O. Brand and Tom Patt Jr.
Of course, each view argues that it best represents the authors of scripture and can be found in church history, but in terms of how these doctrines were clearly articulated in history, this is the general outline. And no, that is not a typo. We have three Robert L.s!
As to the four viewpoints, they represent a fairly broad spectrum and the interactions should be very thought provoking and interesting. From my own understanding, here is how I would present the viewpoints along the (admittedly simplistic) continuity-discontinuity spectrum, with discontinuity meaning a vast separation and distinction between Israel and the church.:
Progressive Covenantalism presents itself as a “via media”, but to my mind, it is slightly closer to Covenantal Theology than a pure middle-ground (which may be impossible?). However, Progressive Dispensationalism is closer to traditional Dispensationalism than Progressive Covenantalism is to Covenant Theology, if that makes sense!
Check back soon for the Covenantal view of Israel and the church.