Bock

Comments Button Now On – June 26

The comments button is now on so you can respond to the few times a week blogs. I will try to respond on occasion to those that are more than thank you’s. For those thanking me, I want to thank you for taking the time to read the blog and respond.

The comments button is now on so you can respond to the few times a week blogs. I will try to respond on occasion to those that are more than thank you’s. For those thanking me, I want to thank you for taking the time to read the blog and respond. My goal is to keep you up to speed on things as they are happening. I have started to work on my next book that is due out for Christmas, 2007. It is another Jesus book for a popular audience. I will be doing it with another DTS prof. In the meantime I am gearing up to go to the Christian Booksellers Convention in Denver in July to introduce my next popular book, The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth about Alternative Christianities. This book will give people the first glimpse at these extra-biblical works and compare them to writings in the church from a more orthodox perspective from the first 150 years of the faith. It also engages the theory of Walter Bauer that has led some academics to herald the arrival of this material as calling for a rewriting of early Chrsitian history. This call for a reworking has been very much in the public square over the last several years with the finds at Nag Hammadi leading the way as the basis for the claim. The new book is available from Amazon.com. It is especially appropriate for people taking a course in early Christianity in the University context. This work also is designed for anyone who wants to know what an evangelical thinks about all this secret, hidden, missing and lost gospel talk. There is also a short look at the Gospel of Judas. I hope many of you will find the book helpful in understanding contemporary discussions about Jesus and Christianity.

6 Comments

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    VidBex

    Progressive Dispensationalism – June 29
    Dear Dr. Bock,

    Your blog gives a thumbnail overview of PD. Is it not so, that progressive dispensationalism represents the church and Israel as distinct institutions (“distinct structures”), but continuous as one people of God as we move through human history? As you say, “God’s program always had the nations in view as coming into the blessed people of God,” thus the church and Israel are distinct institutions within the one “blessed people of God”.

    Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to trace how the expression “people of God” is used throughout Scripture. There are nearly innumerable references to Israel in the OT as the people of God in various formulations (“my People”, “his people,” etc). However, it is evident that “people of God” applied to Israel includes national Jews both in belief and unbelief, saved and unsaved.

    Moreover “people of God” in various formulations is also applied to the church of Jesus Christ in the New Testament (Acts 15:14, Titus 2:14 etc.), a people that includes the Jewish remnant as well as Gentiles of various nationalities. As we know, the church only includes believers, further distinguishing it from Israel (Ephesians 1).

    Therefore, it is clear that the church and Israel are distinct anthropologically as well as institutionally, as dispensationalism has always taught.

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      bock

      dlb – PD
      Not so fast. As Paul points out in Romans 9, not all Israel is Israel (and he was speaking ethnically). The right to the term Israel in the OT that you note was because of covenant and God was speaking corporately in terms of his design for Israel as a whole in the OT, which is why unbelieving Israel could be punished by Him for violating the covenant that had a claim on them (the term was not an equivalent of the saved there). So the clarity you claim is not as clear as you suggest. The different structure is this. In the OT, Israel bears the message of hope for God’s people with that hope in promise of a coming seed. After Jesus came, that hope had arrived in part with redemption provided and the church now bears that revelation as Jesus is physically absent but the Spirit is present. In the era to come, Jesus will be present with the Spirit, moving to complete what he started among both Israel and the nations. These are clearly different administrative orders and that was our point about distinct in structure. ASs for the church only including beleivers (in one sense yes– that is in some texts, in another saense no, if we take kingdom parables pointing to the fact that there are wheat and tares in the kingdom until the end) So I think this is all part of the discussion.

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    VidBex

    PD
    Hi Dr. Bock,

    This comment is out of order – it was supposed to be a response to Dr. Bock’s last comment.

    thanks for your reply to my comment. Your comments are helping me to understand the progressive position better. It’s worthwhile interacting with someone who understands both the progressive and non-progressive approach to dispensationalism. Is it true that in PD Israel and the church are themselves dispensations, in distinction to classic dispensationalism, which identified dispensations with economies that were linked to successive stages of human history?

    I certainly believe that to be a member of Israel does not mean that one is automatically saved, if that is what you are saying.

    I look at Romans 9:6-8, Paul distinguishes between regenerate and unregenerate Jews by using a characteristic play on words that applies “Israel” to both the remnant and non-remnant. When he says, “they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel,” (NAS) Paul’s point is that physical descent from Abraham was not sufficient to inherit the blessing of righteousness which only comes through faith (Romans 4). Sure, they’re Jewish, but that doesn’t mean they’re getting into heaven. Because of the influence of the Pharisaic tradition that all Jews would enter the (messianic) kingdom, Paul wants to dispel any confusion among the Jewish believers at the church of Rome regarding the means of attaining righteousness.

    And yet despite unbelief of the non-remnant, Israel’s elect status — Israel as a whole, both believers and unbelievers — still holds (Rom. 9:3-5). Although different administrative orders may hold between Israel in the past, the church in the present and the kingdom in the future, I don’t see that the administration itself subsumes all that is meant in “Israel” or “the church”. Surely we (“the church”) are a people because we are people, and the same would hold for Israel.

    Again, you suggest that “Israel” throughout the OT only applies to believing Israel (is that what you meant?), although Paul’s usage, “my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites,” in Rom 9:3-5 surely applies to unbelieving Israel, the physical descendants of Israel, Isaac and Jacob.

    You also suggest that “God’s people” really only means true believers , although it is evident as I noted earlier, “people of God” is used in the Bible of Israel both in belief and in unbelief, of redeemed Gentile nations in the Millennium and of the church today. Perhaps we can agree that the people of God through scripture is a grand paronomasia. From the standpoint of eternity the redeemed of all time are God’s people (Rev. 21:3) and yet distinctions (not divisions) will persist into the eternal state (Jer. 31:36, Eph. 3:21, Rev. 3:12, 14).

    I think that the mystery form of the kingdom in Matthew 13 is bigger than the church. The church is part of God’s kingdom program but not identical to it. The tares look like Christians but they are not. Some of them may even seem to look more like Christians to an unbelieving world than those of us who are Christians. I note that the term “church” is absent from the kingdom parables but present in Ephesians 1. Revelation 13:14ff speaks of a “church” which may be fully in unbelief, however, if these are unbelievers, then they’re not part of the true, universal church (Eph. 1:13).

    Shalom.

    http://www.davidandbecky.com

    • Avatar

      bock

      dlb – PD again
      *** Denote my responses. Note I cannot engage in such long interactiosn on a regular basis.

      Is it true that in PD Israel and the church are themselves dispensations, in distinction to classic dispensationalism, which identified dispensations with economies that were linked to successive stages of human history?

      *** Reply: No, this is not the point of any distinction, the best that I can tell. Economies and dispesations are synonyms. Different words for stewardships or administrative arrangements.

      And yet despite unbelief of the non-remnant, Israel’s elect status — Israel as a whole, both believers and unbelievers — still holds (Rom. 9:3-5). Although different administrative orders may hold between Israel in the past, the church in the present and the kingdom in the future, I don’t see that the administration itself subsumes all that is meant in “Israel” or “the church”. Surely we (“the church”) are a people because we are people, and the same would hold for Israel.

      *** The point here is that the terminology, when used, looks at a corporate struture, one of which was a nation (Israel), the other of which is a non-national structure of God (Church) but both mentioned because they are a collective group that is being looked at.

      Again, you suggest that “Israel” throughout the OT only applies to believing Israel (is that what you meant?), although Paul’s usage, “my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites,” in Rom 9:3-5 surely applies to unbelieving Israel, the physical descendants of Israel, Isaac and Jacob.

      ** No actually my point about the term being corporate is the exact opposite (It is Israel, as a nation, beleiving and unbeleving but as the object of covenannt hope that is referred to, though only soem in it will benefit fromt he covenant becasue of the importance of national response; see Kings where the kings of Israel determine the nation’s fate.

      You also suggest that “God’s people” really only means true believers , although it is evident as I noted earlier, “people of God” is used in the Bible of Israel both in belief and in unbelief, of redeemed Gentile nations in the Millennium and of the church today. Perhaps we can agree that the people of God through scripture is a grand paronomasia. From the standpoint of eternity the redeemed of all time are God’s people (Rev. 21:3) and yet distinctions (not divisions) will persist into the eternal state (Jer. 31:36, Eph. 3:21, Rev. 3:12, 14).

      *** My point was more that in different passages the term has different scopes in mind.

      I think that the mystery form of the kingdom in Matthew 13 is bigger than the church. The church is part of God’s kingdom program but not identical to it.

      **I agree with this and have said so in print. teh church is a subset of the kingdom, but it si the form of the kingdom that exists todayl.

      The tares look like Christians but they are not. Some of them may even seem to look more like Christians to an unbelieving world than those of us who are Christians.

      ** I agree with this as well, but that does not mean the church is not included in the discussion just because the term is not present.

      I note that the term “church” is absent from the kingdom parables but present in Ephesians 1. Revelation 13:14ff speaks of a “church” which may be fully in unbelief, however, if these are unbelievers, then they’re not part of the true, universal church (Eph. 1:13).

      ** Agreed. Terms must be seen individually in each context. But what is said about kingdom in Matt 13 includes the church as a part of that program or else texts in Acts where preaching the kingdom brings one into the church do not make sense. To be honest, I do not see the point that is being made by you in all of this. Can you clarify?

      • Avatar

        VidBex

        PD
        Hi Dr. Bock,

        Thanks once again for your response. I had responded to your earlier comments on Matt. 13 because it seemed that you were identifying the church with the mystery kingdom (wasn’t this Scofield’s point of view?). Based on your feedback I think that we both agree on the “continuity/discontinuity” (pardon the expression) between the church and the mystery kingdom.

        Thanks for interacting with me on PD.

        Shalom b’Yeshua,

        http://www.davidandbecky.com