by Elliott Johnson
The distinction between Israel and the church is the theological sine qua non of Dispensationalism. Yet in recent Progressive Dispensational writings, this distinction has become less clear. This is because they claim that the church is fulfilling promises made to Israel or at least they have argued for partial fulfillment. This claim is problematic for two reasons. First, the claim is not clear. Does it mean that a promise is fulfilled in part? The Davidic covenant is fulfilled in part since Jesus was born and anointed the Davidic heir. But neither the leaders accepted Jesus’ claim to be king at the triumphal entry nor was he enthroned on the Davidic throne by Israel (Deut. 17:15). Thus the promised Davidic heir came but neither the kingdom nor the throne appeared. The other possibility is that there is partial fulfillment. But was Jesus partially the Davidic heir? Was Jesus partially enthroned? This seems unlikely. So neither option is a valid alternative of fulfillment.