Integrative Dispensationalism (ID) is a new form of Dispensationalism, which is presently in a process of systematization. This means that the system has not been fully systematized so far. The Intregrative Dispensationalism Research Center (IDRC) is a research center created to debate and study Dispensationalism as a whole. In a specific manner, IDRC is the Research Center through which the ID is presently being systematized.

The creator and president of IDRC is the theologian Leonardo Costa. As a new Research Institute, IDRC will accept scholars who identify with the Integrative view of Dispensationalism and want to contribute to the project. However, only scholars who identify with the integrative view may participate as a member of IDRC.

As IDRC is a place of study Dispensationalism as a whole, other authors and scholars, despite not being members of the IDRC, may have their articles published on IDRC’s website. They only need to submit their articles to an analysis and, if approved, they will be published.

 

1 – Integrative Dispensationalism as a Variation of Progressive Dispensationalism

Integrative Dispensationalism can be considered a variation of the Progressive Dispensationalism. To understand this fact, we must note a point that has been overlooked by many scholars. A very common mistake in the works of critics of Progressive Dispensationalism is to consider that the authors of the PD agree on all points of their systems. The DP, as a whole, has been criticized for teaching that Jesus is presently reigning in the Throne of David. However, a careful reading in the PD books will show that this statement is false.

While Bock and Braising advocated this view in their works, a great expositor of PD, Robert Saucy, in the book ‘The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism’ did not advocate this view at all. Therefore, the Progressive System of Saucy has some differences compared to Bock and Blaising System, as we will see in the following paragraphs.

For Bock, the Kingdom where Christ is seated presently, at the right hand of God is “the one promised to David’s descendant through the Davidic promise of 2 Samuel, which was initially passed on through Solomon.”

[1] To prove his claim, Bock says that OT portrayed the Solomon king as sitting on the Lord’s throne (1 Chron. 29:23; 2 Chron. 9:8).[2]

In contrast, Saucy says that Jesus is not presently reigning in the Davidic throne. His words are so clear that does not need any comment:

“It would seem best to say that although Christ has been exalted to receive kingly authority over the entire universe and all its contents, he is not presently exercising that kingship in the sense of “reigning,” nor are we as believers doing so.”[3]

“The establishment of the kingdom on earth is still future. The believer is related to this kingdom through faith in the King and is therefore an heir and already a citizen of the coming kingdom. The King has already bestowed some of the blessings of the kingdom on its citizens, so it is possible to speak of the presence of the kingdom now. This presence is described in terms of righteousness, peace, and joy (Rom 14:17), the forgiveness of sins (Col 1:13–14), and power (1Co 4:20), but never in terms of a present “reign.” The kingdom promised in the Old Testament, with its central features in the Davidic covenant, thus finds its fulfillment according to the New Testament teaching both in the present church age and in the future.”[4]

By the above words, it is clear that the views of Saucy and Bock differ as to the claim that Christ is currently reigning on the throne of David. The logical conclusion is that the statement that Christ is currently reigning on the throne of David is not is a “sine qua non” Progressive Dispensationalism. This means that a scholar can be considered a Progressive Dispensationalist even stating that Christ is not at Davidic throne right now.

The Integrative Dispensationalism, following Sauce’s view, states that Jesus is not already at the Davidic Reign.

 

2 – Some Characteristics of Integrative Dispensationalism

A – Hermeneutics

It has been shown that the claim that Jesus is currently reigning on the throne of David is not is a “sine qua non” Progressive Dispensationalism, a fact overlooked by most critics of PD. A new important point to understand the ID new system, is that the ID does not believe that the “Complementary Hermeneutics” is a “sine qua non” of Progressive Dispensationalism. The logical conclusion is that a scholar can be a Progressive Dispensationalist without following a Complementary Hermeneutics. Therefore, the ID system approach to hermeneutics is the same approach of the Traditional Dispensationalists.

 

B – New Methodology to Unify the Bible Narrative

Instead of talking about a “unifying theme” of the Bible or history, the ID understands that the best expression would be “unifying principle” of the Bible narrative. The common expression “unifying theme” leads us to look at the Bible and pick up just ONE theme to unify the Bible narrative (either you choose Kingdom or Redemption or Covenants or Promise and so on). However, the expression “unifying principle,” proposed by ID, seems to better because it lead us to think about a unifying PRINCIPLE (i.e., METHODOLOGY) in order to unify the Bible narrative. Therefore, our task it is not to pick ONE unifying THEME (over the others) of the Bible, but to establish a METHODOLOGY that will UNIFY the BIBLE narrative, through an harmonious INTEGRATION of the most important themes and concepts of the Bible: Glory of God, Kingdom, Redemption, Covenants and Promise.

The “unifying theme” approach has led many theologians to treat the important themes of the Bible in an “either/or form” to establish their whole system of Theology. The ID proposal is so simple: we do not need decide whether the Kingdom, the redemption, the covenants, the promise (Kaiser) or the Glory of God (Ryrie) is the unifying theme of the Bible. In fact, what we must to do is choose a methodology(principle) that will harmoniously use ALL of these themes to unify the Biblical narrative.

 

C – A Partial Postponed View

So far, Dispensationalists has been discussing whether the KINGDOM have been postponed or not. The integrative view, differently, says yes and no for this question. That is because we believe in a postponement, but not for all elements of the Kingdom. Another point to note is that the ID view of Kingdom Program includes not just political elements, but also spiritual elements (indwelling of Spirit, healing etc). Therefore, while the political elements have been postponed by the Jews rejection of the Messiah, the Spiritual elements have arrived. Jesus himself pointed out to the healing during his ministry as a proof that the Kingdom has arrived. For ID, to say that the Kingdom has arrived means that just SOME elements of the Eschatological Kingdom promised, and just SOME, are been present today. These PRESENT elements do not mean a spiritual fulfillment of the Kingdom (as in Covenant Theology). By the contrary, in ID view, these present spiritual ELEMENTS are a literal fulfillment of some elements of E.K. and serve as a PLEDGE that the NOT YET (postponed by the rejection) political elements of the Kingdom will arrive after the Second Coming of Jesus.

 

D – Progressive Establishment of the Eschatological Kingdom in Three Stages

The Integrative Dispensationalism believes in a Progressive Fulfillment of the Eschatological Kingdom (or God’s Program, that I think it is a better terminology–but I will use the usual expression E.K.) in 3 Stages. The first is stage is the present Dispensation; the second one, the Millennium; the third one, the Eternal Estate. That means that ID strongly supports CONTINUITY between the Present Dispensations and the Future Dispensations. What has been partially started at the present Dispensation, will be fully consummated in the Future Dispensations.

 

3 – Comparing ID view of Kingdom Fulfillment and Others Views

First, I would like to compare the ID with the traditional view of dispensationalism. Since it is impossible to compare all views, I chose just two examples: Charles Ryrie and Dwight Pentecost. For Ryrie, the promises and the Kingdom are completely fulfilled in the Millennium and do not extend to eternity. For example, criticizing Progressive Dispensationalism, Ryrie wrote:

“Progressive dispensationalists take a both/and view of the goal(s) of history by combining the millennial kingdom and the eternal state together in a single future dispensation. This is a mediating position between classic dispensationalism and covenant theology and is not in full accord with the definition that relates to events in history, not eternity Thus, in relation to goals in a proper philosophy of history, only normative dispensationalism with its consummation within history in the dispensation of the Millennium offers a satisfactory system.”[5]

By his words, we note that the total fulfillment of the promises of Eschatological Kingdom is exhausted by the Millennium. Following a Different opinion, Dwight Pentecost wrote:

“Israel’s covenants guarantee that people the land, a national existence, a kingdom, a King, and spiritual blessings in perpetuity. Therefore there must be an eternal earth in which these blessings can be fulfilled. By a translation out of the old earth Israel will be brought into the new earth, there to enjoy forever all that God has promised to them.”[6]

Now, we can represent the Ryrie and Pentecost view in the following charts:

Traditional Dispensationalism - Ryrie

 

Traditional Dispensationalism - Pentecost

 

The Integrative view, is in line with Ryrie, believe that Millennium and the Eternal state are two different dispensations. However, the ID does not limit the fulfillment of the Kingdom Program to Millennium alone (as Ryrie). In that aspect, the ID is more in line with Pentecost. But differently of both, the ID speaks of a PARTIAL Postponement and a INITIAL Fulfilmment:

Integrative Dispensationalism - Kingdom

The Progressive view of Bock does not talk about a Postponement and consider the Millennium and Eternal Estate as two different periods within one dispensation.

Progressive Dispensationalism - Bock

 


 

 

Notes

[1] Blaising, Craig A.; Bock, Darrell L. (2010-07-14). Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church: The Search for Definition (Kindle Locations 759-760).

[2] Blaising, Craig A.; Bock, Darrell L. (2010-07-14). Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church: The Search for Definition (Kindle Location 785).

[3] Saucy, Robert (2010-12-21). The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface Between Dispensational and Non-Dispensational Theology (Kindle Locations 1689-1690).

[4] Saucy, Robert (2010-12-21). The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface Between Dispensational and Non-Dispensational Theology (Kindle Location 1756). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

[5] Charles Ryrie. Dispensationalism. Pgs 16-17

[6] Dwight Pentecost. Things to Come. Pg 561

 


Autor: Leonardo Costa