He that hath slight thoughts of sin had never great thoughts of God. Indeed, men’s undervaluing of sin ariseth merely from their contempt of God.
John Owen, “An Exposition Upon Psalm CXXX,” in Works, 6: 394.
He that hath slight thoughts of sin had never great thoughts of God. Indeed, men’s undervaluing of sin ariseth merely from their contempt of God.
John Owen, “An Exposition Upon Psalm CXXX,” in Works, 6: 394.
Forell, George W., ed. Career of the Reformer II. Luther’s Works. Volume 32. Edited by Helmut T. Lehmann. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1958.
Volume 32 of Luther’s Works (along with volume 31, which includes the 95 Theses) is an ideal volume to read on 500th anniversary of the Reformation. It includes the account of Luther at the Diet of Worms, his point-by-point response to the bull, Exsurge Domine, promulgated against Luther by Pope Leo X, and Luther’s account of the burning of Dutch reformer, Brother Henry, for the faith.
Oliver, Robert. History of the English Calvinistic Baptists, 1771-1892: From John Gill to C. H. Spurgeon. Carlisle PA: Banner of Truth, 2006.
Sometimes the best way to learn doctrine is through historical studies. The historical narrative lends interest. But more than that it provides context for why certain positions were held and how they changed and developed over time. This particular volume provides a good introduction to the issues of hyper-Calvinism vs. the free offer of the gospel, antinomianism, the eternal Sonship of Christ, ad open or closed communion.
It also provides good biographical sketches not only of well-known Baptists such as Gill, the Rylands, Fuller, and Spurgeon but also of lesser known men such as Benjamin Beddome or Abraham Booth. For someone interested in reading Baptist primary sources, this book is a good place to get reading ideas.
The history here is carefully done. The book is based on the author’s dissertation. But it has the warmth one would expect from a Banner book.
Something worth thinking about:
Tocqueville cares little for ancient metaphysics, yet he cares less for its modern substitute, epistemology, which is designed to protect liberalism from dangerous involvement in deep questions.
Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop, “Editor’s Introduction,” in Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. and ed. Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), xxxi.
Harlow, J. Porter. How Should We Treat Detainees? An Examination of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” under the Light of Scripture and the Just War Tradition. P&R, 2016.
Harlow, who served as an attorney in the Marine Corps and as an associate professor at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School, wrote this book as a thesis for an M.A.R. degree from RTS.
He opens the dissertation with an account of how his views began to change on this subject. While teaching at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School he invited Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch to address the class. He described Couch as “a prosecutor’s prosecutor, a strong advocate for the Government who I did not believe had ever served as a defense counsel” and as “as self-described Republican and evangelical Christian” (xvii-xviii). In this lecture Couch explained why he had refused to prosecute an al-Qaeda terrorist because his “confessions had been obtained by the U.S. Government as the result of torture” (xvii). Couch found this not only unlawful (and thus evidence “inadmissiable in a court”) but he also registered his moral objections. This prompted Harlow, an evangelical Christian, to begin to rethink his position on torture and to investigate the nature of the enhanced interrogation techniques that had been used for a time by the U.S. government.
In this work he reviews the biblical argumentation for just war theory and then applies his findings to the enhanced interrogation techniques employed early on in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He concludes that these techniques, especially when combined are torture and violate the principles of discrimination (in which only combatants are to be targeted in war) and proportionality (principles that he earlier grounded in Scripture).
One of most interesting discussions in the book has to do with the ticking time bomb scenario. It is in connection with this scenario in particular that some evangelicals have sanctioned torture. Harlow finds this fundamentally problematic because it sets aside a deontological approach to ethics (something is right or wrong because it conforms to or violates the law of God) for a utilitarian ethic (something is right or wrong depending on the potential outcome). He concludes: “Ticking time bomb scenarios have been criticized as intellectual frauds because they (1) provide for unrealistic certainty in the factual circumstances, (2) limit the leader’s options so as to only consider whether to torture or not to torture, and (3) mis-frame the entire debate over detainee treatment by developing principles based upon the most exceptional circumstances and then applying those principles to detainee treatment in general circumstances” (90).
Harlow concludes that evangelicals have not applied the Scripture to this issue with the same rigor and concern that they have to issues like abortion. Instead they have often been overly influenced by their political affiliations. He calls for evangelicals to test treatment of detainees by Scripture and to allow Scripture to shape their approach to public policy in this area.
DeRouchie, Jason S. “Is Every Promise ‘Yes’? Old Testament Promises and the Christian,” Themelios 42.1 (2017): 16-45.
This is a helpful article that discusses the application of Old Testament promises to the Christian. He helpfully provides numbers of examples where Old Testament promises are repeated in the New Testament. He situates these promises in their Old Testament context and then looks at their use in the New Testament.
The examples prepare the reader to ask how Old Covenant promises relate to those in the New Covenant. DeRouchie presents “Five Foundational Principles” to answer this question.
This section is helpful, but I did find myself desiring greater clarity on what DeRouchie considered to be the Old Covenant. Is it the Mosaic Covenant, the Mosaic and Abrahamic Covenants, all the covenants prior to the New Covenant? It seems that he is using an expansive definition, but at least a footnote of justification for the choice would have been helpful.
The article closes with an unpacking of principle 1: “Christians Benefit from OT Promises Only through Christ.” Here DeRoucie presents four different ways in which OT promises are fulfilled through Christ.
This last category, however, is problematic if “developed” means that the makeup or content of the promise and the audience or recipients change to be something other than originally promised. This kind of development would actually result in God breaking his word to the original audience to whom he made the promise. If, however, “developed” means that what was originally promised is fulfilled as promised for the original recipients while the content and recipients are expanded beyond the original promise, then it would seem that this category would revert to category 2. With regard to the specific example of land, I have a hard time know whether it fits into category 1 or 2. The land promise is extended to cover the entire world and the nations, which seem to fit category 2. But the extension begins to be spelled out in the Old Testament itself.
I think a great deal of the impasse between dispensationalists, progressive covenantalists, and covenant theologians could be broken if category 2 were recognized by more dispensationalists and if category 4 were eliminated by covenant theologians and progressive covenantalists.
The preceding review of the Progressive Covenantalist view of the land has affirmed, nuanced, and then challenged various different aspects of the Progressive Covenantalist thesis.
The central thesis of the Progressive Covenantalist view of the land, namely, that the land promise expands to encompass all of the new creation and all of the redeemed, is affirmed. This agreement rests on a shared belief that the material creation is significant in God’s redemptive plan. In addition, Progressive Covenantalists are correct in rooting the land theme in Eden. It is also correct to posit that the origins of this theme prior to the giving of the Abrahamic covenant point to a worldwide fulfillment of the theme in the new creation. Further, there is no disagreement with Progressive Covenantalists regarding the way the rest theme in Scripture points to the fulfilment of the land theme in the entire new creation.
These are points of genuine agreement, rather than concessions. My own thoughts on the land promise expanding to encompass the entire world developed in late 2010 and through 2011, prior to the publication of works by Progressive Covenantalists, as I worked through Scripture passages that speak of Israel possessing the nations and through a study on the theme of land in Joshua.
Some Progressive Covenantalist arguments need nuancing. it is best to not see Eden as the primeval temple or the New Jerusalem as the entire new creation. It is possible to see the roots of Scripture’s temple theme in Eden without actually making the exegetically dubious claim that Eden was a temple. Likewise it is possible to see the temple theme fulfilled in the entire new creation without making the New Jerusalem be the entire new creation.
Progressive Covenantalists would also do well to reconsider their views regarding conditional and unconditional covenants. While they are correct that all covenants are made graciously and that all covenants have covenantal requirements, the labels conditional or unconditional refer to whether or not in some covenants God guarantees the covenant promises will come to pass even apart from the human fulfillment of the covenant. For instance, the Noahic covenant is not dependent on the obedience of its human partners for the covenant promises (no worldwide Flood until the end) to come to fruition.
More significantly, Progressive Covenantalists would do well to give more prominence to the way the kingdom promises in the Old Testament themselves expand the land promise to include the entire earth and the nations. Better recognition that their central thesis is explicitly presented in the Old Testament would alleviate some of the problems that arise when Progressive Covenantalists rest their argument primarily on typology.
Progressive Covenantalist arguments from typology have two problems. First, it is not accurate to say that the land of Israel is a type. The land of Israel was a type at certain points in history, but not at others. Once this is realized the argument that the land promised to Abraham has no future significance because it is a type of the new creation falls apart. Second, it is problematic to claim that typology overrides specific promises made to specific people. Once it is recognized that the land of Israel was only a type at certain points in history, it becomes possible for the specific promises to Israel regarding its land be fulfilled as part of the larger fulfillment that encompasses the whole new creation. This is not a request for Progressive covenantalists to become dispensationalists. They could accept this adjustment while maintaining that Israel was a type fulfilled in Christ and while denying “that national Israel in terms of its role, vocation, calling, and identity” has “a future…role…in the plan of God” (Parker, “The Israel-Christ-Church Relationship,” Progressive Covenantalism, 52). On another occasion I would want to challenge that understanding, but it is not being challenged in this critique.
Finally, Progressive Covenantalists are being asked to take more seriously the theme of nations in Scripture and to allow this theme to come to full fruition in the biblical storyline. Their failure to reckon with the creational nature of nations and for the full development of nations within the Creation, Fall, Redemption structure of the biblical storyline is perhaps the most significant defect in the Progressive Covenantal view of the land.
The argument here is not that Progressive Covenantalists should become dispensationalists. The way the argument has been framed, Progressive Covenantalists have not been asked to alter their view of typology or even alter their view that Israel plays no special role as a nation in the future. Since Progressive Covenantalist viewpoints on one or both of these issues are not acceptable to dispensationalists, the Progressive Covenantalists who adopted this paper’s argument would maintain their mediating position between covenant theology and dispensationalism.
All that is being asked is to recognize that promises of land to Abraham and his physical seed be fulfilled for national Israel in the new creation as part of the wider fulfillment of the land theme.
While maintaining their distinctiveness, Progressive Covenantalists would open up an area of substantial agreement with dispensationalism while maintaining substantial agreement with covenant theologians. In doing so they could pave the way for greater unity of thought about the land them among dispensationalists, covenant theologians, and those who hold to mediating positions. This would be an advance akin to the one promoted by Anthony Hoekema. Hoekema conceded that dispensationalists were correct to critique certain amillennialists for spiritualizing the Old Testament prophecies that predicted abundant fertility on the earth, long life for people, and harmony between among animal creation. Hoekema saw many of these promises fulfilled in the new creation. Disagreements remain, but the greater agreement secured is nonetheless significant.
Progressive Covenantalists have advanced the discussion of the land theme with their proposal. With some adjustments their proposal could move from being merely a distinctive for the theological position they are seeking to carve out for themselves to a widely held position across theological systems.
This is the conclusion to a series of posts on Progressive Covenantalism and the land theme in Scripture:
In making his covenantal promise to Abraham, God enacted a ceremony in which a smoking firepot and flaming torch passing between animals that had been divided. The fire pot and torch likely represent God. They call to mind God’s revelation of himself in fire in Exodus at the burning bush and at Sinai (McKeown, Genesis, THOTC, 93). The significance of passing through the pieces is indicated by Jeremiah 34:18: “And the men who transgressed my covenant and did not keep the terms of the covenant that they made before me, I will make them like the calf that they cut in two and passed between its parts” (cf., Gentry and Wellum, Kingdom through Covenant, 250-56). Notably, in Genesis 15 God placed Abram in a deep sleep. God passed through the pieces himself. This indicates a unilateral promise by God to fulfill the land promise for Abraham. Furthermore, the unilateral promise includes Abraham’s physical seed (Gen. 15:18), defined in this passage as those who sojourn in Egypt for four hundred years before returning to dispossess the inhabitants of the land (Gen. 15:13-16).
Complicating the unconditional cutting of the Abrahamic covenant are statements like the one found in Genesis 22:16-17: “because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you. . . .” These statements seem to introduce an element of conditionality.
The order of events in the Abraham narrative is important for making sense of the causal statements in 22:15, 18. God already made an unconditional promise that Abraham’s seed would be as numerous as the stars in the sky (15:4-5). God had alone passed between the cut animals, indicating that he alone was responsible for upholding the covenant. How can God now say that he will bring to pass covenantal blessings because of Abraham’s obedience?
Two facts are significant here. First, Abraham does enter this covenant by faith. Second, Genesis 22 outlines a test for Abraham. His faith is tested to see if he truly trusts God’s promises when God commands him to do something that would seem to put those promises in jeopardy. Abraham demonstrates his faith in God’s promises by trusting that God would raise Isaac from the dead if need be. Abraham has already entered into the covenant by faith in Genesis 15. But here his faith is shown to be a reality.
When God says he will do certain things because Abraham has obeyed, God is saying that the covenant really will be fulfilled according to God’s prior commitments because Abraham demonstrated the reality of his faith.
In this way Genesis 22 aligns well with James 2. Abraham was justified by faith much earlier, as Genesis 15:6 attests. But in the sacrifice of Isaac, his works fulfilled this faith. The narrative does not allow the conclusion that Abraham merited the promises due to obedience or even due to perfect faith. He sinned in chapter 20, in the very year that Sarah was to conceive. Nonetheless, God kept his covenant promise and Isaac was born in chapter 21.
The way the covenants play out in Israel’s history confirm the unconditional nature of the Abrahamic covenant.
For instance, when God says in Hosea 1:9, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God,” he indicates a reversal of the Mosaic covenant in which God promised, “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God” (Ex. 6:7; cf. Lev. 26:12; Dt. 27:9). The latter phrase of Hosea 1:9 could be translated, “And I [will be] Not I Am to you,” a reversal of the name God revealed to the people at the time of the exodus (Ex. 3:14). The import of the language is that the people have so violated the Mosaic covenant that it is as if they are now like the Gentiles―they are not God’s people and God is not their God.
Following this word of judgment, there comes a word of promise: “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered” (Hos. 1:10). Since this is an allusion to the Abrahamic covenant, the implication is that their violation of the Mosaic covenant which leads to them becoming “Not my People” is backstopped by the Abrahamic covenant. Because of God’s promises to Abraham, “in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘children of the living God.’” Violation of the Mosaic covenant could lead to them being not my people, but the promises of the Abrahamic covenant ensure that they will one day be identified as God’s children.
Notice the land aspect of the promise. It is not only that Israel will once again be identified as the children of God. This will happen in a particular place. Since the judgment was given to Israel in the land, this implies a return to the land is part of their restoration. This is confirmed in verse 11: “And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” This interpretation is debated. Some understand verse 11 to directly indicate a return from exile (Andersen and Freedman, Hosea, AB, 209; Stuart, Hosea-Jonah, WBC, 36, 39). But, “land” in this interpretation would refer to the Gentile lands that Israel returns from. This seems to be an unlikely use of the term (Garrett, Hosea, Joel, NAC, 73).
It seems more likely that verse 11 refers to a flourishing of the people within the land. As Dearman observes:
[T]he meaning ‘go up from’ for the verb ‘ala, at least in the sense of ‘to depart,’ does not make sense in this context. The verb may be used here in an agricultural sense, however, as in ‘growing up’ or ‘increasing/flourishing’ (Deut. 29:23 [MT 22]), rather than in its more common geographical sense of departing. A positive agricultural connotation would make good sense in this context. Israel will sprout and flourish in the land. Furthermore, the use of the verb may be yet another Hosean pun. It may well imply a ‘flourishing’ for the people of an exodus-like scale. [Hosea, NICOT, 105-6; cf. Garrett, 73.]
This interpretation of Hosea 1:11 is consistent with other parts of Scripture. Leviticus 26:40-45 moves from the pronouncement of the curse of exile upon Israel for breach of the Mosaic covenant to the promise of restoration due to the Abrahamic covenant: “I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land” (Lev. 26:42). Milgrom comments, “This is to say, the essence of the covenant with the patriarchs is the promise of the land” (Leviticus, AB, 2335). Andrew Bonar observes, “Here we have, so to speak, a permanent fact, or truth, on which to rest the proof of Israel’s restoration to their own land. It is this: the covenant with their fathers contained a grant of the land” (Leviticus, 491). Hartley says, “This phrase means that he will bring the survivors back to this land of promise in order that it might again be inhabited” (Leviticus, WBC, 470).
Future restoration to the land is also predicted in Deuteronomy’s anticipation of the new covenant (30:3), and in Ezekiel’s statement of the covenant (Eze. 36:33-36). Further, these promises are stated in such a way that it is difficult to apply them to other than ethnic Israel. For instance, in Ezekiel 36 the Israelites who return to the their formerly desolate lands are distinguished from the nations who come to know that God is the Lord.
Progressive covenantalists are strangely averse to granting that the nation Israel will be restored to the promised land. Richard Lucas argues that though Romans 11 promises the future salvation of Israel, it does not promise additional blessing, such as land (“The Dispensational Appeal to Romans 11 and the Nature of Israel’s Future Salvation” in Progressive Covenantalism). But this fails to take into account passages such as Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 30, and Ezekiel 36 in which the nation’s repentance is tied to a restoration to the land.
It remains unclear to me why the fulfillment of an unconditional land promise cannot be fulfilled as part of a wider fulfillment of the land theme that covers the entire world and all of God’s redeemed people.
This is part of a series of posts on Progressive Covenantalism and the land theme in Scripture:
The argument that God’s integrity is at stake if the land promise made is not fulfilled for the nation of Israel fails to resonate with Progressive Covenantalists because of their view of the covenants.
Wellum writes, “There is a sense in which we agree with Michael Horton that Israel forfeited the promise of the land because of her disobedience, hence the reason for the exile.” However, in another sense Jesus as the “greater than Israel” will bring about the land promise (in the new creation) (Kingdom through Covenant, 706).
This view is explained by the Progressive Covenantalist position that the biblical covenants are neither conditional nor unconditional but are in some sense both (Ibid., 120-21; 285-86, 609-10, 634, 705). Wellum notes, “Viewing the biblical covenants as either unconditional or conditional is not quite right.” There are both conditional and unconditional elements in all of the covenants resulting in “a deliberate tension within the covenants.” One the one hand, the covenants reveal God and his promises. “On the other hand, all the biblical covenants also demand an obedient partner” (Ibid., 609-10).
In this sense there is a conditional or bilateral element to the covenants. This is certainly evident with Adam as he is given commands and responsibilities to fulfill, with the expectation that he will do so perfectly. . . . Furthermore, in the Noahic covenant, obedience is also demanded, which is true of Abraham, the nation of Israel, David and his sons, and in the greatest way imaginable in the coming of the Son, who obeys perfectly and completely. . . . Yet as the biblical covenants progress through redemptive-history, this tension grows, since it becomes evident that it is only the Lord himself who remains the faithful covenant partner. [Ibid., 610.]
Likewise, Ardel Caneday claims that the division of covenants into the categories of “unconditional” and “conditional” is “too stark and simplistic” (“Covenantal Life with God from Eden to Holy City,” in Progressive Covenantalism, 101).
If we use unconditional, should it not refer to God’s establishment of all his covenants with humans? Was not God’s choosing of Abraham and of Isaac not Ishmael, and of Jacob not Esau, unconditional (cf. Rom 9:6-24)? As for conditional, the term refers to the covenantal stipulations placed upon humans with whom God enters covenant, and which do not jeopardize fulfillment of any of God’s covenants. God obligates humans to obey what he stipulates in his covenants, and all whom he desires to enable do obey. [Ibid., 102]
This is, to use Caneday’s words, “too stark and simplistic.” The best of those who recognize the existence of both unconditional and conditional covenants are more nuanced about precisely what these labels do and do not refer to.
For instance, Jonathan Lunde maintains the distinction between “the ‘royal grant’ or ‘unconditional’ covenant” and “a ‘conditional’ or ‘bilateral’ covenant.” But Lunde does not dispute Caneday’s point that the choosing of the covenant partner is unconditional: “[T]he covenants are always grounded and established in the context of God’s prior grace toward the people entering the covenant, even in the case of the conditional variety” (Following Jesus, the Servant King, 40).
Nor does Lunde dispute that all covenants have “covenant stipulations”: “That is not to say that there are no demands placed on people in a grant covenant. Such are always present” (Ibid., 39).
The terms conditional and unconditional relate not to the selection of the covenant partner or to the presence of stipulations, as Caneday argued. Rather, conditional and unconditional identify whether the fulfillment of the covenant depends upon the promises of God alone or upon the obedience to the covenant stipulations. The Noahic covenant is a case in point. While acknowledging the existence and importance of covenantal stipulations in the Noahic covenant, Lunde maintians that “its benefits are unconditional, grounded solely in God’s commitment to provide them” (92). If the benefits were conditional upon the obedience of the covenant partner, then we would continually be in danger of another worldwide flood.
This is part of a series of posts on Progressive Covenantalism and the land theme in Scripture:
Progressive Covenantalists claim that the land promised to Israel in the Old Testament is a type of the new creation that will be received by all of God’s people (see more here).
There are two important problems with this claim.
First, the land is not a type in and of itself but only at certain periods of Israel’s history. Thus one cannot conclude on the basis of typology that the land of Israel is only a shadow with no future significance. The shadow would be the land in the time of Joshua or in the time of Solomon. The substance would be the Davidic Messiah ruling from that land over the nations in the new earth. Thus there is no logical contradiction in the land being a type at certain periods of history and Israel receiving the land in fulfillment of the promises (see more here).
The second difficulty with the Progressive Covenantalist argument from typology is the identification of the land promise as a type. Perhaps this is simply an imprecise statement or a mistaken statement since more commonly they identify the land as the type. Be that as it may, the identification of the promise as a type is problematic. As Craig Blaising notes,
“A promise entails an obligation. When somebody makes a promise, they’re not just stating something, they are doing something. They are forming a relationship and creating an expectation that carries moral obligation. Failure to complete a promise is a violation of one’s word. It is a serious matter.” [Craig A. Blaising, “Israel and Hermeneutics,” in The People, the Land, and the Future of Israel, 160.]
Indeed, “the promise and the oath are referred to as ‘two unchangeable things’ (Heb. 6:18)” (Ibid., 161). Blaising also points out that promises of the Abrahamic covenant is tied to the central storyline of Scripture. “God’s promise, covenant and oath to Abraham is not a peripheral element in the story of the Bible. It is a key structural component in the central plot line” (Ibid.). He concludes, “To posit a ‘fulfillment’ of these covenant promises by means of a reality shift in the thing promised overlooks the performative nature of the word of promise, violates the legitimate expectations of the recipients, and brings the integrity of God into question” (Ibid.).
Certain statements of Wellum’s would seem to be in agreement with Blaising. In distinguishing their approach to canonical interpretation from “most proponents of sensus plenior,” Wellum writes, “God says more than the individual authors may have known, yet he does not contravene what the authors wrote and intended” (Kingdom through Covenant, 85, bn. 11). If by this he means that that the promise to Israel of the land would be expanded (as even the Old Testament indicated) to include the nations dwelling in the world earth—without denying that Israel, as one of these nations, receives the particular land promised―then all would be well. The integrity of the promise would be maintained alongside the expansion of the promise.
But Wellum, and other Progressive Covenantalists, do deny that Israel, as one of these nations, receives the particular land promised to it. The reason they do not see this denial as contradicting Wellum’s statement in the previous paragraph or as violating the integrity of God’s promise is likely due to the fact that Progressive Covenantalists see Israel as typological. For Progressive Covenantalists Christ is the antitype of Israel. As the church is in Christ, it can receive the promises made to Israel (Brent E. Parker, “The Israel-Christ-Church Relationship,” in Progressive Covenantalism, 63-64. 67-68). Making the argument that Israel cannot be reduced to a type is far beyond the scope of these posts, and yet something must be said for argument I’m making to cohere.
Perhaps all that needs to be noted is what Brent Parker says about the ways in which Israel is and is not a type in the Progressive Covenantal view:
[I]t is important to recognize that when a person or entity is identified as typological, this does not include every aspect of the person or entity. . . . Israel as an ethnic group is not a type, but our claim is that national Israel in terms of its role, vocation, calling, and identity is typological of Christ and thus rules out the notion of a future national role of Israel in the plan of God. Ethnic Jews and Gentiles in Christ are co-heirs and fellow partakers of promise.” [Ibid., 52.]
The distinction Parker draws between Israel as an ethnic group and Israel as typological of Christ is necessary since the New Testament continues to recognize the Israel as an ethnic group. For instance, one must be able to continue to speak of Israel as an ethnic group to speak of them as branches that will be grafted back into the olive tree (Rom. 11).
For the premise of these posts to hold, one does not need to ascribe to ethnic Israel a special role, vocation, or calling. The simple acknowledgement of that Israel as an ethnic group continues and could receive land in the eternal state is all that needs to be acknowledged.
This is part of a series of posts on Progressive Covenantalism and the land promise in Scripture: