Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Craig Koester on Dispensational Views of Revelation
Craig Koester in his excellent book, Revelation and the End of All Things (see the side bar for the link), offers this critique of the Dispensational reading of Revelation.
1. The system has a mechanical view of prophecy and fulfillment that is foreign to Revelation.
2. Niether Daniel nor Revealtion refers to the rapture.
3. The sharp distinction between Israel and the church is unwarranted as the NT writers assume that the story of Israel continues within the Christian community.
4. The system confuses literal and symbolic imagery.
I largely concur with this, but one thing we should note is that critics of Dispensationalism usually fail to differentiate between the diverse strands of Dispensationalism that exist. Ben Witherington's book The Problem with Evangelical Theology is guilty of this as well. In Dispensationalism there is the "Classic Dispensationalists" like Darby and Scofield, the "Revisionist Dispensationalists" like Charles Ryrie and the late John Walvoord, and the "Progressive Dispensationalists" like Darrell Bock and Craig Blaising. Criticisms made against Darby do not necessarily apply to the Progressive Dispensationalists like Bock. And Revisionists like Ryrie have suspicions about whether the Progressives are even remaining true to the core of Dispensationalism. Graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary would probably be able to tell you more about the finer nuances within this theological movement.