Abstract of My Revised ETS Regional Paper

January 11, 2011

The following is a summary of a paper that I am writing to present at the Southwest regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, which is being held at Dallas Theological Seminary in mid-March.  See what you think.  I will be posting it in installments on this blog over the next few weeks, along with some other things I am currently writing for publication.

“The Land as Covenant Backdrop:

A Nuanced Response to Burge and Waltke”

By A. Boyd Luter, Ph.D.

In his recently-published Jesus and the Land, Gary Burge develops the view that, although there is a future for ethnic Israel, Jesus fulfilled and replaced the Abrahamic-New Covenant land promise to Israel.  Burge sees no reference in the New Testament to the land promise and, on that basis, critiques the position commonly referred to “Christian Zionism” for its defense of modern-day Israel’s claims to the Holy Land, which he sees as based more in their desire for the second coming of Christ than real concern for the Jews.  Burge’s volume is a mixed bag.  It does include numerous helpful insights.  However, notably, in the final portion of his survey of the various New Testament materials, Burge seriously overplays his hand in regard to the Book of Revelation, particularly chapter 11.  In 1992, in responding to the emerging progressive dispensational views expressed in Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church, Bruce Waltke threw down this challenge: “If revised (i.e., progressive) produced one passage in the entire New Testament that clearly presents the national resettlement of Israel in the land, I would join them” (p. 357).  With all due respect—and affection—for my former professor, though I’m at most an inconsistent progressive dispensationalist, I submit that Revelation 11 is just such a passage and that it’s the fulfillment of Romans 11, which Waltke himself suggested would be the most likely passage in which to expect a clear reference to the land promise (p. 358).

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