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Question 165

Q: Pastor Lutzer, what doctrinal persuasion are you—Dispensational or Covenantal?

My guess is that you are Dispensational. If so—what type and why? And, how important is doctrinal position? 

Asked by: Brad

A: Brad, you’ve asked a question that books have been written about. So my answer is probably not going to completely satisfy you, because it’s going to be very brief.

Yes, I’m dispensational. What does that mean? Dispensationalists make a distinction between the Church and Israel. The bottom line is that we believe that there are some promises that God made to Abraham that have not yet been fulfilled to the Jewish nation but will someday be fulfilled. We are the people who believe that it might be significant that Israel is back in the land today because we believe that the Bible predicts that no matter how far the Israelites are scattered, God will bring them back to their land. Some of us look at modern day Israel and say to ourselves that this could be the fulfillment of prophecy.

If you are a covenant theologian, you believe that the promises God made to Abraham are all fulfilled in the Church. So God has no longer a future for ethnic Israel, that all of it is past. So that’s really the distinction.

Well, how important is this? It’s absolutely critical for the doctrine of prophecy, because whether or not you believe that Israel still has a future in God’s program is dependent on how you interpret the text. We believe that when God told Abraham that he would have the land and that he would possess it forever, that prophecy and all of its attendant implications have not yet been completely fulfilled. Also, Abraham never did encompass all of the boundaries that God said that he was going to have. So there must still be a future fulfillment.

Now of course there are some things that God promised Abraham that we are a part of such as, “through him all of the nations of the earth will be blessed.” It is through him that Jesus Christ came and we are blessed through Him. That’s why the Bible can say that we are all children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, and it also says that we are the children of Abraham by faith in Jesus Christ.

Thanks for your question Brad. Do some study along these lines, it’s very interesting, gets somewhat complicated, but it’s worth the effort.

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