Dispensationalism holds to two foundational, all-controlling convictions: (1) The proper approach to interpreting Scripture is literalism (even in the Book of Revelation!). (2) Racial Israel is the key to prophecy and is forever kept distinct from the church (even into eternity!). If you are a dispensationalist, you will immediately recognize these two issues as near and dear to your heart. Indeed, you probably hold that: “Scofield said it; I believe it; therefore it is true.”
One strange fairly new movement in standard dispensationalism is the arising of a whole new theological locus: “Israelology.” This doctrine seems to have been created by Jewish-Christian Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, who presented it in his 1989 book: “Israelology.” This doctrine has made its way into the Dictionary of Premillennial Theology and The Popular [i.e., non-academic] Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy.
With the arising of Israelology, we are no longer stuck with the boring loci of historic systematic theology: God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Man, Sin, Church, Eschatology. Now we have, effectively, a doctrine of race!
According to Fruchtenbaum: “Israelology refers to a subdivision of systematic theology (unique to dispensational systematic theology) incorporating all theological doctrines concerning the people of Israel — past, present, and future.” (Dictionary of Premillennial Theology [hereinafter, parenthetical numbers refer to pages in this book]], 197). He points out nine concerns or doctrinal points in Israelology.
First, the fact of racial Israel’s election (197). Second, the unconditional nature of four covenants with Israel: Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic and new covenant (197). Third, the Mosaic covenant and the Law of Moses (198). Fourth, the remnant of Israel insures there will always be believers in Israel (197–98). Fifth, the distinction between Israel and the church (199). Sixth, the modern state of Israel as a “definite fulfillment of prophecy” (199). Seventh, the remnant of Israel, it is the elect race, and is not the church (199). Eighth, messianic Jews today are “both members of the remnant of Israel and members of the church (199).
Ninth, parts of the “messianic Jewish writings” are “those parts of the New Testament that are especially relevant for and/or addressed to Jewish believers. This includes the gospel of Matthew, written to Jews and addressing Jewish issues, especially God’s kingdom program and how it was affected by the rejection of the Messiah. Furthermore, the first fifteen chapters fo the book of Acts are especially relevant to Israelology…. Of the twenty-one epistles, five were specifically written to Jewish believers: Hebrews, James 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude.” (200)
Though this new doctrine is not promulgated by the more academic progressive dispensationalists, and though not all standard dispensationalists hold to it, this is becoming a major influence in dispensational circles. I highly recommend your studying it to see where dispensationalism stands as a racial system: holding up the ethnic people of Israel as special concern of God’s.
And dispensationalists hold to this racist principle despite the fact that the New Testament repeatedly and powerfully teaches:
“There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him.” (Rom 10:12)
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:13)
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28)
“There is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.” (Col 3:11)
And why is this? Because of the new covenant which expands the meaning of Israel by breaking down Israel’s distinction:
“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 and He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Eph 2:11–12)
No wonder dispensationalists have had to create a new doctrinal locus after almost 2000 years of Christian history: Something has to be done about Paul’s reckless teaching that God has removed ethnic distinctions in his redemptive plan! As for me and my house, we shall follow Paul.