Traditional pretribulationists argue that since Daniel’s prophecy (Dan 9:24–27) was given to Israel, the church will not be present on earth when it is fulfilled. Pretribulationists who are progressive dispensational, on the other hand, are not likely to draw this conclusion since they view God working with the church and Israel simultaneously. They do not make a necessary nor logical temporal distinction because they recognize that God has, and is, working with Israel and the church simultaneously in redemptive history.
One expectation within traditional dispensationalism is Mike Stallard, who, a pretribulationist himself, urges his fellow traditionalists not to use the church/Israel distinction as a theological proof for pretribulationism (i.e. a sufficient argument), rather seeing it minimally as a “correlation” argument.(1) While he affirms that distinction, he believes that pretribulationism should rather be argued from exegetical arguments.(2) While I disagree of course with his pretribulationism, I appreciate his concern for greater precision in arguing exegetically, not based on a priori theological principles. I share his critique pointing out: “Covenant theology uses the covenant of grace as a theological switch by which to read the entire Bible. Progressive dispensationalism has developed enough over time that many of them are now arguing from within their system using the doctrinal conclusion of complementary hermeneutics or already-not yet as a grid by which to interpret everything in the Word.”(3)
1. Mike Stallard, “What Do Israel and the Church Share from a Traditional Dispensational Viewpoint?” 9–11, Paper presented at the Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics. Clarks Summit, PA, 16-17 Sept 2015.
2. Stallard thinks that most dispensationalists do not argue this way as a “stand-alone” argument (“What Do Israel and the Church Share,” 10). While I may disagree with him on that estimate, the point is that this common pretribulation argument is invalid as it is based on wrong premises.
3. Stallard, “What Do Israel and the Church Share,” 11.