Friday, December 30, 2016

Dispensationalism’s Relationship to Both Continuity and Discontinuity: Bringing It All Together

by Michael J. Vlach

This blog entry is a summation of my two previous blogs addressing continuity and discontinuity within Dispensationalism. Below are the eight areas of continuity and five areas of discontinuity. For more information on each point see the previous two blogs:

1  Storyline Continuity (the storyline of the Old Testament is literally fulfilled over the two comings of Jesus)

2  The kingdom of the Messiah is consistent with the kingdom promised in the Old Testament

3  Israel

4  Israel’s land and Jerusalem

5  Day of the Lord

6  Messianic salvation extending to believing Gentiles

7  Salvation by grace alone through faith alone

8  The New Testament quotes and alludes to the Old Testament in ways consistent with the original literal meaning of the Old Testament writers.  

1  Israel and the church

2  Mosaic Covenant to New Covenant

3  Dispensations

4  People of God

5  Role of Holy Spirit

Based on these points I am hesitant to identity Dispensationalism as solely a “discontinuity” system. Dispensationalism seems to evidence a healthy balance of continuity and discontinuity. Since Dispensationalism affirms a literal fulfillment of the promises, prophecies, and covenants of the Old Testament it seems to evidence more continuity than discontinuity.

For more on this issue see the excellent book, Continuity and Discontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship between the Old and New Testaments, edited by John S. Feinberg. This is one of the most important theology books I have read. It contrasts dispensational and nondispensational scholars on issues of continuity and discontinuity. It also helped me become a convinced dispensationalist.


  1. Very helpful summary Dr. Vlach. That book by Dr. Feinberg is indeed compelling and well-written.