Robert Thomas exposes the gradual departure of PD from what has traditional been called the “grammatical-historical” hermeneutic. Now PD refers to the “historical-grammatical-literary-theological” hermeneutic. “Recent additions that differentiate the hermeneutics of PD from traditional dispensational hermeneutics include rhetorical and literary matters, the history of interpretation, the matter of tradition, and the historical context of the interpreter….It emphasizes the subjective element in its reasoning and hence is more provisional in its conclusion” (Robert Thomas, A Critique of Progressive Dispensational Hermeneutics, page 416).
Robert Lightner sounds the alarm saying the complementary hermeneutics is not the same as progressive revelation. “By progressive revelation, I mean the gradual unfolding of God’s truth throughout history as recorded in Scripture. In other words, progressive revelation emphasizes more development or enlargement of early truth than was given in the OT…. In complementary hermeneutic, the emphasis is on change” (Progressive Dispensationalism page 4).
With the Davidic covenant, PD changes the recipients of the covenant from Israel to include the Church. PD changes the place of fulfillment from earth, as stated in 2 Samuel 7) to heaven (now) and earth (in the millennium).
This is where PD borrows from George A. Ladd, a covenant premillennialists, the “already/not yet” hermeneutic that puts PD on its way toward Covenant Theology.
In PD the kingdom has not been postponed and the Church is not a parenthesis. “Turner, however, has called the New Israel, the Church. (David) Turner is a professor at the seminary in Grand Rapids….Neither is the Church viewed as a mystery completely unrevealed in the Old Testament. It’s simply unrealized there. It’s there, but just not recognized, according to Bob Saucy….Bock says, the Church is called, ‘a sneak preview of the kingdom.’ The kingdom is the Church is the kingdom today, says Bock” (Robert Lightner, Progressive Dispensationalism, page 6-7).
Dr. Mike Stallard illustrates how PD uses verbal analogy to come to the conclusion that the Messianic reign of Christ was inaugurated in Acts 2. By verbal analogy “is meant that various passages are linked by associating words that are common to both passages. In Acts 2:24, the fact that Jesus was ‘raised up’ from the dead is associated with the fact that God promised David in 2 Sam. 7:12 that He would ‘raise up’ from history a descendent to sit on his throne. In spite of the fact that the idea of ‘raising up’ is not equivalent in the passages, the similarity of language is used to link the two passages and justify the pouring of the Davidic Covenant into Acts 2…. Traditionalists remain unconvinced that such exegetical conclusions really reveal the genuine development of the biblical theme of the Davidic kingdom.” (Progressive Dispensationalism, page 8).
“The doctrine of the pre-tribulational rapture and the associated idea of immanency reinforce in the mind of the traditionalist the distinction between Israel and the Church, one of the essential principles he holds. Based on the rapture question as well as other areas of the debate, the traditionalists feel that this distinction has been unduly diminished’ (Dr. Mike Stallard, Progressive Dispensationalism, page 9).
This is another evidence that PD is moving closer to Covenant Theology which totally rejects a pre-tribulation rapture because of its confusion of the Church with Israel.