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Not Already Not Yet Again!

Posted by Matt Postiff December 7, 2007 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology 

Just thinking out loud here...I thought about entitling this entry "Enough Already Not Yet Enough" but I wondered if that would confuse the issue! I don't know about you, but the "Already/Not Yet" view of the fulfillment of prophecy has been grinding on my theological nerves for some time. Frankly, it seems to be theological double-talk. I cannot grasp something that is "already" true and "not yet" true at the same time and in the same sense. Is the kingdom of God already inaugurated, or is it not yet? Progressive dispensationalists will answer "yes," just like I answer "yes" to the question "Do you want pie or ice cream?" I want both pie and ice cream! Progressives want both "inaugurated" and "not" at the same time. Granted, the meaning of this phrase seems to be "already in the spiritual sense" and "not yet in the final sense" but the finer points don't always come across clearly.

Let me give an example. Sometimes folks say "we are already righteous but we are not yet righteous." This has the same already/not yet flavor to it. (The terminology has crept out of its original "prophetic" domain into other areas.) But if we specify our words more carefully, we note that believers already have been given a righteous standing before God, which is a positional righteousness. But believers have not yet been transformed to be fully without sin, which is a practicing righteousness. The two "legs" of the already/not yet statement are not the same type of legs. One is positional, and one is practical. The already/not yet statement becomes really no more than a play on words where one word is used in two senses. It seems that the already/not yet terminology embraces theological ambiguity. We ought to urgently dismiss such ambiguity as we press for more theological clarity, not relying on a word-play type of statement in our theological expression.


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