[P]rogressive dispensationalists have moved toward answering the classic covenantal objection as to how one can distinguish between national Israel and the nations, given Jesus’ messianic status as simultaneously the promised Israelite Messiah and the head of the one new humanity. Their view is not inconsistent with a holistic, cosmic salvation. Indeed, it would appear that the more progressive strains of dispensationalism seek to share the holistic soteriology of Ladd’s Kingdom theology. Indeed, the claim to hold an even more ‘holistic’ salvation than Ladd because they see no biblical grounding to translate the Old Testament national/political promises into spiritual blessings of the present age. At the same time, the new dispensationalists argue that salvific equality does not mean equality of roles, an understanding shared by their conservative interlocutors on the question of male/female relations. After all, some progressives argue, salvific equality in Christ does not rule out differing roles for national groups, even as Galatians 3:28 does not rule out complementary roles for men and women, who also enjoy salvific equality in Christ. But this argument falls short also, in that it fails to distinguish between the creation order and the specific place of Israel in redemptive history. After all, human beings are created male and female—and that pronounced ‘good’—but are human beings created Jew and Gentile from the beginning? The answer is obviously no, since the biblical storyline begins with one man and one woman—from whom all nations spring (Acts 17:26). The Galatians 3:28 text, when seen through the lens of male/female complementarity, actually undermines the dispensationalist argument at this point. For Paul, there is ‘no male or female,’ just as there is no ‘Jew or Greek.’ Why? It is because all Christians are, not ‘sons and daughters of God, but ‘sons of God.’ In accordance with the laws of biblical patriarchy, all Christians (male and female) receive a common inheritance because they are ‘in Christ,’ who is the Jewish royal firstborn son who receives all these blessings. Indeed Galatians 3:28 does not establish androgyny—or even egalitarian gender roles. But it does speak to the key issue in the debate over the future of Israel, namely, who will inherit the promises made to the Israel of God?”Russell D. Moore, The Kingdom of Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004), 116-17.
Moore makes two errors here.
First, he reads the creation order too narrowly. As Christopher Wright and Daniel Strange both argue nations are indeed part of God’s created order and are part of the plan of redemption. (Neither of these men is a dispensationalist.)
Although we first meet the nations in the context of the fallenness and arrogance of humanity even after the flood, the Bible does not imply that ethnic or national diversity is in itself sinful or the product of the Fall—even if the deleterious effects of strife among nations certainly are. Rather, nations are simply ‘there’ as a given part of the human race as God created it to be. God’s rule over the nations, amply affirmed throughout the Old Testament, is simply a function of the fact that he created them in the first place. Speaking as a Jew to Gentiles in an evangelistic context, Paul takes for granted the diversity of nations within the unity of humanity and attributes it to the Creator and to his world-governing providence. ‘Form one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times et for them and the exact places where they should live’ (Acts 17:26).
Although Paul goes on to quote from Greek writers, his language in this verse is drawn from the Old Testament, for the ancient song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32:
When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, / when he divided all mankind, / he set up boundaries for the peoples. (Deut 32:8)
National distinctives, then, are part of the kaleidoscopic diversity of creation at the human level, analogous to the wonderful prodigality of biodiversity at every other level of God’s creation
Furthermore, the eschatological vision of redeemed humanity in the new creation points to the same truth. The inhabitants of the new creation are not portrayed as a homogenized mass or as a single global culture. Rather they will display the continuing glorious diversity of the human race through history: People of every tribe and language and people and nation will bring their wealth and their praises into the city of God (Rev 7:9; 21:24-26).Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006.
Kreitzer, along with a number of other recent commentators, takes both the table of nations and Babel to be a single literary unity and ordered dischronologically. Although there are various strands of structural and literary evidence for such a reverse (or better, interspersed) chronological order, for Kreitzer such an order is theologically important, for it gives justification to one of his major contentions throughout his study that ethno-linguistic diversity is itself a naturally occurring creational ordinance and blessing, rather than a judgment and curse, a ‘negative’ impression that would be created if the Babel pericope had come first in the narrative.Daniel Strange, Their Rock is Not Like Our Rock: A Theology of Religions (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014), 124.
Note especially that though Moore quotes Acts 17:26, it actually disproves the point he is trying to make from it. The nations are all “made” by God.
Second, Moore errs in the way he sees all promises fulfilled in Christ. Israel’s promises are ultimately fulfilled in Christ as the Davidic Messiah. The Bible describes this fulfillment in terms of the Davidic Messiah extending his rule from the promised land over the entire earth. The benefits of the land promises are therefore extended to the Gentiles by virtue of the Davidic Messiah’s rule over the entire earth, but this is not done in such a way that the specific land promises to Israel are negated.
The progressive dispensationalist argumentation here holds together all the relevant biblical data better than all the alternatives.