Here is something I wrote in the comments section of a previous blog post. I'm posting it here in case anyone missed it, and because some dispensationalists have been known read this blog, and if I'm misrepresenting them, I want them to call me out on it.
Dispensationalism (A General Definition) – Divides the Bible into two separate and distinct peoples: Israel and the Church, and the two do not mix or overlap.
Classic Dispensationalism – Sees the OT as applying only to Israel and promising a Messiah to rule over them only. Had Israel agreed to submit to Christ’s rule at his first coming, Christ would have set up his earthly kingdom among them at that time, but Israel refused. Therefore, God formed the church as an “intercalation” or “parenthesis” (an interruption) which stands between God’s 1st dealings with Israel and his 2nd dealing with Israel in the millennial period. None of the Old Testament promises of law or gospel apply to us Gentiles in the church at all. We are under the New Testament only and the OT promises are for the nation of Israel, not for us. This position was held by most old school dispensationalists.
Hyper Dispensationalism – Holds that not only the OT but also the Gospels and possibly other books of the NT are for Israel only. The Gospels with all of their laws and commands do not apply to us. Paul’s writings, primarily (sometimes exclusively) are for the Church. Hyper-Dispensationalism denies Lordship-Salvation because while Israel had to work for its salvation under the law dispensation, the Church does not work for its salvation under the gospel dispensation. This view is pretty rare today.
Progressive Dispensationalism – Affirms the “already – not yet” method of interpreting OT prophecy. The “Progressive Dispensationalists” say that the promises God made to Israel in the OT are “already” being fulfilled in the church (this is a move toward covenant theology), but are “yet” to be fulfilled for national Israel in the future millennial reign (this is like classic Dispensationalism). This view would only differ from my own in terms of eschatology. It would see a future for national Israel in the millennium, and I would see a future for true Israel in the final state. While I don’t agree with any form of Dispensationalism, this is the mildest form of it. I struggle with how this position can be viewed as logically consistent, since it claims that God can genuinely fulfill promises to national Israel in the church, but that God must fulfill those promises to national Israel in the future.
The way in which I believe all of these views err is that they think the OT promises of land and prosperity to national Israel were for that nation without respect to the faith or faithfulness of the Israelites. Thus, on that basis, they make a hard distinction between Israel (David) and the Church (Paul). They say that David and Paul are part of two totally distinct peoples with totally different promises. I believe that the promises God made to Israel are ours in Christ.