11/13/19 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
Judy and I are still on “vacation” this week moving into our new home. If you would like to see our new home, go to Judy’s Facebook page and see Judy’s handiwork and dreams being brought to life. Judy has been dreaming and planning for this event for over 25 years. So as her husband, I am so excited to be part of God’s blessing in giving us a home and to watch Judy’s dreams being fulfilled.
All that is to say, I have turned to another friend of mine this week and “stole” an article for my blog. I first meet David James as a student at the Word of Life Bible Institute. Dave and his wife Karen came with their college degrees already, only to put them aside to study the Word of God.
The title of my blog this week is “Just a dab of theology.”
Is Replacement Theology Inherently Anti-Semitic?
Replacement theology (also known as “supersessionism”) is rapidly gaining traction in historically conservative evangelical churches around the world. The term “replacement theology” means that the church has replaced Israel in God’s program because as a nation they rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah and so forfeited their right to the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12, 13, 15, 17), as well as those made to Moses in the Land Covenant (Deuteronomy 29, 30), to David in the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7), and to Jeremiah in the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31).
According to this view, since Israel forfeited its place in God’s program, national Israel has no legitimate claim to the land promised to them by God. Furthermore, there can be no expectation that Jerusalem will be the eternal capital of the nation and the world, nor that Jesus Christ will rule over a literal 1000-year kingdom from a rebuilt temple in that city.
Replacement theology tends to be a part of Reformed Theology, with its attendant Covenant Theology (in contrast to dispensational theology). However, Reformed theologians themselves would generally reject the concept of replacement theology due to the fact that they recognize only one people of God throughout the Bible, rather than the two peoples of God (Israel and the church) as held by dispensationalists. Therefore, they would contend that the church has not actually replaced Israel, but rather that the church is simply the True Israel and that the promises made to Israel in the Old Testament were always intended to be fulfilled spiritually in the church, rather than literally to national Israel.
However, God made four unconditional and eternal covenants with His people, the nation of Israel, which guaranteed that they would experience material and spiritual blessings, have many descendants and receive a piece of real estate that would stretch from the Nile to the Euphrates river. In the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31, God affirms that (and I’ll paraphrase here) if the universe could collapse on its own, “…then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before me forever” (Jeremiah 31:36).
The inherent danger of Replacement Theology, or whatever one may choose to call a theology that denies a future for the nation of Israel, is that historically it has often fostered incipient or outright anti-Semitism. This would be true of the Holocaust, the modern BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) movement, as well as white supremacist movements. This is not to suggest that any given individual who embraces Reformed theology is anti-Semitic. But whenever any theology sets itself against the clear promises of God and His carefully outlined plan for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people, the potential dangers cannot be overstated.
Information on Dave James:
Dave’s undergraduate degree is in engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He also holds a diploma in Biblical Studies from the Word of Life Bible Institute and a Master’s degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He served with Word of Life Fellowship for 21 years, with 16 of those years as the Founding Director of the Word of Life Bible Institute in Hungary.
After leaving Word of Life, Dave founder a ministry called ABI, the Alliance for Biblical Integrity. Their website https://www.biblicalintegrity.org/ offers an increasing number of resources including articles, books, teaching materials, links to other sites, as well as recommended churches, educational institutions, organizations, and speakers.
If you are wondering what is going on within Christendom or have Biblical or theological questions and looking for answers, I would recommend you checking out Dave and his ministry.
If you happen to be in the Barnstead area, Dave will be speaking at our church, on Sunday, November 17, 2019 after teaching for us on Friday and Saturday in the Concord State Prison.