Skip to comments.Answering the "Replacement Theology" Critics (Part 1)
Posted on 10/26/2007 9:00:59 PM PDT by topcat54
Replacement theology has become dispensationalism's latest prophetic boogeyman. If you want to end a debate over eschatology, just charge your opponent with holding to replacement theology. What is “replacement theology,” sometimes called “supersessionism,” and why do dispensationalists accuse non-dispensationalists of holding it? Here’s a typical dispensational definition:
Replacement Theology: a theological perspective that teaches that the Jews have been rejected by God and are no longer God’s Chosen People. Those who hold to this view disavow any ethnic future for the Jewish people in connection with the biblical covenants, believing that their spiritual destiny is either to perish or become a part of the new religion that superseded Judaism (whether Christianity or Islam).1
“Replacement theology” is dispensationalism’s trump card in any debate over eschatology because it implies anti-semitism. Hal Lindsey attempted to use this card in his poorly researched and argued The Road to Holocaust.2 He wove an innovative tale implying that anyone who is not a dispensationalist carries the seeds of anti-semitism within his or her prophetic system. This would mean that every Christian prior to 1830 would have been theologically anti-semitic although not personally anti-semtic.
As Peter Leithart and I point out in The Legacy of Hatred Continues,3 it’s dispensationalists who hold to a form of replacement theology since they believe that Israel does not have any prophetic significance this side of the rapture! Prior to the rapture, in terms of dispensational logic, the Church has replaced Israel. This is unquestionably true since God’s prophetic plan for Israel has been postponed until the prophetic time clock starts ticking again at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week which starts only after the Church is taken to heaven in the so-called rapture. Until then, God is dealing redemptively with the Church. Am I making this up? Consider the following by dispensationalist E. Schuyler English:
An intercalary4 period of history, after Christ’s death and resurrection and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, has intervened. This is the present age, the Church age. . . . During this time God has not been dealing with Israel nationally, for they have been blinded concerning God’s mercy in Christ. . . . However, God will again deal with Israel as a nation. This will be in Daniel’s seventieth week, a seven-year period yet to come.5
According to English and every other dispensationalist, the Church has replaced Israel until the rapture. The unfulfilled promises made to Israel are not fulfilled until after the Church is taken off the earth. Thomas Ice, one of dispensationalism’s rising stars, admits that the Church replaces Israel this side of the rapture: “We dispensationalists believe that the church has superseded Israel during the current church age, but God has a future time in which He will restore national Israel ‘as the institution for the administration of divine blessings to the world.’”6
Dispensationalists claim that their particular brand of eschatology is the only prophetic system that gives Israel her proper place in redemptive history. This is an odd thing to argue since two-thirds of the Jews will be slaughtered during the post-rapture tribulation, and the world will be nearly destroyed. Charles Ryrie writes in his book The Best is Yet to Come that during this post-rapture period Israel will undergo “the worst bloodbath in Jewish history.”7 The book’s title doesn’t seem to very appropriate considering that during this period of time most of the Jews will die! John Walvoord follows a similar line of argument: “Israel is destined to have a particular time of suffering which will eclipse any thing that it has known in the past. . . . [T]he people of Israel . . . are placing themselves within the vortex of this future whirlwind which will destroy the majority of those living in the land of Palestine.”8 Arnold Fruchtenbaum states that during the Great Tribulation “Israel will suffer tremendous persecution (Matthew 24:15–28; Revelation 12:1–17). As a result of this persecution of the Jewish people, two-thirds are going to be killed.”9
During the time when Israel seems to be at peace with the world, she is really under the domination of the antichrist who will turn on her at the mid-point in the seven-year period. Israel waits more than 2000 years for the promises finally to be fulfilled, and before it happens, two-thirds of them are wiped out. Those who are charged with holding a “replacement theology viewpoint” believe in no inevitable future Jewish bloodbath. In fact, we believe that the Jews will inevitably embrace Jesus as the Messiah this side of the Second Coming. The fulfillment of Zechariah 13:8 is a past event. It may have had its fulfillment in the events leading up to and including the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Contrary to dispensationalism’s interpretation of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus' disciples warned the Jewish nation for nearly forty years about the impending judgment (Matt. 3:7; 21:42–46; 22:1–14; 24:15–22). Those who believed Jesus’ words of warning were delivered “from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10). Those who continued to reject Jesus as the promised Messiah, even though they had been warned for a generation (Matt. 24:34), “wrath has come upon them to the utmost” (1 Thess. 2:16; cf. 1 Thess. 5:1–11; 2 Pet. 3:10–13).
Before critics of replacement theology throw stones, they need to take a look at their own prophetic system and see its many lapses in theology and logic.
Read Part Two of this article...
2. Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocaust (New York: Bantam Books, 1989). The address for Bantam Books is 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York.
3. Gary DeMar and Peter J. Leithart, The Legacy of Hatred Continues: A Response to Hal Lindsey’s The Road to Holocaust (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1989).
4. Inserted into the calendar.
5. E. Schuyler English, A Companion to the New Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972), 135.
6. Thomas Ice, “The Israel of God,” The Thomas Ice Collection: www.raptureready.com/featured/TheIsraelOfGod.html#_edn3
7. Charles C. Ryrie, The Best is Yet to Come (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1981), 86.
8. John F. Walvoord, Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1962), 107, 113. Emphasis added.
9. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, “The Little Apocalypse of Zechariah,” The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming Under Attack, eds. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2003), 262.
In charge of what? The universe? Sustaining life? Maintaining order among the hosts of heaven? Naming of the animals? Procreating?
You need to be more clear with your questions.
You have said that you don’t.
If you don’t, I don’t really see much point in continuing the conversation. There is no basis of agreeing on simple facts presented in the Bible.
I don’t really care if you’re concerned with falling into some kind of trap. The facts of the bible are what they are, and one’s theology would have to be really flaky for them to have it blown up by simple biblical facts.
(2) As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ Rom 3:24-26 4:24,25. The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as a fruit of salvation, Jn 1:12,13 3:36 Mt 21:37 22:24 Jn 15:22,25 Heb 1:2 1Jn 5:10-12. The immediate result of this testing was the rejection of Christ by the Jews, and His crucifixion by Jew and Gentile Acts 4:27. The predicted end of the testing of man under grace is the apostasy of the professing church: See "Apostasy" See Scofield Note: "2Tim 3:1" 2Tim 3:1-8 and the resultant apocalyptic judgments.
***Perhaps Im missing something by your use of the phrase “separate period of time”. Are you speaking of something like an era or age? Like the Middle Ages? Or the Victorian Era?***
Bingo. He really needs to define his terms.
From just the Bible then, How many "dispensations" are there?
Obvious Scofield was one twisted dude.
I don’t have a Scofield reference Bible either (nor would I ever buy one). The quote can be found by googling it. It’s on both pro and con dispensational sites.
I went back to another site and found that this is the part that was missing: “(Rom. 3. 24-26; 4. 24, 25).”
Which, by the way, don’t support Scofield’s supposition.
Again, the question is about the “Period of Grace.” Do you agree with that statement (i.e. “The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ”)?
Looks like you beat me to it. Thanks.
No, I probably wouldn’t agree with it at this point. Like I’ve said, I’m not a Schofield scholar. Without some discussion with him, my first take on it is that I don’t like the use of the word “testing.”
Curious, then why call yourselves dispensationalists? What more appropriate label might you apply to distinguish it from other Christian doctrinal systems?
(I realize Dan wont respond, so anyone can take a crack at it.)
Yeah, Dan looks like he is in a bad mood. I don’t have any discussion with him in perhaps a year and his first post to me is nasty.
Yep, I’m pretty sure Dan thinks you both are pinheads.
(In the lovable sense that O’Reilly uses it.)
Yep, Im pretty sure Dan thinks you both are pinheads.
Dan and I have had our disagreements over the years on the subject of dispensationalism. He generally prefers not to engage me directly, which is a shame because he is one of the few knowledgeable, articulate dispies on FR.
I read Dans columns regularly on Team Pyro. Hes one of those true anomalies, a Calvinistic (albeit Baptistic) dispensationalist. "Seven dispensations" and "five solas", or "Calvidispiebaptogelical" is the way he puts it.
If by "pinhead" you mean a confessional, Reformed Christian, then I plead guilty.
“No, I probably wouldnt agree with it at this point.”
Good. Yet it’s a dispensationalist view.
As I’ve said, I’d have to discuss with him what he means by “testing.”
A presidential administration is an administering whether there’s any “testing” of the population or not.
“no longer LEGAL OBEDIENCE as the condition of salvation”
Scofield is clearly saying that before Christ, before the “period of grace,” people were saved if they were obedient to the law.
So did obedience to the law ever save anybody, or was it always by faith?
You ignore Schofield and other dispensationalists saying elsewhere that salvation has always been by faith.
The law, however, was imposed as a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.
And the truth is that anyone who DID observe the law in all points would be saved.
That actually happened.
“You ignore Schofield and other dispensationalists saying elsewhere that salvation has always been by faith.”
Sorry but “no longer legal obedience as THE condition of salvation” can only be taken one way.
I’m sure most dispensationalists would not agree with that statement. But it was the Scofield Bible that made dispensationalism popular.
Since dispensationalism began with Darby in the 1830s, that means that for 1800 years all of the Christians who were guided by the Holy Spirit were all so completely wrong.
Rom 5:13-14 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.Notice here that sin is not imputed to the people that lived from Adam to Moses. They were not held responsible for their sins, yet they still died. It is death that indicated that they died in sin, (Adams sin) because the wages of sin is death. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. (Rom 5:20)
Luke 17:10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.That actually happened.