Skip to comments.Defining Supersessionism
Posted on 05/07/2012 2:38:10 PM PDT by wmfights
This section we will attempt a precise definition of supersessionism. Various titles have been used in identifying the view that the church has permanently replaced Israel in Gods plan. As Marten H. Woudstra observes, The question whether it is more proper to speak of a replacement of the Jews by the Christian church or of an extension (continuation) of the OT people of God into that of the NT church is variously answered.[i] The most common designation used in recent scholarly literature to identify this position is supersessionism. Commenting on this term, Clark M. Williamson writes, Supersessionism comes from two Latin words: super (on or upon) and sedere (to sit), as when one person sits on the chair of another, displacing the latter.[ii] In addition, the title replacement theology is often viewed as a synonym for supersessionism.[iii]
Several theologians have offered definitions of supersessionism or replacement theology. According to Walter C. Kaiser, Replacement theology . . . declared that the Church, Abrahams spiritual seed, had replaced national Israel in that it had transcended and fulfilled the terms of the covenant given to Israel, which covenant Israel had lost because of disobedience.[iv] Ronald E. Diprose defines replacement theology as the view that the Church completely and permanently replaced ethnic Israel in the working out of Gods plan and as recipient of Old Testament promises to Israel.[v] R. Kendall Soulen argues that supersessionism is linked with how some view the coming of Jesus Christ: According to this teaching [supersessionism], God chose the Jewish people after the fall of Adam in order to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus Christ, the Savior. After Christ came, however, the special role of the Jewish people came to an end and its place was taken by the church, the new Israel.[vi] Herman Ridderbos asserts that there is a positive and negative element to the supersessionist view: On the one hand, in a positive sense it presupposes that the church springs from, is born out of Israel; on the other hand, the church takes the place of Israel as the historical people of God.[vii]
These definitions from Kaiser, Diprose, Soulen, and Ridderbos appear consistent with the statements of those who explicitly declare that the church is the replacement of Israel. Bruce K. Waltke, for instance, declares that the New Testament teaches the hard fact that national Israel and its law have been permanently replaced by the church and the New Covenant.[viii] According to Hans K. LaRondelle, the New Testament affirms that Israelwould no longer be the people of God and would be replaced by a people that would accept the Messiah and His message of the kingdom of God.[ix] LaRondelle believes this people is the church who replaces the Christ-rejecting nation.[x] Loraine Boettner, too, writes, It may seem harsh to say that God is done with the Jews. But the fact of the matter is that He is through with them as a unified national group having anything more to do with the evangelization of the world. That mission has been taken from them and given to the Christian Church (Matt. 21:43).[xi]
When comparing the definitions of Kaiser, Diprose, Soulen, and Ridderbos with the statements of those who openly promote a replacement view, it appears that supersessionism is based on two core beliefs: (1) national Israel has somehow completed or forfeited its status as the people of God and will never again possess a unique role or function apart from the church; and (2) the church is now the true Israel that has permanently replaced or superseded national Israel as the people of God. Supersessionism, then, in the context of Israel and the church, is the view that the New Testament church is the new Israel that has forever superseded national Israel as the people of God. The result is that the church has become the sole inheritor of Gods covenant blessings originally promised to national Israel in the Old Testament. This rules out any future restoration of national Israel.
[i] Marten H. Woudstra, Israel and the Church, in Continuity and Discontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Testaments, ed. John S. Feinberg (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1987), 237. Woudstra believes that the terms, replacement, and continuation are both acceptable and consistent with biblical teaching. See also G. B. Caird, New Testament Theology (Oxford: Clarendon, 1994), 55.
[ii] Clark M. Williamson, A Guest in the House of Israel: Post-Holocaust Church Theology(Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1993), 268, n. 9.
[iii] Diprose views the titles replacement theology and supersessionism as being synonymous. He also notes that the title replacement theology is a relatively new term in Christian theology. Ronald E. Diprose, Israel in the Development of Christian Thought (Rome: Istituto Biblico Evangelico Italiano, 2000), 31, n. 2. In this present work, we will use the titles supersessionism and replacement theology as synonyms. We acknowledge, though, that these designations may not be entirely satisfactory to those who view the church more as the continuation or fulfillment of national Israel. See Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, trans. John Richard De Witt. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), 33334; Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2d. ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999), 105859.
[iv] Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., An Assessment of Replacement Theology: The Relationship Between theIsrael of the AbrahamicDavidic Covenant and the Christian Church, Mishkan 21 (1994): 9.
[v] Diprose, Israel in the Development of Christian Thought, 2.
[vi] R. Kendall Soulen, The God of Israel and Christian Theology, (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996), 12.
[vii] Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, trans. John Richard de Witt. (Grand
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), Paul, 33334.
[viii] Bruce K. Waltke, Kingdom Promises as Spiritual, in Continuity and Discontinuity, 274. He also states, The Jewish nation no longer has a place as the special people of God; that place has been taken by the Christian community which fulfills Gods purpose for Israel (275). Emphasis in original.
[ix] Hans K. LaRondelle, The Israel of God in Prophecy, Principles of Prophetic Interpretation(Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 1983), 101. Emphasis in original.
[xi] Loraine Boettner, The Millennium (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1957), 8990. According to Bright, The New Testament triumphantly hails the Church as Israel . . . the true heir of Israels hope. John Bright, The Kingdom of God (Nashville: Abingdon, 1953), 226.
I still think that the MOST FITTING AND PROPER TERM IS
I believe that Supersessionism is an OBFUSCATING weasel, whitewashing TERM instead of a clarifying, edifying, informing term.
communicates immediately facts about what’s going on with their idiotic assertions about Israel being REPLACED by the Church of Jesus, THE CHRIST.
1. The REPLACEMENT aspect is first and foremost plainly stated in the term.
2. The vast bulk of the REPLACEMENTARIANS I’ve known over my life-span have almost all been CONTRARIAN personalities.
3. Certainly it is an -ISM with every bit the rigidities, UNBiblical hogwash, narrowness, irrational thought sequences etc. as any cult one could name.
“Israel is to the Church as the caterpillar is to the butterfly.”
I prefer to think of Israel as the vine upon which us wild shoots are grafted, but, hey, I just read the Bible.
In other words, the Church is the continuation of Israel. Abraham's true heirs are spiritual, not hereditary.
vii] Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, trans. John Richard de Witt. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), Paul, 33334.
I've been asking for years, for a reference to original literature, and not just the usual ignorant screed from a pop dispensationalist pundit.
Amazon, he say, "Used from $5.42". On order.
Claiming replacement theology makes a mockery of the belief in the eternal faithfulness of God to his word.
Well, then, Israel’s “heirs” also include Muslims. How does that fact fit into this Christocentric theory that God backed out of his promise?
The covenant was conditional upon the Israelites keeping their end of the bargain. Much of what Jesus said in the Gospels was about how the Israelites had not kept their end of the bargain, that they had not "born fruit" (example, the parable of the husbandmen, which ends with:
and appears to align with Isaiah 5's Parable of the Vinyard )40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
“The covenant was conditional upon the Israelites keeping their end of the bargain”
Quite so and they were so warned.
Quite so and they were so warned.
God didn't back out of his promise. What are you talking about?
That citizenship was a heavenly one as Paul said at Phil. 3:20 so the “Jerusalem above” made no distinction between Jew, Greek, slave, freeman. (Gal. 3:26-29)
As Paul argues in Hebrews chapters 9, 10, 11 it is a fulfillment of prophecy that only a remnant of natural would form part of the spiritual nation of Israel that that became heir to the promises.
Jesus had told the fleshly nation of Israel that the kingdom was to be taken away from them for failure to produce fruit and it was.
Thus there was no usurpation and the only way an Israelite by birth could become part of the spiritual nation of Israel was to put faith in Christ.
“The covenant was conditional upon the Israelites keeping their end of the bargain.
Great, except for the fact that the writer of the majority of the New Testament kicks the crap out of supersessionism.
I see inaccuracies in both of these views. (1) There is a great misunderstanding of just who "Israel" is and (2) what "the church" is. I do not believe in a "universal church". I believe that there are "churches", bodies of saints. (There are the elect/saints--in both OT and NT). Consequently, "the church" (a catholic hijacking) does not replace "Israel." Israel is who it has always been.
Just who is Israel? Romans and Galatians makes it very clear that "Israel" is the promised seed of Abraham. And we know that from Galatians 3:16 that this seed is Jesus Christ. And if we are Christ's, then we are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. This was true in the old covenant. And this is true in the new.
Galatians 4:22-31 makes it clear the children of promise have ALWAYS been those who are born after the Spirit (4:29). And Jesus was shocked that Nicodemus did not understand this: "That which is born after the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of spirit is spirit." and "Art thou a Master of Israel, and knowest not these things?" (John 3:6,10)
Who is a Jew?
For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (Romans 2:28,29)Who comprises "national Israel"? A bunch of Jesus-hating antichrists (see John 2:22,23) situated in the middle east? Let's see who the Bible says the real "nation of Israel" is:
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the convenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them which were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an inhabitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11-22)
Not "replacement", but fellow citzens of the commonwealth of Israel. This is the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).
This is an extremely simplified statement, which (pardon me, but) shows a profound ignorance of the Old Testament. You seem to suggest there was only one covenant. There are MANY. and hundreds of declarations by YHWH - Some ARE conditional, but many, the lion's share, are not.
FURTHERMORE, and MOST IMPORTANTLY: The main Abrahamic Covenant seems conditional, but is not - ONLY YHWH walked between the Halves - As the only one who walked between the halves, the whole of that covenant is HIS ALONE to bring about.
The Mosaic Covenant is conditional, but not without remedy - Even the House of Israel, who has not gotten mercy even unto this day (according to modern scholars) is promised to be re-wed (a very, very important point), and according to Hosea, will see forgiveness and be grafted back in... And nobody even knows who the House of Israel IS anymore. But the House of Judah was hauled back to the drawing board many times - with the latest time being 1948.
And furthermore yet sommore, to believe as you do directly defies the future as told by the prophets of YHWH. Look at the promises to the 12 individual tribes, and look at the end times exploits of those tribes as predicted. How can you read the end of the major prophets without knowing that Israel WILL have the land back, that David WILL be on the throne in Jerusalem, and that the law will go forth from Jerusalem to the entire world?
For Heaven's sake, they have the same belief system as the Nazis. Don't have any expectations that they are going to sound or believe or act like Christians. They are not Christians.
Some holy men of God did hold to this in times past, before 1948, when it looked like Israel would never be a nation again, but today that is less excusable.