I got the idea to address this topic from two articles in the summer 2014 issue of Israel's Messenger, the publication of Jewish Awareness Ministries. So the credit for this goes to Dr. Keith Megilligan, Wake Forest, NC, and the JWA Executive Director, Rev. Mark Robinson.
Replacement Theology, also called supersessionism, is the view that God has turned His back upon the Jews, Israel and His promises to them in Scripture and has replaced them with the church. Thus, whatever covenants and provisions God has made with and for the children of Israel now belong to the children of God in the church. God has rejected the "old Israel," and the church has become the "new Israel."
This view started with Origen, one of the most prominent early church fathers (~185-254 AD). He taught that the Jews would never be restored to their former condition. In his view, all of the promises to Israel was "spiritualized" in its meaning to refer to the church.
Another more recent proponent of this theology was Martin Luther. He ended up with strong anti-Jewish sentiments, writing at one point, "thus all the Gentiles who are Christians are the true Israelites and new Jews, born of Christ, the noblest Jew." One German theologian, Rudolph Bultmann, implied that Jews were children of Satan.
You would think the "fundamentalists" of the early twentieth century would have cleared up and corrected the view of disparaging the Jews and replacement theology. It hasn't happened. We have major denominations, seminaries, and Christian leaders who still espouse the view of replacement theology, or supersessionism. Many, if not most, seminaries that consider themselves "reformed" (or covenantal) in their theology are also "replacement" in their Israelology! On the other hand, those Bible colleges and seminaries that are more, or exclusively, dispensational in their view of Scripture (that is, there is a distinction between Israel and the church and God still has a plan for His chosen people, the Jew) do not adopt replacement theology.
To a certain extent, the development and declaration of the modern State of Israel (1948) boosted the dispensational view of Israelology. Bible believing Christians can see God preparing the way for fulfilling His Scriptural promises to Israel and her people. The modern State of Israel shows clearly that God would/could bring Israel's dead bones back to life (Ezekiel 37).
A few prominent denominations today who are replacement theology advocates include: the Roman Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church, the Mormons, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Episcopal Church, Churches of Christ, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Prominent theologians of our day who advocate replacement theology include: RC Sproul, Michael Horton, Meredith Kline, and JI Packer. Even John Piper has called Jewish people, "a non-covenant-keeping people that does not have a divine right to hold the land of promise."
These denominations and theologians need to read God's clear statement to Abraham (Genesis 12-15) and His promise to keep Israel as His own in the land (Jeremiah 31,33).
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