By Pete Coker
(A Friendly Challenge to Comments on Replacement Theology)
- One. Is it not true that Pre-Mil/Dispensationalists also believe in their own version of so-called “replacement theology?” For example:
According to E. Schuyler English, Thomas Ice, and I think nearly every other dispensationalist, the Church has replaced Israel until the rapture? Correct?
The unfulfilled promises made to Israel are not fulfilled until after the Church is taken off the earth. Even dispensationalist, Ice, admits that the Church replaces Israel this side of the rapture: “We dispensationalists believe that the church has superseded Israel during the current church age, but God has a future time in which He will restore national Israel ‘as the institution for the administration of divine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.” (English: A Companion to the New Scofield Reference Bible) and (Ice: raptureready.com)
So, it seems pre-mil/dispensationalists believe that prior to the rapture, the Church has replaced Israel, and this replacement has been going on for nearly 2000 years! It appears dispensationalists hold to their own form of replacement theology since they believe that Israel does not have any prophetic significance this side of the future rapture of the church. In other words, prior to the future rapture, in terms of dispensational logic, the Church has replaced Israel. This would appear to be 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 pre-trib rapture. Until then, God is dealing redemptively with the Church.
Further, the pre-mil/dispensational future outlook for Israel looks shockingly grim for the majority of people in Israel. In dispensational eschatology, during a period when Israel is at peace with the world (the Tribulation?), the Antichrist turns against her and the ensuing battle wipes-out two-thirds of her population! This view makes it appear that [God] in the last days gathers the Jewish population of the world to her “home land” only to have a majority of them wiped-out by the satanically-inspired Antichrist! …Yikes! Does this not seem rather sadistic!
In Addition, according to dispensational eschatology, the millennial kingdom will be fundamentally “Jewish” in character, even to the point of rebuilding the Temple, setting-up a Davidic tabernacle, re-instituting the Jewish sacrificial system, and exalting Jewish believers over Gentile believers. Really? Double Yikes!!
Ironically, those believers charged with holding to a so-called replacement theology, such as postmillennialists, believe that Jews will inevitably embrace Jesus as the Messiah this side of the Second Coming. They actually believe in a victorious conquering Gospel, and not in a victorious worldwide Satanic order! In a general sense, they believe the Jewish people are only replaced as the apple of God’s eye during the “age of the gentiles;” until they turn and embrace Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Second. I also question the charge or implication of anti-Semitism by dispensationalists to so-called “replacement theology.” (Hal Lindsey, Thomas Ice, etc.)
I believe the charge of anti-Semitism to be (not only offensive) dishonest, malicious, and possibly, outright sin.
True anti-Semitism is this: prejudice against Jews; dislike or fear of Jews and Jewish things; discrimination against or persecution of Jews.” This is the definition of anti-Semitism.
A view of history that does not conform to dispensational eschatology is not racist or anti-Semitic. I don’t know of any so-called “replacement theologians” who disdains or seeks to persecute Jewish people.
In fact, it is their view of history that holds that one day the Jews will be blessed of God — but on an equal footing with all who know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Not by some dualistic-mode of salvation, one for gentiles – one for Jews.
To demonstrate replacement theology’s so-called anti-Semitism, dispensationalists need to prove or show actual evidence of malicious intent against Jews because of their race.
Being opposed to the policies of the modern state of Israel for some of its West Bank policies or for its socialist government or for its anti-Christian laws does not rise to the level of anti-Semitism. If replacement theologian’s are opposed to certain policies of Israel’s government, that is not the same as being opposed to Jews as such. They are also quite critical of America’s anti-Christian laws and socialistic impulses.
It’s bad enough that many pre-mil/dispensationalists are using “replacement theology” as a derogatory phrase as if it were a religious “cuss-word;” but then, to add insult to injury, they have to play the “race card” and try and smear those who disagree with their brand of eschatology by falsely proclaiming (false witness) anti-Semitism! Is this Christian?
Third. Replacement Theology is also known as Supersessionism. Supersessionism is an idea fundamental to the Christian faith. The basic idea of supersessionism is that Christianity has superseded or replaced Judaism as the true faith. Is this now considered Christian heresy?
Supersessionism is despised by liberals because it endorses the words of Jesus Christ: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Supersessionism has also been rejected by the Catholic Church since 1965.
Also note that many non-supersessionists believe that all the diverse faiths of the world are legitimate ways to God.
Supersessionism or Replacement Theology, on the other hand, upholds [Protestant] Christian orthodoxy, proclaiming that “neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). It is also exclusive in arguing: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11).
It thus proclaims that “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). To hold to a dualistic-covenant and say that there is a Gentile way and a Jewish way for salvation, seems heretical to my understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Fourth. For nearly 2000 years, or so the theory goes, God has being dealing with His “church,” but one day He will get back to Israel. But where does the Bible teach anything like this! Where does God postpone His covenants to a future time?
Isn’t Israel’s spiritual destiny the same as it is for non-Israelites: Repent and believe in Jesus as the Messiah! Who ever said anything about postponing the promises that had been made to Israel? In fact, didn’t Peter clearly tell his fellow-countrymen that the promises were for them and their children right then and there (2:38)? They didn’t have to wait 2000 years for God to renew His covenant for a later remnant. Jesus said as much when He met His disciples on the road to Emmaus.
The way many dispensationalists and other prophecy writers have told the story, the promises made to Israel have been postponed until a future time when God will once again deal with Israel as a separate redemptive people. We have been told that this dualistic covenant began in 1948 and that the pre-tribulation “rapture” would take place within a generation, within 40 years.
In my view, the term “replacement theology” is a theological straw-man designed and used to deflect any discussion or reflection of the doctrine of supersessionism.
I believe it’s time to re-examine our era’s popular dispensational prophetic system:
(1) How it minimizes the power of God’s Gospel plan for the future; (2) its lack of historical account, (3) its convoluted Biblical interpretations, and (4) its avoidance of an overall Biblical logic.
Just some thoughts — Thanks.