Okay, today is going to be a “double poster” day because there is something I’ve got to get off my chest. I was reading out of an assigned text for class and the author of the article was addressing the error of Replacement Theology. He equated this with Covenant Theology stating that this particular system believes the church replaces Israel. This is apparently a common misconception propagated by dispensationalists as I was teaching a Sunday School class about a month ago and ran into the same misconception from someone in the class who voiced their disagreement.
Let me just state it – Covenant Theology is NOT Replacement Theology. Dispensationalists like to equate the two as replacement theology carries some mega negative connotations – and it should. But this negative claim cannot properly be laid on Covenant Theology.
The Old Testament promises the Messiah that would come through the seed of Abraham and be Savior of all nations. Israel is constituted by God’s grace and enters into a conditional covenant with God. Israel fails to keep their end of the “bargain” but God is faithful to his faithless people. Through Christ, a Jew, the Seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16), the son of David, the second Adam, the Son of God we have the law perfectly fulfilled, redemption accomplished, and the wall that differentiated between Jew and Gentile torn down. (Ephesians 2:11-22)
This is not equivalent to saying God is done with Israel. How could He be when He has forever bound Himself to humanity by becoming a Jewish man in Jesus Christ? Paul was adamant that God has not forsaken Israel in Romans 11:1; but he also makes it clear that one isn’t promised salvation due to ethnicity as physical birth doesn’t make you part of God’s Israel (Gal. 6:16) or Abraham’s seed (Romans 9:6-8). Jesus made the same distinction when he rebuked the Pharisees. (Matt. 3:8-9; John 8:37-44) It is being grafted into the True Israel, Jesus Christ, by faith that we have salvation (Romans 11:11-23) and are promised the inheritance that Abraham has long since awaited (Hebrews 11:9-10, 13-16).
I’ll say it again, “Covenant Theology does not believe the church replaces Israel.” Covenant Theology believes the church is the expansion of Israel. We Gentiles who were far off have been made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13) We have been adopted as sons of God. (Galatians 4:4-7) An adopted child doesn’t oust the original children from the family, it expands the family unit. Expansion is not replacement. I added a room on to my house about a year ago (well, my Father-in-law did most of the work) this gave me more rooms it didn’t replace the rooms I previously had. It’s a very simple distinction.
So to all you Dispensationalists who insist on calling Covenant Theology, Replacement Theology – for the love of Israel and truth, please stop it!
There… glad that is off my chest. =)