Over the last few months I've encountered the term "Replacement Theology" quite a bit. I have never heard the expression until this past year. Suddenly it seems that it is everywhere. People are saying to me, "You are not a Replacement Theology guy are you?" As if this is some grand heresy that will automatically cause a forfeiture of my opinions from every theological debate.
I've found that people, particularly of a dispensational bent, use it in reference to covenant theology. My purpose here is to help people to understand that the term Replacement Theology is not only derogatory in nature, it is completely wrongheaded.
The idea of Replacement Theology is essentially this: The church of the New Testament replaces (or supercedes) Israel. A dispensationally minded person will then label a covenantal fellow like myself such because he thinks that I see the church as replacing Israel in the plan of God.
This couldn't be farther from the truth! Covenantal people do not think that the church replaces or supercedes Israel. It is our belief that the church is the continuation of Israel. In other words, the church didn't appear out of no where all of a sudden on the Day of Pentecost. It had been there the whole time!
To put it another way, covenantal people like myself believe that the church is synonymous with Israel and has existed ever since the Garden of Eden. Israel was the church in the OT.
This is backed by Scripture. The Greek word "church" is the word ekklesia, which means "assembly." Israel is often called the ekklesia in the Greek translation of the OT. Even in the NT, we see this occur. Looking at Stephen's speak in Acts 7 will show this as he refers to Israel as the church.
Other Scriptures could be cited, but this is enough now to make my point: Covenantal people do not see the church as giving Israel the bump in the schema of God's plan. The church is Israel, always has been and always will be.
If you want to talk about replacement theology, let's look at the dispensational view of Scripture. They are the ones who think that the church has taken the place of Israel!
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