Replacement Theology, also know as Supersessionism, is the theology that states Christians have replaced Israel as God's people.
Paul, in his letter to the Romans in the New Testament, warned against this kind of theology:
If some of the natural branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
Replacement theology is boastful -- it is saying, "Ha, we Christians are God's people now! You Jews, well, you had your chance, and you blew it."
This is precisely what Paul was warning against when he had said, "Don't be arrogant - he didn't spare natural branches; by all means he won't spare you in-grafted branches!"
Derek has some insight into this:
Like a house of cards built where there is a gentle breeze, this way of reading the Bible is self-defeating.
It is self-defeating because the Bible is constantly contradicting and challenging an anti-Judaic reading.
You read in Genesis 12, “I will bless those who bless you . . . and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
And you repeat over and over the mantra, “The Bible is the inspired word of God.” But when you read this verse you are forced to say, “This verse, inspired by God, is no longer true. There is no way God’s vehicle for blessing is the Jews. It has to be the Christians.”
You read in Isaiah 54, “This is like the days of Noah to me . . . I have sworn that I will not be angry with you and I will not rebuke you.”
And you think, “God’s word is true but this verse does not mean what it says. God is angry with the Jews. He has rejected them.”
You read in Jeremiah 29, “For I know the plans that I have for you, plans for welfare and not evil.”
And you think, “The Bible is verbally inspired but these words need to be reinterpreted. They should be a promise for Christians and not for Jews. After all, they are on posters in the Youth Room of our church.”
And you read Paul in Romans 11, “God has not rejected his people . . . as regards the gospel they are enemies for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved.”
And you think, “Dare I tinker with Paul? I mean, Isaiah is one thing, but Paul? Yes, to keep my anti-Judaic theology alive I must follow the trend and interpret this verse too as being a blessing for Christians. I know it strains all manner of principles of interpretation. I don’t read the newspaper this sloppily, but, man, I have a theology to defend.”
"I have a theology to defend" is a terrible way to go about interpreting Scripture!
I must admit, I had a little chuckle when I read Derek's point of Jeremiah 29. My son's Christian school has that citation -- "I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you." -- plastered all over the halls, reinterpreting it to apply to young Christian students, rather than to whom Jeremiah was prophesying: Israel.
This kind of re-interpretation of Scripture is afflicting Christianity and leads to anti-Judaic doctrines, which are not only bad theology, but they have also led to anti-Jewish sentiment, even to the point of 75% of German Protestant preachers being anti-Jewish during the Nazi Holocaust.
This is how serious it is, folks. Your theology leads to action, actions lead to consequence. Don't brush this off.
Here's a little story you might find interesting. I was recently listening to Protestant preacher, a kind of cowboy-sounding southern Christian, over the "Full Gospel" radio station here in Minnesota. The preacher was teaching on Paul's letter to the Romans in the New Testament. He got to the part where Paul says, paraphrasing, "The uncircumcised are set right with God through Messiah."
Predictably, The pastor used that as an opportunity to slam the Torah, saying how it is of no use to us, the Torah has passed away, abolished, having been "nailed to the cross", since it's prescription of circumcision makes us no closer to God.
But the next verse from Paul was, "What do we say then? Do we abolish the Law through our faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law." The pastor squirmed, "Well... he's not talking about the Law here. Not that Law. He's talking about this new grace law."
This anti-Judaic bias and theology shined true for him and his congregation; he had to tinker with Paul to make it work.
It's this kind of Scriptural acrobatics that must be performed when seeing "Israel" and reading "Christianity" or "Church". Thank goodness we're seeing this Christian doctrine go the way of the dodo more and more in our day. Good riddance. The world's Jewry will be better off, if not our theology.
Derek said it best, folks:
It is time to deconstruct the Christian, anti-Judaic house of cards. You will feel so free when you do. And the Bible will become an open book to you instead of a mere support system for a handful of Pauline texts quoted out of context. Try it and see.