Replacement Theology: A House of Cards

Derek Leman is on fire. The man's recent post dissects Christian Replacement Theology, showing it to be the self-defeating, empty, boastful theology it is.

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."

Oh boy.

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.


  1. It's good to hear more Christians embracing the Jews than being anti-Jew. I hope it spreads.

  2. I don't really have a comment about the OP, other than I have never believed in "replacement theology." What "Lecky" wrote did set me to thinking, however. Judah, would your typical Jewish non-believer in Yeshua consider you to be anti-Jewish or even heretical like they did in the time of Jesus? I know that Jews aren't actively persecuting believers today like they did when Saul had his "heyday," but is there still animosity there?

    In Christ,

  3. Gary,

    The typical Judaic Jew (someone who
    doesn't believe Yeshua is the Messiah) would consider me an heretic, absolutely. A Jewish man will tell me, "There is no room for Jesus in Judaism!"

    I suspect that our good friend Leckey here, while perhaps less observant that typical religious Jews, wouldn't consider me a real member of the Jewish faith because of my beliefs. What do you say, Leckey?

    I would say the typical Jew wouldn't deem me anti-Jewish provided that person knew me personally.

    But at a glance and without knowing me, there would be some deeply religious Jews who would consider me anti-Jewish in the strongest way, on par with Hitler's anti-Jewish stance, since I believe in Yeshua and teach others to do so. In their eyes, this is extremely anti-Jewish because they believe it is converting them to foreign religion Christianity, which they see as an idolatrous religion. They will say converting Jews to a foreign religion is worse than what Hitler did, because it takes away Jewish culture and identity, something even Hitler could not accomplish. Today, if a Jew comes to believe in Y'shua as the Jewish Messiah, it is customary for the Orthodox to recite the prayers reserved for a death in the family -- they see a Jew believing in Yeshua as a death of Jew.

    (For the record, we wish no such thing -- no new religion, no loss of Jewish identity. We do not believe that Yeshua, whom the gentiles call Jesus, came to start a new religion. Thus, Christianity is a Hellenized, Roman-led departure from the Hebrew faith. Messianic Judaism is NOT Jewish Christianity. Derek's blog talks a lot about this.)

    You asked, "Is there persecution of believers?"

    In Israel, there is much persecution of Messianic Jews and vanilla Christians by the ultra-Orthodox Haredi sect of Jews. (The strictest, most religious form of Judaism today, they are by all means modern Pharisees. If you remember the recent conversations on the blog, we've discussed how they are theological descendants of the house of Rabbi Hillel, many of whom were known as Pharisees. In modern day, the Haredi have reinstated the Sanhedrin, and I've been told they wish to establish a kingship in place of the secular government.)

    You may remember this video which simply films the persecution going on. The Haredi will walk around a Messianic man's house and shout,

    "Stay away from these people!

    They give you food only to baptize your children into Christianity!

    They are the worst enemies of the Jewish people!

    They killed 6 million Jews in the Holocaust!

    Jesus was the scum of the Jews and you made him your god!"
    (Actual quotes from the above video.)

    They firebombed a Messianic outreach that distributed food and tracts to poor and to the homeless.

    In another incident, and I don't think I mentioned this on the blog, but about 2 months ago a Messianic teen by the name of Ami Ortiz, son of a Jewish mother and Mexican Christian father, was nearly killed by an exploding package delivered to the family's house.

    Now Ami's father had an Islamic Fatwa issued against him by Islamic clerics for his preaching and distributing of Bibles in the Palestinian territories. But he's also hated and stalked by the Haredi for his preaching to the Jews.

    After Mr. Ortiz' house was firebombed a previous year, he installed security cameras on his house. 2 months ago when this new bomb was delivered to his home, a bomb meant for Mr. Ortiz but opened by his teenage son, the security cameras caught a well-known Jewish extremist delivering the package.

    What a shame.

    (As a side note, the bomb's shockwave shattered the windows of their house and the surrounding cars, and left the boy's body inflicted with nails all over. Amazingly, the boy didn't die and was taken to an ICU where he's currently recovering.)

    Even up until this spring, the government of the state of Israel refused the "Right of Return" law to Messianic Jews -- if you were Jewish, you're allowed to immigrate to Israel, but if you're Jewish and believe in Yeshua, you're denied.

    The Ministry of Interior was actively seeking out Messianics in Israel and revoking their citizenship, essentially forcing them to leave the country.

    So yes, Gary, absolutely there is persecution in Israel, in many ways it is as vitriolic as it was in Paul's day. Instead of stonings, we have bombings.

    Outside of Israel, though, the worst you'll see is some Jews calling Messianic Jews "not Jewish" or not a member of the Jewish faith because of their belief in Y'shua as Messiah of Israel.

    It's a real damn shame persecution has occurred on both sides! And for so long. What a shame.

    On the Christian side, anti-Jewish theologies such as Replacement Theology have contributed to Christian persecution of Jews, which is why I am speaking so strongly against it. The most we can do on this side of the fence is put an end to Christian persecution of Jews.

  4. Thanks Judah for taking the time to share that with me. When I read it Matthew 5 came to mind...

    "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

    Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

  5. Thanks, yes that does come to mind. I love the Beatitudes. A Messianic Jewish psalmist by the name of Marty Goetz has put it music in a really beautiful way:

    Marty Goetz - Blessings on the Mountain.mp3