It is in Christian news again, the entire plethora of the common term – Replacement Theology’. I have forgotten how many times over the years to have put pen to paper on this subject.
42 years ago at seminary (Morling College – NSW Baptist) I was one of the very few willing to put their head above the parapet railing against Replacement theology. In a few weeks I have a three part series on this.
First, let’s get theological. 'Post-Successionism' is a theological position. This long title was more familiar when I was at theological college in my twenties. Now, it is more commonly referred to as 'Replacement Theology'.
'Replacement theology' is a position that claims the economy of God with His chosen people (the Jews) concluded at Calvary, the theological point at which God's allegiance with his people ceased and which was then fully transferred to the Church on the Day of Pentecost.
In practical terms, 'Replacement theology' has been held by a large majority of Christians over the past two thousand years, moreover it is the core philosophy behind anti-Semitism, and recognises Israel as a political state and nothing more.
Replacement theology claims -
First, that after the Cross, the promises given to Israel were automatically transferred to the church.
Second, Israel's 1948 establishment was not a fulfilment of prophecies, it was a purely a political act, a decision made by the relevant nations in the politic.
Third, although the bias against Israel is phenomenal, in reality it's political, as the Arab nations along with Iran want Israel to disappear off the face of the earth. Many within the United Nations gives every appearance of an anti-Israeli sentiment.
Ignores the plain reading of Scripture
In my view, all three of these ignores the plain reading of the Scriptures' promises to Israel and the only way Israel has survived has been due to an economy of God that has not rejected Israel.
Divine protection has been provided. Its people have a remarkable giftedness of invention, the sciences, physics, industry, agriculture, IT and the military.
Even though most Christians do not think this way, it came as a pleasant surprise to many when former US President Jimmy Carter apologised for 'stigmatising Israel'. Carter, who is not a popular character in Israel, enraged the American Jewish community in the past with various statements made in his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."
Yet News reported President Carter as saying: "As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so," Carter said. "Al Het" refers to the Yom Kippur prayer asking God forgiveness for sins committed
At that time Head of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman welcomed Carter's apology, saying it marked the beginning of reconciliation.
Pilgrimages to the Holy Land
I lead pilgrimage tours to the Holy Land, and a writer on Jewish-Christian issues and one of 48 Gentiles invited in 2005 by the Israeli Government to the March of the Living to Poland, marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
I ask this pertinent question: Does theology affect politics, or is it just plain and simple, politics?
I note President Carter's comments: "We must recognize Israel's achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatise Israel."
A question some Christian theologians were asking at that time was whether President Carter has 'moved a little theologically' with his comments, or is he just being political?
President Carter's achievements were not that of the faint hearted: His foreign policy accomplishments of his Administration included the Panama Canal Treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel.
Many would say that his ideas on Israel are based more on the principle quoted below than on theology.
One of the most basic principles for making and keeping peace within and between nations. . . is that in political, military, moral, and spiritual confrontations, there should be an honest attempt at the reconciliation of differences before resorting to combat.
President Carter has upheld the principle of separation of Church and State (meaning he probably sees the Israel thing as politics, not religion).
In addition, there is quite a large movement of Jewish people around the world, both in Australia and in the USA, who think that Israel, politically, has from time to time acted either wrongly or unwisely.
In my view, the economy of God and the politics of man are intertwined. There are numerous Biblical examples of this, such as Joseph in Pharaohs court, Esther before the King and the Apostle Paul before Herod's court.
Christians who do not hold to Replacement theology believe that God has a purpose for the nation of Israel. This purpose is one of restoration, redemption and as a blessing to flow from Israel to all nations (Romans Chapters 9-11).
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 44 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 44 years with 4 children and 5 grand children