A Replacement Concept to be rejected
Many who attack the notion of Replacement theology, that is the idea that the Church has inherited the mantle of Israel do so from a Dispensational premise. And I hope I've briefly shown why their concerns are misguided due to a misreading of the Bible.
But there is another type of Replacement Theology that ought to cause concern. It is directly related to the issues I've been talking about. By employing a hermeneutic of hyper-unity some bring the worship practices into the New Covenant and are guilty of Judaizing. But there are others who also bring the polity of the Old Covenant into the New Covenant era.
They're looking at Israel's national status, political ordering, or both and attempting to bring them into the New Covenant. This can manifest itself in identifying a nation, race, or culture with a New-Covenant Israel and thus the Church. We've seen this in Scotland, South Africa, as well as the British and American Empires. We've seen it among racists both white and black. We've seen it among those who wish to emphasize a theology which promotes the clash of civilizations ideal.
We would all agree I hope that the Scriptures are sufficient for everything as it pertains to the Christian life. Everything we need to live a Christian life is answered explicitly or implicitly on the pages of Scripture. Many ideas are conveyed to us in general principles. The Scriptures don't teach us how to be scientists, but they teach us how we as Christians should live our lives and glorify God as scientists. The Scriptures don't teach us how to be loansharks, but they teach us how living as Christians we would reject such an occupation.
God has established a realm of delayed Judgment, general benevolence, or Common Grace. This is the stage for the gospel of the Kingdom to work. This is the present situation or order wherein believers and unbeliever intermingle and interact. There are many things regarding this arrangement that are good and many things that aren't. Living as Christians we should labour to make the Common Grace realm a peaceful and orderly place, not to make it Holy which it can never be, but to allow us to live our lives, worship God, and build the spiritual Kingdom. Many tasks are not evil or good in and of themselves, merely task that need to or can be accomplished. We can legitimately engage in them, but since they are Common, the Scriptures don't give us specific guidelines in how these things are to be ordered.
We as Christians are given Biblical concepts about how we are to treat money or work, but these are concepts meant for Christians following God, not concepts that are meant to function as models for society. What is the Biblical view then of politics, economics, cooking, house building, or art? There isn't one.
Again, we as Christians definitely have moral imperatives and directions for how to live, but God has only given Natural Revelation to the Common Order. The Church functioning as salt and light will have an effect, but the Common Order can't be transformed. Our Pilgrim lifestyles and ethics won't work for society nor make any sense for that matter. How can the Bible's teaching about money make any sense to an unbelieving society? It's impossible and the Scriptures say so:
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
The Holy Commandments are not meant for the unbelievers. We are never to try and get them to act like Christians as if that could please God. It cannot as the verse above indicated. We also read in Proverbs 15:
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.
So what our task to the wicked? Proclaim Christ….His Person and Work. This is the Good News. Though you deserve eternal death, God grants life. Is there a command for them as well? A command the Church gives to the unbelieving culture?
Their command from God is- Repent and Believe in Jesus the Christ.
This other branch of Replacement Theology thinks this isn't enough and demands that we must Christianize or Sanctify the Common Order. We must labour to transform the Common into the Holy Kingdom, a new Israel, a new geo-political Israel. So for them building the Kingdom is not about evangelism per se, but about culture building, construction of a global civilization they call the Kingdom of God.
They believe the Bible has to speak to this as well but find themselves hard pressed to find examples of how the Church in the New Testament is to do this. Over-emphasizing the Unity between the Old and New, they turn the Old, particularly to the Mosaic order as an example of how to order society. Like those who wish to bring forward the temple-types of Christ…the modes of worship etc…, these people also wish to bring forward the civic-cultural aspects of Old Testament Israel. They believe the Mosaic Law is for the Church and ultimately as the Church transform the Common Grace Order….for the whole world. This entire system was typified by Circumcision, the rite of entry, the symbol of the old life, the mark of sin being taken away, passing death unto life. But with Circumcision came the obligation to be under the stipulations of that particular covenant. Paul condemns any attempt to introduce the Old Covenant Forms into the Church. We the Church have a new rite of entry which symbolizes almost exactly the same thing, but this rite, Baptism is the sign and seal of the New Covenant. We cannot turn to the Old and we certainly cannot borrow piecemeal. It was a Unity which stands or falls together. You want to be circumcised, Paul asks? Then you're under the entirety of the Mosaic system. You've put your trust in the empty forms and denied the substance. But we are married to another as Paul teaches us in Romans 7.
The Mosaic system in providing a picture of Christ shows a way of life, redemption, and restoration in the Temple-Priestly system. Christ our High Priest has fulfilled this.
But it also demonstrated a picture of Christ as Judge, the bringer of Justice, a way of death, condemnation, and rejection. This was typified in what is often called the Civil Code or the Mosaic Penal laws.
The two have to go together to present an accurate picture of Christ as Redeemer and Christ as Judge. We also find other instances where the typological Christ's…Joshua and David also bring blessing and curse. Blessings to God's people, conduits of His love, and at times the sword….sometimes on the rebellious in God's on house and other times a judgment on God's enemies.
Theonomists fail to see this and consequently destroy the typological and Messianic aspects found in the Mosaic system. Seeing virtually no disunity between the covenants, they view the church as something of an international continuum of the nation of Israel. They must be opposed. Medieval Catholicism also engaged in a very similar somewhat more loosely analogous project and the consequences were horrific. The New Testament epistles are replete with warning against two forms of error.
Paganizing, that is the bringing in of pagan ideas, concepts, and worship into the Church. And…
Judaizing, bringing Old Covenant form-elements forward into the Church.
The Apocalypse speaks more explicitly of this false Church, this Judaized Church which unites with the Pagan Beast-power…and their joint project is displayed for us in Revelation 17. The whoring false Church joins with the Utopian (Pseudo Kingdom of Heaven)State.
A Replacement theology which understand the unity and disunity between the Old and New Covenants is Biblical, but a Replacement theology which only recognizes Unity is not only guilty of Judaizing and thus spiritually dangerous. It represents a system which not only harms the Church, but also wreaks great havoc on the Common Order and does much to turn the unbelievers of the Common Order into actively pursuing and assisting the Kingdom of Satan as it seeks to subvert and transform the City of Man into the Pseudo-Mt. Zion.