Replacement Theology

www.GotQuestions.org

Question: “What is replacement theology?”

Answer: Replacement theology essentially teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. Adherents of replacement theology believe the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. All the different views of the relationship between the church and Israel can be divided into two camps: either the church is a continuation of Israel (replacement/covenant theology), or the church is completely different and distinct from Israel (dispensationalism/premillennialism).

Replacement theology teaches that the church is the replacement for Israel and that the many promises made to Israel in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian church, not in Israel. So, the prophecies in Scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are “spiritualized” or “allegorized” into promises of God’s blessing for the church. Major problems exist with this view, such as the continuing existence of the Jewish people throughout the centuries and especially with the revival of the modern state of Israel. If Israel has been condemned by God, and there is no future for the Jewish nation, how do we explain the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the past 2000 years despite the many attempts to destroy them? How do we explain why and how Israel reappeared as a nation in the 20th century after not existing for 1900 years?

The view that Israel and the church are different is clearly taught in the New Testament. Biblically speaking, the church is completely different and distinct from Israel, and the two are never to be confused or used interchangeably. We are taught from Scripture that the church is an entirely new creation that came into being on the day of Pentecost and will continue until it is taken to heaven at the rapture (Ephesians 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). The church has no relationship to the curses and blessings for Israel. The covenants, promises, and warnings are valid only for Israel. Israel has been temporarily set aside in God’s program during these past 2000 years of dispersion.

After the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), God will restore Israel as the primary focus of His plan. The first event at this time is the tribulation (Revelation chapters 6-19). The world will be judged for rejecting Christ, while Israel is prepared through the trials of the great tribulation for the second coming of the Messiah. Then, when Christ does return to the earth, at the end of the tribulation, Israel will be ready to receive Him. The remnant of Israel which survives the tribulation will be saved, and the Lord will establish His kingdom on this earth with Jerusalem as its capital. With Christ reigning as King, Israel will be the leading nation, and representatives from all nations will come to Jerusalem to honor and worship the King—Jesus Christ. The church will return with Christ and will reign with Him for a literal thousand years (Revelation 20:1-5).

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament support a premillennial/dispensational understanding of God’s plan for Israel. Even so, the strongest support for premillennialism is found in the clear teaching of Revelation 20:1-7, where it says six times that Christ’s kingdom will last 1000 years. After the tribulation the Lord will return and establish His kingdom with the nation of Israel, Christ will reign over the whole earth, and Israel will be the leader of the nations. The church will reign with Him for a literal thousand years. The church has not replaced Israel in God’s plan. While God may be focusing His attention primarily on the church in this dispensation of grace, God has not forgotten Israel and will one day restore Israel to His intended role as the nation He has chosen (Romans 11).

© Copyright 2002-2012 Got Questions Ministries.

REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

by Dr. Renald E. Showers
Bible Teacher & Conference Speaker with Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc.

THE BIBLE CLEARLY teaches that God is truth, and true. And the word true means He’s exactly
what He claims to be. He doesn’t misrepresent Himself. God is truth which is another way of
saying, God is Ultimate Reality. And since God is truth and ultimate reality, He’s also the ultimate
source of truth for mankind. But tragically, beginning about the end of World War I there began to
grow, at least in our western culture and society, a growing denial of the existence of the personal
Sovereign Creator God of the Bible. And, of course, one of the expressions of that—very popular in the
1960s—was the “God Is Dead Movement,” but that was just one such expression. So that we have a lot
of people, at least in the western world today who basically are atheistic, or at least agnostic. Many say,
“There is no such God.” Others say, “Well maybe there is, but I can’t be sure about it.” Others say,
“Well, maybe there is such a God, but He’s totally irrelevant to our modern world and society today.”
And, those concepts, very foundational to life and reality, have produced some very interesting
consequences. One of the consequences that we are witnessing today is a denial of objective truth that’s
binding upon all of mankind.
What do we mean by objective truth? It is truth that stands as truth by itself, and it is the same
truth for all of mankind regardless of your culture, regardless of your race, regardless of your nation,
regardless of your language. It’s unchanging truth that is the same for all of mankind, and all mankind
is responsible to be aware of it and conduct life accordingly.
Put another way: objective truth is truth that was not invented by man. It’s outside of man, and
therefore, it’s unchanging, and it’s the same for all mankind whatsoever. And so we have an increasing
denial of objective truth today, and that in turn has produced another denial—a denial of an objective
standard for evaluating whether something is right or whether something is wrong.
How many times have you heard this expressed? “No one has a right to impose his or her concept
of right or wrong upon another person. There is no absolute truth: truth is relative. It is subjective. It’s
up to each individual to determine for himself or herself what is truth. What is truth for this person is
not truth for anybody else. And you might disagree with each other. And so there is no truth, no
objective truth, no objective standard by which we can evaluate whether something is right or whether
something is wrong.”
A good illustration of this: sometime ago U.S. News & World Report published an article about a
professor who taught modern Western history at an American college. He said, years ago when they
would deal with Naziism and the Holocaust, students would be horrified that there could be people that
could be so brutal to systematically eliminate millions of people from the face of the earth. But he said,
now today, students will say, “Well, I don’t necessarily like what the Nazis did, but how can I say that
what they did is wrong? We don’t have any objective standards to determine whether something is
right or is wrong. Maybe, if it served a good purpose for them, it was all right for them to eliminate six
million Jews and millions of Gentile people as well.”
Then the article went on to quote a lady who was a literature teacher for many years. She said that
every year she would have the students read a fictional story about a farming community in
Midwestern America. Every Fall they would require all the farming people from the area to come
together to determine which person would be their human sacrifice that year to guarantee a good
harvest of crops. This professor of literature said in past years students were horrified at the idea that
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers:

REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY

Somebody could think that it was legitimate to have human sacrifice, but she said now they’re saying,
“Well, I wouldn’t want to be sacrificed like that, but if it’s their religion, or if it’s their culture, I can’t
say that’s wrong.”
Both this history professor and the literature professor were saying, “Our young people coming to
us today have lost their moral compass. They don’t think it’s wrong to sacrifice a human being, but
they get bent all out of shape about killing a whale or killing a seal.” In other words, mankind isn’t
really the most significant life form upon the face of the earth.
Now, this whole concept has had a tremendous impact particularly in two areas. One area,
Literature, and the other area, History. Let’s think a little bit about Literature. Here’s a concept that
many have today and is being taught in university classrooms as: “The meaning that a writer intended
to communicate in a document he’s written is not important. Instead what is important is this: what
meaning does the reader derive from reading that document? What meaning does the reader assign to
that document? What meaning does the reader want that document to say?”
Before this kind of thought took place, the whole idea of reading a piece of literature was, “I want
to understand what the writer meant by this. What concepts or meaning is the writer wanting to
communicate to his readers?” To try to determine what the writer intended, you would give a literal
interpretation. You’d give the words that he’s using common ordinary meanings that would have
basically the same meaning among people. But now, no, you don’t have to give the words their
common ordinary meaning. It’s not important what the writer was trying to say. It’s important what it
says to you or what it means to you personally. And so, in a sense, you impose your meaning upon that
work regardless of what the writer had to say.
Now, as you can imagine, that can be a disaster when you go to interpret this piece of literature—
God’s Word. A disaster if you believe that it is not important what the human writers were intending to
communicate when they penned the Words of Scripture; if you believe all that’s important is what I
think it should say, or what I want it to say, or what is meaningful to me whatsoever.
Concerning God’s Word, it’s even more important to determine, not what the human writers
intended to write, but what meaning the ultimate Author of the Scriptures intended to communicate,
namely the Holy Spirit. Turn with me if you would please to 1 Corinthians chapter two.
In 1 Corinthians chapter two Paul was writing to Greeks, who put great stock on man made wisdom.
And Paul, starting out in chapter two, verse one, says,
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom,
declaring unto you the testimony of God. (2) For I determined not to know any thing among you,
save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in
much trembling. (4) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s
wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: (5) That your faith should not stand in
the wisdom of men [which by the way, is always changing]—that your faith not stand [not have
it’s foundation] in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
So he said, when I came to you to present my message, I wasn’t presenting it to you in man made
wisdom—philosophical jargon. I know that’s what you’d like to hear as Greeks, but I determined not to
give it to you that way. He probably was thinking, “Some of them are going to say, ‘Well, then what
did you present to us if it wasn’t wisdom?’” Well, notice what he says, verse seven: “But we speak the
wisdom of God.” “I wasn’t giving you man made wisdom, but I was giving you wisdom, the wisdom of
God. That was my job, to present to you what the Ultimate Reality, the Ultimate Source of truth,
Almighty God has to say to you as human beings.”
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY
He goes on to indicate that he and other apostles and New Testament prophets derived this wisdom
of God by revelation. The Holy Spirit delivered by Divine revelation this truth that God wanted
mankind to have and delivered it to apostles and New Testament prophets who would record that.
But then notice what he says when we come to verse 13. Having talked about all this revelational
truth that was freely given to us of God, he says, verse 13: “Which things we also speak.” Paul thereby
was saying, “We apostles received this revelational truth from God. Now it’s our job to deliver it to
you exactly the way God delivered it to us, without changing it, without adding, without deleting from
it.” “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy
Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
The Greek word translated “comparing” has the idea of combining. What he says is, “When we
present the revelational wisdom that God communicated to us through the Holy Spirit, revealed to us
through the Holy Spirit, we are presenting that to you not with words that man dictates, but what the
Holy Spirit indicates we should use as words to communicate this truth, combining the Spirit revealed
thoughts with Spirit prompted words. When I came to you, and I had the job of communicating to you
in understandable fashion Divine truth that God revealed to me through the Holy Spirit as an apostle of
Christ, the Holy Spirit was working with me, supernaturally enabling me to combine the Spirit
revealed truth He revealed to me with the Spirit prompted words that He wanted me to use to
communicate that truth, so it comes across to you accurately, exactly the way God wanted it to be
understood.”
Paul thereby was saying that the ultimate source of the Scriptures is the Holy Spirit, not man. Peter
said, “Holy men wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” As a result, if a person says, “What we
read in this Book, it’s not important what the authors meant; those ideas aren’t important. What’s
important is what I get out of it personally or what it means to me personally. And I want it to mean
what I want it to say.” That person thereby is rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit, the Ultimate
Author, and that has very serious consequences.
What is now prevalent within our culture and society is this concept: that the meaning the writer
intended to communicate, what he has written, is not important. What’s important is what the reader
thinks about it, what the reader gets out of it and wants it to mean.
The other area that’s affected by this concept is the realm of history. Very liberal, radical, even
Marxist, history professors in universities are revising history, contrary to what actually happened.
They tell students that what actually happened is not important. “What’s important is what we think
should have happened back then, or what we wish had happened back then.” So they’re totally revising
history. The reason they do it is because they have an agenda in mind that they want to bombard upon
young minds in order to use these young people to change society the way they want society to be
changed. They will purposely revise what actually happened in history and totally mislead the young
people to fit their agenda—revisionism.
Once you go down that route, there’s no absolute truth that is the same for everybody, regardless of
your culture, your race, your nation, what period of history, what language you have. There’s no
absolute standard of right and wrong by which you can determine whether something is right or wrong.
Once you go down that path with these changes taking place, you’ve automatically stepped out of the
realm of reality, and your thoughts now are contrary to reality. That’s what happens.
I want to give you some examples of this present trend, first from the secular realm and then from
the religious realm.
An example of the way this has changed the approach to literature and what meaning you derive
from literature is the present trend in our courts in the United States. Activist judges claim the intention
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY   

of the authors of the United States Constitution is not important. What they intended to be true for our
nation and how it would operate according to law is not important. What is important is that we have
the right to change the literal interpretation of the Constitution to apply it to society today. They say the
Constitution is a living organism, and, therefore, it can be changed any way we want it to be changed in
order to fit the way we want Law to go today and the way we want society to move today in America.
That’s true of some of the judges, the liberal ones, in the United States Supreme Court. And that’s true
of judges on other levels throughout our whole legal system in America. They’re activist judges
because they have an agenda. “We don’t like what has been true of our nation in the past. We want to
impose our socialistic philosophy upon the nation and change it; and, therefore, we don’t have to be
concerned about what the authors of the U.S. Constitution intended to be carried out legally in our
country.”
They will do this to try to enforce their own life view and their concept of what they want society to
be upon the rest of the nation. This is an instance of radically changing the intended meaning of
literature, namely the literature we call the United States Constitution.
Another example of this trend from the secular realm is from revisionist history. There are people
today who are denying the reality of the Holocaust of World War II. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the
leader of Iran, insists the Holocaust never took place. He claims the Jews have perpetrated this hoax for
their own purposes in the world.
Contrary to reality there are history professors in America who totally deny that the Holocaust ever
took place. Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem has all the official handwritten records of the
Nazis, records of every Jew they eliminated—six million of them. Their names, what articles of
clothing they brought to the prison camps with them and all the rest. There they are, all the official
German records; and yet people say that never happened. That’s a fiction. There are still Jewish people
who were in those concentration camps alive today who by God’s grace survived, and they’ve got the
tattoos and marks on their bodies that demonstrate it happened. They were there, and they lost
members of their family. And yet these revisionists say that never happened. That’s purely a myth that
the Jews have tried to perpetrate upon society to have complete control of society and make society go
the way they want it to go. Revisionism—completely contrary to reality of what has taken place.
Now, some examples from the religious realm. First is Islam’s relationship to Israel. Muslims
historically have said that they believe the Pentateuch, the five Books of Moses, are God’s Word. They
believe that many of the Psalms in the Bible are God’s Word. They believe that significant portions of
the Gospels of the New Testament are God’s Word, but they also say those portions of the Bible have
been corrupted from what they were originally, and they’ve been changed from what they were
originally.
In Genesis 17 God promised to establish the Abrahamic Covenant with Isaac and his descendants
(Israel), not with Ishmael and his descendants (the Arabs). The Muslims say that’s one place where
Genesis is corrupted, for God really promised to make the covenant with Ishmael and his descendants,
not Isaac and his descendants.” And so the Abrahamic covenant, they say, is between God and the Arab
people, not with the people of Israel. Revisionism—revisionism of historic literature there.
Muslims claim that the Jews had no connection to the land of Israel; that Solomon’s Temple was
not built by true Jews. Solomon’s Temple was built rather by Canaanites at the Temple Mount at
Jerusalem. The Jewish Temple that they did have in ancient times was over at Nablus or maybe in
Bethlehem, but not in the Temple Mount. They also claim that the true Hebrews that God entered into
relationships with were Arab Bedouin tribesmen living over in Arabia. They claim that the Jews that
are in the land today are descendants of the Khazar Turks. They’re weren’t the true Hebrews. Actually
the true Hebrews were the Arab Palestinian people. Another example of revisionist history.
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY  !

Yasser Arafat—incredible—created a non-existent Canaanite king that he called “Salem.” Notice,
the tie-in with Jerusalem: Jeru Salem. On radio he spoke very magnificently, movingly about the
incredible character of this Palestinian “Salem,” who was their forefather.
There is a Jewish organization in Israel called Palestinian Media Watch. Every day they are
listening to all the Palestinian broadcasts, telecasts, all the literature that they are producing, and
everything else to see what the Palestinians are thinking with regard to Israel. As a result of listening to
all these things the Palestinians are saying, this is what the Jewish Palestinian Media Watch says: “By
turning Canaanites and Israelites into Arabs and Judaism of ancient Israel into Islam, the Palestinian
authority takes authentic Jewish history which was documented by thousands of years of continuous
literature and crosses out the word Jewish where it appears in the ancient literature and substitutes the
word Arab in place of where the word Jewish appeared in ancient literature.” Totally revising actual
history.
One of the key Muslim religious leaders in the Middle East said, “The Palestinians go way back to
the Garden of Eden.” Muslims are trying desperately to get rid of all evidence that there was any
Jewish relationship to Jerusalem, to the Temple and to the Land. Over the last several years they’ve
been digging underneath the Temple Mount. And they’re taking out of there artifacts that go back to
the time of Solomon when the first temple was built, truckloads of it, and they’re taking it out and
dumping it like garbage on the countryside.
How are they able to do that? When Israel gained control of the whole city of Jerusalem in ’67,
including the Temple Mount, they gave authority over the Temple Mount to the Muslim religious
leaders in the Land of Israel. And the Israeli government has allowed the Muslim religious leaders of
Islam in Israel to continue exercising complete authority over that Temple Mount. And so the Muslims
determine who may go up in there; who may not go up in there. Now Israel had a practical reason for
doing that, because they knew if they took that Temple Mount away from Muslim authority, they’d
have a Jihad of hundreds of millions of Muslims all over the world coming against them. They didn’t
want that. And so they’ve allowed the Muslims to have complete control over the Temple Mount, and
that’s why the Muslims have been doing what they can, digging underneath the Temple Mount to the
point that there’s one whole section that they are fearful may collapse. And they are trying to get rid of
all archeological evidence that the Jews had anything to do with that Land or the Temple Mount in past
history.
There is one prominent Jewish archeologist who is taking teams of people out to that garbage
dump, and they’re spending hours and days and weeks sifting through all this stuff that the Muslims
have dumped out there to get some of the artifacts. So they are finding artifacts which go back in
Israel’s history and that demonstrate that Jews have been there ever since they invaded the land of
Canaan. There have always been Jews there. Even in captivities there was always a remnant of Jews
left in that land up to modern day times. An example in the religious realm of history revisionism by
Muslims with regard to Israel and its right to the land.
Now, let me take another example of Revisionism (or if you want to call it Replacement, replacing
one concept with another) in denominationalism. Up until 1920, the Presbyterian Church USA had a
very solid Bible-based doctrinal statement that Presbyterian clergymen were compelled to abide by in
order to remain ordained within the Presbyterian Church. Now granted it had Covenant Theology in it,
but in other areas they were very sound on what the Bible is, its Divine inspirational authority. They
were very sound on who Jesus is, what He did on the Cross and bodily resurrection and all the rest.
In the 1920s, they began trying to get all of the Presbyterian clergy to sign the doctrinal statement
that they’re in complete agreement with it. The leadership of the denomination, which at that time were
conservative and Bible-based, were shocked to find how many of their clergy could not legitimately
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY  

sign that doctrinal statement. Many of them were younger men who had come recently out of their
Presbyterian theological seminaries. And a lot of these young men said, “If we have to sign that we
agree with the literal interpretation of this doctrinal statement, we can’t sign. The only way we can sign
it is if you will allow us to interpret the meaning of that doctrinal statement the way we want it to
mean. If you will allow that, we will sign it.” Tragically, because there were so many of the
Presbyterian pastorate by that time who were that way, the leadership said, “we can’t lose all these
men. This will destroy the denomination.” So they caved in to that pressure and allowed them to sign it
with tongue in cheek, “I can sign it as long as you allow me to interpret it the way I want it to read and
the way I want it to be understood, but not giving it a literal interpretation and understanding.”
Church historians say that was the turning point in the Presbyterian Church USA from a
denomination that had been doctrinally sound for many, many decades, even centuries, to one in which
liberalism could sweep in tremendously and incredibly change that denomination over several decades.
Another area in which this trend has made an impact in religious circles has been religious
feminism. Let me deal first with Liberal religious feminism. Time magazine, probably about ten to
twelve years ago, ran a fascinating article on the impact that feminism is having in some mainstream
denominations, the more liberal denominations. They pointed out that their feminist beliefs have gone
to the point where now some of these women, some of whom are theology teachers in seminaries, are
raising the question, “Is it possible for a woman to be saved through the death of a male Savior?” And
many of these women concluded, “No, a woman cannot be saved through the death of a male Savior.”
As a result, they developed a new crucifix with a woman nailed to the cross, and they called her
Christa.
Religious feminism is affecting the whole realm of theology. In 1993, the Presbyterian Church
USA, along with some other groups, sponsored a conference called The Re-imaging Conference.1 The
purpose of it was for women in different denominational churches to gather together and re-imagine
what the church would be like if it were the way they wanted the church to be.
Here are some statements that were made at that conference. One woman who was a Lutheran
pastor made this statement, “We did not last night name the name of Jesus. Nor have we done anything
in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit,” and there was laughter and loud applause.
Then a lady who was a professor of theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York said
this, “I don’t think we need a theory of atonement at all. Jesus came for life. Atonement has to do so
much with death. I don’t think we need folks hanging on crosses and blood dripping and weird stuff.”
There was a Korean lady, a theology professor in Seoul, Korea, who said this, “When we do pronic
healing, we believe that this life giving energy came from god, and it’s everywhere. It’s in the sun, it’s
in the ocean, it’s from the ground, it’s from the trees. If you feel very tired, you feel you don’t have any
more energy to give, what you do is sit in silence. Maybe you go to a big tree, ask permission from tree,
‘Give me some of your life energy,’ or ask the sun to give you some life energy.” That’s Pantheism.
God is all. All is God. Nature is God.
Then there was another lady who stood up and gave her personal name and said, “I am co-covener
of the CLOUT Council. CLOUT stands for Christian Lesbians Out Together.” Loud applause. She
went on to say, “We are keenly, painfully aware that the world is not safe for lesbian women, and often
the least safe place is the church. How can we together re-imagine our churches so that every woman
may claim her voice, her gifts, her loves, her wholeness. We invite at this time every lesbian, bi-sexual,
trans-sexual woman who’s willing and able to come forward quickly and encircling this podium facing
out as a circle.” And as women came forward loud applause erupted and lasted for minutes. Then a
Roman Catholic lady, who was very much involved in theological issues, stood up and said, “We need
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY  ”

to reinvent the family.” And I won’t read to you in this mixed audience her idea of how we need to
reinvent the family. Absolutely incredible!
Then, according to this article, the most shocking thing of this Re-imaging Conference was the
communion service. They used milk and honey as the elements in the communion service. And the
leader of this service sang, “Our mother Sophia, we are women in your image.” The crowd sang the
refrain, “Sophia, creator god. Let your milk and honey flow, Sophia, creator god. Shower us with your
love.” Female god, Sophia.
Incidently, the Time magazine article claimed one woman who had been very vocal at first, an
advocate of the whole feminist movement within mainline denominations said, “Whoa, wait a minute.
This is going too far. This is paganism. This is not Christianity at all.” And said, “I want no part of
this.” But it’s changing even the realm of theology today, because again, we want it to be the way we
want it to be, not what the Scriptures say. Now that would be Liberal Feminism.
Let me deal a little bit with Evangelical Feminism. Some women who claim to be evangelicals
have had two different approaches to what the Bible says about distinctive roles of male and female.
One group says, “Well the Bible does say, ‘Yes, that there are distinctive roles that God has related
between males and females,’ but that’s where the Bible is in error. That’s erroneous.” But once you say
that, there goes inspiration of the Scriptures out the window. That was their way, of evangelicals, trying
to deal with what the Bible says about distinctive roles God has created for male and female.
Other evangelical feminists said, “No, we believe the Bible is Divinely inspired of God and
therefore authoritative.” What they say is, “Paul was not in error in what he said. However, we must
interpret what he said about distinctive roles God has ordained in light of culture at that particular time,
and let the culture determine what Paul meant by those statements.” The problem with that approach is
this: every reason Paul gave (for example in 1 Corinthians eleven, 1 Timothy, and Titus) for distinctive
roles that God has ordained between male and female are all non cultural reasons. Not one of them is a
cultural reason for those distinctive roles that were given in the Scriptures. So again, it’s a revisionism
and a replacement of what the Bible is saying.
If you’re going to give the Bible a literal, historical, grammatical interpretation, you’ll come out
right in the end. But if you don’t like that, and you want to change the way you approach it, you’re
going to come out contrary to the original meaning of the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit determined
when He prompted, for example, the apostle Paul to write what he wrote; and even things that were
written in the Old Testament that talk about how God ordained distinctive roles at the time of Creation
between male and female.
Then, another area of this line of thinking— revisionism, changing, replacing the literal meaning of
things—has been the ordaining of homosexual clergy now in mainline denominational churches. What
they say is this. “When the Bible says that a man is not to lie with another man as he would with a
woman, that’s not forbidding all forms of homosexual relationships. It’s only forbidding if one person
enforces this upon another person. That’s what God’s condemning in the Bible. But if two men consent
to this kind of relationship, or two women consent to this kind of relationship with each other, that’s
okay from God’s viewpoint. It’s only if one party is trying to enforce this against the will of another
party that’s being condemned by the Bible.”
Well, where does the Bible say that? In the Old Testament God clearly states, “A man is not to lie
with a man the way he would lie with a woman.” Can’t we understand language? That’s all it says. No
exceptions. But to get around it, they say, “It’s not what the writer wrote and intended that’s important.
What’s important is, what does it say to me, and what do I want it to say.”
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY  #

We also have a problem today with a movement called Progressive Dispensationalism. There’s
some replacement going on in that as well and reinterpreting some passages of Scripture that are very
clear. A number of years ago, I was ministering at a particular place in another state of our country, and
it so happened that two of the major proponents of Progressive Dispensationalism were at that same
place at that time. When I arrived at the place where I was to minister, there was a note waiting for me
which said I was to meet with these two men on one of the days that I was there, and I did.
Let me give you some background so you understand why I was told I was to meet with them.
Several months before that, while I was teaching full time at Philadelphia College of Bible, the men of
the Bible Department of the college got together to discuss this whole new trend called Progressive
Dispensationalism. And every one of us said, “We are totally opposed to Progressive
Dispensationalism because we believe it is contrary to Scripture.”
Somehow between then and the time I was where these two proponents of Progressive
Dispensationalism were located, word had gotten to them that the Bible men at Philadelphia College of
Bible were opposed to what they were proposing. When I met with them, they said, “We understand
that the Bible men at Philadelphia College of Bible don’t like Progressive Dispensationalism.” I said,
“You’re right, we don’t.” And they said, “Well, why?” I said, “Because we’re convinced it’s contrary
to Scripture.” They said, “Well, in what way?” And I said, “Well, for one thing your view claims that,
when Jesus ascended to Heaven and sat down beside God on His throne, Jesus was thereby sitting
down upon the throne of David. As a result you’re equating God’s throne with the throne of David.”
And the one man said, “Well, what’s wrong with that?” I said, “Thirty some years after Jesus ascended
to Heaven and sat down beside God on His throne, He said in Revelation, chapter three, verse 21: ‘To
Him that overcomes I will [emphasis added] (now this is future tense) grant Him to sit with Me on My
throne just as I overcame and the Father granted Me to sit with Him on His throne.’”
And I said, “If language means anything, Jesus is drawing a clear distinction here between the
Father’s throne, where He’s seated now, and His throne that He’s going to sit upon to rule the earth in
the future.” One of those men gave a response to that, and to this day I still don’t understand what he
was saying. It seemed to me it was such a nebulous response that made no sense to me whatsoever. But
here’s a clear statement that Jesus Himself made, drawing a distinction between His throne He will sit
upon in the future and the Father’s throne where He’s seated right now. To my way of thinking, the
only way you can get around that is to reinterpret that passage and not give it its literal meaning.
Progressive Dispensationalism’s slogan is “Already Not Yet.” What they’re saying is, “There’s a
sense in which the Kingdom of God that was foretold for the future in the Old Testament is already
here. That future Kingdom of God is already here in spiritual form, but there’s a sense in which it’s not
yet here. It’s not yet here in political form.” The only way you can have some aspect of it already here,
is if Christ right now is on the throne of David, because the Bible makes it very clear that the Kingdom
is not set up until Jesus is on His throne that was promised to Him.
Remember what Gabriel said to Mary [Luke 1:32-33], “He will receive the throne of His ancestor
David to sit upon.” So again, not giving words their common ordinary meaning—literal
interpretation—but making it say what you want it to say, not what it actually says. And so there at
least, you have to say, “Well the intention of Jesus in that statement of Revelation 3:21 is not
important. What is important is what it means to us.”
Now, what I want to do for most of the rest of the time this afternoon is deal with what we’ve
normally called Replacement Theology. That’s the view that says, “Because Israel rejected Jesus in
His first coming, God has forever rejected the nation of Israel, and He has no present program for the
nation of Israel. There’s no future program for the nation of Israel. God has replaced Israel with the
Church, and therefore, the Church is now God’s Israel. They’re the people of God, and so the Church
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY  $

now inherits all the promises that God gave to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the people of Israel, for
example, in the Abrahamic Covenant.”
I want to point out that this view of Replacement Theology is not new. It actually began less than
100 years after the Apostles were gone from the scene. Less than 100 years after the Apostle John died
in 100 AD, there were prominent church leaders who began this whole concept that God’s done with
Israel, and the Church is now God’s Israel.
I have some specific quotes, so I’m going to read a good part of this. I trust you’ll bear with me on
this, because I want to be accurate in what I’m presenting.
Church historians point out that for the first several years the church was totally Jewish in
membership. The Book of Acts makes that very clear. But, as a result of persecution by unbelieving
Jews in Jerusalem, Jewish believers, such as Stephen and others, were scattered out of Jerusalem.
Some of them took the Gospel to the Samaritans. Peter, Acts chapter ten, was required by the Holy
Spirit to go to the home of a Gentile, Cornelius, and open the door to Gentiles to get saved and come
into the Church.
As a result, by the end of the first century the Church was primarily Gentile in membership. Once
the Church became predominantly Gentile in membership, it began to experience significant changes in
contrast to what it was when mainly Jewish in membership.
Within 100 years after the Apostles of Jesus Christ were gone, the majority of Gentile Christians
regarded the Jewish Scriptures as authoritative. But many of the Gentile Christians began to think, “of
themselves as the true spiritual heirs of Israel and claimed for themselves the promises which the
Hebrews felt that Yahweh had made to them.”
Adolph Harnak who was probably the world’s foremost church historian in the late 1800s and early
1900s made this statement: “The Christians held the Jews having been rejected by God, they
themselves, [in other words, the Christians] had become the chosen people.” In other words, these
Christians began claiming that God permanently ended Israel’s unique relationship with Him as a
nation and replaced it with the Church as His unique people, and thus, the Christians were now the
Israel of God.
Some Gentile Church leaders within 100 years after the Apostles were gone were very anti-Semitic.
Because they were, they played a key role in this significant shift away from the original understanding
of the Scriptures regarding the nation of Israel’s relationship with God. In response to Jewish attacks
against Christian beliefs some of these church leaders resorted to new methods of Biblical
interpretation and wrote rebuttals with varying degrees of anti-Semitic content. In other words, the
rebuttals against the adversary Jews were rather anti-Semitic.
For example, Justin Martyr, who lived from 100 to 165 AD and was a Christian apologist, defended
Christianity against its enemies. He made the following claim in his work entitled, Dialogue of Justin
Martyr with Trypho, a Jew: The Christians “are the true Israelitic race.”
He also asserted that the Biblical expression, “the seed of Jacob,” when properly understood, now
refers to the Christians, not to the Jews. And church historians point out that was a significant shift in
understanding the Scriptures from what they had been originally. Tertullian, another prominent church
leader, who lived from c155 to c225 AD and was located in North Africa, wrote a work called An
Answer to the Jews. This was an anti-Semitic discourse. He interpreted God’s statements to Rebekah
concerning her twins, Esau and Jacob in her womb, in the following manner: Esau, the older brother
represents the Jews; Jacob, the younger brother represents the Christians. Considering what God said
about Esau and Jacob, “The older brother will serve the younger brother,” Tertullian said, “This
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY
indicates that God thereby revealed that the Christians would overcome the Jews, and the Jews would
serve the Christians.” He thereby allegorized God’s statement contrary to what God intended.
Origen, who lived from 185 to 253 AD, was the president of the very influential school of theology
at Alexandria, Egypt. Origen greatly influenced the church’s acceptance of the allegorical and
spiritualizing method of interpreting the Bible. This method stands in contrast to the literal, historical,
grammatical method. And this method permitted him to read almost any meaning he desired into the
language of the Bible. It allowed him to claim that the word “Israel” in the Bible can mean the Church,
not national Israel.
That method also led him into heresy in some areas of doctrine. For example, he rejected the
concept of physical resurrection and believed in universal salvation for all human beings and fallen
angels. His allegorizing, spiritualizing method permitted him to come up with those concepts contrary
to the Bible.
Church historian Philip Schaff, who’s written a multi-volume set on Church History, made this
statement about Origen’s approach to interpreting the Bible: “His great defect is the neglect of the
grammatical, historical sense and his constant desire to find a hidden mystic meaning. His allegorical
interpretation is ingenious but often runs far away from the text and degenerates into the merest
caprice.”
Dionysus, who was a disciple of Origen and lived from 190 to 264 AD, became a very influential
bishop of the Church at Alexandria, Egypt. He succeeded in asserting that an allegorical interpretation
of the prophets is the only legitimate exegesis of what the prophets said in the Old Testament, not the
historical, grammatical, or literal method in determining what they said.
Cyprian, who lived from 195 to 258 AD and was the bishop of a church in Carthage, North Africa,
wrote Three Books of Testimonies Against The Jews. He stated that he “endeavored to show that the
Jews according to what had before been foretold had departed from God. The Jews had departed from
God and had lost God’s favor which had been given them in past time and had been promised them for
the future while the Christians had succeeded to their place.” In other words, the Christians had
inherited the place the Jews had with God, “deserving well of the Lord by faith and coming out of all
nations and from the whole world.” He, much like Tertullian, had interpreted God’s statements to
Rebekah about her twins, Esau and Jacob in her womb, in the following allegorical manner, “Esau the
older brother represents the Jews. Jacob the younger brother represents the Christians.” And the
implication of that is this, the Christians have inherited the birthright that the Jews forfeited.
Remember Jacob inherited Esau’s birthright, because Esau forfeited it to his brother. He also declared
that the Gentiles rather than the Jews obtained the Kingdom of Heaven.
John Chrysostom, a very prominent preacher in the Eastern Church, was the bishop of the huge
Sancta Sophia Church in Constantinople, in what today is Turkey. He lived from 347 to 407 AD. He
delivered messages which have been printed word for word, entitled, Against The Jews. According to
the Jewish Encyclopedia, Chrysostom, Cyril, the bishop of Alexandra, and Ambrose, the bishop of
Milan “potently affected the fate of the Jewish people.” Chrysostom viciously attacked the Jews in
some of his messages. These are just some samples of how Replacement Theology developed quite
early in the history of the Church.
Having given those examples, I want to point out two major effects that Replacement Theology had
upon the Church. For the next several centuries Replacement Theology played a significant role in
producing major changes in two areas of organized Christendom: Ecclesiology and Eschatology.
Replacement Theology prompted some dramatic changes in Ecclesiology. Ecclesiology addresses
such issues as: What is the Church? What’s its nature? What’s its function? There’s a scholar in
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY  

Europe, Dr. Ronald Diprose. He’s originally from Australia. He took a Master’s Degree of Theology at
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, north of Chicago, then went to Europe to a theological school, and
did his Ph.D. work there in theology. In his doctoral dissertation, he dealt with the subject of Israel and
the Church. His dissertation has been published with the title Israel and The Church. He quotes far
more of these church leaders than I have here, and he shows how their Replacement Theology played a
key role in the development of the whole Roman Catholic system.
As a result of Gentile leaders concluding that the Church is now the Israel of God, they began to
appropriate to the Church things that God had instituted specifically for the nation of Israel. For
example, they began to say, “Since the Church is now Israel, since God gave Israel a priesthood, then
He must want the Church to have a priesthood.” They began changing the titles of church leaders, such
as pastors, to priests. Then they said, “Since God gave Israel a multi-tiered priesthood with one high
priest at the top, and layers of priesthood underneath, He must want the Church to have a multi-tiered
priesthood with one high priest at the top and layers of priesthood underneath.” Slowly but surely they
began to develop more and more of the hierarchy until they had come to one man at the top, namely the
Pope.
Then they said, “Since God gave Israel continuing blood sacrifices, He must want the Church to
have continuing blood sacrifices. But now, it can’t be animals. We have to relate it to Christ.” So
slowly but surely they began changing the significance of the Communion service. Instead of the bread
and wine simply representing the body and blood of Christ, they began saying that there’s a miracle
that takes place when communion is observed in which the bread is converted into the literal flesh of
Christ, and the wine is converted into the literal blood of Christ, so that every time Communion is
observed Jesus is being sacrificed again and again and again as a continuing blood sacrifice for the sins
of the people. And that led to the Catholic view of transubstantiation. Trans means across,
substantiation, substance. In one sense, this bread is transferred over into flesh. In another sense, this
wine is transferred over into blood. And that led to the whole service of the Mass within the Roman
Catholic Church.
Thus, Replacement Theology played a key role in changing Ecclesiology, the nature and function of
the church; but it also played a key role in changing Eschatology. In the area of Eschatology early
replacement theology prompted the rejection of the Church’s original view called Chiliasm. Chiliasm
is from a Greek word which means one thousand. And Chiliasm was the view that today we call
premillennialism. It’s the view that in the future Jesus Christ will return bodily to the earth, set up a
literal, political Kingdom of God upon the face of the earth and rule the world for God for the last one
thousand years of history. Church historians across the board from many denominations all agree that
was the original eschatological view of the Church—Chiliasm, what we call premillennialism.
Chiliasm was the predominant view of Orthodox Christianity from the first until the third century
AD. But as early as 170 AD, some leaders of the Greek church in the eastern part of the empire began
to reject Chiliasm. There was a strong anti-Semitic spirit in the eastern church. Because many Jews of
Jesus’ day rejected Him, and many of their successors refused to believe in Him, Gentile church
leaders in the eastern church increasingly began to call Jews “Christ killers” and developed a strong
bias against anything Jewish. And because the Church’s original view of Chiliasm was the same
eschatological hope that had motivated Jews for centuries, these Gentile church leaders began calling
Chiliasm a Jewish view. And they said, “Because it’s Jewish, it must be rejected.” They began to
stigmatize it as a Jewish view, and some even went so far as to say, “It’s heretical.”
Some even rejected the prophetic Scriptures from which Chiliasm was derived. For example,
Dionysus, the student of Origen, who was the bishop of the church of Alexandria in Egypt, believed
that the rejection of Jewish Chiliasm would never be secure so long as the Apocalypse of John (the
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY  

Book of Revelation) passed for an apostolic writing and kept its place in the Bible. And so this church
bishop went on an all out crusade to prejudice the Greek Church against the canonicity (the Divine
inspiration) of the Book of Revelation, and he succeeded to the point that the Eastern Church (the
Greek Church) totally removed the Book of Revelation from the Bible in the Fourth Century, and kept
it out for several centuries up into the Middle Ages, until finally Chiliasm was finally buried within the
Eastern Church. Once Chiliasm was buried, they put it [the Apocalypse] back into the Canon of
Scripture. That was the Eastern Church.
The Western, or Latin Church, held onto Chiliasm longer than the Greek Church of the east. In the
west, Chiliasm was still a point of orthodoxy in the Fourth Century. In other words, in the 300s AD, if
you were in the western church and you didn’t believe in Chiliasm, you were regarded as being
contrary to the orthodox teaching of the church.
But after the Fourth Century, the western church began to join the revolt against Chiliasm.
Teaching from the Greek church was brought to the West by influential church leaders such as Jerome
and Ambrose. As a result of being taught by Greek theologians of the east for several years, Jerome,
who lived from 345 to 420 AD, declared that he had been delivered from “Jewish opinions,” and he
ridiculed the early beliefs of the Church in Chiliasm.
Ambrose, who lived from 340 to 397 AD and was a very influential bishop in Milan, Italy, said the
Jews were “a type of the infidel.” He regarded the soul of Jewish people to be irrevocably perverse and
incapable of any good thought and asserted that burning a Jewish synagogue was not a crime.
Ambrose was the spiritual mentor of Augustine. Augustine got saved indirectly as a result of the
preaching of Ambrose, and then Ambrose discipled Augustine for a while. In fact, in the City of Milan
today there is a huge Roman Catholic Cathedral called The Duomo, built in the 1300s. A number of
years ago, when they were digging out for a subway system in Milan, a huge hole opened up. When the
diggers went inside, they saw ruins underneath this big cathedral. They called in the archeologists, and
research demonstrated these were the ruins of a Christian church building that had been built maybe in
the late 300s, early 400s AD. They also found out this is where Ambrose baptized Augustine. And if
you get down there, it surely wasn’t sprinkling. It’s a huge baptistry with steps going down into it. So
he had great influence upon Augustine, and Augustine became the bishop of Hippo in North Africa.
Church historians say that Augustine influenced the future direction of organized Christendom more
than any person since the apostle Paul. It appears that Ambrose’s anti-Semitic views impacted the
thinking of Augustine. Augustine published a work called, Tract Against the Jews. It was so influential
that derogatory arguments against Jews throughout the Middle Ages were usually called Augustinian.
In the early years of his Christian faith, Augustine adopted the Chiliasm view of the early church,
but later he rejected it. It appears that the anti-Semitic views of Ambrose and Jerome motivated him to
do so because of the thought that Chiliasm was Jewish. But another factor that prompted that was the
influence of Greek philosophy upon his thinking. Augustine was deeply immersed in all different forms
of Greek philosophy before he became a Christian, and when he became a Christian, he still was
enamored with it. One of the teachings of Greek philosophy was this: anything physical or material is
automatically evil because it’s physical or material. And only what is non-physical, non-material is
good. And so he began to incorporate that concept of Greek philosophy into his Christian theology, and
he said this, “If I take the Biblical passages on the Kingdom of God literally, they promise an earthly
political kingdom with great physical and material blessings. But because material and physical
blessings would be evil (because anything material or physical is evil), that’s carnal, and therefore,
there’s no way those Biblical passages can be taken literally about the future Kingdom of God.” To his
way of thinking, in order for the Kingdom of God to be good, it must be totally spiritual in nature.
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY
One church historian said, “Thus for him the millennium had become a spiritual state into which
the church collectively had entered at Pentecost in which the individual Christian might already enjoy
through mystical communion with God.” In other words, he allegorized the future Kingdom of God
and said it’s totally a spiritual kingdom; and the Church is now that spiritual kingdom and that was set
up by Christ during His first coming; and so the Kingdom is already here in a spiritual form, and the
Church is that Kingdom.
In order to avoid the implications of some of the millennial passages of the Bible, he applied the
allegorical method of interpretation to the prophets and to the Revelation of Jesus Christ. For example,
Augustine interpreted the first resurrection that John refers to in Revelation, chapter twenty, as the
present spiritual resurrection of the soul which takes place at the new birth, not the future bodily
resurrection of people.
Covenant Theologians over the last decade have come out with a Covenant Theology Study Bible
called the Geneva Study Bible. When they come to that statement in Revelation twenty about the first
Resurrection after the Tribulation Period, their footnote says, “This is not physical resurrection. This is
the spiritual resurrection that happens when a person experiences the new birth.” However,
interestingly, they said this, “If perhaps it’s physical resurrection, then the premillennialists are
correct.” Interesting! But see again, “we are not going to give the words their normal, ordinary
meaning, because we don’t like that. We have to interpret it the way it’s meaningful to us, the way we
want it to be.” That’s what happened here.
The rejection of Chiliasm necessitated the development of a new eschatalogical view. And so
Augustine developed a new eschatological view called Amillennialism, which means no millennium.
This view denied a future earthly political Kingdom of God over which Christ will administer God’s
rule for the last thousand years of this present earth’s history. In this view Augustine developed the idea
that the Church is the Kingdom of God foretold in such Scriptures as Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Revelation
20. In his book called The City of God, he became the first person to teach the idea that the organized
catholic (universal) church is the Messianic Kingdom, and that the millennium began with the first
coming of Christ. According to this view, when Christ comes out of Heaven for His Second Coming,
that ends this earth’s history and everything goes immediately into the future eternal state.
The Roman Catholic church adopted, strongly advocated, and maintained Replacement Theology,
and also adopted and strongly advocated Augustine’s amillennial view throughout the Middle Ages.
And so the Roman Catholic Church, believing that it is the Kingdom of God on earth foretold in the
Bible, also believed that it had the right to enforce its beliefs and policies on all people, including
political rulers, pagans, and Jews. As a result, the Roman Catholic Church developed into a powerful,
religious, political machine that dominated every aspect of life in western Europe, even to the point of
setting up, dominating, removing and humiliating kings and emperors. And this played a key role in the
persecution of Jews by the Roman Catholic Church and Roman Catholic political rulers for centuries to
come.
Throughout the Middle Ages hundreds of thousands of Jews were massacred by organized
Christendom in the name of Jesus Christ. Jews were forced to get Christian baptism against their will.
“Either you get baptized and thereby become a Christian, or we execute you.” If they didn’t execute
them, and Jews refused to be baptized, then they would take the children of the Jews away from them.
“You are not allowed to raise them, because you would raise them as Jews.” They would put them in
Christian homes, so they would be raised as Christians. The Crusaders in England and France, before
they marched to the Middle East, slaughtered thousands of Jews in the name of Jesus Christ with the
cross as a symbol on their uniforms or their shields.
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY
What about the Reformers? The Reformation began with Martin Luther in Germany in 1517. The
Reformers of the 16th century Protestant Reformation broke away from the Roman Catholic Church in
several key areas of ecclesiology and doctrine. However, having said that, they held on to the
eschatology of Amillennialism in the Roman Catholic Church. The Lutheran, Reformed, and Anglican
Reformers rejected Chiliasm (today known as Premillennialism) as being Jewish opinions. They
maintained the Amillennial view which the Roman Catholic Church adopted from Augustine.
Not all those reformers viciously attacked Jews. But Martin Luther was one major exception to
that. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, during his early years as a reformer, Luther was full of
compassion for the Jews’ misery and enthusiastic for their conversion to Christianity. But toward the
end of his life, he denounced them in unmeasured terms, saying that it is useless to convert any Jew
and accusing them of a relentless hatred of Christianity and of all the crimes which their enemies ever
charged them with such as, poisoning wells, ritual murder, cowardly assassination of their parents, etc.
He wished the princes, the political rulers of Europe, to persecute the Jews mercilessly and the
preachers in their churches to set mob violence against the Jews in their communities. He repeatedly
urged that their synagogues be burned and was sorry that he could not destroy them himself with
hellfire. He further advised that their houses be torn down, their books taken from them, their rabbis
prohibited from teaching, that no safe conduct be granted them, that their usury be prohibited, that their
public worship be interdicted (in other words, cut off), and that they be forced to do the hardest labor.
He admonished everybody to deal with them in a merciless manner even as Moses did who slew 3,000
of them in the wilderness. He admonished his readers not to have the slightest intercourse with Jews.
He said, “If I had power over them, I would assemble their most prominent men and demand that they
prove that we Christians do not worship the one God under the penalty of having their tongues torn out
through the back of their necks.” Luther argued that the sufferings of the Jews are the just punishment
for their rejection of Jesus.
When Adolph Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, he read Luther’s statements about the
Jews to the German people and said, “Look, even the greatest spiritual leader of our nation himself
said, ‘These people are the scourge of mankind, and for the good of mankind they should be totally
eliminated from the face of the earth.’” Luther gave fodder—weapons wordwise—for Hitler and the
Nazis to carry out their systematic elimination of Jews from Europe.
Covenant Theology began to develop as a system of theology in the Reformed churches of
Switzerland and Germany in the 16th and 17th centuries and then passed from there to the Netherlands,
Scotland and England. It was introduced to America primarily through the Puritans. Advocates of
Covenant Theology adopted Replacement Theology in relationship to the nation of Israel, and so as a
result, claim that, because Israel rejected Christ as its Messiah, God forever rejected the nation of Israel
as His people and replaced Israel with the Church as His people. Thus, the Church is now the Israel of
God, has inherited the blessings of God originally promised to national Israel. This meant that national
Israel lost forever rightful claim of ownership to the land that God gave to it in ancient times. If carried
to its logical conclusion, this also meant that the Church, including Gentiles, is the rightful owner of
that land. And Covenant Theology, at least some advocates of it, continue to hold that view today. Now
that doesn’t mean that they automatically hate the Jews. And it doesn’t mean that they believe that
Jews should be persecuted, but it does mean that their adoption of Replacement Theology has affected
their view of Israel’s ownership of the land and its right to exist as a nation in the Middle East. The
only way they can have that view is by employing an allegorical method of interpreting the Bible,
rather than the historical, grammatical method of interpreting the Bible.
They allegorize two areas of the Bible: passages related to national Israel and passages talking
about the prophetic future. So far, prophecies in the Bible that have already been fulfilled have been
fulfilled according to the historical, grammatical, literal interpretation of those passages, not an
Edited message by Dr. Renald E. Showers: REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY
Dr. Showers (October 4, 2007 ):
“Significant parts of the manuscript are either already in print (chapters
7 and 8 of the updated and revised edition of my book What On Earth
Is God Doing?) or scheduled to be in print (a book on Replacement
Theology— Israel And The Faithfulness Of God—that I finished
writing in January, and the Friends of Israel has agreed to publish).”
allegorical method. The fact that that is so, strongly implies that’s how God intends all the prophecies
in the Bible to be fulfilled, according to the historical, grammatical method, not an allegorical method.
Once you depart from the literal, historical, grammatical method of interpreting the Bible, you can
make the Bible say whatever you want it to say. You’ve lost your anchor. The historical, grammatical
method is kind of the wall around us to hold us in line, so we don’t depart from what the Holy Spirit
intended by the words of the Bible, that He enabled the writers of Scripture to combine with the
revealed truth that God had given. Again, see what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:13, “Which things also
we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;
comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
Let me close by recommending another book to you. Dr. Robert L. Thomas, who is the chief Greek
New Testament man at Master’s Seminary out in California, has published an excellent book entitled
Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old. It shows how today in evangelical circles there’s
drift away from proper methods of interpreting the Bible. It deals with how progressive
dispensationalism has drifted away from it. Feminism has drifted away from the proper interpretation
of the Bible. It even talks about how some missions are going too far in trying to contextualize the
meaning of Scripture to a culture.
God gave the Scriptures in language that all people over the world should be able to understand
once it’s translated literally into their language. And, if we’re going to allow culture to determine the
meaning of the Bible, then you’re not allowing the Bible to say what it wants to say. It should be that
the culture conforms to the truth of the Bible, not the Bible conforming to what manmade culture has to
say. So, you might want to see that book. It’s very thorough. It is sounding a warning about the way
evangelical Christianity is going right now, with the way it’s handling the Word of God, and not
sticking with the proper method of interpreting the Bible.
Father, we’ve had to deal with some heavy things here this afternoon, but if nothing else
comes across to us, we pray that we’ll walk away with this, with a determination that by
God’s grace we will handle Your holy Scriptures the way You desire them to be handled and
the way the Holy Spirit intended when He revealed Your truth to apostles and prophets and
then worked with them supernaturally, so that they would record the content of that revealed
truth with the exact words necessary for the meaning of that revealed truth to be presented
exactly the way You wanted people to understand it. Lord, that was great work by the Holy
Spirit. Forbid that any of us who have responsibility of handling Your Word or teaching
other people that we would sacrifice that work because of some whim that we wanted to say
something else than it’s actually saying. We thank You for Your Word and the Divine
authority that’s carried with it. And we pray that we will allow it with proper understanding
to be the ultimate authority over what we believe and over what we practice for Your honor
and glory.