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Q294 : Why is Replacement Theology so Widespread?

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Q294 : Why is Replacement Theology so Widespread?

Why do most of the American theological seminaries teach replacement theologya, when the one you attended in Dallasb seems to have it right? Are there any programs to correct this at the other seminaries? Just curious.


A294 : by Tony Garland

There are a number of reasons why replacement theology is fairly widely taught.

  • Lack of exposure to the Old Testament.
  • The common belief that the New Testament "reinterprets" (changes) the meaning of promises in the Old Testament.
  • The assumption that the age of the Church represents the apex and terminus of what God plans to do in history.
  • A bias against the idea that God has unfulfilled plans for a specific nation: least of all for Israel.
  • Latent antisemitism. (I'm not saying that all who tend toward replacement of Israel by the Church are antisemitic. But replacement serves the purposes of those who are truly antisemitic.)
  • Political correctness: portraying Israel as having a continued biblical claim to the land specified in the Bible goes against popular political opinion.
  • Academic respectability: it is academically in vogue to spiritualize passages or to classify them by various genres to deny their plain meaning.
  • Satan: persecution of the Jews and preventing their coming to faith in Jesus Christ is one part of the demonic agenda (Mat. 23:39; Rev. 12). Keeping Christians in the dark about God's Israel-centric purposes in history aids that agenda.
Those seminaries which teach variations of replacement theology consider their approach to be the accurate way of interpreting the Scriptures. They believe that those seminaries which believe the Bible describes a continued role for the nation of Israel, distinguishing between the Church and that nation in relation to God's promises, are in error and need to be corrected instead. So I wouldn't expect those schools to change their stance anytime soon.

Instead, I would seek out teachers or schools which take a more literal approach to bible interpretation. Especially those who hold that the meaning of the Old Testament does not depend upon the subsequent arrival—hundreds of years later—of the New Testament in order to understand what the Old Testament meant.

When evaluating a potential school, there are any number of questions one might ask to determine their stance on this issue. For example: ask them to explain their understanding of the meaning of the promised land and whether it has continued relevance for the future? Or what do they believe regarding the meaning of the thousand year reign described in Revelation 20? Do they consider the idea of a "millennial kingdom" to be biblical and what is the role of Jerusalem and Israel during this time period?

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