Anastasia Kennedy

The dangers of replacement theology

Because this approach does not acknowledge Israel's right to its ancient land as the indigenous inhabitants, its proponents in fact promote antisemitism

Shockingly, since October 7, the attitude in the Christian world too often echoes the cry of social media “Serves you right.” Worse still, accusations of war crimes and genocide are increasing.

We seem to forget that there is such a thing as a just war in response to unprovoked attack.

As followers of Jesus, do we weep when tragedy strikes Israel? Seeing that Israel is our elder brother, wouldn’t you expect more understanding on our part? After all, we both worship the God of Israel.

Jewish friends are asking us, “Why do people hate us so much?” One of them was a 98-year-old Holocaust survivor.

So where does all the negativity come from?

As far as the Christian West is concerned, could it be that policy and ideology are influenced, though unwittingly, by theology – more specifically Replacement Theology, variously called Supersession or Fulfillment Theology?

Replacement Theology claims that the Church has replaced Judaism in the purposes of God; it appropriates the blessings, but leaves the judgments to Israel.

Supersession Theology claims that Christianity supercedes Judaism. (Doesn’t that play into the hands of Islam, which claims to supersede both Christianity and Judaism?)

Fulfillment Theology claims that all of God’s promises to Israel are already fulfilled in Jesus.

Whatever you call it, Replacement, Supersession or Fulfillment Theology, the message is essentially the same: God is finished with the Jewish people; consequently they have no right to the land of Israel.

God’s Word states very clearly what happens when we ignore what He says. Those who curse Israel or dishonor her shall be cursed (Genesis 12:3). Those nations guilty of dividing the land of Israel will be judged (Joel 3:1-3). There is no getting around it. We, the Gentile nations, will be judged by our attitude towards Israel, the people that God chose out of all the peoples on earth (Deuteronomy 7:6).

To quote our late founder Mother Basilea Schlink: “Israel is the people of God’s choice, and she will always be His choice and the object of His love. To the chosen people is allocated the Promised Land, where the Kingdom of God is to be established. No matter what struggles and afflictions may come, it will remain Israel’s possession, for ‘the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Indeed, God affirms the promise to His people that upon their return they will possess the land for ever: ‘I will plant them upon their land, and they shall never again be plucked up out of the land which I have given them’ (Amos 9:15).” (from Israel, My Chosen People)

So the real issue is the land. Why? Because at the end of days the Messiah will come to the land of Israel. The prophet Zechariah even says where: in the Mount of Olives.

Again, why is the land a problem? Because the fact that the Jewish people once again have sovereignty over their ancient land, promised to them in the Scriptures and in recent times ratified by international agreements, proves that the God of Israel exists and is true to His Word.

Proponents of Fulfillment Theology may insist that they utterly repudiate antisemitism. But given that Fulfillment Theology does not acknowledge Israel’s right to her ancient land as the indigenous inhabitants, they are in fact promoting antisemitism, effectively declaring God has no future purpose for the Jewish people — that He is through with them. More worryingly, one leading proponent ended up sharing platforms with terrorist sympathizers, as well as supporting Palestinian liberation theology with its skewed interpretation of the Bible and portrayal of Palestinians as a modern-day Jesus attacked and killed by Jews.

As some of the most vocal proponents of Fulfillment Theology are Anglicans, I feel deeply ashamed as an Anglican from England. Again, I ask myself where the hatred comes from. Referring to the Holocaust, Mother Basilea concluded in her 1958 book: “It was hatred against God, because it was to the Jewish people that God had revealed Himself through His holy Ten Commandments, through His prophets, through Jesus and His apostles, thus appealing to the consciences of all human beings. It was a diabolical hatred, in reality directed not against a particular race, but against God Himself. Behind it all was envy, diabolical envy, because the Jewish people… bore the mark of divine election and had been chosen for a world mission.” (from Israel, My Chosen People)

With Israel being accused at The Hague of genocide, we as Christians need to realize what is at stake. We do well to remember that “First they came for the Saturday people, then they came for the Sunday people” (Martin Niemoller).

About the Author
Sister Anastasia Kennedy hails from the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, an interdenominational, Lutheran-based religious order, founded in Germany in 1947, partly as apologists to the Jewish people. The order opened a guest house in Jerusalem in 1961 for Holocaust survivors, and are staunch Zionists. Sister Anastasia lives in the mother-house in Darmstadt. She has an immense love for the Jewish people and Israel.
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