When I was a teenager I argued with my parents about many things: bedtime, curfew, money, going out with friends and other common points of contention between an adolescent and his/her parents.
Often, I argued out of ignorance. I did not believe they had my best interests in mind. Other times I argued out of arrogance. I thought I knew better.
Whether I argued out of ignorance (lack of knowledge) or arrogance (lack of humility), I was wrong.
Our adolescent years are not the only time we argue or disbelieve, are they? Unfortunately, in our adult years we often find ourselves arguing with our Heavenly Father.
The author of Hebrews exhorts readers not to “harden” their hearts towards God (Hebrews 3:7-15). Even as adults we argue and often choose not to believe the Bible’s clear teachings.
We want our own sexual preferences – not God’s design (Genesis 2:24; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
We want to choose whether or not a fetus growing within us should live or die – not submit to God’s teaching that life begins in the womb (Psalms 139:13).
Sometimes we behave like adolescent children toward God. His Word teaches something clearly and we ignore it or squirm our way around it, thinking we know best.
To justify ourselves, we seek out some author, leader or mentor who agrees with our bad theology or decision. We willingly, and to our own harm, give them more authority than Scripture. As humans, we have become experts at rationalizing our behavior.
One example of believers upending the clear teachings of Scripture relates to God’s ongoing relationship and future plans for Israel, both the people and the Land.
Supersessionism (also called replacement theology) is professed by a large segment of Western believers. Replacement theology views the promises made to Israel as having been forfeited and transferred to the Church. Israel’s disobedience, it is claimed, has led to this transference.
This is rather convenient, don’t you think? When the Church inherits all the blessings promised to Israel but leaves Israel with all the curses, something is amiss. Though one’s hermeneutic (the science of interpreting Scripture) plays an important role in this issue, is it necessary for someone to have a sound hermeneutic to answer the question, “Has God forsaken Israel?”
In Romans 11, Paul clearly teaches that God has not rejected Israel, whom He has chosen. The verses below erode the core teaching of replacement theology:
1) “I ask then, has God rejected His people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1)
2) “God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.” (Romans 11:2)
3) “So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so ask to make Israel jealous.” (Romans 11:11)
An elementary school student can understand Paul’s teaching that God has not rejected Israel. In addition to these passages, Romans 11:29 teaches “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
A degree in theology or hermeneutics is not necessary to understand Paul’s point: God’s faithfulness to Israel continues. He has not forsaken them.
So why have the majority of believers been caught up in the error of replacement theology?
Thankfully, Paul reveals the causes of this error and they are not surprising: arrogance and ignorance. We will explain this further in the subsequent blog.