A Tale of Two Faiths

What is “Replacement Theology?” And why should we be concerned about it? 

REPLACEMENT: It makes a person think of ditching an old car for a new one. Or getting a new pair of jeans and trashing the patched-up pair. -Or of finding a new sweetheart when things didn’t work out with partner number one.

And it makes some people think of G_d’s relationship with Israel.

Incredibly, the same idea applies as far as they’re concerned. “Replacement Theology” teaches that we–non-Jewish followers of Yeshua– have become the new and improved “Israel,” the apple of G_d’s eye. (And we already know what happens to the old when the new comes along, don’t we?

The record shows that in the days of the early church, just the idea of letting Gentiles join the ranks was controversial to say the least. Somehow though, as time went by, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction. More and more non-Jewish people were following Messiah … and fewer and fewer Jews.

Before long this formerly-Jewish movement now known as Christianity was almost totally comprised of Gentiles. And the relationship between the two camps was one of tension and hostility. Civilized Jewish people looked down on this new (`blasphemous`) movement and despised it. As a result, believers were shunned, barred from social circles, made fun of inside synagogues, cruelly insulted and publicly humiliated.

So when Constantine came to power in the 4th century, making his new version of Christianity the official religion for reasons of his own, so-called `Christians` decided it was pay-back time. Jews were hit with curfews and oppressive travel restrictions and were denied the right to property-ownership. Or to good jobs. -While `Christians,` on the other hand, were permitted to burn down Jewish synagogues (with or without Jews inside) if doing so would serve a religious purpose. And it was Constantine himself who kicked off the `Replacement` idea, publicly declaring that Israel no longer belonged to the Jews, but to the Church.

As the centuries passed, Christian anti-Semitism unfortunately went from bad to worse … to very much worse.

Christian scholars — yes, even `heroes of the faith`– got in on the act, condemning Jews as `Christ-killers.` Martin Luther, for one, recommended setting fire to Jewish synagogues and schools, destroying their homes, removing all prayer books and Talmudic writings from them, killing any rabbi who kept on teaching, and taking `all cash and treasure of silver and gold` from Jewish people — for `safekeeping.` (1)  Another one of many, many anti-Semitic teachers was Augustine who wrote his opinion more gently by saying, `Let them live among us, but let them suffer and be continually humiliated.`(2)

And in our day, some preach a strain of the same doctrine, whether they know it or not. While acts of violence or extreme prejudice may not be endorsed by churches, the widely-held (if unstated) doctrine of many is that Jewish people have been written off for rejecting Jesus. That there`s no covenant in force between them and G_d any more, since they have been `replaced.`

Question: Just supposing that were true — would that mean that the L_rd is a promise breaker?

Or could it be that Replacement Theology is something that needs replacing?

1) `The Jews and Their Lies,`1543; Martin Luther

2) Alfassa, Paper No. 1. Library of Congress ISSN: 2156-0390


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