As I have transitioned to our new location, I determined to visit a number of churches before settling in on one to attend for now. Each of the five churches we have visited over the last five weeks have provided good messages, a variety of programs for involvement and means of developing relationships. Each of the churches have a variety of “personalities” as far as kinds of people, dress, welcome and leading of worship. Continue reading
“Real Churches” is an excellent Practical Theology textbook. I’ve always seen the original languages and theology as the backbone for a seminary education and practical theology is something that should be learned prior to seminary in discipleship with a pastor or can be learned after seminary as an associate pastor. However, most churches are not able to afford an associate, so most pastors must jump into the lone-pastor role. Continue reading
Home groups are where people can get real. The worship service is the place where people have their best foot forward, they get to experience a moment of “heaven on earth” with connections and singing and they can be taught blessed truths from God’s Word. But the worship service is not a place where very many will want to be very open about challenges and growth opportunities in life. Continue reading
Has the Church Replaced Israel? By Michael J. Vlach
The relationship between Israel and the Church has been a controversial subject all through Church History, the Church Age. Some will say that Israel was absorbed into the Church. They will say there is only one united people of God in history. This is often called Replacement Theology or “supersessionism.” Some will say, no, there is the Church begun on the Day of Pentecost and while everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ today is part of the Church, the Bride of Christ, including Jews, that Israel is still a people that God will use to fulfill His kingdom purposes by the fulfillment of the Covenants at the Second Advent.
Michael Vlach demonstrates an astute theological understanding and explanation by showing that those who believe the Church replaced Israel have a weak and inadequate case. He adroitly addresses the Bible, theology and history to reveal supersessionism, Replacement Theology, does not reflect biblical truth. Some, who believe the Church replaced Israel, also believe that there will be a national restoration of Israel, but only as a nation and without a distinct purpose God has called Israel to fulfill.
Supersessionism is dangerous theology, because it questions the character of God. If God made an unconditional covenant with Israel that one day they would return to the land, have a Son of David rule on a throne in Israel and bless the world around them, but didn’t really mean that it would happen, then it brings into question the integrity of God. This false interpretation can only result because of symbolic form of interpretation and imposition of typology on the whole of the Old Testament that requires the New Testament for explanation. In other words, the Old Testament cannot stand on its own for promises made to Israel.
One of the arguments that the Church replaced Israel is called “Punitive Supersessionism,” which states basically the Church replaced Israel because God was punishing Israel (Vlach also addresses economic and structural supersessionism adeptly). God certainly removed Israel from His blessing for a time, but the Covenants God made with Israel were unconditional and will be literally fulfilled at the Second Advent.
His discussion on the hermeneutics of supersessionism is thorough and objective. Many have argued that Dispensationalists are not really literalists in interpretation, but arguments are usually pointing at literal interpretation of poetry and eschatological passages that use symbols and have been explained in other parts of Scripture. Replacement Theology does not use a consistent literal hermeneutic, because it foists a system on Scripture rather than letting Scripture speak for itself. This book is a must read to properly grasp the big picture of understanding the Church does not replace Israel in God’s decree.
I love that word church. It’s the Bride of Christ. It’s God’s people He is using to build His kingdom. It’s you who have placed your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and spiritually thirst for Him.
Sunday, we looked at Divine Eyesight and how important it is to slow down and put on“Jesus-glasses” to see what is really going on with people. I love that scene on the DVD we saw where the main character bumps into the big guy while rushing out of the coffee shop. “Hey, watch out!” the big guy grumbles, but what the main character sees is “He needs a hug.” When we look at the outside we might see gruffness, but when we look at the heart, as God sees, we see the need. How are you doing about slowing down to really see and then build a bridge, so that you can reach the real need? We can through Christ who strengthens us become the church, the Bride, God wants us to be. We need to believe.
I hope you’ve had some time with family this week. I’d love for you to join us Good Friday night to reflect on our Savior’s death. I’ve invited several people myself; I hope they come to slow down and reflect. The Eggstravaganza will be at 11amthis year and that’s always a lot of fun to see the children so wide-eyed gathering the treats AFTER they hear the gospel message. And Resurrection Sunday will be a great day to consider how awesome our God is. What does Thomas say when he puts his hands on the Lord? “My Lord and my God!”