Supersessionism: Answering a Reader's Question

A reader wrote in yesterday. I am taking out some details so as not to embarrass anyone. My wording in brackets should help you get the gist:

I was reading about Kendall Soulen’s writing and came upon your blog and read some of it . . . [A study I am doing] has highlighted something I have struggled with for years– how exactly is God’s covenant still in effect among the Jewish people? [I had a discussion this weekend with someone and] I kept quoting Paul re. God’s covenants being irrevocable, and him saying that Jews have always been able to cease being part of the covenants by refusing them and that Jesus was the latest covenant and refusing him meant one had moved out of the earlier covenants with their promises and blessings.

How would you answer this reader’s question?

I will include my answer below. But I’d like for you to add thoughts to what I have put down and/or expand on thoughts I have mentioned in brief. Or, maybe you agree with the person who says Israel has forfeited its place in God’s promises. Hey, let’s have a friendly debate. Or maybe you have questions along these lines. Please ask.

Anyway, here is my answer:


There is a book you should get by a Reformed author who rebukes those in his tradition who are not pro-Israel. It is called Future Israel by Barry Horner. It is full of quotations by Reformed writers. I have blogged about it (click on the category Barry Horner).

Your friend’s argument deserves consideration. Does Israel have the possibility of forfeiting covenant status by its failure? How would your friend explain Romans 11:2, then, for example? Also, consider the logic of his argument and you should see a big problem. If Israel could forfeit its covenant status by failure, then why does the Church get off the hook? Does your friend imagine for a second the Church has done better than Israel? No doubt he would say,

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2 Responses to Supersessionism: Answering a Reader's Question

  1. jonboze says:

    His logic forgets that much of the New Testimant is written to Jews and that Yeshua’s followers were Jewish. If they were Jewish AND accepted Yeshua, then by his logic, all of the old covenants are still valid for them.

  2. skullkrusher says:

    The Reformed view is often overplayed — as if Reformed Theology necessitates a strict ‘replacement theology’. It does not, and as you noted, there certainly are those within the Reformed community who disagree with at least the more strict versions of replacement.

    It seems clear from Scripture that there are promises annexed to and Abrahamic Covenant that have yet to be fulfilled. Likewise, it seems clear from a hermeneutical perspective that excessive spiritualization quickly becomes destructive of Scripture itself. It also seems clear from Scripture that the ‘Land Promise’ of the Abrahamic Covenant is frequenlty associated with the blessing of the gentile nations; this both in the Prophets and in the Apostolic references to and application of the Prophets in the NT.

    What I see as a too infrequently argued postion is that of covenantal Postmillenialism — this view lends itself well to both a supercessionist view, which can be well-argued from Scripture, as well as doing justice to the Scripture’s teaching regarding the Abrahamic Covenant. I think of this view as ‘miximalizing’ — expanding our concept of Israel to include the promise to bless the gentiles through Israel, without doing injustice to the glorious NT doctrine of the Church.

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