A reader suggested this week that I write a piece on Replacement Theology and
This sick worldview is the bane of the Christian world right now, especially in
In short, Replacement Theology suggests that God is finished with the nation of
and the Jews, and has “transferred” those promises to “the Church.” Preterism is
a close cousin and alleges that “end-times” events were fulfilled almost
exclusively with the Roman destruction of
in A.D. 70.
It boggles my mind to weekly find new adherents of these unscriptural views. Of
course, Replacement/Preterist folks accuse us of holding unscriptural views.
Subsequently, we must determine what we believe about Scripture and whether
allegory and symbolism rule over the plain-sense meaning of Scripture. Also be
alerted to the fact that even “plain-sense meaning” is analyzed, parsed, and
twisted in this new culture that questions what “is is.”
If I read the first five books of the Bible, then also study the books of the
prophets, I will see a clear story of God forming the nation of
Israel, to be
a light unto the nations. He wanted a holy people who would tell others about
Him. Further, one can see plainly that He has had a plan for them since before
the creation of the world. This plan involves a worldwide dispersion due to the
ancient Israelites’ unbelief (on this we can agree with Preterists, etc.,
although they and their spiritual kin, liberal Christians, seem to relish this
aspect of Israel’s story; it allows them to ignore the brutality of modern
God tells us that after a lengthy scattering in countries around the world, the
Jews will be re-gathered into their ancestral land, which was promised to them
forever. This re-gathering, I would stake my life on, is the greatest happening
of our time. Of course, the critics loathe this view. They say modern
is a coincidence of history, a mistake, an injustice to the Palestinians. Or,
they ignore it.
But one cannot ignore Israel.
The Jews have re-entered history.
The Jews have re-entered history!
Remember that. Write it down somewhere. Repeat it endlessly whenever you hear a
critic of Bible “literalism.” Open your mouth and say this when you hear a
professor, pastor, or pagan deny
and the Jewish destiny.
“Please tell me, if the Bible isn’t true, why have the Jews re-entered history?”
Bible critics and prophecy critics are in a frenzy to out-do each other. Rob
Bell, pastor of Mars
Michigan, and an in-demand
author, recently told Christianity Today’s Mark Galli that some Christians
practice “evacuation theology.” This presumably is his term for the same thing
Brian McLaren derisively describes as “an eschatology of abandonment.” This is
the idea that Bible prophecy students — Rapture adherents — are so sick of this
world, they don’t want to do anything constructive and would prefer instead to
long for Jesus to come back.
On the Mars Hill website, under the “Narrative Theology” statement, we find
disobedience, they became indifferent and in turn irrelevant to the purposes to
which God had called them.
“We believe the day is coming when Jesus will return to judge the world,
bringing an end to injustice and restoring all things to God's original intent.
God will reclaim this world and rule forever. The earth's groaning will cease
and God will dwell with us here in a restored creation. On that day we will beat
swords into tools for cultivating the earth, the wolf will lie down with the
lamb, there will be no more death, and God will wipe away all our tears. Our
relationships with God, others, ourselves, and creation will be whole. All will
flourish as God intends. This is what we long for. This is what we hope for. And
we are giving our lives to living out that future reality now.”
First, notice that Israel
has become “irrelevant.” How arrogant of Mars Hill! But it explains their
seeming dislike of the Jewish nation.
Secondly, it appears that at least on the surface, Bell’s
Mars Hill community “longs for” and they “hope for” Christ’s return. It’s
debatable if they view His return the same way we do, but it at least appears
they also long for the same thing they accuse others of focusing on to the
extent the world’s problems are abandoned.
Gary DeMar, perhaps the most outspoken preterist today, does terrific work where
American heritage teaching is concerned. However, he has a real problem with
prophecy teaching. In his book, Last Days
Madness, DeMar makes the following amazing statement:
“The Old Testament prophecies of
restoration had been fulfilled in the return from the Babylonian captivity.”
He goes to great links to marginalize the miraculous re-entry of the Jews into
history — in our lifetime — by discussing how wrong Christians were in various
eras, when they contended they lived in the last days. He also makes a big deal
out of the “Fig Tree” imagery in the Bible.
It is therefore quite shocking that he ignores the dozens of clear passages in
the Bible that speak of Israel’s
future restoration as a national entity. Further, God makes it clear that one of
DeMar’s main bugaboos —
unbelief and rejection of her Messiah — will be dissolved in the last days.
I am always interested to see how critics attack Rapture theology,
support, etc. Usually, they attack personalities; there must be a ton of Hal
Lindsey dolls out there with needles sticking out of them.
All this of course misses the point that there is a common thread through
Scripture in which God reveals the general theme of His plan for the redemption
of creation. A key element of that plan is the restoration of
and the final act of world history.
Replacement Theology, Preterism, and a general moving away from
all are hallmarks of modern evangelicalism. Tragic. We will explore this more in
the weeks to come.
Until then, as a believer grafted-in to the faith, I marvel at
marvel at her God.