Supersessionist Shrug

An apologist’s post caught my eye and led to an exchange that produced this assertion:

I did admit Rome’s problems, but I didn’t bother laying them out in detail because that wasn’t the point of the post. And as I pointed out in the post and have said over and over again in our exchange, they don’t really affect my conclusion one way or another. If my main argument were that Protestants don’t act like Christians and Catholics do, you would have a point. But I never said that and never would. Sure, Rome has a lot of ‘skeletons:’ the Catholic Church is the oldest and largest of the communions; it makes sense that there would be more crimes, sins, and failures in her past than in that of the others. What of it? A one-by-one comparison of the crimes of the different Christian churches, even if we agreed on what constituted a crime, would tell us nothing about which one among them had the best claim to being the church founded by Christ. Again, the evil done by the Church is accounted for by hypothesis: that of being a Divine commission entrusted to fallen humanity.

Imagine if Jeremiah had said that to the Israelites. Don’t worry about your sins, you go all the way back to Abraham:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: You have seen all the disaster that I brought upon Jerusalem and upon all the cities of Judah. Behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, because of the evil that they committed, provoking me to anger, in that they went to make offerings and serve other gods that they knew not, neither they, nor you, nor your fathers. Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying, ‘Oh, do not do this abomination that I hate!’ But they did not listen or incline their ear, to turn from their evil and make no offerings to other gods. Therefore my wrath and my anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, and they became a waste and a desolation, as at this day. (Jeremiah 44:2-6 ESV)

Too old to fail? Where would anyone reading the whole Bible come up with that?

But if the church is so different from Israel in a supersessionist way, then the lessons of Israel don’t apply to the church. And by the way, don’t bother reading the epistle to the Hebrews.

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2 thoughts on “Supersessionist Shrug

  1. So if the lessons of Israel do, to whatever extent, apply to the Church, then the Church should pay attention to those lessons including the ones about justice and corporate sin?

    BTW, I think that replacement theology is in unbiblical term especially when one considers the OT. I think the proper term would be union theology where God united into one body those believers who were the physical descendants of Abraham with those who were merely the spiritual descendants where that spiritual relationship comes from believing the promises of God.

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  2. But surely God would have told us had God intended to narrow the covenant . The point is that anybody can get themselves excluded for not obeying the commands of the circumcision covenant.

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/heidelcast-i-will-be-a-god-to-you-and-to-your-children/

    Scott Clark—Even though there were typological, for example, land promises and national elements in the promises given to Abraham, those were only temporary expressions of the more fundamental promise to send a Savior. So, it’s not fair, I don’t think, and the reformed have said, to use Genesis 12 and 15 in order to try and turn Abraham into Moses.

    Ligon Duncan— So as far as Moses is concerned, there is no radical dichotomy between what God is doing with His people in the time of the Exodus and what God promised to Abraham. In fact, he says that the reason God came to His people’s rescue was because He remembered the promise He had made with Abraham. And if you will remember back to our study of Genesis chapter 15, God went out of His way to tell Abraham about the oppression of Israel in Egypt and about the fact that He was going to bring them out of Egypt as a mighty nation, and that He was going to give them the land of Canaan. And so, Moses goes out of his way in both Genesis 15 and in Exodus 2 to link the Mosaic Economy with the Abrahamic Covenant, so that the Mosaic Economy isn’t something that is replacing the way that God deals with His people, under Abraham; it is expanding what God was doing with His people through Abraham.

    Brandon Adams—Were the typological land promises and national elements Abrahamic? Scott Clark says yes and no. Yes, they were, but they were temporary, so no, they weren’t. Only the promise of Christ was truly, ultimately Abrahamic, he claims.

    Scott Clark–What does Hebrews tell us about the land promise? Was Abraham ultimately looking for the land, the physical land of Canaan? Hebrews 11 says no. The promise really was not of physical land, ultimately, but of heaven… ‘And I will give to you and to your seed after you the land of your sojournings.’

    Brandon Adams—Wait, I thought he already said the national element was an Abrahamic promise. “[T]here were typological, for example, land promises and national elements in the promises given to Abraham.” Ok, so the Mosaic Covenant did not, in fact, add a national element to Abraham. The national element is Abrahamic and it is fulfilled in the Mosaic. … God saving a nation from physical slavery and bringing them into the literal land of Canaan is the fulfillment of a promise God made to Abraham

    Scott Clark goes on to say “The Covenant of Grace with Abraham was not national, it was not temporary, and it did not have a legal character.” So did God promise Abraham a nation and the land of Canaan or not? Scott Clark cannot and does not give a consistent answer. He says “yes” and “no” . In his mind, the Mosaic Covenant has a “dual administration” by which he means an underlying layer regarding eschatological salvation and a temporary overlay regarding the national, typical elements related to the land of Canaan. He claims that only this underlying layer regarding salvation is Abrahamic. The top, national, Canaanite layer was only added by Moses. But there is simply no way to maintain that idea, which is why he doesn’t. “We recognize that there were typological elements under the Abrahamic administration and those types and shadows have been fulfilled.” In other words, the top layer is just as Abrahamic as it is Mosaic.

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