Apologetics Greek Parchment

Published on April 3rd, 2012 | by Gary DeMar

37

The Charge of Replacement Theology is a Cover for Fuzzy Theology

Joseph Farah of WND (WorldNetDaily) has written the following in an article titled “To those Israel-rejecting Christians. . .”:

“[A]n evil doctrine known as Replacement Theology, every bit as ugly as Liberation Theology, has taken root in the church. I’m sorry to say it, but you’ve got to discard or allegorize much of the Bible to adopt either one of these views and still call yourself a Christian.”

Here’s a challenge, Joseph. Set up a debate with Joel Rosenberg and me on the meaning of Ezekiel 38 and 39 to see who “allegorizes.” Like the Replacement Theology straw man, someone who does not agree with the modern-day, end-time approach to Bible prophecy is an allegorizer.”

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Replacement Theology is defined as the belief that the Church has replaced Israel and that God is finished with the Jews. Joseph Farah leaves the impression that there is a causal relationship between his straw man version of Replacement Theology and the rise of anti-Semitism and the persecution of Jews. The next sentence that follows his “evil doctrine” claim above is this gem:

Meanwhile, Jewish children are being executed in cold blood on videotape in France. Some of the most well-known “Christians” in America are trying to find common ground with Muslims, who they claim worship the same god.

Because of my work on this topic, I was asked by WND Commentary Editor Ron Strom if I had “any interest in writing a response” to Joseph’s article. In fact, I had been working on a response before I received Ron’s email. There is so much I would like to say about what Joseph has written, but I’m going to restrain myself and deal with the theological heart of the issue – why the charge of Replacement Theology is a cover for fuzzy theology and to hide the fact that modern-day prophetic speculation has distorted the Bible, not only on the topic of Bible prophecy, but on its impact on culture as well.

This article can’t begin to do with all that needs to be discussed. If you are truly interested in this topic, take a look at my books Last Days Madness, Is Jesus Coming Soon?, The Early Church and the End of the World, Why the End of the World is Not in Your Future, Left Behind: Separating Fact from Fiction, and 10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered (www.AmericanVision.com) For those who will comment that I’m only trying to make money selling my books, I don’t get paid a penny for any of them. I don’t even get a salary at American Vision.

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The charge of Replacement Theology is a quick way to end any discussion on the relationship between Israel and Christianity. Notice that I did not say “Israel and the Church.” It’s like calling someone a “racist” in a discussion about race or a “homophobe” in a discussion about homosexuality. Replacement Theology is a more discreet way of calling someone an anti-Semite without ever sitting down to discuss the real issues. Here’s a typical definition:

[A] theological perspective that teaches that the Jews have been rejected by God and are no longer God’s Chosen People. Those who hold to this view disavow any ethnic future for the Jewish people in connection with the biblical covenants, believing that their spiritual destiny is either to perish or become a part of the new religion that superseded Judaism (whether Christianity or Islam).(1)

As anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that Christianity does not “supersede Judaism” and Christianity is not a “new religion.” Messiah-anity is about Jesus as the promised Messiah, the fulfillment of the Scriptures. Did Jesus fulfill His mission, or didn’t He? Did He “redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21) or didn’t He?:

“And [Jesus] said to [His disciples], ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”

“Then [Jesus] told them, ‘These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.  (Luke 24:25–27, 44–45).

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The genealogies found in Matthew and Luke clearly show that Jesus is “the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). The first New Covenant believers were from the nation of Israel (Luke 1–2) with hints of a later expanded redemptive role for Samaritans (John 4:7–45), Greeks (John 12:20–22), the nations (Luke 2:32), and the world (John 3:16; 4:42; 1 Tim. 3:16). At Pentecost, we see that the gospel was preached to “Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). This was no new thing; it was Jesus’ mission. It’s why He was born and predestined to die (Acts 2:23).

Gentile believers were grafted into the Jewish assembly (ekklēsia) of believers (Rom. 11:17–24) and were given “the same gift,” the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:38). There’s one olive tree, not two; one Spirit, not two; “one new man” in Christ, not two (Eph. 2:15). Pentecost was not the beginning of the “church” since Peter declares that the events of that day were a fulfillment of a prophecy given to Joel, an Old Testament prophet: “this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28–32). Peter’s message was to “all the house of Israel” (Acts 2:36). When these Israelites asked, “Brethren, what shall we do?” (2:37), Peter replied: “For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord God shall call to Himself” (2:39).

Israel’s spiritual destiny is the same as it is for non-Israelites: Repent and believe in Jesus as the Messiah! No one said anything about a postponement in the promises that had been made to Israel. In fact, Peter clearly told his fellow-countrymen that the promises were for them and their children right then and there (2:38). They didn’t have to wait 2000 years for God to renew His covenant for a later remnant. Jesus said as much when He met His disciples on the road to Emmaus.

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The Church could not replace Israel because the Greek word ekklēsia translated “church” is not something new to the New Testament. Ekklēsia was used many times in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament called the Septuagint (LXX) for the Hebrew word qāhāl. Both qāhāl and ekklēsia are best translated as “congregation” or “assembly.”(2) Earl D. Radmacher writes, “[T]his Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures was the Bible of the early church. . . . Thus, when the writers of the New Testament, whose Bible was the Septuagint, used ekklēsia, they were not inventing a new term.(3) They found the term in common use and simply employed what was at hand.”(4)

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William Tyndale’s translation makes this point, and it got him in big trouble with the Roman Catholic Church. The Tyndale New Testament, the first English translation to use the original languages of Hebrew and Greek, did not use the word “church.” Tyndale (1494–1536) chose the words “assembly” and “congregation”(5) to translate ekklēsia. Here is how Tyndale’s translation handled the first two appearances of ekklēsia in the New Testament (spelling modernized):

  • “And upon this rock I will build my congregation: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18).
  • “If he hear not them, tell it unto the congregation: if he hear not the congregation, take him as an heathen man, and as a publican” (Matt. 18:17).

Stephen describes Israel as the “ekklēsia in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). Most translations get it right by translating ekklēsia  as “congregation.” Ekklēsia appears again in the next chapter: “And on that day a great persecution began against the church [ekklēsia] in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (8:1).

Thomas More protested Tyndale’s use of “congregation” as the proper translation of ekklēsia because it called into question the entire ecclesiastical structure of the church’s hierarchy. For his efforts, Tyndale was strangled and burned at the stake in 1536 for defying church authority, opposing the Church by promoting doctrines such as sola Scriptura, justification by faith alone, the denial of purgatory, questioning the number of sacraments, and translating particular words that could lead the laity to believe that the Church’s authority was limited. That included his more accurate translation of ekklēsia as “congregation” and not “church.”

One of the Rules to be Observed in the Translation of the [King James] Bible required the following: “The old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation &c.”(6) This time “the Anglican establishment,”(7) wanted to impose on ekklēsia a contemporary “ecclesiastical” understanding of the word rather than its biblically contextual definition. Because of Rule 3, the hands of the translators were tied since they were in the employ of the king.

This means that the argument that there is a distinction between Israel and the church is false. The first believers in Jesus were Jews and they made up the first members of the New Testament ekklēsia which was an extension of the Old Testament ekklēsia. There is redemptive continuity between the testaments. Jesus didn’t come to start something new. We know from the book of Acts that probably tens of thousands of Jews came to Jesus as the Messiah. Remember, the gospel was to be preached throughout the cities of Israel before the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 10:23). We also know that the gospel was preached throughout the Roman Empire where probably a million or more Jews embraced Jesus as the promised Messiah (Rom. 1:8; 10:11–21; 16:25–26; Col. 1:6, 23).

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The way Joseph Farah and other prophecy writers tell the story, the promises made to Israel have been postponed until a future time when God will once again deal with Israel as a separate redemptive people. We were told that this happened in 1948 and the “rapture” would take place within 40 years. You can read about the math in Hal Lindsey’s 1970 bestseller the Late Great Planet Earth and in the prophecy writings of Chuck Smith and others. For nearly 2000 years, so the theory goes, God has being dealing with His “church,” but one day He will get back to Israel. The Bible does not teach anything like this. God does not postpone His covenants.

Consider God’s covenant with Noah. He promised never to flood the Earth again like He did in Noah’s day. But what if God decided to postpone the covenant, to put it on hold for a time, so he could work with another group of people? During the time of the postponement, God sent another flood. Would God have been a covenant breaker? Not if we follow the logic of those who argue that we are living in a time when God is dealing with His “church” and not Israel.

Dispensationalists claim that their particular brand of eschatology is the only prophetic system that gives Israel her proper place in redemptive history. This is an odd thing to argue since in the dispensational view of the Great Tribulation, two-thirds of the Jews will be slaughtered (Zech. 13:8). Charles Ryrie writes in his book The Best is Yet to Come (except if you’re a Jew) that during this post-rapture period Israel will undergo “the worst bloodbath in Jewish history.”(8)

Dispensationalists don’t interpret “all Israel” (Rom. 11:26) to mean every Israelite who has ever lived. They don’t even understand “all Israel” to mean every Jew alive during the post-rapture great tribulation period since they believe that two-thirds of them will be slaughtered (Zech. 13:8). They mean by “all Israel” the remnant, what’s left of Israel after the antichrist has his way with the newly constituted nation. To get this remnant, two-thirds of the Jews have to be killed in another holocaust.

Joseph, you might want to see how this view of the end times affected the way some prophecy writers took a “hands off” approach when they heard how Jews were being persecuted. Like you, they argued that it was “predicted.” I tell the story in my book Last Days Madness.

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John Walvoord follows a similar line of argument:

“Israel is destined to have a particular time of suffering which will eclipse any thing that it has known in the past. . . . [T]he people of Israel . . . are placing themselves within the vortex of this future whirlwind which will destroy the majority of those living in the land of Palestine.”(9)

Arnold Fruchtenbaum states that during the Great Tribulation “Israel will suffer tremendous persecution (Matthew 24:15–28; Revelation 12:1–17). As a result of this persecution of the Jewish people, two-thirds are going to be killed.”(10) Since Joseph Farah is concerned about the Jewish people, as I am, he needs to deal with those who are predicting a new holocaust. The problem is, Joseph writes, “In fact, it is predicted.” If it’s predicted, then there is nothing that can be done to stop it.

According to the view espoused by Joseph and others, Israel has waited thousands of years for the promises finally to be fulfilled, and before it happens, two-thirds of them are wiped out. Those who are falsely charged with holding to “Replacement Theology” believe in no such inevitable future Jewish bloodbath. In fact, we believe that the Jews will inevitably embrace Jesus as the Messiah this side of the Second Coming. The fulfillment of Zechariah 13:8 is a past event (Matt. 3:7; 21:42–46; 22:1–14; 24:15–22). Those who believed Jesus’ words of warning at the impending destruction of Jerusalem that took place in A.D. 70 were delivered “from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10).

Conclusion

In Jeremiah 31:35–36, God promised the following to Israel: “Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: ‘If this fixed order departs From before Me,’” declares the Lord, ‘Then the offspring of Israel also will cease from being a nation before Me forever. Jeremiah 31:7 continues: “Thus says the Lord, ‘If the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done,’ declares the Lord.”

Jeremiah’s prophecy was given more than 2500 years ago. Prior to 1948 and after A.D. 70, Israel had not been a nation. So we have a few interpretive choices regarding the Jeremiah passage: (1) God lied (impossible); (2) the promise was conditional (not likely); the promise was postponed (always the dispensationalist answer and untenable); (4) or the fulfillment was fulfilled in the new nation that grew out of the New Covenant made up of Jews and non-Jews(most likely). Consider what Jesus tells the religious leaders of His day:

“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust. When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them” (Matt. 21:43–45).

Peter, quoting portions of the Old Testament related to Israel, raises the nation issue as it pertain to “the sons of Israel” (Ex. 19:6): “But you are ‘a chosen race,’ a royal ‘priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession,’ so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were ‘not a people,’ but now you are ‘the people of God; you had ‘had not received mercy,’ but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9–10). Does this not fulfill what is promised to Jeremiah? There is no need of a parenthesis, a postponement of covenant promises, for a future fulfillment. Peter is clear that a new nation of believers in Jesus Christ has been founded made up of Israelites and non-Israelites.

We need to stop teaching the two-people of God gospel, which is no gospel at all. There is one gospel and one people of God if they are in Jesus Christ: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17)

Endnotes:

  1. Randall Price, Unholy War: America, Israel and Radical Islam (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2001), 412.()
  2. Even modern-day Hebrew translations of the Greek New Testament translate the Greek ekklēsia as the Hebrew qāhāl.()
  3. Following the LXX, the sacred assembly of Israel was the “ekklēsia of the LORD” (Deut. 23:1). “The people of God” are “in the ekklēsia” (Judges 20:2). Solomon took “all the ekklēsia” to Gibeon where the ark was (2 Chron. 1:3). There the ekklēsia inquired of the Lord (2 Chron. 1:5). When the temple was completed, Solomon blessed “all the ekklēsia of Israel” (1 Kings 8:14; cp. 8:22, 55; 2 Chron. 6:3). If this verse were in the NT, it would read “all the church of Israel.” When Solomon stands before the altar and prays, he is “before all the ekklēsia of Israel” (2 Chron. 6:12). The “ekklēsia of the LORD” was the covenantal assembly of Israel (Deut. 4:10).()
  4. Earl D. Radmacher, What the Church is All About: A Biblical and Historical Study (Chicago: Moody Press, [1972] 1978), 121, 132. Radmacher argues that “although the etymological associations of ekklesia have their unquestionable bearing upon the significance of the term, the deciding evidence must be drawn from the exhaustive investigation of its actual use in the New Testament. While it is true that historical continuity seems to demand that the early appearance of the word ekklesia in any new literature should simply suggest ‘assembly,’ it is also true that the Holy Spirit frequently lifts words from their current usages to a higher plane of meaning and packs into them such vast new content as their etymologies will scarcely account for. Whitney states: ‘Philologists agree that the final authority of any word does not lie in its etymological or historical connotation but in its actual use’” (132). That is the question. What is its actual use and meaning in the New Testament?()
  5. William Tyndale, “Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue” in The Works of William Tyndale, 2 volume work (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1849–1850), 2:13–16.()
  6. Quoted in David Daniell, The Bible in English: It’s History and Influence (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), 439.()
  7. Alister McGrath, In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture (New York: Doubleday, 2001), 172.()
  8. Charles C. Ryrie, The Best is Yet to Come (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1981), 86.()
  9. John F. Walvoord, Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1962), 107, 113. Emphasis added.()
  10. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, “The Little Apocalypse of Zechariah,” The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming Under Attack, eds. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2003), 262.()
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About the Author

Gary is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. He is the author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, His most recent book is Exposing the Real Last Days Scoffers. Gary lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and four grandchildren, Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).



37 Responses to The Charge of Replacement Theology is a Cover for Fuzzy Theology

  1. Douglas MacLean says:

    Is the issue here Dispensationalism or whether Israel and the Church are distinct entities? While Dispensationalism does hold that the Church and Israel are distinct, that is not the only teaching of Dispensationalism. The point here is that one can argue that replacement theology is wrong and not be a Dispensationalist. The more important point here is that this approach does not always focus on the theological point at issue. Let’s consider DeMar’s analysis of Jeremiah 31. Remember that Jeremiah was concerned with the Jewish Diaspora. It is within this context that God spoke through Jeremiah that Israel would never cease being a nation. In other words, hope Israel would continue to be a nation was addressed to those Jews dispersed outside the geographic boundaries of Israel. DeMar states that prior to 1948 and after 70 A.D. Israel was not a nation. DeMar does not consider Israel could be a nation dispersed, just as it was when Jeremiah spoke to those Jews dispersed from the geographic borders of Israel.

    It is also important to define terms. DeMar states Christianity did not “Supersede Judaism.” But this is not where the controversy lies. The issue is whether the Church superseded Israel. Judaism is not the same as the nation of Israel. Demar ignores this completely and suggests that to make this distinction is somehow racist. But what is racist about attempting to understand the definition and context of words which appear in the Bible?

  2. Brian says:

    God is the one that scattered the jews. He is the one that caused Israel to no longer be a nation (geographically speaking). So what God was saying through Jerimiah was….” even though I’m fixing to scatter you to the four corners of the Earth I will not forget you” and based on other scrpture will gather them back again to geographic Israel and indeed is doing that very thing right now.

  3. Brother Les says:

    Should Christians and Jews alike ask if it is ‘Judaism’ that is the real ‘Replacement Theology’. The Apostle Paul speaks of ‘The Religion of The Jews’, knowing full well that that religious ‘sect’ was a false paradigm according to The Law (Moses) and The Prophets (Elijah). The End of The Ages (of Sin) had come upon that first century generation and it was to them that the Promises to The Fathers had come. Redemption (from the Death), Resurrection (from the Death), Salvation (from the Death). And from that time forward we live in the Covenantal Age that has No End. Isra-el, Sons of YHWH, by Faith and Grace alone and not bythe works of The Flesh.

  4. dlee says:

    Dispensationalism is the true “Replacement Theology”. Their end-time prophecy starts at the Book of Revelation and goes back to reinterpret Scripture to fit their rapture of the church view starting with Genesis 12:3. Genesis 12:3 was fulfilled in Matthew 1:1, the genealogy of Jesus Christ. There is much more that could be said but you see but you don’t see and you hear but you don’t hear because Jesus Christ has not reviewed it to you. Oh ye hypocrites.

  5. Jmichael says:

    Farah should stick to his warmongering neocon political views. His arrogance in misinterpreting the Bible has grown old. I used to read WND daily until I understood that BOTH their politics AND theology are unconstitutional and unbiblical.

  6. aCultureWarrior says:

    Gary:

    You might want to pass this excellent article written by Joseph Farah around AV, as you could all learn a lot from it:

    “Why I am not a Libertarian”.
    http://www.wnd.com/2002/06/14260/

    • Arrow says:

      You’re too hung up on labels. Think for yourself.

    • E Harris says:

      @CultureWarrior: Amen! I read that article, it’s very good.

      I call myself a conservative libertarian. I’m not hung up on labels, but truths. And the truth is that fallen man DOES need centralized gov’t…otherwise fallen men will disintegrate into gangs, mobs, and anarchy. Libertarianism without Jesus quickly becomes heartless & fearful ANARCHY…and men begin appealing for someone, anyone, to come in and stabalize things & stop the violence so that business and life can resume. The presence of sin both produces tyranny, and invites tyranny.

      The reason why libertarianism (by itself) doesn’t work, is because JESUS CHRIST is the only effective vehicle for self-government (self-control). We need both the doctrine and the Spirit of Who He Is, How He Walked, How He Died BEFORE (before) any centralized government can drop away without immense violence, death, bloodshed, and economic failure.

      The MISSION of the central (and state) American gov’ts is to provide a buffer-time… for the ekklesia to witness to more people (here and worldwide) with the rock-bottom TRUTHS of the Bible. We are in a war, and it is PRIMARILY ideological. We need to get that through our heads. If the world converts & turns into the organic ekklesia of Jesus Christ… we will not need a centralized, statist, babylonish apparatus. Fallen gov’ts are for fallen men. We dwell in a New Kingdom headed up by Jesus Christ. Our job is to help convert people into this New Kingdom. So that when the old heavens (authorities) drop away, people will not be startled or caught unaware: because they already dwell in the light, under new heavens.

      We would be foolish to drop all military defenses – before we have thoroughly evangelized the groups of people that surround those defenses (and the violent element that is thwarted by police presence).

      Because of this, I believe in voting & a limited participation (in an advisor role) to all centralized gov’ts. Speak truth to power. But we should not be distracted from our primary mission: American centralized gov’ts are primarily here to keep a semblance of law & order, while CHRISTIAN PEOPLE witness around the world!!! THAT is the mission of America. That is the power of America. That is the INFLUENCE of America. Without it, we may as well give up on America. America was allowed to exist (by God) so that her people (primarily christians) could FIGURE OUT where they stood, then unite, then spread the gospel throughout the world! THEN the weapons can drop.

      I do disagree with Farah on one point: a ‘country’ or ‘nation-state’… is NOT the same as a nation (ethnicity). Ethnicities are simply outgrowths of families and geography, forming a linguistic/cultural group, and they comprise the meaning of ‘nations’.

      We will probably continue to have ‘nations’ (even nations yet to be born). But that does not mean that we will always have nation-states, states, centralized county gov’ts, or empires.

      God PREFERS to invest His authority in a father and a mother, with no other intermediary. God told Abraham, the ‘father of the faith’: “In your seed all of the families of the earth shall be blessed.” And we know that the meek inherit the earth. It is stored up for them.

      It’s time to reclaim the vision that God had for America. It wasn’t simply to be a ‘city on a hill’. It was to provide protections to God’s people, as they spread His message of grace through faith in God’s work through His Son. If America fails to provide these protections to ordinary Christian people and the freely-believed-in gospel message, it has lost its usefulness and purpose.

      If America fails, we continue. If America succeeds, we continue. If America ceases to be benevolent (to the degree that it does), we continue anyway.

      • Tired Old Man says:

        CultWar, you are a self-styled conservative. Name at least five things that the government in Washington is doing that you think should be conserved.

      • Tired Old Man says:

        EH,” conservative libertarian” is an oxymoron.

    • Arrow says:

      Farah attacks a straw-man.

      He says he is opposed to the warfare state mentality of being the worlds policeman and that our military is too expensive and our foreign policy too meddlesome, and that we should concentrate on defense, not offense.

      THAT is the libertarian position. I know of no libertarians who think that we should just have no military and allow anyone to attack us who wants to.

      Most of his positions are borderline libertarian at least, yet he paints libertarians as anarchists. This is what happens when you get hung up on labels.

      Now, a few responses to E Harris:

      You say: “The reason why libertarianism (by itself) doesn’t work, is because JESUS CHRIST is the only effective vehicle for self-government”

      Of course. And the reason I can’t drive my car without wheels is…? That does not render the rest of the car useless. Just so, the obvious need for Christ does not in the slightest way negate the validity of libertarianism.

      “The MISSION of the central (and state) American gov’ts is to provide a buffer-time… for the ekklesia to witness to more people (here and worldwide) with the rock-bottom TRUTHS of the Bible”

      I disagree. The purpose of the state is to bear the sword against people who commit evil crimes of a civil nature. Romans 13. The state would still be needed if 100% of our country was evangelized. But that does not justify a tyrannical central government.

      “We would be foolish to drop all military defenses”

      A straw-man argument. I have not run into any libertarians who think that we should not have a military. There may be a few, but it is certainly not a feature of libertarianism, at least as I know it.

      Furthermore, I think that you fail to differentiate between legitimately sanctioned authority and centralized government. We have a constitution that defines and limits the powers of the federal government. “Conservatives” too often simply want to misuse centralized government to implement their goals.

      Having said all of that, instead of dividing over labels, (I am of Paul, I am of Apollos) we should seek and discuss truth in all issues.

      • E Harris says:

        Arrow, I’m afraid that I may have waded into a debate that in which I’m not familiar with all of the definitions. I may be wrong. Historically, libertarians can be likened to anti-federalists (such as Joel McDurmon), who are suspicious of any centralized government…and (in an ideal world) would have no civil sword bigger than “dad’s gun up in the attic”. That is the ideal libertarian state. Isn’t it?

        By contrast “conservative” can probably be likened to “George Washington” who valued a strong centralized, national government with constraints placed upon itself.
        I still think that there is value in the corporate brand and services of the USA…if it sticks within its constitutional boundaries. This makes me a conservative – but not necessarily a libertarian.

        A libertarian takes advantage of the services provided by the constitution, and the protections provided by the bill of rights – but he understands that the game doesn’t END with the USA. The USA is an impermanent corporate brand (basically) that will eventually fade…and it’s time for fading will be when the light of responsible individualism (in Christ) is brighter, louder, and clearer than the light of the cumulative power of the USA at its best.

        A libertarian who does not have a rock-solid faith in the Jesus of the Bible, and in His saving power… may end up believing that human beings are basically good by nature (without correction or redemption). And because of this, they may end up siding with the anarchists such as the Occupy movement.
        The Occupy movement believes in individualism, but not individual responsibility. The Dem party believes only in the collective (and it’s heads). Where does this sense of individual responsibility come from…and why is it more exemplified in Christian nations than in non-Christian or post-Christian societies? BECAUSE… the example, message, and saving faith in Jesus Christ teaches us that the individual has a calling to be like the messiah, and this gives him both an individual dignity, an individual responsibility, and an individual freedom (if obeying God). Societies that do not have Jesus Christ as their central bulwark, lack this concept…and hence, their polity is unsustainable without large controlling architecture. Without Jesus, the world disintegrates into tribalism, and leaders exploit this mercilessly for their own gain.

        How do we beat back Occupy, and their intended (future) international occupation of American citizens money and policy? Using a philosophy centered in individual dignity, responsibility and freedom: a la Jesus Christ. Jesus IS the stabalizing factor, the sensible factor, that keeps us on the tracks. Look at the mentality that happens in congregations that don’t keep Jesus front-and-center. They become tribal “us-vs-them” even if they must manufacture an “us-vs-them”. (Don Miller in Blue Like Jazz is an example of this. He spends a good part of his christian musings…bashing George W. Bush…after saying that some congregations are becoming too political.) Without Jesus Christ, we disintegrate into blindness and escalating war. And wars always have commanders on the top and galvanizers on the bottom.

      • E Harris says:

        Joel McDurmon’s series “The County Rights Project” permanently changed my mind on what the trajectory is of the conservative movement and the libertarian movement. It was the first time that I could see a solid difference between the two. It’s the difference between the Federalist Papers (good) and the Anti-Federalist Papers (better). McDurmon exposed the Constitution as a flawed and WAY TOO FLEXIBLE document from the start, with such intentionally vague clauses like the “elastic clause” and the “commerce clause.” The Federalists had their way with the Constitution. The Anti-Federalists had their way with the Bill of Rights. The Council of Nicaea can be likened to the Constitution: it’s the self-appointed leaders of the ekklesia bartering with the state. But the Bill of Rights is more like the ekklesia saying: ‘If you want to help us, stay out of our way.’

        These two movements (of compromise and purity) in the church are always present in Western Civilization. I side with the pure, but I appreciate the non-interfering aid that can come from impure directions. It’s like the Mafia referring someone to you, to witness to them about Jesus Christ. Do I support the Mafia? No. Do I appreciate that the person came to me, at the Mafia’s referral, to hear about Jesus, learn about something, or get some aid? Yes.

        In such a way, the US gov’t should understand that it is Jesus’ ekklesia that expands civilization. And the US gov’t should recognize that it can NEVER be better than a necessary evil.

      • Arrow says:

        E Harris,

        You make good points, I think. It is important to remember how far our federal government has strayed from the limitations placed on it even by the Federalists.

        The definitions (“conservative”, “libertarian” etc.) are difficult to deal with because everyone has their own idea of what they are, and popular usage corrupts the definitions to the point that people like George W. Bush and Rick Sanitarium are called “conservative”. Both would have been scorned by the Democrats as leftists a generation ago.

        So, we have the choice of arguing over definitions, or else just dropping the “conservative” label.

  7. E Harris says:

    There is a movie concept that is being floated around called “The Resurrection” (a sequel to the Passion, which would focus on the Resurrection and the next 40 days). We have heard a lot about the crucifixion and the gospel story. But even now, many in the church lack a truly living concept of what Jesus meant by his ekklesia. We understand what Jesus did, but aren’t sure how we “fit” in his “organization” in the aftermath. This probably is the reason why a movie could not successfully be made about the book of Acts, quite yet. Because too many people lack a living and practical knowledge of the holy (whole) mindset and the true frontier that these people were facing. It’s the same frontier we face today: if the masks were allowed to be taken off (the masks of officialness and stiff unbiblical doctrines). Even now, we may feel much more ‘ok’ and ‘connected’ with the gospel events, than with the powerful adventures of Acts.

    • E Harris says:

      …and in a sense, our struggles are very much the same difficulties as they faced in Acts and in the background of the epistles. Strugges with ‘officialness’, conformity, uniformity, individuality, mission, focus, the proper balance of gifts of the Spirit and contributions, the nature of giving, and grace vs. law. We’re dealing with the same human nature that pulls us toward the Old, and the same Spirit that has made the New the real desire of our hearts.

  8. Doug Jerving says:

    Joseph Farrah’s dispensationalism has always been blatant throughout the web-site. I think what I find even stranger is how unchecked the content of the advertisers on WND.com is. I have in the past, seen ads for Planned Parenthood, and other left-wing causes. Worse, in the last month, I have repeatedly seen ads from the heretical self-proclaimed false prophet Ronald Weinland, whose message is equivalent to Herbert Armstrong and the World Wide Church of God. I find that truly disturbing. I have emailed them complaining about their failure to police the advertising on their site, but have gotten no response.

    I think rather than charging Gary DeMar with trying to sell books, they should admit that making a buck is exactly why they do not take an active roll preventing their ad servers from placing that sort of thing on their site.

  9. Micah Martin says:

    Gary,

    I am going to ask again since I have not gotten an answer from you.

    Is the 2nd coming a promise made to OC Israel and found in “the law and the prophets?”

    Also, I find it interesting that you spent a few paragraphs explaining biased translations (church – ekklēsia), but then you turned around and said this:

    “Consider God’s covenant with Noah. He promised never to flood the Earth again like He did in Noah’s day.”

    It seems to me that you have engaged in the very same thing you are condemning. You must be aware that the word “erets” is simply land or ground.

    Was Cain banished from “planet earth?” Did all the oceans disappear after the flood when the waters dried up from “the earth?”

    On another note.

    Where there Jews from South American at Pentecost? (Acts 2:5) Last time I checked South America was “under heaven.”

    So my final question: Do you believe the Noahic Flood was a planet wide event?

    Thanks,

    Micah

    • Michael Earl Riemer says:

      Micah,

      I do not know if Gary DeMar believes in a world-wide flood, but I do. It happened about 1650 years after the creation.

      It’s a little difficult to have a year long local flood. Did God plug up one end of the valley where the flood took place so the water took a year to drain? And why even build an ark if it was a local flood. It would have been no problem for Noah to move a few miles away from the valley where the local flood was going to take place. If it was a local flood, there would be no need to take any animals on a boat. For even if all the animal were killed in the local valley flood, there were still plenty of their brothers and sisters living outside of the “death valley.” Same reason for people. Were all the people crowded into one small or large valley? As you know, people like to explore, and after the creation, I am sure there was a lot of moving and exploring by the population going on all over the earth. A local flood idea is just plain silly. Those are just a few of the reasons for a world-wide flood.

      • Micah Martin says:

        Michael,

        It’s not necessary to argue the flood here. There are plenty of books we can exchange.

        My main point is that Gary engaged in the very same thing he castigated. It looks like a little slight of hand to me. That’s all I was pointing out.

        Notice how Gary points to “universal language” of Acts 2.

        On another note, if Gary doesn’t believe in a global flood you must treat him the same way you treat people over at biologos.

        Without a global flood YEC has no way to account for the fossil record. So, either 1) The earth was made with the appearance of age with “fake” fossils or 2) Modern geology is correct and the earth is certainly older than 6K years.

        Now here is my point. IF one doesn’t believe in a global flood, then they have totally torpedoed the YEC paradigm. Even if they do not believe in evolution they have to allow that it IS a possibility.

        Ken Ham is right on this point. YEC stands or falls on the belief in a global flood!

        If I were you I would be very concerned if Gary didn’t come out and clearly state a belief in a global flood and a young earth. (Again, I refer you to his debate with T. Ice. Part 10 on youtube.)

        Thanks,
        Micah

    • Micah,

      I agree with Michael. The Bible clearly describes a world-wide flood. The only reason people ever came up with the idea of a local flood was to compromise with unbelievers whose goal was to undermine the authority of the Bible.

      As for what Gary believes, American Vision shares a warehouse with Creation Ministries International and has had Dr. Jonathan Sarfati as a speaker at a couple of their conferences. CMI clearly states that they believe in a young earth and a global flood. That’s not to say that Gary couldn’t believe otherwise, but it is highly unlikely.

      See also the article “15 Reasons to Take Genesis As History” on AV’s website. It is written by Brandon Vallorani, the executive vice president of AV.

      • Micah Martin says:

        TFYM,

        I find it interesting that AV has dropped any debate about the age of the earth. It used to be a regular topic. They even sponsored a debate a while back. Maybe CMI is the reason? Typically YEC organizations don’t like open discourse. I guess it helps if there is an exchange of money.

        As for the 15 reasons that CMI listed in the article you cited, I am surprised that AV actually passed that off as a credible source. There are so many problems with that list.

        For one, the early church has not been united on Genesis. I don’t know if Brandon knows that but he should.

        Anyway, it is a waste of my time to go through it point by point.

        I found it particularly interesting that BV went right into Matthew 24. He pointed to the time statements in verse 34 but he conveniently skipped over the “de-creation” language of verse 29. If those star’s that fell from heaven are not the ones created in Genesis 1, please show me the creation text where they were created! (Not to mention that didn’t “literally” happen like Henry Morris says it will.)

        BV argued for a Henry Morris’ hermeneutic when it comes to Genesis then argues against the same hermeneutic when it comes to Revelation. So much for “Scripture interpreting Scripture.”

        The idea of a local flood is a lot older than the unbelievers that you fear. You don’t need to defend the Bible. There is a great line in a U2 song that goes, “quit helping God cross the street… like a little old lady.”

        Blessings,
        Micah

  10. Michael Lynch says:

    I’ve coined a new term. Whenever “replacement theology” is thrown at me (and by the way, isn’t it dipys that believe in a replacement theology, at least for a time?), I so no, I don’t believe in RT, I believe in “Continuation Theology.” Christianity is a continuation of the one true religion following Christ’s fulfillment.

    • That’s good. Growing up in Dispensational churches, there were always passages that didn’t make sense. It turns out that the problem is with the Dispensational system, not the Bible–go figure.

  11. Eric Heil says:

    I think the most offensive thing about dispensationalism is that it teaches that we have an ethnic God whose true commitment is ethnic Israel; with the Church as an afterthought. That, and that the New Covenant will be replaced with the Old, with the reinstatement of the Jewish sacrificial system – in effect nullifying the final sacrifice of Christ.

    Many pew-sitting dispensationalists do not know these facts, and would begin questioning their system if they did.

    We must also repeatedly reiterate the fact that despite dispensationalists’ commitment to socially conservative causes, both Arminianism and Dispensationalism are weak and liberal theologies.

    We also need to stop banging our heads against walls trying to “convert” committed dispensationalists. We need to bring non-Christians into Reformed Christianity. That will be where the real change happens.

  12. Wesley says:

    up until a few weeks ago when i read Mark’s account of the Olivette Discourse i used to believe the same way as the many Dispensationalists and read where the disciples did not anything about Christ second coming. afterwards i read the beginning to all three accounts and found out that only in Matthew did they ask about his second coming. they love calling anyone who does not have the eschantological view replacement theologians when they have God judging several thousand generations later for the sins of their fathers in the time of Christ. of course it is built around a rebuilt temple somehow. God told his people through a prophet that they need to stop using that he will judge his people for their father’s sin to the third and fourth generation when they started using it as an excuse to not make any changes.

  13. Michael Earl Riemer says:

    Gary what do you mean?

    “Jews are still coming to Christ. ”

    Here is a short excerpt from my book, it should help.

    The confusing of those who follow the teachings of Judaism — whose ancestors were converted to Judaism decades, or centuries ago — with those who are genetically connected to Abraham in the Old Testament is part of the problem. The other part is the realization that, biblically, faith in the one true God was the key to who was a true Jew (a son of Abraham) and who was not — the key to who was a member of God’s covenant body, the Church, or a member of the “synagogue of Satan.” “I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2:9).

    Many of those Christians who support the modern day nation of Israel are unaware of the fact that most, maybe all the “Jews” that now inhibit the land where Jesus walked are not at all genetically related or connected to Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. These modern “Jews” may have been practicing the fallacious teachings of Judaism for a long time; but it is still a spurious and deceptive belief.

    Dispensationalists are very confused on this issue. Many Israelis’ ancestors converted to Judaism aeons ago. But Dispensationalists insist that we must support modern Israel simply because its citizens (with the exception of its atheists!) practice a Gospel-denying religion. Dispensationalists insist that God is now obligated to Jews — and that they are his “chosen people” — precisely because they faithfully practice an erroneous religion which is roundly condemned in Scripture! They also insist that Jews are deserving of God’s blessings by remaining committed to error and false teaching through pain and suffering. Few modern Jews have any genealogical connection to Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. It is also the case that no modern Jews hold to the Biblical faith of Abraham; instead, they reject the teachings of Moses concerning the Messiah, and hate the idea of Jesus being the Son of God and His Messiah; But, just because they call themselves “Jews” and practice a spurious faith, Dispensationalists say Christians must support them. Modern Israel is a melting-pot of nationalities and ethnic groups. And the religious Jews among them all rejected God and the words of Moses when they converted to Judaism, instead of turning to Jesus.

    Other then that, I really liked your post.

  14. RJR Fan says:

    The fortune tellers have been so busy trying to rob us of our future in Christ that they have begun to render themselves obsolete, ridiculous, and incompetent.

  15. Murphree says:

    Wonderful article Gary!!! The bible just doesn’t make sense under Dispensationalism. Up until about 3 or 4 year ago, I was a Dispensationalist and while listening to Hank Hanegraaff, I was convinced that it just wasn’t so. You have taken up where Hank left off and are filling in the whole with information that I lack. I feel like I found 25% of the piece of a intricate puzzle, now with those pieces in place, the whole picture becomes clear. Thanks much, Gary!

    Now, If church isn’t in the bible (and I looked up the etymology of the word which the ancient greek is kuriakon dōma which literally means “the Lord’s house”) how and when did the RCC began thinking it as “church” because the Latin word is ecclesiam (ekklēsia)? So really in the Apostles’ Creed “sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam” should translate as: “The holy catholic Congregation”.

    • Murphree says:

      I liked it better when we could edit our posts. Now I look back and see all my typos and I can’t do anything about it. Bummer.

  16. Frank Daniels says:

    I would make two additional points:
    1. God has been consistent throughout time.
    You quoted Ex 19 and Jer 31. I also observe that…
    a. That the true circumcision was “circumcision of the heart” is from Dt 10:16.
    b. God was always saving both Jews and gentiles using the same rubric (Rm 1-3), so that the covenant was instructional in nature.
    c. The Hebrew writer’s statement about priesthood of the order of Melchizedek is from Psa 110:4.
    d. When Jesus internalized the Torah, he did so citing the Shema Yisrael and Lv 19:18.
    2. There are no “Jews” today in the same sense as in the Bible.
    a. Priestly Judaism, the only form of Judaism accepted and “authorized” by God, has not existed since 70 AD.
    b. No one today is able to trace their lineage back to Abraham through Jacob (Israel). No one today is able to trace their lineage back to Aaron’s sons. There is no physical Israel today, and there is no OT religion — nor can there ever be again.

    Christianity did not “replace” Judaism. The TRUE Jew was always within. What changed then? Through Jesus we came to understand God’s own definition of his people. It was NEVER the case that calling one’s self a “Jew,” or having a certain lineage, or being circumcised (physically) made you one of God’s people. From the time of Adam, following God’s principles makes someone a child of God.

  17. Kimberly says:

    Good article, Gary! Simply put, the Christians ARE Israel, and the missions of Peter and Paul did not fail. Their missions were to convert the Jews and the “Lost Sheep of the House of Israel” to Christianity as God had promised the whole of Israel whom he scattered among the gentiles.

    And as we see in James 1:1, “To the TWELVE TRIBES which are scattered abroad, greetings.” The northern 10-tribed kingdom of Israel who were “scattered sheep among the gentiles by God” were found again and became followers of Christ and accepted that Jesus was God in the flesh and the fulfillment of prophecy. The Jews of the House of Judah who were not “lost” and living there in the land of Judea, were ALSO converted to Christianity. Only the political Jewish leaders and other scoffers and unbelievers did not convert.

    An old pastor friend of mind who passed away about 4 years ago, asked the question: “If only the Jews are God’s chosen people, then WHO are the Christians?” Are the Christians not God’s “chosen people”? If not, then what’s the point? Many Christians are being misled today.

    I would like to add Ezekiel 34:11-16 (KJV): “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, [even] I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.

    As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

    And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.

    I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and [in] a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.

    I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.

    I WILL SEEK THAT WHICH WAS LOST, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up [that which was] broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.”

    Which aligns with what Jesus said here: Matthew 15:24 “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the LOST SHEEP of the house of Israel.”

    And here: Matthew 10: 5-6 “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the LOST SHEEP of the house of Israel.”

    There are many other passages which support this, too. Therefore, in agreement, the Church or the Christians did not “replace” Israel. The Christians ARE Israel! And this should answer the question as to why so many Christians are confused about WHO they are and what their purpose is.

  18. Mark says:

    Gary, nice article…………but…………..(dont you just hate the buts?) in your last paragraph prior to the conclusion you say, ” In fact, we believe that the Jews will inevitably embrace Jesus as the Messiah this side of the Second Coming”. We???? You got a mouse in yer pocket? I know that what you saying is the “we” are those who are accused of believing in replacement theory, but full preterists are also accused of this as well but dont believe in “this side of the Second Coming.”

    • Murphree says:

      Yeah, I was a little puzzled by the too.

      • Murphree says:

        That is to say the Jews embracing Christ.

      • Murphree says:

        What I mean is that it’s 12:30am where I am, so, I’m not all with it

        I guess where I’m confused is Gary’s use of the future tense “will” and then goes on to say it has already happened. I think that how I reading it. Maybe, I’m looking at it wrong.

        As far as full Pret, nah!

    • Gary DeMar says:

      Jews are still coming to Christ. Whether a person believes in a future second coming or not, he still believes in the future.

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