Replacement Theology?


#1

I have come across references to “replacement theology” on non-Catholic webpages. In a nutshell, it is the idea that the Church has “replaced” Israel. These non-Catholics maintain it is a teaching of the Catholic Church. Or, if not an official teaching, it is a prominent idea within the Church.

Just what is the status of this idea in the Church? Could someone point me to a Catholic perspective of it on the web?

Personally, I would not say that the Church “replaced” Israel. I would say the Church is Israel. Consider the following. From First Things

The very title of the book, Why the Jews Rejected Jesus, is highly problematic. Scholars generally agree that in the first century there were approximately six million Jews in the Roman Empire (for some reason, Klinghoffer says five million). That was about one tenth of the entire population. About one million were in Palestine, including today’s State of Israel, while those in the diaspora were very much part of the establishment in cities such as Alexandria and Constantinople. At one point Klinghoffer acknowledges that, during the life of Jesus, only a minuscule minority of Jews either accepted or rejected Jesus, for the simple reason that most Jews had not heard of him. Some scholars have noted that, by the fourth or fifth century, there were only a few hundred thousand, at most a million, people who identified themselves as Jews. What happened to the millions of others? The most likely answer, it is suggested, is that they became Christians. What if the great majority of Jews did not reject Jesus?

If Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel, and most Jews did indeed follow Jesus–that is, enter the Church–would not that make the Church continuous with and identifiable with Israel (the entity with whom God has made His coventant)?


#2

Hi Racer,

I agree with you that the Church is, and has always seen itself as, the continuation of Israel. The term replacement theology has, I think, come to be identified with the particular idea that the Old Covenant is no longer valid, whereas the Church sees the New Covenant as a fulfillment and extension of the Old Covenant. In the interests of ecumenism many in the Church are hesitant to even acknowledge that the Old Covenant is obsolete, though that is stated explicitly in Heb 8:13. How that affects its validity, or impacts those that continue to follow it, I cannot say. My computer is obsolete, but I still use it. I am just at a disadvantage in regards to new software, and speed, and service.

The disadvantages of being anti-Christ in ones relationship with God, are obvious to most Christians, but not to Jews.


#3

That’s an interesting thought. WE know that Christians fled just right before the fall of Jerusalme to Petra, Jordon and they survived and that many Jews died in a mass slaughter at teh destruction of Jeruslame at 70 AD. Many fled in a diaspora after that and later after another revolt moe Jews fled in a diaspora. THus Israel was not the center of Jews anymore wheter Rabbinal Jew or Christian we don’t know the final number of how many of these actually converted. It is possible that since the majoriut of Jews parished during the early centuries of the Roman Empire that most of the survivor were actually Jewish Christians and not Rabbinical Jews. But of course we will never know.


#4

[quote=Racer X]I have come across references to “replacement theology” on non-Catholic webpages. In a nutshell, it is the idea that the Church has “replaced” Israel. These non-Catholics maintain it is a teaching of the Catholic Church. Or, if not an official teaching, it is a prominent idea within the Church.

Just what is the status of this idea in the Church? Could someone point me to a Catholic perspective of it on the web?

Personally, I would not say that the Church “replaced” Israel. I would say the Church is Israel. Consider the following. From “The Public Square” of the Feb ’05 issue of First Things
If Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel, and most Jews did indeed follow Jesus–that is, enter the Church–would not that make the Church continuous with and identifiable with Israel (the entity with whom God has made His coventant)?
[/quote]

Replacement theology is the theology of Amillenialism. It is a seldom used term. Another designation of this is supercessionism. Replacement theology would be in concert with any who say that the Church is Israel or Israel is the Church. Most would not distinguish between the two. If you agree with replacement theology, then you see the Church as carrying on the blessings of Abraham and there is no distinct future for the nation of Israel (the Tribulation, Millennium, etc).

Another way to say it is that everyone who is not a dispensationalist is in some sense a replacement theologian.

Hope this helps,

Michael


#5

The Church has a history of referring to herself as “the New Jerusalem.” I’ve never heard this described as replacemnt theology, but I agree with it, whatever they want to call it. In Daniel’s vision in Chapter seven, of the Old Testament, the Catholic Church holds that the references are Christological and the kingdom created was the Church; that Jesus did this with his passion and his kingdom is still on earth in the Church and it began in Jerusalem but is a spiritual kingdom and not related to only territory.

Many Bible Thumpers (rapturists) disagree and say the Kingdom is yet to come, and that the second Temple needs to be rebuilt before this happens and all kinds of other erroneous assumptions that lead to their Rapturist theology. In the passage, there is reference to two Temples that were destroyed, and two Temples have in fact already been destroyed, but the Rapturists don’t count the first Temple, only the second (the one destroyed in AD 70).

So they don’t think any Kingdom has been started yet. And they think that a new Temple needs to be built in Israel and animal scarifices need to return to Jerusalem, before the Kingdom can begin. They don’t see christ’s resurrection from the dead and Ascension as fulfilling the vison of Daniel (which marks the beginning fo the Kingdom), but think that Christ needs to come back to Earth in a second-coming and then return to heaven. They believe that the Kingdom Daniel refered to is not spiritual like the Church, but that it will be a physical government based in Jerusalem.
If they all believed that the Catholic Church was the New Jerusalem, which Catholics believe from the interpretation of Revelation, than they should all be Catholic. Their distortion of Daniel’s prophecy prevents them from reaching the same conclusion that we do from Revelation.


#6

I have had a problem with this …Israelite / Jew Problem for a while.

The older People of God were called Israelites, NOT Jews.

The Jews came from the Southern Tribe - Juda at Jesus time.
There were Israelites living in the North of Jesuralem. They were in the majority.

Think. Did God make a Covenant with the Jews? NO! That Covenant was with thee Israelites.

To say Catholoism replaced Judism is a bit wrong. It was the Israelites that carried the covenant with God. Judism was replaaced before Jesus came.


#7

I don’t think it says that the New Convenant replaced Jews or Israelites, but that physical location is not of prime importance to spiritual worship, under the New Convenant. Christianity does not have an equivalent to the Temple; a preferenne for one geographical place. The term New Jerusalem and the idea that it is represented by the Church, is a reflection in the way that worship changed under the New Covenant; the Messianic Age began with Christ and it is an in which the spiritual dominates over the physical. Judeo-Christian belief holds that there are three ages: Ages of the Patriarchs; Age of Law (Moses was the beginning of this age) and the Messianic Age (which Christians believe began with Christ).

Catholics belive that during the Messianic Age Chritis insituted his Church as his Kingdom on earth; that this Kingdom is the New Jerusalem. Many Protestants believe that the Kingdom will not begin until the rapture occurs. Catholics don’t believe in the raputure. Catholics believe that the apocalyptic prophecies in Daniel, the Book of Revelation, and elsewhere refer to the end of an age as it was known when the Temple was destroyed by the Romans between 67AD and 70AD.

Protestants interpret Daniel by adding extra thousands of years which are not in the text, so they don’t see recognize the Church as God’s Kingdom. They think the destruction that Catholics know already occurred with the destruction of the Temple, is not in the past but in the future, so to them it matters what modern day Jews in Israel do. Some Protestant groups even have collection funds going on so that they can contribute to the building of a new Temple, which they believe need built in order to be destroyed before the Second Coming can occur and New Jerusalem can be created.


#8

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